John Lamm’s Remembrance of a Special Race

motor trend group

In conjunction with NASCAR Productions, the MotorTrend Group not too long ago pulled alongside one another a documentary on the Motor Trend 500 referred to as The MotorTrend 500: NASCAR Heads West, about the legendary stock car or truck race held at the Riverside Global Raceway, in Riverside, California. The Motor Craze 500 ran from 1963 to 1971, and was foundational to the westward and eventual international growth of the budding sequence recognized as the Nationwide Affiliation for Inventory Vehicle Racing. In the early 60s, NASCAR was even now in its infancy, a primarily southern United States racing collection, nowhere close to the racing juggernaut it is currently. NASCAR races ended up not however broadcast on Television set, or even nationally on radio. It was only regional newspapers and some nationwide, special-curiosity automotive publications that lined these kinds of esoteric racing sporting activities.

MotorTrend was a single these types of journal, and in the course of the generation of this documentary, I was questioned to comment on various elements of the race, from its inception and level of popularity to the sponsorship by MT. There was only one particular dilemma: the final Motor Craze 500-mile race was held 5 yrs ahead of I was born. I required aid.

I pressed him for context on how the MT500 arrived into becoming: what led Petersen Publishing founder Robert Petersen to pony up the cash to sponsor this huge inventory auto race, 60-miles west of Los Angeles, in the orange fields of Riverside? I asked if he could offer a initially-human being account of what it was like to be trackside at the legendary Riverside Intercontinental Speedway, and to see greats like Gurney, Parnelli, Foyt, and Andretti danger it all on that treacherous keep track of?

At any time modest and unfailingly valuable, John wrote back again: “I was not on the within of the talks that led to the race so I can’t comment on that. What you examine is what I expert, which was really pleasing. Sorry I couldn’t be more practical with this piece and I understand if it slides beneath the delete critical…”

The following are his notes of the Motor Trend 500, offered at the time on background.

Motor Development 500

It would be ski jacket-interesting in the early morning, oftentimes a little bit of haze hanging about. Not automatically what you would assume at a NASCAR race. No concern about snow below in January at Riverside Raceway in southern California

Not like most NASCAR races there was no oval observe enclosed by stands but a large paved floor that seemed to meander into the length. A excellent location for the Motor Pattern 500.  

 Appears a minimal odd now, naming a race following an automotive publication. Would we have had a Car and Driver 500? Probably not. But all those had been the situations.

 Of the significant vehicle publications this sort of as Auto and Driver and Athletics Cars Illustrated, Motor Trend was the one particular that centered its screening and interest on Detroit vehicles. Chevrolets, Fords, Chryslers, Mercurys, Dodges, et al. Readers enjoyed Motor Trend because of its emphasis on those people American vehicles irrespective of whether a element on a new Lincoln or Cadillac or a vintage “Retrospect” story about a Ford Design A or Product J Duesenberg.

It so happened NASCAR’s 500-mile race at Riverside showcased the latest version of these kinds of cars, huge Detroit iron. They’d had their interiors hollowed out, engines at whole horsepower and volume, massive body fat tires, the car’s large exteriors lined with promotion. Comprehensive-race versions of the form of cars Motor Craze cherished and examined. A fantastic in shape.

Far better yet, Motor Development was headquartered in the coronary heart of LA: Hollywood.

Executives from the two sides teamed up and for 9 several years 1963-1971 the race at Riverside wore that title: Motor Development 500. King of the ranch was Dan Gurney who won 6 moments.

Somewhere all around 50,000 spectators would make the early morning of all over 50 miles from LA to the instead arid circuit, but it was really worth it. To see Gurney slither up the broad esses, Parnelli Jones under tricky braking for the esses, Curtis Turner sweeping via Switch 9. That cool morning frequently turned into a scorching, windy afternoon, but it was also a welcome element of the Motor Development 500. – John Lamm

In Memoriam

I have no organization currently being in a documentary on the MotorTrend 500, especially amid the motorsports giants the NASCAR Productions workforce was able to job interview on camera. I can assume of at minimum two dozen folks extra experienced than I to converse on behalf MT and this period (mainly because I tried calling them all) and John was at the prime of that listing. His notes and assistance were being really beneficial for the duration of my preparing, and I advised him so. He wrote back again: “Thanks Ed, I require that form of reply these days… Regards from an infusion bed at Metropolis of Hope. Now go clean your arms… John.”

Many thanks all over again, John. Relaxation in peace.