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Harvick makes Championship 4 with OT win at Texas

07 November 2018

Another late caution led to a third restart in the final 35 laps, each time with Harvick leading.

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.

Joey Logano secured his spot in the Championship 4 last week with a controversial win at Martinsville.

The two drivers who now occupy these two spots are Joe Gibbs Racing's Kyle Busch and Furniture Row Racing's Martin Truex Jr. 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.

Harvick dueled Ryan Blaney late in the race, with Blaney taking the lead for about seven laps after a restart on Lap 311.

Nevertheless, with the Round of 8 elimination race at Phoenix looming, Busch holds a 28-point edge over his brother Kurt Busch, who is fifth in the Playoff standings after running seventh on Sunday.

After the first of the late restarts, Harvick was on the inside and was able to keep Blaney from clearing him on the backstretch.

When the green-flag cycle of stops had completed on Lap 160, Harvick returned to the lead, followed by Jimmie Johnson, Blaney, Truex and Keselowski.

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"That last restart I knew I needed to pick the top", Harvick said.

"I will just make it really hard on him", he said.

Logano was third at Texas. We're going to take the top and see what happens and obviously it worked out a little bit.

Bowyer was involved in first-lap rub with Denny Hamlin. "He motored around me".

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.

A caution with 38 laps to go created an interesting kink in the pit strategy of many who debated whether or not to pit for tires and fuel, that being the looming question mark throughout Sunday's race.

After working himself back to the front of the field, Almirola said Logano "about wrecked" them both after coming down into his door in Turn 3.

"If that's the way he wants to race me when he's already locked into to Homestead and we're out here fighting for our lives, that's fine", Almirola said.

Harvick makes Championship 4 with OT win at Texas