Ricardo Rodriguez at Meadowdale
Imagine the nerves that a 17-year-old (!) Ricardo Rodriguez must have felt climbing into his Porsche RSK Spyder for round 3 of the USAC Road Racing Championship at Meadowdale Raceways on May 31, 1959. Imagine how you’d have felt at 17, waiting for the start of the race, thinking of the daunting nature of the track with it’s Monza-style banking and lack of runoff areas. Now realize that Ricardo probably didn’t feel any of that because he was Ricardo Rodriguez. Even after he rolled the Porsche near the silo turn, he attempted to enlist the help of corner workers to right the car so he could continue.
The race report at Chicagoland Sports Car Club Memories sums up the performance of the then relatively unknown Mexican driver nicely. “That young Mexican we mentioned was 17-year-old Ricardo Rodriguez of Mexico City. His astonishing ability as a driver had almost every one cheering him along as the David chasing the Goliath. Certainly all we had heard about this lad’s ability was founded on fact. He certainly proved it here at Meadowdale. It was unfortunate that he ‘lost it’ coming through a turn at the northeast corner of the track. While he flipped and completely rolled over in the car, he was able to crawl out from under with only minor bruises. Rodriguez was a comfortable second place and challenging the leader when he went out of the race.”