RELATED: Full practice results Rain interrupted Friday's opening Sprint Cup Series practice at Homestead-Miami Speedway , and Carl Edwards was awarded the top spot after his No. 19 Toyota topped the charts early in the session. The caution was waved twice for weather around 1 p.m. ET, and NASCAR ultimately called practice at 1:30 p.m. ET after an attempt to dry the track late in the session. The practice was originally scheduled to run from noon-1:25 p.m. ET. Edwards -- who was eliminated from the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup last week at Phoenix International Raceway after rain ended the race prematurely -- wheeled his Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota at 175.143 mph for the top position. Team Penske 's Brad Keselowski was next on the charts, posting a fast lap of 174.452 mph in his No. 2 Ford. Martin Truex Jr . was the fastest of the four Chase contenders, his No. 78 Furniture Row Racing Chevrolet propelling around the 1.5-mile track at 174.374 mph to nab the third spot. Hendrick Motorsports teammates Dale Earnhardt Jr . (173.689 mph) and Jimmie Johnson (173.678 mph) rounded out the top five, respectively. Keselowski was also fastest in the 10 consecutive lap average speed at 169.664 mph. Kyle Larson was second, followed by Paul Menard , Jamie McMurray and Austin Dillon . Of the four Chase Contenders, Jeff Gordon came up slowest, his No. 24 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet ranking 30th on the leaderboard with a top speed of 170.127 mph. Chase drivers Kevin Harvick (173.550 mph) and Kyle Busch (172.177 mph) posted the seventh and 16th-fastest speeds, respectively. The Sprint Cup Series is back on track at 6:15 p.m. ET for Coors Light Pole qualifying (NBCSN/Live Extra).
Carl Edwards went from interviewee to interviewer during FS1's "Race Day" pre-race show, turning the tables on a photobombing Tony Stewart . 'Smoke' approached Edwards in his golf cart during a live shot, startling the Joe Gibbs Racing driver … before granting him an interview. Looks like another classic Stewart move. Classic @TonyStewart ! Smoke #VideoBombs #CarlEdwards during his live interview with #NASCAR #RaceDay . https://t.co/QebiKKspMh — AtTheBuzzer (@TheBuzzerOnFOX) November 15, 2015
RELATED: Race results " Updated standings " Bubble watch AVONDALE, Ariz. -- A green-flag pit stop and subsequent caution nearly undid a season's worth of work for Martin Truex Jr . and his Furniture Row Racing team here Sunday evening. But when the skies opened up again and brought an end to the Quicken Loans Race for Heroes 500 at Phoenix International Raceway , Truex found himself officially locked in, one of four drivers that will compete for NASCAR's Sprint Cup championship next weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway . "I feel like we've overcome a lot of obstacles, a lot of odds," Truex said of the Cole Pearn-led No. 78 team. "Just proud to be a part of this group and looking forward to having the opportunity to do something we've dreamed about our whole lives next weekend." He'll be joined by Jeff Gordon , Kevin Harvick and Kyle Busch in next weekend's title determining race. Truex, 35, entered Sunday's race fourth in the points standings and six points ahead of Carl Edwards ( Joe Gibbs Racing ). Once the race, which was initially delayed for seven hours due to rain, got underway, the two drivers were never separated on the track by more than a couple of cars. Shortly after the race had passed the halfway mark, Edwards had managed to trim the deficit to three points. Green-flag pit stops began and both drivers had come to pit road when the second caution flag of the race appeared for a crash involving Joey Gase and Ricky Stenhouse Jr . What initially looked to be a devastating turn of events wound up being only a minor setback for Truex and the No. 78 team. Both drivers were among those caught a lap down, but Edwards , the first driver not on the lead lap, was the beneficiary of the free pass, putting him back on the lead lap. Truex, however, was one of the "wave-around" cars and because he had already completed his pit stop, rolled back into line in 14th, just two spots behind the JGR entry. Subsequent attempts at a restart were delayed by rain, and when the skies eventually opened up, officials declared the race over. Officially, 219 of the 312 scheduled laps were completed. With no restart, no positions changed hands and Truex was officially scored in 14th, edging Edwards (12th) to secure the final Chase spot by five points. "I was real concerned until I looked at the scoreboard, and then I was like 'OK, we're going to be fine. We're going to be back on the lead lap if we get going here,' " Truex said of the fallout front the caution flag. "Really the only guy we were racing was one car ahead of us. We felt OK about it, but you never know who could have (gone) up there and snuck out a win. "It was just one of those deals where I couldn't believe we got caught by the caution after running almost 200 laps almost green the whole race. We pitted a lap before the caution came out and that's a tough deal. That's happened to us … I can't believe how many times it's happened to us this this year. It's got to be 15 or plus times. We pit, the caution comes out and you're stuck a lap down. "It's really frustrating because we were having a solid night up to that point, certainly not as good as we'd hoped, but solid. It's always frustrating when those things happen." Edwards was hopeful that officials would get the track dry and allow the race to continue. "We want to race for sure," he said. "I don't care if we do this thing with row boats or on foot or whatever we got to do. I want to go race." Unfortunately, Mother Nature had other ideas. Truex, moves on, still in contention. For Edwards and the No. 19 team, ousted after coming so close, there was the understandable disappointment. Disappointment, crew chief Darian Grubb said, because of "how hard they've worked all year to come down to something as simple as a rain out." His team was a first-year outfit added to the JGR stable for 2015 with Edwards coming on board. The group won twice, at Charlotte and Darlington. "We feel like we could have raced our way back in there and have a shot at it," Grubb said. "We were still five points out, just like we were five points (out) coming in. We knew that was going to be a tough situation, but it ended up that bit us and I hate it for these guys."
