The Setup – Bank of America ROVAL 400 Race Preview
By Tyler Miller @rickybobby_jr

This week, the NASCAR playoffs will be cut down to 12 drivers at the ROVAL at Charlotte Motor Speedway. This is the second race at the infield road course/half oval (half road course, half oval = ROVAL) which means we have very little data in order to prepare our DFS lineups. Last year this race was high drama and excitement with a big wreck on lap 103 that knocked six cars out of the race, and a last lap crash between first and second place which allowed third place driver Ryan Blaney to win the race. What can we expect this week? Let’s get started!

Race Distance: 109 laps (400 km). Stage 1 ends on lap 25, Stage 2 ends on lap 50.
Lineup Lock 2:30 pm eastern Sunday
Last year’s winner: Ryan Blaney
Last year’s pole sitter: Kurt Busch
Prior race winners: N/A

Richmond Recap:
What went right?
Richmond was an outstanding race for our subscribers. Victory Lane had 5 of the top 7 scoring drivers on Fan Duel. The only exceptions were Kyle Busch and Bubba Wallace. Kyle Busch was not needed in cash games because of his high salary and Bubba Wallace was an obvious pivot because he failed pre-race inspection and started 37th. Bubba Wallace scored the 5th most points with a $5,000 salary and should have been played by everyone, though his ownership in cash games was incredibly low (around 20%).
Ryan Newman was the best call from Victory Lane, he exceeded expectations to finish 6th and scored the 4th most points on FanDuel on a $7,500 salary. Since Bubba Wallace failed inspection my core lineup changed. Initially my core cash lineup was Keselowski, Newman, and Byron. Bubba’s failure allowed me to move down to Wallace from Paul Menard and freed up enough salary to play both Truex and Hamlin. My cash lineup ended up being Hamlin, Truex, Newman, Wallace, and William Byron. This lineup scored 398.5 and won all cash contests finishing in the top 10-20%.
What went wrong?
William Byron had a rough night and did not finish well. He didn’t kill any cash lineups because the rest of the drivers in Victory Lane were solid enough to carry him. Paul Menard was also a big miss but he should not have been played because he was the most obvious pivot to Bubba Wallace. Moving from Menard to Wallace saved $1,700 in salary which allowed more flexibility at the top.

What to watch for in practice/qualifying:
Cutoff Race Cutoff races during the playoffs have a tendency to be wild. I don’t think this weekend will be as crazy as last year’s race, but I would expect the unexpected. For that reason, I’m playing an even mix of cash games and tournaments this weekend.

Bubble Drivers Erik Jones is the only driver that has to win the race in order to advance to the next round. Every other playoff driver can point their way into the round of 12. Jones is 45 points below the cutoff line, so I would expect a Hail Mary from the 20 team which means we need some exposure to him in tournament lineups.

Best from a year ago While the finishing order doesn’t reflect it, Kyle Larson had the best car of the race last year. Larson led a race high 47 laps en route to a 25th place finish. Other lap leaders included Keselowski (led 29 laps, finished 31st), Kurt Busch (7/5), and Truex (5/14).

What Vegas thinks (via Westgate):
Martin Truex Jr. is the favorite to win on Sunday. Truex at 11-4 is coming off of back to back wins to start the playoffs. Kyle Busch opens second at 5-1 though his winless streak is currently at 14 races.
Martin Truex Jr: 11-4
Kyle Busch: 5-1
Denny Hamlin: 8-1
Chase Elliott: 8-1
Kyle Larson: 8-1
Brad Keselowski: 9-1
Kevin Harvick: 13-1
Joey Logano: 15-1
Ryan Blaney: 20-1
Kurt Busch 20-1
Erik Jones 20-1

Driver Ratings at the ROVAL:
1. Kyle Larson 123.6
2. Jimmie Johnson 107.0
3. Kurt Busch 105.2
4. Chase Elliott 104.7
5. Ryan Blaney 104.2
6. Martin Truex Jr. 102.3
7. Clint Bowyer 95.7
8. Jamie McMurray 95.5
9. Kevin Harvick 93.7
10. Kyle Busch 92.9
11. Brad Keselowski 90.1
12. Alex Bowman 88.9
13. Paul Menard 86.0
14. Joey Logano 82.8
15. William Byron 74.3

Average Running Position ROVAL:
1. Kyle Larson 5.064
2. Jimmie Johnson 8.257
3. Martin Truex Jr. 8.413
4. Kyle Busch 8.972
5. Kurt Busch 9.147
6. Chase Elliott 9.294
7. Kevin Harvick 9.468
8. Jamie McMurray 10.174
9. Paul Menard 12.056
10. Ryan Blaney 12.330
11. Joey Logano 13.450
12. Clint Bowyer 13.936
13. Alex Bowman 14.890
14. Brad Keselowski 15.602
15. William Byron 16.731

Laps Led
1. Kyle Larson 47
2. Brad Keselowski 29
3. Ryan Blaney 16
4. Kurt Busch 7
5. Martin Truex Jr. 5
6. Paul Menard 2
7. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. 2
8. Jamie McMurray 1

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

Stay tuned for updated content following final practice on Saturday.

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