This weekend NASCAR’s Xfinity Series and Monster Cup Energy Series travels to Charlotte Motor Speedway and the inaugural race on the Roval – a two mile plus road coarse with 17 turns.
Like the road course used during the 24 hour race in Daytona, the Roval makes use of the the oval portions of the track and the road course withing the infield.
During testing and practice many of the drivers had a lot of difficulty getting through the course, slamming into tire walls and over rumble strips.
For the Monster Cup Energy Series the Roval is the wild card race in round number one of the playoffs. By the end of the race four drivers will be eliminated from the playoffs. Brad Keselowski have guaranteed their spots in the next round after winning the first two races in the round one. Martin Truex J has also marked his spot in round two with points and once Kevin Harvick starts the race he will also be in the next round of the playoffs.
After two rounds of qualifying Kurt Busch puts his number 41 car on the pole to put himself in the record books as the first pole sitter at the Roval.
The starting lineup for the Bank of America ROVAL 400:
Kurt Busch – in the playoffs
Alex Bowman – in the playoffs
Chase Elliott – in the playoffs
Kyle Larson – in the playoffs
Jimmie Johnson – in the playoffs
Clint Bowyer – in the playoffs
Ryan Blaney – in the playoffs
Erik Jones – in the playoffs – moved to the back of the field in a backup car
Martin Truex Jr – in the playoffs
Kyle Busch– in the playoffs
Joey Logano– in the playoffs
Kevin Harvick– in the playoffs
Aric Almirola– in the playoffs
Ricky Stenhouse Jr
Austin Dillon– in the playoffs
Brad Keselowski– in the playoffs – moved to the back of the field in a backup car
Denny Hamlin– in the playoffs
In an attempt to make the fastest times around the track, drivers tend to cut corners on the road courses. As a result, NASCAR competition officials have released rules related to running around The Roval. Turns eleven and 12 and 15 to 17 otherwise known as a chicane, involve curbing. Any driver who cuts short the chicane on turns eleven and 12 must come to a complete stop at the restart zone. Any driver who cuts short the chicane at turns 15 to 17 must come to a complete stop on the apron before the start-finish line. Once a driver comes to a complete stop, he may continue with the race.
Any driver who fails to come to a complete stop will be assessed a drive through penalty on pit road. Any driver that NASCAR feels has intentionally cut short on the chicanes will also have to serve a pass through penalty. If, however, NASCAR determines that a driver has avoided the chicane to avoid an accident, they may wave the pass through penalty.
Stages one and two of the race are 25 laps each with stage three lasting 59 laps.
Pole sitter Kurt Busch brings the field down for the green flag start of the race and gets out in front for the lead with a clean start.
Kurt Busch leads lap one in the first race for the Monster Cup Energy Series on The Roval.
The top five are Kurt Busch, Kyle Larson, AJ Allmendinger, Chase Elliott, and Alex Bowman.
Lap three, Kurt Busch leads the race with Kyle Larson in second on Busch’s bumper, Chase Elliott, AJ Allmendinger, and Alex Bowman round out the top five.
Lap four, Kurt Busch is in the lead but Kyle Larson is on his bumper and challenging for the lead.
Lap five, Kurt Busch continues to lead the race with Kyle Larson challenging for the lead; Chase Elliott, Alex Bowman, and AJ Allmendinger round out the top five.
Deny Hamlin brings his car down pit road for an unscheduled pit stop with a possible tire issue.
Kyle Larson finally gets around Kurt Busch to take the lead with Chase Elliott in third.
Lap 10, Chase Elliott passes Kurt Busch to take over second with Kyle Larson in the lead.
Lap eleven, the top five are Kyle Larson, Chase Elliott, Kurt Busch, Alex Bowman, and Jimmie Johnson.
Lap 12, the top five are Kyle Larson with a lead of over a second, Chase Elliott, Kurt Busch, Alex Bowman, and Jimmie Johnson.
Stanton Barrett brings out the first caution flag when he slams into the wall head on. When not racing, Barrett is a stunt driver.
Some of the drivers bring their cars down pit road for service and adjustments.
Kyle Larson brings the field down for the green flag restart on lap 16 with Larson jumping out in front for the lead as the the drivers get three wide behind him.
The top five are Kyle Larson, Kurt Busch, Clint Bowyer, Martin Truex Jr, and Chase Elliott.
Erik Jones got his nose pushed in during the restart in what is being called heartburn corner.
Lap 19, Kyle Larson is in the lead with Kurt Busch in second and Clint Bowyer in third.
Lap 20, Kyle Larson is in the lead; Kurt Busch, Clint Bowyer, Martin Truex Jr, and Chase Elliott round out the top five.
Only four laps remain in stage one with Kyle Larson leading the way by two seconds on Kurt Busch; Clint Bowyer, Martin Truex Jr, and Chase Elliott round out the top five.
Three to go in the stage and some drivers are bringing their cars down pit road to short pit for better track position in stage two.
