TIME MACHINE: 1957: FERRARI WINS FIRST RACE AT RIVERSIDE INT'L RACEWAY FONTANA, Calif. (March 31, 2005) --- As engines are being primed for this weekend's Ferrari Maserati 400 at California Speedway, some may recall the sounds of the first...
TIME MACHINE: 1957: FERRARI WINS FIRST RACE AT RIVERSIDE INT'L RACEWAY
FONTANA, Calif. (March 31, 2005) --- As engines are being primed for this weekend's Ferrari Maserati 400 at California Speedway, some may recall the sounds of the first race at Riverside International Raceway.
Nicknamed the "Palace of Speed", Riverside International Raceway brought thousands of spectators to racing events and was located 20 miles east from what is now Southern California's center of racing - California Speedway. The unique road course hosted SCCA, Can-Am, Trans-Am, F 5000, Indy Cars, Drag Racers, IMSA, NASCAR and Off-Road events during its operation from 1957 through the track's final checkered flag in 1988.
The track had been officially designated as the Riverside International Motor Raceway Association (RIMRA), but most called it Riverside Raceway. Rudy Cleye had been named director of racing, Steve Mason was director of publicity and Cal Club pioneer Elliott Forbes-Robinson was the general manager. The first race would be a Cal Club weekend, September 21-22, 1957, and over 250 entries were received for fifteen events over two days.
Sunday's main event, Los Angeles Cup, had a very strong grid of competitors, featuring Ferrari, Aston Martin, Jaguar and Maserati. Chuck Daigh led for a while until Pete Woods seized the front position. Woods engine ultimately lost an oil line and Daigh cut a tire allowing Richie Ginther to take the lead. Ginther was out in front in his No. 211 Ferrari 410S and bypassed any major problems to take Riverside's first feature event win with an average speed of 85.15 mph. Bill Murphy, in a Buick, came in second followed by Bill Pollack in a Maserati 300S. The race lasted 25-laps and took place on a 3.275-mile course.
Legendary Carroll Shelby would head to Riverside International Raceway on November 17, 1957 for the first Riverside National Championship and take the win in his Maserati 450S in the 92.5-mile featured event giving the Italian car manufacturer a solid foundation at Riverside.
Great road racing continues to thrive in Southern California at the home of California Speedway. Join Grand American for the Ferrari Maserati 400 and Grand-Am Cup Series 200 on April 1-3, 2005. Tickets are available as both weekend packages and individual tickets. For ticket and event information, call 800-944-RACE  or visit www.californiaspeedway.com.