Monday, September 30, 2019

Odds to win 2019 Drydene 400 at Dover

Alex Bowman is 30/1 to win Sunday. He was runner-up in May race.

SUNDAY, OCTOBER 6, 2019 - 2:45 PM ET

Kyle BUSCH 4/1
Martin TRUEX JR 4/1
Kevin HARVICK 6/1
Kyle LARSON 6/1
Chase ELLIOTT 7/1
Denny HAMLIN 12/1
Joey LOGANO 14/1
Erik JONES 20/1
Ryan BLANEY 20/1
Clint BOWYER 30/1
Kurt BUSCH 30/1
Alex BOWMAN 30/1
William BYRON 30/1
Jimmie JOHNSON 30/1
Daniel SUAREZ 80/1
Aric ALMIROLA 100/1
Matt DiBENEDETTO 100/1
Ryan NEWMAN 200/1
Austin DILLON 200/1
Chris BUESCHER 300/1
Ricky STENHOUSE JR 300/1
Paul MENARD 300/1
Daniel HEMRIC 500/1
Ty DILLON 1000/1
Ryan PREECE 1000/1
Darrell WALLACE JR 1000/1
Michael McDOWELL 2000/1
David RAGAN 2000/1
Matt TIFFT 5000/1
Corey LAJOIE 5000/1
Landon CASSILL 5000/1
Reed SORENSON 5000/1
FIELD (all others) 1000/1

Updated odds to win 2019 NASCAR Cup Championship following Roval

Westgate Las Vegas Superbook oddsOPENINGCURRENT
Kevin HARVICK9/26/1
Kyle BUSCH9/29/2
Martin TRUEX JR6/14/1
Chase ELLIOTT7/18/1
Kyle LARSON7/114/1
Brad KESELOWSKI10/16/1
Ryan BLANEY10/130/1
Joey LOGANO10/16/1
Clint BOWYER15/180/1
Denny HAMLIN25/17/1
Alex BOWMAN50/160/1
William BYRON60/180/1

Thursday, September 26, 2019

Charlotte Betting Preview: 2019 Bank of America Roval 400

Martin Truex Jr. won at the Charlotte Roval last season.
Four drivers will be chopped from the playoffs after Sunday’s Bank of America Roval 400 at Charlotte Motor Speedway’s 17-turn 2,28-mile road course that combines the infield road course with the speedway’s high banks. It’s the best of both worlds in NASCAR.

This will be the second year the Cup Series has ever run on the unique layout and it’ll be the third and final road course race of the season. It’s also the final of three races in the first round of the playoffs where 12 drivers will advance to the Round of 12 next week at Dover and four drivers will be eliminated.

“It’s do-or-die time. It’s the playoffs,” said Clint Bowyer who sits four points behind the final transfer position. “You watch these football teams go through these playoffs and how exciting it is and it’s our turn to have those nerve-racking moments and do-or-die moments for your race team and your season, but I’m looking forward to it.”

Among the five drivers within 15-points of each other from 11th through 15th in the standings vying for the final two Round of 12 spots, Bowyer would be one of my choices to advance because his 11.9 average finish in 29 road starts is second-best among active drivers and his 11 top-fives are tied with Kurt and Kyle Busch for the most among active drivers. By the way, Kurt Busch is one of those five drivers looking to advance and finished fifth at the roval in his first try last season.

Kurt Busch and Bowyer are both listed by the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook at 20/1 odds (Bet $100 to win $2,000) to win this week, and they can automatically get in by simply winning and get the automatic berth to the next round. But I have a feeling that both drivers are going to be conservative and be more focused on getting stage points and focusing more on where their closest playoff contenders are on the track.

The driver sitting in last place in the playoff standings, Erik Jones, has to win to advance and I think he can based on finishing in the top-five in three of the last four races using the race package with 750 horsepower, which includes a fourth-place at Watkins Glen in August.

Jones is also listed at 20-to-1 odds to win. I like desperate drivers that have a car good enough to win. He’s part of the Joe Gibbs Racing stable that has won 15 of the 28 races this season. Last week at Richmond they finished 1-2-3-4.

The unique thing about the 'roval' that is exciting is that the drivers are still getting used to it. Half the drivers are uncomfortable as it is making right turns on regular road courses, but when you mix in the high speeds around the speedway banking things get a little crazier.

“Last year at the roval, I thought we were going to be all right and finish OK, but then we all decided to follow everybody else off a cliff. It was pretty ugly,” Kyle Busch said of the 14 car pile up with six laps to go.

