The Winter Escape

Operation of Tri State Dragway was winding down for the winter months when word reached us from our considerable Chicago connections, about Indoor Drag Races scheduled for the Windy City in January. Like everyone, I was skeptical and thought of many reasons why this ‘just could not happen’, could it?

The Holidays quickly passed and we found ourselves boarding an Ozark Air Lines DC3 propeller driven air liner for Chicago’s Midway airport. The plane landed on ice and we deplaned down three steps from the tail dragger plane. A lady in front of us slipped on the top step and went sailing across the runway on her butt. (Ouch.)

The International Amphitheatre was originally built as a show place for livestock back in the time of the massive Chicago stockyards. Before the drag racing promotion, the building had been the scene of the 1960 Democratic Party National Convention plus a sold-out hall for Elvis Presley in 1957. After the drag racing experiment, the building was host to a concert by the Beatles.

Promoters Bill Schade and Carl Bledsoe came up with the idea to host indoor drag racing at the International Amphitheater. Their first race was December 30, 1962. I am not certain when we went there, but I do remember that we saw several racers there who had visited Tri State Dragway during the summer months.