2014 NHRA Sonoma Nationals, Sonoma Raceway

In late July, I stepped outside of our suburban home in Sacramento and got a whiff of the Sand Fire that was already burning in the remote areas of Amador and El Dorado counties.  Fire is very common in the severe drought experienced in California.  And for just a day, me and Mister Jack wanted to forget about our state’s loss and suffering.  The constant sound of sirens and the thought of firefighters rushing to areas in Sacramento County as well as other hot spots in California.  As childhood asthmatics, we needed to get away, so we traded smoke for nitro gas.  We headed to Sonoma County and the Sonoma Raceway for the 2014 NHRA Sonoma Nationals.

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Don’t ask me about dragsters and championship racing because this has only been my second time at the NHRA Sonoma Nationals.  For one thing, I don’t like speed.  I drive a 2014 Ford Fiesta without using all its bells and whistles because I like to drive without distractions.  I drive like a little old lady because I only care about getting from here to there.

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Photography by Jack French


So what’s a nice girl like me doing in a place like this?  Let me give you some hints:

1)  Anywhere I go, I love watching people and listening to their conversations.

2)  I baste myself with sunscreen (think Thanksgiving turkey)  and hope the California sun will melt away my batwings and fade my stretch marks.  Dreamer!

3)   I really spend my time on Nitro Alley.  It’s like the California State Fair–only with NHRA vendors, meet-and-greets, food, and shopping.

4)  Although I’ve been to Sonoma Raceway twice in two years, I’ll go for any of their venues during the year.  If you like classy, family-friendly events, this is it.  Count on having a good time.

Who cares about roasting in the sun and watching the expensive and flashy cars go by?  Sure, the sounds are deafening.  In fact, the power of those vehicles racing down the track are enough to send vibrations from the ground to your upper body.  I’m not kidding you.  What a rush!

Mister Jack loves watching fast, shiny metal on the ground as well as in the air, so as he keeps his Nikon glued to his face as he takes his shots and videos. For me, it’s all about exploring behind the Grandstand.  Of course, I’ll bring back food and drinks for Mister Jack.  Since he’s so into the qualifying races, he doesn’t notice that I’m gone a long time with my camera.  Since our last visit, I’ve been drawn to the the activities associated with Nitro Alley.  This place, behind the Grandstand action, is strictly for NHRA fans.

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Explore Nitro Alley.  Lots of work goes into those cars and motorcycles.  You can also eat, drink and shop.

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Make sure to bring a hat, ear protection, sunglasses and sunscreen.  California sunshine can be so brutal during the summer, so drink plenty of water.

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And don’t hoard the complimentary Mello Yello on the way out!

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Interested in attending an event at Sonoma Raceway?  Here’s a couple of links to get you started:







  1. marlenebertrand · August 7, 2014

    This was so much fun to read. When I was young, my dad use to take us to the car races. I couldn’t tell you the who, what, when, and where about the races. I can tell you that it was really loud, as you shared. Still today just reading about racecars conjures up that race track scent. It looks like you had a wonderful time.

    • Arlene Poma · August 8, 2014

      Thanks, Marlene! Your comment reminds me of my college days when a friend brought me to the Sacramento Raceway to meet Rockin’ Robbie. He happened to be her neighbor. But the highlight of that event was watching Shirley Muldowney AKA The First Lady of Drag Racing. Yes, I know nothing about those race cars and motorcycles. Other than they are pretty, shiny, very expensive, etc. I was so impressed with the Sonoma Raceway staff, vendors and spectators. Everyone was so friendly. I’d go there again in a heartbeat. When me and Mister Jack travel, we always have a wonderful time. That was our plan from the beginning. We were born with traveling shoes–only in different sizes!

  2. click for info · September 13, 2014

    I am in fact delighted to read this webpage posts which carries plenty of helpful facts,
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    • Arlene Poma · September 22, 2014

      Thank you sooooooooooooooo much!!! It is my extreme pleasure to share with others. I just love getting comments like yours. You’ve made my day!!!

  3. The Belmont Rooster · June 8, 2015

    Sounds like great fun!!!

    • Arlene Poma · June 17, 2015

      Nice to see you after all this time. I’ve been busy. Thank you for the comment and the follow. I know all things are fun when you are gardening and taking care of critters. Your writing and photographs also gave me great fun!!!

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