Nascar Racing

MENCS Teams Take On The Roval Challenge from a NASCAR Fan’s View




It’s not just a road course and it’s not just an oval. It’s both and I guess that’s why the marketing geniuses came up with the name “Roval.” So, the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series teams take on the Roval at Charlotte motor Speedway this weekend and try to move on to the next portion of the playoffs. For those not in the know, that would be the round of twelve.

We all know that everyone has been asking for a road course to be included in the playoffs and NASCAR’s answer was to come up with something new, the Roval and it could prove to be the rise or demise of any one of the drivers in the thirteenth to sixteenth positions in the playoff standings. In fact, it could prove to be a real shake up in the standings of all the sixteen drivers involved in the playoffs’ round of sixteen. That’s not to mention that anyone of those four could be thrust into the round of twelve.

One thing that stands out very clearly, judging from the practice sessions and qualifying, is that this race could be a wreck-fest. Judging from the number of cars that have been torn up trying to make fast times around the Roval this fan thanks it could be erase the tears up many cars. It has definitely been interesting to watch how many drivers – both very experienced and not so experienced – have had their problems traversing this course. Personally, I think it could go either way. I think it will depend on how well all of them can navigate the turns and straightaways in a pack and how or what might happen when someone runs off the course or several someones get together. That could prove to be a disaster for many being cast into situations not even have their own making.

There are places that can only be navigated single file and that’s going to make it very interesting when their side by side. I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if there isn’t a slight redesign of the course either before the race on Sunday afternoon or at least when they come back to the Roval next time. I just haven’t figured out, and once again this is this fans opinion, how they’re going to navigate some of the turns especially the one that has been the most damaging do so many cars. Let’s see, that would be the cars of Bubba Wallace, Austin Dillon, Erik Jones and a host of others at the chicane.

From this fan’s you I have to agree with a lot of people that have compared this to one of the restrictor plate races. Now that’s not because the speeds are so high but because the attrition may be extremely high. All it will take is one pile up in a narrow place and it could take out a bunch of contenders. I think one of the major challenges to this race is going to be finishing. I know I’m not alone in that either because many of the drivers have stated that finishing is probably going to be one of the biggest challenges they will face the whole afternoon in the Bank of America Roval 400.

Of those outside the top twelve, Denny Hamlin has the biggest task ahead of him. At twenty-nine points outside the top twelve, he’s already wrecked one car in practice and he could very well put himself out completely if he wrecks in the race. His only hope is to win. (Well, that’s not his only hope. Perhaps I could better state it as his best hope. In other words and from this fan’s view, his chances are very slim.) Erik Jones is in a similar boat to Hamlin at twenty-one points outside the top twelve. Along with Hamlin, his best chance is to win but they both can’t win so either disaster has to strike, or the chances are pretty much over for the two of them for moving on in the playoffs. I suppose it could happen but, well, I just don’t think it will.

Since this Race has so many unknowns and so many questions included, once again the question of how the Chevys will do rises to the surface. The points are very tight in the ninth to fourteenth positions and we all know that Jimmie Johnson is quite capable of winning this race “IF”. After all, he’s only six points from making the top twelve. Since this is a race where anything can happen and no one knows what’s really going to happen, he could just as likely move on to the round of twelve as anyone else. And, by the way, It wouldn’t be a shock to this fan at all and I would have to admit I would like to see it. I know there are many that will disagree with me but, I just have to tell you my view even if it is a little biased.

So, the big question remains as to whether or not this one race is going to be wreck-fest or just a very interesting road course race with lots of beating and banging, pushing and shoving like a short track. Maybe that’s a little bit of wishful thinking or an overstatement , but maybe it’s just… well… you know…

See ya next time…
All views expressed are strictly the opinion of the writer
© September 29, 2018 – all rights reserved
Rusty Norman, and
All audio productions by and PodCastNorm Productions
All music TwoBuckThemes from Mike Stewart unless otherwise stated

By Rusty Norman

Amateur writer, NASCAR Fan, musician and former local Stock Car racer.