Sonoma Raceway and the California Highway Patrol unveiled their plans to mitigate race-day traffic problems on area roadways during this Sunday’s Toyota/Save Mart 350 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event.

NASCAR’s annual visit to the Sonoma wine country marks one of the Bay Area’s largest single-day sporting events each year. The addition of racing fans to the normal wine country visitor traffic puts more vehicles on the surrounding roads, particularly the two-lane stretches of Highways 37 and 121, the raceway said in a news release.

A primary focus this year will be to educate non-race attendees about alternate routes in and out of the Napa and Sonoma valleys. In past years, up to 85 percent of the drivers passing the raceway on Highways 37 and 121 during peak entry and exit times are not attending the event. When combined with race traffic, the results can bring hours of congestion for all drivers.

Some of these new initiatives include:

  • 46 changeable message signs — 15 more than in prior years — will be distributed along highways up to a 15-mile radius around the facility directing traffic away from Highways 37 and 121.
  • Widespread distribution of traffic warnings, including maps and alternate routes, to local restaurants, hotels and wineries for both residents and visitors.
  • 7 new signs placed along Highway 121 to direct raceway guests to the appropriate entry gate.
  • Additional parking staff will remain in the lots to help organize and manage exiting traffic.
  • The raceway will employ a traffic manager, who will work closely with a CHP officer to provide real-time direction to maximize ingress and egress for raceway traffic.
  • Raceway will use its on-site radio station (87.9 FM) to provide exiting guidance and driving routes.

Sonoma Raceway has worked closely with the CHP and Caltrans to develop and execute this plan, which will use more than 30 CHP and Caltrans workers on race day.

“The CHP supports and endorses the efforts by Sonoma Raceway to help minimize the impact of traffic in and around the raceway,” said CHP Sergeant Brad Bradshaw. “We feel these efforts have gone above and beyond to assist the public.”

Race fans heading to the track are advised to arrive early on Sunday morning to beat traffic and enjoy the complete race-day experience.

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In addition, the raceway encourages all guests to explore two of its most popular mass transit options, including the second annual NASCAR Express Train from Sacramento, which will bring more than 500 race fans to the track by rail, and the SportsFan Express bus program, which is slated to bring in more than 1,000 fans from 27 locations around Northern California.

To ensure sufficient parking for its guests with disabilities, Sonoma Raceway will again work with the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office on a stringent placard check.

For more information about the Toyota/Save Mart 350, Sonoma Raceway’s traffic plan, best routes to and from the race and transportation options, visit www.racesonoma.com/traffic or call 800-870-RACE.

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