Kyle Larson wins stage one with a lead of over two seconds on Kurt Busch.
The top 10 at the end of stage one:
Martin Truex Jr
Some of the drivers bring their cars down pit road for service, while others remain on track for the track position.
Kurt Busch wins the race off of pit road.
Kyle Larson brings the field down for the green flag start of stage two on lap 30 and holds on to the lead.the top five hare Kyle Larson, Martin Truex Jr, Ryan Blaney, Kyle Busch, and Jamie McMurray.
Lap 31, Kyle Larson continues to lead the race with Martin Truex Jr in second; Ryan Blaney, Kyle Busch, and Kevin Harvick round out the top five.
There has been a variety of pit stop strategies so far with divers looking to improve their on track positions.
Lap 33, Kyle Larson has a lead of over a second on Martin True Jr.; with Ryan Blaney, Kyle Busch, and Kevin Harvick rounding out the top five.
Lap 36, Kyle Larson has pulled out to a lead of over a second and a half on Martin Truex Jr.
Kyle Busch and Kevin Harvick bring their cars down pit road for service on lap 37 and leader Kyle Larson makes his green flag pit stop on lap 38.
Ryan Blaney has taken over the lead with Brad Keselowski in second; with Kevin Harvick, Joey Logano, and Paul Menard rounding out the top five.
Lap 40, Ryan Blaney, Kevin Harvick, Joey Logano, Paul Menard, and Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
Lap 42, Ryan Blaney has a lead of over two seconds on Kevin Harvick.
Lap 43, the top five are Ryan Blaney, Kevin Harvick, Joey Logano, Paul Menard, and William Byron.
Lap 44, Ryan Blaney has a big lead on Kevin Harvick with Joey Logano in third.
Lap 45, William Byron slows on the track with a tire issues; Aric Almirola hits the wall trying to avoid Byron’s slowing car. The track stays green.
Lap 46, Aric Almirola brings his smoking car down pit road.
William Byron did not enter pit road properly and has been charged with a commitment cone violation.
Aric Almirola was charged with a tire violation on pit road.
Lap 48, Ryan Blaney is in the lead with Jimmie Johnson in second.
Bad Keselowski and Martin Truex Jr make contact and spin out but the track stays green.
Brad Keselowski has a badly smoking car but decides to stay out on the track to the end of the stage in one more lap.
Ryan Blaney wins stage two for his sixth stage win of the season.
The top 10 at the end of stage two:
Jimmie Johnson wins the race off of pit road but several drivers stayed out on the track.
Kyle Larson binges the field down for the green flag start of stage three on lap 55. Starting from the inside lane, Kyle Larson gets out in front for the lead of the race with drivers bumper to bumper behind him.
Lap 56, the top five hare Kyle Larson, , Kyle Busch, Jamie McMurray, Kevin Harvick, and Paul Menard.
Lap 57, Kyle Larson is in the lead with Kyle Busch in second and Jamie McMurray in third.
Austin Dillon brings the caution flag out after slamming into the wall when he tried to avoid Chris Buescher. Dillon brings his car down pit road with damage…not only to his car but his chances of moving on in the playoffs.
Kyle Larson brings the field down for the green flag restart on lap 62 and drivers are getting three and four wide across the track.
Lap 62, Kyle Larson is in the lead with Kyle Busch in second; with Jamie McMurray, Kevin Harvick, and Denny Hamlin rounding out the top five.
AJ Allmendinger and Denny Hamlin make contact on the restart causing damage to Allmendinger’s car.
Lap 64, Kyle Larson leads the race with Kyle Busch in second and Jamie McMurray in third.
Lap 65, Austin Dillon hits the wall hard once again. The team has reported that they are done.
A few drivers come down pit road for service, but most stay out on the track.
Kyle Larson brings the field down for the green flag restart on lap 68 and holds on to his lead with Kyle Busch in second.
Lap 69, the top five are Kyle Larson, Kyle Busch, Jamie McMurray, Kevin Harvick, and Denny Hamlin.
Aric Almirola and Chris Buescher bring out the caution flag when the get out in the grass.
Just outside the limits of a fuel run, the drivers bring their cars down pit road for service. William Byron wins the race off of pit road.
Ricky Stenhouse Jr ad Paul Menard make up the front row and bring the field down for the green flag restart on lap 72. Kyle Busch cuts the course and falls back in the field after having to make a complete stop before moving on.
Daniel Suarez ad Erik Jones make contact. Erik Jones has to limp around the track with a flat tire in order to get back to pit road.
Leader Ricky Stenhouse Jr gets off the track ad gives the lead over to Paul Menard.
Lap 73, the top five are Paul Menard, Brad Keselowski, Kyle Larson, Daniel Suarez, and Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
NASCAR has deemed that Kyle Busch’s cutting the course was to avoid an on track issue and will not be assessed a penalty.
Ryan Newman gets turned around on the track but the track stays green.
