The Charlotte Roval has turned out to be a huge success. So, what does that mean for the future of NASCAR? More Rovals?
Marcus Smith: “This was way more exciting than any football game on right now. Which is pretty cool.”
The Roval made it’s debut at Charlotte Motor Speedway over the weekend. A 2.228-mile road course featured a brand new infield road course in addition to running a large portion of the oval.
Road course racing via the Roval was always highly anticipated by the fans. Drivers on the other hand, they weren’t so sure about NASCAR’s newest track leading into the event.
“There was a lot of concern about the width of the track and being able to race without a lot of red flags,” Charlotte Motor Speedway president and general manager, Marcus Smith stated after the Roval event.
The Roval was a success
Following the race, there was many of comparisons drawn between the Roval event and ‘one hot night’. That one hot night event was back in 1992 when Charlotte Motor Speedway first switched on the lights at the 1.5-mile track.
“One hot night was in 92. We’re in 2018. It’s been a long time since ‘one hot night’. This is new highlight footage for NASCAR. For me, it really lived up to the hype.”
“This was way more exciting than any football game on right now. Which is pretty cool.”
“I wanted there to be an opportunity to pass for the lead, for the win. On that last lap. What happened is not what I had imagined or hoped for. I think it was incredibly exciting.”
“That was the moment that everybody will remember for a long time.”
More NASCAR Roval tracks?
It was new for NASCAR. Bold ideas spawned by Speedway Motorsports Incorporated and Marcus Smith. The goal was to bring excitement and highlights to a stale NASCAR schedule. But, would it work?
It clearly worked.
The memories have been created and a new gem on the NASCAR schedule is set to remain. Now, will we see more of it?
There’s a whole bunch of 1.5-mile NASCAR tracks that feature the option to add a Roval configuration. In fact, Speedway Motorsports Inc owns many of those very race tracks.
Speedway Motorsports Incorportation (Portfolio – Active Tracks): Atlanta Motor Speedway; Bristol Motor Speedway; Charlotte Motor Speedway; Kentucky Speedway; Las Vegas Motor Speedway; New Hampshire Motor Speedway; Sonoma Raceway; Texas Motor Speedway;
Is SMI considering more Roval style tracks?
“I do think that we can learn from our history. There was a time that nobody really cared for short tracks. Or at least the majority of fans and NASCAR didn’t really care for short tracks. Now, we love short tracks,” Smith explained.
“There was a time when Charlotte was the best, the most amazing track design ever. Then, a lot of people followed suit.”
“I’m not looking at any of our properties to add a road course. I think this is unique to Charlotte. We’ve got other speedway’s out there that produce their own unique action.”
New NASCAR Rules
“Plus, on top of that, I’m really excited about everything I’m hearing with next years racing. With the new aero and power package. I think that’s going to be fantastic for the whole sport,” Smith continued.
On Tuesday, the 2019 NASCAR rules package was announced. It features more downforce, the opposite of the trend in recent years. For 17 tracks, it also features a reduction in horsepower in addition to aero-ducts. That packages will be rolled out at tracks over 1-mile, excluding Atlanta, Darlington, Pocono and Homestead will use the smaller spacer but not the aero ducts.
Charlotte Motor Speedway was actually the first track to introduce this package to the NASCAR Cup Series. It made it’s debut in the 2018 NASCAR All-Star race. Smith has always been a supporter on the rules package that will now be introduced at many other tracks in 2019.
Related: 2019 NASCAR rules announced
Changes to the existing Roval? Night racing on the Roval?
Any new track creates an opportunity for adjustments. It’s highly unlikely to get everything perfect on the first attempt. But, they damn sure came pretty close.
Do you anticipate any changes to the Roval in 2019? Can you run the Roval at night?
“Who knows. F1 has their night race. Right now, that’s a possibility. We’re going to take some time to bring the ideas together. Everybody’s got lots of ideas.”
“We take notes as a group. We have a specific email address, sort of a repository email on the team. It’s just chalk full of ideas.”
“We’re always in a constant state of improvement.”
The Charlotte Roval featured non-stop action. Therefore, TV and radio couldn’t keep up. That means you kinda had to be there to see the show. Which is a very positive thing for NASCAR.
“There was great competitive racing. That’s very unusual for a road course. You don’t have that close, within a car length or two action.”
“I saw a lot of positive social media.”
Charlotte Motor Speedway Experiments
Charlotte Motor Speedway has been engaged in experiments in 2018. As mentioned, earlier in the season, they were the first track to introduced the high downforce, low horsepower rules package to the NASCAR Cup Series.
Now, most recently, Charlotte Motor Speedway brought the Roval to the world. All three of their NASCAR dates featured a completely different style of racing. That might appear to be on purpose, it wasn’t.
“These thing did come together, this year. It wasn’t necessarily planned to happen that way. But, I think it’s worked out really well.”
“Going forward, Charlotte Motor Speedway is a place that fans can see the most unique and special racing.
Related: 2018 Roval race results
Related: Rain racing at The Roval? Yes!