NHRA stars Scelzi, Bernstein help unveil new drag strip at Sears Point Raceway SONOMA, Calif. (March 27, 2002) - NHRA stars Gary Scelzi and Kenny Bernstein helped unveil one of the major pieces of a $50 million Modernization Plan at Sears Point...
NHRA stars Scelzi, Bernstein help unveil new drag strip at Sears Point Raceway
SONOMA, Calif. (March 27, 2002) - NHRA stars Gary Scelzi and Kenny Bernstein helped unveil one of the major pieces of a $50 million Modernization Plan at Sears Point Raceway today by taking the ceremonial first pass down the completely refurbished quarter-mile drag strip.
The unveiling of the new drag strip signaled another milestone in the raceway's massive two-year project, which began in September, 2000. The state-of-the-art drag strip features a 660-foot concrete launch pad, and the strip has been separated from the road course, which has long been a criticism of Sears Point Raceway. Moreover, the strip has been moved 200 feet to the north so that it is directly in front of a new permanent grandstand.
"The construction of this new drag strip was one of the cornerstones of our entire project. If it's true that good things come to those who wait, then I think Gary, Kenny and the entire drag racing community will agree that this new racing facility is a very good thing," said Steve Page, president and general manager at Sears Point Raceway.
The new racing surface, combined with the fact that Sears Point Raceway is just 15 feet above sea level, should make the quarter-mile one of the fastest in the country. The NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series visits Sears Point Raceway for the FRAM Autolite Nationals, Aug. 2-4.
"The NHRA applauds the impressive job that Bruton Smith, Steve Page and their entire staff have done in renovating the drag strip at Sears Point Raceway," said Tom Compton, president, NHRA. "This commitment certainly demonstrates Sears Point Raceway's continued dedication and support of the growth of the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series. With a new track surface for the FRAM Autolite Nationals, we're expecting record times and speeds for all of our categories, which for the first time ever will feature the addition of our Pro Stock Motorcycle category."
Scelzi and Bernstein took the first pass down the strip at subdued speeds for safety reasons on the recently-paved surface.
"What they've done out here is pretty amazing," said Scelzi, a three-time Top Fuel champion who now drives the White Cap Toyota in the Funny Car class. "Bruton Smith and Steve Page have turned this place into something pretty special. If we get the right temperatures during our Friday night qualifying in August, this place is going to be lightning fast."
"I'm really looking forward to coming out here in August," said Bernstein, the defending Top Fuel champion of both the NHRA POWERade Series and Sears Point Raceway. "They have done a great job with the improvements to the drag strip and this should be one of our top stops during the year. It would be satisfying to close out my career at Sears Point with another victory this year."
The drag strip will also feature a Musco Lighting System, which will enhance competitor safety during night qualifying at the FRAM Autolite Nationals, as well as for Sears Point's weekly Wednesday Night Drags program. In addition, a Compulink Timing System will be used and the track will feature new scoreboards.
The unveiling of the drag strip is just one element of Sears Point Raceway's comprehensive Modernization Plan. Other improvements planned for 2002 include a new permanent grandstand, underground pedestrian tunnels to help expedite traffic around the property, a new system of shuttle roads to help ease vehicle congestion, terraced hillside seats above Turns 7-9 on the road course and a new 80-foot wide fan entrance at Gate 7. The new entrance features more than one-quarter mile of staging, enabling track officials to more efficiently take cars off the highway during major-event weekends.
The two-year project will be near completion by the Dodge/Save Mart 350 NASCAR Winston Cup weekend, June 20-23.