What to watch: Bank of America Roval 400 in Charlotte
Everything you need to know for Sunday’s 12th round playoff race and the 32nd edition of the paid NASCAR Cup Series of the 2021 season.
Green flag: 2:30 p.m. ET
Grand Marshal: Sergeant Nicole Gee’s family
Honorary Starter: Daniel Craig, interpreter of James Bond in “No Time to Die”
Television / Radio: NBC / NBC Sports app, PRN, NASCAR SiriusXM radio
Forecast: Partly sunny, with a high near 76. Wind northerly 9 to 13 mph, with gusts of up to 18 mph according to NOAA.gov.
Race distance: 109 laps, 252.88 miles
Steps: 25 | 50 | 109
Pit road speed: 40 mph
Attention car speed: 45 mph
Roval 101: Get the whole truth
Starting composition: see the full composition
Stall Missions: See Who Stops Where | Expert breaks down pit selections
Five to watch
Here are five great stories we’ll be following at Charlotte Motor Speedway Roval.
1. Here we are – the last road race of an unprecedented total of seven in what has been a historic 2021 NASCAR Cup Series season. Teammates at Hendrick Motorsports Chase Elliott and Kyle larson have been the class of the peloton on these tracks this year, with two wins each. The punters have the dynamic duo ahead of the favorites, but which one will break the tie and take the road crown for 2021? As the reigning two-time race winner, the advantage likely goes to Elliott, but Larson has been the best driver overall this season with six huge wins. It will be fun to watch them go head to head, but, oh yeah, there are still 37 other drivers in the race who are also aiming for the checkered flag.
2. And one of them is Martin Truex Jr., Elliott’s nemesis on the road. Having claimed three wins in five road races from 2017 to 2019, the 2017 champion may have been the Ace to Chase’s King for a while there, but has struggled to find similar success on them since. Since winning Sonoma in 2019, Truex has had a streak of 10 starts without a win, but with seven top 10s in that span. He led more laps – 59 – in that Sonoma race than any race combined since. That said, if there’s one driver who can break the Hendrick All-Stars, it’s Truex, who was a few hundred feet away from winning this race before.
3. Here we focus on who is going to win the race, but perhaps the most important angle to come out of the Roval – who is going to be knocked out? Three of the youngest stars in sports – Christophe bell, Guillaume Byron and Alex Bowman – as well as one of his oldest Kevin harvic are currently the four who would be provisionally taken off the playoff field after Sunday’s race. Harvick has a decent path to navigate, but the other three have ventured into the must-see territory neighborhood – and they each have a significant chance of outright winning. Also consider that Elliott and Kyle Busch – the two most recent champions in the sport – are currently the last two, and Sunday could easily get wild and unexpected in a hurry.
4. Talladega and Roval to close a knockout round – tough for the drivers, extremely entertaining for everyone. Just like last week with the last superspeedway of the season, this weekend marks the last road race with the Gen 6 car. Road courses always tend to widen the field and really open the door. to a surprise winner. Knowing that these sashes, uh, won’t need to be reused anymore, you risk tearing the door completely from the hinges. We saw a surprise winner secure a guaranteed place to the round of 16 last year, and the odds are still high this weekend. Just for fun, here are some names of drivers who finished in the top five in the top six road circuits this year: Ross chastain, AJ Allmendinger (twice, a victory), Matt DiBenedetto. If you’re looking for a disgruntled driver, choose from these three, one of which is still looking to complete their CV looking for a 2022 ride.
5. Speaking of CVs and 2022 races, Sunday could be Brad KeselowskiThe last race is still in contention for the championship with its long-standing organization Team Penske. After a brief summer lull following the announcement of his departure for Roush Fenway Racing at the end of the summer, the 2012 champion and the # 2 crew are steadily improving and appear to be heading into the 8th and possibly beyond that, but nothing is done. guaranteed given the volatile nature of this weekend. The spring winner from Talladega is currently fourth in the standings and 20 points ahead of him, but he has also finished twice (31st, 18th) in Roval’s three total races which might not be good enough this weekend. The other finish was a top five and he led several laps in all three races so I think the odds are better than not that he advances, but Sunday could end Keselowski’s last hope for a title. more to Roger Penske.
The essentials of race day
Our biggest pieces of the week – wrap up for race day from all angles.
