Kevin Harvick Wins at Texas; 3 Drivers clinch Final 4 spot

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Kevin Harvick Wins at Texas; 3 Drivers clinch Final 4 spot

Postby Bryce Turner » Sun Nov 05, 2017 7:12 pm

By: Bryce Turner

Race Details: Winner: Kevin Harvick; Track: Texas Motor Speedway; Laps: 334 (85,85,164); Race Name: AAA Texas 500

Kevin Harvick wins after a late charge at Texas. Kurt Busch started on the pole for today’s race, the middle event in the Round of 8 for NASCAR’s playoffs.

Denny Hamlin took the lead on the opening lap. Meanwhile, trouble for two playoff drivers. On the initial start, Kyle Busch got loose and slid up into Brad Keselowski. Both drivers pitted, Keselowski with a flat tire and Busch to fix body damage. With his win last week, Busch already locked into the championship four, not the case for Keselowski.

On lap 47, Kyle Larson took the top spot. With 16 to go in stage one, it was Harvick who took the spot. As the laps wound down, Martin Truex Jr. closed in, but Harvick held on to win the stage by about 0.31 seconds.

Hamlin won the race off pit road. On the lap 92 restart, Harvick took the lead in turn four as Hamlin slid up the track, dropping to ninth before a lap 93 caution. Daniel Suarez slid up into Kasey Kahne, causing both drivers to spin.

Larson took the lead from Harvick on the lap 99 restart. Larson led for most of stage two, except during a round of green-flag pit stops, to take the stage victory.

Matt Kenseth did not pit, while Truex and Erik Jones took only two tires on pit road. Kenseth stayed ahead on the lap 178 restart before a lap 180 yellow flag. Landon Cassill slowed, before contact from Clint Bowyer caused him to spin.

Next restart, Truex took the lead from Kenseth. Later, on lap 233, caution when Michael McDowell spun during a round of green-flag pit stops, when Kyle Busch was up front.

Truex led on the lap 239 restart, before being passed by Kenseth later that lap. Two circuits after that, yellow flag for a spin by Ray Black Jr. Truex took the top spot again on the restart.

With 66 to go, caution for another spin by Black. Hamlin won the race off pit road by taking only two fresh tires. With 52 to go, yellow flag when Kyle Larson spun into the wall, causing a small fire on the back of the car. The third straight DNF for Larson led to a short red-flag delay for cleanup.

Truex took the lead on the restart. As the laps wound on, Harvick caught up, taking the top spot with 10 to go. Harvick going on to win the race, clinching a spot in the championship four. Truex, Hamlin, Kenseth and Keselowski rounded out the top five.

The penultimate race of the season takes place next Sunday at Phoenix. Three drivers have clinched a spot in the sport’s final four: Kyle Busch and Kevin Harvick with wins in the Round of 8, and Martin Truex Jr. on points, thanks to the bonus points he racked up throughout the season.

Five drivers will battle for the final spot next weekend. Brad Keselowski is currently in a position to advance, while Denny Hamlin, Ryan Blaney, Chase Elliott and Jimmie Johnson are on the outside looking in.
Bryce Turner is chief NASCAR correspondent for carnuts.ca.
Bryce Turner
 
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