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IMPORTANT: Saturday Race Times Adjusted Due to High Heat Warnings

POSTED ON July 20th  - POSTED IN Drag Strip, News, NHRA News, Uncategorized

heat+wave.mgnIMPORTANT!! Due to the High Heat Warnings for Saturday, July 23, we’re adjusting the times for that day’s NHRA Summit ET Bracket Bonanza / King of the Track race. The updated gate and race times are as follows:

Gate Opens: 3 PM
Time Trials begin: 4 PM
Eliminations to follow

Track will be secured by 12 midnight.

 

Sunday’s times will remain as originally posted.

Gate open: 9 AM
Time Trials begin: 9:30 AM

 

Kalitta, Hagan and Line Race to Victories at NHRA Kansas Nationals

POSTED ON May 23rd  - POSTED IN News, NHRA News

From NHRA Communications

KALITTA, HAGAN AND LINE RACE TO VICTORIES AT NHRA KANSAS NATIONALS

TOPEKA, Kan. – Doug Kalitta raced to his third consecutive Top Fuel victory of the season Sunday and had to navigate Heartland Park Topeka’s dragstrip in an ill-handling racecar to turn on the win light in the final round at the NHRA Kansas Nationals.

Matt Hagan (Funny Car) and Jason Line (Pro Stock) joined Kalitta in the winner’s circle at the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series event.

Kalitta’s Mac Tools dragster lost traction at the hit of the throttle and got sideways two times as he worked the steering wheel to cross the finish line in front of fellow finalist and rival Antron Brown.


“It’s one of those deals you take what you can get as quick as you can do it,” said Kalitta, who extended his series points lead to 95 over second-place Brown with the victory. “I don’t think my car ever hooked up. It was exciting. These wins don’t come easy, that’s for sure. I am just real happy to do it here at Topeka.”

It was Kalitta’s second win at Topeka and 41st victory of his career. Kalitta finished with a performance of 5.452 seconds at 238.85 mph, while Brown’s Matco Tools dragster also lost traction and posted a 5.687 at 298.60.

Kalitta said he’s had a few of those kinds of races in his career, which drivers refer to as “pedalfests,” and as a former USAC sprint car champion, he’s always up for the challenge.

“It’s a seat of your pants kind of deal and you try to stay off the centerline and not hit the wall,” Kalitta said. “I think I had it more sideways than I’ve ever had a Top Fuel car before. It finally straightened out and we were fortunate to get the win.”

Kalitta defeated Rob Passey, Clay Millican and Steve Torrence in earlier rounds to advance to the final. It was the ninth Top Fuel victory for the Kalitta Motorsports team at Topeka, including six for the late Scott Kalitta and one for Hillary Will. It is the first time in his career that Kalitta has earned three consecutive victories.

“I am definitely pretty proud of my guys and the opportunity I have got here with Connie (Kalitta, team owner),” Kalitta said. “We’ve got momentum. We want to just keep doing what we’re doing and hope it lasts as long as it can go. This is a really good car, and a really good team.”

Hagan’s Mopar Express Lane/Rocky Boots Dodge Charger also lost traction early in the Funny Car final round, but he managed to get on and off the throttle just enough to finish in front of Jack Beckman in a rematch of the Atlanta final last weekend.

Hagan stopped the clocks in 5.724 at 179.04, while Beckman’s Infinite Hero Foundation Dodge Charger also smoked the tires on the run and trailed with a 6.560 at 146.75. It was Hagan’s second consecutive victory of the season, 20th career win and his first ever at Topeka.


“It was wild,” Hagan said of the final round. “It’s important to put everything in perspective. We set world records for E.T and speed and then to come back out here to win this race is a tribute to my guys and their hard work. My butt was puckered pretty good on that last run.”

Hagan swerved very close to the center line two times during the final, and although it took only a little more than five seconds, the run must’ve seemed like an eternity in the car that on Friday covered the same distance in a national record time of 3.862 seconds.

“It was one of those deals where it was ‘oh no, oh no, oh no.’ I don’t know how many times I hit the fuel pedal but it was a lot,” Hagan said. “Sometimes you’re just thinking ‘don’t blow up’. To see the win lights come on all day, I’m just tickled about the job (crew chief) Dickie Venables and all our Mopar/Rocky guys are doing.”

