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Duel in the sun: Harvick, Kyle Busch grab Daytona victories

Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M's Toyota, crosses the finish line to take the checkered flag to win the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Budweiser Duel 2 at Daytona International Speedway on February 21, 2013 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo by Tom Pennington/NASCAR via Getty Images) (Tom Pennington / Nascar)

Kevin Harvick and Kyle Busch locked themselves into the second row of the 2013 Daytona 500 starting grid by virtue of their wins in Thursday's Budweiser Duels.

Courtesy: NASCAR Media Relations/Daytona Beach News-Journal
By Ken Willis

DAYTONA BEACH — Kevin Harvick and Kyle Busch had their day in the sun Thursday. They might be the last drivers to ever say that, considering the mid-day announcement that next year's qualifying races will move to nighttime.

All eyes were on Danica Patrick to start the afternoon. The Daytona 500 pole winner, who started up front for Thursday's first Duel, finished 17th.

“We were really conservative with the setup and we wanted to make sure the back was locked down,” Danica said. “But it was just way too tight.”

The rest of us are also learning an obvious lesson: Kevin Harvick has figured out the fastest way around Daytona International Speedway in the new Gen 6 car. He won Saturday night's Sprint Unlimited race, then won again in Thursday's first qualifier.

Harvick was hanging around mid-pack until charging through the field, taking the lead and holding it for 23 of the final 24 laps.

“We didn't come here to run 10th or 12th or wherever we were running,” he said.

Given their history of animosity, it's hard to imagine Harvick will look to his right Sunday and get a warm glow about his running mate on the second row to start the 500. But that's where he'll find Kyle Busch, who followed Harvick's win with one of his own.