"It's short-track racing in the infield" on the Charlotte Roval

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Jim Utter
By: Jim Utter
Jul 17, 2018, 7:13 PM

Joey Logano and A.J. Allmendinger agree the Charlotte Roval course will produce plenty of on-track action, which should make it a ‘must see’ event for NASCAR fans.

Martin Truex Jr., Furniture Row Racing
Paul Menard, Wood Brothers Racing, Ford Fusion
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Kasey Kahne, Leavine Family Racing, Chevrolet Camaro
Kurt Busch, Stewart-Haas Racing Ford
Kurt Busch, Stewart-Haas Racing Ford
Martin Truex Jr., Furniture Row Racing Toyota, Kurt Busch, Stewart-Haas Racing Ford

Logano and Allmendinger were two of more than a dozen drivers who took part in Tuesday’s test on the 2.28-mile course, which includes most of the 1.5-mile oval and an infield course with a 35-foot elevation change.

“Overall I think the race track is fun,” said Logano, during Tuesday’s lunch break. “It’s different than any other race track we go to, which I don’t think is a bad thing in any way.

“It’ll be an interesting race to see how it comes. There’s definitely some spots on the race track that are pretty treacherous and we’ll how we get through them two-wide on restarts and stuff like that. There’s not much run-off room in a lot of corners.”

By noon, three drivers had already had incidents on the course.

Ryan Blaney slammed in the tire barrier around Turns 3 and 4 of the infield course and his Team Penske team was forced to bring out a back-up car.

 

Alex Bowman also made contact with the tire barrier but only cosmetic damage was done to his No. 88 Chevrolet.

Erik Jones spun between Turns 3 and 4 but did not hit anything.

Shortly after the lunch break, William Byron appeared to lock up his brakes, missed the entrance to the infield and slammed into the tire barrier doing significant damage to his No. 24 Chevrolet. 

 

Logano, who owns one road course win in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series and two in the Xfinity Series, said the biggest challenge in the Sept. 30 Bank of America 400 will be to survive to the finish.

“Not crashing might be the biggest challenge. There’s going to be some areas where we wad some stuff up,” Logano said. “Being in the playoffs, it’s going to be quite the race.

“Honestly, the biggest challenge is probably going to be just getting through the race. You may see some fast cars get torn up. Finishing this thing is priority one. If you do that, you’ll probably have a pretty good shot at winning it.”

Allmendinger was one of the first drivers who got to test the Charlotte Roval back in January 2017 and there have been several modifications made to the track since then.

“It’s definitely different then the last time I was here. It took some time for me to get up to speed and getting into the flow of it,” he said. “After that, I think we started to make some progress.

“It’s definitely an interesting track – it’s unique, it has a lot of fast areas, it has some slow areas. Through the infield there, it reminds me of my Champ Car days running on a street course; it’s pretty tight back there.”

In fact, Allmendinger said, “There’s going to be a lot of contact. Through the infield, it’s fairly narrow. There’s going to be contact. It’s short track racing in the infield.

“There’s a uniqueness to it because we’re still running at high speeds on the oval. If you take off a fender, it’s going to be a big deal to your race car.”

Both drivers believe the Roval brings some new excitement to Cup series racing.

“It’s a different challenge for all of us drivers. To have something different, especially going into the playoffs, a different excitement level to the sport and series, it’s something else to talk about,” Allmendinger said.

“Whether the race is great or not, I guess we’re all going to have to tune in and be here to see it but I love the challenge of it, for sure.”

Said Logano: “The fact a fan can sit in the grandstand and see everything is the coolest part about this. You can sit there and watch road course racing without something going on out of your view is pretty neat.

“There’s going to be plenty of action, that’s for sure. And if you don’t, you got this really big TV back there (on the backstretch) where you can see a lot. I can see a lot on that while I’m driving.”

 

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