Jake Ernst gives us his NASCAR preview, predictions and picks as the series heads to Charlotte Motor Speedway.
For the 61st time in the history NASCAR, the series will be heading to one of it’s most historic tracks, Charlotte Motor Speedway. Interestingly enough though, it will be just the second time that they will be racing on both the infield and the oval course at the same time. Better known as the ROVAL (road course + oval), the hybrid-of-a-track features 17 unique turns and spans a total of 2.28-miles.
With it being the first track in NASCAR to use a section in the infield in addition to the traditional oval circuit, the race was sort of an experiment in it’s inaugural race last season. To much of the sport’s delight, the fans certainly seemed to like it, as it received a 10% increase in TV ratings from the previous race at Charlotte. With ratings seeming to be trending in the right direction for NASCAR in 2019, they will look to build on their 2018 ratings for the ROVAL this week.
The green flag for the Bank of America ROVAL 400 will drop at 2:30pm this Sunday, September 29th and will be the third-and-final race of this current round of playoffs. Following this race, four drivers will be eliminated from the postseason and the playoff field will be reduced from 16 to 12 drivers. With it being an elimination race, I expect a few drivers to enter the race with a “win-or-go-home” mentality, which could be beneficial for gamblers.
I typically don’t couple drivers together in bets but there is some interesting data here and I’m simply going to provide you with some insight and you can do with it what you would like.
Teammates Clint Bowyer and Kurt Busch are sitting in 14th and 15th in the point standings and are currently in position to be eliminated from the playoffs. They are both in desperate need of a strong finish and might even be wishing bad luck on some of their competitors ahead of Sunday’s race. If drivers like William Byron, Aric Almirola or Alex Bowman (drivers in front of them in standings) were to have mechanical issues or potentially crash out, Bowyer and Busch would likely benefit and would instantly boost their playoff chances.
There is one scenario where they can put their fate in their own hands and don’t need to worry about what their competitors do and that is to win the race. Both of these drivers were ran towards the front of the pack for almost the entirety of the race and were very strong in the inaugural race at the ROVAL. Bowyer finished in the third position and Busch led seven laps earlier in the race, before finishing fifth. These are two drivers who could be all-in on Sunday and for that reason, it’s worth a risk at +2000.
Bare with me, I know we bet Larson quite frequently but he will win eventually and it will PAY OFF for us. After leading the most laps (47) in the 2018 ROVAL race, Larson was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time as he was in position to win when he got collected and turned by Brad Keselowski, essentially ending his race. We saw it last year, Larson has the skill to win here and he would love to lock himself in to the next round of playoffs. I like this bet a lot for Sunday.
There is a reason why Truex is the favorite for this race and his odds are as low as +300 and that is because he has been absolutely DOMINANT as of late. After winning the last two races, his current win total is up to six and if he were to win on Sunday, he would sweep the entire first-round of the playoffs. Yeah, I guess you could say he’s pretty good at driving racecars. Another reason why he’s the favorite for this race is because he was leading in the 2018 race up until the very last turn, when Jimmie Johnson was aggressively pursuing Truex for the win, spun and brought Truex with him. Already locked into the next round of playoffs, Truex has nothing to lose and is one of the few drivers who could be all-in on this race. Look for him to experiment with different strategies than some of his competitors. I think it will pay off.