In 1968, a twisting 12-turn, 2.52-mile road course and a quarter-mile drag strip were carved into the rolling hills at the gateway to the Sonoma Wine Country. Since then, race fans have been treated to some of the greatest racing found anywhere in the world.
Whether it’s amateur or professional SCCA road races, AMA and AFM motorcycle racing, sports car events, vintage cars or the raw power of NASCAR, INDYCAR and NHRA drag races, Sonoma Raceway has played host to some of racing’s top events and its greatest moments.
Racing stars such as Mario Andretti, Dale Earnhardt, Jeff Gordon, Al Unser, Dan Gurney, Kenny Roberts, Shirley Muldowney, Don “The Snake” Prudhomme and John Force have all left their indelible marks at this unique and historic facility.
It is arguably the world’s busiest racing facility, with track activity scheduled an average of 340 days a year. It is one of North America’s most complete and versatile motorsports complexes and home to one of the nation’s only high-performance automotive industrial parks with approximately 70 tenants.
This marks 46 years of racing action in the Sonoma Valley. 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 then-Sears Point 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, $100 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: INDYCAR racing 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 in Sonoma. 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.
2012: The 10-year partnership with Infineon Technologies ends and the raceway is rebranded Sonoma Raceway.
2016: The raceway installs an 85-foot tall, four-sided LED scoring tower above Turn 1 as well as an 84 x 12 foot Panasonic LED video board on the front of the Drag Tower building.