Not only is “roval” objectively the most fun word to say, a roval will also objectively make next year’s NASCAR playoffs way more fun. Charlotte Motor Speedway’s track layout will go full squiggly line in 2018, and we now know exactly what it’ll look like.
A roval, if that word is foreign to you, is a road course within an oval race track. Lots of oval speedways have them, but NASCAR largely ignores them in favor of the round track.
Not anymore! After years of criticism about leaving a road course out of its playoffs in the top-tier Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, NASCAR made one of its best decisions in a long time by announcing that it would add one within reason: by transforming Charlotte’s playoffs date into a road course rather than swapping around the schedule. It’ll be the first road race in the 14-year history of the playoffs.
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It was a “hallelujah” type of moment, considering that NASCAR is full of oval tracks—especially in its 10-race playoffs. The playoffs, which began in 2004 as the “Chase,” have historically been made up of a full five 1.5-mile race tracks, meaning that drivers better on those tracks have the advantage. And since there’s a points reset at the start of the playoffs, performance on road courses during the regular season has had a minimal effect.
But NASCAR listened, they really listened, and we’ll get to watch drivers race around this puppy in 2018:
Charlotte Motor Speedway added a nice little chicane onto the road-oval course, allowing them to brag about having the most turns of any track on the NASCAR circuit. Good for them, we’ll take it. Dale Earnhardt Jr. showed what it looks like in person just a couple of days ago:
Mom always says not to wish my life away, but I sure am ready for 2018.