ThatsRacin

NASCAR Bank of America 500 preview in 3 minutes

Everything you need to know about Saturday’s race at Charlotte Motor Speedway in three minutes:

Three things to watch

1. The second round of the Chase begins. Somebody – Kevin Harvick? Matt Kenseth? – will jump out to set the early tone.

2. Weather could be a factor Saturday. The forecast calls for a chance of showers for much of the day, although they might be cleared out by race time.

3. There will be more clarity for fans on whether drivers are jumping restarts, thanks to the speedway painting lines on the track to show where the restart zone begins and ends. The track’s inside and outside walls are now all covered by SAFER or tire barriers, as well.

Observations

▪ Winning at Charlotte and/or Kansas (the first two races of the Chase’s three-race second round) is important. Drivers don’t want to have to rely on a victory or high finish at always unpredictable Talladega in two weeks in order to advance to the third round.

▪ Joe Gibbs Racing still has its four drivers – Kenseth, Kyle Busch, Denny Hamlin and Carl Edwards – in the Chase, and they all will start in the top eight Saturday. It feels like a one team vs. one driver (Stewart-Haas Racing’s Harvick) contest, not only for a Charlotte victory, but for the championship.

▪ Sure, Jimmie Johnson has been eliminated from the Chase, but he has seven victories at Charlotte and would probably enjoy stealing a victory from a Chase driver.

Best bets

Three picks for your fantasy team:

Kevin Harvick: Has had the fastest car for much of the season, but certainly doesn’t want to dig himself another hole like he did in the first round.

Matt Kenseth: Pole winner has two victories at Charlotte and has been consistently strong (five wins) this season.

Kyle Busch: He’s going to win at Charlotte sometime (0-for-23).

He said it

“That win was a gift.” – Carl Edwards, on winning May’s Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte, thanks to a shrewd fuel calculation by crew chief Darian Grubb.

N@SCAR

Getting there

Race facts

Bank of America 500

Where: Charlotte Motor Speedway, Concord.

Track type: 1.5 mile tri-oval.

Race distance: 500 miles, or 334 laps.

Green flag: 7:21 p.m.

Weather: High of 59; 40 percent chance of showers.

TV: NBC.

Radio: Performance Racing Network.

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