• Power classifications: Could Bell win the round of 8? | Latest rankings
• Overview of the paint scheme: Cunning stratagems for Charlotte Roval | See them here
• Impulse of the playoffs: Who is hot, who is not after Talladega | Full breakdown
• Debate: Can Harvick Escape Elimination? | Rear seat drivers
• Watch bubble: Elliott has Roval where he wants it | See the distribution of bubbles
• Fantastic Fastlane: Start Chase, and Larson? | Top plays, sleepers
• Busch Pole Prize: Denny Hamlin to lead Roval field to green | Read more
Get in on the action
Think you know NASCAR? Test your courage with play, fantasy.
• What are the chances?: Betting odds for Roval | See them here
• Paris NASCAR: Who could beat Elliott at Roval? | Read more
• The Action Network: Who to choose: Elliott or Larson? | Read more
• Let’s talk about the playoffs: How Fantasy Live Play For The Playoffs Works | Read more
• No risk, big reward: Try to win cash prizes with the free Jackpot Races app | Hit the jackpot
Memories of Roval
Before the Cup Series races at Roval for the fourth time in history, take a look back at the history of the track.
• Top 10: Tours conducted at Charlotte Motor Speedway Roval | Who led the most?
• Masters of the road: All-time winners on the road circuits | See the list
• Recent roadies: Active road course winners | See the list
• Remember when: Stewart, Dale Jr. put on a show in Charlotte | Watch the 2001 UAW-GM Quality 500 Replay
• It was cool: @nascarcasm: The coolest thing to happen every turn of Roval | Relive the moments
• Turn, turn, turn: Charlotte Motor Speedway Roval detailed analysis | See the distribution
Five quick facts
Powerful statistics relevant to the race, brought to you by the experts at Racing Insights.
• All seven playoff points at Talladega were won by non-playoff drivers.
• Ford is winless in the last eight playoff races. There is a Ford driver below the elimination line: Kevin Harvick.
• Kyle Busch has nine playoff wins – seven of nine have been in the past five years.
• Hamlin is the only driver to have made the playoffs more than 10 times who haven’t won a Cup championship.
• Five drivers still in the 2021 playoffs have won a championship in this current playoff format (2014-current).
Catch the package
Read up on all the headlines from the week leading up to the race.
• Win or exit: Byron’s Roval Mission Is Simple, But Hard | Listen to his thoughts
• Give the example : Ben Kennedy’s leadership role evolves at NASCAR | Read more
• Living the dream: “Surrealist moment” for Bubba Wallace at the Diversity Awards | Read more
• Two of a kind ?: Harvick, Hamlin Share Some Playoff Trends, Differ In Others | Read more
• Moving forward : Round of 8 melee scenarios for Roval | Read more
• The King speaks: Richard Petty’s Round of 12 Final Preview | Watch more
• GIF contest: @nascarcasm sums up how playoff drivers feel | Read more
• Eliminators: NASCAR Playoffs Playoff Winners | See the list
• Survive, advance: Kyle Busch’s state of mind for the Roval | Read more
• Tousled at Roval? : Harvick does not sweat advancement | Read more
Notable quotes from sports stars before the race.
“I feel like we just got a good road course package. Like I’ve been saying for years now, I don’t feel like what I’m doing is anything special. I just think we have a good package and Alan (Gustafson, team leader) has done a really good job refining the things that matter on a road course and we just found things that work. When you are a young man and you step into new situations and the basics are there for you, it is much easier for a man to learn. I think I got into a great base and was able to really work on myself because we have a solid package and as we get better the cars and I get better I think we just landed in a solid position. Does that mean we’ll be fine there forever? No, but I definitely think we can improve where we’ve been and I can do a better job. We will see where we dispose of. – Chase Elliott, driver of the # 9 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet
“I think the biggest challenge with the Roval is that you have to somewhat configure your car to ride on the oval, especially turns 3 and 4 of the oval. It kind of prevents you from setting up the car the way you want it for the infield, which makes it a big challenge. It always seems like the infield is pretty bumpy. It is quite narrow. There are a lot of ripples from top to bottom. The car is never very good on the race track because the tires are hard for the oval. It’s just a big compromise. It’s really hard to get your car to run properly and it’s a real challenge to get around there. – Martin Truex Jr., Toyota driver # 19 Joe Gibbs Racing
“The Roval has always been difficult since we started racing there. I feel like every year it gets a little more normal for us and we are able to understand the race track a little better and what to expect. The good thing is that I have the same experience there as most of the terrain as it is a fairly new trail. It’s difficult, though, because I feel like it’s a race where there’s always a lot more contact in the peloton and you can’t prepare for it other than being ready for anything. at any time. We always have fast cars there so we just have to go out there and focus on winning. It’s going to be really hard to worry about the points, so a win is really all we care about. “- William Byron, driver of the No.24 Chevrolet Hendrick Motorsports