NASCAR: Roval race distance isn't final after Charlotte announces 500K race

Kurt Busch drives his car from the oval onto the road course during a test of the Roval course at Charlotte Motor Speedway in Concord, N.C., Wednesday, Oct. 18, 2017. The 2.42 mile Roval course is a combination of the track’s oval and the road course and will be used for the 2018 Bank of America 500 NASCAR Cup series auto race next October. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)

It seems Charlotte Motor Speedway jumped the gun in announcing the race distance for the 2018 race set to be held on the track’s roval.

As teams were testing tires for next year’s race on the hybrid road course and oval layout on Wednesday, CMS said the former Bank of America 500 (mile) race would be 500 kilometers, or approximately 311 miles and touted it as the longest road course race on the Cup Series schedule. Road course races at Sonoma and Watkins Glen are both about 220 miles.

But based on lap times at Wednesday’s test, 311 miles is a tad excessive. That distance translates to approximately 130 laps on the 2.42-mile course. And with laps at the test running approximately 90 seconds, some rough math shows the race would take over three hours without any caution flags.

With two guaranteed cautions for stage breaks and certain other cautions, that’s an impossibility. So It’s far more of a possibility the race would go four hours or more at that distance. Would NBC want a four-hour race? Last week’s race at Talladega had three red flags and still took less than four hours.

NASCAR released a statement Wednesday afternoon that said the race distance was to be determined. We have a feeling that if the 311-mile race was something official, NASCAR wouldn’t have issued this:

This week’s test provided valuable data that will be part of the equation in determining the distance for next fall’s race. We will continue working closely with our partners to develop the best event for fans and competitors alike.

We’d bet the Charlotte race settles in at somewhere around 250 miles. That way it can still tout itself as hosting the longest road course race in the series but at a much more palatable distance. Sorry, Bank of America, your race name may have to change.

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Nick Bromberg is the editor of Dr. Saturday and From the Marbles on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at nickbromberg@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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