Drivers cheating chicane prompt change to Charlotte Roval
NASCAR and Charlotte Motor Speedway were forced to alter the Roval course’s backstretch chicane to prevent drivers from cheating the course.
Early in the development of the Roval layout, which includes most of the 1.5-mile oval track at Charlotte and its infield road course, a chicane was placed on the backstretch entering what would be Turn 3 on the oval track.
The goal was to help control speeds entering Turns 3 and 4 on the oval as a permanent chicane awaits exiting Turn 4 of the oval.
During Tuesday’s test on the course by about half the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series teams, several drivers ran virtually straight through the chicane with little consequence, knocking off little of their speed entering Turn 3 of the track.
Their speeds were markedly higher than those who ran the intended racing groove through the chicane.
After a wreck by Darrell Wallace Jr., NASCAR gathered the drivers and crew chiefs to forge a solution, which was adding two additional rumble strips and a tire barrier to encourage drivers to use the course as it was planned.
No changes were made to the layout of the track or in its length, which remains 2.28 miles and 17 turns.
“The changes on the backstretch are just to keep everybody honest, keep everybody on the (racing) line that was defined,” said driver Ryan Newman. “It is what it is.
“I hope it doesn’t change for the sake of us having the same opportunity as the guys who (test) next week. It’s been a learning experience for me all day. I’m still behind the learning curve I guess you could say getting caught up to speed.”
Because of the time it took to alter the chicane, the lunch hour was canceled and the test extended to 6 p.m. ET.
“It’s about keeping people honest and not bypassing what is supposed to be racing groove, the racing line,” Newman said. “I don’t know if it’s on its final iteration but we’re making an attempt.”
In the hours after the change, Brad Keselowski appeared to test the limits of new chicane layout as he ran over the rumble strips with his left-side tires but the results were quite noticeable, as it sent his car bouncing into the air.
The NASCAR Xfinity Series will race on the Roval on Sept. 29 followed by the Cup series on Sept. 30.
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