Texas win books Harvick’s spot in championship four

Monday 5th November, 2018 - 2:00pm

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Kevin Harvick takes the chequered flag at Texas Motor Speedway

Kevin Harvick has punched his ticket to the NASCAR Cup Series championship four after beating Ryan Blaney to victory in overtime at Texas Motor Speedway.

Harvick was commanding all race long, winning the first two 85-lap stages comfortably in his #4 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford and leading a total 177 of 337 laps completed.

As the race headed into its closing stages, it was a showdown between Blaney (#12 Team Penske Ford) and Harvick after they both cleared Joey Logano (#22 Team Penske Ford) on Lap 254.

Blaney, who is already eliminated from the Playoffs, got ahead of Harvick on the outside on a Lap 311 restart but was not able to drive away from the #4, who re-passed the #12 with 17 to go.

An overtime restart following a late incident gave Blaney another opportunity to snatch the lead, but Harvick picked the outside lane and drove hard into Turn 1, easily clearing the Team Penske machine.

Harvick held on for the final two laps and took the chequered flag to guarantee himself a spot in the championship four finale at Homestead-Miami with his eighth win of the season.

Blaney remained second from Logano, who has already advanced to Miami with a win in this round, while non-Playoff drivers Erik Jones (#20 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota) and Kyle Larson (#42 Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet) were fourth and fifth respectively.

Chase Elliott (#9 Hendrick Motorsport Chevrolet) crossed the line in sixth, ahead of Kurt Busch (#41 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford), Aric Almirola (#10 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford), Martin Truex Jnr (#78 Furniture Row Racing Toyota), and Austin Dillon (#3 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet).

It was a troubled run for Playoff heavyweights Truex Jnr and Kyle Busch (#18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota), who both had several issues that curtailed their races.

Truex Jnr’s ninth place salvage came after he started from the rear due to an engine change and was forced to pit under green early in the final stage with complaints of a loose wheel while in seventh.

To compound his issues, he copped a speeding penalty that dropped him off the lead lap at the time.

Kyle Busch finished 17th following a speeding penalty and a vibration that forced an unscheduled stop.

With Harvick’s and Logano’s wins, it leaves only two more spots open in the championship four.

Sitting above the cutline are Kyle Busch (+28) and Truex Jnr (+25), while everyone below lies in a must win situation heading into the final race of the Round of 8.

Kurt Busch (-25) is the first driver in the elimination zone, joined by Elliott (-39), Almirola (-57) and Clint Bowyer (#14 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford, -73) who only managed 26th in the race.

Aside from a handful of spins and minor contact, the most high profile incident of the race was on Lap 98 when Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet teammates Jimmie Johnson (#48) and William Byron (#24) collided at Turn 3.

The NASCAR Cup Series heads to Phoenix International Raceway for the Can-Am 500 this coming weekend (November 9-11 local time).

Race highlights

Results: AAA Texas 500, Texas Motor Speedway

Pos Num Driver Make Laps Led Status
1 4 Kevin Harvick Ford 337 177 Running
2 12 Ryan Blaney Ford 337 40 Running
3 22 Joey Logano Ford 337 54 Running
4 20 Erik Jones Toyota 337 0 Running
5 42 Kyle Larson Chevrolet 337 0 Running
6 9 Chase Elliott Chevrolet 337 0 Running
7 41 Kurt Busch Ford 337 0 Running
8 10 Aric Almirola Ford 337 0 Running
9 78 Martin Truex Jnr Toyota 337 0 Running
10 3 Austin Dillon Chevrolet 337 0 Running
11 17 Ricky Stenhouse Ford 337 0 Running
12 2 Brad Keselowski Ford 337 50 Running
13 21 Paul Menard Ford 337 0 Running
14 88 Alex Bowman Chevrolet 337 3 Running
15 48 Jimmie Johnson Chevrolet 337 11 Running
16 24 William Byron Chevrolet 337 0 Running
17 18 Kyle Busch Toyota 337 0 Running
18 31 Ryan Newman Chevrolet 335 0 Running
19 1 Jamie McMurray Chevrolet 335 0 Running
20 47 AJ Allmendinger Chevrolet 335 0 Running
21 6 Trevor Bayne Ford 335 0 Running
22 13 Ty Dillon Chevrolet 335 0 Running
23 37 Chris Buescher Chevrolet 335 0 Running
24 38 David Ragan Ford 335 0 Running
25 43 Bubba Wallace Chevrolet 335 2 Running
26 14 Clint Bowyer Ford 334 0 Running
27 95 Regan Smith Chevrolet 332 0 Running
28 19 Daniel Suarez Toyota 332 0 Running
29 34 Michael McDowell Ford 331 0 Running
30 11 Denny Hamlin Toyota 331 0 Running
31 96 Parker Kligerman Toyota 329 0 Running
32 15 Ross Chastain Chevrolet 326 0 Running
33 7 Reed Sorenson Chevrolet 326 0 Running
34 99 Kyle Weatherman Chevrolet 323 0 Running
35 00 Landon Cassill Chevrolet 321 0 Running
36 23 JJ Yeley Toyota 321 0 Running
37 51 Joey Gase Ford 317 0 Running
38 32 Matt DiBenedetto Ford 300 0 Crash
39 97 David Starr Toyota 287 0 Running
40 72 Corey LaJoie Chevrolet 269 0 Running

Playoff standings Updated

Pos Driver Pts Cutoff (+/-) Playoff race wins Playoff stage wins
1 Joey Logano 4119 Clinch 1 2
2 Kyle Busch 4128 +28 1 0
3 Martin Truex Jnr 4125 +25 0 3
4 Kevin Harvick 4103 +3 1 6
5 Kurt Busch 4100 -31 0 1
6 Chase Elliott 4086 -17 2 0
7 Aric Almirola 4068 -35 1 0
8 Clint Bowyer 4052 -51 0 0
9 Ryan Blaney 2263 Out 1 1
10 Brad Keselowski 2259 Out 1 1
11 Denny Hamlin 2220 Out 0 1
12 Kyle Larson 2211 Out 0 1
13 Jimmie Johnson 2195 Out 0 0
14 Alex Bowman 2187 Out 0 0
15 Erik Jones 2184 Out 0 0
16 Austin Dillon 2184 Out 0 0

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