Harvick takes Texas to clinch championship spot

Truex holds to his line on Logano			Image by Matthew Thacker  LAT

Kevin Harvick's pit crew services his vehicle during a NASCAR Cup auto race at Texas Motor Speedway, Sunday, Nov. 4, 2018, in Fort Worth, Texas.

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

The Stewart-Haas Racing driver was frustrated with what he felt was an unnecessary battle with Logano, who has already clinched a spot in the Championship 4 season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway after his win last week at Martinsville Speedway. Kevin Harvick handed over the checkered flag to young fan he called on to the track to pose for a selfies, one with the triumphant driver and vehicle that will have a shot at another NASCAR Cup championship.

Kyle Busch, a seven-time victor this year, and defending Cup champion Martin Truex Jr. are among the other six title contenders. Buescher's JTG-Daugherty organization is using a Hendrick Motorsports engine for the first time next season.

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. Choosing to take the higher lane, he pulled away from Blaney and was never seriously challenged for first place.

Below the cutline after Texas are Kurt Busch (-25 point from fourth), Chase Elliott (-39), Aric Almirola (-57) and Bowyer (-73).

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.

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Blaney had taken the lead after the second restart in that final stretch, but Harvick had gone back in front and was still in the lead when Joey Gase's spin brought out the eighth caution. We're going to take the top and see what happens and obviously it worked out a little bit.

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 nearly caught him the first restart up top and then I did on the second one". We got by him one restart and I just couldn't hold him off.

Truex was forced to start at the back of the field because of a late engine change. "To start exactly where we were I think is a decent day".

NASCAR later said it erred in penalizing Johnson at the start of the race because his vehicle passed inspection the third time.

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

Logano said they were still racing at the end in a tight turn.

Drivers race down the front stretch as the green flag drops during the NASCAR MENCS AAA Texas 500 auto race at Texas Motor Speedway, Sunday, Nov. 4, 2018, in Fort Worth, Texas. He had qualified 23rd for his 600th start with Chad Knaus as his crew chief. "He is still going to go to Homestead and race for a championship, it is just not smart".

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