For those who think NASCAR only turns left, here's a treat for this year's NASCAR Monster Energy Cup series: The Roval. A newly designed road course built inside the oval of Charlotte Motor Speedway. The name refers to the track layout that combines an infield road course and a portion of the speedway oval. A first for NASCAR, it offers a unique race layout with aggressive Super Speedway banking, elevation changes, and the chance for fans to see it all from the elevated grandstands.
Charlotte Motor Speedway just altered the track's layout after Goodyear tire testing and NASCAR driver feedback. The final layout may not be what we see on race day, though. The track is used for a variety of events throughout the year, so the track developers designed a new steel rumble strip in order to quickly configure the track to the Roval layout. These temporary strips are also used to alter the course layout when necessary.
The track CEO and several drivers laughed about what they expect to be exciting and aggressive racing. "We're going to have some controversy, which our fans like," said Marcus Smith, the President and CEO of Speedway Motorsports, Inc. We had the special opportunity to do a ride along on the track in a 2018 Toyota Camry XSE, after talking with drivers and track owners.
"I think everybody is excited except the drivers. We're a little nervous," said last year's champion Martin Truex Jr. "I was really surprised at how difficult it was, and how quickly the tires fell off. It's definitely unique, interesting, and different from what we've done before."
First race, Bank of America 500 Sept. 28-30, 2018
The Roval will host the first road course races in the history of NASCAR's Playoffs
Do you think fans and drivers will embrace this change, and do you think we will see more road-race courses in NASCAR? Let us know what you think.