Playoff Race #4: Bank Of America 500 | Bonehead Picks

Playoff Race #4: Bank Of America 500 (Charlotte)

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If you enjoy oval racing at Charlotte Motor Speedway at the beginning of October in the playoffs, you better enjoy it regardless as they will revert to the Roval next season becoming a oval/road course. But in any case, the Bank Of America 500 will start off the Round of 12 as the second mile and and half track in the postseason. Mile and a halves are favorites for some drivers and very common, which is usually more open to different winners most of the time. So it is possible to have a new winner whether they’re in the playoffs or not.

Kyle Larson was fastest in the only practice run on Friday as the entire Saturday schedule was washed out with the exception of the Drive For The Cure 300 in the Xfinity Series which was still to be run. Denny Hamlin won the pole which is his first of the season, and on top of that he finished fifth in the Coca-Cola 600 after leading 10 laps. It is the second Charlotte pole of his career as he searches for his first win at the track. Hamlin has finished in the top five in three of the last four Charlotte races leading a combined 62 laps.

Larson starts tenth as he looks to rebound from a crash that landed him in 33rd earlier in the year, but has run extremely well at other mile and a halves finishing second at four of them (Atlanta, Las Vegas, Texas and Kentucky), so he could be the first winner in the Round of 12. As a matter of fact, Larson has finished in the top ten at all mile and a halves except Charlotte.

Jimmie Johnson (25th) has the most wins at Charlotte with eigth, including winning last year’s event leading 155 laps en route to his seventh championship. Johnson finished seventeenth in the last race leading 35 laps, but the only success he has had on mile and a halves was a win at Texas and an eighth place finish at Chicagoland to start the playoffs.

Kevin Harvick (third) finished eighth and led 45 laps and has won three times. Since his Fall win in 2014, Harvick has finished runner-up two consecutive times including top tens in four of the last five. His best finish so far this season on mile and a half tracks is third at Kansas and Chicagoland, and starting off in the Round of 12 is the only Stewart-Haas driver left.

Matt Kenseth (second) and Jamie McMurray (18th) are both two time Charlotte winners, but have yet to score a win at all this season. Kenseth finished fourth and since his 2011 Fall win has seven top tens in the last 11 races, five of those in the top five. McMurray on the other hand hasn’t had much luck since his 2010 Fall win, just three top tens in the last 14 Charlotte races overall. He finished 12th in this year’s Coca-Cola 600.

Out of the six single time winners at Charlotte, there are only two previous in the playoffs. Martin Truex Jr (17th)won the 2016 Coca-Cola and finished third the following race. In the last five Charlotte races, Truex has four top fives in the last five including his win and led a combined 756 laps during that stretch. Brad Keselowski (sixth) won the 2013 event and has since rounded out top tens in five of the last seven. Keselowski crashed out of this year’s Coca-Cola 600 (39th).

Non-playoff winners: There are four drivers who each have a Charlotte win, and two wish now that they weren’t eliminated. Austin Dillon (13th) won his first career race here at Charlotte this season, but the only problem is that this was his only top ten at mile and a half tracks. Kurt Busch (eighth) finished in the top ten in the last five races and led 118 laps in the 2015 Coca-Cola 600. Kurt’s only win was with Team Penske in the 2010 Spring event where he led 252 laps.

Joey Logano (28th) won this same event two years ago leading 227 laps, but has had only one top ten since leading only four laps. Clint Bowyer (fifth) won in 2012 and had and eighth place finish in the 2013 600, but overall has finished 11th or worst in the last eight races.

The only non-playoff multi-time winner is Kasey Kahne (ninth) who has won four times, but since his 2012 Spring win has only five top tens in the last ten races.

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