1 - Photos Of Midget Auto Road  Racing
At Riverside International Raceway, 1958

First thing to notice: backward around Turn Eight (um, 7 on their map). I don't see anywhere in the program that it was projected or contemplated that the Midgets would run counter- on the traditionally -clockwise circuit. I suppose they tried it by the numbers, but found the predominantly right-turn way was too much to ask, particularly in the high-speed Turn Nine (8 on their map).

While there is no conclusive evidence in these pictures that they eliminated Turn Seven (their 6; cars coming out of the NASCAR road onto Turn Six [their 5] are not necessarily racing, or even at speed) it would make sense, since running in the counter- direction would make that turn an extreme example of the reason to reverse direction. Turn one (1!) is the remaining bend that required sustained right-turning.

Another anomaly: the NASCAR road is there. This is supposed to be 1958. Didn't I point out the road was not there for the 1960 United States Grand Prix? What happened? I don't remember it then, but that means nothing; I don't remember 99% of what went on in 1960. The aerial view of Six shows it clearly, but that was early or middle -60s. The view of Turn Six taken during the 1960 Grand Prix seems to show no connection to Eight at the place you'd expect. I guess a lapse in the 1960 photograph's ability to discriminate between asphalt and desert dirt was responsible for my erroneous conclusion.

Of course that might be the erroneous conclusion; however, I don't see any cars newer than 1958 models in the parking areas. Otherwise I would entertain the notion that the photos were at a race subsequent to November, 1960.

As in all these "facts"-laden posts, I'm eager to be corrected and better-informed. Frank S

No doubt whatsoever in my mind about the numbers on these cars: the white one is #59, Danny Oakes in the Dean Van Lines Special; gray one is #52, Don Edmonds in "Cole's Offy"; red is Jerry Unser in "Whitey's Offie." A click in the lower half yields a big version; click on the cars for a bigger one yet. On the left, light blue car, I'm going with #9, Harry Stockman in the Garnett Racing Cams Special, even though there is a possibility if a second digit there. Look at the car in the next picture: same one, no? The other car is certainly #3, "Bullet" Joe Garson in the Casale Engineering Special. Each car has a Clickem for a BIG version. Lower half for the big pic. Note here the appearance of Box Springs Mountain, stolid and relatively dependable.

Now we're talking anomaly: backwards to the backward-track Esses. WTF is going on here? Blue #9, Harry Stockman faced the 'wrong' way and looking over his shoulder. Or it could be #98, Norm Hall, or #99, "Shorty" Templeman. Two Clickems in addition to the bottom half for a big full pic: on the blue car for a zoom-in, and in the upper left-hand corner for a more zoomed-in view. No chance on a number for the back, black car; I'm calling the middle one "#49," Ray Crawford in the Crawford Markets Special although there are other cars numbered ?9; the front, yellow one is the #54, Bill Homeier car. Same Clickems as the previous frame: lower half full-width picture, the cars for a zoomed-in view, upper left for even more zoom. The last one is a BIG file—87K.

I am ashamed to see nearly six months passed
between receiving this email from
Bob Crawford and finding it to post here:

Dear Frank

I was also an early spectator at Riverside.
I am writing this to clear up a few very minor items for you.

The 100 mile midget race of 1958 did take place as advertised. The NASCAR shortcut was used and it was run counterclockwise. It was one of the most boring races I ever saw and the memory is rather dim. It was not repeated.

The photos you have were taken on race day. I really don't remember that much about it except that Johnny Tolan won.

The only two really memorable things were:
Tony Bettenhausen, is in the blue no 9 (actually 91, I think) and he spun at turn 6 in the trophy dash. Tony B was not too impressed with this race k and he spent the next 10 minutes coasting backwards down the esses into the pits, and this is the picture you have of him going the 'wrong way' through the esses.
But the biggest event was George Amick (a very, very brave driver) who had the mother of all crashes at turn 1 in practice and came within inches of being killed (he succeeded about a year later). I didn't see the crash, but it was on TV. He flipped wildly through turn 1 and snapped off a light pole at about 20 feet in the air. A foot or two to the left and it would have been his last ride....

