Kevin Harvick came into Texas knowing that it is one of his best tracks and he needed to show everyone that he still knew how to win a race. While he didn’t win any stages, he won the race and led a race high 119 laps, most of those in the final stage. Harvick started on the pole but was penalized after a tire infraction on pit road that sent him to the back.
Harvick’s win spearheaded a banner day for SHR, finishing 1-2-3 and Clint Bowyer finishing 11th as he led 36 laps. Second place Aric Almirola led 62 laps and Daniel Suarez came in third and led 25 laps.
As the teams head to Phoenix this week, the pressure is on. Denny Hamlin who has been so strong as of late with few mistakes had a bad day. He got loose, as several drivers did, and went sliding through the infield making a mess of his front end. He finished 28th and is now 20 points below the cut line. Hamlin has two top 5 and three top 10 finishes in his last 5 races and has led an impressive 233 laps, second only to Kyle Busch. If Joey Logano has even an average day, Hamlin will need to win to fulfill his destiny in 2019.
Busch is probably safe on points and has 2 recent wins at Phoenix as the highest rated driver. He has led 536 laps over the past 5 races. If they can bring a good car and he can avoid trouble, he looks like a shoe in to Homestead.
Joey Logano has to be sweating Phoenix. Although he finished 4th at Texas, Phoenix is not his best track and he needs to stay ahead of Denny Hamlin, Ryan Blaney and Kyle Larson. They all had decent runs at Texas but decent runs don’t mean much right now. But all of them think they can win at Phoenix. If one of those drivers wins, that puts Logano in a battle for the final transfer position.
Even though he was eliminated in the last round, Alex Bowman started 5th and finished 5th continuing his decent campaign this year. Kurt Busch and Erik Jones finished 9th and 10th respectively, rounding out the Top 10. Matt DiBenedetto continued his strong year with a 14th place finish after starting 10th.
In other fun news, Tony Stewart made fun of the way drivers fight today. He said that he could line up Hamlin and Logano next to each other and kick both their asses. While funny, it just goes to show that Smoke still believes he has some fighting chops and hasn’t gotten over his anger management issues.
Kurt Busch signed a multi-year to stay at Ganassi with Monster Energy as his sponsor. That doesn’t dispel the perpetual rumors of Kyle Larson heading to SHR, but it shows how much faith Ganassi has in Busch as a teammate.
And lastly, Roger Penske bought IMS (The Brickyard) and the Indycar series. Penske has been adamant that full time Indy drivers should be locked into the series events, including the Indy 500. Penske said:
“This isn’t up to the teams. I think it’s up to the people who run the series. They have to understand the impact. The same people they’re calling on to support the TV package and everything, to race the next week — if their car doesn’t make the Indy 500, it’s a ricochet that affects the whole season. I hope they understand that. You have to step back and do what’s best for the series and take the individual egos out of it and make the right decision.”
I guess that all means the final decision is his to make.
(Featured image courtesy of NASCAR Media)