1959 Examiner Grand Prix, Pomona.
I’m sure that, like me, you’ve found your time disappearing in the Dave Friedman collection at The Henry Ford Museum’s Flickr archive time hole. I’ll be highlighting some favorite sets from the archive over the next few weeks, and what better place to start than the feather in Pomona’s cap: The 1959 Los Angeles Examiner International Grand Prix.
The 150 mile March ’59 event was the largest race ever held at the LA County Fairgrounds circuit and was the first stop on the USAC championship that year. 40,000 spectators saw Ken Miles win the main event in his #50 Porsche 550 with Sam Weiss not far behind in an RSK, both finishing ahead of larger Ferraris, Maseratis, and Chuck Daigh in the Kurtis 500 Buick special.
Miles may have won the day with a 35 second margin but it wasn’t exactly a walk away win. Bill Krause blew a tire and spun his Maserati 450S on turn 4 of the 73rd lap of the 75 lap race, letting Ken Miles’ 550 make off with the $15,000 purse. Krause would ultimately limp home in 4th place—an impressive enough feat on its own. The race also might have been very different if Dan Gurney’s Ferrari 375 that he put on pole and led with for the first third of the race hadn’t had a camshaft failure.
More photos from the collection on The Henry Ford’s Flickr.