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Comments from the eliminated playoff drivers

Photo by Justin Melillo/TRE

For four Cup Series drivers, their hopes of winning the 2020 NASCAR title ended at the conclusion of the Xfinity 500 Sunday (Nov. 1st) at Martinsville Speedway.

Below is a breakdown of how each fared.

No. 4 Kevin Harvick (-8 points)

After finishing 17th in Xfinity 500, Harvick was eight points short of making the cut for the Championship 4.

The 2014 series champion, who posted a season-high nine wins, tried a last-lap pass on Kyle Busch, which would have given him the point he needed to break the tie with Brad Keselowski.

“I tried to run into the door of the 18 as a last-ditch effort there and spun him out,” Harvick said. “Sorry to put him in the middle of trying to gain a point, but not a great three weeks.  It didn’t go our way.  We fought for everything we had and it just came up short.”

This is the first year since 2016 Harvick has not advanced to the final race of the year as a title contender.

“Like I said earlier, [championships] aren’t won the same way that Earnhardt and Petty did,” Harvick said. “You have to put together a few weeks and we didn’t put together these last few weeks like we needed to and just came up short.”

No. 88 Alex Bowman (-28 points)

Photo by Justin Melillo/TRE

Bowman started the race in third, led one lap, and finished in sixth.

“Really proud of Chase (Elliott) and making the final four there,” Bowman said. “Bummed we aren’t a part of it, but I think we have a solid shot at getting fifth in points.

“The progress this team has made over the past two months has been incredible. This is something they really deserve.”

No. 19 Martin Truex Jr. (-52 points)

Photo by Justin Melillo/TRE

Truex started the race in second place and led 129 laps.

Entering the Xfinity 500 as the winner of the last two Martinsville Cup Series races, a loose wheel forced Truex to pit while running inside the Top-5 in Stage 3.

Truex ultimately finished 22nd, one lap down. Like Harvick, Truex had raced in the last three Championship 4 races as a title contender.

“We had a great car all day long and just kept making adjustments waiting for it to cool off and get dark,” Truex said. “That last run there before the final pit stop, the thing was on rails and it was perfect and we were driving away. I felt really good about it.

“Then we pitted and had a pretty good pit stop. Came out with the lead and right away I knew something was wrong. I was really, really tight and had a vibration. The 9 car passed us and we started dropping and had to pit for a loose wheel. Unfortunate.”

No. 1 Kurt Busch (-86 points)

Photo by Justin Melillo/TRE

Entering the race, Busch was the only driver who mathematically had to win the race in order to advance as a title contender.

Busch started fifth, led 23 laps, and ultimately finished fifth.

“We gave it all we had,” Busch said. “I’m really proud of my guys. Chip Ganassi Racing put up a really good fight this year to get this far, to win and to post top-five’s through the Playoffs. We crossed over our threshold.

“Last week, we finished seventh at Texas, fifth tonight and we’re walking around kind of kicking the ground – like that wasn’t our best effort or we could have done this or could have done that.

“When I started here two years ago, we finished in the top-five and were celebrating. We’ve come that far in this short amount of time.”

The championship will be determined next Sunday at Phoenix Raceway.

The four title contenders are Chase Elliott, Denny Hamlin, Brad Keselowski, and Joey Logano.

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Dominic Aragon View All

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