Kevin Harvick won Sunday’s AAA Texas 500 at Texas Motor Speedway to punch his ticket to the Championship 4.
Harvick led 119 laps to score his fourth win of the season and third straight fall playoff race at TMS.
“I am really proud of everyone on this team for all the work they put in this weekend,” Harvick said. “It takes everybody to make this thing go round.
“As it got dark, it was really fast.”
Harvick led a 1-2-3 finish for Stewart-Haas Racing with Aric Almirola and Daniel Suarez finishing second and third, respectively.
“I am really proud of that effort. It’s just incredible,” Almirola said. “Kevin was too tough, too fast.”
Joey Logano and Alex Bowman rounded out the top five.
Martin Truex Jr., Kyle Busch, Ryan Blaney, Kurt Busch and Erik Jones completed the first 10 finishers.
Truex Jr., Harvick, Kyle Busch and Logano are above the cutline in the playoffs.
Denny Hamlin (-20), Ryan Blaney (-23), Kyle Larson (-23) and Chase Elliott (-78) are on the outside looking in.
The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series now heads to ISM Raceway in Phoenix next Sunday afternoon.
How Harvick Won: He led 119 laps but until he was able to get the top spot in the final stage it wasn’t a sure bet for Harvick to win on Sunday. But he got by SHR teammate Aric Almirola it was a done deal as Harvick was not challenged all the way until he took the checkered flag to earn his spot in the Championship 4 race at Homestead-Miami Speedway…He also rebounded from a Lap 187 equipment penalty when the crew put tires over the wall but did not change them.
Who Had a Good Day: Almirola had his first top-five finish at Texas in 18 races and just his third top-five finish this season…Suarez finished third in both Texas races in 2019, his two best finishes this season both came at Texas…Logano had his first top-five finish since Indy and has finished seventh or better in seven of the last eight races at Texas…Bowman scored his first top-10 finish at Texas and his seventh top-five finish this season. He had only three career top five finishes entering 2019.
Who Had a Bad Day: Chase Elliott’s playoff luck continued to be bad in Texas. A week after leaving Martinsville with a broken axel Elliott was out of contention on Sunday only a handful of laps into the race when he got loose and slammed the wall…Denny Hamlin was another Playoff driver who had a bad day after he spun through the infield grass. Hamlin’s spin on lap 81 landed him a 28th-place finish (Read More)…Brad Keselowski slid and hit the Turn 4 wall on lap 55 with Ricky Stenhouse Jr. doing the same right behind him and both drivers exited the race after a hard crash….Corey LaJoie had a pair of accidents with his second putting him out of the race just before the end of the first stage.
What Else Happened: The race featured a lot of stops and starts especially in the opening stage, which was slowed by six cautions. Several drivers lost control of their cars trying to navigate through the traction compound applied on to the track surface with the third and fourth turns especially treacherous. Although things calmed down considerably in the second stage the nature of the race was one that really didn’t fall into a rhythm.
Quotable: “Sorry, dude. I was trying to roll that top there. I just slipped,” Chase Elliott to crew chief Alan Gustafson after hitting the wall on Lap 9.
Notables: Hamlin lost 44 points to the bubble and went from 24 above to 20 behind…Harvick scored his ninth win in elimination style playoffs, tied for the most…His 49th career win tied Tony Stewart for 14th all time…It was the 55th win for SHR.