Earnhardt Jr. wins rain shortened NASCAR race at Phoenix as Chase four is set

AVONDALE, AZ - NOVEMBER 15:  Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 Nationwide Chevrolet, celebrates in victory lane after winning the rain-shortened NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Quicken Loans Race for Heroes 500 at Phoenix International Raceway on November 15, 2015 in Avondale, Arizona.  (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)

AVONDALE, AZ – NOVEMBER 15: Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 Nationwide Chevrolet, celebrates in victory lane after winning the rain-shortened NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Quicken Loans Race for Heroes 500 at Phoenix International Raceway on November 15, 2015 in Avondale, Arizona. (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)

In a battle with Mother Nature, the only winners late Sunday night was Dale Earnhardt Jr. and the four drivers who will race for the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup championship at Homestead-Miami Speedway. After a rain delay of over six hours, Earnhardt took the lead on pit road thanks to a timely caution and won the Quicken Loans Race for Heroes 500 at Phoenix International Raceway when rain returned and NASCAR was forced to call the race early.

“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,” Earnhardt said after his 26th career win and this third of the season. “I want to give Greg (Ives, crew chief) a lot of credit and the guys.  They gave us a good enough car to come here and qualify well.  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.”

As he has been for the last four Phoenix races, Kevin Harvick was the class of the field for much of the early part of the race. Harvick took the lead during the races first caution on lap 41 after pole sitter Jimmie Johnson, who had led the first laps, was penalized for speeding on pit road.  Harvick would go on to lead 143 of the 219 laps that were run before the rains came again and NASCAR called the race MORE>>>

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