Archives for Sonoma Raceway PR

Sonoma Raceway Introduces GoPro Grand Prix 5K at Verizon IndyCar Series Finale

SONOMA, Calif. (Aug. 4, 2016) – Race fans and fitness enthusiasts can enjoy a unique chance to stretch their legs before the Verizon IndyCar Series season finale on Sunday, Sept. 18. Sonoma Raceway will host the inaugural GoPro Grand Prix 5K just hours before the 85-lap main event. The GoPro Grand Prix 5K, which will…

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Sonoma Raceway to Add Panasonic LED Scoring Pylon, Displays

Sonoma Raceway to Add New Panasonic LED Scoring Pylon, Displays
Upgrades Will Bring On-Track Action Closer to Fans

SONOMA, Calif. (March 24, 2016) – Sonoma Raceway will offer fans an entirely new perspective on the racing action, as the wine country facility upgrades its spectator experience with more than 5,000 square feet of Panasonic LED digital signage.

Most notably, the raceway will replace its outdated lap/leader board, which has stood above Turn 1 of the road course since 1994, with an 85-foot tall, four-sided LED scoring tower. The new pylon will provide real-time running order for up to 20 positions, dynamic race-related graphics and fan information.

The new scoring tower will be located in approximately the same position above Turn 1, but is more than 26-feet taller than the old board and will be easily visible from almost every seating area around the road course. The new fan amenity will make its debut at the Toyota/Save Mart 350 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event, June 24-26.

In addition, the raceway will add an 84- x 12-foot Panasonic LED video board on the front of its three-story Drag Tower building. This video board will be easily viewed from the Main Grandstand, as well as the temporary grandstand during the Toyota NHRA Sonoma Nationals Mello Yello Drag Racing Series event in July.

“These two new displays are going to be spectacular and will correct what has been a major deficiency in the guest experience at Sonoma Raceway,” said raceway President and General Manager, Steve Page. “We can’t wait to fire them up.”

This new technology will allow the raceway to create and deliver videos, graphic overlays, real-time statistics, custom content and sponsor advertisements. The new displays will be utilized during all three Sonoma Raceway major event weekends, including the Toyota/Save Mart 350, Toyota NHRA Sonoma Nationals and GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma Verizon IndyCar Series Championship.

“We are delighted to be partnering once again with Sonoma Raceway and providing technologies that will help contribute to their fans’ satisfaction with each visit to the track,” said Don Szczepaniak, Panasonic executive vice president responsible for AV Solutions. “The new LED scoring pylon and extended length video board are designed to raise the excitement level and give fans a more immersive and memorable experience than ever before.”

Construction on the new video boards and displays is expected to begin at the end of March with the demolition of the old lap/leader board. Completion of the project is slated for early June.

For more information about the 2016 Sonoma Raceway event season or to purchase tickets, visit www.sonomaraceway.com or call 800-870-RACE.

Join the 5th Annual John’s March Against Stomach Cancer at Sonoma Raceway, Jan. 16

SONOMA, Calif. (Dec. 16, 2015) – Sonoma Raceway will utilize its 12-turn road course to continue the fight against stomach cancer, the third leading cause of cancer deaths worldwide, at the 5th annual John’s March Against Stomach Cancer on Saturday, Jan. 16.

The event is named in honor of the raceway’s longtime spokesman John Cardinale, who passed away in 2013 after a two-year battle with the disease, becoming one of nearly 723,000 people who will die from stomach cancer in the world this year.

John’s March offers a unique chance to raise funds for No Stomach For Cancer, a global advocate for stomach cancer awareness, early detection, treatment and prevention (www.nostomachforcancer.org), and enjoy a symbolic “march” around the raceway’s 2.52-mile road course. John’s March has raised more than $55,000 over the past four years and is the only major fundraiser for gastric cancer on the West Coast.

This year, participants are encouraged to raise awareness and increase their impact by creating a John’s March team page at www.crowdrise.com/JohnsMarch. This online registration tool is the perfect way to spread the word about John’s March and gastric cancer, and increase the funds generated for No Stomach for Cancer.

