Feb 6, 2003
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Copyright 2003, Roadracing World Publishing, Inc.<BR><BR>By Michael Hannas<BR><BR>I made a recent trip to Infineon Raceway, formerly known as Sears Point International Raceway, and saw that construction crews are busier than ever trying to finish the track redesign for the upcoming season. According to a press release issued by Sears Point Raceway, "the redesigned portions will be used strictly by the AMA and the Jim Russell Racing Drivers School. The traditional road course will be used for all other events at Infineon Raceway, including NASCAR Winston Cup and the American Le Mans Series." However, a track spokesman later said that the revised course will be available to the AFM and other groups if they wish to use it.<BR><BR>Sears Point announced the plan to the press last week, but here at roadracingworld.com we decided to go take a look for ourselves.<BR><BR>The Infineon Raceway press release noted that work will begin on turns 1, 8a, 9, 10, and 11, but as of Monday, February 3, only the Turn 8a/9 portion looked to have any serious work underway. Turns 1, 10, and 11 appeared to be unchanged.<BR>Much of the current work focuses on the Turn 8a-9 area of the track, as the course is being redirected to improve rider safety. According to Sears Point officials, "exiting Turn 8A, they will no longer continue down the famous esses. Instead they will continue down a straight line for 900 feet, parallel with the Hillside Terraces at Turn 9, before making a 90-degree right-hand turn, followed by a sharp left-hand turn, which will blend them back with the original road course just before Turn 10."<BR><BR>The redesign looks to substantially slow down the bikes and eliminate the very fast but wall-lined old Turn 9. It will obviously slow down turn 10 entry speeds substantially in the name of safety but completely changes the character of that section of the track from fast to slow. However, the change also moves the exit of Turn 8a right back up against the same hillside that was moved back to create more run-off last year. Another observation is that riders will be pointed straight towards the old wall that was on the outside of turn nine in between the 90-degree right and the sharp left (I guess they will be called 9 and 9a?) although at a fairly slow speed. <BR><BR>What appears to be a new water treatment facility is also being built on the inside of turns four and five. This would lead one to believe that once finished, the new treatment plant will take over from the old one currently sitting on the outside of the exit to turn one, allowing the hill and the infamous T1 bridge to finally be moved back. Neither the new treatment facility nor moving the turn one hill was mentioned in the Sears Point press release.<BR><BR>Also observed was a section of racetrack being used for heavy equipment crossing, in this case the entry to turn five is being used as a track crossing for tractors, bulldozers and other heavy equipment that are needed for the construction of the treatment plant. Riders complained last year about a bumpy track service due to this very thing.<BR><BR><BR><BR>And now a related press release issued by Infineon Raceway:<BR><BR>Diana Rose Named Manager of Media Relations at Infineon Raceway<BR><BR>SONOMA, Calif. (IMMEDIATE RELEASE) Diana Rose, who has helped coordinate Public Relations efforts at Infineon Raceway since 2001, has been named Manager of Media and Community Relations, raceway officials announced.<BR><BR>Rose, a native of San Ramon in the East Bay, is responsible for managing media relations and several community events at the raceway.<BR><BR>"Diana has played a key role in our media relations efforts and has certainly earned this expanded role," said John Cardinale, Vice President of Media and Community Relations at the raceway. "I know that she will continue to excel and grow in her new position, from both a media and community relations standpoint."<BR><BR>During her tenure at Infineon Raceway, Rose has helped create and execute several successful community events, as well as maintain the Infineon Raceway website. With her expanded responsibilities, Rose will manage the media relations efforts for the American Le Mans Series and Wine Country Classic events, as well as help oversee the raceway's chapter of Speedway Children's Charities. <BR><BR>Prior to joining Infineon Raceway full-time, Rose, 23, worked as an intern at the raceway while attending University of the Pacific in Stockton, where she obtained a degree in public relations.<BR>