The Latest on the NASCAR Cup race at Texas Motor Speedway (all times local):
Kevin Harvick has also won the second stage at the NASCAR Cup race in Texas, the fourth time this season he’s won both stages in a race.
If Harvick can hold on and win Sunday at the 1 1/2-mile track, he would lock in one of the four championship-contending spots for the season finale in two weeks.
Martin Truex Jr., the defending Cup champion, was third, ahead of Joey Logano, the only driver who is already assured of racing for the championship at Homestead.
The standing of the other playoff contenders through two stages: Aric Almirola in sixth, Kurt Busch in ninth, Chase Elliott in 10th, Kyle Busch in 14th and Clint Bowyer in 28th.
The second stage ended on lap 170 of the scheduled 334-lap race.
NASCAR says it erred in sending Jimmie Johnson’s No. 48 car to back of the field for the start of the race in Texas.
Johnson, who had qualified 23rd, was put at the back of the field after twice failing prerace inspection.
He passed inspection on the third try, and should have been able to start in his original qualifying spot. Johnson, a seven-time Cup champion, isn’t in contention for the title this season.
Kevin Harvick, one of seven title contenders still trying to lock in a championship shot, has won the first stage of the NASCAR Cup race in Texas.
Harvick led 53 of the first 85 laps of the scheduled 334-lap race Sunday at the 1 ½-mile track. He was ahead of Kurt Busch, who is also still alive in the playoff.
Joey Logano already has clinched one of the four championship-contending spots at Homestead in two weeks.
Clint Bowyer, who started on the front row but had contact with Denny Hamlin on the first lap, was the only of the remaining title contenders outside of the top 10. He was running 30th, and two laps behind the leader.
Defending Cup champion Martin Truex Jr., who had to start at the back of the field after an engine change, was fifth in the first stage, just ahead of Logano and Kyle Busch. Chase Elliott and Aric Almirola, who had gone to the back of the field for the start because of unapproved body modifications, rounded out the top 10.
Championship contenders Martin Truex Jr. and Aric Almirola are moving up after having to start Sunday at the rear of the field for the NASCAR Cup race at Texas.
Truex had moved back to 15th in the 40-car field, and Almirola was 19th when a competition caution came out 30 laps into the scheduled 334-lap race. Almirola qualified fourth, before unapproved body modifications. Truex, who qualified 13th, made an engine change after practice Saturday.
The competition caution was put into place after heavy rain overnight washed rubber off the track.
Pole sitter Ryan Blaney led every lap before the first stop.
Clint Bowyer, a title contender who started on the front row with Blaney, made contact with Denny Hamlin after sliding up on the track in the first turn on the first lap. Bowyer was running 37th at the stop.
Another championship contender was pushed to the back of the field for the start of the NASCAR Cup race at Texas, the second-to-last race before the season finale.
Aric Almirola, who has qualified fourth and was to start on the second row, had to go to the rear of the field because of unapproved body modifications. Martin Truex Jr. had already been moved from 13th to the back for an engine change.
There were several other cars also pushed to the rear for other issues, including the No. 48 of Jimmie Johnson after failing prerace inspection twice. Johnson and crew chief Chad Knaus are making their 600th start together.
Defending NASCAR Cup champion Martin Truex Jr. is starting from the back of the field in Texas.
Truex had qualified 13th but moved to the back of the field for the start of Sunday’s race. His team made an engine change in the No. 78 Toyota after practice. He almost won last week at Martinsville to ensure the chance for a championship repeat before Joey Logano’s bump-and-run move on the last lap.
Logano, the only driver locked into a championship shot at Miami in the season finale in two weeks, starts eighth.
That leaves three spots still up for grabs for Homestead. 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.
Source: The Associated Press