Kevin Harvick Wins Texas – Secures Place in Final Four at Homestead
by Kent Whitaker Scores & Statson
Kevin Harvick has been one of the top-drivers in 2018 as he’s won eight races this season. Now, following his win at Texas on Sunday, he’s secured his place as one of the four drivers that will compete at Homestead / Miami for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Championship.
Harvick had the best car of the day as his No. 4 Ford for Stewart – Hass Racing (SHR) led 177 laps of the AAA Texas 500. His closest competition came from Ryan Blaney, who finished second, led 40 laps and battled Harvick for the win at the end. Blaney, driver of the Team Penske No. 12 Ford was followed by teammate Joey Logano in his No. 22 car as Ford swept the top-three positions.
The win for Harvick comes after several runs over the last few weeks that failed to live up to the results that the team had been garnishing over the course of the season. However, the SHR driver has been able to collect stage points which kept him towards the top of the Cup Series Playoff leaderboard. But, Harvick admitted it was good to get the win instead of having to rely on points.
“It was a big day for all of us,” Harvick said following an impressive win at Texas. “For me on the restarts and to win the race on the restart late at the end. The guys on pit road had a solid day and gained spots on pit road and (crew chief Rodney Childers) made great calls. All around, just a great day of execution.”
It was the second fall race win at Texas for Harvick and he’s now locked in as one of the final four drivers eligible to race for the Cup Series Championship at Homestead / Miami in two weeks.
Ford Battles for the Checkered
The final seventeen laps were dramatic for Ford fans as Harvick and Blaney swapped the front spot. Then, it was Blaney who would take the front following a late restart, but that didn’t last for long. Harvick passed Blaney quickly with two laps left.
Harvick dove his car to the side of Blaney forcing the younger driver to hold his line while possibly getting out of the gas. It was just enough for Harvick who completed the pass shooting to the front during the final lap around the track to collect the checkered during the overtime finish.
Harvick was the leader of a pack of Ford drivers who had great finishes at Texas. In the end, it was Blue Oval drivers battling for the win all race long. Harvick, Blaney, Logano and Brad Keselowski, dominated the race with their Ford Fusions and almost locked other manufactures out.
Logano led 54 laps and Keselowski led 50 laps during the race but faded to finish 12th. In all, Ford placed five cars in the top ten and eight out of the top-fifteen. With Harvick, Blaney Keselowski and Logano leading the majority of the laps on Sunday, there were only three other drivers shown as leading the race between the other two manufacturers.
Jimmie Johnson led eleven laps, Alex Bowman led three and Bubba Wallace was out front for two laps. All three are Chevrolet drivers as no Toyota driver led a lap during the race.
NASCAR’s Huge Mistake
According to NASCAR rules, any car that fails pre-race inspection three times automatically goes to the back of the field and “forfeits” their starting position. That happened to Jimmie Johnson this weekend at Texas… only it didn’t. In what NASCAR is calling a “communications” error, the driver was sent to the back after failing inspection only twice.
Despite pleas from the driver and crew chief, the No. 48 Chevrolet as sent to the back of the field. NASCAR admitted its mistake, but it was too late after the race had started. Johnson, to his credit, finished the race in twelfth with a few laps credited as the race leader. NASCAR said Monday that actions would be taken to address the problem.
Cup Series Point Standings Following Texas
1. Joey Logano:
In with Martinsville win
2. Kevin Harvick:
In with Texas win
3. Kyle Busch:
4. Martin Truex Jr.
Below Cut Line
5. Kurt Busch:
6. Chase Elliott:
7. Aric Almirola:
8. Clint Bowyer:
Next Sunday’s race at Phoenix will be the last race weekend in the NASCAR playoffs. Four drivers will be cut from the remaining eight eligibles for the Championship. The remaining four drivers will race for the title in two weeks at Homestead.
Texas AAA 500 Finishing Order
1. Kevin Harvick 2. Ryan Blaney 3. Joey Logano 4. Erik Jones 5. Kyle Larson 6. Chase Elliott 7. Kurt Busch 8. Aric Almirola 9. Martin Truex Jr. 10. Austin Dillon 11. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. 12. Brad Keselowski 13. Paul Menard 14. Alex Bowman 15. Jimmie Johnson 16. William Byron 17. Kyle Busch 18. Ryan Newman 19. Jamie McMurray 20. AJ Allmendinger 21. Trevor Bayne 22. Ty Dillon 23. Chris Buescher 24. David Ragan 25. Bubba Wallace 26. Clint Bowyer 27. Regan Smith 28. Daniel Suarez 29. Michael McDowell 30. Denny Hamlin 31. Parker Kligerman 32. Ross Chastain 33. Reed Sorenson 34. Kyle Weatherman 35. Landon Cassill 36. JJ Yeley 37. Joey Gase 38. Matt DiBenedetto 39. David Starr 40. Corey LaJoie