If you hear a loud rumbling, rest assured, it's not a stampede of elephants.
NASCAR's Toyota/Save Mart 350 is back in the Bay Area for its 25th year. The high-speed action kicked off at the Sonoma Raceway on Friday and runs through Sunday. So, that's the sound of stock cars whirring around the track.
Nearly 100,000 auto racing fans are expected to flock to the raceway, which is part of NASCAR's Sprint Cup Series. Some of the big name drivers scheduled to compete include Vallejo’s Jeff Gordon, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Jimmie Johnson and Danica Patrick.
Not only did Patrick win the 2008 Indy Japan 300 and was the rookie of the year in 2005, she drives the GoDaddy.com Chevrolet SS and is well known for her appearances in a string of GoDaddy Super Bowl ads. She visited GoDaddy's Sunnyvale office this week.
Not only will there be racing, but there will be charity drives, too. Driver Jeff Burton is leading a heart walk to beat heart disease, and there is a children's charities auction on Sunday.
Far away away from the real racing in Sonoma, there's virtual racing, or talk and tweeting about NASCAR in Charlotte, N.C., largely powered by technology created by Hewlett Packard in Silicon Valley. The facility is part “broadcast control room” and part “NASA Command Center.”
As one example, organizers tout, viewers can see the race broadcast on one display, follow NASCAR’s Twitter and Facebook pages on two others, and look for specific trend topics from the HP Autonomy platform coming in real-time on yet another. The goal, organizers say, is to be able to view multiple forms of media together, all in real-time.
For more information about the race and the complete schedule, click here.