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Originally published Saturday, February 16, 2013 at 7:39 PM

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Danica Patrick turns fastest practice lap at Daytona | Auto racing

Danica Patrick turned the fastest lap in either of Saturday's NASCAR practice sessions focused on qualifying for the Feb. 24 Daytona 500.

The Associated Press

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If Danica Patrick were to qualify on the pole at Daytona or #2 she would shock the... MORE

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DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — If two practices are any indication, Danica Patrick is a candidate to win the pole for next Sunday's Daytona 500.

Patrick turned the fastest lap in either of Saturday's NASCAR practice sessions focused solely on qualifying for the Daytona 500.

She went 196.220 mph around Daytona International Speedway in the second practice session and said she is eyeing the top starting spot in "The Great American Race."

"Everything that we do is to make sure that we do whatever we can to be on the pole," Patrick said. "That is what we all are shooting for."

Patrick was the lone driver to surpass 196 mph in either practice session.

The front row for the season-opening Daytona 500 will be set in Sunday's time trials. The rest of the field is set Thursday after two qualifying races.

Patrick said it would be an accomplishment for her Stewart-Haas Racing team to lock into the field this weekend.

"I think it would be really nice for all of us to know we were in the race," she said. "It's nice to know as a team, but it's also nice to know for your (sponsors) like GoDaddy and all the other people that are involved in the car.

"That is who really pays for you to be out there on the track."

Harvick beats Biffle

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — Kevin Harvick won the exhibition Sprint Unlimited race by dominating the final two segments of the Speedweeks opener.

It was Harvick's third victory in the last five years in the non-points race at Daytona.

"I'm glad we got Speedweeks started off the right way," he said after leading 40 of the 75 laps.

Greg Biffle of Vancouver, Wash., finished second and Joey Logano was third.

Kasey Kahne of Enumclaw was seventh of 19 in the debut race for NASCAR's Gen-6 car.

Harvick, in his final year driving for Richard Childress Racing, broke his engine trying to do a celebratory burnout and his Chevrolet had to be pushed to victory lane.

Harvick has signed to drive for Stewart-Haas Racing in 2014.

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