Published: Thu, November 08, 2018
Sport | By Cameron Gross

Harvick makes Championship 4 with OT win at Texas

Harvick makes Championship 4 with OT win at Texas

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.

NASCAR's Cup Series is at Texas Motor Speedway on Sunday for the AAA Texas 500, the second of three races in the playoffs Round of 8. Harvick led 177 of the 337 laps.

"We've been working day after day to make speed", said Harvick, who won for the second time at Texas and the 45 time in his career, 17 most all-time.

"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. "I'm glad we got the win again here", he said.

"The expectations are to win". It's been either, we're in position to win, we've run up front all day, or something really stupid happens, or insane happens, like here in Texas. We race for wins.

Truex now ranks third of six drivers (25 points above the cutline) with two races left before the finale. "Today we earned our way in, and we're going to race again next week and try to win another race and then see what we can do at Homestead". 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. Buescher's JTG-Daugherty organization is using a Hendrick Motorsports engine for the first time next season.

Blaney had taken the lead after the second restart in that final stretch, but Harvick had gone back in front and was still in the lead when Joey Gase's spin brought out the eighth caution.

It took Harvick seven laps of chasing to regain the lead, but in the two-lap overtime, he didn't have the luxury of time to mount a pursuit.

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Then Harvick was off into the Texas sunset. Choosing to take the higher lane, he pulled away from Blaney and was never seriously challenged for first place.

"I thought if I could keep him from finishing the corner I could drive back by him", Harvick said. "It all worked out".

When the green-flag cycle of stops had completed on Lap 160, Harvick returned to the lead, followed by Jimmie Johnson, Blaney, Truex and Keselowski. "We nearly caught him the first restart up top and then I did on the second one". "We went in side-by-side". "All of that was on the line at that point and I think we both understand that there was so much on the line and that is what happens sometimes".

"You kind of knew you were beat getting into 1 when you're there, because you know the guy on the outside is going to pin you".

Logano stayed out while Harvick entered the pits, allowing a bit of breathing room for the Penske driver and throwing a monkey wrench in the top three.

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.

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

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