Kevin Harvick won Sunday’s AAA Texas 500 at Texas Motor Speedway to advance to the Championship 4 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
Harvick, who led a race-high 177 laps and won both stages, had a great restart in a overtime finish to propel him to his eighth victory of the season.
He got by Ryan Blaney on the final restart Sunday to take his 45th career series win.
"It’s really just week to week, we don’t try to do anything different," Harvick said of his team’s approach. "It was a big day for all of us. All around a great day of execution."
See Also: Harvick Made a Young Fan’s Day
Blaney, Joey Logano, Erik Jones and Kyle Larson rounded out the top five.
"The 4 (Harvick) was head and shoulders above everyone else," Blaney said.
Chase Elliott, Kurt Busch, Aric Almirola, Martin Truex Jr. and Austin Dillon completed the first 10 finishers.
Logano and Harvick are locked into the Championship 4 with Kyle Busch and Truex Jr. above the cutline. Kurt Busch, Chase Elliott, Aric Almirola and Clint Bowyer are on the outside.
The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series now heads to ISM Raceway in Phoenix next Sunday afternoon for the final race of the Round of 8 to determine who moves on to run for the championship at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
How Harvick Won: Despite leading a race-high 177 laps, Harvick had to win in overtime. A late-race incident between AJ Allmendinger, Joey Gase and Daniel Suarez brought out the caution and set up the overtime finish. When the green flag waved, Harvick started on the outside of the front row and Blaney got the advantage thanks to a bump from behind by Larson. But as the field raced through the first and second turns, Harvick blasted by for the top spot and never looks back on his way to the checkered flag and Victory Lane.
Who Had a Good Day: Blaney scored his best finish at Texas in eight starts and tied his best 1.5 mile finish…Logano notched his sixth straight top-10 finish this season and at Texas…Larson has finished top 10 in the last seven 1.5-mile races.
Who Had a Bad Day: Clint Bowyer and Denny Hamlin made contact on the very first lap. The damage sent both to pit road for repairs as well as to change tires and significantly impacted the duo’s chances to impact the race. Things got worse for Bowyer when he was penalized for having too many men over the wall on s pit stop…Hendrick Motorsports teammates William Byron and Jimmie Johnson had their hopes for a good day derailed when they made contact racing through Turn 3 and 4. Johnson raced his way back near the front thanks to some two tire pit strategy but then was penalized on a subsequent pit stop for a crewmember over the wall to soon…Martin Truex Jr. was penalized for driving through too many pit boxes on a stop for a loose wheel and was penalized (Read More)…Brad Keselowski was forced to pit late for as loose wheel…Matt DiBenedetto crashed late trying to avoid Chris Buescher who had hit the wall.
See Also: NASCAR Apologizes to Johnson
What Else Happened: Unlike the weekend’s previous Truck Series and Xfinity Series races, Sunday’s Cup headliner was a bit more tame. Heavy rains overnight washed off most of the rubber laid down by all the laps run prior to Sunday’s race, which made it more difficult for a second groove to work in and promote passing. But dominant cars at the front of the field like Harvick, Keselowski, Logano and Blaney made it even more difficult to track down the lead with restarts the best opportunities. But the key Sunday was mistakes and the number of drivers especially in the playoffs that experienced pit road speeding penalties, too many crew members over the wall and other problems that cost positions on the track.
Quotable: "He’s dumb. He’s an idiot. He’s already going to Homestead," a frustrated Aric Almirola on his in car radio after racing for position with Joey Logano. (Read More)
Notables: William Byron has a 116 point lead over Bubba Wallace in the Rookie of the Year standings…Harvick has won at least one playoff race in the last seven seasons.