"Today we earned our way in, and we're going to race again next week (at Phoenix) and try to win another race and then see what we can do at Homestead".
Halfway through the final stage, Keselowski would fall victim to a loose wheel and drop outside the top-10, leaving the usual pack of Harvick, Logano, and Blaney to duke it out.
"I don't know what genius made a decision to pave this place or take the banking out of [Turns] 1 and 2", Chase Elliot told reporters. Kurt Busch and Erik Jones round out the top 3. Logano finished third a week after securing his playoff spot.
Truex, who was close to clinching a title spot before that bump-and-run by Logano on the final lap to win at Martinsville last week, finished ninth after at Texas. After Harvick regained the lead, he held it until a late caution forced a two-lap overtime session. Harvick was already starting to rebuild his lead - it had been almost 4 seconds before the caution - when another yellow flag came out.
When the green-flag cycle of stops had completed on Lap 160, Harvick returned to the lead, followed by Jimmie Johnson, Blaney, Truex and Keselowski. "That was really the only shot we had to beat him, to be honest with you".
"They were hard. They were challenging", Blaney said about the restarts. The last one, he took the top, like I knew he was going to go.
Bowyer was involved in first-lap rub with Denny Hamlin. "He motored around me". However, any of the eight remaining playoff drivers can qualify for the final four by winning next week at Phoenix, giving Kurt Busch, Elliott, Aric Almirola, and Clint Bowyer a fighting chance of breaking through and eliminating one of the "Big Three" that have dominated the NASCAR season.
The Joe Gibbs Racing No. 19, driven by Daniel Suárez, and the JTG-Daugherty No. 37 driven by Chris Buescher have also changed engines and will start the AAA 500 from the back. If I sailed off in there as fast as he did, I would have got loose, wrecked us both. He also had a pass-through penalty during the race for driving through too many pit boxes, and was a lap down before getting that back one the first of the late cautions. "The only difference is there's one less spot available". We finally knocked that barrier down (with a win in last year's Playoff race at TMS).
"The 42 (Larson) gave me a heck of a push, but I didn't quite get far enough ahead of the 4 into (Turn) 1", Blaney said.