It turns out, no one is invincible in NASCAR. At least this year, that’s what everyone has been thinking when it comes to Martin Truex Jr. Big track, small track, tight corners or even right-handers, no matter the track, the No. 78 team was outright dominant.
The most wins, the most playoff points, a regular season championship, and likely a spot in the final four is on the horizon.
But, even the best know they can be beat when the right circumstances come around.
When he saddled up and appeared to be the one that was going to get the win at Texas on Sunday, the man in second decided to make a long run and track him down. The Toyota juggernaut was chased down by a red and white Ford, and it was Mr. “Where’d He Come From” that decided to make the most of his opportunity. Kevin Harvick shrank the lead, and took over the top spot with 10 laps left, cruising his way to victory, and locking his “Happy” self into the Championship Four.
Truex may not have won, but it also was good for him to know he can be beat, so his team then can recoup and figure out a way to both win a race, and win the championship.
In a surprise, for the first time all year, the win by Harvick did not yield a victory in the standings. Although the battle to make it into the final four is extremely tight. One participant is locked in, but only 26 points separate second place from seventh. It is still wide open for the final three positions, and one bad decision could mean being out, while another moves in.
Here’s the updated standings after the AAA Texas 500:
Sal Sigala Jr. (4129) Chase Elliott finished 8th –  2 41*
Ashley Hobbs (4111) Mat Kenseth finished 4th –  2 40
Misan Akuya (4111) Ryan Blaney finished 6th –  0 38
Rob Blount (4098) Martin Truex Jr. finished 2nd –  1 21
Ashley Hull (4092) Chase Elliott finished 8th –  2 34
Billy Fellin (4085) Brad Keselowski finished 5th –  1 20
Rob Tiongson (4085) Chase Elliott finished 8th –  1 19
Patti Rodisch (2285) Chase Elliott finished 8th – 
Penny Whitecotton (2284) Ryan Blaney finished 6th – 
Ashley McCubbin (2261) Martin Truex Jr. finished 2nd – 
Dustin Parks (2243) Chase Elliott finished 8th – 
Dalton Hastings (2219) Jimmie Johnson finished 27th – 
Klarissa Mitchell (2148) NO PICK SENT – 
Next Race: One last opportunity remains before the field is set for a title is determined. One position is locked in for the League, two spots are taken in the Playoffs themselves. There is one last chance to make the push into the final round, and knock someone else from being there.
That final race in the third round takes place in a warm climate, even for November.
It is one of the final races that the Phoenix International Raceway will witness in it’s current configuration and look. Come 2018, the track will still have the same shape, but how the lap is run will be a bit different compared to previous seasons.
Participants, at the end of next week, the Championship Four will be determined. You are required to have those picks locked in by Thursday, November 9, at 10 p.m. ET for the Can-Am 500.