Sonoma Raceway Aims To Expand Operations By Hosting Non-Racing Events

Sonoma Raceway "will seek permission to hold non-racing events" at the track, seeking to host a "four-day rock festival as a way to refresh its operations and restore some lost revenue," according to Jeremy Hay of the Santa Rosa PRESS DEMOCRAT.

Track President & GM Steve Page said that the facility on Monday unveiled plans to "seek county approval for changes in its use permit that would redefine one of California's largest motor sports complexes as a 'special events and entertainment' facility." Page said, "Our use permit reflects a snapshot of activity at the raceway nearly two decades ago. The professional sports and entertainment industry has changed dramatically in that time and our business model needs to change with it."

The SMI-owned track also proposes to open a "wine tasting room in a former administrative building at the entrance to the track complex" and "add lights to the go-kart racing track," as well as extending its hours of operation until 10:00pm PT, up from 7:00pm. Other plans include increasing the "noise threshold for some racing school programs 10 days a year to accommodate exotic cars that can't compete at lower decibel limits." Finally, the track hopes to "add five days of camping on the Lakeville Highway side of the track complex in order to accommodate festival-goers."

But Hay noted the "key piece of the proposal is for the rock festival." The 44-year-old track's previous attempts to expand operations "sparked fierce resistance by neighbors who objected chiefly to the noise it produces and traffic it attracts." Santa Rosa PRESS DEMOCRAT

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