FORT WORTH, Texas – Kevin Harvick took the first step toward getting back on the right side of the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Playoff cutline, winning the pole for Sunday’s AAA Texas 500 at Texas Motor Speedway (3 p.m. ET on NBCSN, PRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).Harvick, who trails fourth-place Joey Logano by 14 points entering the second race of the Round of 8, toured the 1.5-mile track in 28.465 seconds (189.707 mph) to win his second Busch Pole Award at Texas, his series-best sixth of the season and the 31st of his career.RELATED: Starting lineup | Photos: All 40 carsErik Jones, already eliminated from the playoffs, was second fastest at 188.890 mph, .123 seconds behind Harvick. Denny Hamlin, second in the playoff standings, qualified third at 188.12 mph, followed by Kurt Busch, Alex Bowman and Aric Almirola.“The best part is our car drove really well in race trim yesterday and still had a lot of speed when we put it in qualifying trim today,” said Harvick, winner of the last two playoff races at Texas. “So, hopefully, we can keep our track position.“As you saw the last race (at Texas), you want to be up front and you want to be on the right cycle of rotation of pit strategy. Having that first pit stall is definitely an advantage here. It will be a track position game, and hopefully we can play it right and keep ourselves up front.”Logano will start 11th in his attempt to protect his position in the standings. Other playoff drivers earned the following positions on the grid: Kyle Busch 12th, Kyle Larson 13th, Chase Elliott 14th, Ryan Blaney 15th and Martin Truex Jr. 17th.Truex has already qualified for the Nov. 17 Championship 4 race at Homestead-Miami Speedway by virtue of last Sunday’s victory at Martinsville.After a broken axle and a 36th-place finish at Martinsville, Elliott trails Logano by 44 points and likely must win one of the next two races to advance to the Championship 4.In a substitute role for Front Row Motorsports driver Matt Tifft, who suffered a seizure last Saturday at Martinsville, John Hunter Nemechek qualified 29th.“That was the first qualifying run I have ever done in a Cup car,” Nemechek said. “It was pretty interesting. We went faster today than we did yesterday. That is a positive. We’re getting faster every time on the race track. It’s a whole new deal for myself, being over here in the Cup garage. Different scenarios, a whole new team. Different communications. A lot of variables that play into this weekend.“I’m really thankful for the opportunity from (owner) Bob (Jenkins) and everyone at Front Row Motorsports. I hate that the circumstances are like this. I really wish Matt Tifft a speedy recovery and hope he is back at the race track very soon.”
SHIMA, Fukuoka Pref. – Overnight leader Nobumitsu Yuhara grabbed his first title in 10 years after carding an even-par 72 Sunday for a one-stroke victory in the Hisamitsu-KBC Augusta.Japan tour officials reduced the tournament to 54 holes after Typhoon Rusa wiped out most of Saturday’s play and Yuhara, who shared the 36-hole lead with Masashi Shimada, survived a shaky finish to seal his seventh career title on 7-under-par 209. GET THE BEST OF THE JAPAN TIMES IN FIVE EASY PIECES WITH TAKE 5 “My first victory in 10 years — it’s been a long time coming,” Yuhara said.The 45-year-old took a three-stroke lead into the final four holes after an eagle on the par-5 13th and a birdie on the 14th.And despite two bogeys in the final four holes, Yuhara held on to lift his first trophy since securing the Hiroshima Yonex Open in 1992.“I got in a bit of a panic at the end and my head was going kind of numb. When I sank the final putt (on the 18th), my mind just went blank,” he said. “But this will be a huge confidence boost for me.”China’s Zhang Lianwei and Shigemasa Higaki both moved up the field with 2-under 70s and finished a shot behind Yuhara for a share of second place.Also ending one shot adrift on 6-under 210 were Katsunori Kuwabara, Toshimasa Nakajima and Christina Pena of the United States, who all shot 72. Fudo stays at top TERADOMARI, Niigata Pref. (Kyodo) In-form Yuri Fudo took a big stride toward her third straight Japanese LPGA overall tour title as she fired a 4-under-par 68 en route to a seven-stroke victory at the Yonex Ladies on Sunday.Teeing off with a four-shot advantage, Fudo blotted her scorecard for the first time in the tournament with a bogey on the first hole but recovered with five birdies for a 54-hole total of 15-under 273 to clinch her third win of the season.Fudo saw her lead cut to two strokes after three-putting the first hole but picked up shots with a 24-foot birdie putt on the sixth and followed up with another birdie on the seventh.The victory never looked in any danger from there on as the 25-year-old from Kumamoto, who led from the opening round, pulled further away from the field with three more birdies through the last 10 holes to secure the 14th win of her career.Kaori Higo birdied her final two holes for a second straight 71 and finished alone in second at 208.Yuka Shiroto had the day’s low round with a personal best 66 and shared third with veteran Ikuyo Shiotani (73), South Korea’s Ko Woo Soon (70) and Yuka Sakaguchi (69).