SWS: Sears Point complete new chute

Workers Complete Paving on Modified Chute, Turn Attention to Construction of Permanent Garages SONOMA, Calif. (April 6, 2000) - Construction crews have completed work on the modified Chute and NASCAR Winston Cup drivers will get their ...

Workers Complete Paving on Modified Chute, Turn Attention to Construction of Permanent Garages

SONOMA, Calif. (April 6, 2000) - Construction crews have completed work on the modified Chute and NASCAR Winston Cup drivers will get their first opportunity on the re-configured segment during a two-day test session, April 24-25.

The new Chute, which connects Turns 4 and 7 on the road course, will be used for the first time in competition at the Dodge/Save Mart 350 NASCAR Winston Cup event, June 21-24.

NASCAR Featherlite Southwest Series driver Matt Reilly had an opportunity to test the course after paving and said the new segment will provide two additional passing zones, at the new Turn 4a and Turn 7. That was the intent of track officials when they decided on the modification.

"I think it will be great for road racing," said Reilly, who will compete in the Southwest Series race on June 23 at Sears Point for Groeniger & Co. out of Hayward (Calif.). "This is certainly going to open up two passing zones. Now we'll have the chance to out-break and out-maneuver slower drivers and I think that will make for better racing overall. This should eliminate the follow-the-leader pattern we had with the old Chute."

Drivers confirmed for the NASCAR test are: Rusty Wallace, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Terry Labonte, Kevin Harvick, Matt Kenseth, Mike Skinner, Bobby Hamilton, Jason Leffler and Ron Fellows.

Track officials consulted with more than 15 NASCAR Winston Cup drivers on the re-configured Chute, including three-time defending Sears Point champion Jeff Gordon, Wallace, Ken Schrader and Mark Martin. <pre> This modified Chute will feature the following elements:

a. A 300-foot straightaway from Turn 4 to what will become the new Turn 4a. This segment will feature straight-line braking before entering Turn 4a.

b. A sharp 70-degree right-hand turn from Turn 4a into the Chute. There will also be 150 feet of runoff room available outside Turn 4a.

c. Once out of Turn 4a, drivers will navigate an 870-foot pure straightaway, which will feature speeds in excess of 110 mph. This will be one of the fastest segments of the track.

d.      Turn 7 will boast a 90-degree right-hand turn placed 100 feet beyond the 
        current Turn 7 apex.  The turn will feature 120 feet of runoff.

e. The modification will increase the length of the road course from 1.95 to 2 miles. The number of turns remains the same (10). </pre> The entire segment will span 1,170 feet, nearly 300 feet more than the original Chute (890 feet).

Construction crews have also broken ground on 40 permanent garages that will be ready for the Dodge/Save Mart 350. In the past, teams have worked on their cars under the hot sun, but that will no longer be the case. Each garage will be 12 feet wide and 25 feet deep, giving race teams ample room to work on their cars. Sears Point Raceway will build additional garages for the 2002 season to handle the entire qualifying field.

The original 12-turn, 2.52-mile road course will still be used for all road-racing events at Sears Point Raceway that are not NASCAR-sanctioned.

-Sears Point

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About this article
Series NASCAR , NASCAR Cup
Drivers Dale Earnhardt , Jeff Gordon , Matt Kenseth , Terry Labonte , Rusty Wallace , Jason Leffler , Mike Skinner , Ken Schrader , Kevin Harvick , Ron Fellows , Mark Martin