TRACK: Charlotte Motor Speedway ROVAL (2.28 mile ROVAL) DISTANCE: 109 Laps — STAGE 1: 25 Laps, STAGE 2: 25 Laps, FINAL STAGE: 59 Laps, MILES (248.520 Miles)
- Only once in four years has someone started in the top five and won. Chase Elliott started second in 2020.
- 3 of the 4 race winners started in the top 10.
- Starting spots on road courses this season: 16th (COTA), 8th (Sonoma), 4th (Road America), 1st (Indy), 2nd (Watkins Glen).
- The 4 years this race has occurred, the winner finished in the top 2 in 3 of the 4 second stages. Ryan Blaney won the second stage in 2018, Elliott won it in 2019 and he was second in 2020 while Kyle Larson was 6th last year.
- The first stage, Blaney was 10th in 2018, Elliott was ninth in 2019 and he didn’t get a top 10 in 2020 while Larson didn’t get one last year.
- This year, none of the road course races saw a driver that had won finish in points in Stage 1.
- In Stage 2, they finished: 8th (COTA), 4th (Sonoma), 10th (Road America), no points (Indy) and 8th (Watkins Glen).
- In 4 of the 5 road courses run, the only laps led by the eventual winner all occurred in the final stage. However, they dominated that final stage too as 3 of the 5 road courses this season were won by a driver that also led the most laps.
- Hendrick Motorsports has won this race in 3 of the 4 years its been run including 3 years straight.
- Just three non-Playoff drivers have won the sixth race in the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs:
- Jeff Gordon (2005) won the Playoff race at Martinsville Speedway he was ranked 15th in the series standings at the time of the win.
- Clint Bowyer (2011) won the Playoff race at Talladega Superspeedway he was ranked 13th in the series standings at the time of the win.
- Jamie McMurray (2013) won the Playoff race at Talladega Superspeedway he was ranked 14th in the series standings at the time of the win.
- As you can see, it hasn’t happened since the new format was adopted in 2014 and none of the previous three were at Charlotte on the ROVAL. So, that likely means the winner on Sunday will be among the 12 drivers left in the playoff field.
- 5 of the last 8 years have seen someone new bump their ways back in on the final race of the second round. Despite that, the largest margin someone made up without winning though was 19 points.
Chase Elliott (+750)
He’s won 2 of the last 3 ROVAL races, was sixth in the prior one and 12th last year despite a run-in with Kevin Harvick. Elliott also was 4th in COTA, 8th in Sonoma, 2nd in Road America, 16th at Indy but lined on the front row for the 2nd to last restart and 4th in Watkins Glen after leading the final restart.
Kyle Larson (+800)
Definitely a favorite. He won Watkins Glen and has 2 top 4 finishes in his last 3 road course starts this season.
Tyler Reddick (+900)
He was runner-up a year ago and has a pair of wins (Road America, Indy) to go along with being 5th (COTA) and 7th (Watkins Glen) this season.
AJ Allmendinger (+1200)
He won Indy last year, was in the top 3 on the final lap in COTA, was in the top 10 late in the race at Sonoma, finished 9th in Road America, 7th at Indy again in July and runner-up at Watkins Glen. He’s also won the Xfinity Series race here in 3 straight years too.
Team Penske (all 3 +1500)
They may be winless on road courses this season, but their drivers have been stout and have good odds for the taking with each being +1500. Ryan Blaney (+1500) is a previous winner here and has finished 8th, 5th and 9th respectively since. Blaney also has a pair of 6th place finishes on road courses this season as well. Joey Logano (+1500) has had a top 10 in all four ROVAL starts including a runner-up in 2020. He was 6th in Indy and 3rd in Watkins Glen too. Austin Cindric (+1500) has finished 8th, 5th, 7th, 2nd and 13th on 5 road courses in 2022. Also, worth a look.
They’ve won 2 of the 5 road course races and enter with some momentum. Daniel Suarez (+1500) won Sonoma, led every lap of the 1st stage in COTA, was 5th in Road America and lined up 5th on the final restart in Indy and finished 5th in Watkins Glen. Ross Chastain (+2000) was 1st in COTA this year, 7th in Sonoma and 4th in Road America. He crossed the finish line 2nd at Indy before his penalty was levied and only 21st in Watkins Glen. I still like him on these tracks.
Alex Bowman (+3000)
He was 4th, 2nd, 8th and 10th respectively in his four ROVAL tries. Bowman also was runner-up at COTA earlier this season. While his other 4 road course finishes (16th, 12th, 32nd, 14th) leave more to be desired, I like his past ROVAL stats and the momentum that he brings in.
Chris Buescher (+2500)
His last 4 road course finishes read: 2nd (Sonoma), 6th (Road America), 10th (Indianapolis) and 9th (Watkins Glen).
Michael McDowell (+3000)
A road racer by nature has 4 top 10’s on them this season including a 3rd in Sonoma and 6th the last time out in Watkins Glen. He also has 5 top 11 finishes in the last 7 weeks including a top 5 last weekend in Talladega.
Who To Fade?
The road courses have been dismal for them. Martin Truex Jr (+2500) has finished 7th, 26th, 13th, 21st and 23rd on them. Denny Hamlin (+750) was 18th, 31st, 17th, 14th and 20th. Kyle Busch (+2000) 28th, 30th, 29th, 11th and 32nd. Christopher Bell (+2000) being 3rd, 27th, 18th, 12th and 8th. Bubba Wallace (+5000) was 38th, 36th, 35th, 5th and 35th. The 45 ride which is now the 23 was 32nd, 18th, 23rd, 17th and 16th between Kurt Busch and Ty Gibbs (+10000).
That’s why I’m punting on them despite some up and down success on the ROVAL.
Bell won the Daytona ROVAL a year ago, and on the Charlotte ROVAL, he was eighth. Truex Jr. should have won the inaugural race here, was 7th in the two races after that but 29th a year ago. Busch was 32nd, 37th, 30th and 4th here while Hamlin was 12th, 19th, 15th and 5th.
William Byron (+1200)
He was sixth, sixth and 11th in his last three ROVAL starts. The only thing is, he’s not had a top 5 in any of the five road course races this season with a best result of 9th. So while he can be solid, no top 5’s here and no top 5’s on road courses in general in 2022 leave him on a fade list.
Kevin Harvick (+2000)
While he was ninth in 2018 and third in 2019, but was also 33rd last year and has 2 top 10’s in 5 road course races this season including just 1 top 5.
Aric Almirola (+25000)
These are not his better tracks. Almirola’s four ROVAL finishes are 19th, 14th, 16th and 24th respectively. He’s not had a top 10 in any of the 5 road course races this year either.
Austin Dillon (+5000)
His four finishes are 39th, 23rd, 19th and 15th respectively. His road course finishes in 2022 also are 19th, 11th, 31st, 30th and 17th.