Harvick Warrants His Shot At NASCAR Cup Title With Victory In Texas

Getty Images

Getty Images

Of his 32 starts in the Lone Star State, his only two wins are the last two fall races, but those are among his 20 top-10 finishes there.

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.

UP NEXT: The last race in the third round of the playoffs, Sunday at Phoenix.

Harvick joins Martinsville victor Joey Logano, last Sunday's Martinsville victor in the title race. Like I told you guys before the race, we don't race for points, we race for wins.

At the end of Lap 171, it was Harvick who won yet another stage-his 18th of the year. Harvick, who started third, won the first stage and then followed it up with a win in the second stage. Choosing to take the higher lane, he pulled away from Blaney and was never seriously challenged for first place. "I thought if I could keep him from finishing the corner, I could drive back by him". 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.

"We got by him on one restart (with 33 laps to go), but I just couldn't hold him off", Blaney said.

Harvick left no doubt he was the auto to beat Sunday. "Obviously Blaney had a good restart and we're not taking the bottom anymore".

Kyle Busch drew an early speeding penalty entering pit road and later had to make an unscheduled pit stop because of a loose wheel. However, any of the eight remaining playoff drivers can qualify for the final four by winning next week at Phoenix, giving Kurt Busch, Elliott, Aric Almirola, and Clint Bowyer a fighting chance of breaking through and eliminating one of the "Big Three" that have dominated the NASCAR season.

Of those only Logano was a factor as he led 54 laps.

Joey Logano, Erik Jones and Kyle Larson rounded out the top five. He also had a pass-through penalty during the race for driving through too many pit boxes, and was a lap down before getting that back one the first of the late cautions.

"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. Truex Jr.is the driver who is now on the bubble right above the Championship 4 cut line, as he trails Busch by three points.

Bryce Harper rejected contract offer from Nationals
Woman Charged in Deadly Park Slope Crash Dies