“But overall, just – you try to go into that race,” Busch continued. “It’s a newer type of track, and I don’t know that everybody has got it quite figured out exactly, yet. With this new aero package, it’s going to be different and of course, too, with the new chicane it’s going to be different. We can go out there and attack it and try to get a win with our M&M’S Hazelnut Camry, try to get some bonus points, get ourselves a bit of a cushion there, I guess, moreover the rest of the guys.”

Busch has already advanced to the next round of the playoffs and he’s been stuck on four wins since June 2 at Pocono. But he can be a little more aggressive than most to go for the win. He’s got four road course wins over his career and was runner-up at Sonoma in June.

Hendrick Motorsports Charlotte Roval Quotes

Chase Elliott has won at Watkins Glen course last two years.
William Byron on what he learned from the "roval" last year:

“It was a really intense race. I think it will probably come down to a late-race restart. Last year’s race I think even had a fuel mileage aspect to it until the final few laps and everyone had really old tires and no grip whatsoever. You try to prepare for that any way you can, and you try to judge the grip level coming to those restarts late in the race. Otherwise, you have to do your best to stay out of trouble early, but also know you can overcome issues at a place like that.”

Byron on road-course races:

“Sonoma is probably the closest track that we race at to the 'roval,' just with the atmosphere plus it has really slow, tight corners. Turns 7 and 8 at Sonoma are similar to the 'roval' as well, but Watkins Glen has characteristics that we’ll see this weekend with the front chicane.”

Jimmie Johnson on what he learned at the "roval" last year:

"I learned to not wreck coming to the checkers (laughs) from last year. Seriously though, we had a good car in Sonoma and in Watkins Glen and great notes to lean on, so I am really looking forward to redeeming myself this race. We were so close last year, I believe we will be in the mix."

No. 48 team crew chief Cliff Daniels on racing at the "roval" this weekend:

“There are good notes to pull from for this race. We definitely have a shot to go out and win this thing. We were one turn away from winning it last year. Even though there are changes in the rules package and the chicane on the course, it’s pretty incredible to watch Jimmie (Johnson) go out there and acclimate to any changes thrown his way. We have a great opportunity on the 'roval,' we just need to go out there and execute.” 

Alex Bowman on racing at the "roval" this weekend:

“This is an interesting and busy week. The 'roval' is kind of awkward, but we finished decent there last year. We really need a good weekend on-track. We are so close to the Round of 12 cut-off line, so we definitely need to focus on getting as many points as we can this weekend. Last week didn’t go the way we needed it to, so we are definitely going back to the books and hoping to unload strong in Charlotte on Friday.”

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

It's elimination time for some NASCAR drivers at Charlotte Roval

Kurt Busch is 20/1 to win Sunday at Charlotte.
It’s elimination time for four of the 16 drivers in NASCAR's Playoffs Sunday at Charlotte Motor Speedway’s Roval which incorporates the road course on the infield with the fast banks of the speedway.

The Roval features 17-turns on the 2.28-mile course and the drivers will turn 109 laps during the race. It’s the best of both worlds — speedway and road courses — mashed together to give us all something fresh and while it’s technically the third road course race of the season, it’s something we haven’t seen. It has got the postseason aspect to it which adds to the intensity of the layout even more.

Last season was the first time the Roval was introduced to the NASCAR Cup and Xfinity Series schedule, and it didn’t disappoint with 11 lead changes among eight drivers. It also offered a fantastic finish with Jimmie Johnson wrecking leader Martin Truex Jr. on the last turn of the last lap. Ryan Blaney, who was third at the time of the wreck, cruised past those two for the win. It was his only lap led on the day.

Johnson would get his turned around in enough time to at least finish eighth while it took Truex longer and he finished 14th. On the cool-down lap, Truex was fuming and smashed into the back of Johnson’s car and spun him out.

Johnson, a seven-time Cup Champion, was desperate for a win and the layout of the track allowed him to do something rarely seen out of him — scratch and claw for a win.

It was at that moment that I was sold on the Roval. Johnson is still searching for his first win since 2017.

The 14th-place finish by Truex on the Roval dropped his average finish in the last seven road course races to 8.2. He has three wins on the roads since the start of 2017 and his five top-fives and 180 laps led also lead the series. On the other two road courses this season he won at Sonoma in June and was runner-up at Watkins Glen in August.


Newman up to his typical Playoff tricks

Ryan Newman is 100/1 to win Sunday.
For all intents and purposes, Roush Fenway Racing driver Ryan Newman has raised his game at precisely the right time. After a tight late-season battle between up to five drivers to even qualify for a Playoff berth, the veteran is now in solid position to advance to the next round.

Newman is ranked a season-high ninth in the championship standings with a 14-point edge on 13th-place Alex Bowman. The top 12 drivers among the group of 16 Playoff competitors will advance to the next round following the outcome of Sunday’s Charlotte Roval race.

