Cool Photo Compilation: Images From The Infamous 1963 Indoor Drag Races In Chicago – Cool History

Cool Photo Compilation: Images From The Infamous 1963 Indoor Drag Races In Chicago – Cool History

Hot rodders are resourceful, right? Over the years they have solved and overcome many problems. They’ve even beat the winter weather before and not just any winter weather, Chicago winter weather!   They drag raced indoors here during the early 1960s and while it was kind of a nightmare on multiple levels it was still awesome and the video below is awesome. No, there aren’t any moving pictures in this film but there are plenty of great pictures in this film all put together. The images tell the stories about one of the most unique drag racing venues ever.

The location of the events in 1963 was the Chicago International Amphitheater, a huge and long building that was basically perfect for this activity but for a couple of things. Firstly there was the slick concrete floor but that was fixed with coke syrup and other methods of adding traction (which was still minimal). The ventilation was not good and you’ll see a pretty heavy haze at the top of the photos which was not a camera defect but a function of a bunch of 1960s era race engines running their nuts off inside a building. Lastly there was the fact that the building was sectioned off and racers had to drive through fairly narrow door openings at speed. They did not always make it as you will see below.

I have never spoken to anyone who actually participated in these events but I will this weekend as Arnie Beswick was one of the competitors. I’m looking forward to getting the full scoop on this insanity from him and knowing Arnie a little, he’ll drop some awesome knowledge on it regarding the whole program.

Press play below to see images from the Infamous 1963 Indoor Drag Races in Chicago

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4 thoughts on “Cool Photo Compilation: Images From The Infamous 1963 Indoor Drag Races In Chicago – Cool History

  1. KCR

    I have a few 8×10’s of this event. I bought them 20 plus years ago from the photographer that took the pictures. He was in his 80’s when I bought them. And I have talked to people that were there. After the finish line. There was a sharp turn. And like they said. The ventilation was real bad. Staging lanes were outside in the cold. Some racers did as many as 5 burnouts to heat up the tires.

  2. John Giertuga

    My brother James Giertuga won top eliminator at the Chicago amphitheater in 1964, with a 1963.5 427 Ford Galaxie fast back

  3. Donny Schreiner

    Had a customer I got to know a few years ago that raced there… part of the track/shut down was outside through the doors.
    He said “Imagine blazing through the building, AIMING for the door, then hazing the tires as you exit and hit cold concrete, while trying to maintain control”!

    I used to go there for car shows and monster truck events, can’t imagine drag racing in there, SUPER COOL STUFF!!!!

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