It’s the final race in the Round of 12 for the NASCAR Cup Series playoff contenders. Let’s see which drivers you should consider on DraftKings for the Bank of America ROVAL 400, airing Sunday, Oct. 8 at 2 p.m. ET on NBC.
The Charlotte Motor Speedway ROVAL has run every year since 2018 and has had some memorable moments. The inaugural event featured Ryan Blaney winning after Jimmie Johnson and Martin Truex Jr. spun in the last chicane. Then, in 2019, Chase Elliott hit the tires in turn 1 and came back through the field to earn the victory. His celebration certainly stood out, as he did a burnout where he crashed, got up on the side of his car and held up his hands.
But last year wasn’t as memorable as before, save for Christopher Bell‘s walk-off win. The Next Gen car doesn’t show great performances, though we did see a good battle late at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course. That Indy event didn’t have stage cautions, whereas this weekend will. I don’t know why NASCAR changed the rule for just the playoffs, but maybe the cautions will make things interesting.
Even with the yellows, there will likely be at least one or two drivers who will lead a lot of laps. You’ll want someone starting up front in your DraftKings lineup, as those bonus points can make all the difference between winning and losing.
You should review the road course races from the last couple of years to help you fill out your lineup. Also, since Charlotte is fairly unique compared to other road courses, look at past races there for drivers who finish well or at least better than where they started.
This week’s practice and qualifying sessions start Saturday at noon and 1 ET, respectively, and will air on the NBC Sports app before moving to USA Network at 12:30 p.m. ET.
Before I move on to this week’s picks, let’s review the results from Talladega Superspeedway:
|DraftKings Salary||Driver||DraftKings Score|
Blaney locked himself into the next round of the playoffs with his win, scoring well on DraftKings. Elliott and Todd Gilliland also had good scores, but the rest missed the mark.
The top score in the $3,000 Quarter Jukebox tournament was 334.9 and had Blaney, Elliott, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Daniel Suarez, Corey LaJoie and Justin Haley. Sometimes it pays to choose the drivers who tend to finish well on superspeedways instead of ones like Kyle Busch.
Here’s a quick look at the rules for DraftKings:
The winner on the racetrack tallies 45 points, while second place gets 42, third 41 and so on. Tenth scores 34, while 11th gets 32 and it decreases by one from there through 20th. This pattern repeats from 21st through 30th and again from 31st through 40th.
Additionally, drivers can earn or lose a point depending on where they started the race. For example, if Kyle Larson started seventh and won, he would gain six points in addition to his finishing position points, totaling 51 fantasy points.
Drivers also can earn 0.45 points for each fastest lap and 0.25 for each lap they lead.
Here are the drivers you should consider for the Charlotte ROVAL:
DraftKings Picks: Top Tier
Chase Elliott ($10,500)
Career at Charlotte ROVAL: 5 starts, 2 wins, 2 top fives, 3 top 10s
Average finish at Charlotte ROVAL: 8.0
For Elliott, last year was an example of how fast things can change when the caution comes out in the closing laps. He led 30 laps during the race and was in the lead when the yellow flag waved for debris. On the ensuing restart, AJ Allmendinger battled hard against the No. 9 for the lead and later appeared to possibly give him a slight bump, spinning Elliott out of contention. Elliott ended up 20th when he could have won the race.
The Hendrick Motorsports driver did win at the ROVAL in 2019 and 2020 after leading 35 and 27 laps, respectively.
This year, Elliott has a few top fives: a fifth at Sonoma Raceway, third at the Chicago street course and second at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course.
Though he’s not in the playoffs for the driver’s championship, Elliott is vying for an owner’s title, and a win this weekend would help him in that effort.
Christopher Bell ($9,500)
Career at Charlotte ROVAL: 3 starts, 1 win, 1 top five, 2 top 10s
Average finish at Charlotte ROVAL: 11.0
Where Elliott lost the lead in the final laps, Bell gained it, as I mentioned earlier. He did what he needed to do to advance to the Round of 8, and he could very well do so again this year.
