Kevin Harvick Wins and Martin Truex Jr. Clinches in NASCAR Race at Texas Motor Speedway [VIDEO, PHOTOS]

Kevin Harvick won the AAA Texas 500 which clinched his spot in the NASCAR Championship Four. Martin Truex Jr. also clinched his spot finishing second at Texas Motor Speedway.

The race began with Kyle Busch being the only NASCAR playoff driver knowing for sure that he would be one of the four drivers that will get to race for the championship in two weeks at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Kyle clinched his spot in the final four with his win the previous week in Martinsville. The remaining seven drivers in the Round of Eight knew that a Texas win would put them in the same locked in scenario as Kyle.

The 500-mile race had its share of storylines as it unwound lap-by-lap. Some drivers had mechanical issues, some had on track incidents and others seemed to be in the hunt for the win from start to finish.

Kevin Harvick was one of 13 drivers to exchange the lead of the race 27 times. Kevin managed to be at the front of the field at the end of stage one. Kyle Larson was another driver to lead the race multiple times and was out front at the conclusion of stage two. However, Kyle was one of the drivers that found drama at Texas Motor Speedway crashing late in the race to ruin his day.

Martin Truex Jr. spent the majority of the time showing again that he is the car to beat on the mile-and-a-half tracks as he has done all season. Martin led a race high 107 of the 334 laps in the race. However, Kevin Harvick was able to get his #4 Ford dialed in and run Martin down as the race was coming to the final laps. Kevin got by Martin on lap 325 and held the lead for the final 10 laps to score his first ever win at Texas Motor Speedway in NASCAR’s top division.

Martin Truex Jr. held on for a runner-up finish with Denny Hamlin claiming the third place finish. Matt Kenseth and Brad Keselowski finished in fourth and fifth place respectively. See the complete race results for the AAA Texas 500 here.

With the win, Kevin Harvick locks himself into the Championship Four Round with a chance to win the 2017 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Championship. Martin Truex Jr. did not win and therefore does not get the automatic advance to the final round like Kevin and Kyle Busch by winning in the Round of Eight. However, Martin has scored enough points that he is guaranteed a spot in the final four at Homestead-Miami regardless of what happens in the final race of this round.

That means the remaining five playoff drivers still in contention for the championship will all be doing all they can to win this coming weekend at Phoenix Raceway in the Can-Am 500.

By: Buck Stevens