Not only did Newman convincingly earn his Playoff spot with an impressive eighth-place run in the Indianapolis regular season finale, he has top-10 finishes in the two Playoff races since. He was 10th at Las Vegas and fifth last weekend at Richmond – tying his season best mark, a fifth place in the summer Daytona race.

Newman placed 11th at the ROVAL inaugural race last season. He was seventh in the No. 6 RFR Ford at the Sonoma, Calif. road course in June and 25th at Watkins Glen, N.Y. in August. Although he’s never won on a Cup Series road course, he did win the 2005 Xfinity Series race at Watkins Glen. He has three top 10s in 18 starts at The Glen, but his last came back in 2006 (eighth place). He was runner-up in his series debut there in 2002.

Historically, Newman’s numbers are a bit better at Sonoma. He has eight top-10 finishes in 18 starts – three in the last five races there, including this summer. He was runner-up in 2006.

The team goes into the Charlotte weekend feeling as optimistic as it has this season, according to Newman, who said his seventh place at Richmond last weekend was the best team performance of the season “without a doubt.’’

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Kyle Busch is 5/1 to win at Charlotte Roval

Nothing to Lose

Kyle Busch has four road course wins.
HUNTERSVILLE, North Carolina (Sept. 24, 2019) – When the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series went from crowning a season-long champion to a playoff format starting in 2004, there used to be one and only race where competitors hoped to simply make it through the race unscathed to have a shot at winning the season title. That track, of course, was Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway, where disaster could strike at any moment in the form of a multicar accident that could easily be not of one’s own doing.

Now, 15 seasons later and with the series having added an elimination format starting in 2014, there are multiple races where competitors simply hope to survive and advance. For the second year in a row, teams won’t be competing solely on Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway’s fast, 1.5-mile oval where a race’s outcome is mostly in the hands of a driver and his team. Instead, they’ll be competing on its 2.28-mile, 17-turn “roval” layout that combines parts of the oval with its relatively new infield road-course section.

With all of that in mind, Kyle Busch, driver of the No. 18 M&M’S Hazelnut Spread Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR), heads to the roval layout and the first cutoff race of the 2019 Cup Series playoffs with a huge sense of relief. His runner-up finish Saturday night at Richmond (Va.) Raceway was good enough to advance Busch and his team to the playoffs’ Round of 12 that starts at Dover (Del.) International Speedway next week. Busch is one of three championship-contending drivers with the luxury of racing this weekend with nothing to lose. The others are JGR teammate Martin Truex Jr., winner of back-to-back races to start the playoffs at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and Richmond, and Kevin Harvick, who locked himself into the Round of 12 by virtue of his top-10 finish last weekend.

With the pressure off for the time being, Busch can focus on his own pace around the slippery road-course portions through the Charlotte infield, an approach that should garner success despite just one previous race having been run on the circuit. Busch is hoping he can equal the feat he accomplished in May 2018 at Charlotte, albeit on the 1.5-mile oval, when he brought home his first career points-paying win at the track in the Coca-Cola 600, one of the crown jewels of NASCAR’s top series.

While this weekend’s Charlotte layout is still a bit of a relative unknown, Busch has established himself as one of the top road-course racers in the Cup Series. If the 2015 Cup Series champion was to grab another checkered flag in Sunday’s Bank of America Roval 400, he could join some elite company as a road-racing ace in NASCAR’s top series.

Busch is tied for fourth with David Pearson and Mark Martin with four Cup Series road-course wins apiece. That’s some pretty good company, already. But with a fifth road-course win, he could tie Darrell Waltrip, Tim Richmond and Dan Gurney for third on the road-course win list. There is a bit of distance to the top two spots on the all-time road-course wins list, however, as second-place Jeff Gordon has seven wins and leader Tony Stewart has nine.

So as Busch heads to the second-ever race on the Charlotte roval this weekend, he’ll have the comfort of knowing he has nothing to lose. He’ll no doubt be focused on bringing home the checkered flag as nothing else matters – at least this weekend.
KYLE BUSCH, Driver of the No. 18 M&M'S Hazelnut Spread Toyota Camry for Joe Gibbs Racing: 
Since you clinched your spot in the next round and don’t really need to worry at the roval, how do you treat that race?

“Last year at the roval, I thought we were going to be all right and finish OK, but then we all decided to follow everybody else off a cliff. It was pretty ugly. But overall, just – you try to go into that race, it’s a newer type of track, and I don’t know that everybody has got it quite figured out exactly, yet. With this new aero package, it’s going to be different and of course, too, with the new chicane it’s going to be different. We can go out there and attack it and try to get a win with our M&M’S Hazelnut Camry, try to get some bonus points, get ourselves a bit of a cushion there, I guess, more over the rest of the guys.”

