Preview: NASCAR Cup Series Bank of America Roval 400 at Charlotte Motor Speedway

No one knows what to expect from NASCAR's inaugural Bank of America Roval 400.

Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

The time is finally here for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series to turn 109 laps at the long-awaited inaugural Bank of America 400 Roval at the Charlotte Motor Speedway Road Course. When the green flag drops at what can only be described as a road course contained within an oval track, no one knows what to expect other than hard turns, weaving, and drivers trying to get past the backstretch chicane.

With all the buzz surrounding the Bank of America Roval 400, it’s shaping up to be one of the most anticipated races of the season. Drivers and fans received a glimpse at the challenges that the 17-turn, 2.28-mile course presents during testing, practice, and qualifying, but no one really knows what to expect until all 40 drivers line-up to race. 

The Roval can prove to be a great opportunity for drivers that are looking to advance to the next round of the playoffs. “Four points out of the playoffs and you need a good opportunity and that’s exactly what this track is. We had a good test here and I made a lot of laps that were relatively comfortable and I enjoyed it,” said Clint Bowyer driver of the No. 14 Mobil 1/Advance Auto Parts Ford for Stewart-Haas Racing.

Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images

CHARLOTTE, NC - SEPTEMBER 28: Kurt Busch, driver of the #41 Haas Automation/Monster Energy Ford, poses with the Bojangles' Pole Award after posting the fastest lap during qualifying for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Bank of America Roval 400 at Charlotte Motor Speedway on Sept. 28, 2018 in Charlotte, North Carolina. 

The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Schedule:

Saturday, Sept. 29

11:00 a.m. - 11:50 a.m.: Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series second practice, NBC Sports App (Canada: TSN App) (Follow live)
12:10 p.m.: Xfinity Series Pole Qualifying, CNBC/NBC Sports App (Canada: TSN App) (Follow live)
1:30-2:20 p.m.: Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series final practice, CNBC/NBC Sports App (Canada: TSN2) (Follow live)
3 p.m.: Xfinity Series Drive for the Cure 200 presented by Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina (55 laps, 125.4 miles), NBCSN/NBC Sports App (Canada: TSN2) (Follow live)

PRESS PASS (Watch live)
12:00 p.m.: Sonoma Raceway announcement with Steve Page, Jeff Gordon, and Marcus Smith
1:40 p.m.: DeAngelo Williams, Drive for the Cure 200 presented by Blue Cross and Blue Shield Honorary Pace Car Driver
5:15 p.m.: Post-NASCAR Xfinity Series race

Sunday, Sept. 30

Bank of America Roval: (Follow live)
The Place: Charlotte Motor Speedway Road Course
The Time: Approximately 2:00 p.m. EST
TV: NBCSN, 1:00 p.m. EST
Radio: PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio
Distance: 248.52 miles (109 Laps); Stage 1 (Ends on Lap 25), Stage 2 (Ends on Lap 50), Final Stage (Ends on Lap 109)

PRESS PASS (Watch live)
10:45 a.m.: Sherry Pollex, Honorary Pace Car Driver
11:00 a.m.: Daniel Hemric, Baseball Hall of Famer Chipper Jones, and Matt Duff former Major League Baseball pitcher
11:20 a.m.: Smokey Yunick Award
12:45 p.m.: Ron Rivera, Grand Marshal
5:30 p.m.: Post-Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race

Starting Lineup

(Position, Driver, Manufacturer, Speed)

1. Kurt Busch, Ford, 106.868
2. A.J. Allmendinger, Chevrolet, 106.811
3. Alex Bowman, Chevrolet, 106.800
4. Chase Elliott, Chevrolet, 106.596
5. Kyle Larson, Chevrolet, 106.574
6. Jimmie Johnson, Chevrolet, 106.462
7. Clint Bowyer, Ford, 106.332
8. Jamie McMurray, Chevrolet, 106.104
9. Ryan Blaney, Ford, 105.919
10. Chris Buescher, Chevrolet, 105.556
11. Daniel Hemric, Chevrolet, 105.507
12. Erik Jones, Toyota, 105.409
13. Martin Truex Jr., Toyota, 106.060
14. Kyle Busch, Toyota, 105.807
15. Joey Logano, Ford, 105.788
16. Trevor Bayne, Ford, 105.749
17. Daniel Suarez, Toyota, 105.687
18. Michael McDowell, Ford, 105.681
19. Kevin Harvick, Ford, 105.302
20. Aric Almirola, Ford, 105.189
21. William Byron, Chevrolet, 105.120
22. Paul Menard, Ford, 105.095
23. Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Ford, 104.884
24. Austin Dillon, Chevrolet, 104.709
25. Brad Keselowski, Ford, 104.647
26. Ty Dillon, Chevrolet, 104.620
27. Denny Hamlin, Toyota, 104.479
28. Matt DiBenedetto, Ford, 104.352
29. Ryan Newman, Chevrolet, 104.341
30. David Ragan, Ford, 104.033
31. Justin Marks, Chevrolet, 103.936
32. Regan Smith, Chevrolet, 103.549
33. Cole Whitt, Chevrolet, 103.260
34. Bubba Wallace, Chevrolet, 102.716
35. Ross Chastain, Chevrolet, 102.677
36. J.J. Yeley, Toyota, 102.034
37. Jeffrey Earnhardt, Toyota, 101.950
38. Landon Cassill, Chevrolet, 101.089
39. Stanton Barrett, Ford, 100.255
40. Timmy Hill, Toyota, 100.071

Challenges

The Roval has already proven to be the season’s toughest track to conquer and time is up for drivers to learn the course. Unlike practice and qualifying, which was filled with wrecks and mishaps, one mistake during the Bank of America 400 at the Charlotte Motor Speedway Road Course and your day (and playoff hopes) can be done. 

Early in the season after testing at the Roval, seven-time Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Champion Jimmie Johnson said, “You’re on pins and needles, afraid you’re going to bust your butt...There’s not a calm place around here.” Aric Almirola, Denny Hamlin, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Bubba Wallace, Austin Dillon, and Kyle Busch, who were all involved in incidents during practice and qualifying for the Roval found that out the hard way. When engines are fired for the first ever Roval, drivers will face an unpredictable situation, but fans are sure to be entertained.