Kevin Harvick Takes Gander RV Duel No. 1 at Daytona

DAYTONA BEACH, FL – RIS – Kevin Harvick made the No. 4 2019 Ford Mustang look pretty good.  Harvick won the first qualifying race for the Daytona 500, tabbed the Gander RV Duel 1 at Daytona International Speedway.

Harvick held off Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and a pack of cars at the checkered flag to take the win in the opener of Thursday night’s twin races to decide the starting line-up for Sunday’s Daytona 500.

“We knew we had a fast car and I don’t have any concerns we won’t have the same Sunday in the 500,” Harvick said.

The Stewart-Haas Racing driver led 44 laps.

“Our Ford was fast, and I had Stenhouse and the 21 (Paul Menard) behind us and we wanted a Ford in Victory Lane,” Harvick said. “I’m just glad I came out on the right side of it and everything is not torn up.

“I have to thank everybody who has touched this superspeedway cars, they’re great. Switching over to the Mustang, it’s a big deal, and it’s a great way to not get Speedweeks started but get to Victory Lane.”

Paul Menard, Matt DiBenedetto and Martin Truex Jr. rounded out the top five.

Parker Kligerman’s 12th place finish earned him a spot in the Daytona 500 starting lineup.

There was one caution on lap 26 when Jimmie Johnson made slight contact with Kyle Busch. The Joe Gibbs Racing driver slide down the backstretch without making contact with anything.

“I just got it wrong, clearly. We were three wide and I just kind of misjudged that situation begin three wide and trying to tuck in behind Kyle (Busch). Sincere apologies to he and his team,” Johnson said in taking blame for the incident.

Busch wasn’t accepting of Johnson’s apologies.

“Tell him I don’t want to hear it,” he said. “Tell him to use his eyeballs. That’s twice in two races he’s done the same thing.”

The Daytona 500 NASCAR Energy NASCAR Cup Series race will be on Sunday.

Ron Fleshman

RIS NASCAR Editor.  Has been with RIS since the middle 90's. Writes on each of the three main series of NASCAR.

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Volume 2019, Issue 2, Posted 9:02 PM, 02.14.2019