The Infineon Raceway is located close to Sonoma, to the north of San Francisco. It serves two purposes: that of a road course track and that of a drag strip. As it is situated in the northern California hills, the track races up and down these hills, together with challenging turns and complicated twists. Not only does the Infineon Raceway host NASCAR events but is home to the American Federation of Motorcyclists series, which holds a few motorcycle events here. Only one of the NASCAR road races is held at the Infineon Raceway. This track was formerly known as the Sears Point Raceway when it opened in 1968.
The Riverside International Raceway, that was located in California, was closed at the end of the 1988 racing season, and was demolished to make way for a new shopping center development project. This left NASCAR searching for a venue to replace Riverside, and decided on the road course at Sears Point. The name, Sears Point, refers to the geographical features of the location, and has therefore no connection to the company Sears. It was renamed after the Infineon Corporation in 2002, although most people still call it by its original name, and the name they’ve grown accustomed to.
The Infineon Raceway is a 4.05 kilometer road course that features twelve turns, and a bypass road that excludes the number 5 and number 6 turns. The bypass is named “The Chute” and it shortens the course to a total racing distance of 3.14 kilometers. The Chute was added in 1998, and is mostly used for events like the NASCAR Dodge/Save Mart 350. Most drivers do not approve of The Chute, and would prefer racing the entire course. The full course layout is used for most of the races, which includes the Grand American Road Racing Association‘s Sonoma Grand Prix.
In 2003 another modification was made to the Infineon Raceway. It is a course that is 3.57 kilometers in total and has twelve turns. This course excludes most of the twists and has a hairpin bend, for the added safety of the motorcycle riders. The motorcycle course has a runoff at turn number 11, whereas the main courses’ turn number 11 does not feature a runoff, but is a slow turn similar to the Mirabeau hairpin bend of Monaco. In addition to the various courses that are available at the Infineon Raceway, there is also a drag strip that is 400 meters, or a quarter mile, for the NHRA Drag Racing events that are held here.
Races that are currently held at the Infineon Raceway, include the AMA Superbike – Supercuts Superbike Challenge, the Dodge/Save Mart 350 that is part of the Nextel Cup, the NHRA Powerade Drag Racing Series and the Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma that falls under the Indy Racing League.