Higgin's Scuffs: Test your NASCAR road-course knowledge
Friday, Jun. 21, 2013
Attention, dear readers!
It's time once again for another of Ol' Perfesser Higgins' occasional pop quizzes.
The subject concerns the NASCAR Cup Series' visits to road courses in California.
The test is timed to coincide with the teams' annual visit this weekend to the Wine Country and Sears Point Raceway north of San Francisco for the Toyota/Save Mart 300.
1. When and where did NASCAR first stage road course events in the Golden State, and who were the winners?
2. Who won the big time circuit's first event at Riverside Raceway in 1958?
3. Name a native California, running only a very limited Cup Series schedule, who triumphed back-to-back at Riverside Raceway?
4. What internationally-famous star won five out of seven races in at Riverside and which team was he driving for each time?
5. What two exceedingly popular drivers scored historic "firsts" in the same race at Riverside in 1983?
6. Who has the most Cup victories at Riverside--Jeff Gordon, Darrell Waltrip, Rusty Wallace or Bobby Allison?
7. Who triumphed in the Cup Series' first race at Sears Point in 1989?
8. What is a long, sweeping, downhill turn at Sears Point named?
9. What future Cup champion had a Sears Point turn jokingly named for him by corner workers because he spun out in it so often?
10. What once ran many spotters off a hill that gave them a full-course view of Sears Point?
Now for the answers:
1. NASCAR's first road course venture in California was in 1956 at Willow Springs International Raceway, a 2.5-mile oiled dirt track near Lancaster. The victor was Chuck Stevenson. Only one more race was held there, with Marvin Panch winning in 1957.
2. Californian Eddie Gray triumphed in the inaugural Cup event at Riverside, taking a 200-miler on June 1, 1958. In a memorable crash just three months later, Gray sliced through the railing and out of the track in the Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway on Sept. 1. He was unhurt.
3. Ray Elder won back-to-back at Riverside in 1971 and '72. The Winston West star made only four cup starts in '71 and three the next year. He lists but 31 lifetime.
4. Dan Gurney, the son of a Metropolitan Opera star, took five of seven at Riverside while driving for the Wood Brothers, scoring in 1963, '64, '65, '66 and '68.
5. Bobby Allison clinched his only Cup championship at Riverside in 1983 and Bill Elliott took his first checkered flag in the season finale.
6. Bobby Allison with six victories.
7. Ricky Rudd won the initial Cup event at Sears Point in '89.
8. The Carousel.
9. Workers nicknamed a turn "Kulwicki's Korner" because the driver who was to win the 1992 Cup championship repeatedly spun out there. Kulwicki WAS NOT amused.
10. A six-foot long rattlesnake put the spotters on the run.
Correct answers on 8 to 10 qualifies you for a job as a NASCAR historian. Five to 7, you are a road course racing fanatic. One to 5, like Kulwicki, you have spun out!