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NASCAR: Playoffs’ Round of 12 Elimination Race at Charlotte Road Course is a Wildcard

The intense NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs Round of 12 comes down to this weekend at the Charlotte Motor Speedway Road Course for the Bank of America ROVAL 400 elimination race at 2 p.m. ET this Sunday on NBC, PRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio (Channel 90).

The 12-driver Playoff field will be cut to eight as four driver’s title hopes will come to an end this weekend. Ever since the Charlotte Motor Speedway Road Course has joined the NASCAR Cup Series postseason in 2018, it has proven to be a wildcard event with twists and turns that challenge the competitors along its multi-elevational 2.32-miles.

Construction began on Charlotte Motor Speedway (CMS) in 1959 and the track’s first NASCAR Cup Series race was held on June 19, 1960 – won by Joe Lee Johnson in a Chevrolet.

But it wasn’t until 2017, the track underwent renovations to add what is now known as the Charlotte Motor Speedway Road Course (ROVAL) a 2.32-mile, 17-turn, multi-elevational road course.

The Charlotte Motor Speedway Road Course has hosted a total of three NASCAR Cup Series Playoff races, occupying two spots on the postseason schedule – from 2018-2019 Charlotte RC hosted the third race in the Playoffs and in 2020 the sixth race. The 2021 season marks just second-time the track has hosted the sixth race in the postseason.

The Charlotte Motor Speedway Road Course is the fourth different track to host the sixth race of the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs (2004-Present); joining Martinsville Speedway (2004-2010), Talladega Superspeedway (2011, 2013-2016) and Kansas Speedway (2012, 2017-2019).

From 2018-2019, the Charlotte Motor Speedway Road Course hosted the third race in the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs – Ryan Blaney won the event in 2018 and Chase Elliott won in 2019.

A total of 10 different drivers have won the sixth race in the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs, led by Jimmie Johnson with four victories – all at Martinsville Speedway (2004, 2006, 2007, 2008). Denny Hamlin leads all active drivers with three victories (2009, 2010 at Martinsville and 2019 at Kansas) in the sixth race of the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs. Chase Elliott leads all active drivers in Charlotte ROVAL wins with two (2019, 2020).

Five-times the winner of the sixth race in the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs has gone on to win the title later that season; once at Kansas Speedway, three-times at Martinsville Speedway and once at the Charlotte ROVAL:

In 2006, Jimmie Johnson won at Martinsville, then the sixth race in the Playoffs, and went on to win his first NASCAR Cup Series title later that season.

In 2007, Jimmie Johnson won at Martinsville, then the sixth race in the Playoffs, and went on to win his second consecutive NASCAR Cup Series title later that season.

In 2008, Jimmie Johnson won at Martinsville, then the sixth race in the Playoffs, and went on to win his third consecutive NASCAR Cup Series title later that season.

In 2017, Martin Truex Jr. won at Kansas, then the sixth race in the Playoffs, and went on to win his first NASCAR Cup Series title later that season.

In 2020, Chase Elliott won at the Charlotte Road Course, then the sixth race in the Playoffs, and went on to win his first NASCAR Cup Series title later that season. It was the first of his three wins during the 2021 postseason.

The worst finish by a driver in the sixth Playoff race that went on to win the series title was:

At Kansas Speedway (2012, 2017-2019) – Brad Keselowski in 2012 and Joey Logano in 2018 each finished eighth in the sixth race of the Playoffs at Kansas Speedway and then went on to win the title later those same seasons.

At Talladega Superspeedway (2011, 2013-2016) – Jimmie Johnson in 2016 finished 23rd in the sixth race of the Playoffs at Talladega Superspeedway and went on to win the title later that season.

At Martinsville Speedway (2004-2010) – Jimmie Johnson in 2010 and Kurt Busch in 2004 each finished fifth in the sixth race of the Playoffs at Martinsville Speedway and then went on to win the title later that same season.

When the Charlotte Motor Speedway Road Course hosted the third race in the Playoffs (2018-2019) the winner in 2019, Chase Elliott, finished the season 10th in the final championship standings and the 2018 ROVAL winner, Ryan Blaney, finished the season 10th in the final standings as well.

Three non-Playoff drivers have won the sixth race in the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs:

Jeff Gordon (2005) won the Playoff race at Martinsville Speedway he was ranked 15th in the series standings at the time of the win.

Clint Bowyer (2011) won the Playoff race at Talladega Superspeedway he was ranked 13th in the series standings at the time of the win.

Jamie McMurray (2013) won the Playoff race at Talladega Superspeedway he was ranked 14th in the series standings at the time of the win.

This weekend’s NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs elimination race at the Charlotte Motor Speedway Road Course will be 109 laps (252.88 miles) and will be broken up into three stages. The first to stages will be 25 laps each and the final stage is scheduled for 59 laps. This weekend’s starting lineup was determined by Metric Qualifying and as a result Joe Gibbs Racing’s Denny Hamlin will start from the pole and Team Penske’s Brad Keselowski will join him on the front row.

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