Mario Andretti named Grand Marshal at Sears Point

Mario Andretti returns to Sears Point Raceway as Grand Marshal of Dodge/Save Mart 350. SONOMA, Calif. - Mario Andretti, one of the first professional drivers ever to compete at Sears Point Raceway, will return to Sonoma Valley to help christen...

Mario Andretti returns to Sears Point Raceway as Grand Marshal of Dodge/Save Mart 350.

SONOMA, Calif. - Mario Andretti, one of the first professional drivers ever to compete at Sears Point Raceway, will return to Sonoma Valley to help christen the newly modernized facility as Grand Marshal of the Dodge/Save Mart 350 NASCAR Winston Cup weekend, June 20-23.

Andretti, the only driver in history to win races in five different decades, drove in the first - and only - Indy Car race at Sears Point Raceway in 1970, just two years after the facility opened in 1968. It was Andretti's only competitive appearance at Sears Point, but he will return during the NASCAR Winston Cup weekend as the facility takes the wraps off its two-year $50 million modernization project.

"Mario's name is legendary and his achievements are unmatched in our sport," said Steve Page, president and general manager at Sears Point Raceway. "In a year when we celebrate so many new things at this facility, it is an honor to be joined by a competitor who represents Sears Point's rich racing tradition."

Andretti's resume reads like a best-seller:
* Four-time Champ Car champion (1965, '66, '69, '84)
* Formula One champion (1978)
* Daytona 500 champion (1967)
* Indianapolis 500 champion (1969)
* Record-holder for Champ Car starts (407)
* Driver of the Quarter Century (1992)

"It will be a privilege to serve as Grand Marshal at Sears Point Raceway - one of the most challenging and technical tracks around," Andretti said. "Sears Point was brand new when I raced there over 30 years ago. With all of the improvements they're making, it will be like visiting a brand new track again. I believe it is going to be a world-class facility."

Sears Point Raceway is in the final stages of its Modernization Plan that will transform the facility into one of the premier motorsports and entertainment venues in the country. Improvements fans/racers can expect for the Dodge/Save Mart 350 include: new permanent grandstand at start/finish; two underground pedestrian tunnels to help expedite pedestrian traffic flow around the property; enlarged pit road to accommodate a 43-car starting grid; and increased runoff at almost every turn on the road course, to name just a few of the enhancements. For a complete rundown of the plan, please visit www.searspoint.com.

-spr-

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Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Mario Andretti