Will you be able to drive the roval differently because you don’t need to win?

“I think so. You want to win. I think you can drive it differently because you can go force the issue sometimes and try to get a win or get a good finish versus just kind of having to be stressed about it the whole day and on your toes about it the whole day and let it be worrisome.”

What is the most difficult part of the track to figure out at the roval?

“I think the hardest part is just trying to understand the different dynamics between the slow sections in the infield portion of the track versus the high-speed and high-banked portion of the oval track. You are slipping on every corner, there’s not a corner where you are necessarily feeling really good about. It’s going to be a technical challenge all the way around yet again this year.”

Are you seeing more aggression in the playoffs this season after what we saw during the regular season?

“Yeah, I guess I would imagine some of that, sure. Everybody goes for broke and tries to move people out of the way and get what they can get on restarts. It’s always kind of chaotic in that regard. It’s because as soon as the restarts are done and you kind of get three, four, five, six laps gone after a restart, then that’s kind of where you ride. It’s really tough to pass for the next 40 (laps) until cars start to fall off and tires start to wear out a little bit. It’s certainly a different game than what it’s been in years past. In years past, you could kind of take it easy on restarts a little bit and let everything kind of formulate and single-file out some and then you could pick your way up through there. You can’t really do that now.”

Is survival the biggest key to having success at the roval this weekend?

“I think the biggest thing is to get some track position. If you are out front, hopefully you can lead everything, but you know there’s going to be some strategy that comes into play with people pitting at different times and things of that regard. You just have to make sure you are on top of your game the whole time and making sure you do what you need to do and focus on your own race, not necessarily what the guys around you are doing. I know Adam (Stevens, crew chief) will make some good calls and hopefully we can get out front and try and stay there with our M&M’S Hazelnut Spread Camry.”

Clint Bowyer is 20/1 to win at Charlotte Roval

Advancing in the Playoffs Again Boils Down to Charlotte Roval

KANNAPOLIS, North Carolina (Sept. 23, 2019) – It’s “de ja vu all over again” for Clint Bowyer.

For the second consecutive year, the Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) driver’s chances to advance to the Round of 12 in NASCAR’s playoffs comes down to his performance on the 2.28-mile, 17-turn “roval” road course at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway, where the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series holds its third and final Round of 16 playoff race Sunday.

In 2018 Bowyer entered the first round’s final race 13th in points, just four markers outside the top-12 cutoff. A third-place finish was enough to propel Bowyer to the Round of 12. This weekend, he returns to the roval 14th in points but again needs to make up just four points to advance to the Round of 12.  

Bowyer isn’t the only driver in the hot seat at Charlotte. Only three of the 16 playoff drivers have secured spots in the next round. There is only a 26-point difference between 15th and ninth in the standings.

“Charlotte is going to be fun for everybody involved,” said Bowyer, who is outside looking in because of a 25th-place finish after a late-race pit stop in the playoff opener Sept. 15 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, followed by a hard-fought eighth-place finish at Richmond (Va.) Raceway Saturday night.

“It’s do-or-die time. It’s the playoffs. You watch these football teams go through these playoffs and how exciting it is and it’s our turn to have those nerve-racking moments and do-or-die moments for your race team and your season, but I’m looking forward to it.”

Bowyer will have his work cut out for him on the sport’s newest layout.

“From the time you pull out on the track to the time you get off, it’s just sketchy,” he said. “You are just tip-toeing. There’s no room for error at all. The grip level isn’t great like in turn three. If you get to sliding a little bit getting in there and you look over at them tires, you realize there’s no room. If that thing gets out from under you, you are going to be in the fence and you are going to be in it hard. It’s not something you are going to limp (the car) away from.”

Now, for an even bigger scare for the drivers whose title bids will be on the line Sunday, Goodyear will make wet-weather tires available in the event of rain, making it even more challenging to navigate the high-speed oval portion of the track and the low-speed, twisting, left-and-right turns in the course’s infield. Wet-weather tires were last used in the NASCAR Xfinity Series event Aug. 4, 2018 at Watkins (N.Y.) Glen International.

Bowyer likes his chances on a road course. Since starting at SHR in the 2017 season, Bowyer has an average finish of 7.9 in seven road course races. Only five drivers have better average finishes on the Cup Series road courses since then.

In his 29 career starts on road courses at Sonoma (Calif.) Raceway, Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International and the Charlotte roval, Bowyer has earned a victory, 11 top-five finishes and 16 top-10s.

