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Martin Truex Jr. to start Texas playoffs at rear

07 November, 2018, 07:54 | Author: Candice Daniels
  • Kyle Busch Following the Blueprint to Homestead

Kevin Harvick celebrates in Victory Lane after winning a NASCAR Cup auto race at Texas Motor Speedway, Sunday, Nov. 4, 2018, in Fort Worth, Texas.

Stewart-Haas Racing driver Kevin Harvick becomes the second driver to lock in for the Championship 4 at Homestead, joining Joey Logano.

Harvick warrants his shot at NASCAR cup title with victory in Texas.

With Harvick and Martinsville victor Joey Logano in the No. 22 Ford of Team Penske locked in, the series goes to Phoenix next week with only two spots up for grabs for the championship run at Homestead.

After restarting on the inside on two late-race restarts, Harvick went up top for the overtime restart and secured his eighth win of the season.

When asked at Texas if everything was cool with Truex, or if his head would be on a swivel looking around, Logano said only time would tell.

Kevin Harvick won for the 8th time and advanced to the Championship Four at Homestead.

Truex drops from his 13th starting start because his team made an engine change Saturday.

Truex had moved back to 15th in the 40-car field, and Almirola was 19th when a competition caution came out 30 laps into the scheduled 334-lap race. Chase Elliott (sixth), Kurt Busch (seventh), Aric Almirola (eighth) and Truex also finished in the top 10.

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Clint Bowyer, who started on the front row but had contact with Denny Hamlin on the first lap, was the only of the remaining title contenders outside of the top 10.

His 25-point lead is over Kurt Busch and he trails Kyle Busch by only three points for the third-place positon.

But the gritty Truex eventually got one lap back and when a caution came out on Lap 296 he was back on the lead lap as the Free Pass recipient. "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".

Texas Motor Speedway President Eddie Gossage also said the repaved Texas asphalt needs more weathering to improve the racing, which had only one real nugget of interest on the track all day: Aric Almirola took exception to Joey Logano racing him hard in the final stage.

"The 42 (Larson) gave me a heck of a push, but I didn't quite get far enough ahead of the 4 into (Turn) 1", Blaney said. "If we don't make that call, I think (media) would be asking why we didn't". Logano already has a slot in the final four and Almirola believed Logano could have backed off a bit. "It's inevitable, and it's not a flawless scenario, it's not what we all wanted, but I think everybody on the team has done an incredible job of focusing in on the right things and continue to perform at a high level". "When Homestead comes around, if I'm not in, he'll know it".

Jimmie Johnson was sent to the rear of the field after the No. 48 Chevrolet twice failed prerace inspection.

Neither Truex nor Kyle Busch had a great race on Sunday, though they salvaged reasonable results to stay well above the playoff cut line. Johnson and crew chief Chad Knaus are making their 600th start together. Tune in to NBC on Sunday, November 11 at 2:30 p.m. ET for the live broadcast of the race from ISM Raceway to find out. Buescher's JTG-Daugherty organization is using a Hendrick Motorsports engine for the first time next season.

Even in a season like this one, in which Harvick has won a career-best eight races, there have been opportunities for other wins that he and his No. 4 Stewart-Haas Racing team have let slip through their grasp.

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