Following Bubba Wallace‘s first career victory in the NASCAR Cup Series, racing heads back east to Charlotte, N.C. Let’s wrap up the rain-delayed race from this past Monday, the playoff picture with one race to go in the second round and what to expect for NASCAR DFS in the Bank of America Roval 400 at the Charlotte Motor Speedway Road Course. Keep and eye on the NASCAR DFS projected ownership this week as you build your DraftKings and FanDuel lineups, as it will be updated throughout the week.
NASCAR DFS Preview: Bank of America Roval 400
Bubba Wallace Gets the W in Alabama
Following a day full of rain on Sunday, NASCAR had to push the YellaWood 500 into Monday. The rain had shortened Saturday’s Xfinity race, and the forecast for Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday looked no more favorable in terms of getting the race in. NASCAR needed to find whatever window presented itself as the last thing they wanted to do was postpone this event until the next open weekend and thus create a scenario where Talladega occurred post-Phoenix and ended up becoming the impromptu championship event.
Thankfully for everyone involved, the skies parted for long enough on Monday to start the race and get past the halfway point. Before Ryan Preece‘s wreck on lap 116, Wallace had maneuvered himself upfront on lap 113, perhaps with the knowledge that the race was on the precipice of getting called due to rain. Regardless, the red flag flew and within an hour, NASCAR called the race after rain squelched an attempt to dry the track one final time. Wallace made a decisive move, at just the right moment, and it paid off with a victory in his home state.
Wallace’s victory was his first Cup Series victory in 143 starts and his first overall win in NASCAR since 2017 in the Trucks Series at Michigan. Furthermore, it was the first victory for 23XI Racing — the team co-owned by Denny Hamlin and Michael Jordan. However, as far as history is concerned in this sport, it was the first win by a Black driver in the Cup Series since Wendell Scott back in 1964. Nearly five decades had passed between these two victories. That Monday will go down in history for many, the only shame is that the viewership for this moment was cut short by it happening on a workday for most.
Playoffs Post Talladega
Due to Wallace’s victory, a win from a non-playoff driver, no one else joined Denny Hamlin in the guaranteed camp for the third round. In fact, one of the surest bets to make the third round, Kyle Larson, got punted at the end of the first stage and lost a sizable chunk of his cushion to the field. Now Larson sits just 22 points above the cutoff line heading into the Charlotte Roval. Luckily for Larson, he has run considerably well at road courses this season with two victories and two other top-three finishes. However, his lone poor finish at a road course did come at the Daytona Road Course when he finished 30th. Trailing Larson by just one point is Joey Logano and by two points is Brad Keselowski. When the playoffs began both of these drivers were on the outside looking in. However, with back-to-back top-10 finishes in the second round, they have ridden consistency from out to in.
Tied with Keselowski is Martin Truex Jr. who has had one of the quieter second rounds but quiet has worked and now Truex returns to the track he was one final dogleg away from winning back in 2018. Ryan Blaney, Chase Elliott and Kyle Busch round out the final eight drivers. Blaney sits 15 points to the good while Elliott and Busch are both tied with nine-point leads over the cutoff point. Blaney and Elliott constitute the only drivers to have won Cup Series events at the Charlotte Roval. Meanwhile, the Roval has been a thorn in the side of Busch, with finishes of 32nd, 37th and 30th. Paired with a 35th-place finish at the Daytona Road Course earlier this season, clearly stadium road courses and Busch do not mix well.
Despite not really doing anything wrong this round, Kevin Harvick is the first driver out trailing Elliott and Busch by 9 points. Harvick’s deficit is a result of his lackluster season and earning just two playoff points all year. Harvick has finished in 11th or better in all three starts at the Charlotte Roval, do not be shocked if trends continue and Harvick ends up kicking out Kyle Busch for the final playoff seat going into round three. Trailing by double digits come Christopher Bell (-28), William Byron (-44) and Alex Bowman (-52). With these deficits, all three drivers are in a position where they need to win to force their way into the next round of the playoffs. Bell is the winner from the Daytona Road Course and Byron and Bowman have combined for five top-eight finishes at the Roval since 2018. However, a top-eight finish simply will not be enough to advance. Be alert of any off-sequence pit strategy that either team employs on Sunday to try and win this race.
