Harvick takes the #4 into the final four
KEVIN HARVICK AND MARTIN TRUEX JR secured their berths in the final four of the Playoffs by taking the top two positions.
Harvick’s victory in his Stewart-haas Racing Ford means he joins the alreadyqualified Kyle Busch in the final showdown at Homestead, while Truex’s result means the Furniture Row Racing Toyota driver’s points are sufficient for him to make the show, regardless of what happens this weekend at Phoenix in the penultimate round.
Harvick won the first stage in Texas, then finished runner-up to Kyle Larson in the second. A crash for Larson in the final stage caused a red flag, and it was
Denny Hamlin, who took just two fresh tyres on his Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota at the final stops, who emerged in the lead at the restart.
Truex and Harvick moved past Hamlin, before a small slide from Truex on the exit of Turn 2 allowed Harvick to grab the advantage with 10 laps remaining.
Brad Keselowski is at the head of the battle for the final Playoff spot. The Penske Ford ace went a lap down early on following contact with Busch, but recovered to fifth behind Matt Kenseth. Hamlin is 19 points adrift of Keselowski and two ahead of Ryan Blaney, who finished sixth. Chase Elliott (eighth) and Jimmie Johnson (who battled an ill-handling car to 27th) are now effectively out of Playoff contention.
1 Kevin Harvick (Ford Fusion) 334 laps in 3h29m52s; 2 Martin Truex Jr (Toyota Camry) +1.580s;
3 Denny Hamlin (Toyota); 4 Matt Kenseth (Toyota); 5 Brad Keselowski (Ford); 6 Ryan Blaney (Ford);
7 Joey Logano (Ford); 8 Chase Elliott (Chevrolet SS); 9 Kurt Busch (Ford); 10 Erik Jones (Toyota).
Points 1 Truex 4168; 2 Kyle Busch 4118; 3 Harvick 4112; 4 Keselowski 4111; 5 Hamlin 4092; 6 Blaney 4089; 7 Elliott 4062; 8 Jimmie Johnson 4060.