Sonoma Speed Festival revs up for Raceway

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Sonoma Raceway’s annual historic-car racing weekend will take a spin under new management in 2019, and one of their first events will help celebrate the raceway’s 50th anniversary.

The rebranded Sonoma Speed Festival is slated for May 31-June 2 on Sonoma Raceway’s traditional 12-turn, 2.52-mile road course. The event will draw inspiration from top-tier motorsports events around the world to showcase a diverse collection of authentic historic cars, providing “a great on-track experience for drivers and an interactive and enjoyable spectator event in the heart of California’s premier wine-growing region,” according to a press release from the Sonoma Speed Festival.

Jeff O’Neill will lead the new group with plans to create a world-class event that will delight not only the drivers, but provide an extraordinary venue for spectators to enjoy these rare cars.

O’Neill is the founder of O’Neill Vintners & Distillers, one of California’s largest wine producers. Away from the vineyard, O’Neill has a longstanding passion for historic car racing and collecting, including piloting his own Maserati 250F and Maserati Tipo 61 on track.

“I am delighted to be part of the historic Sonoma Raceway,” said O’Neill. “As the track celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2019, this event will showcase the amazing cars and drivers that made the track a part of motor-racing history.”

Racer and car enthusiast Ryan Turri was chosen as the event’s new general manager.

The Sonoma Speed Festival will feature flat-out wheel-to-wheel racing around the sweeping hills and curves of the classic Wine Country circuit. The layout allows viewers to observe almost the entire racetrack from several scenic vantage points. Each car is accepted to participate based on its authenticity, race provenance, and historical accuracy.

Racing cars from the Brass Era through current- day machines, vintage dragsters, concepts, prototypes, and other special displays will be on hand all weekend long. Historic and cultural exhibits in the paddock will showcase an “evolution in speed.” Food, wine, beer and coffee options from spectacular local restaurants will be available in the food park.

Visit www.sonomaraceway.com for more details about on the 2019 Sonoma Speed Festival. For information or to enter your car, contact hmsa@hmsausa.com.

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