Registration for the event is a suggested minimum donation of $40 per person, which includes the walk/run, a T-shirt and light refreshments following the March. For those looking for more of challenge, 5K and 10K race distances will be also marked with timers. A shorter, less hilly course will be available for those who do not wish to complete the full 2.52-mile circuit.

Participants are also encouraged to bring pictures of loved ones affected by gastric cancer to share on the Memory Wall, which will honor those affected by the disease.

This is an all-inclusive event – children, pets, everyone is welcome. The raceway’s Wine Country Winner’s Circle will also be available for pictures before and after the march. No scooters or skateboards are allowed on track.

“I march for John because he was a beacon of hope for so many, and I can only do my best to be at least a pinch of that light,” said Sonoma’s Rachael Hairston. “I didn’t know John before his diagnosis; I just met him at the March. I can’t imagine not walking every year in his honor and in honor of all those affected by gastric cancer.”

No Stomach For Cancer is a non-profit group that works to increase awareness and education about stomach cancer, provide a support network for affected families and support research efforts for screening, early detection, treatment and prevention of stomach cancer.

Day-of registration begins at 7:30 a.m. on Saturday, Jan. 16, and the March begins at 9 a.m. Advance registration is not required; walk-ups are welcome and encouraged. Please note: only cash and checks will be accepted at the event, but credit cards are accepted in advance through the website. Checks should be made payable to No Stomach For Cancer, Inc.

For more information about John’s March, visit www.crowdrise.com/JohnsMarch

GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma: Pit Notes

 

SONOMA, Calif. (Aug. 26, 2015) — The Verizon IndyCar® Series returns to Sonoma Raceway this weekend for its season finale at the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma, Aug. 28-30. Below are some points of interest regarding previous INDYCAR events in Sonoma:

  • The GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma has featured seven different winners since the series’ first visit to Sonoma in 2005: Tony Kanaan, 2005; Marco Andretti, 2006; Helio Castroneves, 2008; Dario Franchitti, 2009; Ryan Briscoe, 2012; Will Power, 2010, 2011, 2013; and Scott Dixon, 2007 and 2014.
  • The 2014 GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma set the track record for most lead changes at 10 and most race leaders at eight.
  • The raceway unveiled a modified track layout in 2012, with changes to Turns 7, 9 and 11 designed to enhance passing. With the modifications, the track length is 12 turns, 2.38 miles and race distance was increased from 75 to 85 laps.
  • Will Power became the first repeat INDYCAR winner in Sonoma after claiming back-to-back wins in 2010 and 2011. He claimed his third victory in 2013.
  • Will Power set the track qualifying record in 2014 with a fast lap of 1 minute, 17.2393 seconds at 111.161 mph. Power boasts four poles in Sonoma (2010, 2011, 2012, 2014), the most of any driver.
  • Marco Andretti won his first-ever INDYCAR race at Sonoma Raceway in 2006.  At 19-years, 167 days, Andretti became the then-youngest driver in history to win a major open-wheel event.  Andretti also claimed victory in Sonoma in the 2005 Firestone Indy Lights event.
  • 2008 marked the first year that the unified INDYCAR and Champ Car World Series competed in the Sonoma Valley.
  • Will Power has led the most laps in INDYCAR competition at Sonoma Raceway with 250.
  • The 2005 INDYCAR event in Sonoma marked the first major open-wheel event at the Sonoma facility in 35 years and the first permanent road-course event in the 11-year history of INDYCAR.
  • Takuma Sato set the track record for the biggest improvement from qualifying to finish at 16 when he went from 20th to 4th during the 2014 main event.
  • Helio Castroneves, Scott Dixon and Tony Kanaan are the only drivers who have competed in all 10 INDYCAR events in Sonoma.
  • Four of the 10 GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma winners have started from the pole (Castroneves, Franchitti, Power – twice).
  • The Sonoma Raceway road course features more than 160 feet of elevation change from its highest point (Turn 3a, 174 feet) to its lowest point (Turn 10, 14 feet).

