The Charlotte Motor Speedway track will be the venue for a Round of 12 playoff race in October as the NASCAR series for 2022 reaches its dizzying climax.
The complex in Concord, North Carolina played host to the Coca-Cola 600 race back in May, as it has done since 1960, and that edition broke NASCAR records for the longest ever race as Denny Hamlin of the Joe Gibbs Racing team prevailed in a time of 5:13 across an arduous 619 miles.
That was the second win of the season for superfast driver and NC burger joint owner Hamlin, who had earlier prevailed at the Toyota Owners 400 race in Virginia. However, the 41-year-old is still a long way back in the driver’s standings, with, at the time of writing on July 5th, Chase Elliott leading the way on 624 points.
He’s playing your song, No. 9 crew! 🎸🏁
Make that 15 career NASCAR Cup Series wins for Chase Elliott. pic.twitter.com/dhELtqfchn
— FOX: NASCAR (@NASCARONFOX) June 27, 2022
Unsurprisingly, Elliott leads the way in the sportsbooks’ NASCAR odds at +500, although he is closely followed on +600 by WISE Power 400 winner Kyle Larson and +800 chance, Ross Chastain, who triumphed in both the EchoPark Texas Grand Prix and the GEICO 500.
There are still eight regular-season races to be contested before the playoffs get underway in September with the first Round of 16 race at the Darlington Raceway in South Carolina.
Queen City Set for Royal Rumble
With the schedule shaping up as it is, there’s every chance that Charlotte will play a key role in determining the destination of the NASCAR Championship in 2022. The Concord venue is considered to be one of the premier racetracks in the United States and has hosted NASCAR action for more than six decades.
It has welcomed other forms of racing too, but it’s NASCAR that attracts the most attention and draws the most spectators to the city: around 100,000 crammed into the bleachers for the Coca-Cola 600 earlier this year.
The track is owned and operated by Speedway Motorsports, and their president Marcus Smith said: “This event, I like to say, it’s not growing old. It’s growing more legendary. It’s just one of those things now that for generations — we’re on the fourth generation of fans that are coming to the Coca-Cola 600. What a special thing.”
It was with great sadness that the All-Star Race was moved from Charlotte to the Texas Motor Speedway track in 2021, although that venue in the Lone Star State is not short of critics – perhaps Charlotte, which hosted the All-Star jolly uninterrupted between 1987 and 2019, will be called upon once again to take on hosting duties in the near future.
Cashing Checks in the Bank of America
The next time that the NASCAR series rolls into North Carolina, there will be just five races remaining in the season. Therefore, the Bank of America Roval 400 will surely play a key role in determining who will land the title, especially so given that a number of drivers with genuine championship chances have performed well in Charlotte before.
Charlotte 🧹@KyleLarsonRacin wins every stage of the #CocaCola600, leading 300+ laps to take the 🏁 pic.twitter.com/rQDIEzmGZX
— Xfinity Racing (@XfinityRacing) May 31, 2021
Chase Elliott, the favorite to win NASCAR 2022, has twice prevailed on the Roval circuit, while track specialist and defending champion Kyle Larson, Ryan Blaney, and Martin Truex Jr have also taken the chequered flag in first place in the Queen City.
Add into the mix Chase Briscoe, the Ruoff Mortgage 500 winner who broke the Charlotte lap record in the 2018 NASCAR Xfinity Series 2018, and it can be said with some confidence that the Bank of America Roval 400 will be one of the most fiercely-contested races of the season.
So, if you are in town on October 9th, you are guaranteed entertainment a-plenty if you head down to the Motor Speedway track.