My favorite race track remains the Riverside Road Course in Riverside CA. It no longer exists thanks to some stupid politicians and greedy developers. That may be a little harsh in that everyone is entitled to do what they want with their own property but the loss of Riverside Raceway was tragic. I have attended many races there as well as at other tracks all over the Country from Daytona to Sears Point (Sonoma for you youngsters) and I still would prefer Riverside if it still existed.
The following video has a lot of classic drivers and race cars from the first Motor Trend 500. Many of the shots were taken from the top of the stands in, if I remember correctly, turn 9. This is the same location as where my seat was. My very favorite memory from just about any race I have been to was the first lap of the 500 when those big heavy NASCAR race cars came shooting up the “S” curves beating and banging for position for the first major turn at the top of the hill.
The Cup drivers were not yet familiar with road courses. For each driver fighting that big brut of a car in such tight quarters was a real challenge. Life was different then and racing was different. For some of us it was better.
One example; in the mid 80s just before the track was to be closed I attended a Motor Trend 500 and watched as the rising star Tim Richmond spun and damaged his car beyond repair. He ended up on the inside of the turn just above the “S” curves where I was sitting. It was a hot dry CA day. The dust was blowing and the sun was blazing. Tim got out of his car to a roar from the fans in the stands on the other side of the track from where his car ended up. Tim was a very popular and extremely talented driver who could have been another super star possibly as bright as Dale Earnhardt.
Tim looked around waited for a break in the race car traffic and then, much to the disapproval of the NASCAR Officials in the turn, bolted across the track. He quickly found a hole in the fence and climbed up into the stands and found an empty seat. Instantly he was given a cold beer and was just another fan (a fan getting lots of attention I might add) watching a good race! Think you will ever see anything like that at a NASCAR race today? Think not!