THE LEFT TURN

NASCAR Bank Of America 500 preview

Martin Truex does well on road courses. Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

This Sunday, the NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series heads home to Charlotte for the Bank Of America 500. This race is a first for NASCAR as they have now configured Charlotte Motor Speedway into a “roval.” As most know, this is the first time in the sports history that they will a combined oval/road course.

This new layout features 17 turns including two chicanes in both the back stretch and at the exit of turn four. The decision to turn the track into a temporary road course was announced last year after many fans requested that the playoffs feature a road course of some sorts. With every change comes new challenges and concerns and  the major concern going into this race are the two chicanes as both are placed in an area where cars would be entering at a high rate of speed, and if not careful this may be a big factor come race time.

Aside from the layout change, the other major story of this race is that it is also the final race of the round of 16. For Clint Bowyer, Jimmie Johnson, Erik Jones and Denny Hamlin, this is the last chance for them to move into the top 12. Of the four mentioned, Clint Bowyer would have the easiest road to get in seeing how he is only four points behind and has more playoff points than the three drivers behind him, so he should be the favorite to survive to the next round. Either way these four drivers should be the ones to watch come sunday.

With the season nearing its twilight, most of the offseason moves and rule changes  are beginning to round into form. Last week, Ryan Newman announced that he would move to Roush next season. One of the main factors into the switch was his engineering expertise he obtained from the University of Notre Dame and with Ford switching to the Mustang next year, car owner Jack Roush thinks that Ryan can really help improve their team's performance.

Another big topic of discussion was the proposed rules package regarding the cars. Earlier this year, NASCAR announced that it would tweak the spoiler on the back of the car and add a “restrictor plate” to curtail the cars from getting too far ahead, the test race was highly acclaimed and many fans stated that they wanted to see this package used in other circumstances. It would appear now there is a change of heart amongst NASCAR’s fan base as many have now threatened to “never watch the sport again” if they go through with the changes.

Me personally, I can see why NASCAR is making this move. If you have read any of my articles, I have been highly critical of the ignorance and arrogance of the leaders that run NASCAR but I think with these rules they truly believe this will make racing better. To some extent, it will. We will see cars closer together and there will be more opportunities for smaller or midpack teams like JTG-Daughtery or Richard Petty Motorsports to be in contention. Only time will tell what will become of these moves, but if we see the kind of racing we saw this year in the all-star race next season at tracks like Indianapolis, I assure you the sport will do OK.

Going into this week, making a prediction as to who will win is extremely difficult because this is the first time they have ever raced on this type of track. If I had to pick a favorite though, it would have to be Martin Truex Jr. Earlier in the season, Truex went on to win at Sonoma. one of the other three road courses on the schedule. Not only was he fast there but he also finished second at Watkins Glen as well. He has been excellent on road courses and this Sunday should be no different

The sleeper going into this week would be NASCAR’s road course specialist AJ Allmendinger. It has been no secret that 2018 has been a season to forget for Allmendinger, as he currently sits 24th in points and has only one top five, but this week he should be one of the drivers to watch. Besides Allmendinger took the first laps around this new track layout when it was announced last year. Last week, JTG Daugherty racing announced that Allmendinger would not be retained for the 2019 season leaving him without a ride, And I can’t think of a better way for Allmendinger to prove himself by going out and running well this Sunday. Look for him to be a major threat to run around the top 10 come Sunday.

(All stats and information used in this article is brought to you by the good folks at driveraverages.com and Racing-Refrence.com the best website for all NASCAR stats).

 

Story originally appeared on AutomotiveMap. For more great content check out the site here.

She worked hard to get them where they are today, often sacrificing hours of "me time" and wear and tear on the car making sure they got back and forth to practice. When professional athletes sign their big contract, their moms are often rewarded for their years of inconvenience with a new car. Other moms, like MLB player Josh Donaldson's, get a new vehicle as a congratulatory gift for a life event years after that first contract has been signed.

Here are some of the cars professional athletes have recently bought their moms.

Chase Winovich, DE, New England Patriots

Chase Winovich✔@WinoI can never repay you, but here's a start. I love you mom
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New England Patriots rookie defensive end and Michigan alum Chase Winovichpurchased his mother, Nina, a Mazda MX-5 Miata according to a November 20, 2019 tweet. The Jefferson Hills, Pennsylvania native signed his first NFL contact in June 2019. The four-year deal is worth $3.83 million.

