The San Francisco Bay Area has a lot to offer in terms of culture, entertainment and dining, as most cities do. But we are fortunate enough to also have a top-notch racetrack right in our backyard that’s the envy of motorsports fans. Sonoma Raceway, in the heart of the wine country, is host to national race series, as well as locally based events for every level of driver. The raceway also offers a chance for every fan of internal combustion to immerse themselves in the sights, smells, and excitement of the track.
For the motorsports fan who enjoys modern competitive events, there are several options. For NASCAR fans, there is the Toyota/Save Mart 350 that takes place in late June. There are two drag race events in July—the NHRA division 7 drag races, presented by Korbel, and the Toyota NHRA Sonoma Nationals. Both drag races have night events under the lights that can be really exciting to watch. This year the MotoAmerica Superbike series will take to Sonoma for the first time. If you have not been to a Superbike road race, then this is an event not to miss. If you prefer to hit the track yourself, there are options for that as well.
Sonoma Raceway also opens the track for use by private car clubs, as well as organizations that promote using the track to teach high performance driving in the controlled environment of the racetrack. To learn more about these and other programs go to http://www.sonomaraceway.com/events/road-course-schedule/. In addition to the modern race machine, there is an opportunity to step back to the glory days of motor racing.
Each year, vintage racecar events offer an amazing variety of pre- and post-war racecars from around 1925 to 1991 Trans Am and Stock cars. In between are a wonderful array of open wheeled, production and GT and sports racing cars. And the best part is that the pits are open to explore, see the machines up close and talk to owners, who seem to genuinely enjoy talking about their vehicles. There are not many places where you can stand next to a 50’s era Ferrari or Jaguar, and then hear it roar to life and hit the track.
The next time you are looking for something to do with family or friends, take a look at the Sonoma Raceway track schedule, and you might be pleasantly surprised. And when world-class racing is over, there is always time for a stop in the nearby Carneros wine tasting region on the way back home.