Kevin Harvick celebrates after winning the AAA Texas 500 and clinching a position in the NASCAR Championship 4. Harvick won there for the ninth time earlier this season.
Harvick dueled Ryan Blaney late in the race, with Blaney taking the lead for about seven laps after a restart on Lap 311.
The victory was Harvick's first since MI in August, and it broke a streak of bad luck during which the driver of the No. 4 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford led laps but failed to find Victory Lane, thanks to mechanical issues or pit road mistakes.
Blaney got a shove from fifth-place finisher Kyle Larson on the final restart, but it wasn't enough.
"That last restart I knew I needed to pick the top", Harvick said after the race.
"I thought if I could keep him from finishing the corner I could drive back by him", Harvick said. "It all worked out". The race will determine the other two drivers in the championship four. "This place has been really good to me". "Not a good move for the entertainment factor, in my opinion".
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He nearly won last week at Martinsville to ensure the chance for a championship repeat before Joey Logano's bump-and-run move on the last lap. For Harvick, that was the goal all along, even if he was likely to qualify based on points without a win in this round.
"The expectations are to win. 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".
Kyle Busch of JGR left TMS in third place and Martin Truex Jr. of Furniture Row Racing fourth. They are comfortably above the cut line for points, but Chase Elliott or any of Harvick's three SHR teammates - Clint Bowyer, Aric Almirola and Kurt Busch - could advance with a win in Phoenix. 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.
The Joe Gibbs Racing No. 19, driven by Daniel Suárez, and the JTG-Daugherty No. 37 driven by Chris Buescher have also changed engines and will start the AAA 500 from the back. He also had a pass-through penalty during the race for driving through too many pit boxes, and was a lap down before getting that back one the first of the late cautions.
Harvick was on the inside again for the next restart, but Blaney was able to get by him for the lead.
"We've been working day after day to make speed", Harvick explained after the checkered flag.
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