Bowyer will drive the No. 14 Rush Truck Centers/Cummins Ford Mustang co-owned by Gene Haas Tony Stewart. Rush Truck Centers has been the primary partner on the No. 14 team since Bowyer arrived at SHR in 2017 and has been with the organization since 2010. The Texas-based company has used Bowyer and the team to appeal to NASCAR fans as one way to recruit the technicians it needs to operate the largest network of commercial truck and bus dealerships in the country, with locations in 22 states. According to Rush Truck Centers, the trucking industry is expected to need 200,000 diesel technicians over the next 10 years to keep up with maintenance demands.

Cummins is no stranger to victory lane with its racing lineage dating back to the inaugural Indianapolis 500 in 1911, when company founder Clessie Cummins was on the pit crew of the race-winning Marmon Wasp of driver Ray Harroun. Since its founding in 1919, the company now employs approximately 58,600 people and serves customers in about 190 countries and territories through a network of some 500 company-owned and independent distributor locations and approximately 7,500 dealer locations. While Cummins is a corporation of complementary business segments that design, manufacture, distribute and service a broad portfolio of power solutions, it is best known for its diesel truck engines.

If Bowyer climbs into the top 12 of the playoff standings by the time the checkered flag falls Sunday, he’ll advance to the next round that begins Oct. 6 at Dover (Del.) International Speedway.

While he and a majority of the 16 playoff drivers hold  their breath this Sunday, wondering whether the roval brings salvation or elimination, there’s one group of folks who are in for an exciting show – the race fans.

“We are all going to be sweating our rear ends off trying to make the Round of 12 while everybody in the stands and on television are going to be watching us lunatics wondering what’s going to happen,” he said. “I know I would be.”

Clint Bowyer, Driver of the No. 14 Rush Truck Centers/Cummins Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing:
What was last year like at the roval, trying to advance in the playoffs?
“A lot of unknowns going into something like the roval or any new racetrack or endeavor that we do with our sport, it’s always nerve-racking times. I think the roval, you get so busy in your days and living in the moment, living in that week, wherever that week may be, whether it’s leading up to the playoffs or before, you don’t think about the distant future until it becomes the near future. Once everyone got in the playoffs it was like, ‘All right, the playoffs have started. We’ve got the playoffs mindset. Let’s focus on these first couple of races and then, oh my God, the roval! What! Do you mean the roval is a cutoff race?’ That’s when it starts to become reality. It’s not that it wasn’t on the schedule punching you in the face every time, but it doesn’t register until it’s in the forefront and it’s real. You’re preparing for the roval, preparing for a track and a race a weekend you haven’t seen before, so it’s definitely nerve-racking. But, to be honest with you, I don’t know whether it’s my personality or driving style, I don’t know what it is but I always seem to be better in those situations than I am at a place that I’ve been to 100 times.”

Has your mentality changed to the must-win way of thinking?
“It’s kind of a must-win situation at all times. In life, if you wake up and say, ‘I don’t really need to win today,’ you’re probably going to suck.”

What is your roval strategy?
“We are just going to go there and do the best we can. I have confidence in this race team and we have the capability of going out there and winning the race and certainly we can move into the top 12.”
Not as a driver battling to advance to Round of 12, but as a race fan, what do you think of the roval?
“I’d buy a good ticket or get in front of a television and get that popcorn and whatever else out, because I expect those final laps Sunday are going to be some of the most memorable of the season. It’s probably going to be really calm for a while, but there will be a few late cautions and then it will be chaos. We hardly ever see anything like we are about to see. Like last year on the roval, nobody has any idea what to expect.”

Aric Almirola is 80/1 to win on Charlotte Roval

Charlotte Roval: The Pressure Is On 

Aric Almirola has finished 12th or better in the two 2019 road races.
KANNAPOLIS, North Carolina (Sept. 24, 2019) – Aric Almirola, driver of the No. 10 Smithfield Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR), heads to the nearby Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway “roval” road course this weekend with a three-point cushion in his quest to advance to the Round of 12 in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series playoffs. 

Last year, Almirola was in a similar but more favorable position with a 23-point cushion heading into the third and final race of the opening playoff round. 

In last year’s race at Charlotte, Almirola started 20th and endured multiple accidents that continuously pushed him to the rear of the field. On the final lap, Jimmie Johnson and Martin Truex Jr., made contact, spinning at the start-finish line and allowing Almirola and the No. 10 Smithfield Ford team to advance to the next round with a 19th-place finish. 

“Anything can happen at the roval,” Almirola said. “You have to go there and survive. The roval is always intense. It being a cutoff race, there’s a lot of intensity with that. If you’re one of the guys outside (the top 12 who get to advance), you kind of have to throw a Hail Mary. If you’re in, you’ve got to be really cautious. That’s what makes the roval so entertaining and challenging. You never know what to expect.”

Almirola has earned one pole, one top-five finish, 10 top-10s and has led 115 laps in 28 races this season. He finished 11th in this year’s May race on the Charlotte oval, and on the other two road-course races on the schedule this season, he finished ninth at Sonoma (Calif.) Raceway’s and 12th at Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International. 

