Here’s a tip that will save you plenty of time and frustration this weekend: Avoid the Sears Point area, particularly Highways 37 and 121.
NASCAR is rolling in at Sears Point for the Toyota/Save Mart 350, and the race is expected to draw about 100,000 fans for Sunday’s race. But many arrive early for Friday and Saturday’s practice and qualifying runs.
CHP Officer Jon Sloat of the Sonoma County office said fans start arriving Friday afternoon with their RVs, adding to the normal congestion on Highway 37, and then it just gets worse Saturday and Sunday as the crowds grow.
“It gets pretty bad out there,” especially in the late afternoon when race events end, said CHP Officer Jake Ramos of the Napa office.
For those who must use Highways 37 or 121 this weekend, Ramos advised avoiding them 5 to 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 4 to 8 p.m. Sunday when traffic is the absolute worse.
On Sunday afternoon, “there is a little window to get through while the race is going on,” he said.
For those from Sonoma County heading to Napa, the East Bay or points east, Ramos suggested taking Highways 12 or 116 and staying north of Sears Point.
Ramos said the Napa CHP will have extra officers to help try to unclog traffic each day, with about 10 on Friday, 15 on Saturday and 20 on Sunday. Sloat said extra officers also will be on duty from Sonoma County.
For those going to the race from Sonoma County, Ramos recommended entering the racetrack area via Gate 9 on Lakeville Highway, thus avoiding the main gate on Highway 121.
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