In the early ’60s, Motor Trend magazine sponsored a 500-mile Stock Car race on the twisting Southern California road course at Riverside, drawing top racing talent from a number of sanctioning bodies, including NASCAR, USAC and the SCCA. That’s why Robert E. Petersen (left), the publishing company’s founder, is handing Dan Gurney a check for winning the second annual MT 500, held in January 1964. The young lady sharing the photo op is 21-year-old TV actress Linda Evans.
Motor Trend’s coverage of the race kicked off by proclaiming, “Stock Car road racing shows every promise of becoming the Number One favorite of American racing fans. Considering the importance of passenger cars in everyday American life, this is the way it should be.” Unlike racing on oval tracks, where “brute horsepower is the deciding factor,” a road course “is much more demanding, because it puts equal emphasis on all the various systems of the automobile. Also, driver skill and nerve are important factors.”