Matt DiBenedetto tries out widened backstretch chicane on Charlotte Motor Speedway Roval
On Tuesday, Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series driver Matt DiBenedetto became the first driver to try out the widened backstretch chicane of the Charlotte Motor Speedway Roval, ahead of the 2019 edition of the Bank of America Roval, scheduled for Sept. 29.
"I was just excited to check it out and be able to give some input on it," DiBenedetto said. "This one being on a full straightaway is what will create a really hard, straight-line braking zone. It's going to create an extra passing zone from what we had. It's definitely going to be be more of a challenge. I'm guessing you'll be going 30 miles per hour slower, so it's a drastic change, but it's better for the race. This will create a different opportunity that will change the outcome approaching the last corner of the track. Last year, this wasn't a passing zone. It was a momentum corner. This year, it's hard braking and it'll feel like a parking lot. It’s not just a small change; It affects our racing and our approach.”
The backstretch chicane of the course was widened with the aim of adding an additional passing opportunity. With the change, the chicane is 54 ft wide at its widest point. It was 32 ft. wide at its widest point for last year's race, the first for the Cup Series on the Charlotte Motor Speedway infield road course. Additional runoff areas also have been added.
“This is all about a very hard braking zone, a hard real left turn and another right,” Speedway Motorsports Inc. President and CEO Marcus Smith said. “It’s slow in but fast off. We think that’s going to set the cars up for a really great frontstretch chicane as well and give us a chance for more side-by-side racing.”
DiBenedetto finished 13th in the inaugural Cup Series race on the Roval. The 2018 race was won by Ryan Blaney.