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Book Review - The Riverside International Raceway

Book Review - The Riverside International Raceway
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The Riverside International Raceway (or RIR) was one of the most iconic racetracks of the 20th Century and proved to be the blast-off point for some of the most influential people in automotive culture. Author Pete Lyons spent the epoch of his childhood days at this revered racetrack, which would become the subject of this book. Riverside International Raceway: A Photographic Tour of the Historic Track, Its Legendary Races, and Unforgettable Drivers published by Spry Publishing LLC  highlights the historic track, legendary races, and, of course, the remarkable drivers.

The book starts off by introducing legendary racer Dan Gurney and his fondest memories of the track. Gurney conjures stories of the early days of the RIR such as its construction, all the way to his success at the racetrack and eventually earning his unofficial title as the King of Riverside. Lyons writes that the track became so famous that, “You saw anything and anybody at RIR” and given its location in sunny southern California, there are several photos throughout the book of famous actors like James Garner and Paul Newman.

“The Riverside International Raceway” also covers all of the historic races held over the years. The track was home to all sorts of different races from different associations including Formula 1, SCCA Pro Racing, Trans Am, Off- Road and many more. Some major events from the racetrack were LA Times Grand Prix, Indy Car World Series and the NASCAR Winston 500. The book also shines a light on some forgotten races such as the Olympic Relay where Olympic Athletes and Sports cars came together for one bizarre relay race.

Maybe more famous than the RIR races were the drivers at Riverside. Obviously the biggest advocate for the raceway was Gurney; given the pages of direct quotes he provided for the book, but some of the best racers of all time graced the Riverside Raceway. Lyons displays several candid photos of superstar racers such as Parnelli Jones, The Rodriguez Brothers, and even Carol Shelby. In the book, there is even a photo of the great Carroll Shelby pulling his crashed Maserati off the track after a hairpin turn.

Although the RIR had a strong run for over thirty years it has since been closed down. But thanks to people like Peter Lyons, racetracks like the RIR will not be forgotten and its rich history will be preserved for years to come.“The Riverside International Raceway” is truly a blast from the past as every page is overflowing with nostalgic pictures and stories from the actual people that experienced the racing at the RIR. This book would be a great addition to any racing fan's library.


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