NASCAR: Charlotte favorite isn’t even a playoff driver

Chase Elliott, Hendrick Motorsports, Charlotte Motor Speedway Roval, NASCAR playoffs (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)
Chase Elliott, Hendrick Motorsports, Charlotte Motor Speedway Roval, NASCAR playoffs (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images) /

The favorite to win Sunday afternoon’s NASCAR Cup Series playoff race at the Charlotte Motor Speedway Roval isn’t even a playoff driver.

The round of 12 of the 2023 NASCAR Cup Series playoffs is scheduled to come to an end this coming Sunday afternoon at the Charlotte Motor Speedway Roval with the Bank of America Roval 400.

This 109-lap race around the 17-turn, 2.28-mile (3.669-kilometer) Concord, North Carolina road course is widely viewed as the ultimate “wild card” race of the playoffs, given the chaos it has produced since it was introduced to the schedule in 2018.

In fact, the favorite to win this Sunday’s race isn’t even a playoff driver.

That being said, it should surprise nobody who the favorite is: two-time Charlotte Roval winner Chase Elliott, the Hendrick Motorsports driver who missed this year’s playoffs largely because he missed more than a quarter of the regular season.

Interestingly, Elliott has yet to win a road course race in the Next Gen era, despite being third on the all-time road course wins list and tops among active drivers with seven.

But Chase Elliott isn’t nearly as strong of a favorite to win this particular NASCAR Cup Series road course race as he has been for past road course races.

FanDuel Sportsbook, which is offering fans an instant $200 just for betting $5 on any driver, lists him at +600 to win Sunday’s race.

Amid his four-race road course winning streak from 2019 to 2020, he was listed between +100 and +200 to win some races. Such was the case in 2021 as well, when he added two more road course victories after his streak was brought to an end in controversial fashion.

Both of Elliott’s Charlotte wins have come in come-from-behind fashion, with the 2019 victory even coming after an unforced error resulted in a single-car crash on a restart. His victory celebration included an iconic reenactment of the incident.

Despite Elliott not being a playoff driver, however, his No. 9 team is still alive in the owner playoffs, sitting in a third place tie in the owner standings with one race remaining in the round of 12.

The No. 9 team made the playoffs thanks to the fact that the points Elliott’s replacements scored during his seven missed starts counted toward its regular season point total.

So with Elliott having gotten the team from the round of 16 to the round of 12, he is still competing for more than just personal statistics — potentially even an owner championship.

Listed just behind Elliott is teammate William Byron, the winner of the most recent road course race at Watkins Glen.

With odds and availability subject to change, lock in your $200 now before it’s too late!

Next. All-time NASCAR Cup Series wins list. dark

The Bank of America Roval 400 is set to be broadcast live on NBC from the Charlotte Motor Speedway Roval beginning at 2:00 p.m. ET this Sunday, October 8. Begin a free trial of FuboTV today and don’t miss it!