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Harvick victorious in first race of 2013

Richard Childress Racing's Kevin Harvick emerged with his third win in the Daytona Unlimited pre-season exhibition race, after an early accident claimed a third of the field.
Kevin Harvick claimed the first win of the NASCAR racing calendar with victory in the Daytona Unlimited exhibition event at Daytona International Speedway on Saturday night.

It's the third time in nine outings that the Richard Childress Racing driver has triumphed in the pre-season race, having previously won back-to-back wins in 2009 and 2010 when the race was called the Budweiser Shootout.

Last year's event winner Kyle Buch was among six cars to exit the race after just 14 laps as a result of a multi-car accident, triggered by Tony Stewart moving down the track to try and get past current race leader Matt Kenseth but instead ending up getting clipped from behind by Marcos Ambrose through the apex of turns 1 and 2.

"I self-cleared myself, I guess," explained Stewart, admitting it had been his mistake. "I went down before the spotter cleared me. I thought I had a big enough run that I cleared second, but I obviously hadn't and I just barely nicked him. I just needed about two more inches."

Stewart was able to hold on to the #14 and avoid a wreck, but other cars behind him were caught out and a chain-reaction ensued that took out both Busch and his brother Kurt - the 2011 winner of the event - together with Jeff Gordon, Kyle Busch, Mark Martin, Jimmie Johnson and Denny Hamlin who all took heavy damage in the accident.

"I didn't see much," confess Johnson when asked about the accident that sidelined him. "I was just kind of cruising along and I saw sparks in front of me. I knew that wasn't good. Then before I knew it just the cars inside of me and around me everybody just slid up the race track and into me and around we went."

Johnson's Hendrick Motorsports team mate Jeff Gordon was similarly caught out by the early incident. "I saw somebody loose on the inside and the outside lane somehow was affected by it and it was a domino by the time it got back to me and we were in it," he said. "I couldn't see much. We were in that bottom lane that just got shuffled back early and so we were just slowly working our way back up there.

"I saw handling started to become an issue for quite a few guys, a little bit for myself, but not too bad," he added. "I just saw somebody get sideways going down into (turn) one and then our lane checked up and they started getting turned and we started wrecking."

"Once someone bobbles, we're all on top of each other, so everyone's braking point and reaction time is going to be different,” said Denny Hamlin. "And then guys start getting run over. That was kind of the case.”




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Kevin Harvick, driver of the #29 Budweiser Chevrolet, celebrates in victory lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Sprint Unlimited at Daytona International Speedway on February 16, 2013 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo by John Harrelson/NASCAR via Getty Images)  (Photo Credit: John Harrelson/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #29 Budweiser Chevrolet, celebrates in victory lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Sprint Unlimited at Daytona International Speedway on February 16, 2013 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo Credit: Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)
Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Express Toyota, Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s Toyota, Juan Pablo Montoya, driver of the #42 Target Chevrolet, Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Drive To End Hunger Chevrolet, Martin Truex Jr., driver of the #56 NAPA Auto Parts Toyota, Mark Martin, driver of the #55 Aaron`s Dream Machine Toyota, and Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Yellow Chevrolet, are involved in an incident during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Sprint Unlimited at Daytona International Speedway on February 16, 2013 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images) (Photo Credit: Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Express Toyota, Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s Toyota, Juan Pablo Montoya, driver of the #42 Target Chevrolet, Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Drive To End Hunger Chevrolet, Martin Truex Jr., driver of the #56 NAPA Auto Parts Toyota, Mark Martin, driver of the #55 Aaron`s Dream Machine Toyota, and Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Yellow Chevrolet, are involved in an incident during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Sprint Unlimited at Daytona International Speedway on February 16, 2013 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images) (Photo Credit: Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
Tyler Reddick, driver of the #19 BBR Music Group Ford, celebrates with the chequered flag after winning the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Lucas Oil 200 at Dover International Speedway on May 29, 2015 in Dover, Delaware. (Photo Credit: Photo by Matt Sullivan/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Cares Toyota, left, poses with Miss Coors Light Amanda Mertz and the Coors Light Pole Award after qualifying for the pole for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series FedEx 400 Benefiting Autism Speaks at Dover International Speedway on May 29, 2015 in Dover, Delaware. (Photo Credit: Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)
Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Cares Toyota, left, poses with Miss Coors Light Amanda Mertz and the Coors Light Pole Award after qualifying for the pole for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series FedEx 400 Benefiting Autism Speaks at Dover International Speedway on May 29, 2015 in Dover, Delaware. (Photo Credit: Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 DiTech Chevrolet SS, qualified for sixth position, Friday, May 29, 2015, for the NASCAR Sprint Cup race Sunday at Dover International Speedway in Dover, Delaware. Harvick leads the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings. (Photo by Alan Marler/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kyle Larson, driver of the #42 Target Chevrolet SS, qualified for third position, Friday, May 29, 2015, for the NASCAR Sprint Cup race Sunday at Dover International Speedway in Dover, Delaware. Larson is 22nd in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings. (Photo by Alan Marler/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Patriotic Chevrolet, is involved in an on-track incident during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway on May 24, 2015 in Charlotte, North Carolina.  (Photo Credit: Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Kurt Busch, driver of the #41 Haas Automation Chevrolet, leads a pack of cars during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway on May 24, 2015 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo Credit: Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images)
Matt Kenseth, driver of the #20 DeWalt Toyota, and Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell Pennzoil Ford, lead the field through the green flag to start the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway on May 24, 2015 in Charlotte, North Carolina.  (Photo Credit: Matt Sullivan/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Matt Kenseth, driver of the #20 DeWalt Toyota, leads the field through the green flag to start the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway on May 24, 2015 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo Credit: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)
Martin Truex Jr., driver of the #78 Furniture Row/Visser Precision Chevrolet, Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser/Jimmy John`s Chevrolet, and Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Office Toyota, lead the field into turn one during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway on May 24, 2015 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo Credit: Rainier Ehrhardt/Getty Images)
Carl Edwards, driver of the #19 Subway Toyota, wins the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway on May 24, 2015 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo Credit: Matt Sullivan/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser/Jimmy John’s Chevrolet SS, finished in ninth place, Sunday, May 24, 2015, in the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Charlotte Motor Speedway in Concord, North Carolina. (Photo by Garry Eller/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Austin Dillon, driver of the #33 Rheem Chevrolet, celebrates winning the NASCAR XFINITY Series Hisense 300 at Charlotte Motor Speedway on May 23, 2015 in Charlotte, North Carolina.  (Photo Credit: Matt Sullivan/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Austin Dillon, driver of the #33 Rheem Chevrolet, takes the chequered flag to win the NASCAR XFINITY Series Hisense 300 at Charlotte Motor Speedway on May 23, 2015 in Charlotte, North Carolina.  (Photo Credit: Matt Sullivan/NASCAR via Getty Images)

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