Hagan beat Brian Stewart, Robert Hight and Courtney Force en route to the final round, his first-ever at Heartland Park. He used a consistently quick car that posted low 3.9-second runs to win those rounds. In the final, he had to employ a different strategy.

“When you have a fast racecar like we did it’s hard to pull it back when the sun comes out like it did,” Hagan said. “We had been laying down some numbers all day and I didn’t expect to have to pedal the racecar like I had to.”

He said to earn a victory the way he and his Don Schumacher Racing team did this weekend is a great motivator for his entire Dickie Venables-led crew as the season nears closer to the NHRA Mello Yello Countdown to the Championship playoffs. Hagan moved from ninth to fourth in the standings with the win. Courtney Force maintained the series lead in her Traxxas Chevy Camaro.

“The race wins are your common goal with 10 guys around you,” Hagan said. “The race wins will turn into championships if you win enough of them and that’s what’s really important for us. Back-to-back wins, I’ve only done it one other time, so that’s pretty special in itself. It just shows how good you’re doing, how well everyone is working together. We have to carry this momentum into these next races.”

In Pro Stock, Line captured his fifth win of the season in his eighth consecutive final round appearance, outrunning teammate Greg Anderson in the final round. Line finished in 6.664 at 207.85 in his Summit Racing Equipment Chevy Camaro, while Anderson’s Summit Racing Camaro trailed with a 6.687 at 207.02. It was Line’s first Topeka victory and the 42nd win of his career.


“It was the perfect weekend,” said Line, who outran Mark Hogan, defending world champ Erica Enders and Shane Gray to advance to the final from the No. 1 qualifying spot. “It was an exciting weekend for me and we didn’t mess it up. It’s a big deal to me. It’s nice to win at someplace you’ve never done well. I really can’t stop smiling right now. There were times I had good cars here but didn’t drive well. This weekend everything came together.”

The NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series continues June 3-5 with the NHRA New England Nationals at New England Dragway in Epping, N.H.

* * *

TOPEKA, Kan. — Final finish order (1-16) at the 28th annual NHRA Kansas Nationals at Heartland Park Topeka.  The race is the eighth of 24 events in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series.

TOP FUEL:

  1. Doug Kalitta; 2.  Antron Brown; 3.  Steve Torrence; 4.  Richie Crampton; 5.  Tony Schumacher; 6.  Shawn Langdon; 7.  Brittany Force; 8.  Clay Millican; 9.  J.R. Todd; 10.  Scott Palmer; 11. Terry McMillen; 12.  Rob Passey; 13.  Luigi Novelli; 14.  Terry Haddock; 15.  Smax Smith.

FUNNY CAR:

  1. Matt Hagan; 2.  Jack Beckman; 3.  Courtney Force; 4.  Tim Wilkerson; 5.  Robert Hight; 6. Alexis DeJoria; 7.  Tommy Johnson Jr.; 8.  Del Worsham; 9.  John Force; 10.  Bob Tasca III; 11. Brian Stewart; 12.  John Hale; 13.  Chad Head; 14.  Ron Capps; 15.  Dale Creasy Jr.; 16.  Cruz Pedregon.

PRO STOCK:

  1. Jason Line; 2.  Greg Anderson; 3.  Allen Johnson; 4.  Shane Gray; 5.  Bo Butner; 6.  Alex Laughlin; 7.  Erica Enders; 8.  Vincent Nobile; 9.  Aaron Strong; 10.  Chris McGaha; 11.  Deric Kramer; 12.  Drew Skillman; 13.  Jeg Coughlin; 14.  Dave River; 15.  V. Gaines; 16.  Mark Hogan.

TOPEKA, Kan. — Sunday’s final results from the 28th annual NHRA Kansas Nationals at Heartland Park Topeka. The race is the eighth of 24 in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series:

Top Fuel — Doug Kalitta, 5.452 seconds, 238.85 mph  def. Antron Brown, 5.687 seconds, 298.60 mph.

Funny Car — Matt Hagan, Dodge Charger, 5.724, 179.04  def. Jack Beckman, Charger, 6.560, 146.75.

Pro Stock — Jason Line, Chevy Camaro, 6.664, 207.85  def. Greg Anderson, Camaro, 6.687, 207.02.

