Now, everyone can call it the 'Roval.'
On Monday, Charlotte Motor Speedway took the final steps in unveiling its road course-oval hybrid track, widely known up until now as the 'Roval'. The fall race, which will be held on Sept. 30, is officially the Bank of America ROVAL 400.
The race will be 400 kilometers long, or 109 laps on the 2.28-mile combination course, making it the longest road course in NASCAR.
This latest announcement essentially ends the two-year process of developing and fine-tuning the Roval, something that has been a personal project of Speedway Motorsports, Inc. president and CEO Marcus Smith.
"To NASCAR's credit, they gave us a lot of credit and a lot of leeway, I think, because of the history we have with NASCAR," Smith said. "We do things the right way. We always try to out-do ourselves and exceed expectations, and so they gave us a lot of leeway with that. There was a willingness to work with us from the beginning on this whole project."
To go along with the announcement, NASCAR executive vice president and chief racing development officer Steve O'Donnell confirmed that the stages for the inaugural ROVAL 400 will be 25 laps, 25 laps, and 59 laps.
The Roval follows in a series of innovative measures for Charlotte Motor Speedway, which has been 'first' to take many creative steps throughout its history. The track sports the longest race in NASCAR, but it was also the first to offer track-side condominiums and to host a movie premiere (Disney's Cars in 2006).
"It's part of what we do," Smith said. "It's part of the DNA of Charlotte Motor Speedway to break new ground and do things that have never been done before."
But for all the excitement surrounding the Roval from NASCAR's executives, there has been an equal amount of skepticism from some of the sport's top drivers. In previous tests at the Roval — which ultimately resulted in editing the course and eliminating several turns, dropping it down to its current configuration with 17 — drivers have expressed concerns about how the course will drive.
Add in that the ROVAL 400 is the first cutoff, or elimination, race in this season's playoffs, and it's easy to understand why those drivers might be nervous. There will be further testing on the final course on July 10 and July 17, with half of NASCAR's Cup Series drivers participating on each day.
The ROVAL 400 will also be the first road course in NASCAR's playoff history.
"It is going to be intense," Smith said. "It's a cutoff race for the playoffs, and I think that really plays a huge factor for drivers who are on the bubble, so to speak, from the first round to the second.
"This is a race they're going to be hoping to survive."