Sonoma Raceway will add a legendary NASCAR team owner and one of the raceway’s founders to its Wall of Fame during this weekend’s Toyota/Save Mart 350 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, June 21-23.
Joe Gibbs, owner of Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) and 2020 NASCAR Hall of Fame Inductee, will join fellow NASCAR legends Rusty Wallace (2005), Mark Martin (2005), Jeff Gordon (2006), Ricky Rudd (2007), Rick Hendrick (2010), Ernie Irvan and Tony Stewart (2016) on the Raceway’s Wall of Fame.
JGR has competed on the Sonoma Valley road course in the NASCAR Cup Series since 1992, debuting with driver Dale Jarrett in the Save Mart Supermarkets 300. Over the course of more than 25 years, JGR has visited victory lane four times with Tony Stewart (2001, 2005) and Kyle Busch (2008, 2015). JGR also boasts 13 top-five finishes and 25 top-10 finishes over 65 driver starts and more than 300 laps led in Sonoma.
Raceway founder Robert (Bob) Marshall joins inductees who have made a significant impact on the raceway, including Bruton Smith, Speedway Motorsports, Inc. (2006), Bob Piccinini, Save Mart Supermarkets (2007) and original raceway executive Ken Clapp, Sears Point Raceway (2008).
Marshall, an attorney from nearby Marin County, was an avid sports car enthusiast. While not a racer himself, he was a Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) member and a willing crew member for several local amateur SCCA racers.
Marshall’s former wife Penny (Marshall) Tannlund explains, "as long as I knew him, it was always his dream to build a race track. Bob wanted to build a driver’s track, so he kept that dream alive and he would talk about it with his SCCA friends."
Marshall took on the valiant effort of collaborating with a strategic group of investors, developers and racing advisors to make his dream of a "drivers’ track" a reality and broke ground on Sears Point Raceway on Aug. 14, 1968.
"The Sonoma Raceway Wall of Fame honors individuals who have had a significant impact on the legacy of this facility, and as we celebrate our 50th anniversary, I can’t think of two more appropriate additions," said Steve Page, Sonoma Raceway president and general manager. "Joe Gibbs Racing has consistently fielded winners on the track and Coach Gibbs himself is a role model for all of us in organizational and individual leadership.
"And, of course, none of us would be here today were it not for Robert Marshall and his colleagues whose vision and drive transformed a rural dairy into what has become a world-class racing and high-performance driving facility. We could not be prouder to welcome these two legendary figures to the raceway’s Wall of Fame."
Marshall’s son, Jack, will accept the Wall of Fame honor on his fathers’ behalf on Friday during a 50th anniversary press conference at Sonoma Raceway. Gibbs will be inducted into the Sonoma Raceway Wall of Fame on Sunday during pre-race ceremonies.
The Sonoma Raceway Wall of Fame is designed to honor those who have excelled not only in their form of motor racing, but more importantly, in Sonoma. Each inductee is recognized during a ceremony with a marble plaque engraved with their likeness. The engraving is also added to the Wall of Fame, which is located behind the main grandstand.
The Wall of Fame includes competitors from all forms of motor racing featured in Sonoma, including NASCAR, NHRA, AMA, open-wheel cars, sports cars and more. It will also include those who have made significant contributions to the raceway over the years.
— Sonoma Raceway —