For years NASCAR fans have been asking for one thing – a new road course race in the playoffs. Well, after years of asking, the fans have finally gotten it. Next year’s race at Charlotte Motor Speedway will be run on the infield road course, or roval.
It’s not a traditional road course, and it might not be totally ideal, but it’s a good start towards something that is long overdue. NASCAR has only run two road course races each year in the premier series since 1989 at Sonoma Raceway in California and Watkins Glen International in New York.
While fans have been requesting a road course in the playoffs since, well, basically since the playoffs began in 2004, they’ve been asking for a new road course to be added to the schedule for even longer. NASCAR resisted for a long time, but the resistance has finally come to an end.
The 2.45-mile road course will make its debut as the third race in next year’s edition of the playoffs. The race, deemed the Bank of America 500k, will be 130 laps long. The track is a 13-turn circuit with elevation changes, and runs on the banking in the traditional oval turns.
In January, A.J. Allmendinger tested his JTG Daugherty Racing Chevrolet on the roval and said “the track has definitely got potential.”
While most fans would like to see a traditional road course like Road America or Canadian Tire Motorsport Park added to the schedule, the addition of the Charlotte road course is welcomed. With NASCAR’s contracts stating that all tracks have their dates set in stone until at least 2021, the addition of a new track to the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series would have to mean a 37th race being added to the schedule. The chances of that happening are slim to none, so the Charlotte road course will have to do for the time being.
In the past, fans have criticized NASCAR for not listening to the fans enough. NASCAR tries to take its fans advice, and while they may not do it as much as they maybe should, the long awaited addition of a road course in the playoffs clearly means they take their fans’ ideas to heart.