On Sunday, September 29th, NASCAR will be live from the Charlotte Motor Speedway in Concord, North Carolina, for the Bank of America ROVAL 400. This is the second trip to Charlotte in 2019, but the Monster Energy Cup series won’t be using the traditional oval track like before. Instead, they will be using the ROVAL course.
NASCAR unveiled the ROVAL course last year for the first time and it created quite the buzz among fans and drivers. It’s become the third road course on the circuit along with Sonoma and Watkins Glen. However, it seems more difficult than the other two road courses.
In addition to the exciting ROVAL course, this will be the third and final race of the first round of the playoffs. At the conclusion of this race, the four lowest-ranked playoff drivers (13th – 16th) will be eliminated. Martin Truex Jr. has won the first two races of the playoffs and is dominating the field.
Top sports betting sites have listed Truex as the favorite to win at the ROVAL. He’s followed closely by Kyle Busch and Chase Elliott.
The ROVAL is a uniquely designed road course at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Each lap is 2.28 miles long and consists of 17 turns. The Bank of America ROVAL 400 breaks down as follows:
Total Miles: 248.52 miles
Total Laps: 109 laps
Stage 1: First 25 laps
Stage 2: Second 25 laps
Final Stage: Remaining 59 laps
The Bank of America ROVAL 400 is set to begin at 2:30 PM ET and will air live on NBC.
With all the playoff buzz heading into the final weekend of September, the following storylines are worth keeping an eye on at Charlotte Motor Speedway’s ROVAL course:
Who will the 2nd Bank of America ROVAL 400?
Who gets eliminated from the playoffs?
Will a road course expert win this race?
Can Truex sweep the first round of playoff races?
Will a non-playoff driver steal the show?
Can Ryan Blaney win this race again?
Current Playoff Standings
Martin Truex Jr. has won the first two playoff races (Vegas and Richmond). He’s running away from the pack in the standings. With that said, four drivers will be eliminated from the playoffs after this weekend’s race in Charlotte.
The following is the current playoff standings heading into the Bank of America ROVAL 400:
Martin Truex Jr. (2,141 points)
Kevin Harvick (2,120 points)
Kyle Busch (2,117 points)
Brad Keselowski (2,2106 points)
Denny Hamlin (2,105 points)
Joey Logano (2,101 points)
Chase Elliott (2,088 points)
Kyle Larson (2,076 points)
Ryan Newman (2,065 points)
Ryan Blaney (2,059 points)
Aric Almirola (2,054 points)
William Byron (2,053 points)
Below the Cutoff Line to Advance to 2nd Round
Alex Bowman (2,051 points)
Clint Bowyer (2,049 points)
Kurt Busch (2,039 points)
Erik Jones (2,008 points)
Think the Roval was wild from where you sat? Imagine being in the car.
According to most NASCAR betting sites, the following drivers are considered the odds on favorites to win the Bank of America ROVAL 400.
Martin Truex Jr
Martin Truex Jr (+300)
Truex’s current run in the playoffs has been nothing short of spectacular. He’s won the first two races in the postseason and appears to be heading to a third straight win. Truex leads the series with six wins on the year and is poised for another run at the championship.
Last year, Truex had a mediocre race at the ROVAL. For a road course driver, it was a bit below pre-race expectations. Nevertheless, Truex is still one of the best drivers on road courses and is the man to beat this weekend.
Truex has won three times at Sonoma including taking the checkered flag this year. He has one victory at Watkins Glen and an impressive 10.6 average finish with nine Top 10s in 14 races. Truex finished runner up to Chase Elliott at The Glen this year.
By all measurements, this weekend’s race is Truex’s to lose.
Kyle Busch (+500)
All the praise we’re singing about Truex, is what we used to sing about Kyle Busch weekly. Unfortunately, Busch hasn’t won a race in almost four months. Not since Pocono in Week 14. The first two playoff races have been “ok” for Busch as he finished 19th in Vegas and 2nd last weekend behind Truex.
