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Sonoma Raceway Celebrates 50 Years of Racing In Wine Country


SONOMA, Calif. (March 29, 2019) – 50 years ago this weekend, Sears Point Raceway’s 12-turn, 2.52-mile road course officially opened for business.

The first race of 1969 for the San Francisco Region of the SCCA was more than just another local race, this was something special. The March weekend marked the official opening of Sears Point Raceway, the newest purpose-built road-race track in Northern California. As expected, amateur racers from all over the West Coast arrived to test their skills against at the new road course.

Beside the opportunity to race a new track, another reason for the large turnout was the event’s designation as a National Level race, quite an honor for a new race track. In addition to those San Francisco Region drivers racing for Regional honors, they could also race for National points with hopes of making it to the National Championship races in the Fall.

Of all the races held over the weekend, two in particular were hotly contested with exciting finishes. The A Production Class race for big bore sports cars was a very tight race between Corvette and Porsche. Herb Caplan (Corvette) was able to outduel Dick Barbour (Porsche 904) to take the victory. In the A Sports Racing Class, Merle Brennan (Genie) battled throughout the race with Duane Zinola (Lola T70) and appeared to have the race won. However on the final turn of the last lap, Brennan had a slight spin that allowed Zinola to zip past for the victory. In winning the race, Zinola set the first track record at 1.51:06.

History/words provided by: Gary Horstkorta

Sonoma Raceway 50th Anniversary:

Sonoma Raceway will celebrate 50 years of racing history and memories throughout the 2019 race season. Honoring the raceway’s history and memorable moments will be at the heart of the raceway’s efforts, including celebrations to mark significant milestones in the raceway’s history, signature celebrations at the raceway’s major events featuring drivers and legends, and plenty of throwback images and memorabilia.

“Sonoma Raceway’s legacy over the last half century covers the spectrum from iconic professional stars to thousands of amateur enthusiast racers who have turned laps on our road course or accelerated down the quarter-mile,” said Steve Page, Sonoma Raceway president and general manager. “We look forward to celebrating with all of them in the coming year, and honoring our incredible history.”

Race fans are invited to get in on the fun by sharing their personal memories, stories and pictures from events at Sonoma Raceway at or on social media using the hashtag #Race50noma.