Boy Scouts Centennial Conclave at GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma

Brotherhood at the Raceway to Host More Than 400
Northern California Scouts
 

SONOMA, Calif. (Aug. 25, 2015) – More than 400 Boy Scouts are expected to attend the Verizon IndyCar Series championship weekend at the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma, Aug. 28-30, for a very special West Region centennial conclave.

The Scouts will enjoy one or two nights of camping in a reserved area of Sonoma Raceway, activity workshops, physical challenges, including a rock wall and obstacle course, a catapult competition, section officer elections and a Brotherhood Ceremony. This marks the first time Sonoma Raceway has ever hosted a Scouting event of this size.

The conclave concludes on Sunday, Aug. 30, as the Boy Scouts clean camp and head down from the campsite to the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma Verizon IndyCar Series finale. The scouts will enjoy 85 laps of high-speed, open-wheel action from their designated seating section in Turn 9.

The centennial conclave, also called Brotherhood at the Raceway, will feature Boy Scout troops from the Western 3N section of the Order of the Arrow, which includes most of Northern California and Nevada.  Troops include Sacramento’s Golden Empire Council, Pleasant Hill’s Mount Diablo Silverado Council, Santa Rosa’s Redwood Empire Council, San Rafael’s Marin Council and Reno’s Nevada Area Council. The Scouts will range in age from eight to 20 years old.

Tickets are still available for the Verizon IndyCar Series season finale at the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma, including the popular Total Access Package, which includes a Sunday reserved ticket, pit and pre-race access and garage pass all for $99.  Kids 12-and-under are admitted FREE all weekend and parking is FREE. For more information, visit racesonoma.com/indycar or call 800-870-7223. For more information on the Order of the Arrow and upcoming section conclaves, visitwww.oasections.com.

Pirelli World Challenge, Formula Car Challenge Round Out Verizon IndyCar© Championship Weekend

 

 

SONOMA, Calif. (Aug. 19, 2015) – Sonoma Raceway is set to host an action-packed weekend of racing, as two series join the Verizon IndyCar® Series Championship Weekend at the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma, Aug. 28-30.

The Pirelli World Challenge returns to Sonoma Raceway for the fifth consecutive year featuring doubleheader racing in both the Grand Touring (GT)/GTA and GT Cup  and Grand Touring Sport (GTS) classes. The series features top-notch sports car drivers and no scheduled pit stops or driver changes. The World Challenge is the only North American sports car series featuring a standing start and boasts all the top manufacturer brands from around the world. The weekend will feature GT/GTA/GT Cup and GTS practice on Friday, qualifying and race 1 in each class on Saturday and a second race in both classes on Sunday.

 

To provide audiences with a good show throughout race weekend, theSaturday races will having rolling starts, while the series’ traditional standing start will be used for Sunday races..

 

The weekend will also feature open-wheel racing in three classes of the Formula Car Challenge presented by Goodyear (FCC) series. The 14-race series features three classes of vehicles on track at the same time, but compete for points and championships only within their respective classes. This will mark the fifth time the FCC will be paired with the Verizon IndyCar® Series in the Sonoma Valley. Past events have had 33-35 cars on the grid, making this one of the largest open-wheel races in the country.

 

The FCC is the premier open-wheel motorsports series on the west coast. It was founded in 2005 to develop future motorsports teams, drivers, engineers and crew members. The series offers a platform in which costs can be carefully controlled, creating a level playing field for drivers.

 

Formula Car Challenge alumni boast impressive accomplishes, including going on to win Indy Lights championships, racing in the Verizon IndyCar Series and winning the 12 Hours of Sebring.

 

Tickets are now available for the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma, including preferred parking, garage access, pit and pre-race passes. Kids 12-and-under are admitted FREE all weekend and general parking is FREE. For more information, visitracesonoma.com/indycar or call 800-870-RACE (7223).

