CONCORD, N.C. (QUEEN CITY NEWS) — NASCAR team members and drivers get a chance to relax at home this weekend with the Bank of America ROVAL 400 taking place at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
While the weekend may be a bit more relaxing for teams, staff at the speedway have been working long hours to prepare the track for green flag action.
The Charlotte Motor Speedway oval opened in 1960, but NASCAR didn’t make a stop on the ROVAL circuit until 2018. It’s still a fairly new venue on the schedule, but track leaders have put together a checklist to ensure the venue is put together the same way every season.
The ROVAL is considered one of the most challenging tracks on the NASCAR circuit. Just think about the name “roval” itself. The track is a combination of a high-speed oval and a 17-turn road course.
Left and right turns have become a common theme on the NASCAR schedule. Road course races now make up 6 of the 36 races.
“Everybody in the Cup Series is now a pretty good road racer, we have all become road racers in our own rights,” said driver, Erik Jones.
Prior to 2018, the fall NASCAR Cup Series at Charlotte Motor Speedway was run on the oval.
Getting “ROVAL” ready takes hundreds of staff members who clock in more than 35,000 hours. Work Includes painting portions of the track red, white and blue, which takes 5,400 gallons of paint.
The logos painted on the infield alone is equivalent to the size of 14 NFL end zones.
There are hundreds of curbs installed, nicknamed turtles. They are designed in a way that they can be run over by drivers and not damage the racecar. Some drivers still choose to avoid he curbs, especially in the new Cup Series car.
“The Next Gen car seems more affected by it, some of the suspension pieces we got. The way it reacts to it. You really can’t hop over the curbs like we have in years past,” said Jones.
New this year, if those turtle curbs are run over, drivers will see paintings on them from area elementary school students. Painting the turtles with designs was inspired by Corey LaJoie, who snuck onto the track in the dark of night in 2018 to paint a ninja turtle on one of the curbs.
“You have to be very aggressive with this race car and use all the track that you can. I think the paintings will get a little bit of rubber on them and hopefully they survive the whole race,” said driver, Ty Dillon.
Speaking of rubber, among the other tasks for the crew at the speedway is installing additional tire barriers for the more than 2-mile ROVAL course. It’s estimated about 30,000 tires are used to build “tire packs”.
Once the Bank of America ROVAL 400 takes the checkered flag on Sunday, the ROVAL will be dissembled and work will immediately begin on installing millions of Christmas lights for the annual “Speedway Christmas” display.