- Associated Press - Sunday, February 20, 2011

DAYTONA BEACH, FLA. (AP) - An engine failure knocked contender Kevin Harvick out of the Daytona 500 after just 22 laps.

Harvick’s team suspected a broken engine block. Harvick said it probably didn’t have anything to do with concerns about overheating when acting as the pushing car in the two-car style of drafting that has dominated Daytona Speedweeks.

“I don’t think so,” Harvick said. “Overheating would be getting it to the point where it blows off, you see the water start to come out (of the radiator).”

Harvick, the 2007 Daytona 500 champion, was one of the favorites in Sunday’s season opener after showing plenty of speed during Speedweeks. He was lined up behind Matt Kenseth when his engine blew, sending smoke from underneath his No. 29 Chevrolet.

“We never blow motors,” Harvick said.

Harvick said his oil temperature was reading a little bit high, and he was backing out from behind Kenseth’s car to get his car cooled down when the engine blew.

“We had a touch more oil temp, but nothing out of the ordinary, and I had just pulled out,” Harvick said. “That early in the race, even if you do get it hot, it’s usually not catastrophic failure like we just had.”

Harvick, who finished third in last year’s Sprint Cup standings, said it’s a tough way to start the new season.

“Obviously, you come to the biggest race of the year, and have that happen right off the bat is just something that you don’t really want to happen,” Harvick said. “It’s just one of those things that happens. We go years and years without engine failures, and they do a great job on that. It happens.”

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