Car Culture – an integral part of our Society since someone had the brilliant idea of matching up the internal combustion engine with wheels. But after World War 2, Car Culture exploded. and practically every city, town and village around the U.S. had one form of racetrack or another devoted to cars, endurance and speed.
Because L.A. was still largely unsettled, there was plenty of open space, and the L.A. County Fairgrounds in the suburb of Pomona, not only held the County Fair each year, but also utilized its outdoor track for Stock Car races going back to the 1930s.
And like most every ritual, it started off as a bunch of people getting together and racing souped-up cars, the Sunday Afternoon Stock Car races became part of Los Angeles life.
Largely abandoned in 1937 and dormant during the War, the dirt oval was reactivated as interest in racing cars and the Great Trek West after the War re-stimulated interest in racing, eventually opening an official dragstrip in 1953 (a year after this broadcast).
To get an idea of the atmosphere around car racing in Southern California at the time, here is an interview featuring race-car driver Tony Bettenhauser and famed Race promoter J.C. Agajanian – one of the icons of Car Culture in the country, and certainly in Southern California, as broadcast on February 24, 1952.
Eventually Car Culture expanded into the 1960s, and the races from Pomona Drag Strip, Lyons Drag Strip and a host of other race courses were frequently advertised on Top-40 stations all over L.A. – Car Culture and Surf Culture, frequently at odds, were often synonymous with life in Southern California – the Beach Boys exemplified that as did many other L.A. groups at the time. It was just who we were, and what L.A. came to be famous for.