This article is part of our Weekly Preview series.
We've reached the cut for the first round in the Chase for the Cup. This weekend's event at Charlotte Motor Speedway is race three of 10 in the playoff format that crowns the Monster Energy Cup Series champion. This event signals the end of the Round of 16 as four drivers will be eliminated from the field of 16 playoff drivers after this race.
For this very crucial race, NASCAR and Charlotte Motor Speedway offer the second annual road course race at the North Carolina oval. Last year the folks at CMS constructed a 2.28-mile, 17-turn road course that incorporates most of the 1.5-mile oval and additional twists and turns on the infield for what the track calls a "roval" course. The configuration and type is very similar to the road course that Daytona International Speedway uses for some of its racing series such as IMSA. This new wrinkle in the Chase lineup of tracks will be a real curveball for the drivers this weekend, as most are out of their comfort zone on a road course as opposed to a true oval. The fact that most of the field raced on the Roval last season will help with some familiarity, but it's still a major departure from the weekly NASCAR oval. For this season, CMS widened the back straightaway chicane. That will also help as several drivers smashed into the temporary barriers at that part of the course last year. When we add the newness of this event and