Truex trying to keep focus on his title shot

Martin Truex Jr

Martin Truex Jr

Truex now ranks third of six drivers (25 points above the cutline) with two races left before the finale.

Drivers race down the front stretch as the green flag drops during the NASCAR MENCS AAA Texas 500 auto race at Texas Motor Speedway, Sunday, Nov. 4, 2018, in Fort Worth, Texas. He was able to pull away from Logano and Harvick on the final stage restart, soon being accompanied by Ryan Blaney as Penske drivers ran 1-2-3 on Lap 181. "I thought if I could keep him from finishing the corner, I could drive back by him".

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.

"When that type of stuff happens, you see scenarios like that, you have to be real with yourself to say that these are scenarios that you better enjoy because they probably won't last forever".

Harvick joins Martinsville victor Joey Logano, last Sunday's Martinsville victor in the title race. "When Homestead comes around if I am not in, he will know it".

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. Truex is 25 points ahead of Kurt Busch, who likely will need a victory at Phoenix to advance to the Championship 4. Blaney led seven laps before Harvick went under him and was again putting distance between them before Joey Gase's spin brought out the last of eight cautions.

"Had to start at the back, got to the front, hung around there for a while and then had a loose wheel there again". "That was really the only shot we had to beat him, to be honest with you". "We nearly caught him the first restart up top and then I did on the second one".

After scoring the third-place result in the second stage it appeared that Truex would be one of the drivers to contend for the overall win. "He motored around me".

Other Notables: #2 Brad Keselowski P12, #88 Alex Bowman P14, #48 Jimmie Johnson P15, #24 William Byron P16, #18 Kyle Busch P17, #14 Clint Bowyer P26, #11 Denny Hamlin P30.

The first hiccup for Truex was starting the 334-lap race from the rear of the field due to an engine change following Saturday's final practice.

The conditions in Texas led to a race that was more about strategy and position than pure speed or driver ability, a fact that frustrated some of the drivers.

"You never want to lose those types of days", said Harvick, who has finished in the top three in six of the last 10 races at TMS. He also dealt with a loose tire and had a pass-through penalty during the race for driving through too many pit boxes, and was a lap down before getting that back one the first of the late cautions. "If we don't make that call, I think (media) would be asking why we didn't". "It's inevitable, and it's not a flawless scenario, it's not what we all wanted, but I think everybody on the team has done an incredible job of focusing in on the right things and continue to perform at a high level". This became the decider of the playoff Round of 8 race.

"Honestly I feel like we've been so caught up in everything, and just so focused on trying to get back to Homestead and trying to repeat, we haven't really talked about it", Truex said.

The only stress for Harvick was lane choice for the overtime.

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