When it was decided that the second race at Charlotte would go under a makeover, moving from the 1.5-mile speedway and heading onto the road course, it was met with a few questions, and critics. Now, entering it’s fourth year of being ran, the only critics left are those that are not fans of road courses.
But in the three years this track has already hosted events, so many unfathomable moments have come about.
Just look at the first year when the bus stop wasn’t really much of a stop, but more of a kink, and so many cars got airborne because of the corner and destroyed their equipment. That same weekend, the battle for the win came down to a spin out, a knockout, and a third-place driver sneaking through to capture the unexpected win.
A year later, the “Heartburn Turn” proved to be chaotic for a race leader that appeared to spell doom and changed the outcome.
Or did it?
Battling straight through the field, it meant a comeback victory, and a burnout in the exact spot that nearly cost a victory, and a photo opportunity of a young man rising from the smoke, like the Phoenix coming back ready for battle.
Last year’s action had many unexpected and chaotic moments, and that was even before the Cup guys took to the track. An absolute monsoon of an afternoon turned into night, as the rain tires got a lot of action, resulting in vision issues, and a soaked field.
One day later, for the first time, the Cup Series had the rain tires on for competition, although the amount of time they were on was short.
This “Roval” has become infamous, and set the tone for other tracks allowing NASCAR to run their own road courses. Look at the addition of Daytona last year, albeit because of the pandemic taking away both Sonoma and Watkins Glen, and then Indianapolis going from the big track to the road course. Each have now their own unique chapters in road course history for the sport.
Charlotte took a chance in going road racing, and what it’s produced is unexpected moments, short-track style attitudes, an an elimination race that is never going to disappoint.
The 2021 edition is ready to get wild, and we have to dust off these curbs, rumble strips, and a few turtles, before getting to that checkered flag.