Overwhelmed by last-minute legal and insurance issues, Sonoma Raceway has canceled the special train that brought fans the last four years from the Central Valley to its premier event, the Toyota/Save Mart 350 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup race.
“We had to pull the plug on it,” said Steve Page, the raceway’s president and general manager.
Sales were halted Tuesday and the nearly 400 people who had purchased the $199 ticket on the Raceway Fun Train — including seats at the start/finish line and passes to the drivers’ meeting — were offered a refund on the train fare with free bus tickets from Sacramento, with stops in Davis and Suisun City, the same as the train’s route.
Some ticket holders opted to drive to Sunday’s race and some canceled altogether, Page said. The train had hauled 500 to 700 fans a year since it was started in 2013.
Among the complications, he said, was the fact that the race-day train used tracks owned by seven different agencies, including one that limited the train’s speed to 10 mph.
Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit, which provided the final stretch of track, was always helpful, Page said.
The raceway built a special trackside platform, put in place across Highway 121 from Gate 1.
Page said he regretted never having been able to ride the train, which passed through the scenic Carneros wine area before arriving at the raceway at 10:30 a.m.
You can reach Staff Writer Guy Kovner at 707-521-5457 or firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter @guykovner.