Top Alcohol Dragster — Joey Severance, 5.327, 270.27  def. Megan Meyer, 5.445, 263.20.

Top Alcohol Funny Car — Jeff Jones, Chevy Monte Carlo, 5.676, 258.32  def. Clint Thompson, Chevy Camaro, 5.576, 260.86.

Super Stock — Justin Jenkins, Chevy Cobalt, 9.755, 130.52  def. Mike Cotten, Plymouth Barracuda, 10.146, 126.15.

Stock Eliminator — Trista Fenner, Chevy Nova, 10.683, 121.52  def. Brenda Grubbs, Chevy Camaro, 10.425, 122.86.

Super Comp — Austin Williams, Dragster, 8.938, 155.06  def. Mike Green, Dragster, 8.885, 175.09.

Super Gas — Bruce Johnson, Chevy Camaro, 9.921, 161.46  def. Duane Kohl, Chevy Corvette, 9.932, 160.96.

Top Sportsman presented by RacingRVs.com — Scott Javers, Chevy Camaro, 6.815, 204.23  def. Curt Harshfield, Chevy, 7.017, 188.81.

TOPEKA, Kan. — Final round-by-round results from the 28th annual NHRA Kansas Nationals at Heartland Park Topeka, the eighth of 24 events in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series:

TOP FUEL:

ROUND ONE — Clay Millican, 3.783, 320.74 def. Terry McMillen, 3.984, 245.58; Tony Schumacher, 3.748, 327.90 def. Luigi Novelli, Broke; Richie Crampton, 4.033, 218.72 def. Terry Haddock, Broke; Brittany Force, 3.707, 326.24 was unopposed; Doug Kalitta, 3.795, 287.23 def. Rob Passey, 14.800, 34.25; Steve Torrence, 3.800, 324.12 def. Smax Smith, Broke; Shawn Langdon, 3.915, 242.71 def. Scott Palmer, 3.940, 311.70; Antron Brown, 3.723, 319.82 def. J.R. Todd, 3.767, 322.96; QUARTERFINALS — Torrence, 3.770, 324.59 def. Langdon, 4.037, 248.84; Kalitta, 3.796, 325.61 def. Millican, 6.533, 89.42; Crampton, 3.781, 317.34 def. Schumacher, 3.782, 320.20; Brown, 3.753, 315.64 def. Force, Foul – Red Light; SEMIFINALS — Kalitta, 3.757, 329.10 def. Torrence, 3.840, 314.46; Brown, 3.784, 313.95 def. Crampton, 9.335, 76.58; FINAL — Kalitta, 5.452, 238.85 def. Brown, 5.687, 298.60.

FUNNY CAR:

ROUND ONE — Tim Wilkerson, Ford Mustang, 3.935, 325.45 def. John Hale, Dodge Charger, 4.086, 314.53; Matt Hagan, Charger, 3.943, 325.69 def. Brian Stewart, Mustang, 4.065, 313.15; Jack Beckman, Charger, 3.933, 327.19 def. Dale Creasy Jr., Chevy Impala, 4.311, 239.19; Courtney Force, Chevy Camaro, 3.943, 324.44 def. Bob Tasca III, Mustang, 4.004, 305.29; Alexis DeJoria, Toyota Camry, 3.963, 321.81 def. Chad Head, Camry, 4.188, 268.06; Del Worsham, Camry, 3.953, 327.27 def.

John Force, Camaro, 3.951, 328.70; Tommy Johnson Jr., Charger, 4.006, 319.60 def. Cruz Pedregon, Camry, 9.397, 79.86; Robert Hight, Camaro, 3.926, 329.67 def. Ron Capps, Charger, 4.242, 229.90; QUARTERFINALS — Wilkerson, 3.972, 324.44 def. Worsham, 5.624, 141.82; Beckman, 3.956, 316.75 def. Johnson Jr., 4.045, 309.34; Hagan, 3.942, 323.81 def. Hight, 3.963, 325.37; C. Force, 3.961, 324.05 def. DeJoria, 3.981, 318.69; SEMIFINALS — Beckman, 3.936, 324.20 def. Wilkerson, broke; Hagan, 3.951, 324.05 def. C. Force, 10.747, 80.24; FINAL — Hagan, 5.724, 179.04 def. Beckman, 6.560, 146.75.

