Author: Bob Pockrass
Date: November 4, 2018
FORT WORTH, Texas -- Kevin Harvick saved the day at Texas Motor Speedway.
It could be said that a driver winning for the eighth time this year -- leading 177 of 377 laps, including 65 of the final 80 -- and already pretty much a lock to make it to Homestead-Miami Speedway is of a ho-hum kind of day.
But if Harvick didn't win the AAA Texas 500 -- when he didn't make any pit road mistakes nor get involved in a crash -- the race would have been disappointing in the sense that the driver who clearly had the best car didn't win and couldn't do anything about it.
When Ryan Blaney passed him on a restart with 24 laps to go, it appeared Harvick might lose it. Granted, Blaney had a great car, but if he had won, it would have just emphasized even more what a track position game this was and just how difficult it was to pass at a track that two years ago went through a reconfiguration and a repave to try to spice up the racing.
"A lot of tire strategy, a lot of things happened today that turned into a track position-style race," Harvick said. "In the end, four [fresh] tires were faster than two tires. It took a little bit to pass. ... Look, repaves are difficult. I think they put in as much effort here as anywhere that we've gone."
"Our money spot was in the middle of [Turns] 1 and 2," Harvick said about the winning pass. "He hit the apron down there; we didn't. We were able to get by [Blaney]. ... It was just about keeping the pressure on him to try to keep him from hitting his marks.
"He wound up missing his marks. Luckily that was a lap that I hit mine."
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