Harvick wins AAA Texas 500 to secure Championship 4 berth
Kevin Harvick claimed NASCAR's AAA Texas 500 as the playoff finale picture became much clearer.
Harvick won the race at Texas Motor Speedway to clinch a spot in the Championship 4 on Sunday.
The 43-year-old led 119 of the 334 laps to earn his fourth win of the year and the 49th of his career.
"Texas has always been so great to us," Harvick told NBCSN afterward.
Although anything can happen in the penultimate race of the season at Phoenix, the Championship 4 field for Homestead-Miami Speedway will include Harvick by virtue of his Texas win, and Martin Truex Jr – last week's winner at Martinsville.
Kyle Busch holds a 22-point advantage on the cut-off, and Joey Logano also has a big cushion on Denny Hamlin, who sits fifth in the standings.
A win by Hamlin, Ryan Blaney, Kyle Larson or Chase Elliott at Phoenix could vault them into the Championship 4 field.
Harvick led a strong day for Stewart-Haas Racing, with Aric Almirola finishing second and Daniel Suarez placing third for a 1-2-3 finish.
Seven-time NASCAR Cup champion Jimmie Johnson – seeking his first win since June 2017 – led 40 laps but saw his chances of victory vanish when he smacked the wall while running in the top five.