Bank of America Roval 400 Race Analysis & Picks
Race: Bank of America Roval 400
Date: Sunday October 9, 2022
Track: Charlotte Motor Speedway Road Course
Time: 2pm ET
What Did We Learn From Last Weekend?
Chase Elliott was on the bubble after his misfortune at Texas, but he managed to secure his spot in the next segment by taking the win at Talladega this past weekend. In what was a seemingly calm Talladega race, Elliott was able to edge out Ryan Blaney to take the checkered flag with some help from behind. Erik Jones pushed Elliott ahead on the outside with two laps to go, allowing him to just barely sneak past Blaney for the win after making the block. In fact, the margin of victory was only 0.046 seconds. It was disappointing to say the least, for Blaney, who’s sat quietly at the top of the points standings for the majority of the year. Needless to say, it was another consistent finish, which is what has kept him that far ahead to begin with. Michael McDowell secured another solid top 5 at a superspeedway, with Ross Chastain and Denny Hamlin rounding out the top 5 spots. Erik Jones finished 6th, proving that he’s a force to be reckoned with and is finally finding his groove with his team and their organization. Todd Gilliland came in a surprising 7th, followed by Daniel Suarez, Austin Cindric, and Chase Briscoe to round out your top 10.
An interesting note from race winner Chase Elliott was his comments on Saturday regarding NASCAR taking a step back in the safety department. Elliott, and all Hendrick drivers for that matter, are known for their poise and composure when it comes to media and criticism of NASCAR. However, with teammate Alex Bowman being sidelined for a concussion, that may have been the straw that broke the camel’s back for Elliott. He joins a multitude of veterans and newcomers alike who have vocally expressed their displeasure with the next-gen cars. For NASCAR to ignore this amount of criticism would be astonishing, especially when it directly deals with safety. That is one area that NASCAR always seems to pride themselves on. Ever since Sr.’s death and the advent of the HANS device along with safer barriers, well, NASCAR is quick to call penalties or put a stop to anything in the name of safety. For some reason, that seems to have missed the mark this year. The organization will have to address the concerns of the drivers. It just doesn’t make any sense that NASCAR would allow the same potential outcomes in the 2023 season. With Kurt Busch having missed ten weeks, Bowman out for a concussion, and Cody Ware now racing with a broken foot after a wreck, something’s got to give. This isn’t the standard that NASCAR can continue to use for safety in these newer cars. They need to head back to the drawing board.
Where Are We Headed This Weekend?
While they’re hopefully contemplating their next move, the teams and drivers are heading to the Roval at Charlotte for the final race in this segment. Why NASCAR would choose a road course after a superspeedway to close out a segment is beyond me, but here we are. Two of the most unpredictable tracks are determining who moves on to the round of 8. That being said, we’ve seen them race at Charlotte once this year, back in May, but it was on the oval. Now, these guys have to battle the road course instead. If I’m being honest, I haven’t seen much in the way of support for the Roval. We’ve seen a lot of hardship overall, with the track itself not being conducive to the stock cars and also just difficulties in the configuration and setup for the cars overall. This asphalt track is a 2.28-mile course set with 17 total turns. Tires are going to be important, especially with so many turns, but even more important than that is track position. Any road course lends itself to the driver that can get out front and stay out front. It is extremely difficult to pass on road courses and even more so in stock cars without completely wrecking another guy out with these new cars. Back in the good ‘ole days, we saw a lot of pushing and shoving amongst the drivers throughout the race at Watkins Glen and Sonoma with hard racing and good attitudes (for the most part). Moving another driver out of the way without destroying their car was something attainable. That’s not the case these days. Once another driver touches a car, it’s seemingly over. To me, that takes a huge part of road course excitement away. They have to wait for an opportunity to make a clean pass, which is nearly impossible or manage to gain position on pit road strategy. That leaves us with just a few guys who have perfected those tasks.
Odds and Value Picks
The previous winner of this race is Kyle Larson. Keep in mind that Larson had a much stronger year last year. I’m not saying he’s having a bad year, but he definitely isn’t in dominating form quite like he was previously. He has an opportunity to turn that around, but it’s going to be a hard bet. The thing is basically Chase Elliott. Out of the four races run at this track, Elliott’s won 2. Coming off a win at Talladega, well, he’s got nothing to lose, but wouldn’t another win be spectacular? With his spot already secured for the round of 8, you can bet that the pressure is off, and Elliott is going to be in excellent form this weekend. There are some other drivers who might throw a wrench into our playoff drivers’ hopes. A few of these guys are pretty strong road-course racers. Tyler Reddick, Aric Almirola, and AJ Allmendinger are a few drivers who historically can put a damper on the veterans’ hopes of victory. With a limited field, though, and not all of our road course junkies coming to these things anymore, I’m betting on a veteran to take the checkers. Let’s see your potential winners heading into Charlotte.
- Winner: Chase Elliott +500
- Mid-Range: AJ Allmendinger +1200
- Dark Horse: Martin Truex Jr. +2800
With only one race at this track, the Dinger doesn’t have the best average, but that’s not to say that he won’t shine this weekend. He’s a fun driver to watch and, more often than not, gets in predicaments racing hard that take him out of the race completely. It’s not for lack of trying or skill on a road course. With a full-time ride in the #16 for Kaulig Racing set for next year, Allmendinger is set to use his multiple top 5s and top 10s on road courses in a big way this weekend to elevate his position and get some good practice for 2023. Martin Truex Jr. is also another driver that is looking forward to 2023 if, for nothing else, because this year has been a bag of lemons compared to what he’s used to. Some of these JGR teams are struggling, but with no pressure of the championship remaining for him, this might be a good weekend to just put it all on the line and see what comes out the other end. He’s had a top 10 here in the past, but he struggled recently. His 2021 year saw a lot better finishes on the road courses, so let’s see if he can bring that to light this weekend at Charlotte. We know it’s possible for him. Since he’s not racing for the Cup, maybe he can go ahead and just put everything out there and get a Hail Mary victory. He will have to knock Chase Elliott out of the way to do it, though. With this kid on fire once again and his history with successes on the road courses, he’s undoubtedly the one to beat. He’s also the one sitting atop the leaderboard right now. Let’s see how the points panned out after Talladega:
- Chase Elliott
- Ryan Blaney
- Ross Chastain
- Denny Hamlin
- Joey Logano
- Kyle Larson
- Daniel Suarez
- Chase Briscoe
- Austin Cindric
- William Byron
- Christopher Bell
- Alex Bowman
It’s such a shame that Bowman’s year is ending this way. He will not be eligible for the driver’s championship, so he’s atomically out of the round of 8. Bell, Byron, and Cindric are below the cutoff, with Briscoe currently on the bubble. Ryan Blaney is sitting pretty 32 points above the cutoff line and also knows how to race road courses effectively. With how close he came to a win at Talladega, look for Blaney to be in contention this weekend as well. Ross Chastain may be in the mix, too, as he is a strong road course driver with a driving style that lends itself to road course victory. With the Roval closing out the round of 12, stay tuned for an exciting afternoon of racing at Charlotte Motor Speedway!
$125% Cash up to $400 w/Bonus Code: PREDICTEM