The Setup – Bank of America ROVAL 400
By Tyler Miller

NASCAR heads to Charlotte Motor Speedway for the Bank of America ROVAL 400 on Sunday afternoon. Rain is in the forecast and if the Cup race turns out to be anything like the Xfinity race on Saturday you can expect the unexpected. This is only the third race at the ROVAL, which combines the infield road course with the traditional oval at Charlotte Motor Speedway. This track takes drivers out of their comfort zone and creates an unpredictable type of racing, comparable to what we see on superspeedways like Talladega last weekend. This fact is accentuated by the threat of rain and NASCAR’s affinity for wet weather racing on road courses. From a DFS perspective, my approach is the same as my approach to Daytona and Talladega, no cash games and larger entry fee single entry contests. Playing cash games on Sunday doesn’t make any sense because the risk outweighs the reward. Let’s get started.

Race Distance: 109 laps, Stage 1 ends on lap 25, Stage 2 ends on lap 50.
Lineup Lock 2:30 pm eastern Sunday
Last year’s winner – Chase Elliott (Started 19th)
Last year’s pole sitter: William Byron (Finished 6th)
Prior race winners:
2018: Ryan Blaney (Started 9th)

Talladega Recap:
What went right?

First of all, I love Talladega. I enjoyed every second of the race last Sunday. My write-up last week only included one driver in the top 5 of Fan Duel scoring (Tyler Reddick) but I still cashed in my biggest payday to date with a second place in the $1K Sun NAS Gas Pedal ($25 single entry) on Fan Duel. My top plays were Ryan Blaney, Joey Logano, and Chase Elliott. Elliott worked out the best with 41 laps led, a 5th place finish and scoring the 7th most points on Fan Duel. Blaney and Logano both led laps but had issues late. Blaney ended up being the better play scoring 30.7 points on Fan Duel compared to Logano’s 29.3, but that was basically a wash. My best play from The Setup was Justin Haley. Haley finished the race 11th with +24 differential which was good enough for 8th in Fan Duel scoring at $5.5K and low ownership. Avoiding Stenhouse (I wrote him up but said I wouldn’t play him) was also a really good move. Stenhouse was highly owned (51% in my single entry contest) which led to a clear path to cashing on Sunday. I had Bubba Wallace and Matt Kenseth written up and they were both solid plays, scoring more points than Blaney/Logano, but they didn’t really light the world on fire. The combination of using Chase Elliott, Tyler Reddick, and Justin Haley and avoiding Stenhouse led to a big payday on Sunday.

What went wrong?
I was high on Brendan Gaughan and he got collected in the Kurt Busch crash. Gaughan really wasn’t that big of a deal because he was so highly owned, especially on Fan Duel where his price was much lower compared to Draft Kings. I wrote William Byron up but didn’t get him enough consideration for my lineup. Overall, it was a great race and I’m not going to complain.

What Vegas thinks (Saturday PM lines via Draft Kings Sportsbook)
Chase Elliott is favored at +275. I would be willing to bet that one of the top four favorites (Elliott, Truex, Hamlin, or Harvick) will win this race. If you are looking for a longshot, go with Jimmie Johnson at +2000.

Chase Elliott +275
Martin Truex Jr +500
Denny Hamlin +800
Kevin Harvick +800
Ryan Blaney +1200
Clint Bowyer +1400
Kyle Busch +1400
Brad Keselowski +1500
Joey Logano +1600
Alex Bowman +2000
Jimmie Johnson +2000

Driver Ratings at the ROVAL:
1. Chase Elliott 122.0
2. Kevin Harvick 111.7
3. Jimmie Johnson 105.0
4. Clint Bowyer 103.5
5. Martin Truex Jr. 101.3
6. William Byron 98.6
7. Brad Keselowski 97.6
8. Ryan Blaney 96.1
9. Kurt Busch 85.9
10. Joey Logano 85.9
11. Alex Bowman 84.9
12. Kyle Busch 79.0
13. Aric Almirola 77.0
14. Michael McDowell 73.3
15. Matt DiBenedetto 72.0

Average Running Position
1. Kevin Harvick 6.390
2. Chase Elliott 8.188
3. Martin Truex Jr. 8.862
4. Jimmie Johnson 9.385
5. Clint Bowyer 10.977
6. William Byron 11.590
7. Brad Keselowski 11.966
8. Ryan Blaney 12.803
9. Joey Logano 13.966
10. Kurt Busch 15.188
11. Kyle Busch 15.541
12. Daniel Suarez 16.142
13. Michael McDowell 16.606
14. Aric Almirola 16.706
15. Alex Bowman 17.656

Laps Led
1. Chase Elliott 35 (16.1% of laps run)
2. Kevin Harvick 34 (15.6)
3. Brad Keselowski 32 (14.7)
4. William Byron 23 (10.6)
5. Ryan Blaney 16 (7.3)

