CONCORD, N.C. — Two days of Goodyear tire testing on the Charlotte Motor Speedway Roval concluded Wednesday with drivers gearing up for next year’s Bank of America 500 by lapping Charlotte’s challenging, 18-turn, 2.4-mile course.
Martin Truex Jr., Kurt Busch, Jamie McMurray and Daniel Hemric tested tires for next year’s Bank of America 500 on Sept. 28-30, 2018 — the first road course race in the 14-year history of the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs.
“It’s interesting,” said Truex, who won the Oct. 8 Bank of America 500 on Charlotte’s 1.5-mile superspeedway. “It’s been growing on me a bit since we started. The Watkins Glen tires we started on were way too hard for here. It was a bit of a challenge getting started but we picked up 10 seconds throughout (Tuesday). It’s not your typical road course. It’s been a unique challenge with the infield being flat and the race track having the banking it has (24 degrees).”
Drivers reached top speeds of 175 mph around the Roval, which features a 35-foot elevation change in addition to more turns than any track on the NASCAR circuit.
“It’s a whole different type of layout,” Busch said. “The oval, road course, the infield section, all of it has a nice, unique feel to it. It’s a cutoff race in the playoffs, so teams had better get their arms wrapped around it and their heads focused on it because it’s going to be one of the most important races of the year.”
Hemric, a competitor in the NASCAR XFINITY Series for Richard Childress Racing, used the test to drive a Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series car for the first time.
“I think we’ve made a lot of progress on what we’re going to see next fall,” said Hemric. “For me personally, it’s about learning the race car. It’s been fun to figure out how to get that laid down here on the Roval. The layout of this is interesting but there are spots that you feel like you’re on a purpose-built road course. It’s got so many different elements, so I’m curious to see how it races compared to the other road course races I’ve run.”