PRO STOCK:

ROUND ONE — Erica Enders, Dodge Dart, 6.718, 205.19 def. Drew Skillman, Chevy Camaro, Foul – Red Light; Allen Johnson, Dart, 6.655, 208.20 def. Aaron Strong, Camaro, Foul – Red Light; Vincent Nobile, Camaro, 6.748, 204.66 def. Chris McGaha, Camaro, 6.693, 207.24; Shane Gray, Camaro, 6.653, 207.91 def. Jeg Coughlin, Dart, 6.746, 205.07; Greg Anderson, Camaro, 6.645, 207.66 def. V. Gaines, Dart, 6.789, 205.32; Bo Butner, Camaro, 6.683, 206.57 def. Dave River, Chevy Cobalt, 6.777, 202.42; Jason Line, Camaro, 6.647, 208.30 def. Mark Hogan, Pontiac GXP, 6.905, 198.67; Alex Laughlin, Camaro, 6.653, 206.89 def. Deric Kramer, Dart, 6.696, 205.76; QUARTERFINALS — Johnson, 6.676, 207.02 def. Butner, 6.716, 199.37; Gray, 6.664, 207.15 def. Laughlin, 6.719, 206.48; Line, 6.661, 207.85 def. Enders, 6.725, 204.98; Anderson, 6.660, 206.61 def. Nobile, 6.738, 205.26; SEMIFINALS — Line, 6.670, 207.43 def. Gray, 7.725, 135.16; Anderson, 6.672, 206.67 def. Johnson, 7.317, 144.18; FINAL — Line, 6.664, 207.85 def. Anderson, 6.687, 207.02.

TOPEKA, Kan. — Point standings (top 10) following the 28th annual NHRA Kansas Nationals at Heartland Park Topeka, the eighth of 24 events in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series –

Top Fuel

  1. Doug Kalitta, 710; 2.  Antron Brown, 615; 3.  Brittany Force, 580; 4.  Steve Torrence, 557; 5. (tie) Clay Millican, 440; J.R. Todd, 440; 7.  Richie Crampton, 418; 8.  Tony Schumacher, 403; 9. Shawn Langdon, 346; 10.  Terry McMillen, 310.

Funny Car

  1. Courtney Force, 601; 2.  Jack Beckman, 589; 3.  Tim Wilkerson, 554; 4.  Matt Hagan, 511; 5. Robert Hight, 510; 6.  Ron Capps, 504; 7.  Del Worsham, 485; 8.  Alexis DeJoria, 451; 9.  John Force, 448; 10.  Tommy Johnson Jr., 404.

Pro Stock

  1. Jason Line, 942; 2.  Greg Anderson, 816; 3.  Bo Butner, 614; 4.  (tie) Allen Johnson, 465; Drew Skillman, 465; 6.  Chris McGaha, 427; 7.  Vincent Nobile, 346; 8.  Erica Enders, 341; 9.  Jeg Coughlin, 339; 10.  Alex Laughlin, 327.

TOP FUEL VETERAN DOUG KALITTA HOPES TO CARRY EARLY SEASON WINNING MOMENTUM OVER TO NHRA KANSAS NATIONALS

POSTED ON May 5th  - POSTED IN News, NHRA News

(From the NHRA)
TOPEKA, Kan. — Doug Kalitta has enjoyed enough success throughout his standout Top Fuel career to know what a win can do for his team.

092-DougKalitta-Sunday-HoustonComing off his latest victory, which included a landmark achievement at the most recent event in Houston, Kalitta hopes this one builds to something even bigger during the 2016 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season.

That would certainly include more victories and Kalitta’s next chance for that in his 10,000-horsepower Mac Tools dragster comes May 20-22 at the 28th annual NHRA Kansas Nationals at Heartland Park Topeka. The Houston victory was noteworthy in that it gave Kalitta 39 career Top Fuel victories, tying him with the legendary Kenny Bernstein and two-time and defending world champion Antron Brown for fourth all-time in class history.

Kalitta, who moved to second in Top Fuel points with the victory, celebrated that moment, while also noting the ultimate goal his team is chasing this season.

