AVONDALE, Ariz. – Jeff Gordon, Kevin Harvick, Kyle Busch and Martin Truex Jr. will advance to Homestead-Miami Speedway to race for a Sprint Cup season title this coming weekend.
And Carl Edwards is the odd man out as the second-to-last race of the season was a pain for him and a handful of other drivers scrambling for a Chase-finale berth.
NASCAR officials cut the Quicken Loans Race for Heroes 500 short after 219 of the scheduled 312 laps on Sunday night, this after persistent rain had delayed the start for six hours. Rain is something of an oddity in the desert, but NASCAR tends to bring out some quirky circumstances in regard to weather.
"Bring NASCAR anywhere and you'll catch up on your rain," Harvick said.
Dale Earnhardt Jr., not in the running for the Championship Four, won the race.
As the rains came down in the desert, Gordon — who will retire after this season — was the only driver who had no worries playing the Chase waiting game.
Locked into this coming weekend's title race in Homestead-Miami thanks to his victory at Martinsville two weekends ago, Gordon can end his final season with his fifth championship. His team has been forced to scramble to accommodate a potential championship into the weekend list of celebratory activities at Homestead, already packed with goodbye goodies.
"I don't know if it's going to hit me prior to the race or if it's going to hit me after the race, but it's going to hit me," Gordon said before the race. "It's definitely going to hit me. We've just had so much still left to accomplish and business at hand that it has not hit me yet.
"… We are going there to celebrate regardless of that moment and that day and sharing that with the people that have supported me over the years and are closest to me. When Martinsville happened, it just made that much more exciting."