RIVERSIDE INTERNATIONAL RACEWAY

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The track was in operation from September 22,1957 to July 2, 1989. The original design proved to be dangerous and it was partially reconfigured in 1969. Due to its proximity to the Southern California industry, RIR was a frequent filiming location for Hollywood movies, television series and commercials. Film shoots at RIR include: The Betsy 1978, Fireball 500 1966, Grand Prix 1966, The Killers 1964, The Love Bug 1968, On the Beach 1959, Roadracers 1959, Speedway 1966, Stacey 1973, Thunder Alley 1967, Winning 1969 and Viva Las Vegas 1964. Scenes from the television shows CHiP’s, Simion and Simon, The Rockford Files, and Knight Rider were shot on location at RIR. The first weekend of scheduled races in September 1957, a California Sports Car Club event, John Lawrence of Pasadena lost his life. The second major event at the track, in November 1957, was a sports car race featuring some of the top drivers of the day including Carroll Shelby, Masten Gregory and Ken Miles. Another driver entered was an inexperienced local youngster named Dan Gurney, who had been offered to drive a powerful but ill-handling 4.9-liter Ferrari after better known driverselby and Miles had rejected itnd fell back. Gurney assumed the lead and led for much of the event. Shelby, driving furiously to catch up, finally overtook Gurney late in the race and won. Gurney’s performance caught the eye of North American Ferrari importer Luigi Chinetti who arranged for Gurney to drive a factory-supported Ferrari at LeMans in 1958, effectively launching the Valifornian’s European career. The track was known as a relatively dangerous course. During the 1965 Motor Trend 500 NASCAR race, the legendary A.J. Foyt suffered brake failure at the end of the straight, going end over end at hight speed. Crash crews assumed Foyt was dead at the scene, until fellow driver Parnelli Jones noticed a twitch of movement. Ford factory sports car driver Ken Miles was killed there in a testing accident in August 1966. In december 1968, American Formula 5000 champion Lou Sell crashed and overturned on the first lap of the Rex Maxs 300 Indy car race, suffering near-fatal burns. In January 1964, Riverside also claimed the life of 1962-63 NASCAR champion Joe Weatherly, who refused to wear a shoulder harness and wore his lap belt loosley. Weatherly died when he lost control entering turn 6, hitting the steel barrier almost broadside and had his head snapped out of the window against the barrier. Turn 9 was also the site of the only fatality IMSA GTP history. In the 1983 Times Grand Prix, Rolf Stommelen lost its rear wing at the dogleg, sending it into a horrific roll in turn 9. The Rex Mays 300 served as the season ending USAC Indy car event from 1967 to 1969. After 14 years of NASCAR as a driver and later car owner, Richard Childress won his first NASCAR race in 1983 when Ricky Rudd won the Budweiser 400. From 1981 to 1986, the final NASCAR race was held at Riverside. Riverside’s Winston Western 500 was the NASCAR season opener until 1981 when NASCAR moved the start of the season to Daytona in February. After former Los Angeles Rams player Les Richter sold the property to Fritz Duda in 1983, 1988 would be the final year of racing for Riverside International Raceway. On June 12, 1988 NASCAR held its final race at RIR, a race won by Rusty Wallace. In 1989 after SCORE held its last race, the track finally closed its gates after 32 years of racing. A shopping mall was built that opened in 1992. The Moreno Valley Mall at Towngate is on the northern end of the old racetrack. In 1994 the remains of Riverside’s turn 9 wall were still visible, however today nothing is left of RIR. The old administration building remained until 2005, when it was torn down to make way for a complex of townhomes. In 2003 the remainder of RIR was torn up. The sign that was at California 60 and Day Street was removed to make way for a Lowe’s.

