• 1965 Nascar Riverside 500

    I've often wondered why there aren't more Nascar races run on road courses, as opposed to ovals. Even modern day Sprint Cup cars look fantastic around Watkins Glen and Sonoma, slipping and sliding, four-wheel-drifting, locking brakes and rolling through the corners.

    But there is little that compares to the sight of a field of 7 litre mid-60s behemoths on skinny steel wheels, slippery cross-ply tyres, and 4-wheel drum brakes negotiating one of the great long-lost tracks, Riverside Raceway, over 500 gruelling miles.

    Here is something I stumbled upon some time back on Youtube. This short 6 minute highlighted video from 1965 is a real gem. There is no sound, just the narration, but thats OK, because the picture quality is superb, and these battleships are mesmerising as they glide gracefully from one four wheel drift to the next. Note the lack of General-Motors participation. Chrysler are also sparsely supported. Nascar had banned the Hemi for 1965, prompting the company to withdraw in protest, although there were a few privateers that remained with the series campaigning older Chrysler machinery. By mid-season, Nascar had relaxed its rules a little, allowing Hemi engines to take part in short track races.

    The race, as with the '65 season, was dominated by Ford, as the only manufacturer involved with its Galaxies and Mercury Marauders. One competitor is even running a rare Mercury Breezeway, an oddball feature of which was a vertical electric back window.

    Note also the respect the drivers have towards one another. There is the rubbing of door handles that is almost impossible to avoid when skating around a road course in massive 7 litre full sized sedans, which, after a few laps, would have been almost completely without brakes, but there is none of the deliberate barging that is common in modern racing. In fact, A.J Foyts brakes fail him completely, as you'll see later in the footage.
    This article was originally published in forum thread: 1965 Nascar Riverside 500 started by Steve Holmes View original post