Harvick seals final playoff stage place with Texas NASCAR victory

Kevin Harvick sealed his place in the last round of the NASCAR Cup playoffs with victory in Texas, beating championship leader Martin Truex Jr to victory

Harvick seals final playoff stage place with Texas NASCAR victory

Harvick capitalised on a rare mistake from Truex, who suffered a small slide on the exit from the second turn and lost the lead late on as a result.

Winning the first stage, Harvick fell behind Kyle Larson during the second of three stages, but remained firmly in the hunt for the lead - following Larson across the line in second.

Following a final-stage red flag period for Larson - who lost control of his Chevrolet and hit the wall - Truex and Harvick fell behind early-race leader Hamlin on the subsequent restart.

Hamlin had thrust himself into contention after electing to take just two fresh tyres in his final pitstop, but began to lose ground and fell behind Truex and Harvick.

With 10 laps to go Harvick pounced on Truex following the Furniture Row Racing driver's mistake, running away with the lead to put his position in the final four of the playoffs beyond all doubt with third in the points.

Truex guaranteed his place in the final four with second, thanks to his points advantage in the standings, four seconds ahead of Hamlin.

Matt Kenseth - who didn't make the playoffs - drove an excellent race to claim fourth, electing not to pit after the second stage to climb the order before stretching out his stint to time his penultimate stop with the other front-runners.

After going a lap behind in the early stages following contact with Kyle Busch, Brad Keselowski produced a battling recovery drive to secure fifth place, beating future Penske team-mate Ryan Blaney.

Also gaining track position from a shorter final pitstop, Joey Logano benefitted from some strong strategic calls to climb through the pack, finishing seventh ahead of Chase Elliott.

Elliott recovered from the rear of the grid after failing pre-qualifying inspection, but has a seemingly insurmountable deficit in the play-off standings following his Martinsville collision with Hamlin.

Like Keselowski, Kyle Busch had recovered from his early contact, but finished 19th as a result of a flat tyre late - although Busch already progresses into the final play-off round following his win last week. He is second in the playoff points behind Truex.

Jimmie Johnson - the winner of the Texas race in April - endured a torrid race to finish 27th, having struggled with an ill-handling car and a penalty to effectively end his chances of retaining the title, 108 points behind Truex and last in the playoff points.

Result

Pos Driver Team Car Laps Gap
1 Kevin Harvick Stewart-Haas Racing Ford 334 3h29m52.s
2 Martin Truex Jr. Furniture Row Racing Toyota 334 1.580s
3 Denny Hamlin Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota 334 5.832s
4 Matt Kenseth Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota 334 6.024s
5 Brad Keselowski Team Penske Ford 334 8.491s
6 Ryan Blaney Wood Brothers Racing Ford 334 9.186s
7 Joey Logano Team Penske Ford 334 9.395s
8 Chase Elliott Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet 334 10.585s
9 Kurt Busch Stewart-Haas Racing Ford 334 11.207s
10 Erik Jones Furniture Row Racing Toyota 334 12.017s
11 Kasey Kahne Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet 334 17.963s
12 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Roush Fenway Racing Ford 334 18.365s
13 Austin Dillon Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet 334 18.938s
14 Daniel Suarez Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota 334 22.481s
15 Aric Almirola Richard Petty Motorsports Ford 334 22.838s
16 A.J. Allmendinger JTG Daugherty Racing Chevrolet 334 30.359s
17 Danica Patrick Stewart-Haas Racing Ford 333 1 Lap
18 Jamie McMurray Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet 333 1 Lap
19 Kyle Busch Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota 333 1 Lap
20 Ryan Newman Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet 333 1 Lap
21 Michael McDowell Leavine Family Racing Chevrolet 333 1 Lap
22 Chris Buescher JTG Daugherty Racing Chevrolet 333 1 Lap
23 Paul Menard Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet 332 2 Laps
24 Ty Dillon Germain Racing Chevrolet 332 2 Laps
25 Matt DiBenedetto Go FAS Racing Ford 332 2 Laps
26 Landon Cassill Front Row Motorsports Ford 331 3 Laps
27 Jimmie Johnson Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet 331 3 Laps
28 Trevor Bayne Roush Fenway Racing Ford 330 4 Laps
29 Cole Whitt TriStar Motorsports Chevrolet 330 4 Laps
30 David Ragan Front Row Motorsports Ford 329 5 Laps
31 Reed Sorenson Premium Motorsports Chevrolet 325 9 Laps
32 Joey Gase Tommy Baldwin Racing Chevrolet 322 12 Laps
33 Jeffrey Earnhardt Circle Sport / TMG Chevrolet 322 12 Laps
34 Ray Black Jr. Rick Ware Racing Chevrolet 305 29 Laps
35 Dale Earnhardt Jr. Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet 304 30 Laps
36 Clint Bowyer Stewart-Haas Racing Ford 303 31 Laps
37 Kyle Larson Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet 282 Accident
38 David Starr MBM Motorsports Chevrolet 237 Accident
39 Corey LaJoie BK Racing Toyota 227 Engine
40 Gray Gaulding BK Racing Toyota 159 Engine

Playoff standings

Pos Driver Points
1 Martin Truex Jr. 4168
2 Kyle Busch 4118
3 Kevin Harvick 4112
4 Brad Keselowski 4111
5 Denny Hamlin 4092
6 Ryan Blaney 4089
7 Chase Elliott 4062
8 Jimmie Johnson 4060

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