I always thought it was bold step by Bruton and Marcus Smith to build the "Roval" at Charlotte Motor Speedway and make this fall's Playoff shootout a road race.  I was genuinely excited about the prospect of broadcasting the new version of the Bank of America 500, but, after watching the final day of last week's Goodyear tire test, I feel like a kid at Christmas who doesn't want to wait until September 30th to unwrap his present.

Standing high atop the 2.28-mile road course with my PRN cohorts Doug Rice, Brad Gillie and Rob Albright we were there to figure out broadcast positions and how many additional turn announcers we'd need for the portion of the track that snakes through the infield.  That was settled fairly quickly, and then we spent the rest of the time speculating on how this event is going to play out.

As we watched Trevor Bayne, Kyle Larson, Kyle Busch and Paul Menard runs laps, we all agreed the crazy combination of a road course and a high-banked speedway was certainly a different animal, much different than the other two tracks they have to turn left AND right - Watkins Glen and Sonoma.

When he met with a few of us media members during the lunch break, I asked Menard how the Roval compared to those tracks and it turns out it's combination of the two. "It's definitely a unique race track for a road course. We run Sonoma which is very slow and slippery. We run Watkins Glen which is fast, kind of a backwards oval. It's kind of in the middle. It has the slow and slippery in the infield and the real high speeds on the banking."

"It feels like Watkins Glen, but much slower.  The infield part of the track feels like a true road course. It's pretty wide and has some nice flow to it."

The Wisconsin driver also admitted the track is treacherous.  "We've torn up a few cars so far during the test, between myself and the two Kyles, and I think we'll see a lot more of that when we come back," he said.  "You're used to coming up on the banking and going to fourth gear, sticking it in, and that's it. Now, we're going down to second gear, spending most of the time in second gear, very little third gear and a little of fourth gear. It's different and you have to retrain yourself a little bit."

"By yourself, just trying to make lap times, it's very hairy.  There's no room for error. To try and push a little harder, you're going to put yourself in trouble. You put 39 other guys out there and it's just going to escalate it."

With no runoff area the Roval has the feel of a bowling alley with gutters on both sides. "There are walls all around you and there are no escape routes." Menard explained. "At Sonoma you go out in the dirt and come back on, worst case you fill the grill full of dirt.  Here's there's wall all around."

Then, there's that tight, right hand turn into the infield that could turn into "Calamity Corner".  Menard acknowledged that has the potential to be a real trouble spot. "You have the cones. You have the curbs and it's just really narrow. Visually, it's kind of hard to see a couple of cars running through there without making contact."

All this means the Bank of America 500 is going to be totally unpredictable and, added with Martinsville and Talladega, with make for a third crap shoot in the nine Playoff races that will decided Homestead's final four. Making the Roval even more intriguing is the fact it's the round one cut off race. There's not one driver in the garage who wants to go into that event in a must-win situation with his championship aspirations on the line and with good reason. He could do everything right and it could still go all wrong.

I believe we are in for a very special race, dripping with drama and filled with more than a few sudden twists and turns.  A mystery book with every page leading to a surprise ending.

So, my mom is not going to let me open my Roval "Christmas present" early, but it is sure going to be fun shaking the box.