However, Busch comes to a track that he didn’t do well at last year. Busch crashed out of the ROVAL race last year and finished 32nd. He also had an average starting spot at 14th.
Like his teammate, Busch is a strong road course driver with two wins at Sonoma and two wins at Watkins Glen. He has a spectacular 9.5 average finish at Watkins Glen with 12 Top 10’s in 15 races. Busch has five Top 5’s and seven Top 10’s at Sonoma. This year, Busch finished 2nd at Sonoma and 11th at Watkins Glen.
Last weekend was the time to take Busch to win as I did. It was a track where he’s dominated at in the past. He was close, but finished runner up to Truex.
Despite his road course success over his career, I don’t feel as confident in Kyle Busch this weekend as I do Truex and Chase Elliott. Busch will bounce back from last year’s ROVAL and get a Top 10 spot, but I don’t see him taking home the checkered flag.
Chase Elliott (+700)
As mentioned, I like Chase Elliott’s chances this weekend and think he can contend with Martin Truex Jr. at the ROVAL. Elliott has shown in his first few years as a full-time Cup driver that he has a knack for road courses.
If it weren’t for a blown engine at this year’s Sonoma race, Elliott would’ve most likely scored his 3rd straight Top 10 result in four career races. He started 4th overall and was running strong until the engine issue. Before that, he had an 11.0 average finish at Sonoma.
At Watkins Glen, Elliott has already won twice in just four races. He has a 7.0 average finish and thoroughly dominated the race at Watkins Glen less than two months ago. He led 80 of the 90 laps.
Elliott finished 13th at Richmond last weekend and 4th at Vegas two weeks ago. He has five Top 10’s in the last seven overall races with a 19th place as his worst showing. Watch out for Elliott this Sunday.
Brad Keselowski (+800)
Of all the betting favorites, Brad Keselowski is the one driver that I have the least confidence in. He’s run strong in the playoffs so far, having finished 4th last weekend in Richmond and 3rd in Vegas two weeks ago. However, he’s not as strong of a road course driver as the three favorites ahead of him in this section.
At last year’s ROVAL race, Keselowski started 25th and finished 31st. He crashed out with a few laps left. Additionally, Brad has never won at Sonoma or Watkins Glen. He finished 18th at Sonoma this season and 9th at Watkins Glen.
I haven’t seen much from Keselowski on road courses to think he will win on Sunday. Nor, do I think he will compete with some of the other favorites. More than likely, he will finish somewhere in the middle of the pack, but safely advance to the next round. Avoid betting on Keselowski this weekend.
Denny Hamlin (+800)
Unlike Keselowski, Denny Hamlin has had some decent success on road courses. He’s won one time at Watkins Glen and finished 3rd there this year. He’s yet to win at Sonoma, but did score a 5th place result there three months ago.
Last year at the ROVAL, Hamlin finished 12th after starting 27th. It was a solid result considering his qualifying struggles.
In the playoffs so far, Hamlin finished 3rd at Richmond and 15th at Vegas. He also has eight Top 6 finishes in the last 10 overall races and two wins. I’m not ready to declare Hamlin the winner this weekend, but I certainly believe he will have a Top 10 result and easily move on to the next round.
The Best Charlotte Betting Value
The following NASCAR drivers offer betting value for the Bank of America ROVAL 400 due to their current betting odds, their past success on road courses, and their 2019 season so far.
Kevin Harvick (+1400)
Harvick has proven to be a solid road course driver in his career. He’s already won at Sonoma and Watkins Glen and finished 9th at this race last year. For his career, Harvick has a 12.7 average finish at Sonoma and a 12.9 average finish at Watkins Glen.
This year, Harvick was 6th at Sonoma and 7th at The Glen. His consistency on road courses makes his +1400 odds very appealing. Additionally, he’s finished inside the Top 7 eight out of the last nine overall races and has three wins during that span.
In the first two rounds of the playoffs, Harvick finished 2nd at Vegas and 7th at Richmond. He’s driving with a lot of momentum and is one of the top contenders at this race. I certainly like him better than Keselowski and Hamlin.