RELATED: Kenseth's suspension upheld on final appeal FORT WORTH, Texas -- With so much conversation surrounding the Matt Kenseth / Joey Logano debacle this week, one term that continues to be thrown around is "driver code." Certainly a subjective concept, driver code is interpreted differently from driver to driver, a gray area not unlike baseball's "unwritten rules." The complexity hasn't cleared up much for Kenseth's Joe Gibbs Racing teammate, Carl Edwards . "Not really, no. I don't know what it all means," Edwards said Friday at Texas Motor Speedway , site of Sunday's AAA Texas 500 (2 p.m. ET, NBC/Live Extra, PRN, SiriusXM) "… There's so many factors in this situation with so many different things happening, it's really difficult to line it all up and say, 'Okay, this is why this happened and this is how to proceed going forward.' It seems pretty complex. I'm just going to focus on my deal and we'll move on." RELATED: Hamlin says Kenseth upheld 'driver code' While driver code may still not be the clearest of pictures for Edwards -- or any one else on the track or around it, for that matter -- he did get his first lesson in it about a decade ago from a potential future NASCAR Hall of Famer. His hero -- Mark Martin . " Mark Martin , very early on … we were racing at Bristol in 2004 maybe or 2005, and Mark is a mentor of mine, he is one of my heroes and helped me a ton in my career and during that race he ran into the back of my car -- it was all I could do to not wreck," Edwards recalled. "At the time, I wondered what happened and didn't know what was going on. On Monday, I called him, 'Hey Mark.' He said, 'Hey Carl .' I said, 'Remember that race when you ran into the back of me and I didn't know if there was something that I needed to know there?' He said, 'No, for the last few races you've been racing me hard and I thought you were taking a little more and I just figured if that's how you want to race, that's how you want to race.' I was like, 'Whoa, no I don't want to race like that.' He said, 'Okay, fine then don't and we won't.' 'Okay, cool.' He said, 'See you next week.' That was it." Perhaps the conversation was only so cordial because, you know, they were teammates at Roush Fenway Racing at the time, but it was a significant lesson that Edwards holds true and lives by to this day, as a contender for the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup . "Car racing … everybody drives their car and you just have to do what you think is the best and what is the right thing to do at the time and all of us have done all sorts of things. Some of them were right, some of them definitely weren't right," said Edwards . "You just have to go out there and race everybody the way you want to be raced. In some ways you have to demand the same in return."
