Harvick punches ticket to semi-final round of Chase


Kevin Harvick and Jimmie Johnson punched their tickets to the Round of Eight in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup with victories in consecutive weeks at intermediate tracks, the former winning the Hollywood Casino 400.

Last Sunday, it was Johnson winning at Charlotte Motor Speedway, and seven days later it was Harvick pulling away late at Kansas Speedway for his 35th career win and his fourth this season. 

"To be able to do that now for three years says a lot about the character of this team," Harvick told NBC Sports after the race.

"There's going to be some bumps along the way, some obstacles. We just have the mindset of every race in the Chase to just go for it."

Home-track favourite Carl Edwards finished second, followed by Joey Logano, Johnson and reigning Cup champion Kyle Busch. 

"That was hard fought. I am still breathing hard," Logano said. "We did what we had to do. We wanted to get a solid top-five and if we could win that is what we wanted."

Heading into the final race of the Round of 12 at the unpredictable Talladega Superspeedway before four drivers are eliminated from the Chase, Logano, Austin Dillon, Denny Hamlin, Brad Keselowski and Chase Elliott are in the biggest danger of not moving on.

Hamlin, Keselowski and Elliott all had issues during the Hollywood Casino 400. 

Hamlin lost significant ground early in the race with a splitter issue from which he reportedly had tyre damage.

Keselowski sustained heavy damage to his car - and his championship hopes - after contact with Hamlin ruined his day, having been strong for 189 laps.

Elliott led four laps on the day but fell off the pace when a flat left rear forced him to pit under caution late in the race.