Modified Charlotte Roval

NASCAR News: Charlotte Roval to get a new look

The Charlotte Motor Speedway road course Roval will have a new layout when the NASCAR Cup Series returns for its playoff race in October, the track announced Sunday.

The track’s configuration will feature an elongated straightaway between Turns 5 and 6, setting up a harder braking zone into a sharper right and setting up a hairpin Turn 7 to lead back onto the oval’s banking.

Additionally, the frontstretch chicane just past pit road will see a reconfiguration. Turn 16 will swing farther left toward pit road, setting up a 90-degree right turn, leading to a 90-degree left back to the front straightaway at Turn 17 and back to the start/finish line.

Marcus Smith, CEO of track-owning company Speedway Motorsports, said the genesis of these changes stemmed from drivers’ adaptations to the current course, noting increased opportunity for passing in higher braking zones.

“We were losing braking zones with the style and the way that the drivers figured out how to ascertain the ‘Roval’ layout,” Smith said. “So we pushed out the apex of the frontstretch chicane, Turn 16. And then by extending and skipping that amazing blind right-hander that you come up the hill in the infield on Turn 5, we’re skipping that straight into another right-hander. It’s going to bring you into a hairpin turn and will take you back out on NASCAR Turn 1. So two really distinct braking zones that are going to really help some for the competition, for the overtaking opportunity.”

Steve Swift, the senior vice president of operations and development at Speedway Motorsports, noted the company is working with iRacing on reconstructing the track’s infield to accommodate the incoming changes that will begin to take shape following Sunday’s Coca-Cola 600.

“Once the 600’s finished up, we’ll tear into the dirt and start moving some things around to get this in place by this fall for this (October) race,” Swift said. “We’ve got to make sure geometry (is accurate). And we’ve met with some of the drivers to talk through some of the little nuances to make sure we’re putting in the things in from a safety perspective and a competition perspective for sure.

“We’ve worked out all those kinks and got the actual design drawings and we’re ready to go to work as soon as the 600 rolls out.”

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