Kevin Harvick swept past race leader Martin Truex, Jr. 10 laps from the finish and kept his #4 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford in front the rest of the way to claim victory on Sunday at Texas Motor Speedway, snapping Truex’s three-race winning streak on mile-and-a-half ovals.
Truex was poised to continue his post-season dominance of intermediate tracks, leading for a stretch of 37 laps as the race neared an end before Harvick’s late pass relegated him to second place, one-and-a-half seconds behind at the checkered flag. Denny Hamlin rode home in 3rd place with Matt Kenseth and Brad Keselowski completing the Top 5.
The win moved Harvick into The Championship Four in two weeks at Homestead-Miami Speedway, where he will be joined by Kyle Busch (last weekend’s winner at Martinsville Speedway) and Truex, who’s accumulated enough points to advance despite going 0-for-2 in the semifinal round. That leaves one spot available in the championship race on November 19 in South Florida. Coming out of Texas, Keselowski leads Hamlin by 19 points in the battle for that final transfer spot.
Stage wins on Sunday went to Harvick and Kyle Larson. Truex led a race-high 107 laps. Pole winner Kurt Busch failed to lead a lap but had top 10 finishes in each of the first two stages and placed 9th overall.
7-time champion Jimmie Johnson labored to a 27th-place finish in his bid for a season sweep at TMS and is now at the bottom of the post-season standings, 51 points below the cutoff to advance.
– story by John Singler
Concord, North Carolina
1. Martin Truex, Jr.
2. Kyle Busch (-50)
3. Kevin Harvick (-56)
4. Brad Keselowski (-57)
5. Denny Hamlin (-76)
6. Ryan Blaney (-79)
7. Chase Elliott (-106)
8. Jimmie Johnson (-108)
For the complete driver standings in the Playoffs, please visit the official page on nascar.com.
Drivers eliminated after Round 2: Kyle Larson, Matt Kenseth, Jamie McMurray, and Ricky Stenhouse, Jr.
Drivers eliminated after Round 1: Ryan Newman, Austin Dillon, Kasey Kahne and Kurt Busch