Charlotte Motor Speedway to adjust roval for NASCAR playoff

CONCORD, N.C. -- Charlotte Motor Speedway plans to reconfigure its 17-turn, 2.28-mile "roval" course in time for the Oct. 13 playoff race.

The move is designed to provide additional passing opportunities for drivers and force a competitive rethink of what it'll take for teams to conquer the roval, according to track officials.

The Bank of America Roval 400 is the final race before the playoff field is trimmed from 12 to eight drivers. The roval got its name from being a combination of a road and oval course.

Changes to the course include extending the straightaway coming out of Turn 5 and creating a new Turn 6, sending the field toward a much sharper hairpin in Turn 7. A sharper apex in Turn 16 of the final chicane will be created on the front stretch.

The circuit will still feature 17 turns and a length of approximately 2.28 miles, which includes a 35-foot elevation change.

"Two distinct braking zones are going to really help the competition and provide great overtaking opportunities," said Marcus Smith, the president and CEO of Speedway Motorsports. "One of the biggest things we've heard is about off-throttle time in oval racing. In road-course racing, you want as much of an opportunity as possible for a driver to play with the brake pedal, the gas pedal and the steering wheel.

"That's what a well-designed track is going to provide -- those overtaking opportunities."

Ryan Blaney, the 2018 race winner, said the heaviest braking will be going into Turn 7, which should promote passing.

"You're going to see a lot of good passes there, as far as people getting runs, diving it in there and taking chances," Blaney said. "I thought that corner was tight the way it was before, but it's going to be even tighter now. It's going to be really exciting. Drivers like change, if it's for a better show and for better racing that it produces. I think they've done that here today."