SONOMA (CBS SF) -- NASCAR and Sonoma Raceway officials announced Thursday they were cancelling the Toyota/Save Mart 350 Cup Series event scheduled for mid-June at the Wine Country road circuit because of the ongoing coronavirus outbreak.
NASCAR has announced a return to racing beginning on Sunday, May 17. However, the seven races over 11 days will only be held at Darlington Raceway and the Charlotte Motor Speedway. The races will be held without fans as a safety measure meant to prevent large gatherings and to maintain social-distancing guidelines.
"It's going to be very different; the type of event that we're putting on compared to what we're used to, when we usually have 50, 60 thousand people on our property for three or four days, having a big, festival type of atmosphere," Darlington Raceway President Kerry Tharp said. "We're not going to have that right now, but now's not the time for that. We're trying to get back in the best way that we can with live sports and NASCAR, and this is the step that we have to take.
But hopes to race at tracks like Sonoma still remain on hold. A substitute for the Wine Country race will be held without spectators at the Charlotte Motor Speedway on May 27.
This marks the first time the NASCAR event in Sonoma has been cancelled or rescheduled since its inaugural visit in 1989. NASCAR will return to Sonoma Raceway in 2021.
"We work all year for this event, so this is a huge disappointment for us, for our fans and our sponsors, but we realize it's part of a larger challenge facing our nation and everyone in the live events business," said Steve Page, Sonoma Raceway president and general manager. "We are excited that NASCAR is coming back to broadcast television and are ready to support the upcoming events at our Speedway Motorsports tracks. We look forward to NASCAR's return to Sonoma in 2021."
Toyota/Save Mart 350 weekend ticket holders on file with Sonoma Raceway may choose to receive an event credit for the full amount paid plus an additional 20% or receive a full refund of their purchase price. T
The 120% credit can be applied toward admissions, including, but not limited to, tickets, camping, fan hospitality and pre-race passes for a NASCAR-sanctioned event during the 2020 or 2021 seasons at any Speedway Motorsports-owned track including the 2021 NASCAR event in Sonoma.
Fans who have purchased tickets for the Toyota/Save Mart 350 should complete the exchange request form within 30 days at www.sonomaraceway.com/nascar-exchange to start the ticket exchange process.
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