Friday, February 17, 2012

January Race Fan Of The Month Winner: Len Riojas

39 year old Len Riojas has been a race fan since he was a kid playing AFX Slot cars on his living room floor with his older brother and cousins. Len is about the only person outside of his immediate family that has a true passion for racing. In the early 90’s Len was working as an EMT ( Emergency Medical Technician) and he asked to volunteer as a corner worker/medical staff at both Sears Point Raceway ( now Infineon Raceway) and Laguna Seca during the AMA Super bike events. “ I live in Portland, Oregon where we’ve hosted the C.A.R.T/Champ car series for nearly 30 years. This is where I learned about racing and for many years I didn’t miss fathers day at P.I.R," said Len. Len has since become a huge fan of open wheel and sports car racing. He is a fan of Formula one, ALMS, Grand AM and Indy Car.
When I asked Len what does he like about racing he said,“ I don’t have the ability to describe the moment when a grid comes to life other than to say it cannot be ignored. The first time I watched a pack of cars roll off the start/finish line and rumble by me I was hooked.“
When I asked Len what is his favorite race car driver in every racing series that he watches Len said; “ It’s hard to say. In Indy Car it would have to be Will Power. I’ve met him on a few occasions; he’s very friendly, always willing to take a minute to chat with the fans, and of course he’s a great driver. In ALMS, I am a huge fan of Allan McNish. I got a chance to meet Jonathan Bomaritom in his days in the Atlantics and have followed his career since; now he’s driving GT cars in the Grand - Am Series. I’ve met a lot of drivers, too many to mention however I will mention this, a couple years ago while visiting the Unser Racing Museum in Albuquerque I got to meet Al Unser SR."
Len tries to go to a race every year but now that his home race is off the schedule it has become a little more difficult to go to a race every year. He has traveled a lot in recent years which has allowed him to go to Indy Car races in other parts of the country.
I would classify Len as an extreme race fan because he plans vacation time around the IZOD Indy Car Series schedule, he has strong opinions on the sport, its evolution and the direction he sees it taking and he took unpaid time off work to drive 1600 miles to attend a race. For Len, attending a race isn’t just a few hours on a Sunday afternoon, it’s a week long event.
To Len Riojas: Thank you very much for taking the time to answer some questions so this article could happen. Congratulations on being Up To Speed With Amanda Reisinger’s January "race fan of the month" winner! You definitely are an extreme race fan with a true passion for racing. I hope you enjoy the 2012 racing season!

( Katherine Legge and Len Riojas.
Credit goes to Len Riojas.)

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