Need a refresher about how to get around the 17-turn, 2.32-mile Charlotte Motor Speedway Roval? We’re here to help.
The NASCAR Xfinity Series hits the track on Saturday for the Drive for the Cure 250 presented by Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina (3 p.m. ET, NBC/NBC Sports App, PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio), followed by Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series Bank of America ROVAL 400 (2 p.m. ET, NBC/NBC Sports App, PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). Both serve as Round of 12 playoff elimination races.
Study up on every twist and turn facing the competition ahead of the elimination weekend.
Once drivers take the green flag, they immediately funnel into a virtual 90-degree sharp left-hand turn, launching them into a slight incline and over into the second bend.
The uphill climb makes for a challenging entry into the second corner. Drivers won’t be able to see much of the narrow left-hander at first. Once over the hump and into the corner, drivers descend onto a short chute and make their way under the pedestrian bridge before Turn 3.
Because of the quick transition from left to right on the descent from Turn 2 mixed with braking, the third turn ranks high in terms of difficulty. The first right-hand corner of the course was a trouble spot for multiple drivers during testing in July of 2018. Drivers will need to be extra cautious making their way through the flat bend before quickly heading into Turn 4.
How well drivers make their way into Turn 3 determines how well they will get into and out of Turn 4. The second of four consecutive right-hand turns in the infield portion of the course, competitors will make their way through the flat corner and onto a longer chute in the direction of Turn 5.
Carrying a good amount of speed from the short chute coming out of Turn 4, drivers will be on the brakes for the dive into Turn 5. They will take a slight dip into the quick right-hander, followed by an ascent up to the sixth corner.
Drivers will quickly make the transition from Turn 5 to Turn 6, taking a small climb up into the corner. This turn will be tricky as a result of the ascent, as they will going straight into Turn 7 upon exit.
Once out of Turn 6, drivers are immediately approached with the entrance of the seventh turn. Another change in elevation will take place through the turn as they descend through the entire left-hand corner, sweeping them into Turn 8.
Another slight drop in elevation after exiting Turn 7 will lead drivers straight into this sharper left-hand corner, launching them straight onto the traditional 24 degrees of banking we are used to seeing at Charlotte. If drivers can gain momentum by getting a good exit out of Turn 7, it could set up them up well for Turn 8, leading to a passing opportunity through Turns 9 & 10.
A familiar sight for drivers, Turns 9 & 10 serves as Turns 1 & 2 on the traditional oval. Drivers will make their way onto the 24-degree banking out of Turn 8, giving them a chance to build a ton of speed and make passes before heading down the backstretch and into the chicane.
The drivers will carry a ton of speed through the high-banked turns and onto the back straightaway before being funneled into the track’s brand new chicane, home of Turns 11 and 12. The speedway made a big change to the backstretch chicane before the 2019 race, clearing space behind the inside wall for the addition of the improved section. After feedback from drivers, even racing legend Mario Andretti, the chicane will force drivers into a heavier braking zone. The new version will be 54 feet at its widest point, compared to 32 feet last year, and will feature additional runoff areas. Drivers will be launched back onto 24 degrees of banking upon exit. See the chicane in action on iRacing below.
Drivers will be hot on the gas pedal upon exiting Turn 12 to build as much speed as possible through Turns 13 & 14, normally Turns 3 & 4 on the oval. A good exit out of the 12th could make a for a great passing opportunity through the corner before funneling off into the frontstretch chicane.
With speed coming out of high-banked Turns 13 & 14, drivers will make there way back onto the frontstretch where they will be greeted by another chicane. While Turn 15 is a more wide left-hand turn, the 16th is a different story. Turn 16 is a sharp and narrow right-hander, the sharpest corner of the course. Space is at a premium here, making it another area where they will need to get sorted out quickly before entering or havoc could ensue. Drivers will then make another left at Turn 17 and head back to the start-finish line. Last year’s race came down the last turn when Martin Truex Jr. and Jimmie Johnson made contact running 1-2, allowing Ryan Blaney to come by for the race win.