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NASCAR DFS: Bank of America 400 Preview

The NASCAR Cup Series stays home this weekend in Charlotte, North Carolina. This week the Xfinity Series and Cup Series will go playoff racing around the Charlotte Roval. The Roval incorporates part of the complex’s road course layout as well as the 1.5-mile oval. Literally the name just blends “road” and “oval” together. This is considered the last road course of the season. Additionally, this will also be the last race on the Roval at Charlotte. The NextGen car has produced phenomenal racing on the intermediate tracks. The road course product has been a mixed bag. NASCAR is ditching the Indy Road Course (a similar hybrid race) and the Roval in 2024 to go back to the traditional track layouts. Let’s take a look at the drivers and strategies for the Bank of America Roval 400 preview!

Since 2018, NASCAR has incorporated the Roval into its playoff schedule. With this being the last year, I can’t say I’m too sad to see it go. But it is a 2.28-mile course with 17 turns. It’s not the most “technical” road layout on the schedule. COTA, Sonoma, and Watkins Glen are probably more challenging. This is also a cut off race as the playoff field will be whittled down from 12 to eight. Here’s a good reference for the playoff standings. Obviously, we have some interesting options for drivers outside the playoff bubble. Here are the names to have in your player pool ahead of Saturday’s practice and qualifying sessions.

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Bank of America 400 Preview: The Top Picks

Tyler Reddick (#45 Toyota)

Tyler Reddick is currently two points below the cut line for the next round. However, he doesn’t seem too worried. Reddick has performed well here at the Cup level. Last year he finished eighth but did lead 21 laps and grabbed stage points throughout the race. In 2021, he finished second here. Reddick has also built up quite the resume on road courses. Since NASCAR introduced the NextGen car, Reddick has won at Road America, COTA, and the Indy Road Course. There’s clear win equity with this play. And even if he doesn’t win, he should have a good enough run to avoid elimination from the playoffs.

Chase Elliott (#9 Chevrolet)

It’s clearly been a down year for Chase Elliott. Elliott doesn’t have a win on his resume. He had the injury earlier in the year that cost him time. Then he was then suspended for a race for intentionally wrecking Denny Hamlin. It’s been tough for him. But he’s still in the hunt for the owner’s championship. And while he doesn’t carry the luster of being the best road ringer in the series anymore, he’s still pretty damn good. He’s won two of the five races at this track and led 25+ laps in three of them. He’s grabbed top five finishes this year at road courses like Sonoma, Chicago (street course), and Indy. If he’s going to lay claim to a win this year, this might be his be shot to do so.

Kyle Larson (#5 Chevrolet)

He almost made me look like a fool last week. If you’ll recall, I had him as a fade for Talladega. He was actually running roughly within the top five over the final handful of laps. However, he was caught up in a wreck as everyone was crossing the finish line and he finished 15th. So the fade call was wrong up until the very end. But I’m back on the Larson train for the Charlotte Roval. He won this race two years ago and he has an average finish of 12.0 on road courses this year. I mostly like how he was trending heading into Talladega. He led 273 total laps between Darlington, Kansas, Bristol, and Texas. Now that we’re done with the superspeedways for the season, I want to go back to the well with Larson.

Bank of America 400 Preview: Wouldn’t Bet Against Them

Chris Buescher (#17 Ford)

Per Ryan with iFantasyRace, Buescher has the best average finish (8.0) on road courses of the remaining 12 playoff drivers. At the Roval, Buescher has been great the last couple of years. He finished third in 2021 and was sixth last year. At Sonoma, he finished second in 2022 and fourth earlier this year. Both those results came in the NextGen car. Despite the high variance of the Indy Road Course, he never finished worse than 12th. And in the NextGen car, he has a pair of top 10 finishes at Watkins Glen. He’s a very underrated road course driver and he’s having the best season of his career with three wins already in the bag.

Ross Chastain (#1 Chevrolet)

Chastain has raced at the Roval four times in his career. He’s never even grabbed a top 20. Not exactly a ringing endorsement for a driver, right? But Chastain has his back to the wall in this race. He’s currently 10 points below the cut-off line. He can still point his way into the next round. However, he’s an aggressive driver. He’ll go for the win if he thinks he can get it. Since the introduction of the NextGen car, we’ve seen Chastain win at COTA last year. His teammate, Daniel Suarez, won at Sonoma last year. Earlier, Shane van Gisbergen won the Chicago Street Race in his NASCAR debut. This organization can provide the perfect setup for this track and Ross isn’t afraid to wreck anybody. He’ll even put his own car in the wall if it means he can advance to the next round.

AJ Allmendinger (#16 Chevrolet)

It’s a road course so Allmendinger is obviously in play. He led 24 laps in this race a year ago and finished fourth. Perhaps the most absurd AJ Allmendinger stat is that he’s raced here four times in the Xfinity Series and he’s won them all. That’s right. Four Xfinity Series starts at this track. And he won all four of them. The current form isn’t great, and I think he’s burnt out. There’s an argument to be made that he wants to go back to the Xfinity Series. He’s stated that he wants to win a championship and his best chances to do so are at the Xfinity level. However, I do think he can shake off the rust and have another phenomenal performance on Sunday for this race.

Bank of America 400 Preview: The Sleepers

Alex Bowman (#48 Chevrolet)

Bowman’s had a rough year but the Hendrick cars did manage to find their way to the front towards the end of last week’s race at Talladega. He missed this race a year ago due to an injury. But in his previous four races at the Roval, he’s finished top 10 in them all including a runner-up finish in 2019. He missed a handful of races this year, again due to injury. But he did manage to finish top five at COTA and Indy. Remember, his crew chief is Blake Harris. Harris was previously the crew chief for Michael McDowell. Harris is very good at nailing the setup on these tracks. That pairs nicely with the fact Bowman has previous success at this track.

Austin Dillon (#3 Chevrolet)

Austin Dillon has actually improved his finishing result each year the Roval has been run. Take a look…

  • 2018: Started P24, Finished 39th (wrecked)
  • 2019: Started P30, Finished 23rd
  • 2020: Started P6, Finished 19th
  • 2021: Started P14, Finished 15th
  • 2022: Started P15, Finished 10th

So if this trend continues, he should grab another top-10 finish. Dare I say he finishes top five? Obviously, I am likely to be wrong. In 2022, the first year with the NextGen car, Dill grabbed top 15 finishes at COTA, Sonoma, and the Roval while finishing 17th at Watkins Glen. He hasn’t had the same success this season but he has top 20 results at Sonoma and Indy. This race is probably bigger for his teammate, Kyle Busch, since he needs a win to realistically move on to the next round. But Dillon could very well grab another top 10.

Ty Gibbs (#54 Toyota)

Gibbs has wrecked in the last two races entering the Roval. So that very well could drive exposure across the field down. He’s had some great performances on road courses this year. He finished ninth at COTA, ninth at Chicago, 12th at Indy, and he was fifth at Watkins Glen. He won on similar hybrid tracks (Daytona Road Course and Indy Road Course) in the Xfinity Series. Moreover, in last year’s Xfinity Series race at the Roval, he finished as the runner-up while leading 24 laps. I’m not saying he wins this race, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he had a top-10 day.

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