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Fort Worth, Texas — Kevin Harvick and the Stewart-Haas Racing team had already been preparing for NASCAR’s finale. With another win at Texas, they now know they will be racing for a Cup title in two weeks.

Harvick won the fall race at Texas for the third year in a row Sunday, again securing one of the championship-contending spots for the Nov. 17 season-ending race at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

“Well, we’ve already been going down the road,” Harvick said from Victory Lane in Texas. “We’ve already been to the simulator, we’ve already built the car, and now we’ve just got to make sure that we do what we think is right and go with our gut and see what happens.”

After starting from the pole, Harvick led 119 of 334 laps and paced a 1-2-3 finish for Stewart-Haas. He had gotten to Texas fifth in points, below the cutline for a championship run.

“It’s a scenario that takes a lot of pressure off next week,” car owner Tony Stewart said. “It does take that edge off. … It’s big for the organization.”

Harvick led six times in the No. 4 Ford, including the final 21 laps and 73 of the last 80, and finished 1½ seconds ahead of teammate Aric Almirola. Daniel Suarez, the Stewart-Haas driver still unsigned for next season, was third.

With Martin Truex Jr. already locked in for the final four at Homestead, the final two spots for the title run will be determined next week at Phoenix. At least one driver will get in on points.

“It is going to be a good battle for sure,” said Logano, the defending Cup champion who remained in fourth in points after finishing fourth in the No. 22 Team Penske Ford at Texas. “We are definitely racing for that last spot just in case someone behind us outside of the top four wins. … It’s going to be fun.”

Kyle Busch is third in the standings, only two points ahead of Logano.

“We all know one guy is going to move through on points and we have to do whatever we have to do in order to be that guy,” Busch said.

Truex finished sixth at Texas, a week after clinching his title chance with a win at Martinsville. Playoff contenders Busch and Ryan Blaney were seventh and eighth, with Kyle Larson 12th. The other contenders, Denny Hamlin and Chase Elliott, had accidents that put them deep in the field.

Hamlin’s 28th-place finish, six laps behind Harvick, dropped him from second to fifth in the standings. He is 20 points behind Logano, and only three ahead of both Larson and Blaney. Elliott is 78 points outside the final four.

Harvick’s fourth win this year was the 49th of his career, matching Stewart for 14th on NASCAR’s career list. Harvick’s only championship in his 19 Cup seasons came after a win in the finale at Miami five years ago.

“I think every year is different. For me, I would tell you that I don’t think we’ve run as well as we probably wanted to run week in and week out compared to the things that we expect,” Harvick said. “But this particular year has been neat for me to sit back and watch the evolution of how we progressed with the race cars, how the conversations have progressed, how my theories and things I think are right and wrong have changed.”

Hamlin got loose coming out the fourth turn on the 81st lap and slid off the track and through the infield. The No. 11 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota was damaged after slamming hard across the grass and over asphalt.

“Just lost control. That’s all there is to it,” Hamlin said. “Did the best we could, and we’ll go to Phoenix and try to win. … There’s no doubt in my mind that we can go there and win. In these circumstances, I like the challenge.”

Formula One

In Austin, Texas, Lewis Hamilton secured his sixth Formula One championship with a second-place finish at the U.S. Grand Prix, a race won by his Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas.

The British driver now ranks second in F1 history behind German Michael Schumacher’s record seven titles. Hamilton has won the last three season championships and locked this one up with two races left.

He has been a dominant force at the Circuit of the Americas, with five wins here since it opened in 2012, but a poor qualifying set up a start from fifth.

Hamilton quickly bolted to third on the first lap as he passed the Ferraris of Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc. From there, Hamilton looked to be in the hunt for his sixth win at the track while knowing he could coast in for the championship, because a finish as low as eighth would clinch it.

Sunday was the second time Hamilton secured the championship in Austin, matching his 2015 title, when he fought off Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg in the final laps to get the victory. In 2017 and 2018, he clinched the title in Mexico City without reaching the podium either time.

“It’s an honor to be up here with these (past) greats,” Hamilton said. “My dad taught me when I was like 6 or 7 years old to never give up. That’s our family motto.”

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