USAC also had a stock car race, 250 miles I think, won by Jerry Unser. And there was a weekend (probably Memorial Day) of 500 mile races. The sprint car 500 miles was won by Rosie Rousell*. I think there was also 500 miles of midgets and maybe even jalopies or Greyhound buses or something. I didn't see any of these.

But I did see the 1960 Times GP and USGP from turn 6, which were much lovely races on lovely fall days.

I now live far, far from Riverside but I spent many enjoyable hours there. Drop a note if you feel the urge.

Bob Crawford

*According to "Fines" of The Nostalgia Forum:
" ... Rosie only ever won two Sprint Car races, both in 1960 near the end of his career, and both top CRA events at Ascot Park in Gardena, CA: June 18 a 15-miler in the Boghosian/Wayne, and October 8 another 15-miler in the Morales/Offenhauser.

"The 500-mile Riverside race was won by Bud Rose (Gemsa = Kurtis/Offenhauser) from Hank Henry, Rip Erikson and a young Don Davis in one of his first Sprint Car appearances."

Then, just a month or so ago (July 2005?):

Just looked at your web site and it brought back some good memories, i'm in the midget program with many of my friends of that era. Out of the entire program i believe only about 6 of us are still around. So sad but true. I'm 81 now and i still keep in contact with a few of the survivors of that era. Really enjoyed it, keep up the good work.         Regards, "Rosie" Roussel
P.S. Check out, (two now-useless links; sorry) it shows some of the cars during my career that i drove.

I met Rosie Roussel (black shirt) during Hila Sweet's racer-gathering at the Parnelli Jones shops and museum in May, 2004. He very kindly posed with some of his friends and supporters, and chatted about his career. That's George Morikawa to Rosie's right; I don't remember the end-guys' names.

Earl "Rosie" Roussel died in August, 2007.

Renee Roussel Peterson (To Herbert Brownell, on Facebook "Remembering Riverside" group, May 17, 2020.)

My father started his career after serving in the Navy and merchant marines in 1947. In 1949 he traveled to England for actress Lana Turner and then husband, Bob Topping, owner of the NY Yankees. Other racers included Frank "Satan" Brewer. He was Central Valley Racing Assoc champ in 47 and 48. He was track champion at bakersfield speedway 1949. He raced jalopies and track roadsters for CRA, finished 2nd in points to Nick Valenta in 1955 (by 13 points). Among those he drove for were Warren Wickham in the Sunset Auto roadster and sprinter, Jack Sill and the Riley 4 port (which we later bought in 1979, restored and ran, and the Wayne/Bogosian Chevy. 1958 he suffered an accident ar West Capitol raceway near Sacramento. He was on fire as he crossed the finish, which resulted in 246 inches in skin grafts from his left calf to his hip, and his hands. After returning to racing, he competed in the San Diego Racing Association in Sportsman Modifieds behind the wheel of the Jackman Special. He finished 2nd in points to Dick Fries in 1962, and won the next year.He has a short stint racing the famous Morales Bros.Tamale Wagon(2 races). He won a main at Ascot, then crashed at Imperial Fairgrounds. This eventually led to his racing retirement. Later, He crewed at Indy for several years for owner Gordon Van Liew's Vita Fresh Special, was racing director at Saugus and Bakersfield Speedways. After restoration of the Riley track roadster, he actively ran with the WRA. I lost my dad on August 8, 2007 and now try to honor hin the best i can.

(I'm acting on the assumption that Renee won't mind my lifting her statement for this page.)

Here are #17, Billy Garrett in the Linhares Offy; #27, not listed in my program; #3, "Bullet" Joe Garson in the Casale Engineering Special. Once again the Clickems are: bottom half for the full shot, the cars for a zoomed-in view, upper left corner for still even yet more zoom.
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