Redwood Acres Raceway
2021 Redwood Acres Raceway Hall Of Fame Inductees: Rich & Linda Olson
Rich and Linda Olson began promoting Redwood Acres Raceway in 1988 when the track became a paved circuit but their time in racing began several years prior. In the early 80s, their son Randy began his career in racing. Through the years, Rich and Linda owned the cars Randy drove in open competition events, NASCAR Southwest Tour Series races and NASCAR Winston West races.
In 1987, Rich and Linda won the bid to promote Redwood Acres Raceway. Through the winter of 1987 and 1988, the track was paved out of their own pocket. In addition, the track received numerous improvements including a backstretch wall and a fully paved pit area with electrical outlet availability, something that was rare at the time. Cabled fencing was also added around the circuit, something that was only seen at tracks like Talladega Superspeedway and Daytona International Raceway at the time.
Redwood Acres Raceway was sanctioned by NASCAR from 1988 through 1995 and hosted two Winston West races and seven Southwest Tour Series events. In 1990, the Olsons were part of the creation and promotion of the Tri-Western 300, a three-race big-money open competition series with 100-lap events at three different tracks in the region including Redwood Acres Raceway. The Tri-Western 300 series proved to mark the end of open competition racing on the west coast and the success of it is something that has yet to be duplicated since.
The Tri-Western races at the Acres coincided with the beginning of the annual Fall Spectacular. Along with the 100-lap Tri-Western race, a 60-lap IMCA/Grand American Modified event became a season-ending cornerstone for the top drivers in those cars. With RAR being “neutral ground” for modified drivers, the best of the best drivers partook in the race from the mid-90s through the 2000s which provided several memorable races.
Through the 90s, RAR hosted numerous different touring series. The CARS Pro-4 made yearly stops to the Acres. From 1992 through 1996 super modifieds graced the 3/8-mile paved oval. The Nor-Cal Best In The West Late Models and trucks also raced at the Acres.
After the Nor-Cal Series closed its doors at the end of 1998, Rich and Linda took over promoting duties for the series renaming it the Tri-State Challenge Late Model Series. The Tri-State Series was hugely important at the time as it was the only late model touring series in the region. The Olsons promoted the series in 1999 and 2000 before putting their focus back solely on racing at the Acres.
While local action continued in various divisions, RAR also hosted several BCRA/WMRA Midget races in the 2000s. In 2005, the USAC Western Sprint Cars visited the Acres on what proved to be a memorable night. The next year, Thunder Roadsters were added to the local cars for RAR. For a time, the division had the largest car count for the division in the nation.
Through the years, racing at Redwood Acres Raceway continued without interruption while tracks across the western region and United States struggled to stay open. Following the 2014 season, Rich and Linda chose to step away from promoting Redwood Acres Raceway after 26 successful seasons. Thanks to their steady hand and guidance, racing at RAR has continued following their passing of the torch and their work through the years has helped make racing at the Acres today something we can all still enjoy.
Submitted By: Matthew Sullivan