Published: Wed, November 07, 2018
Sport | By Wilson Duncan

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

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

The victory was Harvick's first since MI in August, and it broke a streak of bad luck during which the driver of the No. 4 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford led laps but failed to find Victory Lane, thanks to mechanical issues or pit road mistakes. Harvick was already starting to rebuild his lead - it had been almost 4 seconds before the caution - when another yellow flag came out.

He wasn't about to give that up on a green-white-checkered finish with a chance to clinch a spot in the championship on the line.

Logano's differing pit strategy kept his rivals guessing late into the race. The top three is unchanged.

Keselowski's Team Penske crew played their cards right and moved to the front under caution. Harvick led 177 of the 337 laps. The 2014 Cup champion has 20 top-10 finishes at the 1 1/2-mile track. Harvick and Blaney would then pit on the next lap, Logano also coming in on trip number 284 "round TMS".

A caution with 38 laps to go created an interesting kink in the pit strategy of many who debated whether or not to pit for tires and fuel, that being the looming question mark throughout Sunday's race.

Then Harvick was off into the Texas sunset.

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

Just short of 100 laps into the race, Johnson got loose and wiggled in front of Byron that led to contact and a spin for the No. 24. This became the decider of the playoff Round of 8 race.

As was the case last weekend when the No. 78 failed pre-race inspection, the decision means that Truex will place himself at risk of falling below the provisional cutline to advance into the Cup Series championship race in two weeks at Homestead-Miami Speedway. "To start exactly where we were I think is a decent day".

"I don't know what genius made a decision to pave this place or take the banking out of [Turns] 1 and 2", Chase Elliot told reporters. We could have won every race here. "So, thank you guys!"

"The expectations are to win", Harvick told reporters. If that is the way he wants to race me when he is already locked into Homestead and we are out here fighting for our lives, that is fine. We don't count our fingers and or toes trying to figure out how to make it in.

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