SONOMA, Calif. (June 6, 2019) – Stock car racing in Sonoma dates back to June of 1969, just months after the raceway opened for business. Sonoma Raceway will celebrate 50 years of racing in wine country during the Toyota/Save Mart 350 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series event, June 21-23, including a number of highlights for race fans during NASCAR’s only stop in Northern California.
Below are some of the 50th anniversary highlights slated for the Toyota/Save Mart 350, June 21-23:
New Course, New Challenge
The Toyota/Save Mart 350, as well Saturday’s Procore 200 West Series race, will return to Sonoma Raceway original 12-turn, 2.52-mile road course for the first time since 1997. Highlighted by the infamous “Carousel” turn, no current Cup Series drivers have raced on this configuration in a Cup Series car. Notably, Kevin Harvick competed on the 12-turn circuit in a Southwest Series car in 1995, and Kyle Busch did so in a Legends car. The last winner on the full road course was Mark Martin.
Sonoma Raceway Launches 50th Anniversary Book
To commemorate its 50 years history, Sonoma Raceway has released a limited-edition 50th anniversary book. The photo-filled memoir chronicles the raceway’s history over five decades, including its tumultuous early years, emergence on the national racing scene and transformation following its purchase by Speedway Motorsports, Inc. in the mid-1990s. The book includes highlighted sections on the raceway’s modernization in the late 1990s and its community involvement. The $30 book will be available at souvenir stands throughout the facility, as well as at Wine Country Motorsports in the main paddock.
Toyota Racing Development Celebrates 40 Years, Named Grand Marshal
Toyota Racing Development (TRD), represented by TRD President David Wilson, is celebrating its 40thanniversary and has been named Grand Marshal of the Toyota/Save Mart 350. TRD boast five wins in Sonoma since they debuted in Cup Series in 2007 (Kyle Busch 2008, ’15, Clint Bowyer 2012, Martin Truex Jr. 2013, ’18).
Race Fans Invited to “Legends Chat” During Pre-Race Show
Race fans are invited to join a celebration of Sonoma Raceway’s 50th anniversary with three NASCAR legends during the Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Sonoma Raceway on Sunday, June 23. Ernie Irvan, Richard Childress and Hershel McGriff will be the featured guests during the pre-race Legends Chat, which will serve as the centerpiece of the Pre-Race Show Powered by Friedman’s Home Improvement before the green flag falls on the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series main event in Sonoma.
Future Legends Honored During Pre-Race
Ten local quarter-midget racers (ages 12 and under) will step into the spotlight alongside the top-10 Toyota/Save Mart 350 qualifiers during driver introductions, representing the future legends of motorsports. Represented quarter-midget racing associations are: Capital, Tri Valley, Baylands, American and Good Times.
Vintage NASCAR Stock Car Display
Race weekend will feature a display of iconic stock cars representing some of the most memorable cars and drivers from NASCAR’s history in Sonoma including Kyle Busch’s 2015 No. 18 M&M’s Toyota, Jeff Gordon’s 2006 No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet, as well as the No. 4 Kodak Oldsmobile driven by Ernie Irvan in 1991-1992 and Dale Earnhardt’s No. 3 Goodwrench Monte Carlo from his 1995 win in Sonoma.
Live Art by David Arrigo
Renowned artist David Arrigo will create a custom canvas painting commemorating 50 years of racing history on Saturday and Sunday in the main paddock. Arrigo has been painting professionally for 25 years for a list of high profile clients and events such as the Winter Olympics, U.S. Open, various professional All Star Games and the NFL Super Bowl.
Get to “The Point”
Sonoma Raceway will debut a newly-renovated fan viewing area at “The Point.” The Point is the closest spot to watch drivers tackle the 200-degree Carousel turn. It will also be a great place to catch the green flag and restarts as the field battles up the hill to Turn 2. Fans will enjoy shade under a new redwood pergola, food, beverages, games and plenty of racing action. Access to this area is open to all ticket holders.
The Toyota/Save Mart 350 returns to Sonoma for the 31st consecutive year and guests can look forward to fender-banging, racing while celebrating five decades of stock car racing history in wine country. For more information or for ticket information, call 800-870-7223 or visit www.sonomaraceway.com/nascar.
TOYOTA/SAVE MART 350 FAST FACTS:
When: June 21-23, 2019
Circuit: 12-turn, 2.52-mile road course
Number of laps: 90 laps
Last event on full road course: 1997 Save Mart Supermarkets 300; won by Mark Martin