Kevin Harvick dominated Sunday’s (Nov. 4) AAA Texas 500 but had to earn the victory near the end of the day at Texas Motor Speedway.
Passing Ryan Blaney with 17 laps to go, Harvick had to survive an overtime restart… and he did, by blasting clear of Blaney and cruising to the victory.
The win, his eighth of the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season, was his second at Texas. More importantly, it threw him into the Championship 4 in two weeks at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
“Everyone at the shop has been working day after day for speed,” Harvick said. “The expectations are to win. We don’t come here to count our fingers, we want to earn it and today we earned it.”
Pole-sitter Blaney drove to second place, his best finish at Texas and eighth top five of 2018.
“I really wanted to win this race,” Blaney said. “I thought we had a second-place car all night, really. The No. 4 was heads-and-shoulders better than anyone else but we were second-best for sure.”
The story of the race was on pit road, as multiple playoff drivers struggled to avoid issues throughout the day. Kyle Busch was one of them, who pitted with 28 laps to go in stage two due to a loose wheel, falling to 29th spot off the lead lap. The No. 18 finished 17th.
Martin Truex Jr. overcame similar issues in his No. 78 Toyota, rebounding for ninth spot.
Almirola, who advanced to as high as third in his No. 10 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford, was upset at Joey Logano following a near-wreck on a late restart.
“When Homestead comes around, if I’m not in it, he’ll know it,” Almirola said of Logano. “He just continues to make things hard on himself.”