I was around 10 years old in the late 1970s, my older brother scored free tickets to Riverside International Raceway. For many, this may not sound like a big deal but having 2 sisters, 1 bother and a mom who was a widow working 2 1/2 jobs a day, it was a really, REALLY big deal for this poor kid.

We lived 5 miles away and the valley would echo with race cars every weekend and as a kid who loved cars, I could only dream of what it was like, as I used my Hot wheels to race around my bedroom floor.

I had never been to a race, ever and what I saw was even to this day, magical. The bleachers were very high, at least 40-50 benches about 50 years long and at least 40 feet in total height. I sat on the North side of the track at turn 6, right before a hard right turn that was blocked off to create a straight away into turn 8 and hard right into the 3,000 ft straight in the back field.

The race was an exhibition race, cars from various periods starting with the 1900s 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s etc all the way to the 70s.

The early cars were crazy, old Austins, Fords with open cock pits, NO roll bars, tipping dangerously into tight turns, drivers wearing period correct head gear, scarves and goggles, leaning like drunk sailors on leave in every turn.

The Cobras, oh dear god the Cobras and Shelby Mustangs sounded like thunder as they passed me, you could feel the inside of your chest vibrate as they roared by.

The final race was a series of cars but in the pack was a Porsche 913, it was a different kind of loud, more like a scream of a demon than the roar of a pack of lions like the Shelby Cobras and Shelby Mustangs.

The 917 lapped all the cars 3 times and it was amazing.

Years later I passed Riverside International Raceway, it had been a part of my community for decades, I saw the heavy equipment tearing down everything. I cried. I felt a friend was being ripped apart and for what, a mall. A mall that to this day, has never had full occupancy and losing money.

Meanwhile, 40 miles away, Fontana built their Speedway and has been raking in cash ever since.