1966 Riverside 500

1966 Riverside 500 staring grid

Here’s a full resolution shot of the background image for the Tempus Fugit Garage.

If you’re new to racing, you probably won’t know about Riverside International Raceway. Sadly this classic track—home to numerous national and international races—is no more. but my teen and early adult years were spent in Southern California (explains a lot doesn’t it) where I grew up about three miles from the track. As luck would have it, one of my neighbors—Sterling Klein (now passed)—was an ex-racer and the president of the Raceway’s Booster Club which meant I had practically unlimited to the track and the drivers.  I wiled away many a summer’s day hanging out at Turn 6 (where the accompanying shot was taken) watching the late Mark Donahue, Dan Gurney, Hershel McGriff, and other racing luminaries duel it out in the Tran-Am Series, NASCAR, and too many other sports racing series to catalog here.

The best of the photograph (to me) is that I was actually there for the race. I couldn’t tell you who won but I can still remember the smells, sounds and the drivers. In a lot of ways, Riverside reminds of Lime Rock (except in size)—an accessible track that catered to the fans. Those were, indeed, the days.