5 things you should know about NASCAR’s road race

The Charlotte Observer (Sunday) - - Sports - BY DAVID SCOTT dscott@char­lot­teob­server.com David Scott: @david­scott14

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.”

As­so­ci­ated Press

Chase El­liott hits the wall in Turn 1 on a restart while lead­ing the 2019 Roval 400 at Char­lotte Motor Speedway.

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