2020 NASCAR Cup Series preview: Charlotte Roval

The Round of 12 in the NASCAR Cup Series playoffs will conclude with the running of the Charlotte Roval race Sunday afternoon. 

The playoff field will not only compete for a spot in the Round of 8 but will have to navigate through a rain-soaked road course without practice. 

Denny Hamlin will start on the pole. Hamlin, after winning at Talladega Superspeedway last weekend, is currently one of two playoff drivers locked into the Round of 8. The 2020 postseason marks the fifth time Hamlin has advanced to the Round of 8 (2014, 2016, 2017 and 2019). In two career starts at the Roval, Hamlin has finished 12th (2018) and 19th (2019). His average finish between the two races is 15.5. 

Kurt Busch, after winning at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Sept. 27 to begin the Round of 12, is also locked into the Round of 8. In two career starts at the Roval, the 42-year-old for Chip Ganassi Racing has finished fifth (2018) and 20th (2019), giving him an average finish of 12.5. Busch will start 10th.

Kevin Harvick and Chase Elliott are currently the top-two playoff drivers that have yet to clinch a spot in the Round of 8. In two career starts at the Roval, Harvick has finished inside the top 10 both times (third in 2019 and ninth in 2018). Elliott, meanwhile, won the 2019 running at the Roval and finished sixth in the 2018 event. Harvick, looking for his seventh consecutive Round of 8 appearance, will start the race in fourth. Elliott will start second behind Hamlin and look to clinch his fourth consecutive Round of 8 appearance. 

Kyle Busch, Austin Dillon, Clint Bowyer and Aric Almirola currently sit as the four drivers facing elimination. Among all four drivers, Bowyer possesses the highest average finish at the Roval in two career starts (3.5). Bowyer, who announced his retirement at the end of 2020 earlier this week, will start the race in 11th. Almirola will start right behind Bowyer in 12th. Kyle Busch and Dillon will start inside the top 10, with the former starting ninth and the latter starting sixth. 

Stages for the race will end on lap 25, lap 50 and the finish on lap 109. Coverage will begin on NBC at 2:30 p.m. EST. 

Starting lineup: 

Pit stall assignments:

Goodyear tire notes: https://www.jayski.com/2020/10/07/goodyear-fast-facts-charlotte-6/

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