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NASCAR Cup: Charlotte Motor Speedway ‘roval’ tested

Photo courtesy of Getty Images for NASCAR

Photo courtesy of Getty Images for NASCAR

By AMANDA VINCENT

A handful of Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series drivers, including Martin Truex Jr. and Kurt Busch, tested the infield “roval” at Charlotte Motor Speedway in Concord, N.C., on Tuesday and Wednesday in preparation for the first race on the course during the 2018 playoffs.

“It’s been interesting. It’s been growing on me a bit since we started yesterday. The Watkins Glen tire that we started on was probably too hard for here,” Truex said Wednesday. “Today has gone a lot smoother. It’s definitely an interesting track and were still trying to figure it out. It’s not your usual road course.”

While the test started on tires normally raced on the road course of Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International, a switch was made to a softer tire compound later in the test. An exact compound for the actual first race on the course next year has yet to be determined.

Other unknowns include an exact racing distance and passing zones. Previously, NASCAR announced that the race would have a distance of 500 km, but if the speeds from the test are any indication, a 500 km caution-free race on the course would take over four hours to run.

When asked about passing, Busch said he didn’t know where that would occur.

“I can’t tell you that,” Busch said, according to Auto Week. “It’s hard to say. I know there’s a lot of places we can crash. I’m not sure about the passing yet.”

Busch is hoping for changes to the course to decrease areas of slow speeds. According to him, there are too many turns in the infield, making for slow speeds in too many areas.

“There are a lot of slow sections in turn five, turn six and turn seven, which those are good rhythmic corners, but they make turn eight really awkward and that leads you into a tight turn nine, which then leads you into oval turn one,” Busch said. “So maybe there’s a chance we can talk them into reconfiguring to go straight from turn seven, skip eight and go to turn nine. That way, we could have one less slow section that would help the flow of the track and help the exit of infield section onto the oval section. That would create more speed feel and eliminate the slow feeling. Frankly, a 3,500-pound car going 35 mph that many times isn’t that exciting.”

The current layout has 18 turns and uses most of the oval track, including all four banked turns.

The first race on the “roval” is scheduled for Sept. 30, making it the elimination race of the first round of the playoffs.

“It’s a whole different type of layout,” Busch said. “The oval, road course, the infield section, all of it has a nice, unique feel to it. It’s a cutoff race in the playoffs, so teams had better get their arms wrapped around it and their heads focused on it because it’s going to be one of the most important races of the year.”

Follow Auto Racing Daily on Twitter @AutoRacingDaily or like Auto Racing Daily on Facebook (facebook.com/autorcngdaily). Amanda’s also on Twitter @NASCARexaminer and has a fan/like page on Facebook (facebook.com/nascarexaminer)

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Posted by on October 19, 2017. Filed under Breaking News,Featured,NASCAR. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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