CONCORD, N.C. — Sixteen Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series teams took part Tuesday in the first of two test sessions on the Charlotte Motor Speedway road course ahead of the Bank of America ROVAL 400 on Sept. 30.
Drivers got a look at the updated layout after the track unveiled it and the race distance for the Bank of America ROVAL 400, the first road course race that will be featured in the NASCAR Playoffs. The 400-kilometer, 109-lap event will be the longest road-course race in NASCAR, with a track length of 2.28 miles and 17 turns.
There was much to be learned and many takeaways drivers were buzzing about throughout the session. A slight change to the curbing of the backstretch chicane was made during the morning session, which extended the test to 6 p.m. instead of the originally scheduled 9-5 stint.
“How many different opportunities we have to bust our butt around this race track,” noted Jimmie Johnson, driver of the No. 48 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet. “It’s very demanding. There are some blind corners, which are fun. A lot of surface changes, as you can imagine. There’s parking lots and an existing road course in here and we’re coming in and out of parking lots and on the old road course and different sections, so the road itself is pretty rough.
“You’ve got to be on your toes. There’s a big penalty if you err on the side of too much aggression.”
Ryan Newman, driver of the No. 31 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet, picked up on what spots will be most critical for the race.
“The places that you can gain and lose the most time are the places that you’re going really, really fast or really, really slow,” Newman said. “Trying to get those things as clean as you possibly can is probably the most important part. The infield part of the course is a challenge, don’t get me wrong, but I don’t think there is as much time to be made there as some of the fast or stop-and-go stuff.”
Bubba Wallace slammed into the tire barriers heading into the entrance of Turn 1 just after 10 a.m. After incurring heavy damage on the No. 43 Richard Petty Motorsports Chevrolet and with no backup car available, Wallace and the crew packed up early and were unable to continue.
Chase Elliott also found trouble early in the session after the No. 9 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet had a mechanical issue. The team was able to make a quick fix and return to the track for the rest of the test.
Michael McDowell looped it during the late afternoon session, spinning the No. 34 Front Row Motorsports Ford off-course, but continued.
The next test session for Monster Energy Series drivers will be July 17 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET, and fans are welcome to to attend the event.
Below are the drivers who participated in Tuesday’s session, along with those who will test July 17:
July 10: Chris Buescher; Kurt Busch; Chase Elliott; Denny Hamlin; Kevin Harvick; Jimmie Johnson; Kasey Kahne; Brad Keselowski; Kyle Larson; Michael McDowell; Paul Menard; Ryan Newman; Ricky Stenhouse Jr.; Daniel Suarez; Martin Truex Jr.; Bubba Wallace.
July 17: A.J. Allmendinger; Aric Almirola; Trevor Bayne; Ryan Blaney; Alex Bowman; Clint Bowyer; Chris Buescher; Kyle Busch; William Byron; Austin Dillon; Ty Dillon; Erik Jones; Joey Logano; Jamie McMurray.