FORT WORTH, Texas – A sneaky-fast Kevin Harvick pounced late to steal the opening stage of the AAA Texas 500 Sunday at Texas Motor Speedway, grabbing the first green-checkered flag of the day in the hottest race ever at the Fort Worth facility.
In a caution-free opening stint, Harvick used a huge run off turn two to blow past Kyle Larson on the backstretch and ran away from his pursuers, leading the final 16 laps of the 85-lap segment for his sixth stage win of the season.
Harvick edged out Martin Truex Jr. by .347 of a second at the start-finish line.
Though Kurt Busch started from the pole after setting the fastest lap ever on a 1.5-mile track in qualifying on Friday, he didn’t lead a lap at the start as Denny Hamlin charged to the point from the outside pole position.
Meanwhile, contact between Kyle Busch and Brad Keselowski in the opening set of corners dropped both of them off the lead lap after they had to make early, unscheduled pit stops.
Hamlin dominated the first half of the stage over Erik Jones, but Larson blew past Hamlin exiting turn four on lap 47 and held the point until making his pit stop for service on the 54th circuit.
By the time green flag stops had cycled through, it was Larson reinheriting the top spot with 61 laps completed, but it only took nine more rounds before Harvick had moved his No. 4 Mobil 1 Ford to the front for good in the stage.
Truex crossed the line second ahead of Hamlin, Larson and Kurt Busch.
Erik Jones was sixth, with Matt Kenseth, Ryan Blaney, Austin Dillon and Daniel Suarez completed the points-scoring drivers in the top 10 at the first stage break.
About the Writer
Jacob Seelman is the Managing Editor of Race Chaser Online and creator of the Motorsports Madness radio show, airing at 7 p.m. Eastern every Monday on the Performance Motorsports Network, as well as a periodic contributor to SPEED SPORT Magazine.
Seelman grew up in the sport, watching his grandparents co-own the RaDiUs Motorsports NASCAR Cup Series team in the 1990s.
The 23-year-old is currently studying Broadcast Journalism at Winthrop University in Rock Hill, S.C., and is also serving as the full-time tour announcer for the Must See Racing Sprint Car Series.
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