The 35-year-old has eight NASCAR Xfinity Series starts on the Charlotte oval with one top-five finish, three top-10s and a lap-completion rate of 99.4 percent. Almirola also has two starts in the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series on the Charlotte oval, which both resulted in top-10 finishes.

Earlier this month, Almirola helped make history when he teamed with the world’s No. 1 bowler Jason Belmonte to create the World’s Fastest Strike. With Almirola behind the wheel, Belmonte launched a bowling ball from the passenger seat of the No. 10 Ford Mustang at 140 mph down the Charlotte Motor Speedway frontstretch. To see what a bowling ball hitting 10 pins at 140 mph looks like, visit

As the playoffs continue this weekend, fans can get VIP, behind-the-scenes access in following “Aric ‘Beyond the 10’” by subscribing to his YouTube channel. Episodes showcase never-before-seen footage of Almirola at the racetrack, on family trips, and “A Day in the Life” during the week, as well as all that goes into a NASCAR Cup Series driver’s season. Tune in this weekend for full access to Almirola’s playoff media day, NASCAR Burnout Boulevard and the Vegas race weekend. Click here to subscribe on YouTube and watch the latest episode.

Two weeks ago, Almirola and Smithfield announced the “Racin’ for Bacon” 1 million slice giveaway program. If Almirola pilots the No. 10 Ford to victory lane Oct. 13 at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway, 10 lucky fans will earn 100,000 slices of bacon. To sign up, visit

Sunday’s 400-mile race at Charlotte marks the 25th points-paying event during which the Smithfield livery has adorned Almirola’s No. 10 Ford Mustang this year. Smithfield, a brand of Smithfield Foods, based in Smithfield, Virginia, is in its eighth season with Almirola and its second with SHR. Founded in 1936, Smithfield is a leading provider of high-quality pork products, with a vast product portfolio including smoked meats, hams, bacon, sausage, ribs, and a wide variety of fresh pork cuts. 

From his 11th position in the playoff standings, Almirola’s 2,054 points are three more than 13th-place Alex Bowman. 

Aric Almirola: Driver of the No. 10 Smithfield Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing:

How do you prepare yourself for a course like the roval?

“Ford Performance gives us all the tools we need. I have been able to spend some time in the simulator over the last few weeks to get myself acclimated to the course. The rest is watching film and memorizing each turn. The real studying begins after the first practice session on Friday. You get to see how good you unload and then you can go from there to make your car better for Sunday. The rest is up to the driver to keep it on the track and in position to advance on Sunday.”

Explain the excitement and outcome of last year’s roval race, where everything was on the line. 

“I was just trying to get every spot. That was the thing. Everywhere on the racetrack at the end there I was trying to get every single spot I could. Man, it worked out. It was amazing. I’m really proud and really blessed to have been in that position. It doesn’t matter how pretty it was, we moved on to the Round of 12. It was such a crazy race with so many ups and downs. We can only go up from that one.” 

Kevin Harvick is 14/1 to win 2019 Bank of America Roval 400 at Charlotte

Let’s Go to the Round of XII

Kevin Harvick has two road course wins.
KANNAPOLIS, North Carolina (Sept. 24, 2019) – This week, four drivers will be eliminated from the NASCAR playoffs as the first round is coming to an end and only 12 drivers will be moving onto the next round. So, pressure is high.

Except for Kevin Harvick, Martin Truex Jr., and Kyle Busch, who have already clinched their spots in the Round of 12. So this week’s race on the Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway “roval” should be fairly easy.

But, let’s be honest, nothing is easy in the NASCAR playoffs. While there is little to gain, the bottom line is Harvick likes to win. That’s the whole point of being in NASCAR racing.

While there is little to gain at Charlotte, a win would put Harvick in elite company. He is looking for his 49th win in NASCAR’s top series, which would put him past 2013 Hall of Famer Herb Thomas and into a tie with his boss Tony Stewart for 14th on the all-time list.

A win at Charlotte would also give him a victory at every “road course” in NASCAR as he’s already scored victories at both true road courses on the schedule – Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International and Sonoma (Calif.) Raceway. Busch and Truex are the only other active drivers who have won at The Glen and Sonoma.

The Charlotte roval is a “road course” built within the oval portion for Charlotte Motor Speedway. Think Daytona International Speedway for the IMSA sportscars or Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the Indy cars. Charlotte has only had one race on the roval, but Harvick also has failed to win on the ovals at Kentucky Speedway in Sparta and Pocono (Pa.) Raceway.

So he could check off another racetrack from his list this weekend.

