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techkenyot.com November 17, 2018


Harvick takes Texas to clinch championship spot

07 November 2018, 10:25 | Henrietta Morgan

Getty Images

Getty Images

Despite being out of the playoffs, Ryan Blaney finds himself on the pole at Texas.

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 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.

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.

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Kyle Busch, a seven-time victor this year, and defending Cup champion Martin Truex Jr. are among the other six title contenders. 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.

Aside from green-flag pit stops, Harvick again dominated the 85-lap stage and cruised to a almost 6-second lead over Ryan Blaney to claim the Stage 2 win.

"You never want to lose those types of days", said Harvick, who has finished in the top three in six of the last 10 races at TMS.

Harvick was on the inside again for the next restart, but Blaney was able to get by him for the lead. Blaney was the only challenger he really had, and that only came on restarts. "That was really the only shot we had to beat him, to be honest with you".

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Of those only Logano was a factor as he led 54 laps. We got by him one restart and I just couldn't hold him off. ... Kyle Busch was 17th and Bowyer 26th after starting on the front row but making contact with Denny Hamlin on the first lap. "He motored around me".

Harvick started on the inside on restarts on laps 303 and 311.

The defending series champion posted the 13th fastest time in time trials on Friday and was third-fastest in final practice on Saturday, but an engine change after that session will mean another race in which Truex will have to overcome a lack of initial track position.

Following the break between Stages 1 and 2, Harvick was again first off pit road and remained in the lead when Stage 2 went green on Lap 93. Logano finished third a week after securing his playoff spot.

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