“It is always great to get that first win of the season,” said Kalitta, who is seeking his first world championship. “It makes you just want the next one even more. The Mac Tools team is not complacent. We have one goal this year, a title. To earn the title, one win is not enough. Our plan is to utilize what we learned and continue to grow and be prepared to make a run in the (Mello Yello Countdown to the Championship).”

Richie Crampton (Top Fuel), Jack Beckman (Funny Car) and Erica Enders (Pro Stock) were last year’s winners at the multipurpose motorsports facility in the Kansas capital city. The race will be televised on FOX Sports 1, including live finals on Sunday. It is the eighth of 24 races during the 2016 campaign, marking the completion of the first third of the year.

It’s been a successful start for Kalitta, who trails two-time 2016 winner Brittany Force by just one point. A victory was the only thing missing from the first portion of the season for the Kalitta Motorsports standout, advancing to the final round to open the year and the final foursome at the NHRA Four-Wide Nationals.

But winning in Top Fuel is no easy feat and Kalitta was impressive in Houston, also commenting on what it meant to match Bernstein and Brown for career Top Fuel victories.

“Kenny is somebody when I first started hanging around drag racing, he was the guy to watch,” Kalitta said. “He’s been one of my heroes for sure, so it’s a great accomplishment for me to be able to tie him. And the same goes for Antron. He’s one of the best in our field and obviously the defending champ. I’m just real proud to tie them.”

Kalitta has been as consistent as they come in a Top Fuel career that has spanned more than 400 races. He has finished in the top 10 every year since he started his Top Fuel career in 1998, but Kalitta is more than happy to share the credit.093-DougKalitta-Sunday-Houston-celebration

After winning in Houston, which also gave him a berth in the Traxxas Nitro Shootout, Kalitta talked about the job crew chief Jim Oberhofer has done. He noted the team has been improving and building to a win from the outset. He has been impressed with how every car in the Kalitta Motorsports camp (J.R. Todd in Top Fuel, defending world champion Del Worsham and Alexis DeJoria in Funny Car) has performed.

“We felt good about the performance we’ve had all year, and we were just hoping that was the day,” Kalitta said in Houston. “I’m super proud of the job Jim is doing with our car and everything that he does overseeing our other three cars and working with the guys. He’s definitely put a great team effort together and he’s doing a heck of a job tuning these cars. I’m real proud of him. Anytime you can get a win and get some momentum you’re real happy. It just charges everybody up.”

Getting a second win at the Kansas Nationals won’t come easy for Kalitta, who must knock off an impressive lineup in Topeka. Richie Crampton is the defending winner, while other standouts include Brown and eight-time world champion Tony Schumacher, Houston finalist Steve Torrence, series leader Force, Clay Millican, Todd and Terry McMillen.

But Kalitta has great confidence in his team, noting an incredible atmosphere, culture and environment that has been evident for years within the Kalitta Motorsports team.

094-DougKalitta-Sunday-Houston-Celebrations2_Personality_RA“As most NHRA fans know, Team Kalitta is a family and to see Del win the title last year, Alexis have early success this year and J.R. and the SealMaster team making a ton of progress is thrilling,” Kalitta said. “Each one of us is truly excited to have each one of our teammates succeed too, and that is something that I appreciate about the culture we have developed at Kalitta Motorsports. What happened in Las Vegas is the goal every weekend for both our Top Fuel and Funny Car teams, and we are definitely on track to do that on a more regular basis.”

In Funny Car, fans witnessed what was at the time a record 15 three-second runs in the class last year. Race winner Beckman made five of those three-second runs, including a 3.984 second sprint in the finals to defeat 16-time world champion John Force. Beckman is after his first win of 2016, while others to watch include two-time season winner Tim Wilkerson, who is tied with Houston winner Courtney Force for the points lead, reigning world champion Worsham, Gatornationals winner Robert Hight, three-time Topeka winner Ron Capps, four-time Topeka winner Cruz Pedregon, Chad Head, Las Vegas winner DeJoria and two-time world champ Matt Hagan.

In Pro Stock, Enders claimed her third victory of the 2015 season by racing past Greg Anderson one year ago. The two-time defending world champ will be looking for her second win in Topeka and first of 2016, as Greg Anderson and Jason Line have dominated the new era of Pro Stock, which features cars with fuel-injected engines, shorter wheelie bars, flat hoods and a 10,500 RPM rev-limiter. Points leader Line and Anderson both have three wins this season. Others to watch in the 200 mph factory hot rod category include Bo Butner, Chris McGaha, 2014 top rookie Drew Skillman, 2012 world champ Allen Johnson, five-time world champion Jeg Coughlin, Vincent Nobile, Shane Gray and Gas Monkey Garage Chevy Camaro driver Alex Laughlin.

