Tha Sports Junkies 101

Kevin Harvick Wins First Career Texas Race, Championship 4 Berth



After the fireworks last week at Martinsville, the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series took to Texas for race 2 in the Round of 8. While Martin Truex Jr may have been the pre-race favorite, Kevin Harvick stood tall in victory lane after Texas.

The race started with Playoff pressure at its max. Kurt Busch was the polesitter with a track record lap in qualifying. However, Denny Hamlin would lead early. Kevin Harvick would win Stage 1 after taking the lead on lap 70.

While Kyle Larson may no longer be in the Playoffs, his team is still determined to win. Larson had a strong car at Texas. He won Stage 2 and led 74 laps. But, his day ended early with a wreck on lap 284. This marks the 3rd-straight DNF for Larson. Prior to last week, Larson never had consecutive retirements.

As is typical on mile-and-a-half tracks in 2017, the 78 team was very strong. After finishing 2nd and 4th in both stages, Martin Truex Jr was looking for his 8th win of 2017. He led 107 laps but finished the day in the runner up position. Kevin got around the 78 with 10 laps remaining, thanks to lapped traffic stalling Truex. After that, Harvick held on to win. In total, Kevin Harvick would lead 38 laps.

The remaining top 10 drivers were Truex, Hamlin, Matt Kenseth, Brad Keselowski, Ryan Blaney, Joey Logano, Chase Elliott, Kurt Busch, and Erik Jones. In his final Texas start, Dale Earnhardt Jr. finished 35th after a left-front hub failure.

Larger Significance for Kevin Harvick’s Win

This win marks Kevin Harvick’s first victory at Texas Motor Speedway in 30 attempts. His only winless tracks are now Pocono and Kentucky. Also, this win guarantees the 2014 champ a spot in the 2017 Final 4 at Homestead. In 4 attempts, team 4 has made it all the way to Homestead in 3 years.

In addition, Truex is also locked into Homestead based on points. After Texas, Truex has a 76 point cushion above the cut line, well over a full race’s worth of points. This leaves just 1 spot remaining in the Final 4 heading into elimination week at Phoenix. 5 drivers will battle it out to determine who will be the last man into Homestead.