NASCAR driver Bubba Wallace traded in his No. 43 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 for a road grader and smooth drum roller this week, assisting Charlotte Motor Speedway crews as they began track preparations for the Bank of America Roval 400 in September.
Driving heavy machinery provided by Granite Contracting in Cornelius, Mr. Wallace helped spread and pack dirt on Tuesday, July 30, along the modified backstretch chicane that, when completed, will measure 54 feet across at its widest point. The chicane’s original layout was 32 feet wide at its widest point, a condition that caused several crashes during last year’s race.
The upgrades will create more passing opportunities for this year’s Roval 400, scheduled for Sunday, September 29, at the Speedway, but will also require that drivers sharpen their entries and brake harder at times. The race features 17 turns.
“It’s going to give us a better option to go through there and attack a little bit harder,” said Mr. Wallace, who crashed in the backstretch during a practice run prior to last year’s race. “We’re definitely going to be slowing down a bit more than what we were last year. I think the biggest thing we have is that we’ll have runoff room now.”
“Some drivers, like Bubba, tried to widen it on their own but after taking some consideration, we’ve decided to widen it on our own,” said Greg Walter, Charlotte Motor Speedway’s executive vice president and general manager. “It’s a great passing zone and a great area for side-by-side racing.”
The modified backstretch chicane will make its debut during the Bojangles’ Qualifying on Friday, September 27.
Tickets for both the Roval 400 and Bojangles’ Qualifying can be purchased by visiting www.charlottemotorspeedway.com/tickets, or by calling 1-800-455-FANS (3267).