SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE -- John Cardinale, the chief spokesman for Sonoma Raceway for 15 years and one of the most popular sports public-relations figures in the Bay Area, has died after a two-year battle with gastric cancer. He was 47. He died Wednesday night at home in Martinez with his family, according to officials at the track, formerly known as Infineon Raceway. “There is a hole in the heart of this organization,” raceway President and General Manager Steve Page said. “John has been a part of every good thing that has happened at this track over the last 15 years. We are all so fortunate to have had him in our lives and to have shared in his intelligence, his wit, his integrity and his brave spirit.” The San Francisco native, a graduate of San Francisco State, joined the raceway staff in 1998 after working as a sports reporter and editor in the East Bay.