Charlotte may be race of the year

By Jenna Fyer

The Associated Press

CONCORD, N.C. — Charlotte Motor Speedway already has a win for the buzz it created by taking a bulldozer to its infield and building something new to NASCAR.

Charlotte’s “roval” will debut Sunday in a critical playoff race — a track unlike anything used before in NASCAR. It isn’t an oval or a road course; rather, it’s a hybrid that uses Charlotte’s existing speedway along with a winding course through the infield.

Fans haven’t been this excited for a race, for a track, in forever. The 17-turn, 2.28-mile course has a 35-foot change in elevation and everything about it is a mystery even after a handful of test sessions.

It is a lurking monster on the schedule that has terrified teams trying to guess what to expect.

“You’re on pins and needles, afraid you’re going to bust your butt,” said Jimmie Johnson, an eight-time winner on Charlotte’s oval.

That is an unsettling feeling before an elimination race that will cut four drivers from the 16-driver field. Drivers didn’t like it when Talladega Superspeedway was an elimination race because the Alabama track can be so unpredictable.

At least they could formulate a plan of attack at Talladega.

For the roval, no blueprint exits.

Drivers figured out a shortcut during a test session in July when they used an artificial chicane to cut time rather than to slow their speeds. NASCAR and Charlotte officials have addressed that, but other quirks may pop up as soon as drivers hit the track this week.

The roval has the potential to be one of the most memorable NASCAR events in decades, but it also could be a disaster or a demolition derby that makes professional race car drivers look like comedic amateurs. Still, the outcome doesn’t matter — well, it does for the four drivers who will be bounced from the playoffs — because this is already a winning moment for NASCAR.

Elsewhere:

SELINSGROVE SPEEDWAY: Re-drawing the outside pole after winning his heat race, Chris “Smokey” Madden took control of the Sears Craftsman Feature on lap one and never looked back, leading all 50 laps on his way to another $10,000 payday in the 20th running of the Late Model National Open. The $10,000 win in the 50-lap main event was Madden’s first career at Selinsgrove, 24th of his World of Outlaws career, and eighth overall this season at the wheel of the CMR No. 44.

Jim Yoder of Selinsgrove won the 20-lap limited late model feature.

There were 35 super late models and 37 limited late models at the Snyder County half-mile oval for Saturday’s crown jewel stock car racing event.

Selinsgrove Speedway will close out the 2018 season with the Tobias-Rose promotion World Series of Dirt Racing Oct. 11-14.

CLINTON COUNTY MOTOR SPEEDWAY: Jim Yoder led all but one lap and went on to win the inaugural CW “Skip” Smith Memorial Race for limited late model stock cars.

Johnny Bouse won the pro stock feature for the fourth time this season. The Smith Memorial winner became the tracks leading pro stock winner season.

Yoder and Johnny Bouse were presented trophies for their victories by Jason Smith, son and retired racer of the late CW Smith. Smith said, ” It’s a pleasure to present these trophies in my fathers name and be part of making this race possible.”

Bobby Sanso scored his third 270 micro sprint feature win of the year. Garret Bard won the 600 micro sprint main for the sixth time this season.

Clinton County Motor Speedway is in action Saturday October 20 with a two division super late model, pro stock racing program.

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