"Reality check" helps keep Kevin Harvick's success in perspective

Tanya Simon
November 7, 2018

"We get to fight another day", said Truex to his team after taking the checkered flag in ninth place Sunday at Texas Motor Speedway. The win marked his 45th career victory in the NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series.

Kevin Harvick earned a shot at another NASCAR Cup championship, rocketing past polesitter Ryan Blaney in overtime Sunday to win at Texas. "I do pretty good about keeping my head straight". However, any of the eight remaining playoff drivers can qualify for the final four by winning next week at Phoenix, giving Kurt Busch, Elliott, Aric Almirola, and Clint Bowyer a fighting chance of breaking through and eliminating one of the "Big Three" that have dominated the NASCAR season.

"The expectations are to win", Harvick told reporters. "I also think it is short track racing", Logano said. We race for wins. "We don't count our fingers and our toes trying to figure out how to make it in". "Today we earned our way in and we're going to go and race again next week and try to win another race and see what we can do at Homestead". Logano ran third at Texas after leading 54 laps, second only to Harvick.

But when Harvick moved to SHR from Richard Childress Racing beginning with the 2014 season at age 38, there were no guarantees of success. On the previous restart on Lap 311 of a scheduled 334, following caution for Matt DiBenedetto's hard crash into the inside wall on the backstretch, Harvick picked the inside lane, and Blaney cleared him off Turn 2. So Harvick picked the top lane for the first time and roared around Blaney in Turn 1.

Harvick leads the field as dusk falls on Texas Motor Speedway.

Texas Motor Speedway President Eddie Gossage also said the repaved Texas asphalt needs more weathering to improve the racing, which had only one real nugget of interest on the track all day: Aric Almirola took exception to Joey Logano racing him hard in the final stage. I kind of figured he'd take the top. "I think as you've seen, the change to Ford, which everybody thought we were insane, I think the bottom line is we've got more resources and things we can keep within our own walls. It all worked out".

Harvick knew that Blaney would have to be ideal on the restart to beat him and once Blaney's left tires clipped the apron Harvick was off to his second career win at TMS.

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"That's the rule. I know people don't necessarily like all the rules, but that's the rule", O'Donnell said.

Kyle Busch ran into similar difficulties, dealing with a speeding penalty early in the race, following with an unscheduled pit stop due to a loose wheel later on.

"We got a little bit of luck on our side after that to be able to get back on the lead lap". He also had a pass-through penalty during the race for driving through too many pit boxes, and was a lap down before getting that back one the first of the late cautions. A victory next weekend at Phoenix by someone lower than either of them in points could upend the standings. He sits 25 points ahead of Kurt Busch, the first driver below the cut-off.

The same is true for sixth-place Texas finisher Chase Elliott (39 points below the cut line).

Kyle Busch was 17th and Bowyer 26th after starting on the front row but making contact with Denny Hamlin on the first lap.

Joey Logano, Erik Jones and Kyle Larson rounded out the top five.

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