In recognition of the devastating wild fires that ravaged the North Bay in October, Sonoma Raceway will utilize its largest event weekend to support the theme “Sonoma Rising,” an initiative to honor those affected by the disaster, salute first responders and lend support to the North Bay’s ongoing rebuilding efforts.
The Northern California wildfires, which burned from Oct. 8-31, were among the most destructive in California history and became the costliest group of wildfires on record, claiming 23 lives, charring more than 114,000 acres and destroying more than 5,300 homes. More than 10,000 firefighters battled the blazes, utilizing more than 1,000 fire engines and other equipment.
The Sonoma Rising theme will feature prominently in both the advance promotion and race weekend activities surrounding the Toyota/Save Mart 350 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series event, June 22-24. The effort is intended not only to honor and support those directly affected by the fires, but also to promote the short- and long-term effort to rebuild lives, structures and the economic vitality of the region.
“For those who endured the October fires, the memories and the anxieties of that period are still very present,” said Steve Page, Sonoma Raceway president and general manager. “We want to honor those feelings, as well as the heroes who stepped in to do battle on our behalf. And looking forward, we want to share the message that Sonoma is indeed rising, open for business and welcoming visitors with open arms.”
Community members and race fans alike can participate in Sonoma Rising, including three unique programs:
- Send Fire Survivors to the Races: Fans, businesses and community members can help those affected by the fires enjoy a day at the track by purchasing a NASCAR race-day ticket for Sunday, June 24, for just $20. The raceway will work with The United Way to distribute tickets to local residents.
- Nominate a Hero: Nominations for Sonoma County residents who were particularly heroic during the fires can be submitted at SonomaRaceway.com/SonomaRising. The submission should include reasons the hero should be selected, as well as a picture of the person, if possible. Nominees can include first responders, community members or public servants. The winning hero will be recognized during pre-race ceremonies at the Toyota/Save Mart 350.
- Shop Sonoma: Sonoma Raceway has teamed up with the Sonoma Chamber of Commerce, Sonoma Valley Visitors Bureau and Sonoma Valley Vintners & Growers to drive business to local companies. In addition to hosting the Sonoma Shuttle from the 50 Acres campground to the Sonoma Plaza for the fourth consecutive year, race fans can show their tickets at participating Sonoma Valley businesses for special offers and discounts around race weekend (June 18-26). For a complete list of participating businesses, visit SonomaRaceway.com/SonomaRising.
Sonoma Rising will also be prominently featured throughout the Toyota/Save Mart 350 race weekend, including honoring first responders and local heroes throughout the Pre-Race Show powered by Friedman’s Home Improvement. For more information or to purchase race tickets, visit www.sonomaraceway.com.