 

Seven Verizon IndyCar Series Drivers Complete One-Day Test in Sonoma: Seven Indy Lights Drivers Also Hit the Track

SONOMA, Calif. (Aug. 13, 2015) – Seven Verizon IndyCar® Series drivers completed a one-day test session at Sonoma Raceway on Thursday.

With only two races left in the season, a total of six teams tested the 12-turn, 2.38-mile road course in preparation for the series season finale at the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma, Aug. 28-30. It marked the only IndyCar test scheduled for Sonoma before race weekend.

Participants included Juan Pablo Montoya and Will Power (Team Penske), Graham Rahal (Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing), Scott Dixon (Target Chip Ganassi Racing), Marco Andretti (Andretti Autosport), Sebastien Bourdais (KVSH Racing) and Ryan Briscoe (Schmidt Peterson Motorsports).

“We came up one lap short here last year, but we’re in a much better position headed into the race this year,” said Rahal, who is currently second in points behind Montoya. “I prefer to have the finale here, on a road course. The new car is pretty physical around here. We’re going to have our hands full, and we’ll need to be on top of our game.”

For the first time in series history, the Verizon IndyCar® Series championship will be decided on a road course, as the 2015 season comes to a close at the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma, Aug. 28-30. The list of drivers testing on Thursday included six of the 10 drivers mathematically eligible for the title, with double points on the line at the finale.

“Double points will definitely be interesting here with the hairpins and different strategies; you definitely won’t know until the end who’s going to win the championship,” said Dixon, two-time Sonoma winner and currently third in the point standings.

Mikhail Aleshin, who sustained injuries in a post-qualifying practice crash atthe 2014 Verizon IndyCar Series season finale, also got behind the wheel of a Schmidt Peterson Motorsports car for a refresher test.

“Everything is going very well, as it’s my first drive in an Indy car since my crash in Fontana. I feel like I’m home,” said Aleshin.

Seven Indy Lights drivers, including the top three in the championship standings, shared the test day in Verizon IndyCar Series cars. Participating Indy Lights drivers included Matthew Brabham (Andretti Autosport), Sean Rayhall (Chip Ganassi Racing), Ryan Phinny (KVSH Racing), Ed Jones (Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing), Jack Harvey (Schmidt Peterson Motorsports), Spencer Pigot and Nelson Piquet Jr. (Team Penske).

The 85-lap, high-stakes race in Sonoma carries double points, with 100 awarded to the winner, 80 for second, 70 for third, etc., along with the regular four bonus points over three categories (Verizon P1 Award winner, leading a lap, leading the most laps). Montoya holds a nine-point advantage over Rahal entering the penultimate race of the season Aug. 23 at Pocono Raceway. Dixon, who won last August at Sonoma Raceway, is 34 points out of first place.

For tickets to the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma, call 800-870-RACE (7223) or visit racesonoma.com/indycar. Great packages are available, including the popular Total Access pass, which gets you a race-day reserved-seat ticket in any section and a Garage/Pit/Pre-race pass for just $99.

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GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma

Verizon IndyCar Series Season Finale

WHEN: Aug. 28-30

CIRCUIT: 12-turn, 2.38-mile road course

2014 POLE WINNER: Will Power (Team Penske)

2014 WINNER: Scott Dixon (Target Chip Ganassi Racing)

INFORMATION: 800-870-RACE (7223), racesonoma.com/indycar

SOCIAL MEDIA: @RaceSonoma; #GoProGP

 

Roger Penske to be Inducted into Sonoma Raceway Wall of Fame

Roger Penske to be Inducted into Sonoma Raceway Wall of Fame

SONOMA, Calif. (Aug. 12, 2015) – Roger Penske, one of the most renowned figures in auto racing, will be inducted into the Sonoma Raceway Wall of Fame later this month during the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma Verizon IndyCar Series season finale, Aug. 28-30.

Penske, the founder of Penske Corporation, owns multiple teams competing in the Verizon IndyCar Series, NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and NASCAR XFINITY Series under the Team Penske banner. Team Penske is one of the most successful teams in the history of professional sports. Competing in a variety of disciplines, cars owned and prepared by Team Penske have produced 416 major race wins, over 478 pole positions and 27 National Championships.

