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Harvick heats up for Busch
Harvick, who ran away with the 2006 NASCAR Busch Series title, started the season with his 27th Busch victory. This time, he was driving for Richard Childress, who also fields his Nextel Cup Chevrolets. “Any time you can win any race at Daytona it’s big,” said Harvick, who will start 34th in today’s Daytona 500. DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Kevin Harvick has been to Daytona’s Victory Lane before – just not as a driver. “I went there the last two years as a car owner,” Harvick said Saturday after driving to his first win at Daytona International Speedway. “This is more fun.” Saturday’s race was overrun with Buschwhackers – Nextel Cup regulars moonlighting in the junior series – and Harvick controlled the last half of the 120-lap event. Starting 31st in the 43-car field, Harvick crossed the finish line about three lengths ahead of runner-up Dave Blaney, who gave Toyota a solid finish in its first Busch event. “I said if we ever get all the way to the front, we’re going to be in really good shape,” said Harvick, who led the final 42 laps. “Because the whole last run, once I got to the front, I never had to let off the floor.” It was an auspicious start for Harvick, who won nine races last year to earn his second Busch Series title. He beat runner-up Carl Edwards by 824 points. Even with only a partial Busch schedule planned this season, Harvick’s win was no surprise – he finished in the top eight, including a trio of runner-up finishes, in his nine previous Busch starts on the 2.5-mile Daytona oval.
Michael Waltrip spent the past week hoping someone would take responsibility for the fuel additive that led to NASCAR sanctions and prompted Toyota to reevaluate its relationship with the two-time Daytona 500 winner. He’s still waiting. “We just keep digging, digging, digging,” Waltrip said Saturday. “Toyota’s going to help us. A lot of people are going to help us. We’re going to find out what happened. We have a lot of circumstantial evidence that implicates a couple of folks, but we don’t have any proof. So we’ll just keep digging until we find out what happened. “When I was a kid and I did something wrong I would kind of see the writing on the wall. I’d say, `Uh oh. Things are getting tight around here.’ And you’d fess up. No one’s elected to do that.” Waltrip added that if anyone is implicated in the cheating scandal, that person likely would be fired. “Somebody didn’t get the company philosophy, which is we’re going to beat them by working hard and working smart and not by cheating,” he said. “I felt like I just had three kids and I was real proud of them, and one of my kids let me down, and you know how bad that hurts. In return, I let a lot of people down because ultimately I’m responsible.” Waltrip was docked 100 series points for tampering with fuel. Crew chief David Hyder was fined $100,000. Hyder and team director Bobby Kennedy also were kicked out of Daytona International Speedway. Tony Stewart said the bump-drafting that concerned him before last year’s Daytona 500 won’t be a problem this time around. “I think what NASCAR did last year, creating the softer bumper, has slowed it all down,” Stewart said. “We’re not having the big ramming shots like we were last year because nobody knows how hard you can hit before you actually do damage to your own car. “There’s still the pushing, which is fine. Nobody was ever really worried about that. It was the big hits. Because you’d hit somebody, and if you didn’t hit them exactly straight, it would really get guys out of shape. And if you were in close quarters, that’s what caused big problems.” 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!
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