Final practice recap " RELATED: Full practice results Joey Logano (175.404 mph) topped the board in the final NASCAR Sprint Cup practice of the season before Sunday's season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway . The 50-minute session marked the last on-track time before Sunday's Ford EcoBoost 400 (3 p.m. ET, NBC/Live Extra, MRN, SiriusXM). The Team Penske driver scored a front row starting spot in qualifying for Sunday's race and has six wins on the season. He also secured the best five-lap average. Kasey Kahne came in second in the session (175.080 mph). Kahne is trying to avoid his first winless season since 2010. Dale Earnhardt Jr . (175.035 mph), Carl Edwards (174.571 mph) and Kurt Busch (174.560 mph) rounded out the top five. Jeff Gordon led the way for the Championship 4 drivers, finishing the session ninth (173.321 mph). The four-time champion held the best 10-lap average at 169.489 mph. Martin Truex Jr . was 10th (173.232 mph), Kyle Busch was 17th (171.418 mph) and Kevin Harvick was 26th (169.972 mph). Harvick, the defending champion and race winner, opened the session on scuff tires for his initial run and reported near the end of the session that he thought the right front tire may be going soft. The top finisher in Sunday's race among the Championship 4 drivers will be crowned the 2015 Sprint Cup champion. David Ragan suffered a flat left-rear tire 10 minutes into practice. Saturday's final practice was the lone practice to go the scheduled length as weather did not interrupt the team's on-track time. Practice 1 recap " RELATED: Full practice results Kyle Larson emerged with the fastest speed in the first of two Sprint Cup Series practices on Saturday at Homestead-Miami Speedway after the session started late and ended early because of rain. The Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates driver's best speed of 176.010 mph edged defending series champion and one of four remaining Chase for the Sprint Cup drivers in Kevin Harvick , who pulled in second at 175.194 mph clip. Carl Edwards (174.374 mph), Greg Biffle (174.126 mph) and Joey Logano (174.081 mph) rounded out the top five. Kyle Busch was the only other Chase driver in the top 10, placing ninth overall with a speed of 173.399 mph. Jeff Gordon was 15 th at 172.337 mph and Martin Truex Jr . was 19 th at 171.816 mph. Casey Mears and AJ Allmendinger both ran into issues in the session, each spinning with Allmendinger's No. 47 Chevrolet taking heavy right-side damage.
RELATED: Standings going into final race HOMESTEAD, Fla. -- Sunday's NASCAR finale has four drivers vying for the championship in what NASCAR officials like to refer to as a Game 7 moment. There have already been plenty of pivotal points during this year's Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup playoffs, but what if Sunday's showdown is shortened into a Game 5 1/2 moment? The threat of a damp forecast at Homestead-Miami Speedway has raised plenty of questions about how a potentially rain-altered Ford EcoBoost 400 (3 p.m. ET, NBC, MRN, SiriusXM) could play out, especially with so much on the line in the season-ending race. The National Weather Service rates the chances of precipitation on Sunday at 60 percent, with thunderstorms especially likely in the morning. The possibilities come on the heels of the championship field being settled in a rain-abbreviated race the previous weekend at Phoenix International Raceway . The stakes will be even higher Sunday, but the procedures for declaring a race official will remain the same. "It's not a new rule. It's not something different," said three-time series champion Tony Stewart . "Is it ideal, no. Is it OK, yes. I mean, we don't have a choice. We can't control the weather. It's not ideal by any means. I don't think anybody wants to have that scenario and have to race in that scenario, but as well, at the same time, we've all raced under those circumstances, and if it has to end that way, that's the way it'll end." NASCAR has maintained long-standing procedures that a race becomes officials once it passes the halfway point, but the sanctioning body has also historically made every effort to run its races on the scheduled date. Advancements in technology have helped competition officials make more informed decisions about the weather, but the considerations -- for fans, teams and broadcast partners -- make those decisions even more critical, especially when the outcome of the race or the season-long championship weighs in the balance. To help combat the effects of rain this weekend, NASCAR can employ 17 Air Titan track dryers, 12 conventional jet dryers, and four vacuum trucks -- an armada that NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France touted as a record number of resources. But France also mentioned in his State of the Sport address on Friday that watching the skies and planning for inclement weather was a necessary angle for teams to work around. "We're looking at everything," France said. "Our view now is that like a lot of things that aren't necessarily perfect, so to speak, that's part of the game. That's part of racing that it's part of the strategy. You saw that last week in Phoenix. That you have to anticipate weather as being a factor in deciding things, as unfortunate as that is. Hopefully it won't be a factor on Sunday." Carl Edwards was among the unfortunate ones last weekend, missing out on his Championship 4 bid by just five points when rain escalated with 93 laps remaining. Edwards told his crew "they can't let it end like this" over the team radio as the race went to red-flag conditions, but NASCAR officials did, leaving Kyle Busch , Kevin Harvick and Martin Truex Jr . to join Jeff Gordon among the final quartet. Busch was among those on the plus side of the rain at Phoenix, a situation he wouldn't mind being in Sunday if circumstances cut things short. "I think it would be very unfortunate, you know, but it is what it is," Busch said. "I mean, the rules have been the way the rules are for a long, long time and everybody ridicules NASCAR for changing the rules whenever they want, and this time they're sticking to it. Like Jeff said earlier, I hope I'm the guy leading when it's raining, and if it's raining we're going to be doing a heck of a rain dance."
