The NASCAR playoffs are in full face at this point of the Round of 12. So much so that this weekend is an elimination race to get to the Round of 8. Right now, only Chase Elliott is locked into the Round of 8 coming into the Charlotte ROVAL. With Alex Bowman being eliminated from the playoffs due to his concussion and not racing the weekend, there are 11 drivers vying for seven spots in the next round. It all gets settled on Sunday afternoon.

Charlotte ROVAL Track Layout

If this is your first time watching a race at the ROVAL, it’s an interesting layout. It’s made out of most of the oval of Charlotte Motor Speedway with an additional road layout section on the infield. All told it’s a 2.28-mile lap with 17 turns that include a couple of chicanes on the front and back stretches. Over the four previous races at this configuration, there’s been chaos and drama and remarkable passes made. More of the same should be expected this week. The restarts here are key as heading into Turn 1, known as Heartburn Turn, and getting position for the quick run to Turn 2 and Turn 3.

Bank of America ROVAL 400 NASCAR DFS Strategy

Like with most road races, laps led aren’t a key stat to target. There might be more laps in this race than a typical road race, but it’s still not enough to make it something to build around. Also, historically, no one driver has topped 50 laps led in one of the four races at the ROVAL in its history. So what should be being targeted? Finish position and position differential. This is a road course where passing can happen and drivers can move up. If we flashback to the four-year data from this track, we’ve seen 6.75 drivers a race move up double-digits and 11.25 move up at least six spots. Like what happens at other road races, there aren’t that many drivers that don’t finish a lap down as t he ROVAL has averaged 30 drivers with lead lap finishes. In terms of finish position though, most of that passing happens further back in the pack as only 2.5 drivers a race start outside the top-12 and finish inside the top-10. For builds we’re building around one dominator with the rest being drivers being guys offering PD and/or high finish positions. We should also expect some chaos as has typically happened at this track.

Practice To Qualifying

This table shows the differences between where a driver qualified and where they ran in practice. The idea is to see who may be able to move up and who may drop back during the race.

DriverDK$FD $Prac to QualQualComb. Prac5-Lap
Joey Logano$9,600$10,500-3144
William Byron$9,900$11,000-1231
Daniel Suarez$8,500$11,500-2353
Tyler Reddick$10,500$13,500-4486
Austin Cindric$8,600$9,5003522
Ryan Blaney$9,700$12,000-46107
AJ Allmendinger$9,400$10,000671 
Christopher Bell$9,300$9,800-68148
Chase Elliott$10,600$14,000-791622
Ross Chastain$9,000$12,500-1101117
Michael McDowell$7,300$7,00021199
Cole Custer$6,700$6,00061265
Justin Haley$6,200$5,000-10132314
Bubba Wallace$7,200$5,5001141310
Austin Dillon$6,900$5,800-13152821
Ty Gibbs$6,500$6,2001161516
Chase Briscoe$8,300$9,00051712 
Kyle Larson$10,300$13,00011187 
Martin Truex Jr$8,800$8,5000191912
Kyle Busch$8,100$8,000-12021 
Chris Buescher$7,800$7,500-82129 
Kevin Harvick$7,900$8,300-8223019
Harrison Burton$5,600$5,000-4232718
Denny Hamlin$10,100$9,5006241813
Ricky Stenhouse Jr$6,000$4,500-82533 
Erik Jones$7,400$6,50092617 
Joey Hand$5,900$4,0002272520
Ty Dillon$5,400$4,0008282015
Noah Gragson$7,600$7,0005292423
Corey Lajoie$5,200$3,5008302211
Brad Keselowski$7,000$6,70053126 
Todd Gilliland$5,700$4,8001323126
Daniil Kvyat$4,800$3,000-3333628
Mike Rockenfeller$4,900$2,500-1343524
JJ Yeley$4,700$3,000-43539 
Loris Hezemans$4,500$2,5002363425
Aric Almirola$6,400$4,5005373227
Josh Williams$4,600$2,50013837 
Conor Daly$5,000$3,5001393829

Average Points By Starting Spot

These charts show the average points by starting spot over the last four races at the ROVAL. It’s designed to show the strategy for this track and not necessarily hard-and-fast files for what positions will score that many points again this weekend.