Kevin Harvick denied Martin Truex Jr. with a late pass Sunday in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series AAA Texas 500 at Texas Motor Speedway. Here’s how it all went down Sunday.
From his pole winning, fastest lap ever on a 1.5-mile track on Friday, Kurt Busch lead the field to the green on the outside. Denny Hamlin, Kevin Harvick, Erik Jones and Kyle Busch made up the top five behind.
Joey Logano, and Chase Elliott both missed qualifying Friday with inspection issues and started from the rear.
Hamlin had the lead by the exit of turn 4; Kyle Busch and Brad Keselowski nearly got together; Busch and Keselowski pitted; both had damage from contact with each other in turn 1. Up front Hamlin was soon checking out. Jones had moved to second, followed by Kurt Busch, Harvick and Ryan Blaney.
Keselowski rejoined 39th one lap down, Kyle Busch 40th two laps down.
Elliott was up to 21st by lap 10.
Hamlin was starting to lap the back of the field by lap 14.
Elliott was 16th, Logano 19th by lap 24; Kyle Larson took fifth from Blaney.
Kurt Busch moved into second on lap 36. He then fell back to fourth; all in heavy traffic.
He as fifth by lap 38.
Larson took second on the same lap; Harvick was third.
Busch recovered to fourth by lap 40.
The lead for Hamlin was .40 seconds.
Larson took the lead exiting turn 4 on lap 47. Harvick followed to take second.
Green flag stops began on lap 51 led by Martin Truex Jr. in sixth. Dale Earnhardt Jr., Jones, and Harvick followed; Hamlin pitted on lap 53; Kurt Busch followed as did Larson.
Michael McDowell and Ryan Newman stayed out to lead; Larson was third followed by Harvick, and Truex. Kurt Busch in 41 was reporting a vibration.
McDowell pitted on lap 59. Newman pitted a lap later handing the lead back to Larson. Harvick, Truex, Hamlin and Kurt Busch were the top five.
Johnson, who was struggling, pitted on lap 67 with a vibration. He lost two laps on the stop.
The lead for Larson was .2 of a second.
Harvick took the lead on lap 69.
Truex was second by lap 76.
Top 10 Stage 1: Harvick, Truex, Hamlin, Larson, Kurt Busch, Jones, Matt Kenseth, Blaney, Austin Dillon and Daniel Suarez. The first caution of the day came out at the end of the stage.
The leaders pitted. Hamlin was out first followed by Harvick, Larson, Logano with two tires, and Truex.
Green came out to start lap 92; Hamlin shot to the lead. Harvick on the inside retook the lead; Hamlin got out of the groove and shot up the track in turn 3 and lost spots. Behind them Suarez and Kasey Kahne got together after Suarez spun underneath behind them and spun; caution two came out. Keselowski got back on the lead lap with the free pass. Both drivers suffered minor damage and continued.
Kyle Busch pitted. As did others deeper in the field. Back on the lead lap now, Keselowski also pitted.
The top five on the restart to start lap 99 Harvick, Larson, Logano, Truex and Blaney. Kurt Busch was sixth followed by Elliott in seventh.
Larson and Harvick were side by side entering turn 3 with Larson taking the lead by turn 4. Truex, Logano and Blaney followed.
The lead for Larson was just over a second by lap 108.
Blaney took third on lap 124. The lead for Larson was just over two seconds.
Kurt Busch took fourth from Logano on lap 128.
Johnson, already two laps down, went three laps down on lap 132 as Larson passed him.
Truex took fifth on lap 136. Green flag stops were approaching.
The lead for Larson was 3.4 seconds by lap 140.
Logano pitted from sixth on lap 143 to start the green flag stop cycle. He was penalized for speeding.
Hamlin and others followed including Truex. Larson followed.
When the stops cycled through, Larson was back in the lead followed by Harvick, Blaney, Elliott, and Truex. There were 8 laps to go in Stage 2.
Hamlin in sixth reported a possible lose wheel with two laps to go in Stage 2.
Top 10 Stage 2: Larson, Harvick, Blaney, Truex, Elliott, Hamlin, Kurt Busch, Kenseth, Jones and Austin Dillon. Caution three came out to end the stage.
The leaders pitted. Truex was out first with only two tires, Harvick followed, Jones with only two tires was third followed by Larson and Blaney.
Kenseth stayed out and was the leader when green came out to start lap 178. Kenseth held the lead as Truex fell into second.
Landon Cassill spun in turn 1 after contact with Clint Bowyer on the first lap after the restart and caution four came out. Kyle Busch got the free pass.
The leaders stayed out.
