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Martin Truex Jr.
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At first glance, Kyle Larson’s record at the Charlotte Motor Speedway Road Course might seem spotty.
The driver of the No. 5 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet scored an impressive victory at the 2.32-mile, 17-turn circuit in 2021, his NASCAR Cup Series championship season, but his other three results at the track have been undistinguished.
Nevertheless, Larson has led laps in three of his four starts at the ROVAL, and in 2018 he had the fastest car in the race and led an event-high 47 laps before being collected in a massive late-race crash in Turn 1.
Accordingly, Larson might seem an attractive value at +850 via DraftKings Sportsbook. What gives us pause is his showing at the ROVAL last season in the debut year of the Next Gen race car.
Larson qualified 18th and finished 35th last year, both career-low points at the track. In addition, Larson is fighting to advance into the Round of 8 in the Cup Playoffs and my opt to sacrifice a potential victory for stage points in the first two segments of the race.
When NASCAR released its 2023 Cup Series schedule last year, purveyors of conventional wisdom penciled in road course ace AJ Allmendinger for at least one victory.
After all, the thinking went, there are six road courses on the 2023 schedule. Allmendinger’s two career Cup victories came at Watkins Glen and the Indianapolis Grand Prix Course, both of which remain on the NASCAR calendar.
The conventional wisdom proved wrong, at least so far. The Dinger hasn’t sniffed a victory in the first five road course events of the season, but he’ll have another chance on Sunday.
Though we don’t think AJ will have the car to win the Bank of America ROVAL 400, we think he’s a good bet to finish in the top three on a course that blends the speed of Watkins Glen with the technical aspects of Sonoma.
Hence, we’re willing to risk a top-three bet at +275 via DraftKings, particularly considering that Allmendinger won four Charlotte Road Course races in a row in the Xfinity Series.
The facts are simple. Since NASCAR introduced the Next Gen race car into the Cup Series in 2022, only one driver has won more than one race on a road course.
That driver would be Tyler Reddick, who triumphed twice on road courses last year and followed with a victory this season at Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas.
Reddick has experienced some growing pains after an offseason move to 23XI Racing, but his prowess on road courses and consistent speed in his cars are enough for us to recommend him at +700 via DraftKings.
Given that Reddick is currently two points below the cut line for the Round of 8 in the Playoffs, a victory would cure all his ills and propel him into the next round. That’s a powerful incentive.
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Award-winning motorsports writer Reid Spencer has served as lead writer for the NASCAR Wire Service for 16 years, having also spent a four-year stint as NASCAR columnist and beat writer for Sporting News. He is currently serving as president of the National Motorsports Press Association. Email: [email protected]More info on Reid Spencer
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