Harvick gets Cup title shot with win at Texas

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Harvick gets Cup title shot with win at Texas

Martin Truex Jr. will be starting at the back of the field for Sunday's race at Texas Motor Speedway, NASCAR announced Saturday.

Harvick also won both stages at the 1 1/2-mile Texas track, the fourth time this season he did that and went on to win the race.

Stewart-Haas Racing driver Kevin Harvick becomes the second driver to lock in for the Championship 4 at Homestead, joining Joey Logano.

Kevin Harvick earned a shot at another NASCAR Cup championship, rocketing past polesitter Ryan Blaney in overtime Sunday to win at Texas. Joey Logano is the only driver locked into the championship with his win at Martinsville Speedway last weekend, when he executed a bump-and-run on Truex on the final corner of the final lap.

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

The win put Harvick back in the winner's circle for the first time since August, when he won at Michigan Motor Speedway.

Bowyer was involved in first-lap rub with Denny Hamlin. Blaney was the only challenger he really had, and that only came on restarts.

Below the cutline after Texas are Kurt Busch (-25 point from fourth), Chase Elliott (-39), Aric Almirola (-57) and Bowyer (-73).

To get the victory, Harvick had to overcome a series of late-race restarts, the final one of which came in OT.

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. Harvick was already starting to rebuild his lead - it had been almost 4 seconds before the caution - when another yellow flag came out.

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. "We nearly caught him the first restart up top and then I did on the second one". The last one, he took the top, like I knew he was going to go. "To start exactly where we were I think is a decent day". Now Almirola is upset with Logano after one of the late restarts in Texas.

"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.

There were several other cars also pushed to the rear for other issues, including the No. 48 of Jimmie Johnson after failing prerace inspection twice.

NASCAR later said it erred in penalizing Johnson at the start of the race because his auto passed inspection the third time.

Neither Truex nor Kyle Busch had a great race on Sunday, though they salvaged reasonable results to stay well above the playoff cut line. Johnson and crew chief Chad Knaus are making their 600th start together.

Johnson's teammate with Hendrick Motorsports, William Byron in the No. 24, was sent to the back of the field after three failed inspections.

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