Editor's note: Every Friday, "Tweets You Might Have Missed" will present eight of the best NASCAR-related tweets from the week. 1. I like a lil #sneakattack #vacation #friendsgiving pic.twitter.com/41HQcmqrgT — Amy Reimann (@Amy_Reimann) November 24, 2015 2. After the race little dude says "I believed that we would win... And I believe we'll get a baby sister annnnnd a brother too!!!" — DeLana Harvick (@DeLanaHarvick) November 23, 2015 3. Happy Thanksgiving! Have a great day with family and friends. Tanner and I checking out the property #thankful pic.twitter.com/NNxIm1ub5j — Kasey Kahne (@kaseykahne) November 26, 2015 4. Note to self: You're not 21, please use better judgement in the future. — Jimmie Johnson (@JimmieJohnson) November 23, 2015 5. #Cannonball pic.twitter.com/mHn78ZgAiX — Dale Earnhardt Jr . (@DaleJr) November 23, 2015 6. Two amazing blessings right here, both we had to fight hard for but when the time was right God gave them to us pic.twitter.com/lIZTywim0e — Samantha Busch (@SamanthaBusch) November 23, 2015 7. Hey @JimmieJohnson I hear ya #24ever pic.twitter.com/3591OlIqBm — Ricky Stenhouse Jr . (@StenhouseJr) November 23, 2015 8. An amazing experience seeing @JeffGordonWeb 's final @NASCAR race. Congratulations to you, Jeff, on an amazing career pic.twitter.com/NPuNavzRRX — Lewis Hamilton (@LewisHamilton) November 23, 2015 FAN TWEET OF THE WEEK: Mom didn't want me to know about the @NASCAR tickets ahead of time, but she wanted me to pick out my own seats at @CLTMotorSpdwy — Kelli Scoggins (@kelliscoggins) November 27, 2015
Despite giving a bit of an indecisive answer earlier in the week about who he would root for to win Sunday's Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup championship at Homestead-Miami Speedway , Dale Earnhardt Jr . was clear on the "Dan Patrick Show" on Thursday -- Jeff Gordon 's his guy. "I'm going to obviously pull for my teammate, Jeff Gordon , because I want the boss man (Rick Hendrick) to be happy with Jeff winning the championship, and that's a hell of a way to go out," Earnhardt said on his morning appearance on the NBCSN program. "He's been racing for, what, 20-something years now and still has the ability to go out and win races and battle for championships all the way to the very end. What a storybook ending that would be." Junior had previously said in a Twitter Q&A after his win at Phoenix that he's "a company man, but I'm also pulling for (friend, Martin Truex Jr .)." RELATED: So, Junior, who are you rooting for? But if it came down to it, Junior implied he'd block Truex's No. 78 Chevrolet -- or anyone else -- on the final lap if it helped Gordon win his fifth and final premier series title. "I would block. … I can't pull over to give (Gordon) a spot, I can't let him have a position to give him a point, but yeah, I would block," said Earnhardt. "And I'll race those other guys (Truex Jr ., Kyle Busch , Kevin Harvick ) very, very hard when I'm around them. Those other three competitors are going to get some hard competition from me and any of the other teammates that are out there."
Clint Bowyer 's loose No. 15 Toyota started a multi-car wreck during the season finale on Sunday at Homestead-Miami Speedway shortly after a restart on Lap 45, forcing the fourth caution of the day. The other cars invovled were the No. 88 of Dale Earnhardt Jr ., the No. 33 of Ty Dillon , the No. 55 of David Ragan and the No. 43 of Aric Almirola , who took his Ford to the garage. (Almirola returned to the race 55 laps down.) "We wrecked pretty good," Dale Jr . told his crew after getting clipped by Ragan's Toyota. Before the race's start, the Hendrick Motorsports wheelman was upfront saying he would assist in any way with helping Jeff Gordon attain his fifth title. After a trip down pit road, Earnhardt returned to the race several laps down. The Ford EcoBoost 400 is the final race for Michael Waltrip Racing which fields teams for both Bowyer and Ragan. Bowyer's day ended early and he told NBC from the garage, "I don't know what the hell happened. I was kind of optimistic about the race. We made a pit stop there and the car was just a way big handful there. I don't know, I was coming off of (Turn) 2 there and Ty (Dillon) kind of got squirrely and I tried to stay off of him and my car got loose and I just couldn't catch it. "I don't know, we just lost the handling on our car big-time there. Unfortunately ended -- you hate to end this way. I wanted to end on a strong note for everybody at MWR. Appreciate all of their hard work and efforts all these years but unfortunately it's over.” Here's how those involved ranked on the leaderboard at the race's end: Dillon (23rd), Ragan (27th), Earnhardt Jr . (40th), Almirola (41st) and Bowyer (43rd).