Lap 75, Paul Menard is in the lead with Brad Keselowski in second challenging for the lead; Kyle Larson is in third.
Lap 75, Brad Keselowski passes Paul Menard to take the lead of the race.
The top five are Brad Keselowski, Paul Menard, ,Kyle Larson, Martin Truex Jr, and Kyle Busch.
Lap 77, Brad Keselowski is in the lead with Paul Menard in second over a second and a half behind.
Many of the drivers are in fuel conservation mode trying to make it to the end of the race without making another pit stop.
Lap 79, Brad Keselowski leads the race by nearly two and a half seconds over Paul Menard.
Thee are 36 cars on the lead lap.
Lap 30, Kyle Larson has gotten around Paul Menard for second place with Brad Keselowski out in front by over two seconds.
Trying to save as much fuel as possible to make it to the end of the race,, some of the drivers are concerned over whether or not they will still have enough fuel to reach the end.
The top five: Brad Keselowski, Kyle Larson, Paul Menard, Martin Truex Jr, Kyle Busch.
Brad Keselowski has some damage to his car after apparently jumping the blue “turtle” barriers. Kyle Larson is challenging Keselowski for the lead.
Lap 83, Kyle Larson gets around Brad Keselowski for the lead but then the two drivers get into a battle for the lead with Brad Keselowski retaking the lead.
Twenty five laps remaining in the race, Brad Keselowski continues to lead the race but Kyle Larson and Paul Menard close behind.
Kyle Busch passes Paul Menard to take over third place.
Lap 87, the top five are Brad Keselowski, Kyle Larson, Kyle Busch, Paul Menard, and Martin Truex Jr.
Lap 89, the leaders have encountered slower traffic and Kyle Larson is again on leader Brad Keselowski’s bumper.
Alex Bowman brings his car down pit road for fuel.
More drivers come down pit road for fuel and fresh tires.
Brad Keselowski continues to lead the race with Kyle Larson in second and Kyle Busch in third; Martin Truex Jr, and Jimmie Johnson round out the top five.
There are only two car out of the race with 35 cars on the lead lap.
Sixteen laps remain in the race with Brad Keselowski leading the way and Kyle Larson on his bumper.
Lap 96, Brad Keselowski has a lead of over a second on Kyle Larson with Kyle Busch in third drving in fuel conservation mode.
Lap 97, Brad Keselowski has a one second lead over Kyle Larson with Martin Truex Jr over 14 seconds behind in fuel conservation mode.
Lap 98, Kyle Larson has closed the gap on leader Bad Keselowski to just half a second.
Lap 99, Brad Keselowski’s lead is back up to nearly a second on Kyle Larson with Martin Truex Jr, Kyle Busch, and Jimmie Johnson rounding out the top five.
Only nine laps to go and the divers hare all trying to save fuel. Brad Keselowski is in the lead when the caution flag comes out for Ricky Stenhouse Jr when he hits the wall. There are only eight laps remaining in the race.
Some of the drivers bring their cars down pit road for service.
Brad Keselowski brings the field down for the green flag restart with just six laps remaining in the race. The drivers get too hard into turn one and cause a big crash involving several cars including a number of playoff drivers. Brad Keselowski, Trevor Bayne, Daniel Hemric, Ryan Blaney, Kyle Busch, Paul Menard, William Byron, and Kyle Larson were all involved in the crash.
NASCAR has red flagged the race to get the track cleaned up and cleared of damaged cars.
After an eleven minute red flag condition, NASCAR puts out the caution flag and the cars begin moving once again.
Martin Truex Jr is listed as the leader of the race with Jimmie Johnson in second.
Only three laps remain in the race when Martin Truex jr brings the field down for the green flag restart. Truex gets out in front for the lead.
The top five are Martin Truex Jr, Jimmie Johnson, Jamie McMurray, Clint Bowyer, and Chase Elliott.
Two to go with Martin Truex Jr out in front.
Jimmie Johnson has caught up to Martin Truex Jr and is challenging for the lead.
Martin Truex Jr takes the white flag with Jimmie Johnson on his bumper.
Jimmie Johnson and martin Truex Jr spin out in the final chicane and giving way for Ryan Blaney to win the race and ensure his spot in the next round of the playoffs.
The unofficial results of The Roval 400:
Martin Truex Jr
Ricky Stenhouse Jr
After a three way tiebreaker at the end of the race, the field of 12 has been set. Despite finishing 32nd after a crash with only six laps remaining in the race Kyle Busch is the point leader.
Kyle Busch, Brad Keselowski, and Ryan Blaney all advance to the next round after winning races in round one.
The top 12 drivers moving on to the next round are:
Martin Truex Jr
Seven time champion Jimmie Johnson, Austin Dillon, Denny Hamlin, and Erik Jones have all been eliminated from the playoffs.
The round of 12 begins next week when the Monster Energy Cup Series takes on Miles the Monster in Dover, Deleware.