NASCAR an­nounces play­off twist for 2018

The Hamilton Spectator - - SPORTS - C JACK­SON COWART

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.

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