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NASCAR Race Weekend Central

Daily Fantasy NASCAR DraftKings Forecast: Bank of America ROVAL 400

It’s ROVAL time y’all! The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series final race in the Round of 16 will take place at the Charlotte Motor Speedway road course on Sunday, Sept 29th at 2:30 p.m. ET.

This weekend, as already seen in Friday’s practice, will be a tricky one for the drivers as this is still a new layout. It’s a mixture of Charlotte Motor Speedway’s oval track and a road course, along with two chicanes. The track also changed the layout slightly in the backstretch chicane to slow the cars down and add more passing opportunities.

Let’s hope the drivers won’t do this again:

After that incident took out a bunch of front-runners (along with a last-lap spin in the final chicane), much of the top 10 finishers were mostly drivers who began near the front. However, Brad Keselowski was leading until that incident, and he had qualified 25th. Fast cars and drivers do start in the back half of the pack sometimes, and when they do, they offer a good chance to finish well. When they win, you win (as long as the rest of your roster finishes well also).

You could also gain bonus points for leading laps and fastest laps, but I wouldn’t chase those necessarily. After all, anything can (and probably will) happen in this race. If you do wish to have one or two dominators in your lineup, I wouldn’t fault you for it as it could work out. For example, at Watkins Glen International, Chase Elliott led 80 of 90 laps from the pole to win. But do remember that there are only 109 laps in this race, which isn’t very many points to work with.

2019 DRAFTKINGS NASCAR RULES

Before I get into this week’s picks, here are the results from Richmond Raceway:

PriceDriverDraftKings Score
$9,600.00Kyle Larson45.5
$9,400.00Chase Elliott21
$8,800.00Ryan Blaney23
$8,000.00Ryan Newman59
$7,200.00Daniel Suarez39
$7,000.00Chris Buescher9.5
$50,000.00Total197

In short: it stunk. The lineup failed to earn any money anywhere, as 293.75 in the $1 Happy Hour and 282.25 in a single entry $1 double up were the minimum winning scores. It definitely needed a couple of Joe Gibbs Racing drivers there in order to be in the green.

Speaking of which, Erik Jones was disqualified but it didn’t count toward his DraftKings score. DraftKings rules state “disqualifications related to same-day post-race inspection will not change a driver’s Finishing Position, Laps Led, or Fastest Laps stats.”

In other words, don’t worry if a driver is disqualified from the race after the checkered flag flies (at least on this site this year). Just be sure to remember that Jones’ stats may be slightly incorrect on DraftKings, since he finished last instead of fourth.

Now, on to my picks!

DraftKings Picks

Martin Truex Jr ($10,900)
Career at Charlotte ROVAL: 1 start, 0 wins, 0 top fives, 0 top 10s
Average finish at Charlotte ROVAL: 14.0

Besides the “follow the leader” in turn one at the course’s inaugural race, Truex himself was caught up in a major incident on the last lap. After Jimmie Johnson spun around in the final chicane just before the finish line, he tagged Truex who also spun and hit the wall. Instead of finishing first and second, Truex finished 14th and Johnson was able to salvage the eighth spot.

Still, the JGR No. 19 is currently on a two-race win streak and would love to sweep the first round of the playoffs. He certainly has the talent to do just that, as he battled Elliott for the lead at Watkins Glen and led 59 laps at Sonoma Raceway en route to victory. Also, one of Truex’s six wins of the season came at this very place in the Coca Cola 600. While it’s very different from Sunday’s event, it doesn’t take away from his ability to lead and win at pretty much any track.

Ryan Blaney ($9,200)
Career at Charlotte ROVAL: 1 start, 1 win, 1 top five, 1 top 10
Average finish at Charlotte ROVAL: 1.0

When Johnson and Truex knocked themselves out of the running for the lead, who ended up winning? That’s right, this guy. Blaney was a bit behind the pair but was able to avoid getting tangled in their tussle and stood in Victory Lane. Not only did he win here last year, but he also finished third at Sonoma and fifth at Watkins Glen this season. The No. 12 Team Penske wheelman may be winless in 2019, but he definitely knows how to get around the twists and turns of a road course.

Ryan Newman ($8,300)
Career at Charlotte ROVAL: 1 start, 0 wins, 0 top fives, 0 top 10s
Average finish at Charlotte ROVAL: 11.0

The No. 6 Roush Fenway Racing driver has two top fives and 11 top 10s so far this year. One of Newman’s top 10s came at Sonoma, where he finished seventh after starting 21st. This has been a common theme for Newman this season, as his highest qualification (seventh) was back in March at Auto Club Speedway. Newman’s price is still reasonable because he usually isn’t fast and has only led 16 laps so far. Since he qualified 24th, he has a very good chance to finish well again.

Jimmie Johnson ($7,900)
Career at Charlotte ROVAL: 1 start, 0 wins, 0 top fives, 1 top 10
Average finish at Charlotte ROVAL: 8.0

Boy, it’s been awhile since I’ve picked Johnson, but he could be a good tournament play. The Hendrick Motorsports veteran (as previously mentioned) finished eighth in this race last year, but could have finished second. He also finished eighth in the Coca Cola 600 and ended where he began last week at Richmond.

However, I chose Johnson for his desire to win and knowledge of road course racing. There was a long stretch of races at Sonoma from 2009-2015 where he earned three top fives and seven top 10s. In 2010, he was triumphant after leading 55 laps. While he certainly does not appear to perform like he did back then, he still could return a good finish if he stays out of trouble.

Honorable Mention

Matt DiBenedetto ($7,600)
Career at Charlotte ROVAL: 1 start, 0 wins, 0 top fives, 0 top 10s
Average finish at Charlotte ROVAL: 13.0

Did you know that the first top 10 for DiBenedetto came at Sonoma this year? The man sure has wheeled his way around road courses, as he also finished sixth at Watkins Glen. When I saw his Draftkings price and his performance at these tracks, I knew I wanted him in my lineup. DiBenedetto’s also similar to Newman in that he generally doesn’t qualify as well but ends races much higher than that. Such was the case at both road courses this year, and he’ll begin Sunday’s race 18th. He should be a popular play, but be sure to check Saturday’s practice results in case any issues occur.

Dark Horse Performer

David Ragan ($5,600)
Career at Charlotte ROVAL: 1 start, 0 wins, 0 top fives, 0 top 10s
Average finish at Charlotte ROVAL: 16.0

While many will probably flock to Ragan’s Front Row Motorsports teammate Michael McDowell, I will have at least one lineup with Ragan. Let’s face it, he doesn’t finish as well as some drivers and probably won’t get a top 10, but he has the potential to end higher than where he starts. For instance, earlier this year at Charlotte’s oval track, he began 31st but earned a 15th place finish. Part of that was thanks to a late strategy play, but he does have three top 20s in the past six races. Ragan will start Sunday’s race 27th, so any position in the top 20 would produce a good DraftKings score for his low price.