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Harvick defeats flu, wins shootout

Sunday, 07 February 2010 04:49 Patrick McNamara
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A fast Chevrolet was all Kevin Harvick needed to get over the flu Saturday night.

Kevin Harvick follows the pace car to the checkered flag at the end of the Budweiser Shootout on Saturday at Daytona International Speedway after he defended his Shootout title.
Kevin Harvick follows the pace car to the checkered flag at the end of the Budweiser Shootout on Saturday at Daytona International Speedway after he defended his Shootout title.
He was too sick to practice on Thursday, but he got better during the Budweiser Shootout exhibition race once he got out front at Daytona International Speedway.

But nothing felt better than his pass coming to the white flag that locked him into the victory when NASCAR ended the race for a multi-car crash in the third turn. By being out front, all Harvick had to do was follow the pace car across the finish line for his second Shootout win in as many years.

"I was sick on Thursday; I didn't get to see a lap in this thing," Harvick said. "But it was fast (Saturday night)."

The non-points race was the first time Sprint Cup Series drivers got to test NASCAR's new rules that allow bump-drafting on the 2.5-mile speedway. Just about everyone took advantage of the opportunity to use their front bumper as a battering ram.

"The racing was good, side-by-side," second-place Kasey Kahne said. "To me, the car slid around a lot, but it was fast. It was an exciting racing. I was on edge from the start. I felt like it was on from the time the green flag came out."

Harvick made a stop for two new tires with four laps to go following a caution. He re-started third and quickly went from the inside lane, to the outside and back to the inside in the first two turns to take the lead.

Moments later, a crash on the backstretch locked the finishing positions.

Jamie McMurray wound up third, followed by Kyle Busch in fourth, Denny Hamlin in fifth, Tony Stewart in sixth and Brian Vickers in seventh.

The race was divided into two segments. The first lasted 25 laps, followed by a 10-minute intermission and another 50 laps.

Carl Edwards won the pole in a blind drawing on Thursday and he kept his Ford out front for the first segment. He led the first four laps of the second segment until McMurray finally wrestled the lead away in the second turn. He didn't stay there long, getting passed by Edwards on the next lap and getting shuffled back to ninth place.

Kurt Busch destroyed his second car in three days on the 32nd lap when he was struck from behind by Mark Martin. Busch's car slid through the infield for nearly a half mile before slamming into the outside wall.

"I'm making more laps in the ambulance than I am out on the track," Busch said.

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