Penske also holds an impressive record at Sonoma Raceway, including the record for winningest IndyCar Series team owner with five victories (2008, 2010-2013). His team has a total of 11 IndyCar Series podium finishes and five pole positions on the challenging road course, and Team Penske driver Will Power has led the most laps at 250. Team Penske also completed an impressive podium sweep in 2011, when Power, Helio Castroneves and Ryan Briscoe swept the top-three spots in the Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma.

Penske has also earned two NASCAR Sprint Cup Series victories in Sonoma, with Rusty Wallace in 1996 and Kurt Busch in 2011.

“Everyone at Team Penske is proud of our accomplishments at Sonoma Raceway,” said Penske. “It is a fantastic venue for both INDYCAR and NASCAR, and they are first-class in everything they do. I’m honored to go into the Sonoma Raceway Wall of Fame to represent everyone at Team Penske who has contributed to our success.”

Penske will be inducted into the Sonoma Raceway Wall of Fame during a ceremony in the Wine Country Winner’s Circle on Saturday, Aug. 29. at 1:15 p.m. He will become the 20th member of the raceway’s Wall of Fame, joining the likes of Jeff Gordon (NASCAR), Rick Hendrick (NASCAR) and John Force (NHRA). The recognition joins the list of many accolades for Penske, including his induction into the Automotive Hall of Fame in July.

“Roger Penske’s touch is evident in virtually every segment of our industry, as a competitor, team owner, promoter and as an overall catalyst for the advancement of motor racing,” said Steve Page, Sonoma Raceway president and general manager. “In honoring Roger on the Sonoma Raceway Wall of Fame, we recognize not only the terrific record of success he has had at this facility, but also a lifetime of contributions to our sport.”

The Wall of Fame is designed to honor those who have excelled not only in their form of motor racing, but more importantly, in Sonoma. Each inductee is recognized during a ceremony with a marble plaque engraved with his/her likeness. All of the plaques are placed onto the Wall of Fame, which is located behind the main grandstand.

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GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma
Verizon IndyCar Series Season Finale
WHEN: Aug. 28-30
CIRCUIT: 12-turn, 2.38-mile road course
2014 POLE WINNER: Will Power (Team Penske)
2014 WINNER: Scott Dixon (Target Chip Ganassi Racing)
INFORMATION: 800-870-RACE (7223), racesonoma.com/indycar
SOCIAL MEDIA: @RaceSonoma; #GoProGP

Verizon IndyCar Series Teams Set to Test at Sonoma Raceway, Aug. 13

Verizon IndyCar Series Teams Set to Test at Sonoma Raceway, Aug. 13

Six of 10 Drivers Eligible for Series Title to Test 

SONOMA, Calif. (Aug. 6, 2015) – Race fans are invited to enjoy a taste of Verizon IndyCar Series action at a free test session at Sonoma Raceway onThursday, Aug. 13.

Seven Verizon IndyCar Series drivers are currently confirmed for the one-day test, which marks the teams’ final chance to prepare for the series season finale at the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma, Aug. 28-30. Seven Indy Lights drivers, including the top three in the championship standings, will share the test day in Verizon IndyCar Series cars.

The lineup includes many of the series’ top teams and drivers, with Indy Lights drivers in parentheses:

  • Andretti Autosport: Marco Andretti (Matthew Brabham)
  • Chip Ganassi Racing Teams: Scott Dixon (Sean Rayhall)
  • KVSH Racing: Sebastien Bourdais (Ryan Phinny)
  • Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing: Graham Rahal (Ed Jones)
  • Schmidt Peterson Motorsports: Ryan Briscoe (Jack Harvey)
  • Team Penske: Juan Pablo Montoya, Will Power (Spencer Pigot, Nelson Piquet Jr.)

Mikhail Aleshin, who sustained injuries in a post-qualifying practice crash for the 2014 Verizon IndyCar Series season finale, will also get behind the wheel of a Schmidt Peterson Motorsports car for a refresher test. Schmidt Peterson Motorsports has filed an entry form with INDYCAR for Aleshin to drive in the season finale in Sonoma.