Martin Truex Jr . address the statement that the No. 78 team is the underdog team heading into the Championship Round but that they deserve to be there and are focused on winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship.
Martin Truex Jr . talks about finishing 12th in the Ford EcoBoost 400 and fourth in the Championship standings, and how the No. 78 team will learn and build from this season for the future in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.
Martin Truex Jr .'s No. 78 car catches on fire during green flag pit stops on Lap 138 in the Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
Clint Bowyer makes contact with Ty Dillon, sending him around collecting Dale Earnhardt Jr ., causing major damage to the No. 15 and No. 88 cars in the Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
RELATED: Full race results from Phoenix AVONDALE, Ariz. -- A serendipitous sequence of pit stops and a drizzle that turned into a downpour made a winner of Dale Earnhardt Jr . in Sunday night’s Quicken Loans Race for Heroes 500 at Phoenix International Raceway , the start of which was delayed from day to night by rain in the afternoon. But the race that was halted by the rain 93 laps short of its scheduled distance of 312 laps was hardly the satisfying conclusion for which Carl Edwards , Brad Keselowski , Kurt Busch or Joey Logano had hoped. Those four drivers were eliminated from the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup , as defending champion Kevin Harvick , Kyle Busch and Martin Truex Jr . joined Jeff Gordon in next Sunday’s Championship Round at Homestead-Miami Speedway (3 p.m. ET on NBC, MRN, SiriusXM). Earnhardt came to pit road for fuel and tires one lap before Joey Gase and Ricky Stenhouse Jr . crashed in Turn 3 to bring out the second caution of the race on Lap 196. While on pit road, Earnhardt crossed the scoring line at the flag stand before Harvick, who had dominated with 143 laps led. And when other lead-lap cars came to pit road under the yellow, Earnhardt inherited the top spot, with Harvick second and Logano third. Before track workers could complete clean-up from the accident, rain began to fall, and NASCAR called the race after the light precipitation became a deluge. “We had an idea that the rain was in the area, but all the circumstances that played out at the end of the race are just kind of luck, I think,” said Earnhardt, who won for the third time at Phoenix, the third time this season and the 26th time in his career. “I want to give (crew chief) Greg (Ives) a lot of credit, and the guys. “They gave us a good enough car to come here and qualify well (third). I think the reason why we won this race is because of the way we qualified to give ourselves a position to be up front all night. When something like this quirky happens we were able to capitalize. It’s a rain-shortened win, but my guys are very proud of it because of how the car ran all weekend and we put ourselves in this position.” The third-place qualifying effort also gave the No. 88 team third pick of pit stalls, and that choice also proved crucial because it put Earnhardt in position to take the lead when NASCAR called the caution. Harvick had mixed feelings about his second-place result. The caution likely cost him a victory, but it also assured his eligibility to defend his title at Homestead. “Yeah, it's kind of bittersweet,” Harvick acknowledged. “The car just really performed well today, and we were able to lead a lot of laps, and just really proud of the guys for the decisions that they made overnight to get that last little bit out of the car today, and how it performed was really good. “Just caution came out at the wrong time, and we didn't get to make up the ground on the race track under green, where Dale was pitted, and the way that they came out of the pits just didn't time out well. But still proud of our group, and sometimes you win some of those things, sometimes you don't, but in the end, the big picture is what it's all about.” Kyle Busch finished fourth to advance to the season finale. Gordon ran sixth, followed by Kurt Busch , Denny Hamlin and Keselowski. Truex came home 14th but edged 12th-place finisher Edwards for the final spot in the Championship Round by five points. Kyle Busch continued his improbable run toward a first series title. Having suffered a broken right leg and left foot in the season-opening NASCAR XFINITY Series race at Daytona, Busch missed the first 11 Sprint Cup events of the year but came back to win four times shortly after his return. With the wins and a top-30 points finish, Busch qualified for the Chase. “When I returned, we did a good job and we won four out of five and put ourselves in a position to make the Chase, and the rules are the way the rules are, and we’re going to make the most of it,” Busch said. “We’re playing with house money, and we’re rolling to Homestead.” Truex, who entered Sunday’s race with a seven-point lead over Edwards, lost a lap during the same sequence of pit stops that put Earnhardt in the lead, but he regained it under the caution on a wave-around and finished two spots behind Edwards to clinch his place in the finals. Driving for single-car Furniture Row Racing , Truex goes to Homestead with confidence. “With the way our stuff has been running here lately, it's been really good, and we were really strong at Texas (last week),” he said. “I feel like what we're taking there (to Homestead) might be a little bit better. “Excited to get to Homestead, which has been a really good track for me over the years, and get a chance to pull off our first win there.” The highest finisher among the four eligible drivers wins the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series title. Logano, Keselowski and Kurt Busch (who was hit with a pass-through penalty for jumping the start of the race) needed to win on Sunday to make the finals. But the rain made sure they never got a chance at another restart. Logano took the disappointment with grace. “It’s hard to play the race with rain in the area,” Logano said. “You don’t know what’s going to happen, but you just hope there’s another shot. You hope that there’s a restart and if two of them slip up and you’re able to put it three-wide on the bottom, or do something like that -- but just didn’t ever have the opportunity there at the end. “We had plenty of opportunities to try to get ourselves to the front, we just weren’t as fast as the 4 (Harvick). We were a solid second-place car, but Junior timed it out really well when they pitted to that caution, and it worked out really well for them.” Note: Chevrolet clinched its 13th straight manufacturer’s championship in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, 39th overall ... Hendrick Motorsports swept the Eliminator Round of the Chase with Gordon winning at Martinsville, Jimmie Johnson at Texas and Earnhardt at Phoenix.
