The Quicken Loans Race For The Heroes 500 at Phoenix International Raceway on November 8, 2014 is the penultimate race of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season and immensely important in determining the series champion.
Starting in 2014 NASCAR changed the means to determining their championship. Courtesy of USA Today and NASCAR:
"The top 15 drivers with the most wins over the first 26 races will earn a spot in the NASCAR Chase Grid — provided they have finished in the top 30 in points and attempted to qualify for every race (except in rare instances like medical issues). The 16th Chase position will go to the points leader after race No. 26, if he/she does not have a victory. In the event that there are 16 or more different winners over 26 races, the only winless driver who can earn a Chase Grid spot would be the points leader after 26 races.
"If there are fewer than 16 different winners in the first 26 races, the remaining Chase Grid positions will go to those winless drivers highest in points. If there are 16 or more winners in the first 26 races, the ties will first be broken by number of wins, followed by NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver points."
After Richmond, the field will be whittled down via a series of eliminations — a NASCAR first. After every three Chase races, four drivers will be cut.
The first three races of the Chase (27-29) will be known as the Challenger Round with drivers eliminated Sept. 28 at Dover International Speedway. The 12 drivers remaining will have points reset to 3,000.
Races 30-32 will be known as the Contender Round with drivers eliminated Oct. 19 at Talladega Superspeedway. The eight drivers remaining will have their points reset to 4,000.
Races 33-35 will be the Eliminator Round, with the four remaining drivers having their points reset to 5,000. To reach the final four, drivers will be eliminated at the penultimate race at Phoenix International Raceway on Nov. 9.
That will leave four drivers still eligible for the championship during the Nov. 16 season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Whoever finishes highest among the four title-eligible drivers is NASCAR's new champion. Bonus points will not be awarded in the finale.
The Quicken Loans Race For The Heroes 500 will help determine the 2014 NSCS Champion and is one of four NASCAR races that week at PIR. NASCAR K&N Pro Series-West, NASCAR Camping World Truck Series and the NASCAR Nationwide Series are all scheduled starting on November 6 and continuing through November 9.
Quicken Loans Race For Heroes 500 Schedule:
Thursday, November 6
10:00 a.m. Spectator Gates Open
10:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m. NASCAR K&N Pro Series-West Practice
11:30 a.m. - 12:50 p.m. NASCAR K&N Pro Series-West Final Practice
1:00 p.m. - 1:55 p.m. NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Practice
2:05 p.m. NASCAR K&N Pro Series-West Qualifying
3:30 p.m. - 5:00 p.m. NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Final Practice
5:30 p.m. Casino Arizona 100, NASCAR K&N Pro Series-West Race (100 laps / 100 miles)
Friday, November 7
10:00 a.m. Spectator Gates Open
10:00 a.m. - 11:20 a.m. NASCAR Nationwide Series Practice
11:30 a.m. -1:00 p.m. NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Practice
1:10 p.m. - 2:25 p.m. NASCAR Nationwide Series Final Practice
2:40 p.m. NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Qualifying
4:40 p.m. NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Qualifying
6:30 p.m. Lucas Oil 150, NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Race (150 laps/150 miles)
Saturday, November 8
9:00 a.m. Spectator Gates Open
9:30 a.m. - 10:25 a.m. NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Practice
10:40 a.m. NASCAR Nationwide Series Qualifying
12:30 p.m. - 1:20 p.m. NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Final Practice
2:00 p.m. Nationwide Series 200, NASCAR Nationwide Series Race (200 laps/200 miles)
Sunday, November 9
8:00 a.m. Spectator Gates Open
1:00 p.m. Quicken Loans Race for Heroes 500, NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Race (312 laps/312 miles)