Aric Almirola, PBA Star Jason Belmonte Hot-Lap the ROVAL™
Professional Bowlers Association star Jason Belmonte has rolled 23 perfect games, but the thrill of a 300 could barely compare to the rush of riding around the Charlotte Motor Speedway ROVAL™ on Wednesday. Belmonte joined NASCAR star Aric Almirola for the ride of a lifetime around Charlotte's 17-turn, 2.28-mile ROVAL™.
Almirola is one of 16 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series drivers who will enter the Sept. 29 Bank of America ROVAL™ 400 with a shot at the championship, so any tour of the ROVAL™ -- replete with a new backstretch chicane - is a welcomed opportunity.
"It was good to give 'Belmo' a ride around the race track," Almirola said. "It was so cool to see the expression on his face as we climbed out. … The ROVAL™ is always intense. It being a cutoff race, there's a lot of intensity with that. If you're one of the guys outside (the top 12 who advance), you kind of have to throw a Hail Mary. If you're in, you've got to be really cautious. That's what makes the ROVAL™ so entertaining and challenging. You never know what to expect."
Belmonte said the rush of the ROVAL™ was very different compared to bowling a 300.
"When I bowl 300, I'm never fearful for my life," Belmonte said. "When you're behind the wheel - even trusting the car to someone as capable as Aric - there is a bit more of a thrill there. I was probably going too fast to notice how much I was shaking in the car."