Published: Wed, November 07, 2018
Sport | By Wendy Sparks

Wrong call on Johnson on NASCAR's bad day in Texas

Wrong call on Johnson on NASCAR's bad day in Texas

Kevin Harvick dominated his way to his eighth win of the 2018 season winning both stages of the AAA Texas 500 at Texas Motor Speedway.

Harvick dueled Ryan Blaney late in the race, with Blaney taking the lead for about seven laps after a restart on Lap 311.

With Kevin Harvick and Joey Logano both locked in the title race through wins, Kyle Busch and Truex are in line to claim the final two positions by points.

"We have two important races here where I am in a position to run for a championship", Truex said. He nearly won last week at Martinsville to ensure the chance for a championship repeat before Joey Logano's bump-and-run move on the last lap.

Logano finished third a week after securing his playoff spot.

"You need to capitalize on every moment, on every fast auto, on every chance you have to win a championship because at some point there's going to be some tougher times in there".

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Jimmie Johnson was incorrectly sent to the back of the field moments before the race began. He also dealt with a loose tire and 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. Chase Elliott and Aric Almirola, who had gone to the back of the field for the start because of unapproved body modifications, rounded out the top 10.

Clint Bowyer, who started on the front row but had contact with Denny Hamlin on the first lap, was the only of the remaining title contenders outside of the top 10. "I am not going to let what happened last week take my focus off of that".

His 25-point lead is over Kurt Busch and he trails Kyle Busch by only three points for the third-place positon.

"When that type of stuff happens, you see scenarios like that, you have to be real with yourself to say that these are scenarios that you better enjoy because they probably won't last forever".

"We got a little bit of luck on our side after that to be able to get back on the lead lap".

Harvick knew that Blaney would have to be flawless 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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"We got by him on one restart (with 33 laps to go), but I just couldn't hold him off", Blaney said.

Logano's differing pit strategy kept his rivals guessing late into the race. "It's inevitable, and it's not a ideal scenario, it's not what we all wanted, but I think everybody on the team has done an fantastic job of focusing in on the right things and continue to perform at a high level".

"I think our team has been kind of that rock that sets the foundation at Stewart-Haas Racing", he said. "When Homestead comes around, if I'm not in, he'll know it". Johnson and crew chief Chad Knaus are making their 600th start together.

"That's how you control your destiny the most is to get in Victory Lane", Harvick said.

Even in a season like this one, in which Harvick has won a career-best eight races, there have been opportunities for other wins that he and his No. 4 Stewart-Haas Racing team have let slip through their grasp. This became the decider of the playoff Round of 8 race.

But when Harvick moved to SHR from Richard Childress Racing beginning with the 2014 season at age 38, there were no guarantees of success.

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