Harvick, driver of the No. 4 Jimmy John’s Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR), has three wins, 10 top-five finishes and 19 top-10s in 2019. And he’s had two consecutive top-10 finishes to the starts the playoffs.

He’s been freaky fast again in 2019.

And he hopes to be in victory lane Sunday afternoon at Charlotte
KEVIN HARVICK, Driver of the No. 4 Jimmy John's Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing: 
Are you worry-free going into the roval weekend?

“It’ll be a nice week at home. I think it allows everybody to really go, and the biggest thing is you want to go try and learn what you need to do to run fast there, so this week we’ll go to the simulator and try to transfer that to the racetrack and see how practice goes and then we’ll see how the weekend goes. You definitely still want to go there and get a race win or something that will go forward with you and also learn something for the future.”

Do you use the Ford simulator much for the road courses?

“We do. For me, it is just because I’m a big kind of visual person. So that repetition for me is good, just to get a visual and have that memory of curbs and direction of the track and all the things you remember from last time spurred in your memory bank as you use those simulators. So we’ve actually started to use it more this year than we have in the past.”

Does it give you a good base setup or more just feel and sightlines?
“For me, it’s more feel and sightlines. I don’t know that it’s 100 percent setup stuff, unless you’re doing postrace stuff and then it’s more making sure that grip levels and lap times and those types of things are right and things that you wanted to work on that you saw from other cars and other ideas that you had from that particular weekend at the racetrack. I’d never done any of the simulator stuff until I got to Ford, but we’ve got two of them now. We can race each other, too.”

Ryan Newman is 100/1 to win at Charlotte Roval

Ryan Newman finished 7th at Sonoma in June.
Team: No. 6 Performance Plus Ford Mustang
Crew Chief: Scott Graves
Twitter: @Roush6Team, @RoushFenway and @RyanJNewman
Bank of America ROVAL 400 – Sunday, Sept. 29 at 2:30 p.m. ET on NBC, PRN, SiriusXM Channel 90


Newman at the ROVAL
· Newman will make his second start at the ROVAL on Sunday, and 38th overall road course start in the Cup Series.
· In last season’s debut of the 17-turn road course, Newman finished 11th after starting 29th. Overall he has 11 top-10s and three top-five finishes at road courses with an average finish of 15.4.
· Looking back at the two previous road course events this season, Newman showed patience pays off as he finished seventh in Sonoma, before going on to record a 25th-place result at Watkins Glen two months later.

Scott Graves at the ROVAL
· Graves was atop the pit box for the debut of the ROVAL last season, finishing 21st with Daniel Suarez after starting 17th.
· Overall, Graves has three top-10s and two top-fives on road courses in the Cup Series.


Newman on racing at the ROVAL:

“Coming off three-straight top-10s, we know what we need to do and what is ahead in the playoffs. The ROVAL is a track that has obviously shown to be challenging, and that will be the case again this weekend. Road course racing is all about stamina and being there at the end, which we’ve been able to do a good job of this year. We’re excited to get our Performance Plus Ford on track and give it our best and the rest will take care of itself.”

Tracking the #NASCARPlayoffs
· Coming off another strong run – arguably the best outing of the year thus far – Ryan Newman and the No. 6 team are ninth in the playoffs standings, 14 points to the good entering Sunday’s cutoff race in the opening three-race round of the NASCAR Playoffs.
· Newman holds a six-point advantage over the No. 12, while the No. 10 and No. 24 have just a three and two point advantage to the cut line, respectively. The No. 88 sits two back, the No. 14 is four back, while the No. 1 is 14 behind the 12th and final spot, with the No. 20 sitting 45 points off advancing.

On the Car
Performance Plus makes its fourth appearance on board Ryan Newman’s machine in 2019 as the primary partner. Performance Plus has served as Roush Fenway’s official oil since 2014, and teamed up as the primary partner on the Fords of NASCAR Champions Matt Kenseth and Greg Biffle, and now with Newman.

About Performance Plus
Performance Plus is a premium brand of lubricants that provide superior quality and unmatched performance at a competitive price. Produced and distributed by Safety-Kleen, a subsidiary of Clean Harbors (NYSE: CLH), Performance Plus products use conventionally refined oils and proprietary twice-refined oils, blended with industry-leading additives, to meet and exceed industry certifications, licenses, approvals and OEM warranty requirements. With more than 30 years of innovation, research and testing, Performance Plus formulations are relied on by some of the largest commercial fleets and U.S. military combat vehicles, as well as race teams at events across North America. Visit

Recapping Richmond
Newman put together arguably the No. 6 team’s strongest run of 2019 last weekend at Richmond, finishing fifth with a fifth-place result in stage two to go along with it. At one point Newman ran as high as third and was in the conversation for the lead, before going on to record his second top-five of the season, and first top-five on a non-plate track since Richmond 2017.

