Published: Wed, November 07, 2018
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Aric Almirola must win at Phoenix to advance — NASCAR Cup Series

Aric Almirola must win at Phoenix to advance — NASCAR Cup Series

Kevin Harvick had a dominating day at the Texas Motor Speedway Sunday and won the Triple-A Texas 500.

Harvick dueled Ryan Blaney late in the race, with Blaney taking the lead for about seven laps after a restart on Lap 311.

The win earns Harvick an automatic spot in the Championship 4 playoff finale at Homestead. In the meanwhile, they got to the backstretch; Harvick had propelled his number 4 Stewart-Haas Ford in front of Blaney which ultimately led to the eighth victory of this season and 45th overall. "I thought if I could keep him from finishing the corner, I could drive back by him". "It all worked out".

Kevin Harvick stayed ahead of Blaney and Logano when things went green for a clean sweep of the afternoon, gaining a heap of points while also securing his spot in the championship round at Miami-Homestead on November 18.

Halfway through the final stage, Keselowski would fall victim to a loose wheel and drop outside the top-10, leaving the usual pack of Harvick, Logano, and Blaney to duke it out.

Truex now ranks third of six drivers (25 points above the cutline) with two races left before the finale.

Defending NASCAR Cup champion Martin Truex starting from the back of the field in Texas. Elliott was sixth, followed by Kurt Busch and Almirola, who had also gone to the rear at the start of the race for unapproved body modifications.

With less than 60 laps remaining in the second stage, Harvick maintained a small lead over Logano with Kurt Busch running in third.

Bowyer was involved in first-lap rub with Denny Hamlin. So Harvick picked the top lane for the first time and roared around Blaney in Turn 1. Harvick was already starting to rebuild his lead - it had been almost 4 seconds before the caution - when another yellow flag came out. Like I told you guys before the race, we don't race for points, we race for wins.

To get the victory, Harvick had to overcome a series of late-race restarts, the final one of which came in OT.

"That last restart I knew I needed to pick the top", Harvick said. "That was really the only shot we had to beat him, to be honest with you. He motored around me".

Truex had qualified 13th, but moved to the back of the field for the start of Sunday's race. He had to pit on Lap 12 to replace a right-side tire damaged in the rub and went two laps down.

Harvick was on the inside again for the next restart, before Blaney was able to get by him on the outside and into the lead.

"We've been working day after day to make speed", Harvick explained after the checkered flag.

"He just continues to make things harder on himself".

"If that's the way he wants to race me when he's already locked into to Homestead and we're out here fighting for our lives, that's fine", Almirola said. "So, whatever the tower says is the way it is", Johnson said. Today he has earned his way in and he is going to attempt to be triumphant in another race and see what can be done on the home ground. Logano finished third a week after securing his playoff spot.

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