CSUN Alumnus Writes History of Southern California Racing

Harold Osmer

Harold Osmer

Going to college is about more than hitting the books. It’s about discovery, not only about the subjects the students study but also the student themselves. It was at California Sate University, Northridge where Harold Osmer ’94 (Geography), M.S. ’96 (Geography) found his passion by accident while looking for a topic for his master’s thesis.

Osmer, a racing and car enthusiast who was working on his master’s degree in geography, decided to use his hobby to his advantage and found his subject: old racetracks in Southern California. As he dug into researching them, he found that the SoCal racing scene was even bigger than he expected. So big that he took his master’s thesis and expanded it into a book, “Where They Raced.” Now, that book has been turned into a DVD that uses Osmer’s tome as its guide.

“In terms of sheer venue numbers, more auto racing has taken place in Southern California than at any other area in the world,” Osmer wrote recently in Autoweek. “Officially sanctioned events have been held at more than 174 different venues in the region. The first was at Agricultural Park (now the LA Coliseum) in 1903. The list goes on to include the roads of Santa Monica (1909-19), a wooden speedway in Beverly Hills (1920-24), Gilmore Stadium (1934-50) and four tracks named Ascot.”

For more: ‘Where They Raced’: SoCal Racing History on DVD (AutoWeek)