Kurt Busch (+1600)
Kurt Busch is racing for his playoff life. He currently sits 14 points below the cutoff and will have to outperform Bowman, Bowyer, Byron and Almirola this weekend to advance to Round 2.
For Busch’s sake, he is a decent road course driver which will help his chances this weekend. Busch has won at Sonoma in his career and has a 13.6 average finish. He was 13th in the Sonoma race this year. At Watkins Glen, Busch has a 15.9 average finish and came home 10th in the race this year.
At the ROVAL last year, Busch started on the pole and ended up 5th. It was a strong showing for a new road course which is indicative of his driving skills. He’s going to need another Top 5 result this weekend to secure a spot in the next round. Can Busch pull off this feat?
Joey Logano (+1800)
The reigning NASCAR champion is surprisingly low on the list of betting favorites. At +1800 odds, Logano’s odds offers great value. He finished 10th in this race last year and has a 10.0 average finish over the first two playoff races so far.
At Sonoma, Logano has a 14.3 average finish but had a disappointing 23rd result this year. At Watkins Glen, Logano has a victory and also had a disappointing 23rd place result this year.
It’s been well over three months since Logano has last won a race. He’s picking up some momentum over the last three weeks and he’s capable of pulling off the win this weekend.
Ryan Blaney (+2000)
Ryan Blaney won this race last year and it’s somewhat surprising that his odds are this high. In his eight total races at Sonoma and Watkins Glen, he’s finished in the Top 10 half of the time. His career averages are 17.2 at Sonoma and 11.0 at Watkins Glen. He was 3rd at Sonoma this year and 5th at Watkins Glen.
That’s a strong showing for a young driver on road courses and it makes his odds even more appealing than Joey Logano and Kurt Busch.
Over the last nine races on the season, Blaney has six Top 10’s and three Top 5’s. He’s 10th in the standings and will need a solid Top 15 run to clinch a spot in Round 2 of the playoffs. I like his chances to accomplish this.
Clint Bowyer (+2200)
Like Kurt Busch, Clint Bowyer is a veteran driver with road course success and needs a big result this Sunday to advance to the next round. Last year, Bowyer finished 3rd and moved on to the second round. If he can duplicate that result this year, then he will move on.
Bowyer has 28 total road course races in his career with one win, 10 Top 5’s, and 15 Top 10’s. He’s a skillful driver once there’s right turns on the track.
Over the last five races, including the playoffs, Bowyer has four Top 8 finishes and even led a few laps. He’s going to need a strong run this weekend and I think he’s going to deliver. Watch out for the wily Bowyer on Sunday.
Think the Roval was wild from where you sat? Imagine being in the car.
The Top Longshot to Win the Bank of America ROVAL 400
Ryan Newman +8000 odds is the best of the longshots to have a realistic chance at finishing in the Top 10 and potentially stealing the checkered flag. He currently sits 9th in the playoff standings, 14 points above the cutoff. He’s in a good position to advance to the next round especially if he runs well on Sunday.
Last year, Newman finished 11th at the ROVAL after starting 29th. That’s an impressive showing for a new track and a bad starting spot. Over his career, Newman has shown an ability to perform well on road courses and I see that happening again on Sunday.
Newman has a 12.8 average finish at Sonoma, which is the 4th best among active drivers. Only Harvick, Bowyer and Johnson have fared better. Although he’s never won a road course race, he consistently finishes within the Top 15. I think he will snag a Top 12 spot this weekend and move on to Round 2.
Who Will Be Eliminated from the Playoffs?
As we look at the top seven drivers in the standings, they are a lock to move on to round two. Elliott at 7th needs to finish 16th or better to advance regardless of what anyone else does.
The eighth-seeded Kyle Larson has a 25-point cushion heading into this race but will still need a solid showing this weekend. A few Top 10 results in the first two stages would go a long way towards helping him out. Ryan Newman and his 14-point cushion are in a similar position.
