The last race of the Round of 12 takes place this week at the Charlotte Roval 400. This race last year looked like a Superspeedway race. There were a lot of lead changes( 14) and a lot of cautions (10). Some drivers have quickly figured out how to get around the Roval, while others look completely lost. It should be fun to see who can advance in the playoffs and which drivers have their seasons ended.
It will be important to know the situation for each driver in the playoffs because they will race differently Sunday. Denny Hamlin and Kurt Busch are locked into the Round of 8 because of their wins. Kevin Harvick is locked in because of points and Brad Keselowski needs to finish 36th or better to advance on points. Martin Truex Jr., Chase Elliott, Alex Bowman and Joey Logano have a significant point lead over the drivers under the cut line. These drivers will be trying to score as many Stage points as possible Sunday. Kyle Busch, Austin Dillon, Clint Bowyer and Aric Almirola will likely sacrifice Stage points because they almost need a win Sunday to advance.
Last Week’s Results
I needed a lot of luck at Talladega and I did not get it. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. crashed in the first 10 laps of the race so I was out of Garage Driver choices for the race. Most of my drivers were running up front until lap 59 when Aric Almirola and Alex Bowman crashed. The race was not too bad though. I correctly picked Denny Hamlin as the winner (that was not too difficult) and scored the 10 bonus points. The picks are beating 94.6% of the competition with five races left in the season.
Here are my picks for Charlotte Roval…
Chase Elliott: Chase Elliott is the best pick this week and it isn’t even close. Elliott has won the last three races on the road courses and four of the last six. He starts on the front row so he should take an early lead and many never give it up. Elliott was in another zip code at the Daytona Roval race earlier this year. It could be the same situation Sunday.
Martin Truex Jr.: Martin Truex Jr. should have won the inaugural race at the Charlotte Roval but he was spun out by Jimmie Johnson in the final turn. Truex has finished 1st or 2nd in five of the last eight road course races. It should be a battle between the No. 9 and No. 19 cars Sunday. The No. 19 team needs as many Stage points as possible so I expect Truex will use pit strategy to allow him to finish up front in both Stages and score a lot of fantasy points Sunday.
Clint Bowyer: Clint Bowyer has been very good at the Charlotte Roval. He finished 3rd in the first race in 2018 and 4th last year. He also finished 6th at the Daytona Roval race this season. Bowyer is almost in a “must win” situation Sunday. He just may get the trip to Victory Lane that he needs. I just hope he does not sacrifice too many Stage points while trying to start up front in the final Stage.
Alex Bowman: All of the Hendrick Motorsports cars finished in the top 10 at the Charlotte Roval last year. The final laps were a battle between Chase Elliott and Alex Bowman. The No. 88 car did not lead any laps but Bowman did finish second. He also finished 4th in the first race at the Charlotte Roval. Bowman needs as many Stage points as possible so I expect the No. 88 team will use pit strategy to allow Bowman to run in the top 10 Sunday.
Kurt Busch: Kurt Busch is already locked into the Round of 8 so he has no pressure on him this week. He has been a very good road course driver in his career. He should have a good chance to finish up front Sunday. Busch finished 5th in the first race at the Charlotte Roval and he was running in the top 10 last year when he was spun out on lap 100. Busch starts 10th so he has the track position to score some Stage points and finish up front Sunday.
Garage Driver: Jimmie Johnson always finishes up front at this track. He nearly won the first Roval race at Charlotte in 2018. He came back and finished 9th in the Bank of America Roval 400 last year. Johnson also finished 4th at the Daytona Roval race in August. Johnson will be my insurance policy in the Garage Sunday.
Good luck and be sure to follow me on Twitter @MrFantasyNASCAR
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