This weekend, drivers in two NASCAR series will each get at least two opportunities to use the new restart zone at the Charlotte Motor Speedway Roval.
The NASCAR Cup Series’ Bank of America Roval 400 and the NASCAR Xfinity Series’ Drive for the Cure 250 will each feature two stage breaks.
Sunday will mark the first Cup Series road course race with stage breaks since The Roval last year. For the Xfinity Series, it is the first non-standalone road course race this year with stage breaks.
In January, the sanctioning body eliminated stage breaks for all road course races in the NASCAR Cup Series – and all non-standalone road course races in the Xfinity Series and Craftsman Truck Series.
The sanctioning body said Fan Council data and industry discussions led to the rule change. They believed teams could use more varied pit strategies, which could shake up the feel and flow of the race.
NASCAR cited a similar reason for why they will bring back the stage breaks at The Roval this weekend.
“Our five previous Cup road course races were competitive. But, we felt like there were some things we could that would potentially make our races better. Working closely with our broadcast partners and industry stakeholders, we felt the timing was right [to do this],” said Elton Sawyer, the senior vice president of competition for NASCAR.
According to NASCAR, this change is unconfirmed for road course races in 2024.
NEW RESTART ZONE
This weekend at The Roval, the restart zone will be at the exit of the frontstretch chicane.
After experimenting with it at Portland, Indianapolis and Chicago, NASCAR deemed it a success and will replicate it this weekend.
“We felt like it really gave us some great racing. As you look at the Roval, we’ll do the same thing. The restart zone at the exit of the chicane will give some separation between the rows as they go off into turn 1,” Sawyer stated.
Chris Buescher, who boasts the best road course average finish (8.0) and most top-10s (4) of any driver this season, is a fan.
“Trying to move the restart zone and make it so we aren’t driving in there five-wide. I think that is the big part. [If the restart zone would’ve been on the frontstretch] there at Chicago, COTA, you go into the corner five-wide. Something has to give and it usually isn’t a driver. It is usually a toe link or a bumper or something. We are all a little hard headed. Anything we can do to help smooth that out will certainly be a big help,” Buescher said.
Buescher finished 8th at COTA, 4th at Sonoma, 10th at Chicago, 11th in Indianapolis and 7th at Watkins Glen.
The RFK Racing driver sits 19 points above the cutline entering the Charlotte Roval. He has finishes of 3rd and 6th in 2021 and 2022 at the Roval.
The NASCAR Cup Series’ Bank of America Roval 400 is scheduled for Sunday, Oct. 8, at 2 p.m. ET.
The NASCAR Xfinity Series’ Drive for the Cure 250 is scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 7, at 3 p.m. ET.