Highways 37 & 121
- (1) 707 938-8448
- (1) 707 938-8691
- Circuit length:
- 2.520 miles/4.055 km
- Circuit type:
- Permanent road course
A classic road course near Sonoma in northern California, Infineon Raceway started life in 1968 as Sears Point Raceway. The 2.52-mile road racing course was constructed on 720 acres by Marin County attorney Robert Marshall Jr. and land developer Jim Coleman.
Conceived during a hunting trip, ground breaking for the circuit began in August 1968, with paving completed by November the same year. The SCCA held the first event on December 1, 1968.
After being sold to the Filmways Corp., a Los Angeles-based entertainment company for $4.5 million in 1969, the track began a turbulent period. Sears Point actually closed in May 1970 after recording losses and did not reopen until 1973, when it was leased to Hugh Harn and Parker Archer for $1 million.
Soon after, the Bob Bondurant Performance Driving School relocated to Sears Point from the Ontario Speedway in southern California. By 1974, Bondurant and partner Bill Benk had taken over mangement of the leased facility.
By 1977, a consortium which included Bondurant had bought the track for $1.5 million off the Filmways Corp., with Chris Pook and the Long Beach Grand Prix Assoication also coming on board in 1980.
The track was renamed Golden State Raceway in 1981, but the Black Mountain consortium found itself in trouble when Filmways seized back ownership after payments were defaulted. Bondurant has already resigned as president in a dispute with Pook over the Long Beach Grand Prix's management plan.
Filmways sold the track for a second time to operations chief Jack Williams, Rick Betts and John Andersen at auction for $800,000. Fortunately some stability returned to Sears Point (as it was once again called), with sponsorship from Ford coming in 1983 and extra partners coming aboard in the shape of Dr. Frank N. Scott Jr. and Harvey "Skip" Berg.
The track was given its first complete repaving in 1985 and pit buildings appeared for the first time. 1987 saw NHRA drag racing arrive at the circuit's strip, providing a big boost to the calendar of events. When Riverside Raceway closed in 1988, Sears Point gained another headline event with the annual visit of the NASCAR stars. Ricky Rudd won the inaugural race in 1989.
The same year the Skip Barber Racing School replaced the Bondurant Driving School - though this in turn was replaced by the Jim Russell School in 1996.
1995 saw a $3 million upgrade before the track was sold off by Berg to Speedway Motorsports, Inc in November 1996. Major renovations begin in 1998 with the creation of "The Chute," an 890-foot high-speed stretch between Turns 4 and 7, used for all NASCAR-sanctioned events. Trans-Am and Sportscar races also returned to Sears Point, with AMA Superbikes following in 1999.
A $35 million modernisation plan - with the aim of creating one of the USA's premier motor racing facilities - began in 2001, with a modified Chute section, revised motorcycle course, better fan facilities and a kart track all included.
Infineon Technologies concluded a 10-year naming deal with the circuit in June 2002.
The renovated circuit now also hosts rounds of the ALMS, Grand-Am and Indy Racing League.