Thursday, 24 January, 2019

Harvick earns his shot at NASCAR Cup title with win at Texas

Ryan Blaney and Brandon Jones at Texas Motor Speedway- NASCAR Xfinity Harvick earns his shot at NASCAR Cup title with win at Texas
Kristopher Love | 07 November, 2018, 07:56

Drivers race down the front stretch as the green flag drops during the NASCAR MENCS AAA Texas 500 auto race at Texas Motor Speedway, Sunday, Nov. 4, 2018, in Fort Worth, Texas.

Harvick rocketed past polesitter Ryan Blaney in overtime Sunday, after the third restart in the final 35 laps, to win the Texas fall race for the second year in a row and take one of the four championship-contending spots for the season finale in two weeks.

Logano is the only driver locked into the final four spots, clinching that after his bump-and-run on the final lap to beat Truex last week at Martinsville. "I think as you've seen, the change to Ford, which everybody thought we were insane, I think the bottom line is we've got more resources and things we can keep within our own walls". "It all worked out". Kevin Harvick handed over the checkered flag to young fan he called on to the track to pose for a selfies, one with the triumphant driver and vehicle that will have a shot at another NASCAR Cup championship. Of his 32 starts in the Lone Star State, his only two wins are the last two fall races, but those are among his 20 top-10 finishes there.

"Luckily we were able to get up front and get some stage points in the first two stages (Sunday) and then we had trouble, but we had it at least in time to recover", Truex said.

Kevin Harvick won and advanced to the championship round for the fourth time in five years.

Stewart-Haas Racing driver Kevin Harvick becomes the second driver to lock in for the Championship 4 at Homestead, joining Joey Logano.

Kyle Busch, also a seven-time victor this year, and defending Cup champion Martin Truex Jr. are among the other six title contenders. Harvick was already starting to rebuild his lead - it had been almost 4 seconds before the caution - when another yellow flag came out. I think we need a little more speed to run with the Fords - they're clearly really, really fast right now and if we're off just a little bit we can't run with them.

"It was one of those things, again, a human error that we've really got to look at and look at some additional procedures we can have in place prior to Phoenix", O'Donnell said Monday on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.

"That's the rule. I know people don't necessarily like all the rules, but that's the rule", O'Donnell said. "He motored around me".

In a race that produced a last-lap pass for the win, a record 13 cautions and an unmitigated disaster for favorite son Christopher Bell, Cole Custer moved past Tyler Reddick on the backstretch to win.

By this time, Martin Truex Jr. had moved into fifth after starting at the rear due to a pre-race engine change.

Truex has a 25-point cushion on the current playoff cutoff going into the second race of the three-race third (semifinal) round of the Cup playoffs, ESPN notes. Elliott was sixth, followed by Kurt Busch and Almirola, who had also gone to the rear at the start of the race for unapproved body modifications.

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.

"That's how you control your destiny the most is to get in Victory Lane", Harvick said. Harvick and Blaney would then pit on the next lap, Logano also coming in on trip number 284 "round TMS". Harvick won there for the ninth time earlier this season.