2019 Top 10:
1. Chase Elliott
2. Alex Bowman
3. Kevin Harvick
4. Clint Bowyer
5. Brad Keselowski
6. William Byron
7. Martin Truex Jr.
8. Ryan Blaney
9. Jimmie Johnson
10. Joey Logano

2018 Top 10:
1. Ryan Blaney
2. Jamie McMurray
3. Clint Bowyer
4. Alex Bowman
5. Kurt Busch
6. Chase Elliott
7. A.J. Allmendinger
8. Jimmie Johnson
9. Kevin Harvick
10. Joey Logano

Chase Elliott ($13,500/10,600) Chase Elliott is the top play. He is the favorite to win, he has a ridiculious driver rating in his two races at the ROVAL and he has won three road course races in a row including the Daytona road course earlier this year, the ROVAL a year ago, and Watkins Glen in the summer of 2019. Starting second, Chase is a bit of a risk. In the even he has an incident or wipes out in the rain he could kill a lineup, but I think he leads a lot of laps on Sunday and finishes in the top 3.

Kevin Harvick ($13,000/9,900) Kevin Harvick is the natural pivot away from Chase Elliott. Harvick has been really solid in his two races at the ROVAL finishing 3rd last year and 9th in the inaugural event. I don’t think you can fit Harvick and Elliott together on Fan Duel, but in a multi-entry situation, I like him slightly less than Elliott on Sunday.

Clint Bowyer ($11,300/8,800) I really like Clint Bowyer on Sunday. Bowyer has been outstanding at the ROVAL with two top 5 finishes and a driver rating of 103.5. I think Bowyer is a great play, but its difficult to play him because I don’t think the laps led will be there and there are so many other drivers that are going to get huge positive differential. Overall, Bowyer is a solid play on either site.

Jimmie Johnson ($10,600/9,100) Starting 30th, Jimmie Johnson is a no brainer for Sunday afternoon. While 2020 has not been the year Johnson had hoped for, this is a track where he could compete for the win and come away with some positive feelings about his last full-time season in the sport. I would play Jimmie Johnson with confidence on Sunday.

Michael McDowell ($9,000/8,100) Michael McDowell is a solid mid-tier play for the ROVAL on Sunday. McDowell is starting 31st and has the potential for a top 15, maybe even a top 10 finish on Sunday. My only issue with McDowell is that he is priced up significantly from his typical salary. If you can fit McDowell, particularly on DK, you should seriously consider him for a top 15 and +15 differential.

Chris Buescher ($7,000/6,900) Chris Buescher is my money maker on Sunday. I expect him to be very low owned and starting 21st, he can get a solid +5 differential and a top 15 finish at a value price. Buescher has solid road course stats in his young career. Buescher has finishes of 17th and 18th in two races at the ROVAL, he finished 5th at the Daytona road course earlier this year, he has 3 top 20 finishes in his last 3 races at Watkins Glen, and he has finished on the lead lap in each of his 4 races at Sonoma with 3 top 20 finishes. Nobody talks about him, but Buescher is a solid road racer and I think he is a great contrarian play on Sunday if you want to get away from Stenhouse and/or Christopher Bell who will be chalk.

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. ($6,600/7,700) As soon as I saw the starting lineup, I knew this would be a thorn in my side. Since Stenhouse wrecked early at Talladega he is starting last at the ROVAL. I do not trust Stenhouse to run a clean race on Sunday, but his ownership will be too high and there is too much upside for you to fade him on Sunday. Stenhouse could easily finish the race 20th, get +18 differential and be highly owned to the point where it is nearly impossible to cash without him. I don’t like it, but you probably have to play him on Sunday.

Christopher Bell ($7,600/7,500) Christopher Bell is starting 35th, which makes him difficult to fade on Sunday. I think Bell will be lower owned on Fan Duel because of his salary, but he should be seriously considered on both sites due to the potential for positive differential.

Some quick math (using Fan Duel scoring): If Bell finishes 19th (Matt DiBenedetto finished 11th in this car a year ago) he will score 22 points for the position, 8 points for differential (+16) and 10.9 for 109 laps run (assuming he finishes on the lead lap). That total would be 40.9. If Chase Elliott finishes 10th, he would score 31 points for the position, -4 for differential (-8) and 10.9 for 109 laps run. That total would be 37.9. Under this scenario, even if Chase Elliott led 25 laps he would still score fewer points than Christopher Bell.

My strategy for this race is to pick the winner and then load up on drivers who are starting 30th or worse and have a realistic shot at a top 15 finish. Chase Elliott was so much faster than everyone else last year that he crashed in turn 1 as the leader, pitted, restarted at the back, and then passed everyone in the final stage to win the race. I think Elliott could dominate this race but the weather could play a huge factor. Good luck!

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