Kevin Harvick’s second win of the season couldn’t have come at a better time, as the former champion is automatically through to the championship race by virtue of his win. Larry Papke AP
Kevin Harvick’s second win of the season couldn’t have come at a better time, as the former champion is automatically through to the championship race by virtue of his win. Larry Papke AP

NASCAR & Auto Racing

NASCAR Cup Series | Results and 3 takeaways from Sunday’s race at Texas

By Brendan Marks

bmarks@charlotteobserver.com

November 05, 2017 07:14 PM

UPDATED November 05, 2017 07:15 PM

Kevin Harvick won his second race of the season on Sunday at Texas Motor Speedway, but there are other implications from the race as well. Here are the three biggest takeaways from Sunday’s AAA Texas 500 race:

1. Kevin Harvick is into the championship race at Homestead

Harvick’s second win of the season couldn’t have come at a better time, as the former champion is automatically through to the championship race by virtue of his win. That isn’t to say he hasn’t been a contender all season, because he has. This race included, Harvick has finished in the Top 10 in four of the last five races (the lone exception being Talladega). Considering his incredible history at Homestead – he hasn’t finished outside the Top 10 there since 2007, and he’s been in the Top 3 three years running – he may just be able to steal away his second title.

2. Martin Truex Jr. didn’t win, but he’s in too

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Truex couldn’t add another 1.5-mile win to his already-impressive resume this season, but in the grand scheme of things, it doesn’t matter. His massive points lead coming into the playoffs hasn’t deteriorated yet, and Sunday it was enough to get him through to Homestead without a win. Truex has been the fastest car all season long, but Homestead hasn’t exactly been his best track historically. At least now he’ll get the chance to redeem himself, and on the grandest of stages.

3. Who will be the last driver through?

We know three of the names who will compete for a championship in two weeks, but there’s still one more space up for grabs. It’ll come down to Phoenix next weekend, and essentially it will be winner take all. If Brad Keselowski, Jimmie Johnson, Ryan Blaney, Denny Hamlin, or Chase Elliott want to get in, they’ll almost certainly need a win. There’s a chance that one of the drivers already through wins, in which case the points will determine the fourth driver, but a win would ease any uncertainty. I like Hamlin and Keselowski’s chances, but it’s impossible to count out Johnson just yet. If I had to bet today, I think Johnson steals the win and gets in.

Considering Kevin Harvick’s incredible history at Homestead, he may just be able to steal away his second Cup Series championship.
Larry Papke AP

AAA Texas 500

The full race results, from the Associated Press:

Sunday

At Texas Motor Speedway

Fort Worth, Texas

Lap length: 1.50 miles

(Start position in parentheses)

1. (3) Kevin Harvick, Ford, 334 laps, 0 rating, 59 points.

2. (7) Martin Truex Jr, Toyota, 334, 0, 51.

3. (2) Denny Hamlin, Toyota, 334, 0, 47.

4. (35) Matt Kenseth, Toyota, 334, 0, 40.

5. (10) Brad Keselowski, Ford, 334, 0, 32.

6. (8) Ryan Blaney, Ford, 334, 0, 42.

7. (36) Joey Logano, Ford, 334, 0, 30.

8. (34) Chase Elliott, Chevrolet, 334, 0, 35.

9. (1) Kurt Busch, Ford, 334, 0, 38.

10. (4) Erik Jones, Toyota, 334, 0, 34.

11. (19) Kasey Kahne, Chevrolet, 334, 0, 26.

12. (12) Ricky Stenhouse Jr, Ford, 334, 0, 25.

13. (15) Austin Dillon, Chevrolet, 334, 0, 27.

14. (6) Daniel Suarez, Toyota, 334, 0, 24.

15. (18) Aric Almirola, Ford, 334, 0, 22.

16. (16) AJ Allmendinger, Chevrolet, 334, 0, 21.

17. (14) Danica Patrick, Ford, 333, 0, 20.

18. (13) Jamie McMurray, Chevrolet, 333, 0, 19.

19. (5) Kyle Busch, Toyota, 333, 0, 18.

20. (25) Ryan Newman, Chevrolet, 333, 0, 17.

21. (23) Michael McDowell, Chevrolet, 333, 0, 16.

22. (26) Chris Buescher, Chevrolet, 333, 0, 15.

23. (21) Paul Menard, Chevrolet, 332, 0, 14.

