Dale Earnhardt Jr. goes out in style in Texas

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Kevin Harvick burns his tires in front of the grand stand after winning the NASCAR Cup Series auto race at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, Texas, Sunday, Nov. 5, 2017. (AP Photo/Larry Papke)

Dale Earnhardt Jr. goes out in style in Texas

The crowds were huge and there was record breaking heat on and off the track at the Texas Motor Speedway Sunday. It was 92 degrees in Fort Worth, the hottest for a cup event at the Texas Motor Speedway.

Kurt Busch (41) and Denny Hamlin (11) head out after an early pit stop during a NASCAR Cup Series auto race at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, Texas, Sunday, Nov. 5, 2017. (AP Photo/LM Otero)

Fans in Texas got one last look at Dale Earnhardt Jr., who will be retiring after this season. He actually led the AAA Texas 500 for 3 laps. It had been 6 years since Earnhardt Jr. led a race at the Texas Motor Speedway. At he end Earnhardt would come in 35th and 30 laps behind winner Kevin Harvick. Unfortunately, Earnhardt Jr. spent a big part of the second half of the race in the garage with a damaged left front hub.

Kurt Busch (41) races against Erik Jones (77) and Joey Gase (7) during a NASCAR Cup Series auto race at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, Texas, Sunday, Nov. 5, 2017. (AP Photo/Larry Papke)

“It wasn’t bad,” said Earnhardt “The car ran about 11th to 20th all weekend. We’ve got to get a little bit better to beat some of those guys up (front), but I was having a good time.”

Martin Truex Jr. had his second consecutive runner-up finish. In the last five playoff races, Truex has two wins and two seconds. Harvick, of Stewart-Haas Racing, ended a daunting 0-for-29 streak dating to 2001 in Cup around TMS’ high-banked/1.5-mile oval when he completed a pass around Truex Jr. exiting the re-profiled Turn 1 and 2 complex on Lap 325 of the scheduled 334-lapper.

Kevin Harvick celebrates in victory lane after winning the NASCAR Cup Series auto race at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, Texas, Sunday, Nov. 5, 2017. (AP Photo/Larry Papke)

With the win, Harvick joined Playoff points leader Truex Jr. and Kyle Busch in the Championship 4 event set for Homestead-Miami Speedway on Nov. 19.

“I’m happy to finally get to Victory Lane here in Texas…damn it’s good!” Harvick beamed after parking his No. 4 Mobil 1 Ford Fusion at the start/finish line, where he was greeted by a group of rowdy fans pressing against the frontstretch fence. “We’ve been qualifying well here and racing well ever since I’ve been at Stewart-Haas Racing and just never got it to work out to go to Victory Lane. Today we had to earn it.”

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