After rain ended last night’s Quicken Loans Race for Heroes 500 at Phoenix International Raceway early, nothing changed for the four drivers in the way of the points. The four drivers going into Phoenix remained unchanged with Jeff Gordon, who finished sixth, was already secured by virtue of his victory two weeks ago at Martinsville.
The other three drivers who advanced were 2014 defending champion Kevin Harvick, who finished second after leading 143 of the 219 laps of the rain shorten race, Kyle Busch who finished fourth and Martin Truex Jr. who finished 14 as the last car on the lead lap.
Harvick dominated the race prior to the final caution period and the rain, though he failed in his bid for a fifth consecutive victory at Phoenix, he was happy to advance and get the chance to defend his 2014 championship in the finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway next weekend.
“You win some, you lose some like that,” said Harvick. “In the big picture, we are racing for the championship next week.”
“I feel like we’ve overcome a lot of things throughout the Chase,” Harvick said about advancing in the Chase. “We have survived and advanced, it hasn’t been 100 percent pretty from one end to the other, but as you look at the Chase we’ve been championship material.”
The four drivers who failed to advance to the chance to win the championship were Joey Logano who had won a career best six races including sweeping the Contender Round finished in third. Kurt Busch who had undoubtedly the fastest car all weekend but an early penalty caused him valuable position for early ending of the race. Brad Keselowski after he found himself in a hole after a wreck at Martinsville and Carl Edwards failed to have consistent finishes in the top-10.
Truex Jr. had just pitted and fell a lap down because of the caution. He was able to take the wave-around and was able to get back on the lead lap in 15th. Edwards, who at one time went a lap down but got the free pass, was 12th after the caution was eager to finish the race.
“I hope so badly that we get to race,” Edwards said moments before NASCAR called the race. “We do not want to finish like this…We want to race for sure. I don’t care if we do this thing with row boats or on foot whatever we got to do. I want to go race.”
Five points was all that stood in the way of Edwards earning a spot in the finale of the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship, Edwards came up just short Sunday night at Phoenix when the race was called after 219 laps due to heavy rain, and more rain in the forecast.