Kenseth and Truex were again on the front row when the green came out to start lap 186. This time Truex was able to hold on in the outside lane and take the lead. Harvick was third; Larson and Blaney followed.
Keselowski was looking for fifth on lap 189. He had the spot on lap 190. Kurt Busch followed tor sixth.
Harvick took second on lap 200.
Kenseth pitted on lap 225 starting a round of green flag stops.
Truex pitted on the next lap as did Larson and Kurt Busch among others.
Harvick pitted on lap 228. Keselowski, Hamlin and Elliott followed.
Larson reported a loose wheel on lap 229.
Kyle Busch had the lead as he had stayed out.
Kurt Busch pitted with a loose wheel on lap 233.
McDowell spun on lap 234 and caution five came out.
Nine cars were on the lead lap. Among them; Kyle Busch, and second place Logano.
Kyle Busch, Logano, Keselowski and Larson were the only ones to pit.
Larson had to re-pit with a loose wheel. He had pitted moments before with another loose wheel.
The top five when the green came out to start lap 239: Truex, Kenseth, Harvick, Blaney and Logano. Kyle Busch lined up sixth.
Truex had a clear lead by turn 1, Kenseth fell into second. Kenseth fought back and had the lead again to start the next lap; Blaney was third, Harvick and Kyle Busch were side by side for third. Harvick had the spot. Behind them Ray Black Jr. spun in Turn 2 and caution six came out on lap 242.
Logano was the only among the leaders to pit.
Earnhardt Jr. headed to the garage during the caution on lap 243 with possible brake problems. The crew diagnosed it as a left hub issue.
The top five when the green came out to start lap 246; Kenseth, Truex, Blaney, Harvick and Keselowski.
Kenseth on the inside had a slight lead as Truex fought back on the outside. Truex had the lead by the exit of Turn 3. Harvick was third, Blaney fourth, Keselowski fifth.
Jones took fifth on lap 250.
Blaney got loose and nearly spun out on lap 258 while running fourth; he held on and fell back to ninth. Keselowski had retaken fifth. The lead up front was under a half a second.
Jones got some damage when the field stacked up behind Blaney and was reporting a tire rub by lap 260.
Ray Black Jr. spun again on lap 270 and caution seven came out. The leaders all pitted.
Hamlin took two tires and was out first also taking two tires; Logano and Kahne. Truex and Harvick followed with 4 tires. Kenseth with 4 came out sixth.
Earnhardt came back out of the garage, 29 laps down.
Green came out to start lap 274.
As Hamlin and Logano were side by side for the lead, Truex lurked behind. Hamlin nearly lost it in turn 3 but held on and held the lead. Truex took over second. Kyle Busch pitted with a flat tire. Kahne was fourth behind Logano, Kenseth fifth.
Harvick was looking for fifth on lap 282; Larson hit the wall exiting Turn 4, tried to continue but spun and hit the wall hard exiting Turn 2 on lap 283, caution eight came out.
NASCAR put out the red flag to clean up the mess.
The top 10: Hamlin, Truex, Logano, Kahne, Harvick, Kenseth, Keselowski, Blaney, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Elliott.
The yellow came out after 10:29.
None of the leaders pitted. Johnson still two laps down did, and was penalized for an uncontrolled tire.
Green came out to start lap 288; Truex had the lead exiting Turn 2 Hamlin fell into second, Logano third. Harvick was fourth, Keselowski fifth.
Harvick took third on lap 300. He was looking for second by lap 305.
He took the spot a on lap 310 and was looking to erase a 1.2 second lead.
Truex caught lapped traffic on lap 312 and Harvick was reeling him in.
Harvick was within a half a second with 20 to go.
With 10 laps to go, Truex was again in lapped traffic. Truex slipped in Turn 2; Harvick got to the outside and took the lead.
From that point, even in lapped traffic, Harvick was pulling away.
With 5 laps to go the lead was nearing a second.
The lead was over 2 seconds with two laps to go.
There was no drama on the final lap as Harvick scored his first win at Texas Motor Speedway.
Behind Truex, Hamlin was third followed by Kenseth and Keselowski. Blaney was sixth, Logano seventh, Elliott eighth with Kurt Busch and Jones rounding out the top 10.
Other Playoff drivers: Kyle Busch finished 19th, Jimmie Johnson 27th.
With his win, Harvick is locked into the Round of 4; Truex with his second place is also locked in on points. One race remains for one more driver to make it into the Round of 4. That race happens at Phoenix Raceway next Sunday. The green flag will fall just after 2:30 pm. ET with live coverage on the NBC Sports Network.
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