As always, fans will have the opportunity to interact with their favorite drivers as they’re granted an exclusive pit pass to the most powerful and sensory-filled motorsports attraction on the planet. This unique opportunity in motorsports gives fans direct access to the teams, allowing them to see firsthand how the highly-skilled mechanics service their hot rods between rounds, and get autographs from their favorite NHRA drivers.

The event also will feature thrilling competition in the NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series.

Mello Yello Drag Racing Series qualifying will feature two rounds at 4:30 and 7 p.m. on Friday, May 20 and the final two rounds of qualifying on Saturday, May 21, at 1:30 and 4 p.m. Final eliminations are scheduled for 11 a.m. on Sunday, May 22.

To purchase general-admission or reserved seats, call (800) 884-NHRA (6472) or visit www.NHRA.com/tickets. Kids 12 and under are free in general admission areas with a paid adult. For more information about the NHRA visit www.NHRA.com.

Before heading to Topeka, the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series will make a stop at Atlanta Dragway in Georgia for the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Southern Nationals, May 13-15. Keep up with all the NHRA action on FOX Sports 1.

NHRA Mello Yellow Series Powers Back to Heartland Park Topeka for Kansas Nationals

POSTED ON April 20th  - POSTED IN News, NHRA News

From the NHRA
TOPEKA, Kan. (April 19, 2016) — The NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series returns to melloyellologoKansas’ capital city in America’s Heartland, May 20-22, for the 28th annual NHRA Kansas Nationals, the eighth event of the 2016 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season.

The best in Top Fuel, Funny Car and Pro Stock will compete side-by-side for a chance to hold up Wally trophies at storied Heartland Park Topeka, which features one of the fastest dragstrips in the country. Richie Crampton (Top Fuel), Jack Beckman (Funny Car) and Erica Enders (Pro Stock) were last year’s winners. The race will be televised on FOX Sports 1, including live finals on Sunday.

08_TopekaHeartland Park Topeka is the fabled site of many record-breaking performances throughout NHRA history, including the first four-second and 300-mph passes in Funny Car, set by Chuck Etchells and Jim Epler respectively in 1993. At the 2014 Kansas Nationals, Brittany Force and her sister Courtney Force were No. 1 qualifiers in Top Fuel and Funny Car, becoming the first sisters to share that stage at the same event. Courtney then won the event that year, claiming the milestone 100th professional victory by a female driver in NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series history.  The 2015 Kansas Nationals made its mark in the history books with a parade of track records set in Top Fuel, Funny Car and Pro Stock, and this year should be no different.

Last year’s race will be most remembered for providing an early sneak preview of what ultimately became one of the most exciting Funny Car seasons in NHRA history. Fans attending Heartland Park that weekend witnessed what was at the time a record 15 three-second runs in the Funny Car class. Race winner Beckman made five of those three-second runs, including a 3.984 second sprint in the finals to defeat 16-time world champion John Force.

Funny Car teams took the momentum from that race weekend and finished the season with more amazing three-second performances. Beckman set the national elapsed time record four times en route to finishing second in the points standings to eventual champ Del Worsham.

The 2016 season is shaping up to be another record breaking year for the Funny Car class. Beckman has already reset the national record elapsed time at the controls of his Infinite Hero Foundation Dodge Charger R/T at the NHRA Gatornationals in Florida with a 3.879 second performance and has claimed three No. 1 qualifying positions. He is currently fifth in the points standings and looking for his first win of the season and third career victory in Topeka.

Funny Car points leader Robert Hight has also started the season off strongly, qualifying inside the top four at the first four events. Hight piloted his Auto Club Chevrolet Camaro SS to a victory in Gainesville to push him to the points lead. He is a two-time winner of the Kansas Nationals with victories in 2010 and 2011.

John Force, a nine-time Topeka winner, is second in points with a runner-up finish in Phoenix and two semifinal appearances. Force hasn’t won a race at the Kansas Nationals since 2008, and is eager to get back to that winner’s circle.

