Harvick makes Championship 4 with OT win at Texas

Aubrey Yates
November 8, 2018

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.

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. However, a three-car incident involving Bubba Wallace, Chris Buescher, and Matt Dibenedetto caused headache for more than just the latter who suffered major damage late in the race.

The 2014 champion joins Joey Logano of Team Penske - who won last weekend's Round of 8 race at Martinsville Speedway - in securing a berth in the season-ending, championship-deciding race at Homestead-Miami Speedway in two weeks. "That was really the only shot we had to beat him, to be honest with you".

The win put Harvick back in the winner's circle for the first time since August, when he won at Michigan Motor Speedway.

After the first of the late restarts, Harvick was on the inside and was able to keep Blaney from clearing him on the backstretch.

Blaney got a shove from fifth-place finisher Kyle Larson on the final restart, but it wasn't enough. Harvick said that he thought if he could prevent him from concluding the corner, he could drive back by him.

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"We've been working day after day to make speed", Harvick explained after the checkered flag.

"I will just make it really hard on him", he said.

Harvick left no doubt he was the auto to beat Sunday. 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. Kurt Busch found himself in third as a result, giving the Las Vegas-native an opportunity to advance in the running order.

Of those only Logano was a factor as he led 54 laps.

Martin Truex Jr. came to pit road early on Lap 247 to correct a loose left front wheel and in the process drove through too many pit boxes entering his stall. However, any of the eight remaining playoff drivers can qualify for the final four by winning next week at Phoenix, giving Kurt Busch, Elliott, Aric Almirola, and Clint Bowyer a fighting chance of breaking through and eliminating one of the "Big Three" that have dominated the NASCAR season. Truex Jr.is the driver who is now on the bubble right above the Championship 4 cut line, as he trails Busch by three points.

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

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