Texas Motor Speedway provided an unexpected finish in its first race after a mid-season repave, due largely to its two very different ends of the track. The repave took a couple degrees of banking out of turns one and two, meaning that drivers had to slow down from around 200 mph to about 165 through the first two turns, but they went easily 20 mph faster through turns three and four. This really played into Kevin Harvick’s hand, and he was able to do what nobody’s done in at least a few months – run down and pass the 78 car on a long run at a mile-and-a-half track for the win.
While Harvick might’ve stolen some momentum from Truex, the end result didn’t change much for the 78 team – they’ve racked up enough points that they’re guaranteed a spot in the final four going into Miami. With Harvick and Kyle Busch scoring the first two wins in this round they’ll advance too, and there’s only one spot left to be decided between 5 drivers in the final race of this round next weekend in Phoenix.
A poor-handling car and a questionable call in the pits left Jimmy Johnson three laps down with a 27th-place finish. As the points currently stand, Johnson and teammate Chase Elliot are 51 and 49 points behind Brad Keselowski in fourth. They’ll each need to grab the win this weekend to advance. Ryan Blaney is 22 points back, and Denny Hamlin sits 19 points behind Keselowski.
Sunday’s race starts at 1:30. We’ll have another update going into the final race next week.