Harvick takes Texas to clinch championship spot

Silvia Morton
November 8, 2018

Kevin Harvick celebrates after winning the AAA Texas 500 and clinching a position in the NASCAR Championship 4. Harvick continued to lead the way on the restart on Lap 101.

Blaney had taken the lead after the second restart in that final stretch, but Harvick had gone back in front and was still in the lead when Joey Gase's spin brought out the eighth caution.

Kevin Harvick stayed ahead of Blaney and Logano when things went green for a clean sweep of the afternoon, gaining a heap of points while also securing his spot in the championship round at Miami-Homestead on November 18.

Kyle Busch, also a seven-time victor this year, and defending Cup champion Martin Truex Jr. are among the other six title contenders. He was followed by Kurt Busch and Jones.

Harvick led 177 of the 337 laps during the event, and appeared on his way to an easy win after passing leader Ryan Blaney with 17 laps remaining. He won both stages Sunday, marking the fourth time this year he did that and went on to win the race.

The second stage ended on lap 170 of the scheduled 334-lap race. Choosing to take the higher lane, he pulled away from Blaney and was never seriously challenged for first place. Jimmie Johnson has seven wins at Texas, the most all time.

The conditions in Texas led to a race that was more about strategy and position than pure speed or driver ability, a fact that frustrated some of the drivers.

Truex had to start at the rear of the field because of an engine change.

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Nevertheless, with the Round of 8 elimination race at Phoenix looming, Busch holds a 28-point edge over his brother Kurt Busch, who is fifth in the Playoff standings after running seventh on Sunday.

Neither Truex nor Kyle Busch had a great race on Sunday, though they salvaged reasonable results to stay well above the playoff cut line.

After the first of the late restarts, Harvick was on the inside and was able to keep Blaney from clearing him on the backstretch. The 2014 Cup champion has 20 top-10 finishes at the 1 1/2-mile track. "Stewart-Haas" Aric Almirola also approached the top three before pitting on Lap 282. He had qualified 23rd for his 600th start with Chad Knaus as his crew chief.

Defending NASCAR Cup champion Martin Truex Jr.is starting from the back of the field in Texas. Harvick is joined by Joey Logano, who won the Martinsville race a week ago.

Truex has 19 top-10 finishes this season - all of those are top-fives.

While trying to get one of those spots, Truex is going into the final three races with the Furniture Row team since the primary sponsor is leaving the one-car operation based in suburban Denver. Today he has earned his way in and he is going to attempt to be triumphant in another race and see what can be done on the home ground.

Kevin Harvick's pit crew services his vehicle during a NASCAR Cup auto race at Texas Motor Speedway, Sunday, Nov. 4, 2018, in Fort Worth, Texas.

To get the victory, Harvick had to overcome a series of late-race restarts, the final one of which came in OT.

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