Start/Finish: 3rd/1st (Running, completed 337 of 337 laps)
Point Standing: 1st with 4,143 points and one win, advances to Championship 4
Race Winner: Kevin Harvick of Stewart-Haas Racing (Ford)
Stage 1 Winner: Kevin Harvick of Stewart-Haas Racing (Ford)
Stage 2 Winner: Kevin Harvick of Stewart-Haas Racing (Ford)
Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-85):
● Kevin Harvick started third, finished first, earning 10 bonus points.
● The Mobil 1 Ford raced up to the second position on the restart and held steady until the competition caution at lap 30.
● The No. 4 Ford took two tires and fuel during the competition caution and came off pit road as the leader.
● The team held the lead for the remainder of the stage to score its series-best 17th stage win of the season.
● Harvick came to pit road at the conclusion of the stage for four tires, fuel and an air pressure adjustment.
Stage 2 Recap (Laps 86-170):
● Harvick started first, finished first, earning 10 bonus points.
● The No. 4 team chose to stay out following an early caution on lap 97 to keep the lead.
● Harvick surrendered the lead to come to pit road under green on lap 132 for four tires and fuel.
● He reclaimed the lead on lap 159 and continued out front for the rest of the stage to score his series-best 18th stage win of the season.
● Harvick came to pit road at the conclusion of the stage for four tires, fuel and a wedge adjustment. He rejoined third behind Joey Logano and Brad Keselowski, who took just two tires.
Final Stage Recap (Laps 171-337):
● Harvick started the stage third and finished first.
● He kept pace with the leaders over the next 51 laps and came down pit road from third place under caution for his next-to-last scheduled fuel-and-tire stop on lap 228, rejoining the race in fifth.
● Harvick was fourth when the race restarted on lap 231, and he motored his way back into the lead on lap 254. He stayed up front for the next 27 laps before pitting a final time for tires, fuel and an air-pressure adjustment under green.
● Twelve laps later, Harvick was the leader once again as the field cycled through the day’s final scheduled round of pit stops.
● The No. 4 team elected to keep Harvick on track during three caution periods over the final 40 laps to the scheduled race distance. Each time, Harvick was faced with restarting in the lead alongside Ryan Blaney.
● On the lap-302 restart, Harvick chose the inside lane and was able to hold off Blaney, keeping the lead until the next caution flag flew on lap 306.
● Harvick again chose the inside lane on the lap-310 restart, but this time Blaney slipped past for the lead, where he stayed until Harvick was able to get around him on lap 318.
● The caution flag flew a final time on lap 331, three laps before the scheduled 334-lap race distance, sending the event into overtime.
● Harvick chose the outside lane on that final restart. After Blaney took the initial advantage at the wave of the green flag, Harvick powered around the outside and drove away for the win.
Kevin Harvick, driver of the No. 4 Mobil 1 Ford Fusion for Stewart-Haas Racing:
“That last restart, I knew I needed to pick the top. I wanted to be on the bottom to be safe, because the top got such a good sidedraft getting into (turn) one and the outside groove got rubbered up. I thought if I could keep him (Blaney) from finishing the corner, I could drive back by him. It all worked out. Everything went well today on our Mobil 1 Ford, and we were able to get to victory lane. (Looking ahead to the Championship 4 at Homestead,) I think it is really just week to week. We don’t try to do anything different. We come to try to put ourselves in position to win. With the equipment we have right now, you need to take advantage of it. It might not be this way forever, so you want to take advantage of the situation, and today we did. It was a big day for all of us – for me, on the restarts and to win the race on the restart late at the end. The guys on pit road had a solid day and gained spots on pit road, and Rodney (Childers, crew chief) made great calls. All around, just a great day of execution.”
● Harvick will compete in the Championship 4 for the fourth time in the last five years. He won the championship in 2014.
● This was Harvick’s series-leading eighth victory of 2018 and his second victory in 32 career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series starts at Texas.
● Harvick won Stage 1 to earn 10 bonus points. He then won Stage 2 to earn an additional 10 bonus points. Harvick leads the series in stage wins with 18, eight more than any other driver.
● Harvick led five times for a race-high 177 laps to increase his laps-led total at Texas to 495.
● Harvick’s victory in the AAA Texas 500 marked the 58th overall win for SHR. It was the organization’s 51st points-paying Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series win and its third victory at Texas.
● Harvick’s win marked SHR’s series-leading 12th points-paying victory 34 races into the 2018 season. SHR also won the 2018 Monster Energy NASCAR All-Star Race.
● This was SHR’s 15th Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series victory with Ford. The team won its first race with Ford when Kurt Busch captured the 2017 Daytona 500.
● Harvick’s triumph delivered the 107th points-paying victory for Ford’s Fusion in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series. It was Ford’s 676th all-time win in the NASCAR Cup Series.
● This was Ford’s 14th Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series win at Texas, the most all-time among manufacturers.
● This was Harvick’s 45th career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series win and it gives him sole possession of 17th on the all-time NASCAR Cup Series win list.
● This was Harvick’s 22nd Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series victory since joining SHR in 2014.
● Harvick’s margin of victory over second-place Ryan Blaney was .447 of a second.
● Ford took five of the top-10 positions, including the top-three.
● There were eight caution periods for a total of 37 laps.
● Only 17 of the 40 drivers in the AAA Texas 500 finished on the lead lap.
Playoff Standing (with one race to go before the Championship 4):
1. Kevin Harvick (4,143) 1 win
2. Kyle Busch (4,128) +28
3. Martin Truex Jr. (4,125) +25
4. Joey Logano (4,119) 1 win
5. Kurt Busch (4,100) -25
6. Chase Elliott (4,086) -39
7. Aric Almirola (4,068) -57
8. Clint Bowyer (4,052) -73
● SHR is the only team to feature all four of its drivers in the Round of 8.
The next event on the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series schedule is the Can-Am 500k on Sunday, Nov. 11 at ISM Raceway near Phoenix. It is the penultimate race of the 10-race playoffs and the cutoff race to make the Championship 4. It starts at 2:30 p.m. EST with live coverage on NBC beginning at 1:30 p.m.