Charlotte Motor Speedway updates road course

By Caleb Whisler, Staff Writer

Charlotte Motor Speedway has announced updates to the road course slated to be run in October during the Bank of America 500 weekend, the first elimination race of the 2018 Playoffs.

This will be the final change to the road course before the event. CMS eliminated two of the last three infield turns before drivers head back onto the banking. The elimination of the two turns will bring the length of the course down to 2.28-miles. Teams will continue to experience 35 feet in elevation change from road course turn four and road course turn nine.

The addition of a backstretch chicane, which had been discussed since 2017, will be located towards the entrance of turn three of the oval. This position of this chicane was determined by a Goodyear tire test back in October 2017.

After listening to the feedback of drivers during the test, Marcus Smith, president and chief executive officer of Speedway Motorsports Inc., and his team decided to make the changes to the facility. According to Smith, the changes will eliminate an additional 15 to 20 seconds from a lap time.

“With these updates, the Roval is sure to provide the best show for the fans and the most challenging road course race for drivers,” said Smith. “We’ve obtained great feedback over the past year from champion drivers including Mario Andretti and Jeff Gordon, and with their help and a collaborative effort with NASCAR, Charlotte Motor Speedway is proud to showcase this brand-new course on the NASCAR schedule. Fans are going to see a thrill show unlike any other when September rolls around and racing comes to the Roval.”

The track will also be adding 400 temporary rumble strips to the course.

During the announcement at Charlotte Motor Speedway, the word “wild-card” kept coming up. With this race possibly becoming the “wild-card”, Steve O’Donnell, executive vice president and chief racing development officer, explained why the course was not introduced in 2017.

“I think that is why we put proper testing in place. There was a thought to even roll this into last year and we all collectively took a pause and said, ‘let’s do this and make sure we are right.’ Get Goodyear involved as much as we could and have them have some contingency plans; same with the race teams. Let them go out and experience the course a little bit. I think we feel really comfortable at what it is. It shouldn’t really be a surprise to anybody. We will have proper testing and being ready to go.”

NASCAR and CMS will make a call on race length after the March test. If the race gets pushed back due to unforeseen circumstances, NASCAR believes that the event could be run under the lights and Goodyear will be bringing rain tires.

Click the link below to watch a video of Christopher Bell showcasing the road course in a Toyota Camry XSE

Click for link to video and take a lap around The Roval

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