Harvick Wins, McMurray Shines, Stewart Has The Fire, Danica Can Drive!

Misan AkuyaCorrespondent IFebruary 7, 2010

DAYTONA BEACH, FL - FEBRUARY 06:  Kevin Harvick, driver of the #29 Shell/Pennzoil Chevrolet, celebrates winning the Budweiser Shootout with a burnout at Daytona International Speedway on February 6, 2010 in Daytona Beach, Florida.  (Photo by Todd Warshaw/Getty Images)
Todd Warshaw/Getty Images

The 2010 NASCAR season kicked off Saturday night with the Budweiser Shootout.

Carl Edwards led 42 out of the 75 laps but the "sick little man" Kevin Harvick would not be denied winning his 2nd straight Budweiser Shootout becoming the first driver since Tony Stewart to win two straight Budweiser Shootout (Stewart accomplished this feat from 2001 to 2002)

Harvick's first laps in this car were literally the pace laps and on top of that it was a backup car. Clint Bowyer had gotten into a wreck with the primary car.

But their luck seemed to change when crew chief Gil Martin drew the 2nd place starting spot.

After that Harvick was off practically never falling out of the top five all night and winning in similar style like he did in 2009: holding off Jamie McMurray and watching them pile up behind him.

In 2010 Harvick must decide weither he will stay with Richard Childress racing or jump ship to another team. Though he won this race last year and had one of the roughest years in his cup career, it never hurts to win.

Harvick's last points win was the 2007 Daytona 500, he can easily win it again.

Speaking of McMurray what a night he had in his 1st race back with Earnhardt Ganassi.

He was one of the best cars all night. led laps, and despite his issues raced his way back to front.

He was always annoying the leaders and even with a very loose racecar held on to be a serious contender.

McMurray was involved in a wreck in Budweiser shootout practice but after unloading the backup car (which is their backup Daytona 500 car), McMurray found that this car handled better and even had more speed.

He certainly showed it Saturday.

The last time he was a serious chase contender was with Ganassi in 2005 and this could be the signs of good things.

Over the radio crew chief Kevin Bono Manion seemed enthusiastic saying that they are going to win some races next week.

I have no reason to believe they can't win their Gatorade duel and why they can't win the Daytona 500. 

McMurray has a win at Daytona already and he seems as confident as ever.

How about the Smoke?

Stewart was mixing it up all night long. He made moves that would have made the late Dale Earnhardt proud, and even made Darrell Waltrip compare him to Earnhardt several times during the race.

Stewart led only 2 laps, but his car was just as good as anyone. He took four tires late which hurt his track position, he came out 13th and because of the big wreck couldn't gain as much positions and still finished 9th, not indicative of how he ran.

This is Stewart's 12th season in the Sprint Cup series, it is also his 12th year of trying to win the Daytona 500. He has came close on several occasions.

This is also Stewart 2nd season with his team Stewart Haas racing and they are looking forward to not having a sophomore slump and win a championship.

A great way to start that goal would be to accomplish something that has eluded Stewart for so long. I believe he can do what he has done so many times in the 500:dominate the race.

But this time he can close the deal and win it.

What about miss Danica Patrick? She can drive a stockcar.

She was solid Saturday night. Got wrecked by Nelson Piquet Jr, but never really spun showing trendmenous car control, restarted 24th and with 5 laps to go was 5th.

She did what any driver would do: went for the win.

But surpassingly no one decided to go with her. She only dropped back to sixth having a door slamming battle with Ricky Carmichael for that spot.

She proved that she can drive a stockcar and might have just made a believer out of everyone.

I think she is ready to race the Nationwide series race at Daytona. And frankly I would be disappointed to hear that would turn that down. Because I do believe she could grab a top ten.

This speedweeks is looking to be the best that we have ever seen. Looking forward to Thursday.