Kevin Harvick dominates at Texas, advances to Championship Four

Kevin Harvick dominates at Texas, advances to Championship Four

The playoff chase has gone from the half-mile paperclip-shaped track at Martinsville to the high-speed 1 1/2-mile Texas layout where polesitter Ryan Blaney qualified at more than 200 miles per hour, along with Bowyer. #12 Ryan Blaney captured the pole, and started out with the lead early in the race before #4 Kevin Harvick took command and didn't look back as he led 177 laps of the races 337 laps. Today he has earned his way in and he is going to attempt to be triumphant in another race and see what can be done on the home ground. By time they got to the backstretch, Harvick had pushed his No. 4 Ford in front and raced to his eighth win of this season. "I've said my peace, told him what I thought and I'm here at Texas trying to win". The last one, he took the top, like I knew he was going to go.

Truex came into the race 25 points above the cutline to advance to the Championship 4 Round in two weeks at Homestead-Miami Speedway, and he goes into next week's final race in the Round of 8 at Phoenix with the same 25-point cushion with two of the four transfer spots remaining. 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. "To start exactly where we were I think is a decent day".

Truex, who was close to clinching a title spot before that bump-and-run by Logano on the final lap to win at Martinsville last week, finished ninth after at Texas.

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

He and Joey Logano now make up half of the four-driver contingent that will decide the 2018 series championship.

Truex was forced to start at the back of the field because of a late engine change.

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Johnson, who had qualified 23rd, was put at the back of the field after twice failing prerace inspection.

Following the four-tire stop, Truex reported a vibration and 19 laps later his right-rear wheel got so loose that he was called back into the pits by crew chief Cole Pearn while the race was running under green-flag conditions.

NASCAR later said it erred in penalizing Johnson at the start of the race because his vehicle passed inspection the third time. We finally knocked that barrier down (with a win in last year's Playoff race at TMS). "The only difference is there's one less spot available". Now Almirola is upset with Logano after one of the late restarts in Texas.

Logano said they were still racing at the end in a tight turn.

Yet in nearly five seasons at SHR, Harvick has won 22 races - almost as many has he won in the first 13 years of his career (23), including his first series championship (2014).

Streaking away from pole victor Ryan Blaney during an overtime restart on Lap 336, Harvick won Sunday's AAA Texas 500 at Texas Motor Speedway with the utmost of authority, sweeping the stages and leading a race-high 177 laps on the way to his series-best eighth victory of the season and a guaranteed spot in the November 18 Championship 4 race at Homestead-Miami Speedway.