CMS Roval Gets First NASCAR Test

Kurt Busch in the No. 14 car

(CONCORD, NC – OCT 18, 2017 – RIS) 'Under wraps' almost described the two days of testing for Goodyear to start the process of determining which tires will be used at next September 30's Bank of America 500. Point leader Martin Truex Jr was joined on the new "Roval" course by Kurt Busch, Jamie McMurray and Xfinity regular Daniel Hemric in a tire test this week. The test was both to help Goodyear decide what tires to provide for the Sept. 30, 2018 race over an 18-turn, 2.42 mile Roval featuring 35 feet of elevation change and a newly installed front straight chicane lined by artificial turf. The media attending a session were not allowed in the garage or on pit road and photo locations were controlled. In spite of this, we got to see a lot of the track's new layout.

The first road course race in NASCAR's Playoffs brings the NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series racers to a  new track layout and new challenges for drivers and crew. “It’s interesting,” said Truex, Bank of America 500 winner. “It’s been growing on me a bit since we started. The Watkins Glen tires we started on were way too hard for here. It was a bit of a challenge getting started but we picked up 10 seconds throughout (Tuesday). It’s not your typical road course. It’s been a unique challenge with the infield being flat and the race track having the banking it has (24 degrees).”

Top speeds approached 175 miles per hour around the Roval, which features more turns than any track in the NASCAR season.

“It’s a whole different type of layout,” Busch said. “The oval, road course, the infield section, all of it has a nice, unique feel to it. It’s a cutoff race in the playoffs, so teams had better get their arms wrapped around it and their heads focused on it because it’s going to be one of the most important races of the year.”

Local driver Hemric used the test to drive a Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series car for the first time in his career. “I think we’ve made a lot of progress on what we’re going to see next fall,” he said. “For me personally, it’s about learning the race car. It’s been fun to figure out how to get that laid down here on the Roval. The layout of this is interesting but there are spots that you feel like you’re on a purpose-built road course. It’s got so many different elements so I’m curious to see how it races compared to the other road course races I’ve run.”

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John Davison

Long-time RIS staffer, beginning in the mid-80s. Charlotte, NC area local contact.

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Volume 2017, Issue 10, Posted 5:45 PM, 10.18.2017