SONOMA, Calif. -- Sears Point Raceway has begun work on its new world-class drag strip that will be operational for the 2002 season.
Construction crews have already dug up the concrete at the starting line, which will be replaced by a 660-foot concrete launch pad. Because Sears Point Raceway is at sea level, the new pad could help make the strip one of the fastest in the country.
In addition, the starting line will be moved 200 feet to the north in order to accommodate the new permanent grandstand that is being built. Fans seated in the grandstand will have a dynamic view of the entire quarter-mile, including the starting line.
Other improvements designed to improve the experience for fans, as well as competitors, include separation of the drag strip from the road course, an entire resurfacing of the strip and installation of Musco Lighting and a Compulink Timing System. The renovation is part of Sears Point Raceway's comprehensive $50 million Modernization Plan.
"Once the work is complete, this drag strip will be second to none, from both a spectator and competitor standpoint," said Steve Page, president and general manager at Sears Point Raceway.
By separating the drag strip from the road course, heavy stock cars will no longer dig grooves into the quarter-mile strip, making it much safer for dragsters. The strip will also be narrowed from 100 feet to a more standard width of approximately 50 feet, which will also make for safer conditions.
The Musco Lighting system will enhance competitor safety by providing more sufficient lighting during Sears Point Raceway's night qualifying for the NHRA FRAM Autolite Nationals, as well as for its weekly Wednesday Night Drags program. New scoreboards will also be installed.
Track officials are hopeful the new drag strip will be complete by the end of March. The Wednesday Night Drags program is tentatively scheduled to kick-off on April 3, followed two weeks later by the Goodguys Nitro Nationals Nostalgia Drag Races (April 20-21). The NHRA FRAM Autolite Nationals visits Sears Point Aug. 2-4.