OCTOBER 8, 2003
A point of interest
For many years Formula 1 observers have been looking for possible sites for Grand Prix races in California with all kinds of different projects, ranging from revamped army bases to urban parks. In the meantime the local circuits have been quietly upgrading with most of the focus going on Laguna Seca. It is however worth noting that the Infineon Raceway at Sears Point has been upgraded as part of a $60m since the track was acquired by Bruton Smith's Speedway Motorsports Inc. in 1998.
The facility, which dates from the late 1960s, is well-located for access to San Francisco and is convenient for the vineyards and quaint hotels of the Sonoma and Napa Valleys. The track now regularly pulls a crowd of 100,000 for the NASCAR Winston Cup events and in recent days has just announced major new work to increase run-off areas.
The track was completely resurfaced in August with new drainage and spectator access has been dramatically improved as well.
The major problem with US venues is not so much that the facilities are not good enough but rather no-one can really afford to pay the race fees demanded by the Formula One Group. Having said that a major corporation such as Speedway Motorsports might consider such a move, if only to keep up with its rival Indianapolis...
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