The biggest racing stars come to what is considered to be the toughest NASCAR track in the country every June, and you can be there to watch it. If the roar of the engines and cheers of the crowd gets your blood pumping, this event is a sure-fire way to experience that for three days in a row. The track here is unique enough that it has been the topic of discussion every year and has gone through length and name changes several times.
But Sonoma Raceway is not just about NASCAR racing. This is wine country, so if you like wine, you’ll be in heaven here. In fact, the trophy comes in the form of a wine bottle holder and giant wine glass. Chardonnay Village, Merlot Village, Zinfandel Village, and Pinot Village are all waiting for you to come by and fill up a glass around Tracks 2, 3, and 9. And there are two wineries in the area if you want more selections.
With over 1,300 campsites in five different campgrounds, you don’t have to worry about where you are going to stay when you come to the Toyota/Save Mart 350. You won’t have to worry about parking either. Just park your RV in one of the campsites and go enjoy the fun. Kids under 12 are free with a paid adult on Friday and Saturday, so go ahead and bring them. There is plenty of fun for the kiddos too at the Raceway Kids Zone all weekend long in the Main Paddock.
Tickets for the Toyota/Save Mart 350 have often ranged from $50 to $150 per person. Fans can consider other packages or add-ons like a weekend pass for about $180 or scanner rental for around $50, so you can hear all the drivers and their pit crew talking and see the drivers’ stats and broadcast. Join the Pit Road Club for the weekend for about $950 and you can be a few feet away from the excitement.
In the northwestern section of California, practically on the banks of the San Pablo Bay, you can find the Sonoma Raceway just off of CA-37 and CA-121. You’ll be less than 20 miles from Napa, known for its wine country, and only 34 miles from San Francisco, where you can see the Golden Gate Bridge. No matter how you get here, you are in for some stunning scenery along the way.
If you enter at Gate 7 or 9, you can enjoy free parking in one of the 14 lots around the track. There is usually a shuttle service to help you out if you don’t want to walk. Of course, if you are camping at the track, you won’t have to worry about parking at all. Parking is first-come, first-served during the Toyota/Save Mart 350, so it is a good idea to get here early.
Sonoma Raceway has a luxury coach bus to and from the track from various places in Sonoma County. The official bus rideshare, called Rally, even has a bathroom and lockers if you want to leave valuables onboard while enjoying an evening at the races. Another track perk is Sonoma Sterling Limousines, if you would rather have a private driver to deliver you and your friends to the track or into town for dinner or some fun.
With five campgrounds and a total of over 1,300 campsites, you will surely be able to find a spot you like at Sonoma Raceway. The 50 Acres Campground is the largest, with over 1,000 sites near Gate 6. Cougar Mountain has 53 sites with fantastic views of the San Francisco Bay. Trackside Terrace Campsite has over 150 sites overlooking the track, Carousel Campground has 88 spaces with a 360-degree view of the racing, and Turn 8 has 37 spots so close to the track you can see everything. They all have free shuttle service and include weekend pass tickets on the Upper Terrace.
If you would rather not be so close to the crowd, you can find several campgrounds within 20 miles of the raceway. Many of them have full hookups, restrooms, showers, BBQ pits, and tables. Just a short 20-minute drive will take you to one of the largest RV campgrounds, the Petaluma KOA, which has over 200 sites available for rigs up to 100 feet long! Some of the amenities include full utilities, a hot tub, pool, dog park, snack bar, cable TV, playgrounds, free Wi-Fi, and even a petting zoo.
The Toyota/Save Mart 350 free shuttle service picks up from all of the parking lots as well as the campgrounds, so you won’t have to worry about getting to the track from your rig. You may be doing a bit of walking around at the track visiting the Kids Zone, Main Paddock, food and merchandise vendors, and the Toyota Interactive Displays. The park does not allow scooters, bikes, or golf carts, but wheelchairs and strollers are welcome.
Mid-June in Sonoma is pleasantly warm and typically sunny, but it can get hot at times, too. Pack shorts and tees along with your jeans and jacket just to be on the safe side. The elevation changes at Sonoma Raceway make for interesting weather conditions such as cool winds and even pop-up storms. Comfortable shoes with closed toes are important when walking around the racetrack as well.
Go ahead and pack some snacks and soft drinks (no alcohol) in a cooler, but make sure it is 15 inches or less or as meets the current regulations. No glass is allowed. You’re also allowed to bring an 18-inch backpack to carry your necessities like binoculars, a camera, your phone, ear protection, and whatever else you may need. Seat cushions are allowed and highly recommended in the terraces, where the seating is concrete.
Most of the seating at the Toyota/Save Mart 350 is not shaded, so it is best to wear a hat and sunglasses to protect you from the sun. Grab a bottle of sunblock and some lip balm as well, especially if you tend to burn. You’ll also want to make sure you have any medication you may need while you are here, and a first aid kit is a good idea, too. Bug repellent and citronella candles are great ideas to keep the critters away from you and your campsite.
The raceway encourages tailgating and cooking at your campsite, but you must use a gas grill or camp stove. No charcoal or open fires are allowed. Plan ahead and prepare some meals ready to heat and eat before you leave for your trip. You’ll find several stores in Sonoma about 10 miles away if you need anything.
Even though the track has quite a few awesome eateries on site during the Toyota/Save Mart 350, there is nothing wrong with heading into town for a nice meal. From Italian to French, Asian to Mexican, the choices are numerous in Sonoma, just minutes away. There are also a few sports bars and wineries that serve food if you would rather have drinks with your meal.
The Main Grandstand has its own concessions area with several different food vendors, including pizza, burgers, breakfast food, and corn dogs. They even have music and games to enjoy here. The Terraces also have quite a few food and merchandise vendors. Fans can look for meals from the grill, Mexican food, and a bar with beer and cocktails. Enjoy barbecue, tacos, ice cream, and beer. Devour burgers, chicken fingers, and Philly cheesesteak sandwiches. Most vendors take debit or credit cards but bring some cash just in case.
Toyota/Save Mart 350 fans can find security officers, including the Sonoma County Sheriff and California Highway Patrol walking around the entire racetrack all weekend long during the Toyota/Save Mart 350. Expect to have your bags, and cooler searched at the entrance gate. Do not bring glass, weapons, drones, drugs, fireworks, or anything else on the Sonoma Raceway's no-no list.
The middle of June in Sonoma is usually pretty warm, if not hot. In fact, it has been known to get up to 100 during the day and 50 at night, so temps vary quite a bit. The average temps are highs in the upper 70s and lows in the 50s. Although it does not often rain here in June, it pays to be prepared just in case a summer storm hits.
Sonoma Raceway has over 100 medical and fire personnel available at the track all weekend long to provide dangers from fires as well as medical assistance. EMS assistance and REACH medical helicopters are available for competitors and guests while visiting. A community hospital is just 15 minutes away from the track, and you can fill prescriptions in the same area.