Harvick drives backup car to Shootout win
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Kevin Harvick started Speedweeks in bed, started the Budweiser Shootout in a backup car and started the final few laps out of the lead.
After all that, he ended up in Victory Lane.
Harvick won the exhibition race for the second consecutive year by moving from fourth to first and passing leader Greg Biffle with two laps remaining in last night's kickoff race to Speedweeks at Daytona Beach, Fla. Biffle's wreck moments later ended the race under caution, giving Harvick his first win since the Shootout victory a year ago.
He hasn't won a points race since the 2007 season-opening Daytona 500, and was not ready to proclaim his Shootout victory a precursor for a possible repeat in next week's 500.
"I know we started last year the same way," he said of the 2009 Shootout win — the lone bright spot in an otherwise abysmal season for Harvick and all of Richard Childress Racing.
And, the way he started Speedweeks was a reminder of just how topsy-turvy the 11 days in Daytona can be.
He was battling the flu and too ill to travel to Daytona on Thursday for Shootout practice, so teammate Clint Bowyer drove the Chevrolet in the first session. Then it was marred by a seven-car accident that destroyed the No. 29, forcing RCR to pull out its backup car.
PATRICK SIXTH IN ARCA
Bobby Gerhart's record-setting sixth victory at Daytona International Speedway was overshadowed by the successful stock car debut of IndyCar star Danica Patrick, who finished sixth yesterday in the crash-filled ARCA race.
"It was a lot of fun," Patrick said. "I bumped from the side. I bumped from the front. I got bumped from the back. I learned a lot, and I had so much fun in a race car today. So I can't wait to do it again."
Patrick spent much of the race among the top 10 in her widely anticipated stock car racing debut, but she bumped fenders with Nelson Piquet Jr. and spun out through the infield grass on lap 54, costing her any hopes of a victory.
Gerhart has won the ARCA season opener six of the last 12 years. The win snapped a two-year losing streak at Daytona.
MARTIN ON DAYTONA POLE
Hendrick Motorsports teammates Mark Martin and Dale Earnhardt Jr. secured the front row for the Daytona 500 yesterday.
Martin, the only driver to top 191 mph during qualifying, earned his first Daytona 500 pole. Earnhardt will start second, trying to rebound from the worst season in his Sprint Cup career.
Martin and Earnhardt are the only drivers in the 43-man field who have their starting positions locked in.
The top 35 drivers from last season are guaranteed starting spots in next Sunday's race,
MIXED MARTIAL ARTS
COUTURE BEATS COLEMAN
Randy Couture stopped Mark Coleman with a rear naked choke last night in Las Vegas to win a bout between two UFC hall-of-famers in their mid-40s.
The five-time champion took Coleman down early in the second round and quickly gained the mount position.
Coleman, who at 45 is a year younger than Couture, rolled and gave up his back to Couture, who then sunk in the submission attempt and forced the referee to stop the fight at 1:09 of the second round.
In the earlier co-main event, Chael Sonnen beat Nate Marquardt by unanimous decision, earning a shot at the middleweight title. He will face the winner of the Anderson Silva-Vitor Belfort bout in April.
TRACK AND FIELD
LAGAT SETS 5,000M MARK
Bernard Lagat shattered the American record in the indoor 5,000 meters at the Reebok Boston Indoor Games last night in Boston, holding off a charge by Ethiopia's Dejen Gebremeskel with his trademark kick.
Lagat's time of 13 minutes, 11.50 seconds beat the previous mark by almost 7 seconds. Lagat, who won the Wanamaker Mile at the Millrose Games in New York for a record eighth time last week beat Gebremeskel by .28 seconds.
AND WHAT'S MORE ...
Edwin Valero (27-0, 27 knockouts) of Venezuela scored a 10th round TKO over challenger Antonio DeMarco (23-2-1) of Mexico in their WBC lightweight title fight at Monterrey, Mexico.