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

Rex Christensen
November 8, 2018

The driver of the No. 4 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford, Harvick led a race-best 177 laps in the 337-lap race.

With Harvick and Martinsville victor Joey Logano in the No. 22 Ford of Team Penske locked in, the series goes to Phoenix next week with only two spots up for grabs for the championship run at Homestead.

Harvick was the only one of so-called Big Three to avoid trouble on Sunday. Harvick continued to lead the way on the restart on Lap 101.

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

Will Aric Almirola win the Can-Am 500 to clinch a berth in the 2018 NASCAR Cup Series Championship 4? Kurt Busch found himself in third as a result, giving the Las Vegas-native an opportunity to advance in the running order. "Obviously Blaney had a good restart and we're not taking the bottom anymore". I figured when he took the top, it was going to take a really good push and position into 1 to have a prayer at it.

"For whatever reason we've run well on the old-style racetrack [at TMS] and the new racetrack".

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.

"We don't come here to count our fingers and toes to try to figure out how we're going to make it". Today was one of those days it went with the speed and everybody executed really well.

When the green-flag cycle of stops had completed on Lap 160, Harvick returned to the lead, followed by Jimmie Johnson, Blaney, Truex and Keselowski.

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The victory was Harvick's second at TMS with the first coming a year ago.

Kevin Harvick earned a shot at another NASCAR Cup championship, rocketing past polesitter Ryan Blaney in overtime Sunday to win at Texas.

Harvick was on the inside again for the next restart, but Blaney was able to get by him for the lead.

"If he would have went in there on my right rear I would have been OK but we went in side-by-side and if I sailed off as fast as he did I would have sailed off and wrecked us both".

It did happen for Harvick, who won't change plans for next weekend's race in Phoenix despite already being locked into the championship after his 45th career win.

UP NEXT: The last race in the third round of the playoffs, Sunday at Phoenix.

The same is true for sixth-place Texas finisher Chase Elliott (39 points below the cut line).

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

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