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Auto racing

Harvick wins in opening race of Speedweeks

– Kevin Harvick won the exhibition Sprint Unlimited race by dominating the final two segments of Saturday night’s Speedweeks opener.

It was Harvick’s third win in the last five years in the non-points race at Daytona International Speedway. He held off challenges from Tony Stewart and Greg Biffle on the final lap to win in his Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet.

It’s a strong opener for what’s going to be Harvick’s final year with RCR. He’s signed on to drive for Stewart-Haas Racing in 2014.

Biffle finished second and Joey Logano was third in his Penske Racing debut. Stewart was fourth and Matt Kenseth fifth in his Joe Gibbs Racing debut.

Patrick fastest in practice

If two practices are any indication, Danica Patrick is a solid candidate to win the pole for the Daytona 500.

Patrick turned the fastest lap Saturday in a pair of practice sessions focused solely on qualifying for the Daytona 500. She went 196.220 mph around Daytona International Speedway in the second practice session and said she’s eyeing the top starting spot in “The Great American Race.”

The front row for the Feb. 24 season-opening Daytona 500 will be set in today’s time trials. The rest of the field will be set Thursday after a pair of qualifying races.

Second fastest in the afternoon session was three-time champion Tony Stewart, her teammate and car co-owner, who turned a lap of 195.363 mph in his Chevrolet. Kyle Busch was third in a Toyota, and he was followed by Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Jamie McMurray as Chevrolet took four of the top five spots.

Joey Logano paced the morning practice with a fast lap at 195.410 mph in his Penske Racing Ford. He was followed by Austin Dillon for Richard Childress Racing and then Patrick, who went 195.359 in the first session.

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