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Harvick Wins Duel 1, Kyle Busch Wins Duel 2

Kevin Harvick and Kyle Busch take the checkered flags of Duels 1 and 2, respectively. [1]Following up on his win in the Sprint Unlimited, Kevin Harvick won Duel 1 at Daytona International Speedway, securing the third starting spot in the Daytona 500. Kyle Busch won Duel 2 to earn the fourth starting spot in the 500.

Harvick passed Trevor Bayne on lap 37 to take the lead of Duel 1. He led the remaining 23 laps.

Danica Patrick, who will start the 500 from the pole, played it safe and dropped to the back early on to ensure her car would not sustain damage.

Greg Biffle, Juan Pablo Montoya, Jimmie Johnson, and Kurt Busch rounded out the top 5 of Duel 1.

The first duel was relatively uneventful until lap 52 when Denny Hamlin appeared to get loose and bumped Carl Edwards.  Edwards was turned into the wall triggering a multi-car accident that damaged the cars of Hamlin, Edwards, Trevor Bayne, and Regan Smith.

Kyle Busch used a fuel-only pit stop at lap 41¬†to take the lead coming off pit road. He ran most of the remaining laps with teammate Matt Kenseth behind him. But, with two laps to go, Kasey Kahne and Austin Dillon were able to pass Kenseth. They couldn’t mount a charge to pass Busch, though.

Busch said after the race that the original plan was to take two tires, but his crew chief made the call to go fuel-only.

Kahne, Dillon, Clint Bowyer, and Kenseth finished second through fifth, respectively.

Jeff Gordon, who will start the 500 on the front row, led the first 40 laps of Duel 2, before a pass-through penalty for speeding on pit road ended his chances of winning the duel.

Martin Truex Jr, who ran in the lead pack for most of Duel 2, was black-flagged for losing a side window. He finished 19th. Mike Bliss also had to make a pit stop to fix his window net, which came down. That cost him a chance at making the Daytona 500. Brian Keselowski was the only other driver who did not qualify for the race.