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Harvick Earns Shot at NASCAR Title With Victory in Texas

09 November 2018, 12:03 | Pamela Mathis

Getty Images

Getty Images

Kevin Harvick had the fastest vehicle all afternoon but had to sweat out overtime to earn the victory at Texas Motor Speedway on Sunday.

The driver of the No. 4 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford, Harvick led a race-best 177 laps in the 337-lap race.

With the win, Harvick joined Joey Logano in having clinched spots into the Championship 4.

Penske's Ryan Blaney finished second while Logano was third Sunday.

It did happen for Harvick, who won't change plans for next weekend's race in Phoenix despite already being locked into the championship after his 45th career win.

It is the second year in a row that Harvick, the 2014 Cup champion, won the fall race at Texas to get into the final four. Harvick won there for the ninth time earlier this season.

Kyle Busch was 17th and Bowyer 26th after starting on the front row but making contact with Denny Hamlin on the first lap.

"They were hard. They were challenging", Blaney said about the restarts. Chase Elliott and Aric Almirola, who had gone to the back of the field for the start because of unapproved body modifications, rounded out the top 10.

After restarting on the inside on two late-race restarts, Harvick went up top for the overtime restart and secured his eighth win of the season.

The victory was Harvick's second at TMS with the first coming a year ago.

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Kurt Busch (41) and Kevin Harvick (4) lead the pack down the front stretch on a restart during a NASCAR Cup auto race at Texas Motor Speedway, Sunday, Nov. 4, 2018, in Fort Worth, Texas.

When the green-flag cycle of stops had completed on Lap 160, Harvick returned to the lead, followed by Jimmie Johnson, Blaney, Truex and Keselowski. "When Homestead comes around if I am not in, he will know it". "We nearly caught him the first restart up top and then I did on the second one".

Defending Cup champion Martin Truex Jr., who had to start at the back of the field after an engine change, was fifth in the first stage, just ahead of Logano and Kyle Busch. We got by him one restart and I just couldn't hold him off. "To start exactly where we were I think is a decent day".

He passed inspection on the third try, and should have been able to start in his original qualifying spot. "The only difference is there's one less spot available".

There were several other cars also pushed to the rear for other issues, including the No. 48 of Jimmie Johnson after failing prerace inspection twice.

UP NEXT: The last race in the third round of the playoffs, Sunday at Phoenix.

Logano said they were still racing at the end in a tight turn. He had qualified 23rd for his 600th start with Chad Knaus as his crew chief.

Harvick was one of the few playoff contenders who was able to put his day together.

Johnson's teammate with Hendrick Motorsports, William Byron in the No. 24, was sent to the back of the field after three failed inspections. "He is still going to go to Homestead and race for a championship, it is just not smart".



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