Infineon will race rain or shine
Mother Nature apparently has no sympathy for race cars, and historic race cars don't usually like rain. So while this weekend's classic car races at Infineon Raceway will continue between bouts of rainfall, the popular Saturday evening Historic Race Car Festival, during which a parade of stunningly beautiful and frighteningly expensive race cars drive up Broadway and around the Plaza, has been canceled.
"Staging the event requires a substantial amount of work over three days by staff, volunteers, restaurants, wineries and the sponsoring organizations," said Infineon Media and Community Relations Manager Jennifer Imbimbo. "It would not be right to ask them all to mount that effort in light of the current weather forecast. The races are still set for Saturday and Sunday, but unfortunately the charity event on the Sonoma Plaza has been canceled. All tickets will be refunded."
But Imbimbo said the Celebrate Sonoma activities at the track will proceed, honoring Sonoma Valley residents and businesses, and Sonomans will take part in pre-race festivities, with 2009 Sonoma Idol winner Danny Wirick singing the national anthem and Boy Scout Troop 707 serving as honor guard and presenting the nation's colors.
Besides the on-track action, the weekend will feature the Wine Country Pavilion, with complimentary wine and food pairings from the Sonoma and Napa valleys.
Sonoma Valley residents will receive VIS (Very Important Sonoman) treatment, which includes half-price tickets for local residents at just $20 (children 12 and under free), including access to the Wine Country Pavilion. Sonoma Valley residents will also receive a special lanyard and gift bag upon visiting the Celebrate Sonoma Day booth in the main paddock.
Because of the sketchy weather, Celebrate Sonoma tickets can be used either Saturday or Sunday.
Of special note during the weekend activities, which will feature 400 classic cars, will be the presence of 26 authentic McLarens, one of the greatest marques in modern racing history, which reached a peak of success in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Steve Cook, a Yountville McLaren owner with a shop at Infineon, said his 1968 McLaren M6B weighs about 1,600 pounds and has a small-block Chevy racing engine generating about 610 horsepower. He said that while the car's acceleration is breathtaking, "the brakes are unbelievable. The first time you drive it you can't believe it's going to stop in time."
Cook says his car can turn race laps around 1 minute, 33 seconds. The lap record for the road course, set in 2004, is 1 minute, 21 seconds in a racing Audi R8.
Racing McLarens at close to that speed is always a delicate dance between hardcore competition and protecting a multi-million dollar investment.
But, as Cook explained, "If you don't bring it here, than it's not worth anything. I think they need to be driven."
For more details on the race weekend, call 800-870-RACE (7223), or go to infineonraceway.com/historics or www.ticketmaster.com.