Texas NASCAR: Kevin Harvick leads Stewart-Haas 1-2-3

Kevin Harvick overcame a mid-race penalty to lead home a Stewart-Haas 1-2-3 in the NASCAR Cup Series race at Texas, booking himself a spot in the championship decider.

Harvick was slapped with the penalty for loose equipment on pitroad following a stop just after half-distance in the 334-lap race.

That dropped him into the midfield for the early part of the third and final stage.

By lap 220, Harvick had risen back into the top 10, and following a caution 20 tours later for a Bubba Wallace spin, he took the lead shortly after the restart following a side-by-side race with team-mate Aric Almirola.

After the final green-flag pitstops in the third stage, Almirola did start to eat into Harvick’s 4.5-second lead as the #4 Ford struggled to pass backmarker traffic.

But Harvick held on to score his fourth Cup win of the season, ensuring he will be in title contention at the finale at Homestead – with the opportunity to add to his sole championship victory from 2014.

Almirola, who looked strong throughout and scooped victory in the second 85-lap stage, headed Daniel Suarez as SHR locked out the top three finishing positions.

Reigning Cup champion Joey Logano scored good points by taking fourth place for Team Penske, but he is currently 13 points below the cut-off bubble, with one race to go, as Kyle Busch took seventh for Joe Gibbs Racing and maintained his position as a driver set to go through to Homestead on his scoring tally.

Alex Bowman was the highest placed non-Ford finisher with fifth in his Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet entry.

He saw off current points leader Martin Truex Jr of JGR, who is assured of a place in the title fight already thanks to his Martinsville win last week.

Behind Busch was Penske’s Ryan Blaney, who lost ground in his attempt to make into the ‘championship four’ for the first time in his career, while Kurt Busch and Erik Jones rounded out the top 10.

Denny Hamlin’s hopes of securing his spot in the finale took a big blow, as his JGR Toyota suffered damage from a self-inflicted spin early in the race.

He came home alone 28th but he is still comfortably ahead of the points cut-off going into the final race in the round of eight at Phoenix next Sunday.

Race result

Pos Driver Team Car Laps Gap
1 Kevin Harvick Stewart-Haas Racing Ford 334 3h44m44.s
2 Aric Almirola Stewart-Haas Racing Ford 334 1.594s
3 Daniel Suarez Stewart-Haas Racing Ford 334 4.584s
4 Joey Logano Team Penske Ford 334 8.305s
5 Alex Bowman Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet 334 8.537s
6 Martin Truex Jr. Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota 334 12.315s
7 Kyle Busch Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota 334 12.480s
8 Ryan Blaney Team Penske Ford 334 15.150s
9 Kurt Busch Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet 334 15.472s
10 Erik Jones Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota 334 17.414s
11 Clint Bowyer Stewart-Haas Racing Ford 334 18.357s
12 Kyle Larson Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet 334 25.297s
13 Austin Dillon Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet 334 25.356s
14 Matt DiBenedetto Leavine Family Racing Toyota 334 25.820s
15 Ryan Newman Roush Fenway Racing Ford 333 1 Lap
16 Daniel Hemric Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet 333 1 Lap
17 William Byron Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet 333 1 Lap
18 Ty Dillon Germain Racing Chevrolet 333 1 Lap
19 Chris Buescher JTG Daugherty Racing Chevrolet 333 1 Lap
20 Paul Menard Wood Brothers Racing Ford 333 1 Lap
21 John Hunter Nemechek Front Row Motorsports Ford 333 1 Lap
22 Parker Kligerman Gaunt Brothers Racing Toyota 332 2 Laps
23 Ryan Preece JTG Daugherty Racing Chevrolet 331 3 Laps
24 Darrell Wallace Jr. Richard Petty Motorsports Chevrolet 331 3 Laps
25 Michael McDowell Front Row Motorsports Ford 329 5 Laps
26 J.J. Yeley Rick Ware Racing Ford 329 5 Laps
27 Landon Cassill StarCom Racing Chevrolet 328 6 Laps
28 Denny Hamlin Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota 328 6 Laps
29 Joe Nemechek Premium Motorsports Chevrolet 327 7 Laps
30 Josh Bilicki Petty Ware Racing Chevrolet 323 11 Laps
31 Ross Chastain Premium Motorsports Chevrolet 319 15 Laps
32 Chase Elliott Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet 312 22 Laps
33 Quin Houff Spire Motorsports Chevrolet 202 Wheel
34 Jimmie Johnson Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet 199 Accident damage
35 David Ragan Front Row Motorsports Ford 189 Accident
36 Garrett Smithley Rick Ware Racing Ford 188 Accident
37 Timmy Hill MBM Motorsports Toyota 156 Engine
38 Corey LaJoie Go FAS Racing Ford 67 Accident
39 Brad Keselowski Team Penske Ford 52 Accident
40 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Roush Fenway Racing Ford 52 Accident

Playoff standings

Pos Driver Points
1 Martin Truex Jr. 4133
1 Martin Truex Jr. 4133
2 Kyle Busch 4113
2 Kyle Busch 4113
3 Kevin Harvick 4113
3 Kevin Harvick 4113
4 Joey Logano 4111
4 Joey Logano 4111

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