NASCAR Playoffs Hit Charlotte "Roval"

Playoff Field Will Be Narrowed To 12 After Race

Scott Stiller
September 28, 2018 - 2:12 pm
Charlotte Motor Speedway

Bob Leverone-Getty Images

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Concord, NC (93.7 The Fan) - The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs are in Charlotte this weekend for the Bank of America ROVAL 400.  Why is it the ROVAL 400 you ask?  

The race will take place on the Charlotte Motor Speedway Road Course instead of the oval.  The 17-turn, 2.28-mile course incorporates part of the oval as well as a new infield section.  The “roval” is the first brand-new track ever introduced during NASCAR’s Playoffs and it marks the first time since 1987 that the Cup Series has faced three road course races (Riverside-twice & Watkins Glen) in a season.

“We can’t look at Sonoma notes, we can’t look at Watkins Glen notes,” Wood Brothers Racing driver Paul Menard told NBC Sports after testing at the Roval earlier this summer. “We’re going 170 (mph) through the banking.  We don’t see anything like that at Watkins Glen and certainly not Sonoma.  Should be a hell of a show”.

Championship hopes are on the line as this is the first Playoff elimination race that will pare the Playoff field down from 16-drivers to 12.

The four drivers on the “bubble” going into the race are Clint Bowyer, who trails 12th-place Ryan Blaney by 4-points.  Seven-time Cup Series Champion Jimmie Johnson is 6-points back.  Joe Gibbs Racing teammates Erik Jones and Denny Hamlin are 21 and 29-points back, respectively.

“We need to have a solid race and get as many points as we can and try to advance to the next round,” said Jones, who drives the No. 20 Toyota.  “The Roval is kinds of an unknown I think for everybody, so it’s going to be a new experience and something that we are all going to have to learn as we go this weekend”.

Bowyer, Johnson and Hamlin have all won on a road course.  Bowyer (2012) and Johnson (2010) have victories at Sonoma.  Hamlin captured the checkered flag at Watkins Glen in 2016.  Jones best finish on a road course is a 5th at Watkins Glen earlier this year.

Blaney sits in 12th position, one point behind Alex Bowman, who sits in 11th position, just 5-points ahead of the cutoff.

The Bank of America ROVAL 400 takes place Sunday at 2 p.m. ET and will be televised by NBC and can be heard on Performance Radio Network affiliates.

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