Once again I have to write this before the second race as I will be out of internet range again early next week. I want to apologize to those of you who submit questions to me while I am away that I can’t answer for you. Hopefully I can make it home early enough next week to help you all out. I should be available off and on again for the rest of the season to try and hand out any advice you might need during the week, but I know there will be some weekends where I am not going to be able to help again in early October.
BANK OF AMERICA ROVAL 400
For the last race of the first stage of the playoffs the series heads to the Charlotte Motor Speedway Road Course for the running of the Bank of America Roval 400. The Roval is a road course that has never been used in a NASCAR race until this weekend. There was testing done by the drivers, so they at least have seen the course and been able to make some laps on it. The thing is no one knows what to expect under race conditions. This is going to be a 109-lap race on a 2.28 mile track which comes out to about 400 kilometers.
I think the thing to do here is go with those who have always performed well on the road course tracks and probably lean towards those who have more patience as they will learn as they go and the only way to learn is to make sure you stay on the track and keep your car in one piece.
Kyle Busch: I am going to contradict myself a little bit here and say Kyle wins the race this weekend. He might not have the most patience of the drivers, but he is by far the most consistent driver when it comes to racing on the road courses. With four wins, ten top five and eighteen top ten finishes in his twenty-eight starts he has shown that he can get the job done on both of the tracks that he has run on in the Monster Energy Cup Series.
Martin Truex Jr.: Martin has won two of the last six road course races and could have possible won a couple more of them. This includes both of his wins and a runner-up finish in his last three road course starts. Martin is also one of the more patient drivers on the track and has a great crew chief that knows how to settle him down if he does get excited. I think he could come away with another top five finish here this week.
Denny Hamlin: Denny only has one win at this type of track and that came in the last three years as he was on a four race streak of finishing in the top five at the road course tracks. This team is hit and miss this season, but I still think they can come away with a win yet this year. It might not be a sure thing this weekend, but I think he could be another top five driver.
AJ Allmendinger: AJ knows how to drive on these tracks, but his finishing position doesn’t always show that. I think that if he can stay patient and keep his car on the track he will have a shot here this week. There could be a lot of drivers who are pushing too hard on a track they know nothing about that are going to get in big trouble and take themselves out of the race which means there won’t be quite so much competition.
Kurt Busch: Another driver that needs to have some patience early and he could be a contender at the end. Kurt has not finished worse than twelfth in his last twelve road course starts. Those are phenomenal numbers when you consider any little mistake can cost you any number of positions and the wear and tear on a car as it hops around all over the track. He is another driver you will want on your team this weekend.
Clint Bowyer: Clint has three top five finishes in his four starts at this type of track since joining Stewart-Haas Racing last season. Clint likes to beat and bang with the rest of the drivers on these tracks and usually comes out not too much worse for wear. He seems to know how to position his car and where the best places to pass on these tracks are and takes advantage of that knowledge.
Kevin Harvick: Kevin has finished in the top ten in seven of his last nine road course starts including a win and a runner-up finish in his last two Sonoma starts. Seeing I haven’t seen a race at this track, I don’t know if it conforms closer to Sonoma or Watkins Glen, but I have a sneaking suspicion that it is going to be its own unique configuration. Yet, as good as he has been all season, I think he will fair well here this weekend too.
Brad Keselowski: Brad is still looking for his first career win at a road course, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t run well at these tracks. He is also another one of those drivers who will trade paint all during the race, get beat, and then say something to the effect of how much fun he had and praise the other drivers who finished better than him. That is the right attitude to have when you are going into the unknown.
Chase Elliott: Let’s not forget that Chase won his first ever Cup race at Watkins Glen earlier this year. He has only run six road course races in this series and came away with three top ten finishes in his last four starts including that win. It seems he really likes to run on this type of track and learns a little more every time he goes out there. Now that he has one win, others could easily follow on the road courses.
Joey Logano: Joey is another of those drivers who always seems to have a pretty good car at these tracks and then runs into some type of problem that takes him out of contention. He is someone you might want to take a chance on this weekend because he does know how to get around these tracks and he has the same amount of experience as the rest of the field at this track.
DRIVER GROUP GAME FANTASY NASCAR PICKS FOR CHARLOTTE MOTOR SPEEDWAY ROVAL
Driver Group Game Group A
- Kyle Busch
- Martin Truex Jr.
Driver Group Game Group B
- Clint Bowyer
- Kurt Busch
- AJ Allmendinger
- Ryan Newman
Driver Group Game Group C
- Michael McDowell
- David Ragan
MY TOP-5 OVERALL AT CHARLOTTE MOTOR SPEEDWAY ROVAL
- Kyle Busch
- Martin Truex Jr.
- Denny Hamlin
- Kurt Busch
- Brad Keselowski
Dark Horse: Daniel Suarez
Stay Away From: Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
Big 18: Kurt Busch