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1964 NASCAR Riverside 500

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  • 1964 NASCAR Riverside 500

    I thought some of you might enjoy this film of the 1964 Riverside 500, won by Dan Gurney. One thing is clearly apparent from watching it- stock cars racing at Riverside were complete pigs, and the guys driving, from the fastest to the slowest, had their hands full.

    https://youtu.be/Dsf6DBabZBQ

  • #2
    Thanks for sharing. I was only able to watch the begining, but yeah - those cars looked like handfuls. I believe this was the race where Joe Weatherly was killed. I saw a brief shot of his #8 Mercury early in the clip. Only (and thankfully) one of 2 reigning NASCAR champs to die defending their titles.
    Real drivers don't need fenders!

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Pelican Joe View Post
      Thanks for sharing. I was only able to watch the begining, but yeah - those cars looked like handfuls. I believe this was the race where Joe Weatherly was killed. I saw a brief shot of his #8 Mercury early in the clip. Only (and thankfully) one of 2 reigning NASCAR champs to die defending their titles.
      It was. I remember it very well...1964 was a horrible year for race fans.

      Evidently, Joe lost his brakes going into a tight corner and pancaked a concrete wall. He only wore a lap belt, feeling a shoulder harness to be too confining. He also didn't have a window net. When the car hit the wall, the impact slammed his head against the wall, killing him. Joe was 42.

      Motor Trend published a tribute to him.
      Last edited by Tifositoo; 07-27-2020, 04:53 PM.
      Tibi Fumus Obsidio Septum Doro

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Tifositoo View Post

        It was. I remember it very well...1964 was a horrible year for race fans.

        Evidently, Joe lost his brakes going into a tight corner and pancaked a concrete wall. He only wore a lap belt, feeling a shoulder harness to be too confining. He also didn't have a window net. When the car hit the wall, the impact slammed his head against the wall, killing him. Joe was 42.

        Motor Trend published a tribute to him.
        I don't think NASCAR mandated window nets until after Richard Petty's scary wreck at Darlington in 1970.
        Real drivers don't need fenders!

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Pelican Joe View Post

          I don't think NASCAR mandated window nets until after Richard Petty's scary wreck at Darlington in 1970.
          This is correct.

          Until Dale's death NASCAR was way behind the curve in terms of safety compared to other racing organizations.
          The Ayn Rand of Indycar

          No one had to badge the Offy.

          Crapping all over threads since 2000.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Tifositoo View Post

            It was. I remember it very well...1964 was a horrible year for race fans.

            Evidently, Joe lost his brakes going into a tight corner and pancaked a concrete wall. He only wore a lap belt, feeling a shoulder harness to be too confining. He also didn't have a window net. When the car hit the wall, the impact slammed his head against the wall, killing him. Joe was 42.

            Motor Trend published a tribute to him.
            It was a steel wall.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by RS2 View Post

              It was a steel wall.
              So it was...also, Joe Weatherly was 41 when he died. My bad.
              Tibi Fumus Obsidio Septum Doro

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              • #8
                Let's face it, it wouldn't have mattered what the wall was made of.

                Ol' AJ came thisclose to the same fate at pretty much the same spot, but there by the grace of God.....
                The Ayn Rand of Indycar

                No one had to badge the Offy.

                Crapping all over threads since 2000.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by DaveL View Post
                  Ol' AJ came thisclose to the same fate at pretty much the same spot, but there by the grace of God.....
                  Didn't A.J. lose his brakes going into the left-hand kink before the final turn 9? Weatherly's accident was on the far side on the track at turn 6(?).

                  Also, wasn't that race the full 500 miles?!? How long did that take!? I remember as a little kid watching a Wide World of Sports broadcast from the '70s where, for the first time, the race was shortened to 500k.
                  You have the IndyCar you deserve.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by dalz View Post

                    Didn't A.J. lose his brakes going into the left-hand kink before the final turn 9? Weatherly's accident was on the far side on the track at turn 6(?).

                    Also, wasn't that race the full 500 miles?!? How long did that take!? I remember as a little kid watching a Wide World of Sports broadcast from the '70s where, for the first time, the race was shortened to 500k.
                    It was a full 500 mile race which was ridiculous. Figure easily 5 hours.

                    Pretty sure AJ wrecked at the end of the Esses but I could be wrong. Either way he narrowly avoided a fatal accident.
                    The Ayn Rand of Indycar

                    No one had to badge the Offy.

                    Crapping all over threads since 2000.

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                    • #11
                      That is the 1963 Riverside race, it's labeled 1964, but the info (Dan Gurney in the #28, Aj Foyt in the 02, Paul Goldsmith on the pole etc) indicates it's actually 1963.

                      Race was 5 hours and 53 minutes per Racing Reference. If it had been SCCA, Dan Gurney would've had a co-driver for the 6 hours of Riverside
                      El Grillo Cantor

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                      • #12
                        I was at probably every 500 miler and 500k at Riverside from when I was born until it closed. We always camped there and I knew every inch of that place. Many of the teams came with U-Hauls and trailers in the 70's.

                        I remember that wall because in the summer races there we huge black widows you could see when standing there. from the spectator side the wall was only a couple of feet high and you stood elevated above the track.So like 2/3 of the wall was in the ground so it was as unforgiving as concrete. I remember the annonucer saying when somebody got in the wall they got in the boiler plate.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by dalz View Post

                          Didn't A.J. lose his brakes going into the left-hand kink before the final turn 9? Weatherly's accident was on the far side on the track at turn 6(?).
                          Correct, Foyt's accident was going into turn 9, but there was no kink yet, that came a few years later.

                          From 1957-69, turn 9 was a pure 180 at the end of the long backstraight.
                          "Versions of a story that are more tidy, compact, and camera-ready should generally be viewed as historically suspect." - Jackson Landers

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by JThur1 View Post
                            Correct, Foyt's accident was going into turn 9, but there was no kink yet, that came a few years later.

                            From 1957-69, turn 9 was a pure 180 at the end of the long backstraight.
                            Thanks. From the video, I thought he went straight at the non-existent kink, but he was just looking for somewhere to go.

                            Since you're here Mr. J...the '60s were before the Winston West era, but were there lesser-known racers from the area who attempted to make this race annually? West coast short-trackers, road racers, amateurs? With the enduro-like length of this race, I would think anyone who just kept it between the ditches had a chance at great finish. What's the best little-guy story from this race that you know of?
                            You have the IndyCar you deserve.

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                            • #15
                              Dalz,
                              There was a west coast Nascar Group that ran at these events.
                              "Life's journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well preserved
                              body, but rather to skid in sideways, totally worn out, shouting
                              "...holy $^!+...what a ride!"
                              >

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