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The new NASCAR ‘roval’ layout at Charlotte Motor Speedway has been altered with changes expected to make lap times 10-15 seconds quicker.
The infield course will become the third non-oval on the NASCAR Cup schedule this year, and the first to hold a date within the championship-deciding playoff section of the calendar.
Changes had been mooted following a tyre test at the track last October, and a revised layout was announced by NASCAR and Charlotte on Monday.
The elimination of the final loop and hairpin on the infield (now Turns 7-8) will shorten the track from 2.42 miles to 2.28.
Marcus Smith, president and CEO of track owner Speedway Motorsports Inc, said the changes were “sure to provide the best show for the fans and the most challenging road course race for drivers”.
NASCAR’s executive vice president and chief racing development officer Steve O’Donnell said the exact race length was still to be determined.
But Charlotte’s initial plan for 312 miles/500km would make it a 137-lap race and the longest of the road course events on the schedule.
Reigning Cup champion Martin Truex Jr admitted that drivers were “a bit nervous” about the track and expecting incidents.
“We don’t like wildcard races, so to speak, but definitely it’s neat and interesting,” Truex said.
“I got the chance to do the test here and it was completely different from any racetrack I had ever been on.
“I’m definitely not sure how it’s going to go. I hope Marcus gets the show he’s looking for and I’m not the guy who’s mad after the race.”
O’Donnell said NASCAR welcomed the potential for the race to be controversial.
“One of the things our fans have always asked for was a road course in the playoffs,” he said.
“I applaud Marcus for listening to that and coming up with something that was unique in that you can see the entire course.
“You’re going to have somebody that is incredibly excited who wins the race and we’ll have controversy, which is what our fans like.”