RIVERSIDE INTERNATIONAL RACEWAY WINNERS

USAC STOCK CAR

12/1/57 – Jerry Unser

3/18/62 – Paul Goldsmith

3/18/62 – Troy Ruttman

INDY CAR

11/26/67 Rex Mays 300 – Dan Gurney

12/1/68 Rex Mays 300 – Dan Gurney

12/7/69 Rex Mays 300 – Mario Andretti

8/30/81 Los Angeles Times 500 – Rick Mears

8/29/82 AirCal 500 – Rick Mears

8/28/83 L.A. Times Budweiser 500 – Bobby Rahal

NASCAR CUP

1/20/63 Riverside 500 – Dan Gurney

11/3/63 Golden State 400 – Darel Dieringer

1/19/64 Motor Trend 500 – Dan Gurney

1/17/65 Motor Trend 500 – Dan Gurney

1/23/66 Motor Trend 500 – Dan Gurney

1/22/67 Motor Trend 500 – Parnelli Jones

1/21/68 Motor Trend 500 – Dan Gurney

2/1/69 Motor Trend 500 – Richard Petty

1/18/70 Motor Trent 500 – A.J. Foyt

6/14/70 Falstaff 400 – Richard Petty

1/10/71 Motor Trend 500 – Ray Elder

6/20/71 Golden State 400 – Bobby Allison

1/23/72 Winston Western 500 – Richard Petty

6/18/72 Golden State 400 – Ray Elder

1/21/73 Winston Western 500 – Mark Donohue

6/17/73 Tuborg 400 – Bobby Allison

1/20/84 Winston Western 500 – Cale Yarborough

6/9/74 Tuborg 400 – Cale Yarborough

1/19/75 Winston Western 500 – Bobby Allison

6/8/75 Tuborg 400 – Richard Petty

1/18/76 Winston Western 500 – David Pearson

6/13/76 Riverside 400 – David Pearson

1/16/77 Winston Western 500 – David Pearson

6/12/77 Napa 400 – Richard Petty

1/22/78 Winston Western 500 – Cale Yarborough

6/11/78 Napa 400 – Benny Parsons

1/14/79 Winston Western 500 – Darrell Waltrip

6/10/79 Napa 400 – Bobby Allison

1/13/80 Winston Western 500 – Darrell Waltrip

6/8/80 Warner Hodgon 400 – Darrell Waltrip

1/11/81 Winston Western 500 – Bobby Allison

6/14/81 Warner Hodgdon 400 – Darrell Waltrip

11/22/81 Winston Western 500 – Bobby Allison

6/13/82 Budweiser 400 – Tim Richmond

11/21/82 Winston Western 500 – Tim Richmond

6/5/83 Budweiser 400 – Ricky Rudd

11/20/83 Winston Western 500 – Bill Elliott

6/3/84 Budweiser 400 – Terry Labonte

11/18/84 Winston Western 500 – Geoff Bodine

6/2/85 Budweiser 400 – Terry Labonte

11/17/85 Winston Western 500 – Ricky Rudd

6/1/86 Budweiser 400 – Darrell Waltrip

11/16/86 Winston Western 500 – Tim Richmond

6/21/87 Budweiser 400  - Tim Richmond

11/8/87 – Winston Western 500 Rusty Wallace

6/12/88 Budweiser 400 – Rusty Wallace

NASCAR LATE MODEL SPORTSMAN/GRAND AMERICAN

1/21/67 Permatex 100 – Oren Prosser

1/20/68 Permatex 100 – Jerry Titus

1/18/69 Permatex 200 – Hershel McGriff

1/17/70 Permatex 200 – Clem Proctor

6/13/70 – Ron Hornaday Sr

1/9/71 Permatex 200 – Gary Kershaw

6/19/71 – Clem Proctor

1/22/72 Permatex 200 – Hershel McGriff

6/17/72 – Sonny Easley

1/20/73 Permatex 200 – Jack Jeffery

6/16/73 California 100 – Hershel McGriff

1/19/74 Permatex 200 – Hershel McGriff

6/9/74 California 100 – Hershel McGriff

1/18/75 Permatex 200 – Jimmy Insolo

1/15/77 Permatex 300 – Ivan Baldwin

6/12/80 Stock Car Products 300 – Dave Hill

6/8/80 – Ron Esau

1/10/81 Warner Hodgdon 300 – Joe Ruttman

6/14/81 Sharon Hogdon 200 – Hershel McGriff

11/21/81 Warner Hodgdon 300 – Glenn Steurer

6/13/82 – Hershel McGriff

11/20/82 Warner Hodgdon 300 – Ron Esau

6/4/82 Warner Hodgdon 200 – Hershel McGriff

6/3/84 – Duke Hoenshell

11/17/84 Warner Hodgdon 300 – Hershel McGriff

6/2/85 All American 200 – Duke Hoenshell

11/16/85 Pep Boys 300 – Hershel McGriff

NASCAR SOUTHWEST TOUR SERIES

6/20/87 Vons 200 – Kevin Riniker

9/11/88 Motocraft Carquest 300 – Ron Esau