The Final Road Race of 2021
The final race, of the second round of the playoffs, commences this Sunday in what will also be the sixth and final road race of this year. Despite the fears of everyone involved, this season did not automatically result in six victories for Chase Elliott — instead just two (COTA and Road America). Yet, there could have easily been a third at the Daytona Road Course — a race unfortunately manipulated by a semi-questionable caution flag thrown for rain well into the final stage. What this influx of road races did do was establish how good Kyle Larson is at turning right. In the years spent at Chip Ganassi Racing, Larson was always a threat to win the pole but would ultimately fade throughout the race. However, with victories at Sonoma and Watkins Glen, Larson showed himself more than capable and potentially a threat to Elliott’s title as the Series’ best road course ace.
For those digging into the year-to-date numbers at road courses, it’s wise to be wary of just grouping all numbers. The devil truly lies in the details as nearly half of our six road courses were affected by something other than the drivers themselves. As previously mentioned, the Daytona Road Course saw a late caution for rain that really jumbled up the final standings versus average running positions. At Circuit of the Americas, the rain fell practically the entire race and started ponding so much on the straightaways that NASCAR had to call the race early as the rain was becoming a hydroplaning threat. Finally, in the last road course race at the Indy Grand Prix, the turn-five barriers caused two late wrecks that impacted more than half the field. It was that race that saw A.J. Allmendinger celebrate in victory lane after Chase Briscoe spun Denny Hamlin late.
DFS Implications for the Charlotte Roval
With 109 laps on tap for Sunday, this will be the longest road course race of the season. Yet with so few laps, this should logically lead to lineups based around place differential and finishing position. However, the rule for DraftKings in road races has been to price down the top of the field due to the lower number of laps. With lower salaries comes lower thresholds for higher-priced drivers. Without the aid of place differential, these drivers are becoming optimal via dominator points — something that will be available this Sunday at the Roval.
After three years of racing at the Charlotte Roval, most drivers are comfortable with this track. The race that should most commonly correlate with what should be witnessed on Sunday is last year’s event. Oddly enough, thanks to Talladega’s results impacting the starting grid for this race, there is an uncanny resemblance to that race with a potentially very chalky option starting back in the field this year as well.
|Player Name||Start||Finish||Odds||Actual||Salary||Player Name||Start||Finish||Odds||Actual||Salary|
|Ryan Blaney||24||5||11-1||72||$10,900||Ryan Blaney||24||5||11-1||57.8||$12,000|
|Chase Elliott||2||1||2.5-1||59.5||$10,600||Joey Logano||8||2||15-1||53.9||$11,800|
|Erik Jones||14||3||50-1||53||$8,200||William Byron||13||6||25-1||52.1||$9,700|
|Ricky Stenhouse||38||17||175-1||47||$7,700||Erik Jones||14||3||50-1||54.5||$8,000|
|Cole Custer||28||9||100-1||54||$7,100||Cole Custer||28||9||100-1||52.4||$7,300|
The key to both optimal lineups was rostering Ryan Blaney, road course winning prowess paired with plenty of place differential. This year, the facsimile appears to be A.J. Allmendinger who should roll off the grid even further in the 33rd position. While nailing potential dominators will be paramount, it cannot be overlooked when a driver like Allmendinger is on the board offering access to all three key scoring metrics — finishing position points, place differential and the combination of laps led/fastest lap points.
With salaries released, DraftKings inevitably priced down the potential lap leaders (Elliott, Larson, Blaney) while spiking the place differential options including making Allmendinger the highest priced driver in Sunday’s field. This week will truly be about navigating a careful dance of place differential versus driver with higher finishing position upside.Thanks for reading to the end of this article! If you appreciate this free content and want to see more of it every day, you can help us out by sharing this article on social media! Looking for more NASCAR DFS picks content? We have loads of articles, data, DraftKings and FanDuel cheat sheets and more on the Stokastic NASCAR DFS home page.
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