“It’s crazy. It’s unique. It’s gonna put on a hell of a show, one way or another.”
That is how AJ Allmendinger describes the Charlotte Roval now.
It’s not much different than what he thought in January, when he was the first driver to make laps at the infield course of Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Allmendinger’s background prior to NASCAR included time in open-wheel Champ Cars, and it is generally accepted that he has better than average skill on this type of track. That is why he was part of the initial test of the Roval in January.
At the time, he said “the track has definitely got potential. … It’s a perfect mix for a race team to set up, whether you go for a full oval setup or somewhat of a road course setup. It’ll definitely be a big challenge for the teams.”
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Since then, Charlotte has made a lot of changes to the track, so NASCAR America’s Marty Snider caught up with Allmendinger on Tuesday after an open test and asked where he thought the biggest challenges would come from now.
“They put these weird chicanes on both sides of the straightaway. I didn’t have those (in January) and I was running – I think – about 195 (mph) into turn 3. So it’s definitely a little bit different. Obviously with a lot more cars running than the first time here.”
The infield is as challenging now as it was then.
“It’s still slick in the infield. But the first time here it was like running on an ice rink. … It’s still narrow and it’s still slick. It’s interesting. … it’s gonna be tight. It’s gonna be like a Sonoma in a sense where you’re gonna be having to be bouncing off one another to be two wide.
“It kind of reminds me like a Champ Car days, like I’m on a street course driving through the infield there because it’s so narrow.”
Allmendinger notes that there will be multiple trouble spots around the track.
“Turn 1, go into a tunnel there. So, you get into there side-by-side it’s gonna be interesting. But really the interesting thing are the two chicanes. … The backstretch chicane, you’re flying through there.”
For more, watch the video above.