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Kevin Harvick won the fall Cup race at Texas for the third year in a row Sunday, again taking one of the championship-contending spots at NASCAR’s season finale in two weeks.
Harvick won from the pole, leading 120 of 334 laps in the No. 4 Ford for Stewart-Haas Racing. He took the lead for the seventh and final time on lap 255, and finished 1 1/2 seconds ahead of teammate Aric Almirola. Daniel Suarez, another Stewart-Haas driver who is still unsigned for next season, finished third.
With Martin Truex Jr. already locked in for the final four Nov. 17 at Homestead-Miami Speedway, the final two spots for the title run will be determined next week at Phoenix.
Harvick entered Texas in fifth, below the cutline to race for the title.
Playoff contender Joey Logano finished fourth at the 1 1/2-mile Texas track, while Truex was sixth, ahead of Kyle Busch and Ryan Blaney, with Kyle Larson 12th. The other playoff contenders, Denny Hamlin and Chase Elliott, had accidents that put them deep in the field.
Hamlin was second in points starting the day, but he got loose coming out the fourth turn on the 81st lap and slid off the track and through the infield. He slammed hard across the grass and over asphalt.
His 28th-place finish, six laps behind Harvick, dropped Harvick to fifth and 20 points behind Logano in fourth.
Busch holds down the third spot in the standings, only two points ahead of Logano.