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Emporia’s Troy Ross has been one of the most dominant drag racers in Heartland Park Topeka’s recent history, winning track championships in HPT’s E.T. Bracket Racing Series four of the last five years .

But this season, Ross, who won the Sportsman title and was second in the Pro class a year ago, has spent more time in the shop trying to get his cars ready to race than running down the dragstrip.

Ross is hoping that trend changes in the NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series Division V Championships Friday and Saturday at Heartland Park.

“It’s been the craziest year by far,” Ross said. “About every car we’ve been in we’ve had some trouble with, but maybe that means we used up our luck the past few years.

“We were pretty carefree and didn’t have many troubles but it’s kind of caught up to us so far this year. But we’re getting things lined out.”

Ross’s plan for the 2014 season was to still run in the HPT bracket series whenever possible but also try his luck in divisional and national events.

To that end Ross purchased a 1987 Camaro last November, hoping to race that car in the Super Stock division.

“I kind of just wanted to take a break and focus on the Super Stock car,” he said. “We were ready for a change and branch out a little.”

But it has taken Troy and his father, Dick, longer to get the Camaro race-ready than they expected. This weekend’s event is expected to be the Camaro’s debut in a divisional event.

“We’ll be able to race this car the rest of the year if we want, whichever divisional or national event we decide to go to,” Ross said. “The main thing is getting it straightened out and making sure everything is good on the car.”

Ross is hoping to have some success in the Super Stock class the remainder of ’14 while building momentum for 2015.

“I don’t know that we’ll be able to chase points at the divisional level this year because the year’s half gone and we haven’t even gotten to race but the intentions are to get the car lined out and then next year we can hit it with a full head of steam.”

A test and tune session for this week’s divisional is scheduled from 2 to 6 p.m. Thursday, followed by time trials and qualifying at 9 a.m. Friday. Round one of eliminations is slated for 9 a.m. Saturday.

The Division V event is scheduled to wrap up Saturday night but Heartland Park will also host an E.T. Bracket Series event on Sunday, starting at 9 a.m.

This weekend’s event is the first of two Division V events at HPT this summer, with a second divisional scheduled for August 22-23. will feature racers throughout the 2014 season. If you have someone you would like to see spotlighted send details and contact information to – Rick can also be reached on Twitter @peterson_rick

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