About Sonoma Raceway
The Sonoma Raceway marked 43 years of historic racing action in the Sonoma Valley during the 2013 season. Opened in 1968, then-Sears Point Raceway was constructed on 720 acres of property that was a working dairy farm in the early 1900s. The facility hosted its first official event, an SCCA Enduro, on Dec. 1 of that year. Since then, the facility has grown to 1,600 acres and expanded into one of the premier motor sports venues in the country, hosting 340 days of racing activity each year, including the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing, and the IZOD IndyCar® Series.
The twists of the 12-turn road course and the lightning-quick quarter-mile drag strip have hosted all of the biggest names and some of the most historic moments in racing history.
Below are a few memorable highlights from the 12-turn road course and the lightning-quick quarter-mile drag strip:
1968: Ground was broken in August and paving of the race surface was completed in November. The first official event at Sonoma Raceway (formerly Sears Point International Raceway) was an SCCA Enduro, held on Dec. 1, 1968.
1970: Dan Gurney wins a 150-mile USAC IndyCar race with a field that included Mario Andretti, Mark Donahue and Al Unser.
1977: Paul Ritter wins the first AMA Superbike event in Sonoma on a Ducati.
1988: The raceway hosts the first NHRA-sanctioned drag race. The winners were Joe Amato (Top Fuel), Mark Oswald (Funny Car) and Harry Scribner (Pro Stock).
1989: NASCAR makes its debut in the Sonoma Valley with Ricky Rudd taking the inaugural victory.
1995: The NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series is added to the track’s schedule for three years.
1996: The track is purchased by O. Bruton Smith and Speedway Motorsports, Inc.
2000: The raceway begins its four-year, $70 million Modernization Plan, which renovates and updates nearly all aspects of the facility.
2002: The facility announces that is has been renamed Infineon Raceway as part of a 10-year strategic partnership with Infineon Technologies.
2005: The IndyCar® Series returns to the Sonoma Valley after a 35-year hiatus. Tony Kanaan claimed the inaugural victory and did push-ups in the Wine Country Winner’s Circle.
2006: The Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series makes its debut at Sonoma Raceway (formerly Infineon Raceway). Auburn’s Scott Pruett and teammate Luis Diaz took the checkered flag.
2008: Kyle Busch earns his first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series road-course victory when he takes the checkered flag. His victory also marks the first win for Toyota in the Sonoma Valley.
2009: Kasey Kahne earns his first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series road-course victory, and the first for team owner, Richard Petty, since 1999.
2010: Jimmie Johnson earns his first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series road-course victory at the Toyota/Save Mart 350.
-The above content was reprinted, in its entirety, from Sonoma Raceway.