Video – 1965 AHRA Winternationals, Bee Line Dragway
We came across this rare footage form the 1965 AHRA Winternationals season. The event was held at Bee Line Dragway outside Scottsdale, Arizona and featured the biggest starts of the era – Chris Karamesines, Connie Kalitta, the Ramchargers and so many more legendary teams. The AHRA (American Hot Rod Association) was once a fairly prominent drag racing sanctioning body which eventually went head to head with NHRA for market share under the direction of Jim Tice. Tice was a savvy promoter.
1965 AHRA Winternat's, Bee Line Dragway, Arizona
Posted by Passion for Drag Racing on Monday, October 16, 2017
In the late 60s a few years after this video was taken, AHRA could claim over 80 sanctioned dragstrips, over 25,000 members, and involvement with over 2,400 events (national and regional races). Counting its 10 national events and the countless weekly races under AHRA sanction, the outfit could boast that about 5,000,000 spectators had witnessed their races.
They even held races at Lions Drag Strip and Orange County International Raceway under the nose Wally Parks’/NHRA Southern California territory.
AHRA’s most notable event ever was the 1972 Professional Racers Association National Open at Tulsa International Raceway which ran opposite of the NHRA U.S. Nationals on Labor Day Weekend. The PRA National Open paid exorbitant winner’s checks to the tune of $35,000 for the three Pro class winners – substantially more than the NHRA payouts at the time. The event was a huge success and did take the steam out of that year’s NHRA U.S. Nationals. But the party ended after the 1975 season and AHRA’s popularity began a slow road to extermination.