Testing will span from approximately 9 a.m.5 p.m.  Fans who purchase a ticket to the upcoming GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma that day, or have already purchased tickets, will be given a FREE pit tour for an up-close look at the racecars and drivers. The Raceway Café will also be open for lunch.

A press conference will be held during the lunch break and fans are invited to attend, pending space.

For the first time in series history, the Verizon IndyCar® Series championship will be decided on a road course, as the 2015 season comes to a close at the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma, Aug. 28-30. The list of Verizon IndyCar Series drivers testing on Aug. 13 includes six of the 10 drivers mathematically eligible for the title.

The 85-lap, high-stakes race carries double points, with 100 awarded to the winner, 80 for second, 70 for third, etc., along with the regular four bonus points over three categories (Verizon P1 Award winner, leading a lap, leading the most laps). Montoya holds a nine-point advantage over Rahal entering the penultimate race of the season Aug. 23 at Pocono Raceway. Dixon, who won last August at Sonoma Raceway, is 34 points out of first place.

For tickets to the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma, call 800-870-RACE (7223) or visit racesonoma.com/indycar. Tickets can also be purchased on-site at the test session. Great packages are available, including the popular Total Access pass, which gets you a race-day reserved-seat ticket in any section and a Garage/Pit/Pre-race pass for just $99.

Racing Power Couple Courtney Force and Graham Rahal Compete in Pre-Wedding Challenge

SONOMA, Calif. (July 22, 2015) – Motorsports power couple Courtney Force and Graham Rahal are due to wed this fall, but before they say “I do,” Sonoma Raceway put them through their paces with a one-of-a-kind couples’ skills challenge on Wednesday, July 22.

Force, NHRA’s winningest female driver, and Rahal, currently second in Verizon IndyCar Series points, squared off on the drag strip and road course, and in an old-fashioned grape stomp.

First, the couple took to the drag strip to race Traxxas remote controlled cars. Force dominated the best-of-three matchup on the 1/8-mile strip, besting Rahal in all three races.

“This is definitely my comfort zone, so I’m really glad I could beat him out here,” said Force, who pilots the Traxxas Chevy Camaro Funny Car. “It was fun to be out here on the drag strip racing against each other.”

The couple then headed to the Simraceway Performance Driving Center, located near Turn 1 of the road course, where they utilized simulators to pilot Indy cars around the 12-turn Sonoma Raceway road course. Rahal outpaced Force by almost a full lap to take the checkers in the five-lap race.

“I couldn’t let her win this one,” said Rahal, driver of the No. 15 Mi-Jack entry for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing. “This was a great way for Courtney to understand what it’s like to race on this road course. It’s really challenging, and almost impossible to describe. And, I think we might need to get one of these simulators at home.”

The final challenge came down to an old-fashioned grape stomp in the Wine Country Winner’s Circle, where the drivers slipped off their shoes, rolled up their pants and stomped grapes for three minutes in authentic wooden barrels. Force took the win by collecting the most juice from the grapes in her barrel.

In addition to bragging rights “for as long as they both shall live,” Force also received a magnum of Korbel champagne from the raceway.

“This was really fun,” said Force. “We’re both really competitive, but we’ve never gotten to do something head-to-head like this. It’s neat to do this together and try out each others’ disciplines. And, of course, I’m very glad I won.”

Force and Rahal will both compete at Sonoma Raceway in their respective series later this summer. Force, who beat her father in the final Funny Car round in Sonoma in 2014, will take to the drag strip at the NHRA Sonoma Nationals, July 31-Aug. 2.

Rahal, who boasts a best finish of fifth in Sonoma in the Verizon IndyCar Series, returns to wine country, Aug. 28-30, for the series’ season finale at the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma.

Sonoma Raceway is the only motorsports facility to host both the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series and Verizon IndyCar Series. For ticket or more information about upcoming events, visit www.RaceSonoma.com or call (800) 870-7223.

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