Tuesday, 20 November, 2018

Harvick Earns Shot at NASCAR Title With Victory in Texas

Getty Images Getty Images
Andrew Wong | 07 November, 2018, 22:26

Harvick shot past polesitter Ryan Blaney on the final restart in overtime Sunday. Clint Bowyer starts second, and Kevin Harvick will start third.

After taking the inside on the first two restarts, and briefly losing the lead after the second one, Harvick opted to start from outside for the green-white-checkered finish. 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.

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.

For the second week in a row, Martin Truex Jr. will have to start a Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race from the back of the field.

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Also collecting stage points were Aric Almirola, Erik Jones, Kurt Busch, Daniel Suarez and Chase Elliott.

Aside from green-flag pit stops, Harvick again dominated the 85-lap stage and cruised to a almost 6-second lead over Ryan Blaney to claim the Stage 2 win.

Kyle Busch ran into similar difficulties, dealing with a speeding penalty early in the race, following with an unscheduled pit stop due to a loose wheel later on. "I'm glad we got the win again here", he said. Harvick is joined by Joey Logano, who won the Martinsville race a week ago. So Harvick picked the top lane for the first time and roared around Blaney in Turn 1. Blaney was the only challenger he really had, and that only came on restarts.

Of those only Logano was a factor as he led 54 laps. "That was really the only shot we had to beat him, to be honest with you".

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Harvick started on the inside on restarts on laps 303 and 311. The last one, he took the top, like I knew he was going to go.

Truex had qualified 13th, but moved to the back of the field for the start of Sunday's race. "I'm glad we got to win again here", he said. He also dealt with a loose tire and had a pass-through penalty during the race for driving through too many pit boxes, and was a lap down before getting that back one the first of the late cautions.

"If he would have went in there on my right rear I would have been OK but we went in side-by-side and if I sailed off as fast as he did I would have sailed off and wrecked us both".

"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.

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