The inaugural John’s March was hosted in 2012 to support the raceway’s longtime spokesman John Cardinale, who was in the midst of his battle with stage IV gastric cancer. John was passionate about raising awareness and funds for the battle against stomach cancer. He attended the first two events before he passed away in 2013, becoming one of nearly 750,000 people who will die from stomach cancer in the world each year.
John Cardinale, a native of San Francisco, joined then-Sears Point Raceway in 1998 and quickly established himself as one of the most respected representatives within the motorsports industry. He was promoted to Vice President of Media and Community Relations in 2003. He was well known for creative and quirky media stunts, including driver ride-alongs with the California Highway Patrol and driving race cars across the Golden Gate Bridge. Cardinale also bolstered the raceway’s community profile through community events, including food drives, blood drives, and holiday parties for families in need. He also served as Vice President of Communications & Marketing from 2007-2012.
Cardinale was frequently recognized for his efforts, including being named NASCAR Track PR Representative of the Year in 2009 and receiving the National Motorsports Press Association (NMPA) Spirit Award in 2013.
Before joining Sonoma Raceway, Cardinale worked for 10 years as a sports reporter and editor, including five years at Contra Costa Newspapers, a prominent daily newspaper group in the East Bay. Cardinale was a graduate of San Francisco State University.
Cardinale was diagnosed with Stage IV gastric in March 2011 and passed away on March 20, 2013, at 47. He is survived by Andrea, his wife of 18 years, and two daughters.