Now, we get to 10th through 12th. Blaney at 10th won this race last year and is a strong candidate to finish in the Top 10 this weekend. I believe he advances and contends for a checkered flag again. Aric Almirola at 11th and William Byron at 12th are my two picks for drivers above the cutoff to get eliminated.
Almirola finished 19th here last year, has a 19.6 average finish at Sonoma and a 22.9 average finish at Watkins Glen. In 18 total road course races over his career, he has just two Top 10’s.
12th place William Byron has even worse numbers with 22.0 average finish at Sonoma, 14.5 average finish at Watkins Glen, and a 34th place result at the ROVAL last year.
The two drivers below the cutoff that I see advancing are 14th Clint Bowyer and 15th Kurt Busch. I’ve laid out arguments for both drivers in the betting value section above. They both have won on road courses before and they both finished in the Top 5 at this track last year.
13th seeded Alex Bowman finished 4th here last year, but I think that was more luck than skill. His 23.2 average finish at Watkins Glen and 20.8 average finish at Sonoma prove he’s not a consistently strong racer on road courses. I believe he will be eliminated.
16th place Erik Jones needs a win to advance and I don’t see that happening. He will also be eliminated.
These four drivers will be bounced from the playoffs:
Bank of America ROVAL 400 Checkered Flag
This ROVAL track is truly a wild card in the first round of the playoffs. It’s only the second time that the top series has raced here and it will undoubtedly shake up the field. I can see up to 15 different drivers finishing in the Top 10 based on the playoff desperation and previous road course success.
Although Martin Truex Jr. is my favorite driver, and I would love to see him sweep the three first round playoff races, I am going with Chase Elliott this weekend. The young driver has shown that he’s a stud on road courses.
His win at Watkins Glen a handful of races ago was one of the most dominating performances of the season. In nine total road course races, he has two wins, three Top 5’s, and five Top 10’s. These are strong numbers that can’t be ignored. He was 6th at the ROVAL last year and I believe he will take home the checkered flag this year.
Every week, NASCAR releases 10 prop bets for fans to choose the right answers, earn points and win prizes. For the 29th race of the season, there are a few props that I like and think you should go with:
Over/Under 0.5 Drivers Below the Cutoff Will Advance to the 2nd Round of the Playoffs:
Based on what I’ve stated above, I believe two drivers will advance to the 2nd round from their current positions below the cutoff line. Those two drivers are Clint Bowyer and Kurt Busch. Not only did they both finish in the Top 5 at ROVAL last year, but they both also have road course wins in their career.
I believe their veteran experience will help them edge out younger drivers like Bowman and Byron. And their skills will surpass another driver like Aric Almirola.
Prop Bet: Over 0.5 drivers below the cutoff will advance to Round 2
Will Matt DiBenedetto Finish in the Top 10 at the ROVAL?
Yes, DiBenedetto will get a Top 10 finish at ROVAL this year. He was 13th in last year’s race and has already finished in the Top 10 for both Sonoma and Watkins Glen this year. He was 4th at Sonoma and 6th at Watkins Glen.
DiBenedetto is the one non-playoff driver that I believe can get up there and challenge the playoff drivers for a potential checkered flag.
Prop Bet: Yes, Matt DiBenedetto will finish in Top 10
Which Team Penske Driver Will Finish Higher: Keselowski or Blaney?
This one is rather easy for me. Ryan Blaney won this race last year and Brad Keselowski finished 31st overall. In 21 career road course races, Keselowski has just five Top 5’s and eight Top 10’s. Blaney has one win, three Top 5’s, and five Top 10’s in nine career road course races.
I’m going with Blaney to contend for a checkered flag this weekend while Keselowski finishes anywhere from 12th to 20th.
Prop Bet: Ryan Blaney will finish higher than Keselowski at the ROVAL
As a longtime freelance writer, avid sports fan, former athlete, and experienced sports bettor, Rick Rockwell has risen up the ranks at GamblingSites.org to become the self-professed "King of the Blog" in his first year with the site. ...
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