NASCAR: 5 drivers most likely to be eliminated at Charlotte

Charlotte Motor Speedway Roval, NASCAR playoffs - Mandatory Credit: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports
Charlotte Motor Speedway Roval, NASCAR playoffs - Mandatory Credit: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports /

Four drivers will be eliminated from NASCAR Cup Series championship contention this weekend at the Charlotte Motor Speedway Roval. Who are the most likely victims?

The round of 12 of the 2023 NASCAR Cup Series playoffs is set to come to an end this Sunday afternoon with the Bank of America Roval 400 at the Charlotte Motor Speedway Roval, a race that many view as the ultimate “wild card” race of the playoffs — even ahead of last Sunday afternoon’s Talladega Superspeedway race.

Two drivers have already locked themselves into the round of 8 by winning, with Hendrick Motorsports’ William Byron doing so at Texas Motor Speedway and Team Penske’s Ryan Blaney doing so at Talladega.

That leaves 10 drivers to battle for six spots in Sunday afternoon’s 109-lap race around the 17-turn, 2.28-mile (3.669-kilometer) Concord, North Carolina road course.

Which drivers are most likely to see their championship hopes end when the checkered flag flies this weekend?

FanDuel Sportsbook is offering fans an instant $200 just for betting $5 on any of these five drivers, even if they don’t win on Sunday.

While only four will ultimately drop out, here are five possibilities.

NASCAR drivers most likely to be eliminated: No. 1 – Bubba Wallace

No playoff driver has longer odds to win Sunday’s race than 23XI Racing’s Bubba Wallace, who has historically struggled in road course races. He did place seventh in this race last year, but given the fact that he is set to start the race nine points below the cut line, he’ll probably need better than that to have a chance to parlay his first playoff appearance into a round of 8 berth.

NASCAR drivers most likely to be eliminated: No. 2 – Ross Chastain

Trackhouse Racing Team’s Ross Chastain does have one road course win to his name, but he has never finished higher than 22nd place in four starts at the Charlotte Roval. Set to start the race as the second lowest remaining driver in the standings following his crash at Talladega, it is going to take a special effort for Chastain to get back to the round of 8 for the second straight year.

NASCAR drivers most likely to be eliminated: No. 3 – Kyle Busch

While not mathematically in a must-win situation, Richard Childress Racing’s Kyle Busch is the only driver who is probably going to have to win to advance, to the point where we can probably assume he won’t be going for stage points.

In his first season with the team, Busch has been much stronger in road course races this year than he was in recent years with Joe Gibbs Racing, having recorded two runner-up finishes, but he is still seeking his first win since 2015 — 31 starts ago.

NASCAR drivers most likely to be eliminated: No. 4 – Brad Keselowski

RFK Racing’s Brad Keselowski hasn’t finished higher than 10th place in any of the 16 most recent road course races, and his best finish of the 2023 season is 15th.

Currently occupying the eighth and final spot above the round of 8 cut line, he is in the danger zone, and his road course struggles make it that much more dangerous. He does, however, own one top five finish in five starts at the Charlotte Roval.

NASCAR drivers most likely to be eliminated: No. 5 – Kyle Larson

With only four drivers set to be eliminated, picking a fifth most likely elimination was tough, as obviously at least one of these five drivers is going to advance.

This is a close one between 23XI Racing’s Tyler Reddick and Hendrick Motorsports’ Kyle Larson, but we’re going to go with Larson due to Reddick having slightly better odds to be the outright winner of the event at +750.

Unlike Larson, Reddick actually starts the race as one of the four drivers below the round of 8 cut line, but he does own three career road course wins, including one this year at Circuit of the Americas.

As for Larson, he also has four career road course wins, all since 2021. But aside from his 2021 championship run, he has always seemed to have bad results at the worst possible time throughout his Cup Series playoffs career. With just one driver separating him from the cut line, this situation feels all too familiar.

For a driver of his caliber, the fact that he only has two career round of 8 appearances is crazy, and his road course results since last October have been lackluster at best.

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

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

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, so if you have not yet had the chance to begin a free trial of FuboTV, do so now!