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.

DISCUSS (2 Comments)

  1. Making Do Without Photography | The Chicane

    […] our look at the 1959 Examiner Grand Prix at Pomona, I mentioned that Ken Miles was handed the win when Bill Krause had a puncture and spun on the 73rd […]

  2. Mike Jacobsen

    Miles wasn’t handed the win–he worked for it. He was running fourth behind Gurney, Krause and Weiss (whose RSK was a faster newer car than Miles’ RS), sitting on Weiss’ tail for many laps without the horsepower to get by when he performed the Pitt maneuver on Weiss in the turn entering the main straight. I witnessed this with shock–but it was the first big pro race–no more gentleman racers! Once by Sammy, Ken opened up a lead and of course eventually the maneuver proved for the win. Aside from that, I was astonished in looking at the first photo of this Chicane entry, for it clearly shows the first Barlow Simca Spl #35) which hadn’t been racing for years prior to this event! When last seen around ’54 it had a sleeved and blown XPAG engine and was owned by Tom Chatfield. I have no idea what’s in it here, or who and I don’t remember it from that weekend, but there it is! This must be a prelim; also in the pix are a bunch of Loti, a Volvo Spl and 150S Maserati usually driven by Oker. Michael Jacobsen

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