For the first time ever, NASCAR is racing at a track that’s half oval and half road course. Sunday’s race on the 17-turn, 2.28 road course/oval, the Bank of America Roval 400 in Charlotte Motor Speedway, also marks the last event of the Round of 16 in NASCAR’s playoffs.
Crew chiefs and drivers are having a tough time figuring out how to handle this particular track, and for bettors, things are only an unpredictable. We break down the Roval from a betting prospective below.
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The track is not a complete unknown to drivers, as many teams tested the Roval this spring and summer. Most, however, had issues transitioning in the high speeds on the high banks into slowing down entering the infield for Turn 1. Let us let Kurt Busch explain the track by a driver’s perspective.
Yeah, it’s definitely going to be chaos, but breaking the tight and narrow Roval, we can find similarities to other tracks. Martin Truex Jr., Kyle Busch, Denny Hamlin and Kevin Harvick have earned the Maximum driver ratings on the street paths of Sonoma and Watkins Glen within the last 3 Decades.
There is less margin for error on the Roval than there is at Watkins Glen and Sonoma. Sunday’s race starts on the new infield road course then uses the oval during its Turn 1 entry. The cars remain on the speedway portion of the trail – navigating a chicane on the backstretch — before diving off to the street course again to complete the lap.
In terms of testing, on the last day of the last summer season, Kyle Busch place the fastest rate, followed by Joey Logano and A.J. Allmendinger.
The Roval is comparable to the Rolex 24, a 24-hour sportscar race in Daytona in which cars race on the high banks and also on an infield course.
Several drivers in Sunday’s field have won that Daytona road course. Chip Ganassi Racing drivers Jamie McMurray and Playoff driver Kyle Larson awakened to win the 2015 Rolex 24 overall. A.J. Allmendinger won the Rolex crown 2012 with Michael Shank Racing. Jimmie Johnson, another Playoff driver, completed runner-up in the Rolex 24 in both 2005 and 2008. Kurt Busch was third overall in 2008. And Paul Menard has a best finish of 15th in the Rolex in 2010.
Hurry favorite Kyle Busch led the first practice on the Charlotte road course Friday at a session which left Aric Almirola, Hamlin, Chase Elliott along with Austin Dillon with slight damage.
With the track offering small room to maneuver, the starting lineup is key. Kurt Busch (15/1) and also road-warrior Allmendinger (30/1) will start on the front row. Alex Bowman (60/1), Elliott (8/1), Larson (20/1) and Johnson (25/1) round from the top-6.
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