Why We Now Like Sonoma

By Susan Philips

My expectations for Sonoma Raceway were not great. George has harped so much at what a boring race this is and how he can’t stand watching races from here that I really was expecting to not like it here. Maybe it’s because my expectations were so low, but this track has been a real pleasant surprise.

I’m with him on the brown grass and dust. It’s a stretch to call hills covered with brown grass “beautiful”. But there is something very striking about the mountains in the distance, combined with the clear blue skies and the vastness of the open spaces that make you just want to stand and appreciate where you are.

scenery 1

scenery 3


I also appreciate vehicles that take us to those vantage points where we can appreciate them. There are no golf carts for rent here. I work on my feet throughout the week and I’m not wild about walking great distances on weekends. George, on the other hand, thinks nothing of taking off and walking all around a race track to explore each nook and cranny. His legs are about twice as long as mine and he just walks abnormally fast. I can never keep up.

The steep hills at this place make it an even bigger challenge. Fortunately, there are free shuttles provided by the track that carry you around at various stops. That was the only way he convinced me to go with him as he went exploring this afternoon. We went to a very impressive area with seats that overlook Turn 2. That is probably the highest point at the track and you can see for miles in every direction. You can also see a lot of the track from up there.

scenery 2

After that, we took another shuttle over to Turn 7. Even though the view of the scenery was not as spectacular, the view of the racing was incredible. There was a Historic Trans Am race this afternoon and you could see several turns from those seats. George has said that IndyCars have a hard time passing here, but I saw a lot of passing during that race. Not only did we have a great view of Turn 7, but we could see several other turns from there. Here’s a short video we took during that race from down low, after a couple of photos from up there.

scenery 4

scenery 5

The scenery here is foreign to us. It’s not home, but it is breathtaking. I know George is really taken with it too. The people here in Northern California are very friendly and the food is good. I have no real desire to live here, but it’s a great place to visit. We now know why our IndyCar friends that come here every year are sad that this is the last time to come here. I really wish we had started coming here sooner.

Enjoy these random shots that we both took today, including one of my favorite photos ever at the very end, when Beccy Hunter-Reay congratulated her husband for winning the pole. I would say get out here, but if you do, it won’t be for an IndyCar race. That’s too bad.



Dixon car

hunter reay





liz power




marco face

newgarden car



newgarden face

power face


One Response to “Why We Now Like Sonoma”

  1. when y’all have a chance to explore Napa away from the track, I’ll think you’ll be even more impressed by the beauty of the countryside.

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