Harvick Comes Up Huge In Texas

“The Close” came up huge at exactly the right time.

Kevin Harvick, a/k/a “The Closer,” ran down Martin Truex Jr. in the closing laps of Sunday’s AAA Texas 500, making the race-winning pass with 10 laps to go at Texas Motor Speedway.

Harvick won his second race of the season in the No. 4 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford, and it couldn’t have come at a better time.

With the win, Harvick joins Kyle Busch of Joe Gibbs Racing as the two drivers who have clinched spots in the Nov. 19 Cup championship race at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

“Damn, it’s good to be in Victory Lane at Texas,” who at the 1.5-mile track for the first time in 30 starts here and the 37th time in his career. “… It’s great to check that one off, baby.”

Of his race-winning pass, Harvick said, “I knew I had a really good car and I knew I had to do something different. And I started driving into Turn 1 just a whole lot deeper and saw the 42 (Kyle Larson) doing that earlier in the race. And I was just afraid I didn’t have the brakes to continue to do that all day.

“So I waited until the end and was able to get on the outside of Martin,” said Harvick. “I got him loose and I brushed across the back of him and was able to get on the outside and my car was pretty good on the outside.”

Even with the loss, Truex and his Furniture Row Racing Toyota have clinched a spot in the title race, too, thanks to his massive points lead. That leaves five drivers to decide the final playoff spot next week at Phoenix Raceway.

Truex held on for second at Texas ahead of the Joe Gibbs Racing Toyotas of Denny Hamlin and Matt Kenseth, and the Team Penske Ford of Brad Keselowski. Heading to Phoenix, Keselowski is in fourth place with an 19-point lead for the final playoff spot.

By Tom Jensen

Tom Jensen is a veteran motorsports journalist. He spent 13 years with, where he was Digital Content Manager. Previously, he was executive editor of NASCAR Scene and managing editor of National Speed Sport News. Jensen served as the president of the National Motorsports Press Association and is the group’s former Writer of the Year.