Three-time Topeka winner Ron Capps, four-time Topeka winner Cruz Pedregon, Chad Head, Alexis DeJoria, who just earned her first win after a 33-race drought, Tim Wilkerson, two-time world champ Matt Hagan and Courtney Force will all be major contenders for a Topeka victory.

In Top Fuel, Crampton drove his Lucas Oil dragster to his second victory of the 2015 season to hold off three-time world champion Larry Dixon. It was Crampton’s fourth victory of 2015 and first in Topeka. Crampton is hoping to turn around a bit of a shaky start to the 2016 season where he has one semifinal appearance and three first round exits.

Two-time defending world champion Antron Brown had his first win of the 2016 season at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway to make a seven-spot jump to second behind Brittany Force in the points standings. Brown, in his Matco Tools dragster, defeated Troy Buff in the finals. It was Buff’s first finals appearance of his Top Fuel career. Brown will be in the hunt for his first Kansas Nationals Wally after losing to Dixon in the second round in 2015.

Series points leader Force claimed the first Top Fuel victory of her career at the Gatornationals and finished runner-up to Leah Pritchett at the Phoenix race.  Force has two consecutive semifinal finishes at Heartland Park in 2014 and 2015.

Other top contenders for the victory include Doug Kalitta, who won the Kansas Nationals in 2006, Winternationals winner Steve Torrence, Clay Millican, J.R. Todd, Terry McMillen, who is looking for his first Top Fuel victory after finishing runner-up at the Gatornationals, and eight-time world champion Tony Schumacher.

In Pro Stock, Enders claimed her third victory of the 2015 season and 15th of her career by racing past Greg Anderson one year ago. The two-time defending world champ will be looking for her second win in Topeka, and after a rough start to the season, a victory at Heartland Park could be just what she needs to kick start a third championship run.

Two-time world champion and current points leader Jason Line and Ken Black Racing teammate Anderson have dominated the new era of Pro Stock, which includes fuel-injected engines, shorter wheelie bars, flat hoods and a 10,500 RPM rev-limiter. Line has been setting the pace for the category and has appeared in the first four final rounds. He hasn’t qualified outside of second this season with victories in Phoenix and Las Vegas. Line will be racing for his first Topeka victory.

Anderson, a four-time Pro Stock champion, is right behind Line, opening the season with a win at the Winternationals, semifinal finishes in Phoenix and Vegas, and a second win at the Gatornationals. Anderson also won the K&N Horsepower Challenge over Line at the Las Vegas event. He will be looking for his fifth win in Topeka.

Line and Anderson’s teammate, Bo Butner, made his first finals appearance of the season and second of his career at the Las Vegas event.  Butner is currently third in points behind Anderson and in pursuit of his first Pro Stock victory.

Others to watch in the 200 mph factory hot rod category are Texan Chris McGaha, who was runner-up in Phoenix, 2014 top rookie Drew Skillman, 2012 world champ Allen Johnson, five-time world champion Jeg Coughlin, Vincent Nobile, Shane Gray and Gas Monkey Garage Chevy Camaro driver Alex Laughlin.

As always, fans will have the opportunity to interact with their favorite drivers as they’re granted an exclusive pit pass to the most powerful and sensory-filled motorsports attraction on the planet. This unique opportunity in motorsports gives fans direct access to the teams, allowing them to see firsthand how the highly-skilled mechanics service their hot rods between rounds, and get autographs from their favorite NHRA drivers.

As part of NHRA’s ongoing celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Funny Car class, one legendary Funny Car driver will be honored during pre-race ceremonies.

Fans also will want to visit NHRA’s popular Nitro Alley and Manufacturers Midway, where sponsors and race vendors create a carnival atmosphere, with interactive displays, simulated competitions, merchandise, food and fun for the entire family.

The event also will feature thrilling competition in the NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series.

Mello Yello Drag Racing Series qualifying will feature two rounds at 4:30 and 7 p.m. on Friday, May 20 and the final two rounds of qualifying on Saturday, May 21, at 1:30 and 4 p.m. Final eliminations are scheduled for 11 a.m. on Sunday, May 22.

To purchase general-admission or reserved seats, call (800) 884-NHRA (6472) or visit www.NHRA.com/tickets. Kids 12 and under are free in general admission areas with a paid adult. For more information about the NHRA visit www.NHRA.com.

