The fall race at Charlotte Motor Speedway will be unlike anything else that NASCAR fans have ever seen.
Track officials revealed earlier this month it’s created a new Roval course, which essentially is a mix of the traditional oval track and an infield road course. In its current configuration, the track is 2.42-miles long and features 18 turns. In addition, CMS made it known during Wednesday’s media session that next year’s Bank of America 500 will be 500 kilometers in length, meaning that drivers will navigate around the track 130 times, according to NBC Sports.
However, NASCAR quickly released a statement declaring the official distance for next year’s event has yet to be finalized.
“This week’s test provided valuable data that will be part of the equation in determining the distance for next fall’s race. We will continue working closely with our partners to develop the best event for fans and competitors alike.”
The tests referred to in the statement were conducted this week by Martin Truex Jr., Paul Menard, Jamie McMurray, and former Cup Series champ Kurt Busch. These drivers represented all three makes currently involved in NASCAR as McMurray and Paul Menard both pilot Chevrolets, while Busch drives a Ford and Truex Jr. races a Toyota.
It almost goes without saying these drivers had some interesting comments regarding the new Roval.
“There’s a lot of exciting parts of the track,” said Truex Jr. “It’s very narrow. It’s very rough. There’s a lot of swells and whoop-de-doos and craziness going on. It’s a little intimidating. There’s a lot of spots that made me nervous yesterday. I’m getting used to them now. But we need to look at walls and tire barriers, stuff like that.”
In contrast, Busch’s comments focused on the tracks’ structure and how slowly the cars needed to go in order to navigate the chicanes featured on the track.
“Frankly, a 3,500-pound car going 35 mph that many times isn’t that exciting,” said Busch.
Cup Series drivers will get the chance to compete at the Roval during the NASCAR playoffs in 2018. It’s scheduled to be the first playoff elimination race next year.
That could be a scary thought for some teams since the track’s final configuration and distance have yet to be officially determined.