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On four fresh tires, Harvick charged from sixth to the victory over the final nine laps in the KC Masterpiece 400.

At a post-race news conference Saturday night, Truex and Logano were asked how they plan to stop Harvick when the season got to the playoffs.

It was smooth sailing from there.

Truex led the series with eight wins last season and ran up a huge lead in playoff points during the regular season.

Harvick held on the rest of the way to win for the third time at Kansas. Not as good as (Harvick), I can tell you that much.

"I thought we were going to be all right there", said Truex, who was trying for a third straight win at Kansas.

"I'm out of breath; I was so pumped to hear those fans screaming and yelling and have a great race".

To get the victory, the Stewart-Haas Racing driver had to not only pass Truex, but four others after a restart on Lap 259 of the 267-lap event. "All the fans, we appreciate you watching, Man that was a heck of a race".

Nobody has been able to keep pace with Kevin Harvick this season.

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He's just unstoppable. "But we just gotta be mentally locked in and have the mindset to come in and try to do it the best we can". You look at the Patriots. "It's a sports town, you look at the Patriots, you look at the Bruins, you look at the Red Sox".

Truex, however, was sitting pretty off the restart by easily clearing Joey Logano.

In the final stage, however, the No. 78 seemed to come to life and Truex moved into the lead on a restart with 14 laps remaining.

"I thought we were going to be all right there with three or four to go, my vehicle just got real tight, and I chattered the right front [tire] off of Turn 4, and I was like, oh boy", said Truex. "Because obviously if there was no damage, we'd probably get a penalty, and who knows we might still, but I got a ton of damage back there". If I go to the top, he's just going to catch me on the bottom.

"I thought, if it came down to it, I could pass him on the bottom, because my auto went through (Turns) 1 and 2 on the bottom, or I could drive through the middle of 3 and 4, but I just had to pick which lane".

The finish was a dramatic conclusion to a race that had been flying by. There were zero cautions through the first 237 laps of the race and then there were three in the span of about five minutes. Kyle Larson, Chevrolet, 267, Led 101 5.

Blaney got loose and came up the track just enough to make contact with Larson.

Larson had no trouble staying out front to the end of Stage 2, his first stage win since last season's finale at Homestead, with Harvick second, Blaney third and Kyle Busch and Logano rounding out the top five.

Matt Kenseth was involved in a multicar wreck with 15 laps to go and finished 36th in his return.