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MOTOR RACING

Kevin Harvick seeks fast start at Daytona

He earns the pole for Nationwide race.

February 14, 2009|Andrea Adelson and Tania Ganguli

DAYTONA BEACH, FLA. — Kevin Harvick will start from the pole in today's Nationwide Series race after topping the field in qualifying with a speed of 188 mph Friday.

This is his first pole in a Nationwide race at Daytona.

"We want to get off on the right foot," Harvick said. "It's good to come out of the box and run well. Hopefully that momentum keeps going from week to week."

It wasn't all good news for Harvick. He has to use his backup Chevrolet in the Daytona 500 on Sunday and will start 32nd.

"It's obviously a curveball this late in the week you don't like to deal with, but they'll do the right things with the car," Harvick said.

"Luckily, we have a car that we know is decent."

Matt Kenseth will start alongside Harvick in the Nationwide race. Kyle Busch qualified 13th and is driving in all three races here.

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Busch steps in

Busch ran 10 laps in Joey Logano's No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing car in an effort to help the No. 20 team get some information it wasn't getting from its 18-year-old rookie driver.

Logano, who had never driven a Cup car at Daytona International Speedway before Speedweeks, has a hard time telling crew chief Greg Zipadelli what's wrong with his car and how to fix it.

That's something Zipadelli didn't have to deal with the last 10 years when he had Tony Stewart behind the wheel.

"That was an opportunity for us to kind of accelerate his learning curve," Zipadelli said of Logano. "He was listening. We sat and we all talked for 20 minutes or so afterward. I think it just helped him, plus it helped build a little team amongst our drivers.

"I think it's a little unfair as far as the pressure or expectation [on Logano]."

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Helping hand

It was clear the other Richard Petty Motorsports cars helped out AJ Allmendinger during the second Duel 150-mile race Thursday, making sure their teammate made the race.

His teammates offered a little inside information Friday, saying they had a meeting to discuss the plan before the race. Elliott Sadler and Reed Sorenson were in the same race as Allmendinger, charged with helping out.

"It wasn't so much for me or Elliott," Sorenson said. "It was to make sure that we got the 44 in the race. The meeting before the Duel . . . all the spotters were up there together . . . and all the people on the pit box to let us know where AJ was and where the guys he was racing were and what that situation was."

Said Sadler: "When you race like that, it's actually harder because you're paying attention to not only what you're doing but you also have to pay attention to what your teammate needs and what he's doing. We're just lucky that we had two cars in the race with him."

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Bodine repeats

Todd Bodine won the NextEra Energy Resources 250 NASCAR truck race, overcoming an early black flag to win at Daytona for the second year in a row.

Busch finished second.

A major wreck involving nine trucks took out defending series champion Johnny Benson and rookie Ricky Carmichael, a motocross star making his NASCAR debut.

On Lap 48, Bodine's truck appeared to clip the left rear of rookie James Buescher, who was contending for the lead.

Buescher ran into Ron Hornaday Jr.'s truck and spun out of control, causing a chain reaction that took out Benson, Carmichael and Johnny Sauter, among others.

"Stuff like that will happen," Benson said. "The cars that get involved after the initial deal are the innocent guys. Sometimes something happens and there's nothing you can do about it."

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andrea.adelson@orlando- sentinel.com

tania.ganguli@orlando- sentinel.com

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Daytona 500

From Daytona International Speedway, Sunday, 11 a.m., Channel 11.

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