RELATED: Junior wins rain-shortened race Dale Earnhardt Jr . did something for the first time in his 16-year NASCAR Sprint Cup Series career on Sunday by virtue of his win at Phoenix International Raceway . The Quicken Loans Race for Heroes 500 win gave Earnhardt Jr . three victories this season. Coming off a four-win year in 2014, it's the first time Junior has ever won three or more races in consecutive seasons. His three wins in 2015 also ties his mark from the 2001 season. Earnhardt's six-win 2004 remains his personal standard when it comes to victories in a season. For his career, Junior has 26 premier series victories -- which ranks him tied for 27th in NASCAR history with Denny Hamlin and NASCAR Hall of Famer Fred Lorenzen.
RELATED: Updated series standings " Chase Grid FORT WORTH, Texas -- Martin Truex Jr . said he wasn't sure if there was or wasn't contact, and having just climbed from his No. 78 Chevrolet on pit road, he hadn't had time to survey the side of Furniture Row Racing entry. But the distinctive donut, the result of contact with the tire of another car, was hard to miss just below the driver's-side window. "We just got together a little bit on the front straightaway," Truex said of late-race contact with Brad Keselowski as the two battled for the lead in Sunday's AAA Texas 500 at Texas Motor Speedway . "I don't know if I went down or he came up. He said he thought he came up. It's all good, it's hard racing." A loose wheel and power steering issue -- the issue was that he had none -- dropped Truex from contending for the win to hanging on for a top 10. He finished eighth, and is fourth in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup standings with only one race remaining to determine the field of four that will compete for the championship later this month at Homestead-Miami Speedway . "We had a chance at the win there, I think," said Truex. "Racing with Brad at the end and the right front started shaking and the car just got really tight. Then it was just (a matter) of trying to keep the thing on there for 15 laps and make it to the end. It's just a shame. We had a really good car today. "The 2 (of Keselowski) was stout all day long but toward the end it looked like we got a little bit closer to him. Before that last caution we were actually catching him a bit. I don't know; I wished we would have finished better but all in all I guess it was an OK day." RELATED: Keselowski discusses racing with Truex Consistency helped put the No. 78 in the Chase picture, and a win earlier this season at Pocono Raceway guaranteed his spot in the 16-team field. He had 14 top-10 finishes in his first 15 starts to open the season. And that consistency is starting to resurface with four finishes of eighth or better in his last five starts. Truex led only a single lap, but given Keselowski's dominance on the day, few others spent any time out front as well. His team managed to avoid the tire issues that plagued some teams on the 1.5-mile track, and he quickly showed that his 23rd-place qualifying effort wasn't a sign of things to come. It helped his cause, he said, that Keselowski was unable to win and thus sew up one of the remaining spots in the finale. "That certainly helped a little bit. I was cheering pretty hard for Jimmie Johnson ," Truex said of Johnson's pass for the lead in the waning laps. " … We're still in good shape. Next week would have been a lot easier had we gotten second or third and we had a chance at it. It's disappointing when those finishes slip away but … all in all we're in good shape." Keselowski, driver of the No. 2 Ford for Team Penske , was quick to confer with his rival on pit road. Though disappointed with the outcome -- Keselowski led 312 of 334 laps in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race only to lose the lead to Johnson four laps from the finish -- there appeared to be no ill feelings as a result of the contact with Truex. "It certainly is never helpful when you make contact with another car, your own car or theirs, Keselowski said. "As far as whether it hurt my car or not, I couldn't answer that."