NASCAR announces playoff twist for 2018
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — NASCAR is adding a road course race to the playoffs — and it’s going to be in Charlotte.
Charlotte Motor Speedway announced the 2018 Bank of America 500 will take place on its new ROVAL — a 2.4-mile, 13-turn course combining most of the outside track with a road course in the infield. It’s the first road course Cup series race in the history of the Speedway and the first road course to be featured in the Cup series playoffs since they began in 2003.
The Cup series hadn’t introduced a new track since 2011, when Kentucky Speedway joined the circuit. But with NASCAR looking to add a road course to its playoff series, it was hardly a secret that Charlotte Motor Speedway would unveil its new road course before long.
In January, A.J. Allmendinger — whose only Cup victory came at a road course in 2014 — tested a stock car on the ROVAL. Since then, decorated driver Mario Andretti and recent retirees Jeff Gordon and Jeff Burton took their turns on the course. “The track has definitely got potential ...” Allmendinger said. “It’s a perfect mix for a race team to set up, whether you go for a full oval setup or somewhat of a road course setup.”
The first race on the ROVAL course is scheduled for Sept. 30, 2018, and conclude Round 1 of the Cup series playoffs.
Five other things to know about the 2018 Cup series schedule:
The regular season will end at Indianapolis, with the Brickyard 400 moving from its traditional late-July slot to Sept. 9.
The playoffs begin at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, a new entrant on the post-season roster, on Sept. 16.
Richmond, which had hosted the final regular-season race, moves into the playoffs with a Sept. 22, Saturday night race.
Chicagoland falls out of the playoffs (in favour of that Las Vegas date), and the race there will be run on July 1.
Dover gets a May 6 date in 2018, earlier than the traditional postCharlotte June date.