Jack McAfee wins the July 28, 1957 under-1,500-cc semi-main event at Pomona. McAfee was not only a top driver, but also an SCCA club leader with very definite ideas regarding safety.
Photo: Lester Nehamkin
Southern California has always been a hotbed of car aficionados. The hot rod craze started there and, after WWII, it became a focal point for sports car enthusiasm. During the late forties, sports car owners began forming clubs so they could organize events. The Sports Car Club of America grew out of the pre-war Automobile Racing Club of America. The SCCA franchised branches—called Regions—throughout the U.S. and they began to stage races. At the same time, a separate club started in Southern California: the California Sports Car Club (CSCC or Cal Club).
During the late forties, both the Los Angeles Region of the SCCA and the CSCC organized single-car speed events such as hillclimbs and trials. The first actual road race west of the Mississippi took place at Buchanan Field in Northern California on November 20, 1949. Organized by the San Francisco Region of the SCCA, it was a rather casual and haphazard affair. The first in Southern California, organized by the CSCC, was at Palm Springs on April 16, 1950. (For readers interested in those early years, I highly recommend Joel Finn’s new book, American Road Racing: 1948 – 1950.)
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