It’s time to put that wild finish at Talladega behind us and head out to Charlotte, NC, to finish out the round of 16. Charlotte Roval is still a relative new event on the Cup Series schedule, having moved on from the 500 mile regular oval. It’s expected that there will be a capacity crowd showing up for this event due to a state-mandated requirement.
Now with just six playoff spots left to be filled in the round of 12 and roughly seven or eight drivers still fighting to advance. It should make for a very interesting Sunday afternoon of racing. Previous race winner Denny Hamlin will start on pole, opposite Gibbs Racing teammate Erik Jones. So without further ado, let’s delve into the driver options for this upcoming cup series event. Below we have high salary and value play selections. Best of luck to everyone with your lineups this weekend.
Martin Truex Jr (13,200 FD | 10,300 DK)
There isn’t a hotter cup series performer over the past four seasons when it comes to finishing on a road course. Consider that over the past nine road course meets, Truex has finished among the top seven all but once. This includes his seventh-place finish at Charlotte Roval last September.
Currently sitting fifth among drivers in points, Truex is just 32 points above the cut-off line with one race left in the round of 12. Expect Truex to come into this event with a win first mentality. A win would not only give him some very useful playoff points to carry over into the next round but could perhaps help give him the momentum he needs to get Phoenix. Truex will begin the race in a seventh-place starting slot giving him a great opportunity in which to work himself into a position to lead laps in the early going.
Ryan Blaney (12,000 FD | 9,500 DK)
It was during the first ever cup visit to Charlotte Roval in 2018, that Jimmie Johnson would lock his brakes on the second last turn, taking out leader Truex. Which “would, in turn, leave a “third place Blaney, his golden opportunity, in which to skirt through for the inaugural win. Blaney would go onto add three more top-eight finishes at road course tracks, following his victory at Charlotte.
Slated to start the race 24th off the line Sunday, he has shown strong enough road course competency to make him a good contender to finish among the top 10. Blaney could make for a solid pairing with Johnson this Sunday in which to pile up plenty of points through place differential and fastest lap.
Cole Custer (7,300 FD | 7,100 DK)
Custer comes off a brutal run at Talladega due to the unforeseen wreck. However, prior to that accident he did have his fast race car to his credit. Looking at his past five events, the No. 41 driver has cracked the top 16 in three of those attempts. A finish within the top 17 or better could be very much in grasp this weekend.
With this in mind, he should add a decent amount of points through place differential and possibly fastest lap. Although he has no history here in the cup series, Custer has performed quite well at Charlotte Roval in his limited opportunities. In his lone pair of attempts Custer has picked up a pair of results inside the top eight, along with posting an impressive 113.5 driver rating.
Ricky Stenhouse Jr (6,600 FD | 7,700 DK)
Normally one of the true old hands when it comes to running at Talladega. However, this past Sunday, Stenhouse would instead be sent careening into the right barrier after a misjudged push from John Hunter Nemechek. He now looks to get off the snide at Charlotte Roval, keeping in mind that he’s had some relative solid runs at Road Courses over his career. Including three straight top 20 finishes at Watkins Glen. Also just this past August, Stenhouse would rack up a top 16th result in his first Daytona Road Course appearance.
Starting dead last in the running order for Sunday’s event, Stenhouse offers a lot of opportunity for potential points through place differential. Making for a wise bargain play, should he manage to finish within the top 20 drivers. Although Stenhouse has just two cup visits to Charlotte Roval, consider that he comes off a 17th place run here last September.
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