A ROVAL™ Roundtable: Storylines for Charlotte Motor Speedway’s Bank of America ROVAL™ 400 Race Weekend
The drama of the NASCAR Playoffs shifts into high gear this weekend at Charlotte Motor Speedway, as the Bank of America ROVAL™ 400 and the Drive for the Cure 250 presented by Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina give NASCAR’s championship contenders one final shot to advance to the Round of 8.
Before the green flag waves on Saturday and Sunday’s high-octane festivities, here are some of the top storylines to watch:
Chase Goes for Three: If all goes well on Sunday, Chase Elliott can do what Junior Johnson, Fred Lorenzen, Bobby Allison and Jimmie Johnson couldn’t: win Charlotte Motor Speedway’s fall NASCAR Cup Series race three years in a row. Elliott is in a five-way tie for most consecutive fall race wins at Charlotte, but the defending series champion already has reason to believe Sunday could be the day he makes history: he’s already won twice on road courses this season.
Is It Denny’s Turn?: Denny Hamlin enters Sunday’s Bank of America ROVAL™ 400 seeking his first NASCAR Cup Series points-paying win at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Hamlin has two poles, 11 top-fives and 19 top-10 finishes on Charlotte’s oval, but his best ROVAL™ result remains a 12th-place effort in 2018. Hamlin has already enjoyed considerable success in the Playoffs and, thanks to a win at Las Vegas, is locked in to the Round of 8. With no pressure on Hamlin’s No. 11 Toyota, he’ll be one to follow on Sunday.
House of Hendrick: Hendrick Motorsports drivers have won four of the six NASCAR Cup Series road course races so far this season. Chase Elliott bagged wins at Circuit of The Americas and Road America, while Kyle Larson triumphed at Sonoma and Watkins Glen. If either driver falters on Sunday, Alex Bowman (6.0 average finish) and William Byron (one pole, two top-10s) know their ways around the ROVAL™ enough to continue Hendrick’s road-racing success in their backyard.
Playing Spoiler: A.J. Allmendinger rules the ROVAL™ when it comes to the Drive for the Cure 250 presented by Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina. He’s won the NASCAR Xfinity Series’ last two ROVAL™ races, but he’ll be wanting more than just one trophy this weekend. Allmendinger is pulling double duty at Charlotte, and there’s no telling how aggressive “The Dinger” might be when the chips are down. The full-time Xfinity Series driver shocked the NASCAR Cup Series establishment by grabbing his second career win at Indianapolis in August. Like Josh Berry in the Xfinity Series’ race at Las Vegas two weeks ago, Allmendinger could shake up the Playoffs with a victory on Saturday – or Sunday.
Home Cooking: Kannapolis, North Carolina native Daniel Hemric loves racing at his home track. The driver of the No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota will love it even more if he can lock in to the Xfinity Series Playoffs’ Round of 8 with what would be his first career win on Saturday. Don’t count him out: Hemric has extensive ROVAL™ experience dating back to his days testing and racing part-time in the NASCAR Cup Series with Richard Childress Racing. He finished third in last year’s Xfinity Series event.
Visit www.charlottemotorspeedway.com for tickets, schedules and more information on this weekend’s Playoff racing action. Kids 12 and under get in for just $10 for Sunday’s Bank of America ROVAL™ 400 and for FREE on Saturday.
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