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Matt Kenseth wins first Budweiser Duel race, second-place finisher Kevin Harvick’s car fails inspection

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Matt Kenseth held off Kevin Harvick and Kasey Kahne for the win in a three-wide finish in the first Budweiser Duel qualifying race at Daytona International Speedway Thursday evening.

Harvick pulled to the inside of Kenseth off of turn four and had a run. However, Kenseth had momentum on the top side of the tri-oval as Kahne moved to the inside of Harvick and tried to sneak by and the No. 20 car held on for a win by a half-car length.

"There's a few of those guys that you want to see behind you because you trust them to do the right things, but you also don't because they're so smart," Kenseth said of Harvick. "And I saw him laying back getting a run and he made the perfect move. I was just fortunate to get to his right rear early enough to get a big enough run to get back to the finish line."

The victory means Kenseth starts third in Sunday's Daytona 500. Just as the second Duel started, NASCAR announced that Harvick's car had failed post-race inspection for exceeding the maximum split on the track bar. It means he'll be forced to get into the Daytona 500 via owner's points or speed.

Instead of starting fifth, Kahne will now start third. Everyone else will move up a spot on the inside line accordingly.

Tony Stewart drove from the back of the field through the race's final laps and finished 11th. Because the top 15 drivers from each Budweiser Duel race are guaranteed a starting position into the 500, Stewart won't need the Past Champion's Provisional starting position. Instead, it's now guaranteed for his new teammate, Kurt Busch, if Busch fails to finish in the top 14 of the second Budweiser Duel.

Josh Wise finished sixth, while Cole Whitt was 12th and Alex Bowman was 15th. All three of those drivers were in dangerous territory if they missed out on the top-15 because of slow qualifying speeds and a low standing in the 2013 owner's points. They're in the 500.

Ricky Stenhouse finished outside the top 15, but he's guaranteed in the race because he's one of the four fastest qualifiers remaining. Kyle Busch missed the top 15 as well, but he's guaranteed a provisional starting position.

Here's the full finishing order of the first Duel:

1. Matt Kenseth
2. Kevin Harvick (failed post-race inspection)
3. Kasey Kahne
4. Marcos Ambrose
5. Dale Earnhardt Jr.
6. Josh Wise
7. Aric Almirola
8. A.J. Allmendinger
9. David Gilliland
10. Ryan Newman
11. Tony Stewart
12. Cole Whitt
13. Greg Biffle
14. Danica Patrick
15. Alex Bowman
16. Brian Vickers (Likely in Daytona 500)
17. Joey Logano (Likely in Daytona 500)
18. Parker Kligerman (On the bubble)
19. Austin Dillon (Starting first in Daytona 500)
20. Kyle Busch (Guaranteed provisional)
21. Michael McDowell (On the bubble)
22. Joe Nemechek (On the bubble)
23. Reed Sorenson (On the bubble)

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Nick Bromberg is the editor of From The Marbles on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at nickbromberg@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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