Tests at Sears Point preview

NASCAR drivers head to 'new' Sears Point Raceway for two-day test session, April 23-24 Sonoma, Calif. - Driver Ricky Rudd will highlight a group of six drivers who will participate in a two-day NASCAR Winston Cup test session at Sears Point ...

NASCAR drivers head to 'new' Sears Point Raceway for two-day test session, April 23-24

Sonoma, Calif. - Driver Ricky Rudd will highlight a group of six drivers who will participate in a two-day NASCAR Winston Cup test session at Sears Point Raceway, April 23-24.

Rudd, a four-time pole-sitter at Sears Point, will be joined at the test by fellow Winston Cup drivers Matt Kenseth, Kurt Busch, Jimmie Johnson, Ryan Newman and Ron Fellows. This will mark the first time that rookies Johnson and Newman have tested the 10-turn, 2-mile course that will be used in June for the Dodge/Save Mart 350.

The test session will afford drivers a sneak preview of the 'new' Sears Point Raceway, which is in the final stages of a two-year $50 million renovation plan that will transform the facility into one of the premier motorsports and entertainment venues in the country.

On the track, drivers will see increased runoff at almost every turn on the road course to increase driver safety, as well as a full complement of 43 stalls on pit road, thus eliminating the need for the infamous "Gilligan's Island" on the inside of Turn 11. Moreover, the drag strip has been permanently separated from the road course at Turns 12-1, which has been a long-time criticism of Sears Point Raceway, and portions of the course have been repaved. The entire circuit will be repaved in September.

Off the track, drivers will see improved fan amenities, including a new permanent grandstand at start/finish that has been constructed directly above pit road, as well as two underground pedestrian tunnels at start/finish and Turn 10. The tunnels eliminated the need for the two bridges that were previously used as thoroughfares, which has also opened up dynamic sightlines for fans in the new grandstand. Additional hillside terrace seats have been built above Turns 7-9, and a new system of shuttle roads has been constructed to help get fans around the property more efficiently.

The two-day test session will be held in advance of the NASCAR Winston Cup weekend at California Speedway in Fontana, April 26-28.

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Matt Kenseth , Kurt Busch , Ryan Newman , Ron Fellows , Jimmie Johnson