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Roval delivers another great show for the fans

Jeff Birchfield • Oct 1, 2019 at 12:00 PM

CONCORD, N.C. — In its first two years, the Charlotte Motor Speedway Roval is an overwhelming success.

Chase Elliott won Sunday’s Bank of America 400 on the track which combines the track’s oval track and an infield road course.

The race provides a great degree of unpredictably and the excitement normally seen on a short track.

For the second year in a row, the race leader drove straight into the wall on a late-race restart. Elliott, who had a dominant performance heading into Stage 3 and appeared on his way to a Sunday cruise for the race win, drove into the first turn too hard, locked up the brakes and slammed straight into the wall.

With less than 50 laps to go, his chances of winning looked to be over.

Elliott never gave up, taking advantage of a fast car and several cautions for wrecks to pass Kevin Harvick for the lead and later hold off his teammate Alex Bowman for the win.

The battle for the lead was just a small part of the action with drivers battling to advance in the NASCAR playoffs. Bowman was exhausted beside his car after the race. Bubba Wallace showed no sympathy, angry over Bowman spinning him out earlier in the race.

Wallace came up angrily and threw water in Bowman’s face.

They weren’t the only ones aggravated.

Ryan Newman, who also failed to advance in the playoffs, had a heated argument with Daniel Suarez in the pits. With all the drama, it was like a larger version of Bristol with the racing on the Roval instead of a short track.

The fall race at Charlotte had become somewhat of a bore in recent years. Two years of the ROVAL and two classic races. Jimmie Johnson and Martin Truex Jr. wrecked on the final turn the previous year opening the door for Ryan Blaney to pass both of their wrecked cars to win the race.

For fans, the Roval offers something not seen at other road courses. That is nearly a full view of the entire track. It also has the action of a short track race and with the combination and tight corners, retired driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. correctly termed it as the most difficult track on the circuit.

It’s one thing to see an open wheel race car navigate a street circuit, another entirely to see the bulky stock cars race around the challenging track.

As for the 23-year-old Elliott, he’s clearly the best road racer in NASCAR at the moment. With the ROVAL counted as a road course, he has three wins in the last five road course races.

Elliott, voted NASCAR’s Most Popular Driver, capped off his performance with a celebration for the ages. He drove to the exact spot where he wrecked race car and did a burnout with the car. He took off the seat belts, exited the car and raised his arms. His car backed into the inside wall, sending the fans into a frenzy.

It capped off a great show for the fans and truly makes the Charlotte Motor Speedway Oval one of the best tracks on the circuit.

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