NASCAR’s playoff twist for 2018? It’s a ROVAL, and it’s in Charlotte.

Charlotte Motor Speedway’s fall race will be run on the “ROVAL,” a combination of the track’s trioval and the infield road course. And it gets a new date.
Charlotte Motor Speedway’s fall race will be run on the “ROVAL,” a combination of the track’s trioval and the infield road course. And it gets a new date. Courtesy Charlotte Motor Speedway

NASCAR is adding a road course race to the playoffs – and it’s going to be in Charlotte.

On Tuesday, Charlotte Motor Speedway announced the 2018 Bank of America 500 will take place on its new ROVAL – a 2.4-mile, 13-turn course combining most of the outside track with a road course in the infield. It’s the first road course Cup series race in the history of the Speedway and the first road course to be featured in the Cup series playoffs since they began in 2003.

The Cup series hadn’t introduced a new track since 2011, when Kentucky Speedway joined the circuit. But with NASCAR looking to add a road course to its playoff series, it was hardly a secret that Charlotte Motor Speedway would unveil its new road course before long.

In January, A.J. Allmendinger – whose only Cup victory came at a road course in 2014 – tested a stock car on the ROVAL. Since then, decorated driver Mario Andretti and recent retirees Jeff Gordon and Jeff Burton took their turns on the course.

“The track has definitely got potential …” Allmendinger said. “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.”

The first race on the ROVAL course is scheduled for Sept. 30, 2018, and will conclude Round 1 of the Cup series playoffs.

Five other things to know about the 2018 Cup series schedule, which was announced Tuesday:

▪  The regular season will end at Indianapolis, with the Brickyard 400 moving from its traditional late-July slot to Sept. 9.

▪  The playoffs will begin at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, a new entrant on the postseason roster, on Sept. 16.

▪  Richmond, which had hosted the final regular-season race, moves into the playoffs with a Sept. 22, Saturday night race.

▪  Chicagoland falls out of the playoffs (in favor of that Las Vegas date), and the race there will be run on July 1.

▪  Dover gets a May 6 date in 2018, earlier than the traditional post-Charlotte June date.

2018 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series schedule:

Feb. 11: Daytona International Speedway (Clash / Daytona 500 Qualifying)

Feb. 18: Daytona 500

Feb. 25: Atlanta Motor Speedway

March 4: Las Vegas Motor Speedway

March 11: Phoenix Raceway

March 18: Auto Club Speedway

March 25: Martinsville Speedway

April 8: Texas Motor Speedway

April 15: Bristol Motor Speedway

April 21: Richmond International Raceway

April 29: Talladega Superspeedway

May 6: Dover International Speedway

May 12: Kansas Speedway

May 19: Charlotte Motor Speedway (All-Star Race)

May 27: Charlotte Motor Speedway

June 3: Pocono Raceway

June 10: Michigan International Speedway

June 24: Sonoma Raceway

July 1: Chicagoland Speedway

July 7: Daytona International Speedway

July 14: Kentucky Speedway

July 22: New Hampshire Motor Speedway

July 29: Pocono Raceway

Aug. 5: Watkins Glen International

Aug. 12: Michigan International Speedway

Aug. 18: Bristol Motor Speedway

Sept. 2: Darlington Raceway

Sept. 9: Indianapolis Motor Speedway

Sept. 16: Las Vegas Motor Speedway

Sept. 22: Richmond International Raceway

Sept. 30: Charlotte Motor Speedway

Oct. 7: Dover International Speedway

Oct. 14: Talladega Superspeedway

Oct. 21: Kansas Speedway

Oct. 28: Martinsville Speedway

Nov. 4: Texas Motor Speedway

Nov. 11: Phoenix Raceway

Nov. 18: Homestead-Miami Speedway