Sound Off: What Drivers are Saying Ahead of This Weekend’s Bank of America ROVAL™ 400 and Drive for the Cure 250
Charlotte Motor Speedway will play host to two of the most anticipated and unpredictable events of the NASCAR Playoffs this weekend as drivers take to the track for Saturday’s NASCAR Xfinity Series Drive for the Cure 250 presented by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina and the Bank of America ROVAL™ 400 on Sunday.
Ahead of the weekend’s white-knuckled action, here’s what some drivers are saying about the innovative 17-turn, 2.28 mile course:
Austin Cindric, No. 2, Team Penske (NASCAR Cup Series)
“At the ROVAL™, you have zero time to rest. I am grabbing upshifts going through the banking. Even when I’m going through the banking, that’s still a large toll on the driver. From the time you accelerate out of Turn 8 through NASCAR 1 and 2, you’re grabbing gears then you’re slamming on the brakes. You go through NASCAR 3 and 4, the car handles terrible. You’re hitting all these bumps. The cars are bobbing out. You then hit on the brakes at the end of the banking. You have no time to rest. I think that’s what makes it challenging. You’re having to grab upshifts that you aren’t normally having to do. I’m always doing something the entire time.”
Denny Hamlin, No. 11, Joe Gibbs Racing (NASCAR Cup Series)
“It’s 10 lanes of traffic on a two-lane highway. What makes the ROVAL challenging is that hardly any of us have many years of experience on it. We show up and are continuing to learn it as we go.”
Joey Logano, No. 22, Team Penske (NASCAR Cup Series)
“You have to know what the mission is and what you’re trying to accomplish when the race starts. Is it all or nothing? Are you trying to accomplish some points, especially with the Playoffs? You have to put it all in the equation.”
Ty Gibbs, No. 54, Joe Gibbs Racing (NASCAR Xfinity Series)
“It’s about staying out of the crashes. The biggest thing about the ROVAL is that it is very chaotic. It is the last race of Round One, so people will be making Hail Mary decisions. It’s about staying out of crashes and being consistent.”
AJ Almendinger, No. 16, Kaulig Racing (NASCAR Xfinity Series)
“What makes the ROVAL™ so fun is the infield. It gives you that street course feel. That’s a background that I used to love in Champ Car Racing. Going to a street course and hanging it out on the city streets in tight corners that if you make a small mistake, you pay the price. That’s the biggest challenge of the ROVAL™. If you get stuck in traffic, it’s a place that you can easily find a wall and ruin your day. You have to be patient and smart there at times. We’ve been fortunate for three years in a row, but it’s one of those racetracks where you never let your mind be at peace. You have to be aggressive at times.”
Noah Gragson, No. 9, JR Motorsports (NASCAR Xfinity Series)
“The ROVAL™ is very challenging because you are really on edge through the infield portion of the racetrack. You have a lot of high speed on the NASCAR corners. There’s some elevation change and off-camber turns. It makes it be a very edgy racetrack. There’s a lot of risk but also a lot of reward. You can make a lot of speed, but you’re right on the limit of wrecking the racecar. That’s what makes it so challenging as a driver there.”
Tickets are available online at www.charlottemotorspeedway.com or by calling 1-800-455-FANS (3267). Kids 12 and under get in all weekend for just $10. Tickets also include access to Fan Zone concerts by Poison frontman Bret Michaels on Friday, Oct. 7; and rock band 3 Doors Down on Saturday, Oct. 8. Sunday ticket holders will be treated to an infield pre-race concert with rap superstar Nelly prior to the Bank of America ROVAL™ 400.
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