Kevin Harvick handed over the checkered flag to young fan he called on to the track to pose for a selfies, one with the triumphant driver and auto that will have a shot at another NASCAR Cup championship.
"We were a third place vehicle and that restart there where we finally were in position we fought all day from the back and started at the tail and worked diligently all day to get up to the front and finally got ourselves in position to at least have a shot and race with those guys", Almirola said of the final restart of the day. He swept both stages and led a race-high 177 laps.
Succeeding taking the inside on the first two restarts and concisely getting defeated in the lead after the second one, Harvick chose to commence from outside for the green-white-checkered end. By time they got to the backstretch, Harvick had pushed his No. 4 Ford in front and raced to his eighth win of this season. "I thought if I could keep him from finishing the corner, I could drive back by him". "It all worked out". Harvick clinches a spot in the championship final four in two weeks. We don't count our fingers and our toes trying to figure out how to make it in (to the Championship 4 race).
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"He made it really hard on me today which was really unnecessary. Today we earned our way in, and we're going to race again next week (at Phoenix) and try to win another race and then see what we can do at Homestead".
Kyle Busch of JGR left TMS in third place and Martin Truex Jr. of Furniture Row Racing fourth. So Harvick picked the top lane for the first time and roared around Blaney in Turn 1. Harvick was already starting to rebuild his lead - it had been almost 4 seconds before the caution - when another yellow flag came out.
Harvick started on the inside on restarts on laps 303 and 311.
The victory was Harvick's first since MI in August, and it broke a streak of bad luck during which the driver of the No. 4 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford led laps but failed to find Victory Lane, thanks to mechanical issues or pit road mistakes. Blaney was the only challenger he really had, and that only came on restarts. Like I told you guys before the race, we don't race for points. We got by him one restart and I just couldn't hold him off. ... "When Homestead comes around if I am not in, he will know it".