USAC ROAD RACING CHAMPIONSHIP

10/12/58 United States Grand Prix For Sports Cars - Chuck Daigh

7/19/59 Kiwanis Grand Prix - Richie Ginther

10/11/59 United States Grand Prix For Sports Cars - Phil Hill

4/3/60 International Grand Prix - Carroll Shelby

10/16/60 Los Angeles Times Grand Prix - Bill Krause

10/15/61 Riverside Grand Prix – Jack Brabham

10/14/62 Los Angeles Times Grand Prix – Roger Penske

SCCA US ROAD RACING CHAMPIONSHIP

4/26/64 Riverside Grand Prix – Skip Hudson

4/26/64 – Ken Miles

5/2/65 – Ken Miles

5/2/65 – Jim Hall

5/1/66 300 km of Riverside – John Fulp

4/30/67 300 km of Riverside – Mark Donohue

SCCA CAN-AM

10/30/66 Los Angeles Times Grand Prix – John Surtees

10/29/67 Los Angeles Times Grand Prix – Bruce McLaren

10/27/68 Los Angeles Grand Prix – Bruce McLaren

10/26/69 Los Angeles Grand Prix – Denis Hulme

11/1/70 Los Angeles Grand Prix – Denis Hulme

10/31/71 Los Angeles Grand Prix – Denis Hulme

10/29/72 Los Angeles Grand Prix – George Follmer

10/28/73 Los Angeles Grand Prix – Mark Donohue

10/16/77 Pepsi Cola California Grand Prix – Patrick Tambay

10/15/78 California Grand Prix – Alan Jones

10/28/79 Budweiser Grand Prix – Jacky Ickx

10/26/80 Budweiser Grand Prix – Al Holbert

10/4/81 Budweiser Grand Prix – Al Holbert

10/3/82 Mequiar’s Grand Prix – Al Holbert

10/7/84 – Michael Roe

SCCA TRANS AM

9/18/66 – Jerry Titus

9/17/67 Mission Bell Trophy 250 – David Pearson

9/18/68 Mission Bell 250 – Horst Kwech

10/5/69 Mission Bell 250 – Mark Donohue

10/4/70 Mission Bell 250 – Parnelli Jones

10/3/71 Mission Bell 250 – George Follmer

10/25/80 – Greg Pickett

9/25/83 Meguiar’s Grand Prix – David Hobbs

10/7/84 Riverside International Grand Prix – Darin Brassfield

5/18/86 Coca Cola Nissan 100 – Scott Pruett

USAC/SCCA FORMULA 5000

10/27/74 Riverside Grand Prix – Mario Andretti

10/26/75 – Mario Andretti

IROC INTERNATIONAL RACE OF CHAMPIONS

10/27/73 Round 1 – Mark Donohue

10/27/73 Round 2 – George Follmer

10/28/73 Round 3 – Mark Donohue

10/26/74 Round 2 – Emerson Fittipaldi

10/27/74 Round 3 – Bobby Allison

10/25/75 Round 2 – Bobby Unser

10/26/75 Round 3 – Bobby Allison

10/16/76 Round 2 – Bobby Unser

10/17/76 Round 3 – Cale Yarborough

10/15/77 Round 2 – Al Unser

10/16/77 Round 3 – Cale Yarborough

10/15/78 Round 1 – Mario Andretti

10/28/79 Round 1 – Darrell Waltrip

6/11/88 Round 2 – Scott Pruett

NASCAR PACIFIC COAST/GRAND NATIONAL WEST

6/1/58 Crown America 500 – Eddie Gray

5/21/61 – Lloyd Dane

5/19/63 Riverside 250 – Roger Penske

8/30/81 Warner Hogdon 200 – Roy Smith

8/29/82 Warner Hodgon 200 – Rick McCray

8/28/83 Warner Hodgon 200 – Hershel McGriff

One thought on “RIVERSIDE INTERNATIONAL RACEWAY

  1. imy father raced in Riverside CA I am no tsure of the year but early 70′s. I have been searching to share with my kids and ny brither and his family. could you please send me some links if you know of aany. my father has passed and I dont have pictures. his name is Kenneth Crossman I know he placed first one year, I was there. He raced hi-jumper his name may of been 166 or 196. he was a member of S.C.O.R.E. for several years. He was from Thousand Oaks CA had shop in WOodland HIlls. AAny leads would be awesome. my son only go tto meet his grandfather once before he passed and i would love to be able to share with him

    thank you

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