FORT WORTH, Texas — The timing was excellent for Kevin Harvick’s first NASCAR Cup Series victory at Texas. So was his successful cross.
Harvick went across the exterior of Martin Truex Jr. for the lead on the 324th of 334 laps, then stayed in entrance the remainder of the way in which Sunday to earn his championship shot in NASCAR’s finale.
“It’s been a long time coming,” said Harvick, who won five Xfinity races and a NASCAR Truck race there in the past. “Great to verify that one off.”
Truex had led 107 laps and was nonetheless up entrance till his bobble on the backstretch allowed Harvick to take the lead. But Truex, with a major factors lead and wins in three of the eight playoff races, locked into one of many 4 spots to race for the championship at Homestead in two weeks.
“A little disappointed to come up short, but to clinch a spot in Miami is unbelievable,” Truex said. “Definitely acquired the job completed at this time and got here right here and did what we would have liked to.”
Harvick and Kyle Busch clinched championship photographs by successful throughout the third spherical of the playoffs. That leaves just one spot up for grabs among the many 5 remaining playoff contenders subsequent week at Phoenix.
Heading into Phoenix subsequent week, 5 drivers — Brad Keselowski, Denny Hamlin, Ryan Blaney, Chase Elliott and Jimmie Johnson — are chasing the remaining finalist spot within the NASCAR Cup championship.
After doing a protracted burnout alongside the entrance stretch within the No. four Ford for Stewart-Haas Racing, Harvick went to Victory Lane, the place the Texas celebration was lacking the normal firing of six-shooters by the winner.
TMS officers bypbaded the usage of the pistols after a person opened fireplace inside a church in a small group about 300 miles south of the observe close to San Antonio earlier Sunday. Authorities in South Texas stated the shooter killed greater than 20 folks and wounded a minimum of 10 others earlier than being killed or killing himself.
Denny Hamlin, one other of the playoff contenders, completed third, whereas Brad Keselowski was fifth and Ryan Blaney sixth. Chase Elliott completed eighth, and his teammate Jimmie Johnson handled a unfastened automobile all day and completed 27th.
Keselowski dropped from third to fourth in factors, 57 behind Truex. Hamlin is fifth within the standings, adopted by Ryan Blaney, Elliott and seven-time Cup champion Johnson.
“I would really feel badured if we have been locked in. These races, you do not know what’s gonna occur,” Keselowski stated.
Elliott is aware of that feeling, having been within the lead and two laps shy of the checkered flag per week earlier at Martinsville earlier than getting wrecked by Hamlin. Instead of the attainable win then that might have clinched a championship spot, he now seemingly has to win at Phoenix to advance.
“Yeah, I badume. … I badume so,” Elliott stated. “We’ll simply go on to Phoenix. We are going to attempt our greatest, attempt to get a victory and go on to Homestead.”
Harvick felt good about his automobile all day however needed to earn the victory in Texas. He spent a number of laps chasing down Truex, and when he acquired behind the No. 78 Toyota, he was ultimately in a position to execute on a cue he had taken from watching Kyle Larson driving actually deep into flip one earlier within the race.
“I knew I wanted to do one thing completely different with a purpose to get previous Martin. I attempted to only begin driving it in there, and we saved going quicker and quicker,” Harvick stated. “I saved driving it in there, and one lap I acquired shut sufficient to get the air off the again of his automobile. I truly acquired to the skin and was in a position to cross him on the skin.”
Then to Victory Lane and a championship shot.
JIMMIE’S TOUGH DAY: Johnson acquired to Texas solely three factors out of the highest 4 and having gained there for the seventh time final spring. But he needed to make an early cease due to a vibration difficulty. “It was only a unhealthy day that saved getting worse,” he stated after ending in 27th place, his second-worst end in his 29 Texas races.
RED FLAG: There was a crimson flag with 50 laps left after the No. 42 pushed by Larson, who gained the second stage and led 74 laps Sunday, acquired unfastened in turns one and two and slammed arduous into the wall. There was fireplace popping out of the rear of the automobile by the point it got here to relaxation on the again stretch.
ANOTHER DNF: It was the third straight race Larson wasn’t in a position to end. The first of these DNFs was two weeks in the past at Kansas, when an engine difficulty led to his elimination from championship competition. He had gone into the playoffs second in factors.
FINALE WHERE HE GOT FIRST: Dale Earnhardt Jr. acquired his first Cup Series victory at Texas in 2000, when he was a 25-year-old rookie driver. That continues to be the one of his 26 profession victories that got here in Texas. In his 30th begin at Texas on Sunday, Earnhardt briefly led close to the midpoint of the race throughout a cycle of green-flag stops. But he completed 35th, 30 laps off the tempo, after having to go to the storage with about 90 laps left to exchange the entrance left hub on the No. 88 Chevrolet.
AAA AGAIN: Texas Motor Speedway and AAA introduced Sunday that the nationwide insurance coverage firm and auto membership has signed one other multiyear renewal as title sponsor for the observe’s fall race that’s a part of the NASCAR playoffs. The title sponsorship started in 2010.
UP NEXT: The remaining elimination race at Phoenix, with 5 playoff contenders left and just one championship spot for the Nov. 19 finale at Homestead.