Harvick earns his shot at NASCAR Cup title with win at Texas

Martin Truex Jr

Martin Truex Jr

"We were a third place vehicle and that restart there where we finally were in position we fought all day from the back and started at the tail and worked diligently all day to get up to the front and finally got ourselves in position to at least have a shot and race with those guys", Almirola said of the final restart of the day.

Harvick, who led 177 of 337 laps, said that he doesn't come here to count fingers and toes to attempt to deduce how he is going to make it, he wants to earn it. It is the 2014 NASCAR Cup champion's fourth appearance in the playoff finale in the past five seasons.

Harvick was the only one of so-called Big Three to avoid trouble on Sunday. We're going to take the top and see what happens and obviously it worked out a little bit. Since they repaved the place it's been lights out. We finally knocked that barrier (win) down (last fall) and win in front of all these fans at Texas.

Harvick and Blaney would then pit on the next lap, Logano also coming in on trip number 284 "round TMS".

After taking the inside on the first two restarts, and briefly losing the lead after the second one, Harvick opted to start from outside for the green-white-checkered finish.

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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.

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"I figured he wouldn't make that move three times", said Blaney.

"I will just make it really hard on him", he said. The 42 [Kyle Larson] gave me a heck of a push but I didn't get far enough ahead of the 4 in Turn 1. He had to pit on Lap 12 to replace a right-side tire damaged in the rub and went two laps down.

"That's how you control your destiny the most is to get in Victory Lane", Harvick said. "This is just one of a few calls that have been wrong due to that situation".

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Logano was third at Texas.

However, Almirola now trails the Championship 4 cut line by 57 points, meaning that he must win the final race of the round of 8, the Can-Am 500, at ISM Raceway in order to advance to the Championship 4.

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

The conditions in Texas led to a race that was more about strategy and position than pure speed or driver ability, a fact that frustrated some of the drivers.

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