Marcus Smith says Charlotte Motor Speedway making upgrades to road course

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With Charlotte Motor Speedway using its 1.5-mile oval in the NASCAR Cup Series playoffs this October, the track is in the process of considering the road course for 2018.

In a phone call Thursday morning to NBC Sports, Speedway Motorsports Inc. CEO Marcus Smith addressed the prospect and said the track is making upgrades to its infield layout.

Smith said the track was extremely pleased by a test on its road course in January with A.J. Allmendinger.

“We learned a lot in that test,” Smith told NBC Sports. “We have done a lot to engineer a world-class road course that would include the ‘roval.’

“There are several truckloads of crash walls and catchfence on the way in, and I think it’s something that could definitely have a place on the (Cup) schedule in the future.”

Charlotte Motor Speedway has hosted Sports Car Club of America races on its road course, which is roughly more than 2 miles in length. The layout being considered for the Cup race would use most of the oval (all but a section of a few hundred feet between Turns 1 and 2).

Smith also said on a March 1 call for SMI investors that the company was working to “finish the enhancement of Charlotte Motor Speedway’s infield road course.”

The Cup schedule has two road-course events in the regular season: Sonoma and Watkins Glen International.

SMI announced Wednesday that Las Vegas Motor Speedway would receive a September race in next year’s Cup playoffs. If Charlotte were to run its October 2018 race on the road course, that would keep the number of 1.5-mile ovals at five in the 10-race title run.