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.

After practice Rodriguez had a small incident as well. The nose was replaced before the race.

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.”

7 responses to “Ricardo Rodriguez at Meadowdale”

  1. Jean-Jacques Renaux says:

    A legend of motor racing…

  2. Thomas Beil says:

    Very interesting…I’ve owned that car for the past 41 years and have made alot of my own history with it, Tom Beil Reading Pa

  3. R.B.McNamara says:

    Porsche 550 shot of Ricardo Rodriguez looks an awful lot like my picture which was used in the Porsche 1983 calendar for March.Porsche gmbh no doubt had the rights to the pix from the calendar, but after all these years, who knows? All us photogs who won a place in the calendar were treated to a trip to Stuttgart, tour of the factory and lunch with Peter Schutz, along with other good stuff.

  4. Carlos Jalife says:

    do you still own the car? I wrote the Rodríguez brothers bio and would be interested in contacting you for the Rodrígeuz Register know how you got it and so on.
    Carlos Jalife

  5. Don Larson says:

    I was at the race that day and cheered him on as he turned it on in the corners but couldn’t keep up on the straights. It was exciting to watch because he was so persistent and made a great race and exciting day for all till he rolled on the turn. Never to be forgotten day.

    • Don Smith says:

      Don, I was there too. I absolutely agree, still the most exciting race I’ve ever seen. I saw him crash. That memory is still burned in my brain.

  6. Don Struke says:

    I see from his post here that this is the same RSK owned by Tom Beil. I saw it just this week (on 12 March 2013) at the AACA Museum in Hershey. The signage says it was driven by Ricardo Rodriguez at the 1959 Cuban Grand Prix. HOWEVER there was no 1959 Cuban Grand Prix. Castro had the nation otherwise occupied about then.

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