Ratzenberger headlines NASCAR benefit dinner
Actor John Ratzenberger will headline a star-studded evening, including Pixar/Disney executive John Lasseter and comedy legend Tommy Smothers, when Infineon Raceway hosts its annual NASCAR Grand Marshal's Banquet at Cline Cellars in Sonoma on Friday, June 24.
Newly inducted NASCAR Hall of Famers Bobby Allison and Ned Jarrett will also be part of the evening's celebrity lineup.
Ratzenberger, who is best known for his years playing Cliff Clavin on the television sitcom "Cheers," holds the distinction of voicing a character in every one of Pixar's animated movies. His Mack the Truck character from "Cars" will be reprised in the sequel "Cars 2," opening in theaters the same night as the banquet.
The dinner is a benefit for the Valley of the Moon Boys & Girls Club along with other Sonoma County youth organizations through Speedway Children's Charities. Held each year in association with the Toyota/Save Mart 350 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series weekend, the dinner is underwritten by a generous group of companies known as the Children's Champions.
The evening will feature a three-course dinner from Elaine Bell Catering paired with Sonoma wines and a race preview chat with several NASCAR stars hosted by KTVU sports anchor Joe Fonzi. The racing outlook will take on an added dimension with the addition of Allison and Jarrett, both recently inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame.
The dinner is the largest annual fundraiser for the Sonoma chapter of Speedway Children's Charities, which has distributed more than $3.7 million to Sonoma County youth organizations since 2001.
Dress code for the gala is Sonoma Formal - clean jeans. Tables of 10 guests are $2,500 and a limited number remain available. Seating can be secured by contacting Denise Silver at 933-3950 or email@example.com.
Corporate support for the dinner comes from Ahlborn Fence and Steel, Inc.; American Asphalt; Blue Star Gas; CSW Stuber Stroeh; Ghilotti Construction Company; M. Brocco and Sons; Oak Grove Construction; Sheehan Construction, Inc.; Soule Building Systems; Syar Industries; and United Site Services.
The dinner kicks off the race weekend, which starts on Saturday, June 25, with the Thunder Valley Casino Resort 200 NASCAR K&N Pro Series West event, featuring a number of Northern California race teams.
On Sunday, June 26, 43 NASCAR Sprint Cup stock cars crowd the 1.99 mile Infineon road course for the Toyota/Save Mart 350. Tickets are available from 800-870-RACE or online at infineonraceway.com/tickets.