Victory Lane – Bank of America ROVAL 400
By Tyler Miller – @rickybobby_jr
The final race in the round of 16 takes place this afternoon at Charlotte Motor Speedway. The Bank of America ROVAL 400 will feature the infield road course at Charlotte, along with nearly the entire 1.5 mile tri-oval racetrack. This is only the second race on this configuration. Last year’s race was filled with crashes and ended with a dramatic last lap finish that found Ryan Blaney in Victory Lane and Kyle Larson advancing to the round of 12 by a single point. This is a hard race to predict and there will be a lot of crashes and spins off the course. For that reason, I advocate playing tournament lineups suited to your bankroll. Be smart about contest selection. If you want to max enter the Intimidator at $7.77 per entry, go for it. Fan Duel also has the $9.99 Lucky Dog, a $2.22 Bump N Run, and $1 contests with 5 entries max. We will be in a similar situation in a few weeks at Talladega with an increased risk necessitating a potential for an increased reward. Hopefully you have increased your bank roll by playing cash games the last few weeks and you can take a shot at a big payout today. Good luck!
High Salary Drivers:
Chase Elliott (13,000/9,600) Chase Elliott qualified 19th and ran the fastest single lap in final practice and the fastest consecutive 5 lap average speed. I like Elliott to score the most DFS points at Charlotte on Sunday.
Kyle Larson ($12,000/9,400) Kyle Larson had the fastest car at the ROVAL a year ago. He looks strong this weekend as well with the 2nd fastest 5 lap speed in final practice, he was 7th and 8th in single lap speed during the two practices on Saturday. I like Larson to run well all day from the 7th starting position.
Joey Logano ($11,000/9,800) Joey Logano qualified 3rd and ran fast times during the second practice (fastest 5 lap speed, 3rd in single lap speed) but seemed to fall off in final practice as he slowed down by about a tenth of a second while other drivers picked up speed. Perhaps the 22 team tried something in final practice that did not work and can easily change it back to where they were in the second practice, but without knowing for sure Logano is a bit of a risk for Sunday. He could lead laps and contend throughout, but the final practice speeds leave some room for doubt.
Brad Keselowski ($12,500/10,000) In comparison to Logano, who slowed down by a tenth of a second, Brad Keselowski ran nearly a full second faster in final practice than he did in second practice on Saturday. Keselowski qualified 11th and should run solidly inside the top 10 during the race on Sunday.
Kurt Busch ($11,200/9,000) I have been off Kurt Busch recently but I like him at the ROVAL this weekend. Kurt qualified 23rd and ran 9th in single lap, 4th in 5 lap average, and 2nd of the 4 cars who ran 10 consecutive laps in final practice. Kurt Busch has solid upside this weekend with practice speeds that show he can compete for a top 5 position.
Kyle Busch ($13,500/10,700) Kyle Busch is winless in his last 14 races. It took 13 winless races before Fan Duel finally dropped his salary from a ridiculously high level. It is tempting to play Kyle this weekend because his salary is lower and he is starting the race 17th. A word of caution though as Kyle Busch was nowhere near the top of the board in any of the practices on Saturday (20th and 18th in single laps, 21st and 12th in 5 lap average). I don’t’ think Kyle is a bad play because his team can make his car better throughout the race, but I think Chase Elliott and Kurt Busch offer the same upside for differential points and have shown better speed through practice.
Clint Bowyer ($8,200/8,400) Clint Bowyer passed the eye test during final practice. His car looked smooth and fast as it ran around the ROVAL with the 4th fastest single lap time and the 3rd fastest 5 lap average in final practice. Bowyer is starting 5th and as long as he doesn’t run into any trouble, I like him to run 3rd-7th for most of the day.
William Byron ($7,700/8,600) William Byron is starting from the pole and needs a solid day to advance into the next round of the playoffs. Byron ran 7th in single lap seed and 10th in 5 lap average during final practice. I don’t think Byron will win the race, but he could finish solidly in the top 10, lead some laps, and provide a good return on his salary.
Chris Buescher ($6,700/7,400) Chris Buescher is starting 12th and ran practice speeds around the top 10 through both practices on Saturday. I think Buescher can compete for a top 12, maybe a top 10 at Charlotte which would be a solid DFS day considering his salary.
Matt DiBenedetto ($8,000/7,600) I wanted to be really high on Matt DiBenedetto, but his practice speeds aren’t matching my level of excitement. DiBenedetto qualified 18th and ran practice speeds faster than that on Friday, but didn’t show enough to get excited about. It’s worth noting that he did not run 5 consecutive laps in final practice, so the single lap speed (16th) may not accurately represent his ability to run well during the race.
Michael McDowell ($4,500/6,000) It’s really hard not to like Michael McDowell today. McDowell qualified 22nd and ran 16th and 5th in single lap speed during the two practices on Saturday, 14th and 7th in 5 lap average speed. If McDowell can finish the race anywhere near the top 10 it is a solid return on his salary and a great DFS play.
Parker Kligerman ($2,500/5,100) Parker Kligerman might be the piece that puts a winning tournament lineup together. Kligerman is starting 40th and was not fast in any of the practice sessions on Saturday. It is unlikely that he will pass many cars during the race but if multiple cars crash out Kligerman could legitimately be looking at a +10 differential finish of 28th-30th. His low salary allows DFS players to build top heavy lineups with no risk of negative differential points.
A note on Denny Hamlin. Hamlin will be highly owned but I don’t like using him because the team looked completely lost in final practice even though he ran the 11th fastest single lap speed (he starts 28th). Hamlin did not post a fast 5 lap average, he was missing corners, wheel hopping, and did not instill much confidence for the race on Sunday. If you are max entering contests you may want some exposure to him in case I am completely wrong, but I like fading Hamlin on Sunday.
Qualifying results are official so there is no need to worry about teams losing starting positions, however, Alex Bowman and Martin Truex Jr. will start at the back because of issues in practice. They will keep their starting position so there is no reason to play them at all. Jimmie Johnson also wrecked in practice but the team is trying to fix the primary car so he can start in the fourth position.
There are many drivers that I like but I think the best plays are Chase Elliott, Kurt Busch, and Clint Bowyer. I like utilizing Michael McDowell and Parker Kligerman to make lineups fit together.
Tyler Miller is a lifelong NASCAR enthusiast who spent five years as a producer on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio (2008-2013). Upon meeting his wife in Washington DC, Tyler became an Army spouse and left his career to move all over the country and help raise their two children. Tyler holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sport Communication and Electronic Media Production from Ashland University and is currently pursuing a Masters’ of Science degree in Marketing: Sports Marketing and Media, from Liberty University.