5 things you should know about NASCAR’s road race
The Bank of America Roval 400 is a relatively new addition to NASCAR’s Cup circuit, with Sunday’s race being the third time Charlotte Motor Speedway’s unique “roval” (combing “road” and “oval”) course will be featured. The 2.32-mile course is comprised of 17 turns, and combines the speedway’s infield road course with portions of the track’s oval.
Here’ are five things to know about Sunday’s 109-lap race (2:30 p.m., NBC).
1. WHO HAS WON THE ROVAL?
Ryan Blaney won the inaugural Roval race in 2018, with Chase Elliott winning last season.
2. ONE OF NASCAR’S MOST UNIQUE TRACKS
The Roval is part of NASCAR’s pivot to more road-course racing. In addition to Charlotte, Sonoma and Watkins Glen, next season’s schedule includes three additional road-course races at Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas; Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wis.; and Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s road course.
3. THESE NASCAR DRIVERS ARE BEST AT ROAD COURSES
Nine drivers have won on NASCAR road courses, led by Elliott, Kyle Busch and Martin Truex Jr. with four each. Kevin Harvick has won twice on road courses, with Clint Bowyer, Jimmie Johnson, Joey Logano, Kurt Busch and Blaney all having won once.
4. CHANGES TO THE ROVAL
Charlotte Motor Speedway made changes for the 2019 Roval race — widening the backstretch chicane from 32 to 54 feet at its widest point. That forced drivers into heavier braking and a sharper entry, but also allowed wider turns. What’s a chicane? It’s a tight, serpentine turn along a straight stretch of a race track.
5. HEARTBURN TURN
Another section of the course remains: the hard left angle of the first turn.
Race-winner Elliott learned the hard way about that corner in 2019 when he plowed into the foam barrier head on to start the third and final stage.
“I was just thinking, ‘You idiot, what did you just do?’ “Elliott said after the race. “It was a stupid mistake; I’m not sure you can do anything that’s more stupid. If there’s ever a notebook of things not to do, that would be No. 1 in that book.”
Chase Elliott hits the wall in Turn 1 on a restart while leading the 2019 Roval 400 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.