VALLEJO TIMES-HERALD -- I carried on with a heavy heart Friday when news came of the death of John Cardinale, the public relations director for Sonoma Raceway, much too soon at the age of 47 after a two-year bout with gastric cancer. He will leave a hole as big as Texas in this native Texan’s heart. It seems like just yesterday when I was hustling around making a living at three or four jobs, including a full-time gig as the sports editor of the Morgan Hill Times. It was then in the late 1980s I first met John, a young sports writer out of San Francisco State. He wrote some pretty darn good stories for the three McClatchy Company newspapers south of San Jose — the Gilroy Dispatch, the Hollister Free Lance that the Times in Morgan Hill. Soon he was at the Contra Costa County Times and covering racing. Then 15 years ago he joined what was then Sears Point International Raceway, directing its public relations.