Harvick gets Cup title shot with win at Texas

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Getty Images

Logano is the only driver locked into the final four spots, clinching that after his bump-and-run on the final lap to beat Truex last week at Martinsville. "I do pretty good about keeping my head straight. Today we earned our way in and we're going to race again next week and try to win another race and then see what we can do at Homestead", Harvick concluded.

Kevin Harvick has also won the second stage at the NASCAR Cup race in Texas, the fourth time this season he's won both stages in a race.

Truex now ranks third of six drivers (25 points above the cutline) with two races left before the finale.

Of Harvick's 32 starts in the Lone Star State, his only two wins are the last two fall races to get into the final four.

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

After restarting on the inside on two late-race restarts, Harvick went up top for the overtime restart and secured his eighth win of the season. Chase Elliott and Aric Almirola, who had gone to the back of the field for the start because of unapproved body modifications, rounded out the top 10.

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 asked at Texas if everything was cool with Truex, or if his head would be on a swivel looking around, Logano said only time would tell. Harvick was already starting to rebuild his lead - it had been almost 4 seconds before the caution - when another yellow flag came out.

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Polesitter Blaney knew he was in trouble when Harvick started on the inside.

"That last restart I knew I needed to pick the top", Harvick said. Blaney led seven laps before Harvick went under him and was again putting distance between them before Joey Gase's spin brought out the last of eight cautions.

Kyle Busch was 17th and Bowyer 26th after starting on the front row but making contact with Denny Hamlin on the first lap. "We nearly caught him the first restart up top and then I did on the second one. He motored around me".

Defending Cup champion Martin Truex Jr., who had to start at the back of the field after an engine change, was fifth in the first stage, just ahead of Logano and Kyle Busch. If I sailed off in there as fast as he did, I would have got loose, wrecked us both.

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. "The only difference is there's one less spot available".

"I'm really, really proud of everyone at Stewart-Haas Racing for these cars we've had for five years now", Harvick said. "It's inevitable, and it's not a flawless scenario, it's not what we all wanted, but I think everybody on the team has done an fantastic job of focusing in on the right things and continue to perform at a high level".

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

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