CONCORD, N.C. – When the checkered flag waves this Sunday at Phoenix International Raceway, the Eliminator Round of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup will come to an end.
Four of the eight Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup drivers will be eliminated in the process.
And with the help from Jimmie Johnson’s win at Texas, Jeff Gordon -- after finding Victory Lane at Martinsville Speedway -- is the only driver currently locked in to the Championship Round with a shot at winning this year’s Sprint Cup title at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
“I’m glad we’re not in a ‘must-win’ situation. We’re going to battle hard, though, and hopefully carry some momentum into Miami,” Gordon said.
Before you tune in to see which three drivers join Gordon as the final four, check out some key notes to keep an eye on during this weekend’s race in Arizona.
BROADCAST INFORMATION: Sunday's race will air live on NBC at 2:30 p.m. ET. Can’t make it to a television? Tune into MRN or SiriusXM to catch the Phoenix radio coverage. This weekend’s qualifying session will take place Friday evening on NBC Sports Network. Tune in to this weekend’s practice sessions this Friday and Saturday. Here is the full broadcast schedule:
Friday, November 13:
2 p.m. ET, Sprint Cup Series Practice, NBC Sports Network
6:45 p.m. ET, Sprint Cup Series Qualifying, NBC Sports Network
Saturday, November 14:
11:30 a.m. ET, Sprint Cup Series Practice, NBC Sports Network
2:30 p.m. ET, Sprint Cup Series Final Practice, NBC Sports Network
Sunday, November 15:
2:30 p.m. ET, Sprint Cup Series Race, NBC/MRN/SiriusXM (2:45 p.m. ET green flag)
THIS WEEK’S PAINT SCHEMES: Kasey Kahne will pilot the No. 5 Farmers Insurance Chevrolet SS this Sunday at Phoenix International Raceway. Teammates Gordon and Johnson will compete in the No. 24 Pepsi Chevrolet SS and the No. 48 Lowe’s Patriotic Chevrolet SS, respectively. Dale Earnhardt Jr. will return the No. 88 Nationwide Chevrolet SS for Sunday’s event.
HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS AT PHOENIX: Hendrick Motorsports drivers have earned nine wins, nine pole positions, 42 top-five finishes and 71 top-10 finishes at Phoenix International Raceway. Those nine wins are spread among five drivers, with Johnson accounting for four. Gordon recorded the organization’s most recent Phoenix victory in February 2011, prior to the repave of the one-mile oval. The organization took home two second-place finishes in the 2014 events at the track thanks to Earnhardt and Gordon, respectively.
KAHNE AT PHOENIX: In the past 10 races at Phoenix International Raceway, Kahne owns the third-most top-five finishes alongside Brad Keselowski and Denny Hamlin, who each have four. Kahne also has the fourth-most top-10 finishes at the one-mile oval during that stretch, tied with drivers Kyle Busch and teammate Dale Earnhardt Jr. with five top-10 finishes apiece.
GORDON AT PHOENIX: The four-time NASCAR Cup Series champion's second win at the one-mile Arizona track occurred on Feb. 22, 2011, in only his second start partnered with crew chief Alan Gustafson.
JOHNSON AT PHOENIX: Johnson will pilot the No. 48 Lowe’s Patriotic Chevrolet SS this weekend. The last time Johnson raced the scheme was the July Daytona event where he finished second. According to NASCAR's loop data statistics, Johnson has the series-best driver rating at Phoenix with a score of 112.8 during the past 10 years at the track.
EARNHARDT AT PHOENIX: Earnhardt earned his two wins at Phoenix back-to-back, going to Victory Lane in November 2003 and November 2004 when Phoenix hosted one Cup event per season. Among drivers all-time, Earnhardt’s two wins are tied for third at Phoenix.