CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - One of the best races on the NASCAR tour in 2018 was the inaugural Bank of America ROVAL 400 and Charlotte Motor Speedway is aiming to make it even better in 2019.
Work started this week on the backstretch chicane as they widen it from 32 feet to 54 feet.
“Having our backstretch chicane upgraded will give drivers an additional opportunity to go for a season-making or season-breaking pass like we saw on the frontstretch chicane last year,” said Marcus Smith, president and CEO of Speedway Motorsports in a press release. “Every turn matters on the ROVAL.”
In the original set up for the ROVAL, drivers had issues coming out of it and getting back on the track without smashing into the wall. One of the first to find out how hard it would be was Bubba Wallace and on Tuesday, he joined the crew in driving some land movers and helped them with the widening project.
“I think it will give us a better option to come through here and attack it a little harder,” said Wallace who drives the #43 Chevy. “We are definitely going to be slowing down a little bit more than we were last year. We have run off room now and we didn’t have that until I made run off room and they decided to move the wall back.”
Wallace would make NASCAR move that wall back after tearing up his primary car in a wreck during practice.
“I just didn’t brake enough getting into the chicane and carried way too much speed and as soon as it stepped out, I over corrected the slightest bit and that was it,” said Wallace.
The hope is even though there is more room, it will slow the cars down and create another passing point on the track and create more side by side racing.
“My hat’s off to Marcus and the team at Charlotte Motor Speedway for talking with drivers and industry experts as they work to further improve the ROVAL,” said Kyle Larson in a press release provided by the speedway. Larson led a race-high 47 laps in last year’s event and was one of the drivers the track got input from about this project. “The changes to the backstretch look like they will help create an additional passing zone and make it that much more exciting for the fans. After last year’s wild finish, I’ll take every possible opportunity to gain track position and earn some points.”
Last year’s winner was Ryan Blaney. He also had a say on the improvements made by CMS. He would win the race as Martin Truex Jr. and Jimmie Johnson crashed feet from the start-finish line but could not get to the checkered flag before Blaney passed them.
Work is scheduled to be done by early August with the Bank of America ROVAL 400 set to take place on September 29th.