Daniel Suarez is 80/1 to win at Charlotte Roval

Ready To Rock at the Roval

KANNAPOLIS, North Carolina (Sept. 24, 2019) – Daniel Suárez and the No. 41 Haas Automation Mustang team for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) make the shortest commute of the season over to Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway this weekend. The home track for SHR is located approximately 10 miles from its shop in Kannapolis, North Carolina. Suárez will pilot the traditional red-and-black Haas paint scheme for Sunday’s Bank of America Roval 400.

With eight races remaining in the 2019 Cup Series season, the “roval” is the third and final road-course event on the schedule. This weekend marks only the second time the road-course layout has been run at Charlotte for the Cup Series. Last year’s inaugural event provided exciting racing to the final lap. Not only is the layout relatively new to the Cup Series drivers, it’s also a playoff cutoff race, making every position even more valuable to the 16 playoff-contending drivers.

Last year on the roval, Suárez started 17th and finished 21st and on the lead lap. His 87 green-flag passes were the most among all drivers. This weekend marks his first time tackling the road course behind the wheel of an SHR entry. The Mexico native is still looking for his first Cup Series win.

The Haas Automation driver goes into the Charlotte event after a 10th-place finish last weekend at Richmond (Va.) Raceway. He qualified 14th and the No. 41 team continually worked on the handling of the Ford Mustang to improve its performance.
In his young Cup Series career, Suárez has seven road-course starts with two top-five finishes, and he’s completed 100 percent of all 689 possible laps. He’s led 14 laps and has an average starting and finishing position of 13.3.
Overall at Charlotte, Suárez has four starts on the traditional oval course in addition to last fall’s start on the roval. His best result at Charlotte is sixth, which he earned on the oval in October 2017.
Ford swept last year’s roval weekend with wins in both the Cup Series and NASCAR Xfinity Series. So far this season, Ford has visited victory lane eight times.
The Haas Automation driver is currently 17th in the point standings through 28 races with three top-fives and 10 top-10s this season, along with 134 laps led. He has an average start of 14.6 and an average finish of 14.8. He earned his second career Cup Series pole, first with the No. 41 team, in July at Kentucky Speedway in Sparta.
Haas Automation, founded in 1983 by SHR co-owner Gene Haas, is America’s leading builder of CNC machine tools. The company manufactures a complete line of vertical and horizontal machining centers, turning centers and rotary tables and indexers. All Haas products are constructed in the company’s 1.1-million-square-foot manufacturing facility in Oxnard, California, and distributed through a worldwide network of Haas Factory Outlets.
Daniel Suárez: Driver of the No. 41 Haas Automation Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing:

You have a lot of experience go-kart racing. How does that translate to the road-course racing you do now?
“Well, I grew up racing go karts all of the time. I know I’m really good in road-course go karts, but stock car road-course racing is so different because the cars are so heavy. The basics are the same, but the way you have to take care of the brakes, take care of the tires and things like that is a totally different game. It’s very hard to make these cars change directions so quickly because they are so heavy. Most of the time, road-course racing is pretty good to me, so we’ll see how it goes this weekend.”
How do you feel about racing in the rain?
“In go karts, I love racing in the rain, but again, in go karts, rain is totally different from trying to race these heavy cars. I don’t have a problem with the rain, but with these cars, it’s just so different. We’ll see a lot of cars in the grass if it rains.”

Odds to win 2019 Bank of America Roval 400 at Charlotte

The Roval features 17-turns through Charlotte infield course and banking. 

SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 29, 2019 - 2:45 PM ET

Martin TRUEX JR 11/4
Kyle BUSCH 5/1
Chase ELLIOTT 8/1
Kyle LARSON 8/1
Denny HAMLIN 8/1
Kevin HARVICK 14/1
Joey LOGANO 16/1
Clint BOWYER 20/1
Erik JONES 20/1
Ryan BLANEY 20/1
Kurt BUSCH 20/1
Jimmie JOHNSON 30/1
Ryan NEWMAN 80/1
William BYRON 80/1
Alex BOWMAN 80/1
Daniel SUAREZ 80/1
Aric ALMIROLA 100/1
Chris BUESCHER 100/1
Michael McDOWELL 100/1
Paul MENARD 200/1
Ricky STENHOUSE JR 200/1
Daniel HEMRIC 300/1
David RAGAN 500/1
Ryan PREECE 500/1
Austin DILLON 500/1
Ty DILLON 500/1
Matt TIFFT 500/1
Darrell WALLACE JR 1000/1
Corey LAJOIE 2000/1
Landon CASSILL 2000/1
Reed SORENSON 5000/1
FIELD (all others) 200/1