NASCAR Cup Series: Aric Almirola must win at Phoenix to advance

07 November, 2018, 07:57 | Author: Suzanne Horton
  • Ryan Blaney and Brandon Jones at Texas Motor Speedway- NASCAR Xfinity

"We have two important races here where I am in a position to run for a championship", Truex said.

Streaking away from pole victor Ryan Blaney during an overtime restart on Lap 336, Harvick won Sunday's AAA Texas 500 at Texas Motor Speedway with the utmost of authority, sweeping the stages and leading a race-high 177 laps on the way to his series-best eighth victory of the season and a guaranteed spot in the November 18 Championship 4 race at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

Harvick blew past Ryan Blaney on the overtime restart and secured his spot in the championship by defending his title in the race. Truex is among seven playoff contenders, including all four Stewart-Haas Racing drivers starting in the top seven, who would claim a championship-contending spot with a win Sunday.

Will Aric Almirola win the Can-Am 500 to clinch a berth in the 2018 NASCAR Cup Series Championship 4? Harvick said that he thought if he could prevent him from concluding the corner, he could drive back by him.

Kevin Harvick gave the checkered flag to a young fan he brought onto the track to take a selfie - one with the winning driver and vehicle that will have a shot at another NASCAR Cup championship.

Harvick took the top line on the restart, and after Blaney pulled slightly ahead, Harvick rocketed past him and held on for the victory.

"They were hard. They were challenging", Blaney said about the restarts.

In a race that produced a last-lap pass for the win, a record 13 cautions and an unmitigated disaster for favorite son Christopher Bell, Cole Custer moved past Tyler Reddick on the backstretch to win. "I am not going to let what happened last week take my focus off of that".

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

Blaney had taken the lead after the second restart in that final stretch, but Harvick had gone back in front and was still in the lead when Joey Gase's spin brought out the eighth caution.

Harvick was on the inside again for the next restart, before Blaney was able to get by him on the outside and into the lead.


Truex has a 25-point cushion on the current playoff cutoff going into the second race of the three-race third (semifinal) round of the Cup playoffs, ESPN notes. "He motored around me".

Of those only Logano was a factor as he led 54 laps.

Jimmie Johnson was incorrectly sent to the back of the field moments before the race began. Aric Almirola (eighth Sunday) and Clint Bowyer (26, after contact with Denny Hamlin's Toyota on Lap 1) are both in must-win situations.

Neither Truex nor Kyle Busch had a great race on Sunday, though they salvaged reasonable results to stay well above the playoff cut line.

Martin Truex Jr. came to pit road early on Lap 247 to correct a loose left front wheel and in the process drove through too many pit boxes entering his stall.

"I think he was a little frustrated and that is part of it".

"We were a third place auto and that restart there where we finally were in position we fought all day from the back and started at the tail and worked diligently all day to get up to the front and finally got ourselves in position to at least have a shot and race with those guys", Almirola said of the final restart of the day.

"He just continues to make things harder on himself".

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

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

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