NASCAR playoffs at Charlotte Roval: How to watch, stream, preview, picks for the Bank of America Roval 400

Many years after NASCAR introduced a postseason format, the road to a Cup Series championship was very straight forward. The 10 races that determine the championship, from the original Chase for the Cup to today’s NASCAR Playoffs, all took place on ovals and involved nothing more than left turns.

Then, in 2018, everything changed. To spice up its fall race, which lacked the prestige of the Coca-Cola 600 and often ran to little more than 500 miles, Charlotte Motor Speedway introduced the Roval – a 2.2-mile, 17-turn combination of its traditional oval layout and its inner course. The Roval has since grown into one of NASCAR’s wildest races, and this weekend’s run of the Bank of America Roval 400 will be just that again.

The Roval is the only road race in the playoffs and also serves as a knockout race. Alex Bowman is sidelined again with concussion symptoms and end his playoff run early, three other riders will be eliminated in a road race that is sure to be as intense and physical as the Cup Series has hosted all year.

How to watch the NASCAR playoffs at the Charlotte Roval

  • Date: Sunday October 9th
  • Location: Charlotte Motor Speedway (Roval) – Concord, NC
  • Time: 2 p.m. ET
  • TV: ABC
  • Electricity: fuboTV (try for free)

Something to see

Playoff clinch scenarios

After winning at Talladega last week, Chase Elliott smashed his ticket into the Round of Eight and likely put a hand – barring some kind of disaster in the next round – on a Championship 4 spot. That leaves 10 riders looking to make it to the next round, with some in a much better position to do so than others.

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While winning the Roval is the most effective way to advance to the next round, points will weigh heavily on the Round of 12 result and which riders advance.

In the event that there are no new winners at or below the cutoff line, the following riders can earn a place in the round of 16 by points (the number of points required to advance if a rider finishes below the cutoff line) Line wins are given in brackets):

  • Ryan Blaney – would win by 21 points (23)
  • Ross Chastain – would win by 26 points (28)
  • Denny Hamlin – would win by 33 points (35)
  • Joey Logano – would win by 36 points (38)
  • Kyle Larson – would win by 36 points (38)
  • Daniel Suarez – Would win by 42 points (44)
  • Chase Briscoe – Would win by 54 points
  • Austin Cindric – Would win by 54 points

William Byron and Christopher Bell can only secure a place in the round of 16 by winning the Roval or being helped by another playoff driver’s bad luck. In the event of a Byron or Bell win, Briscoe and Cindric would also only be able to score via point assist.

heartburn again

A combination oval and street course, the Charlotte Roval lacks the kind of sweeping, fast corners that many street courses feature in favor of sharp, low-speed corners and sudden changes of direction. And nowhere is that more pronounced than on curve one, which has been quickly dubbed the “heartburn curve” for the chaos it causes.

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The Heartburn Turn is a sharp left turn – almost 90 degrees – that takes the field from the front quad oval and into the infield street course. If you miss this turn, negative reinforcement is quick and immediate from a collision with the wall separating the Roval’s first turn from the exit of the infield road course and the start of the first turn of the Oval. While Chase Elliott managed to survive a collision with the Heartburn Turn wall to come back and win in 2019, others like Brad Keselowski and Kevin Harvick weren’t nearly as lucky.

The last time the Cup Series saw a corner as abrupt as the “Heartburn Turn” was at Indianapolis, when turn one into the infield street course caused multiple blockages at restarts and drivers grumbled that others were failing due to a series of Wrong decisions had no respect for divebombs and other devilish moves. Keep that in mind on Sunday, especially when the race is decided by one or more late restarts.

The things and the wrestlers

This week saw the announcement that AJ Allmendinger will return to the Cup Series full-time in 2023 as he takes the reins of the #16 Kaulig Racing for the full season. It’s an extremely solid move for Kaulig as Allmendinger is one of NASCAR’s top street courses. He came just short of winning the Circuit of the Americas in March and finished second at Watkins Glen in August.

Allmendinger is back up to 16th this weekend and will be looking for that third career cup win while also targeting four straight wins at Charlotte Roval in the Xfinity Series. And he will once again lead a group of experienced road racers in the field.

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Joey Hand will drive the number 15 for Rick Ware Racing and three international drivers – Daniil Kvyat, Loris Hezemans and Mike Rockenfeller – will also be in the field. Joining those four is IndyCar driver Conor Daly, who will make his NASCAR Cup Series debut at the wheel of the #50 for The Money Team Racing. Daly’s Cup debut will be his fourth NASCAR race overall, having previously competed in an Xfinity race at Road America and two Truck Series races in Las Vegas.

Choose to win

(Odds via Caesars Sportsbook)

Tyler Reddick (+600): Given that he’s won half the races in Roval’s history, it’s not surprising that Chase Elliott has the best chance of winning this race at +300. The next best odds belong to Tyler Reddick, whose odds are based on recent history on street courses from this race last year.

Reddick finished second at the Roval last year and has since won at Road America and Indianapolis this year while also battling for victory at COTA. If Reddick can win on Sunday it would mean he has won half of the road races in 2022, giving him the label of ‘King of the Road’ which is very legitimately within reach.

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