INDYCAR GRAND PRIX of SONOMA
Let's call this the "falling on one's sword" edition. With the new format, I'm taking one for the team. Learn from my mistakes folks, don't repeat them. koff...koff... it's growin' dim, I blame society...
Since I'm Having Trouble With This "New Fangled Blankety-Blank Consarn Format", you can find the Schedule and all other pertinent info linked here:
About The Track layout: Has it changed again?...yet? Here's what they ran on last year:
Ch-ch-changes, turn and face the...: With apologies to Mr. Bowie, Lucas Luhr makes his Indycar debut for RW Motorsports/Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing and Mr. Alllllmost, J.R. Hildebrand makes his return to the series, taking the wheel of the Barracuda Racing entry. J.R. is really a local, attending high school in Larkspur, less than a half hour from the raceway.
History stuff: Down the hill and up the road, Sonoma was where the California Republic (http://en.wikipedia....fornia_Republic ) was born. It's where the "bear flag" was first raised. Did you know that? It's true!
History stuff with a racing angle: The closest town, hamlet, whatevs, to the track itself is a little place called Schellville. It's named after the ancestors of Harry Schell, a Franco-American F1 racer ( http://en.wikipedia..../Harry_Schell ), whose parents ran a bar in Paris pre-World War II and rubbed elbows with some guy named Hemingway and fellow literati.
Local stuff: While Sonoma is known for it's wine and vineyards, it's more down-to-earth and less hoity-toity than the Napa Valley (which also has it's share of non-upscale). Yes, you can find fancy eateries, but you can also find chili and cherry cider very near the track.
Local Racing History stuff: Just below the runway of Sonoma Valley Airport, south of Schellville, are the remains of a crude 1/5 mile dirt oval, Schellville Speedway. The club run track raced motorcycle engine powered midgets in the late 1970s. It's so obscure, I think I'm the only person who didn't race there or live in the area that knows about it. Past that, aside from the big raceway, the area hasn't had much of a racing history.
About The Track's History: A couple of area businessmen built the track, which opened in late 1968. Filmways, then a big TV production company, and a construction company had been shut out of Ontario Motor Speedway. So, they headed north and bought the track. A rumored oval never materialized. In a bizarre twist, Sears Point International Raceway and Ontario Motor Speedway both closed the same week, only to re-open. The raceway passed through several hands before Bruton Smith and his SMI bought the track and managed to overcome the raceway's opponents and renovate and expand the facility (Hmm, how did he do that?). After a sponsor related name, the track is now known as Sonoma Raceway.
Indy Type History: The first Indy Car race was the USAC sanctioned "Golden Gate 150" held on April 4, 1970. http://www.youtube.c...h?v=X6VzOVn2hEs It was a good one folks.
Really Random Trivia: California State Highway 37, between Sears Point and Vallejo, across the marshes alongside San Pablo Bay offers a spectacular view (especially at night) - from near water level - of San Francisco rising out of the water in the distance. And the highway used to have a "suicide lane" - one lane each direction with a common middle lane for overtaking. Yeah...