Road races started in Southern California as sportsman events at the dawn of the 1950s. The first Palm Springs race occurred April 16, 1950 with 29 entries. The 1.65-mile desert course hosted four events during the inaugural year. In just two years, the entries doubled. Among the racers, "big names" such as Phil Hill. At Palm Springs, horsepower was only rivaled by star power. James Dean participated in his Porsche Speedster. Of at least 17 races held in Palm Springs from 1950 to 1961, the weekend of April 12–13, 1958, stands out as the paragon with a huge crowd watching Reventlow’s Scarab struggling with Shelby and Dan Gurney in their Ferraris. A combination of factors brought about the demise of the Palm Springs Road Races after 1961. Road racing was already shifting to Willow Springs and other courses, anyway. Laguna Seca Raceway, near Monterey, and Riverside International Raceway opened in 1957. Local enthusiasts revived road racing in 1985, creating the Palm Springs Vintage Grand Prix.


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