Congratulations to Martin Truex Jr. for winning the first two playoff races after sweeping at Richmond on Saturday night. Kyle Busch and Kevin Harvick have both also scored enough points to be guaranteed a spot in the second round of the playoffs which will start after next week’s race. Erik Jones is in the biggest trouble after finishing fourth in the race on Saturday, but failing post race inspection and relegated to a last place finish by NASCAR. He now sits 45 points below the cut line.
BANK OF AMERICA ROVAL 400
This week the series heads to the Charlotte Motor Speedway for the running of the Bank of America ROVAL 400. This is the second year the series heads to the Roval at Charlotte with Ryan Blaney winning the race last year after Martin Truex Jr. and Jimmie Johnson crashed late in the race when Johnson tried to pass Martin and made contact with him sending them both spinning and letting Blaney take the lead.
Martin Truex Jr.: Like I already stated, Martin was leading this race late last year and he has the best average finish at the road course tracks over the past two plus seasons including three wins in his last seven road course starts. There is not reason to think that he can’t stay hot and sweep the first round of the playoffs.
Kyle Busch: Kyle has finished in the top five in six of his last eleven road course races and has had nine top ten finishes in those races too. He wants to get back to victory lane and has nothing to lose as he has already scored enough points to make it into the second round. They are sitting okay right now, but are probably getting a little worried that they can’t beat their teammate right now.
Clint Bowyer: As the standing look right now, Clint is four points out of making it into the second round. That isn’t a lot to make up and this road course is just the place for him to feel a little better heading into the weekend. Clint finished third in this race last year and has finished in the top five in four of his last seven road course starts. I think if they can stay out of trouble early and not get too aggressive they should be able to come away with another good finish and point their way into the next round.
Denny Hamlin: Let’s go back to the Joe Gibbs teams. They swept the top four spots in last week’s race even though Erik Jones didn’t pass post race inspection and lost his finishing position. So these teams have all shown that they are the teams to beat in these playoffs and Denny is one of the best at the road course tracks. He has six top five finishes in his last nine road course races and even though he finished twelfth here last season I’m betting they figured some things out and will run better this week.
Kurt Busch: Kurt is also on the outside of the next round looking in right now and needs to make up fourteen points and move ahead of three drivers in the standings. That is a bit more difficult to do then what Clint has to do, but Kurt is another driver who can get the job done on this type of track. He finished fifth in this race last season and hasn’t finished worse than thirteenth in his last fifteen road course races. He might see how he fairs in the stages before he decides if he has to let it all out and try to win the race if he hasn’t gained much ground in the standings.
Chase Elliott: Chase has five top eight finishes in his last seven road course starts and has won two of those races. He has a thirty-seven point cushion right now and will probably make sure he stays out of trouble and just gets a good finish in this one. If his car is handling really well and he thinks he can win the race he will do it, but he won’t take a lot of chances this week.
Kevin Harvick: Kevin is already into the second round and could be looking at gaining some playoff points this weekend. He has been very good at this type of track finishing in the top ten in five straight and ten of his last twelve starts on this type of track. Remember, they have looked much better on the intermediate tracks lately and that makes him a serious threat to the Gibbs drivers in these playoffs.
Ryan Blaney: Ryan is only eight points to the good, but has two drivers below him as a cushion right now. He is another driver who might want to take it easy early in this race and make sure he still has a decent car late in the race. He won this race last season and has five top ten finishes in his last seven road course starts. There is a little pressure on him this week and he just needs to be patient and not make mistakes to advance.
Erik Jones: Erik pretty much has to win this race if he wants to advance to the next round of the playoffs and he could do it. He has five top ten finishes in his last seven road course races and he might just get a break from his teammates as it gets down to the end of the race. Will they let him pass them so he can advance or will they race him hard if he is in contention late? The only ones that know that are the drivers themselves.
Alex Bowman: Alex is only two points below the cut line and he finished fourth here last year. In fact, Alex has five straight top fifteen finishes at this type of track. I don’t think that will be enough for him to move into the top twelve because he has both Clint Bowyer and Kurt Busch close behind him right now. He might have to push it a little harder than he is used to if he wants to move into the top twelve after this race.
DRIVER GROUP GAME FANTASY NASCAR PICKS FOR CHARLOTTE MOTOR SPEEDWAY ROAD COURSE
Driver Group Game Group A
- Martin Truex Jr.
- Kyle Busch
Driver Group Game Group B
- Denny Hamlin
- Clint Bowyer
- Kurt Busch
- Erik Jones
Driver Group Game Group C
- Matt DiBenedetto
- Michael McDowell
MY TOP-5 OVERALL AT CHARLOTTE MOTOR SPEEDWAY ROAD COURSE
- Martin Truex Jr.
- Kyle Busch
- Clint Bowyer
- Denny Hamlin
- Kevin Harvick
Dark Horse: Matt DiBenedetto
Stay Away From: William Byron
Big 18: Chase Elliott