Published: Wed, November 07, 2018
Sports | By Johanna Francis

Harvick takes Texas to clinch championship spot

Harvick takes Texas to clinch championship spot

By time they got to the backstretch, Harvick had pushed his No. 4 Stewart-Haas Ford in front of Blaney and raced to his eighth win of this season and 45th overall.

The race victor and second driver to automatically advance to Homestead was Kevin Harvick.

Streaking away from pole victor Ryan Blaney during an overtime restart on Lap 336, Harvick won Sunday's AAA Texas 500 at Texas Motor Speedway with the utmost of authority, sweeping the stages and leading a race-high 177 laps on the way to his series-best eighth victory of the season and a guaranteed spot in the November 18 Championship 4 race at Homestead-Miami Speedway. "Today we earned our way in, and we're going to race again next week and try to win another race and then see what we can do at Homestead".

The victory was Harvick's first since MI in August, and it broke a streak of bad luck during which the driver of the No. 4 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford led laps but failed to find Victory Lane, thanks to mechanical issues or pit road mistakes. "I thought if I could keep him from finishing the corner, I could drive back by him". He cleared Blaney on the first restart but lost the lead on the second one and had to track Blaney down to take the lead back. Choosing to take the higher lane, he pulled away from Blaney and was never seriously challenged for first place.

Martin Truex Jr. has promised that Joey Logano won't win the NASCAR Cup title. I figured when he took the top, it was going to take a really good push and position into 1 to have a prayer at it. He won both stages Sunday, marking the fourth time this year he did that and went on to win the race. He sits 25 points ahead of Kurt Busch, the first driver below the cut-off. That put him in position to line up where he wanted on the final restart after a Joey Gase accident brought out the eighth caution of the race.

Logano finished third a week after securing his playoff spot.

Harvick knew that Blaney would have to be flawless on the restart to beat him and once Blaney's left tires clipped the apron Harvick was off to his second career win at TMS.

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Clint Bowyer, who started on the front row but had contact with Denny Hamlin on the first lap, was the only of the remaining title contenders outside of the top 10.

Truex drops from his 13th starting start because his team made an engine change Saturday. It's been either, we're in position to win, we've run up front all day, or something really stupid happens, or insane happens, like here in Texas.

"We got a little bit of luck on our side after that to be able to get back on the lead lap". "We nearly caught him the first restart up top and then I did on the second one". "If we don't make that call, I think (media) would be asking why we didn't".

"If that's the way he wants to race me when he's already locked into to Homestead and we're out here fighting for our lives, that's fine", Almirola said.

"Just traffic was so bad and so hard to pass".

Truex the driver who Almirola trails by 57 points, and Almirola has no way of passing his point total in the Can-Am 500 without winning the race. It gets you loose and it's a handful. Tune in to NBC on Sunday, November 11 at 2:30 p.m. ET for the live broadcast of the race from ISM Raceway to find out. Harvick won there for the ninth time earlier this season.

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