Before heading to Topeka, the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series will make stops at zMAX Dragway in Charlotte, N.C., for the NHRA Four-Wide Nationals presented by Lowes Foods, April 22-24, Houston’s Royal Purple Raceway for the NHRA SpringNationals, April 29 – May 1, and Atlanta Dragway in Georgia for the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Southern Nationals, May 13-15. Keep up with all the NHRA action on FOX Sports 1.

NHRA KANSAS NATIONALS FACT SHEET

WHAT: 28th annual NHRA Kansas Nationals, the eighth of 24 events in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series. Drivers in three categories – Top Fuel, Funny Car and Pro Stock – earn points leading to 2016 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series world championships. The race also will feature competition in the NHRA Lucas Oil Series.

WHERE: Heartland Park Topeka, Topeka, Kansas. From Kansas City, take the Kansas Turnpike (I-70) to the Topeka Boulevard exit and travel south to the track. From Wichita, take the Kansas Turnpike (I-335) to the Topeka Boulevard exit and travel south to the track.

WHEN: Friday through Sunday, May 20-22

SCHEDULE:
FRIDAY, May 20 – LUCAS OIL SERIES qualifying
MELLO YELLO SERIES qualifying at 4:30 and 7 p.m.

SATURDAY, May 21 – LUCAS OIL SERIES eliminations
MELLO YELLO SERIES qualifying at 1:30 and 4 p.m.

SUNDAY, May 22 – Pre-race ceremonies, 10 a.m.
MELLO YELLO SERIES eliminations begin at 11 a.m.

TELEVISION:
Saturday, May 21, FS1 will televise two hours of qualifying highlights at midnight (ET).
Sunday, May 22, FS1 will televise three hours of live finals coverage at 2 p.m. (ET).

2015 EVENT WINNERS: Richie Crampton, Top Fuel; Jack Beckman, Funny Car; Erica Enders, Pro Stock.

MOST VICTORIES: John Force, 9, FC; Scott Kalitta, 6, TF; Warren Johnson, 5, PS, Cruz Pedregon, 4, FC; Greg Anderson, 4, PS.

 

HEARTLAND PARK TOPEKA
NHRA TRACK RECORDS:            

Top Fuel – 3.710 seconds by Crampton, May ‘15; 329.91 mph by Larry Dixon, May 2015
Funny Car – 3.967 seconds by Chad Head, May ‘15; 325.06 mph by Courtney Force, May ’15.
Pro Stock – 6.515 seconds by Erica Enders, May ’15; 211.43 mph by Enders, May ’15.

 

NHRA NATIONAL RECORDS:

Top Fuel – 3.680 sec. by Antron Brown, Aug. ’15, Brainerd, Minn.; 332.75 mph by Spencer Massey, Aug. ’15, Brainerd, Minn.

Funny Car – 3.879 sec. by Jack Beckman, March ’16, Gainesville, Fla.; 331.45 mph by Matt Hagan, Nov. ’15, Pomona, Calif.

Pro Stock – 6.455 sec. by Jason Line, March ’15, Charlotte, N.C.; 215.55 mph by Erica Enders, May ‘14, Englishtown N.J.

TICKETS: For tickets call (800) 884-NHRA (6472). Tickets also available online at www.NHRA.com/tickets.

NHRA Chief Starter Mark Lyle Passes Away

POSTED ON March 30th  - POSTED IN News, NHRA News

March 28, 2016
With great sadness, NHRA reported today that Mark Lyle, NHRA’s Chief Starter, passed away unexpectedly Sunday, March 27. On behalf of NHRA and the entire drag racing community, we offer our condolences to all of Lyle’s family and friends. lyle

Lyle had been Chief Starter for the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series since 2012. He was only the third Chief Starter in NHRA history, along with the late Buster Couch (1955-1996) and Rick Stewart (1996-2011).

Before becoming the pro series Chief Starter, Lyle was the official starter at Pacific Raceways in NHRA’s Northwest Division since 2000. He was named the official starter of the Northwest Division in 2005.

Division 6 starter Mike Gittings has been named the interim NHRA Chief Starter for this weekend’s DENSO Spark Plugs NHRA Nationals at Las Vegas.

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