Friday, November 21, 2008
(Photo: 1956 Pebble Beach car race. Photo taken by Don Meacham.) Meacham's photos were taken over by Ron Yates who is deceased. The ownership and whereabouts of the Meacham collection are unknown.)
Before there was a raceway at Laguna Seca, there was road racing through Pebble Beach – sports cars averaging more than 60 mph on a 2.2-mile circuit with sharp turns on parts of Portola Drive, Drake Road, and Stevenson Drive. The Sports Car Club of America started the races in November 1950, charging $1 admission and attracting 10,000 spectators. Phillip Hill Jr. of Santa Monica won that first Pebble Beach Cup in a Jaguar, then went on to win many racing prizes, including the world Grand Prix championship in 1961. There were only seven Pebble Beach Cup races before they ended in 1956, after Ernie McAfee of Los Angeles died on impact when he smashed his Ferrari into a tree on Stevenson Drive, just short of a cluster of hundreds of race fans. The off-road track at Laguna Seca was built the following year.
(Video: Racing a Porsche at Laguna Seca)