DiBenedetto: Redesigned Roval chicane will test bravery

Matt DiBenedetto got a sneak peak of the Charlotte Motor Speedway Roval’s redesigned backstretch chicane and likes what he sees.

DiBenedetto: Redesigned Roval chicane will test bravery

DiBenedetto was able to take several laps in a pace car on Tuesday on the recently completed backstretch chicane on the Roval. Although the lines have not been painted or the curbs put in place, cones were used to make the new design.

In its debut races last season in the NASCAR Cup and Xfinity series, the backstretch chicane’s original layout was 32 feet wide at its widest point, while the new version will be 54 feet at its widest point and will feature additional runoff areas.

All of which results in a “drastic change” to the combination oval track and road course layout.

“It’s definitely going to 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,” DiBenedetto said. “This one being on a full straightaway is what will create a really hard, straight-line braking zone. 

Matt DiBenedetto at Charlotte Motor Speedway

Matt DiBenedetto at Charlotte Motor Speedway

Photo by: Charlotte Motor Speedway

“Harder braking zones on a road course is what we want and love and what makes road course racing great because hard braking zones equal passing zones. 

“You have to slow down – and you will have to slow down exponentially more than you did last year coming into this chicane.”

DiBenedetto found that out quickly, nearly blowing through the cones on one of his runs through the chicane in the pace car.

“I almost drove it in too far and blew through where we have the cones right now set up. It’s just sneaks up on you so quick, it’s so different than last year, I think it’s going to be really, really easy to carry too much speed in there,” he said. 

“You can definitely miss your braking zone, it’s so sharp on entry that it’s going to make it more of a challenge. You can try to get a run on it through oval Turns 1 and 2 coming down this backstretch and you’ll try to out-brake the person and that will create excitement and see who’s most brave. 

“Someone is going to have to give by the time you get to the chicane – two people aren’t going to fit through there.”

This year’s Cup and Xfinity series races on the 19-turn, 2.28-mile course will be Sept. 28 and 29. The Cup series races will serve as the cutoff race for Round 1 of the playoffs.

Matt DiBenedetto at Charlotte Motor Speedway

Matt DiBenedetto at Charlotte Motor Speedway

Photo by: Charlotte Motor Speedway

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