Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Bob Hope, investor, or race car enthusiast?

What was originally known as the Riverside International Motor Raceway was built in early 1957 by the West Coast Automotive Testing Corp., which was headed by Rudy Cleye of Los Angeles. 

As so often happens with planned race tracks, the organizers ran out of money and the track did not become a reality until industrialist John Edgar bailed them out with a hefty bankroll.

In 1960, oilman Ed Pauley, investor Fred Levy and comedian Bob Hope bought control of the raceway property for an estimated $800,000 and shortly afterward hired football star Les Richter to run it.

Nine years later, American Raceways, Inc., obtained nearly half of the track's stock for $1.25 million to be used in improvements--something Riverside needed to compete with the $35-million Ontario Motor Speedway a few miles to the west.

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