24. (27) Ty Dillon, Chevrolet, 332, 0, 13.

25. (28) Matt DiBenedetto, Ford, 332, 0, 12.

26. (22) Landon Cassill, Ford, 331, 0, 11.

27. (9) Jimmie Johnson, Chevrolet, 331, 0, 10.

28. (37) Trevor Bayne, Ford, 330, 0, 9.

29. (29) Cole Whitt, Chevrolet, 330, 0, 8.

30. (24) David Ragan, Ford, 329, 0, 7.

31. (38) Reed Sorenson, Chevrolet, 325, 0, 6.

32. (30) Joey Gase, Chevrolet, 322, 0, 0.

33. (32) Jeffrey Earnhardt, Chevrolet, 322, 0, 4.

34. (31) Ray Black Jr, Chevrolet, 305, 0, 0.

35. (17) Dale Earnhardt Jr, Chevrolet, 304, 0, 2.

36. (20) Clint Bowyer, Ford, 303, 0, 1.

37. (11) Kyle Larson, Chevrolet, accident, 282, 0, 18.

38. (33) David Starr, Chevrolet, accident, 237, 0, 0.

39. (39) Corey Lajoie, Toyota, engine, 227, 0, 1.

40. (40) Gray Gaulding, Toyota, engine, 159, 0, 1.

Race Statistics

Average Speed of Race Winner: 143.239 mph.

Time of Race: 3 hours, 29 minutes, 52 seconds.

Margin of Victory: 1.580 seconds.

Caution Flags: 8 for 40 laps.

Lead Changes: 27 among 14 drivers.

Lap Leaders: Ku.Busch 0; D.Hamlin 1-46; K.Larson 47-53; A.Dillon 54; C.Elliott 55; M.McDowell 56-59; R.Newman 60; K.Larson 61-69; K.Harvick 70-88; D.Hamlin 89-91; K.Harvick 92-97; K.Larson 98-143; M.Kenseth 144-154; D.Earnhardt 155-157; K.Kahne 158-160; K.Larson 161-172; K.Harvick 173; M.Kenseth 174-184; M.Truex 185-225; K.Harvick 226-227; Ky.Busch 228-234; J.Logano 235; M.Truex 236-238; M.Kenseth 239-245; M.Truex 246-271; D.Hamlin 272-287; M.Truex 288-324; K.Harvick 325-334

Leaders Summary (Driver, Times Led, Laps Led): M.Truex, 4 times for 103 laps; K.Larson, 4 times for 70 laps; D.Hamlin, 3 times for 62 laps; K.Harvick, 5 times for 33 laps; M.Kenseth, 3 times for 26 laps; Ky.Busch, 1 time for 6 laps; M.McDowell, 1 time for 3 laps; D.Earnhardt, 1 time for 2 laps; K.Kahne, 1 time for 2 laps; Ku.Busch, 1 time for 0 laps; A.Dillon, 1 time for 0 laps; C.Elliott, 1 time for 0 laps; J.Logano, 1 time for 0 laps; R.Newman, 1 time for 0 laps.

Wins: M.Truex, 7; Ky.Busch, 5; K.Larson, 4; J.Johnson, 3; B.Keselowski, 3; D.Hamlin, 2; K.Harvick, 2; R.Stenhouse, 2; R.Blaney, 1; Ku.Busch, 1; A.Dillon, 1; K.Kahne, 1; J.Logano, 1; R.Newman, 1.

Top 16 in Points: 1. M.Truex, 4168; 2. Ky.Busch, 4118; 3. K.Harvick, 4112; 4. B.Keselowski, 4111; 5. D.Hamlin, 4092; 6. R.Blaney, 4089; 7. C.Elliott, 4062; 8. J.Johnson, 4060; 9. M.Kenseth, 2255; 10. K.Larson, 2255; 11. Ku.Busch, 2177; 12. K.Kahne, 2176; 13. A.Dillon, 2175; 14. R.Stenhouse, 2171; 15. J.McMurray, 2165; 16. R.Newman, 2147.

NASCAR Driver Rating Formula

A maximum of 150 points can be attained in a race.

The formula combines the following categories: Wins, Finishes, Top-15 Finishes, Average Running Position While on Lead Lap, Average Speed Under Green, Fastest Lap, Led Most Laps, Lead-Lap Finish.