RELATED: Full race results " Updated standings Trouble hit two Chase contenders at Martinsville Speedway with Joe Gibbs Racing teammates Kyle Busch and Carl Edwards getting involved in a Lap 171 wreck that brought out the eighth (out of 18) yellow flag of the day. Busch's No. 18 got into the No. 3 of Austin Dillon , initiating the multi-car wreck. "Rowdy" thought this was due to water on the track and had some choice words about the incident on his scanner: "Just want to say thanks to NASCAR for the water on the apron there. Appreciate it." Edwards was involved as he got into the back of AJ Allmendinger 's No. 47 after Allmendinger braked as Busch and Dillon wrecked in front of him. Busch, who was racing up front early in the race, was 26th while Edwards was in 29th after the incident. The pair are the only two JGR drivers remaining in the Chase after Matt Kenseth and Denny Hamlin failed to qualify to the Eliminator Round. With a strong comeback, and multiple cautions later, Busch ended up with a fifth-place finish and is second on the Chase bubble, only behind Goody's Headache Relief Shot 500 winner Jeff Gordon . Edwards wasn't so lucky and ended up 14th and fifth in the standings out of the contenders, one spot below the cutoff. He is right behind Kevin Harvick and ahead of Brad Keselowski , Kurt Busch and Joey Logano .
KANSAS CITY, Kan -- The restart zone at Kansas Speedway is demarcated by yellow paint on the walls with two red stripes at the leading end and one red stripe at the end. It's still a hot zone for NASCAR Sprint Cup drivers as they prepare for Sunday's Hollywood Casino 400 some (2:15 p.m. ET, NBC, MRN, Sirius XM NASCAR Radio). Jamie McMurray , who was bumped from the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup after the Challenger Round, said he thought the expanded restart zone worked out well at Charlotte. "The one thing that I like that Charlotte did is they painted it across the race track," McMurray said. "So, when you were a guy further back in the pack, you could tell when the leaders were there so you have a pretty good idea of when they were going to go. Some of the tracks, Indy is probably the worst track because of how long the straightaway is and the fact that you're literally just going straight. You can't tell where the restart zone is." The restart zone at Kansas this weekend is 180 feet. It had been only 70 feet at Dover in the past, but was increased to 140 feet for the Oct. 4 race there as the rule evolved. The sanctioning body lengthened the restart zone for the 2015 season's remaining races post-Dover, generally taking pit road speed (in Kansas' case, 45 mph) times four. Carl Edwards added that restarts and track position will be crucial in Sunday's race. And Kansas is crucial in the Contender Round as tumultuous Talladega looms as the last race in this leg of the Chase. The top eight drivers move on to the Eliminator Round after next week's CampingWorld.com 500 at Talladega. RELATED: Is Kansas as much of a wildcard than Talladgea? "This race can be really tough because the restarts are going to be insanity," said Edwards , who enters Sunday's race at sixth place in the standings, nine points behind Charlotte winner Joey Logano . Fellow Chase driver Ryan Newman isn't as concerned about the restart zone itself. Newman sits on the Chase bubble in ninth place after Charlotte. "I don't really worry about it," Newman said after Saturday's second Sprint Cup Series practice session. "I don't usually see them." It is the leaders under the most scrutiny on restarts as Brad Keselowski found out at New Hampshire when he was black flagged for jumping the restart while Greg Biffle was leading. WATCH: Keselowski black flagged after restart at New Hampshire But some of the impetus for any rule changes on restarts was concerns about cars bunching up mid-pack as the leader waits, gaming the restart for any possible advantage. McMurray says that’s why it's a key concern when drivers can’t see the restart zone. "You're kind of basing on your spotter; and when you spotter says 'Go,' that's not when you go because it's delayed depending on where you are in the pack," McMurray said. "But, I think some of what you saw last week was because it was expanded a little bit and guys were just anticipating that. But I thought it worked out really well."
When the schedule rolls around to drivers' home tracks, they're often asked what they'd give up for a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series win in front of their home fans. Other than offering their children -- as Kansas native Clint Bowyer noted Friday at Kansas Speedway -- it turns out drivers will give up pretty much anything to land in Victory Lane at the track they call home. Even their airplanes. "I can't think of a possession that I wouldn't trade and I have a really nice airplane," Joe Gibbs Racing driver and nearby Missouri native Carl Edwards said Friday. "For a win here right now, I can't think of anything I wouldn't trade. What we do and everybody at the shop does and everybody at JGR, what we do is go try to win these championships and we give everything we've got. "If it were that easy, for me personally there is no amount of money that a win right now and especially here would be worth or wouldn't be worth." In the past, Edwards has said that a Kansas win would mean more to him than even a Daytona 500 win. He's come close a handful of times, with six top-five finishes in 16 races, but that victory continues to elude him. But if he gets it in Sunday's Hollywood Casino 400 (2:15 p.m. ET, NBC/Live Extra)? Well, that'd be pretty … wait for it … fly.