CONCORD, N.C. (Oct. 5, 2017) - Charlotte Motor Speedway has added another revolutionary "first" to its illustrious history. During this weekend's Bank of America 500, fans will notice a new frontstretch chicane developed with the installation of a Sports Fields Inc. synthetic turf. The new chicane and turf are located at the exit of Turn 4 and are part of a new layout for the speedway's 2018 Roval course. The innovative Roval will feature an 18-turn, 2.4-mile layout for the 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.
The groundbreaking synthetic turf project - designed to slow cars down quicker and more efficiently than regular grass - became a reality through the use of:
• 42,000 square feet of synthetic turf - more than half the length of a football field;
• 1,100 gallons of glue;
• 300,000 pounds of sand;
• 900 man-hours of planning and installation.
Drivers in next year's NASCAR fall classic will decelerate in oval Turn 3 into the new, left-right chicane - surrounded by synthetic turf - as they exit Turn 4 and before they approach the start-finish line. A second chicane will be added to the speedway's backstretch to allow the course to become compatible for traditional road course setups. The additional turns will provide extra passing zones to entertain the fans as well as an added challenge to drivers competing for 130 exhilarating laps in next year's race.
"As the Roval itself is an innovation, we believe this revolutionary new use of synthetic turf was the perfect fit for our world-class racing venue," said Marcus Smith, the president and CEO of Speedway Motorsports, Inc. "The turf is more manageable than grass, resistant to heat and it provides a smooth, speed-scrubbing surface should a car spin through it.
"We connected with Brian Storm and Sports Fields through an introduction by Kevin Harvick, and we greatly appreciate all of the hard work and creativity fueled into this project from Sports Fields. We're excited to see how the turf and the new chicanes add to the excitement for next year's Bank of America 500 on the Roval."
The Roval will offer drivers the ultimate measure of physical endurance, strategy and tire conservation in a race that will be 145 kilometers longer than any road course event in NASCAR. Accomplished drivers including Mario Andretti, Jeff Gordon, A.J. Allmendinger, Jeff Burton, Max Papis and Alex Wurz have driven the course and witnessed its show-stopping potential.
As an added bonus, fans who buy tickets to this year's Bank of America 500 - Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s final Charlotte Motor Speedway start as a full-time driver - will have the option of renewing their tickets for the 2018 Roval race at 2017 event prices.
--- Charlotte Motor Speedway ---