Though he hasn’t won a road course since that race, Bell did finish in ninth at both Sonoma and Indy, leading 11 laps in the latter race. He also was third at Watkins Glen International, while last year, he gained 30 positions to finish in eighth.
Bell has one other good result at the Charlotte ROVAL, an eighth in 2021. Check out his practice speeds; if they’re fast, he could be on his way to another top 10, or even the victory.
Chris Buescher ($8,800)
Career at Charlotte ROVAL: 5 starts, 0 wins, 1 top five, 2 top 10s
Average finish at Charlotte ROVAL: 12.8
Chris Buescher has been amazing on the road courses in the Next Gen car. He has earned nine top 10s in the last 10 such events. Earlier this year, he came from 32nd up to eighth place at Circuit of the Americas. Then at Sonoma, he came home fourth, while at Chicago, he was 10th. He unfortunately just missed the top 10 at Indy, but bounced back at Watkins Glen with a seventh.
Last year, Buescher drove to a sixth-place result after starting 21st at the Charlotte ROVAL. Also, in 2021, he began 16th and finished in third. The man from Prosper, Texas has a knack for left and right turns, and should perform well once again this weekend.
Alex Bowman ($7,700)
Career at Charlotte ROVAL: 4 starts, 0 wins, 2 top fives, 4 top 10s
Average finish at Charlotte ROVAL: 6.0
Alex Bowman certainly isn’t the first driver that people think of for road courses, but he’s had some good finishes at this track type. This year, he crossed the line in fifth at the Indy road course. He also finished third at COTA to Tyler Reddick and Kyle Busch.
The No. 48 is especially good at the ROVAL. Bowman missed last year’s event due to a concussion, but in years prior, he never finished outside the top 10. He was fourth in 2018, second in 2019, eighth in 2020 and 10th in 2021. Those are some incredible stats, and though he hasn’t visited the ROVAL in the Next Gen, he should still be one to watch on DraftKings.
Brad Keselowski ($7,200)
Career at Charlotte ROVAL: 5 starts, 0 wins, 1 top five, 1 top 10
Average finish at Charlotte ROVAL: 17.6
The low tier has slim pickings on DraftKings, but there are a few drivers I’m keeping an eye on in practice and qualifying, starting with Buescher’s RFK Racing teammate. Brad Keselowski may not have the kind of results that his cohort has on the road courses, but he does have a few respectable finishes.
At Watkins Glen, he gained nine positions to finish in 15th, while at Sonoma he placed 16th after starting 25th. Also, last year at Sonoma, he advanced from 22nd to 10th. And at the Charlotte ROVAL, he began 31st and crossed the line in 14th.
His salary is a little bit high for these kinds of results, but Keselowski should still gain some spots on the track and earn a good DraftKings score.
Ryan Preece ($6,300)
Career at Charlotte ROVAL: 3 starts, 0 wins, 0 top fives, 0 top 10s
Average finish at Charlotte ROVAL: 18.0
I went back and forth between Haley and Ryan Preece before deciding to stick with Preece. He didn’t run the ROVAL last year, so we don’t know how he’ll do in the Next Gen car, but he did finish in 14th in 2020 and 19th in ‘21. The latter race he gained 12 spots on the track.
This year, Preece drove from 22nd to 13th at Sonoma, 28th to 15th in Chicago and 30th to 17th at WGI. He’s very inexpensive on DraftKings, too, so you can fit more than one higher priced driver in your lineup.
About the author
Joy joined Frontstretch in 2019 as a NASCAR DraftKings writer, expanding to news and iRacing coverage in 2020. She's currently an assistant editor while continuing to write daily fantasy and news articles. A California native, Joy was raised as a motorsports fan and started watching NASCAR extensively in 2001. She earned her B.A. degree in Liberal Studies at California State University Bakersfield in 2010.
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