Deandre Baker, CB, New York Giants

Deandre Baker surprised his mom with a Bentley Bentayga in Miami in 2019. The caption on his Instagram post featuring the moment reads, "I told Mama we straight. Remember we used to be in a Nissan. Watched her struggle and sacrifice to make sure I'm straight. Now it's my turn to take care [of] her." Baker signed a contract with the Giants that will pay him $10,525,716 over four years, including a $5,675,064 signing bonus.

Alex Bregman, 3B/SS, Houston Astros

Aaron Bregman MLB All-Star Game MVP Chevrolet Camaro

Photo courtesy of Chevrolet

Houston multi-position player Alex Bregman earned the Ted Williams Most Valuable Player Award during the 89th MLB All-Star Game at Nationals Park in 2018. With that came the winner's choices of a Chevrolet Camaro SS or a Colorado ZR2. Bregman chose the Camaro and gave it to his mother Jackie. In July it was announced that Bregman and the Astros had agreed to a six-year, $100 million contract extension.

Alize Johnson, PG, Indiana Pacers

Williamsport, Pennsylvania is the home of the Little League World Series and Alize Johnson, a point guard who was drafted by the Indiana Pacers in the 2018 NBA Draft. The 6-foot-9 player is guaranteed to make $1.4 million for the 2019-20 season. In 2018 he surprised his mother with a new Chevrolet Suburban, her self-described "dream car."

Norman Powell, SG, Toronto Raptors

Former UCLA Bruin Norman Powell was selected in the second round of the 2015 NBA Draft by the Milwaukee Bucks. He was instantly traded to the Toronto Raptors, where he has stayed ever since. In 2018, Powell signed a four-year, $41.9 million contract. He used some of that coin to buy his mom a 2020 Land Rover Range Rover this August at a San Diego dealership.

Mitchell Robinson, C, New York Knicks

The Knicks Wall@TheKnicksWallThe best thing you'll see all day:

Mitchell Robinson bought his mother a car ❤️

(Via @23savage____ IG)
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Mitchell Robinson, the 7-foot-1 center who famously withdrew from college to spend a year training for the NBA before he was drafted, dropped a few bucks on his mom this summer. He gifted his mom a white Chevrolet Impala. Last year Robinson signed a three-year, $4.71 million contract with the Knicks. There is a club option for the 2021-22 season that would get him an extra $1.8 million.

Johnathan Abram, S, Oakland Raiders

Mississippi State alum Johnathan Abram recently surprised his mom with a new Toyota Camry. Abram was the 27th overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft. He was chosen in a pick that was given up by the Dallas Cowboys as part of the Amari Cooper trade. Abram's contract is worth $11.45 million over four years.

Marquise Brown, WR, Baltimore Ravens

Hollywood Brown✔@Primetime_jetSince I was 7yrs old this the moment I been waiting for, bigger than any moment I ever been apart of.. Everything I do is for you momma I love you 💜💜 You wanted a house and a car and you got it , I got you Forever Ever !!!
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Marquise Brown took the gift giving even further, getting his mom a car and a Land Rover Range Rover. Brown, who is a first cousin of NFL free agent Antonio Brown, was selected 25th overall by the Baltimore Ravens in the first round of the 2019 NFL Draft. His contact is for four years and worth $11.787 million.

Deshaun Watson, Houston Texans

Deshaun Watson✔@deshaunwatsonHappy Birthday Mama! I love you & you deserve your first official car! Enjoy it! "Had to cop her the '17 Jag" 💯🤘🏾
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In 1997 Deshaun Watson bought his mom a car '17 Jaguar F-Pace for her birthday. The Gainesville, Georgia native played quarterback at Clemson before being drafted by the Texans 12th overall in the 2017 NFL Draft. His first contract was a four-year, $13.84 million deal.

Anthony Duclair, F, Chicago Blackhawks

Duclair took a moment from leading his line down the ice to lead his mom into a Mercedes-Benz dealership in Laval, Quebec where he surprised her with a new black Mercedes-Benz C300 sedan. Duclair currently plays for the Ottawa Senators and will earn $1,650,000 this season.

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