After participating in the Goodyear tire test on the Charlotte road course last week, both Kyle Busch and Trevor Bayne said racing there will be about survival.
But Busch is still concerned about the layout of the track. The Joe Gibbs Racing driver said Saturday in Martinsville that he has offered suggestions to SMI president and CEO Marcus Smith as well as Don Hawk, SMI senior vice president of business affairs.
“There were a couple corners that were a little iffy,” he said, “and they have an idea for changes to one of them, but not the other one.”
One area of concern was the frontstretch chicane. Added to the grass off of what would be Turn 4 of the Charlotte oval, the chicane cuts through the grass and comes back up onto the straightaway by the start/finish line.
“When you’re coming down onto the front straightaway and you have that zone in the infield grass and then you turn, you have a direct head-on impact into the wall on the front straightaway there, so that’s kind of a concern,” said Busch. “When we were testing it wasn’t bad because you could hop this curve and hop that curve, but then they wanted to straighten that out more from Turn 7 like at Sonoma, which is more of a 90-degree turn and would make that angle worse.
“I expressed my displeasure with that idea, and then we also had the same thing coming from Turn 7 to 8, where you’re braking in a zone and heading head-on into the front straightaway to get back on [what is] NASCAR [Turn] 1. [I suggested] softening up that corner as well and making that tighter and a softer corner, where you can corner that and get back on the main track a little softer.”
Overall, Busch gave the course a nod of approval.
“It’s a bit narrow and tight in places, but I think you have that at some other road courses that I have not been at that NASCAR has been at,” said Busch. “Montreal is really narrow too, and it puts on a decent show. I think it will be fine, it’ll just be different.”
Making changes would not be unexpected.
During the pre-season media tour, a revised layout was unveiled following driver feedback from a test late last year. This announcement is where the backstretch and frontstretch chicanes were added, and Turns 7 and 8 were extended leading onto Turn 1 oval portion of the course.
In a tweet Saturday night, Hawk revealed Busch’s concerns were going to be addressed.
.@dustinlong Thanks for relaying the Roval info. @KyleBusch had tremendous feedback and he was extremely candid and helpful. We have looked at and plan to try (I believe) everything he mentioned to CEO @MarcusSMI & @steveswift4 & myself. He really cared! Thanks KB. Hawk
— Donald Hawk (@HawkSMI) March 25, 2018