(Photo: Courtesy of IMSA)

IMSA Is Coming to Charlotte ROVAL NASCAR Playoff Weekend

NASCAR is on the hunt to improve its racing events during this global pandemic, and its latest effort is a solid one: the series is adding an IMSA race (on Oct. 10) to its roster during the Bank of America ROVAL 400 event at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

The IMSA GT classes will hit the track for the first time on Friday, October 9 for a 60-minute practice session. The following night, viewers will be treated to a 100-minute race that encompasses all 17 turns of the ROVAL.

Greg Walter, executive vice president and general manager of Charlotte Motor Speedway, is pleased at this development: “When Speedway Motorsports CEO Marcus Smith first envisioned the ROVAL™, part of that vision included bringing new series to the track in addition to our classic NASCAR Cup Series events. We look forward to working in partnership with IMSA to provide a unique perspective to race fans and a one-of-a-kind challenge to the drivers who will be tasked with tackling this technically innovative course.”

IMSA President John Doonan echoed those sentiments, saying, “Our teams, drivers and manufacturers will appreciate this chance to acquaint themselves with the unique ROVAL circuit, and we expect it will be an entertaining event for race fans.”

While this will be a brand new circuit for IMSA, drivers who have contested in the series previously will be familiar with the road course-oval combo at Daytona International Speedway. Further details about the event will be released closer to the date.

The new round at Charlotte Motor Speedway’s ROVAL replaces the Northeast Grand Prix at Lime Rock Park on the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship schedule.  This race was originally scheduled for July 18, then pushed back to Halloween, then moved back up to Sep. 12, was officially cancelled Saturday by IMSA.

In addition to Lime Rock, IMSA also canceled the Sahlen’s Six Hours at the Glen at Watkins Glen International Saturday.  This race, originally scheduled for June 28, then pushed back to Oct. 4 before being moved to Sep. 6 to avoid a conflict with the Indianapolis 8 Hours, will be replaced by a six hour race at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta.  Both Watkins Glen and Lime Rock fell victim to the quarantine rules shared by New York, New Jersey and Connecticut.  At present, visitors from any foreign country, 34 different states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico have to quarantine for 14 days upon arrival in the state.  Nearly everyone involved with IMSA would have had to serve this quarantine.  With no exceptions being offered to racing series, the races simply cannot happen.

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Elizabeth Blackstock is lead IndyCar writer for Frontstretch, a freelance journalist, and a novelist. She earned her bachelor's degree at the University of Texas at Austin and is currently pursuing a dual MFA/MA degree at Arcadia University. She is in love with her car, a 2013 Mazda 2.

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