As we look ahead to this week’s race at Charlotte, it is worth taking a moment to look back at what was a historic moment last weekend. It was Bubba Wallace who took the checkered flag at Talladega last weekend, becoming just the second black driver to win a race in NASCAR. It was a win that has no impact on the playoffs, as Wallace is not in the running, but it’s still a moment that should be recognized. Now, we need to look ahead to what is a critical race, as this is where we will see the field cut from 12 to 8. There are several big-name drivers who are flirting with the cut line, including defending champion Chase Elliott. One thing in his favor is that this weekend is a road race, where he tends to excel. Let’s take a look at some of the favorites for the Bank of America ROVAL 400 so you can bet against their NASCAR Odds.
NASCAR Cup Series: Bank of America ROVAL 400 Race Preview
Kyle Larson (+260)
The common theme that we are going to see with the favorites for this race is that they have all had success on road courses. That aside, Larson has had success on a lot of tracks this season, with many believing that he is the prohibitive favorite to win the Cup Series. He already has 6 wins on the season, with 2 of those coming on road courses at Sonoma and Watkins Glen. Larson is already basically safe at this point in regards the cut, but you can bet that he would like to get another win under his belt with just 4 races remaining after this one.
Denny Hamlin (+300)
Don’t look now, but Denny Hamlin is making a move in the playoffs. During the regular season, there was a lot of talk about what might be wrong with Hamlin after he failed to pick up a single win. He was consistently solid, but he was well off the pace he set last season, when he and Kevin Harvick seemed to take turns winning races. It seems as though he may have saved the best for last, as he has picked up a pair of playoff wins and has guaranteed himself a spot in the Round of 8, regardless of what happens at Charlotte this weekend.
Chase Elliott (+600)
It seems hard to believe that we might see the defending champion fall before getting to the Round of 8, but Chase Elliott is a little too close to the cut line for comfort. It was, though, at this stage of the season last year that Elliott hit his stride, winning 3 of the last 5 races of the season, starting with the ROVAL 400 in Charlotte. That was in fact the second straight win in this race, so he is coming into this weekend looking to make it 3 in a row, but perhaps more importantly, looking to get into the Round of 8.
Martin Truex Jr. (+800)
Truex Jr. is one of the drivers still in the hunt for the title who has a win in the playoffs this season, getting a victory in the Round of 16. You would certainly think that he has done enough to avoid the cut and move on, but the reality is that he has not been at his very best on road courses this season. That said, he had a 4th at Watkins Glen, so perhaps he will be in the mix here.