To the Roval we go for the last race in the Round of 12 for the NASCAR Cup Championship Playoffs. We got what we expected out of Talladega. There were 58 lead changes among 18 different drivers. The race was red-flagged twice and took over four hours to complete. There were 13 cautions to set a new record.
Denny Hamlin ultimately won, which spells bad news for those below the cut line going into the last race of this round. The Bank of America 400 on the Roval at Charlotte will end the championship hopes of four drivers. With essentially seven of the eight spots in the next round already spoken for, there will be a lot of drama on Sunday afternoon on NBC.
We’ll handicap the race with odds from MyBookie Sportsbook and see what we can find out about Sunday’s 2:30 p.m. ET start time.
|MARTIN TRUEX JR.||+700|
|RICKY STENHOUSE JR.||+15000|
|JOHN HUNTER NEMECHEK||+50000|
Well, what we’ve found out thus far is that Chase Elliott is a huge favorite at +220. Kevin Harvick is all the way up at +650 early in the week. Elliott’s price may hold close to that number, but the markets will find some betting value on others in the field by Sunday’s race time.
This is only the third race on the Roval. Elliott is the reigning champ. Ryan Blaney won the first one in 2018.
Denny Hamlin owns a 20-point lead over Kevin Harvick atop the points standings. The points will reset to 4,000 and bonus points will be added for Kansas next weekend. That will put Harvick back in the lead. Brad Keselowski is third, Martin Truex Jr. is fourth, and Chase Elliott is fifth. Alex Bowman is sixth with 3,075 and Joey Logano is seventh with 3,074 points.
There is a tie for eighth between Kyle Busch and Austin Dillon and that is the key spot right now. Kurt Busch won at Las Vegas two weeks ago, so he will automatically advance. Clint Bowyer has 3,036 points and Aric Almirola has 3,026 points. With 19 points separating Busch/Dillon and Logano, the bottom four drivers need a win this weekend to advance in all likelihood. We’ll see how aggressively they run to get it.
The Roval is a hybrid of the road course that is part of the infield and the oval speedway course at Charlotte Motor Speedway in Concord, NC. The track length is 2.28 miles and there are 17 turns. A reconfiguration prior to last year’s race made the backstretch a little bit tighter and created some new chances for passing.
NASCAR is adding more of these types of races and will even have a dirt race next year as they try to get more excitement and more intrigue into the sport. Not everybody likes these races or has a lot of success in them and we can see those names with higher prices than usual like Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano at 16/1.
We have two data points here. Elliott, this week’s favorite, won last year and was sixth in 2018. Elliott also won Stage 2 last year and was fifth and sixth in the two stages in 2018. Kurt Busch was second in Stage 1, third in Stage 2, and fifth overall in the 2018 race. He was a non-factor in 2019.
Keselowski, for being so far down the board, was sixth and second in the stages last year and fifth to finish the race after not being in the running in 2018. Bowyer is the one to watch this week. He has run in the top five in all four stages on the Roval and has finished fourth and third for the race. He needs a win here to advance.
Bowman is interesting on the Roval as well. He could have some more spring in his step as well with the announcement that he’ll be taking over the #48 car for Hendrick Motorsports next season. Bowman was second here last year and fourth in 2018.
Harvick was third last year and ninth in 2018.
As far as the other drivers down by the cut line, neither Kyle Busch nor Austin Dillon have run well here. Aric Almirola has not been a factor either.
With that in mind, we have to give Bowyer and Bowman looks this week. Bowyer needs a win at +1400. Bowman is +1600 and it looks like an overlaid price given how he’s run on this unconventional track layout in the past.
We’ll be on a more traditional 1.5-mile track next week at Kansas and have some more insights for you for the Hollywood Casino 400.