TOPEKA, KS – Cool air and an impressive racing surface contributed to one of the quickest and fastest qualifying days in recent memory. The Heartland Park Topeka race track has long been known as a playground for record setting runs but it took a Herculean effort by the NHRA Safety Safari and support staff to bring the multi-purpose facility up to top shelf standards heading into race weekend. Ownership of the home of the 27th annual NHRA Kansas Nationals is in flux but that did not stop the drivers of the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series from putting on an impressive display of speed in front of an impressive crowd.
JFR was led qualifying by No. 6 qualifier Traxxas Funny Car driver Courtney Force’s 4.015 second run, followed in the No. 7 spot by the Auto Club Chevy Camaro’s 4.021 second run with Robert Hight and nine-time NHRA Kansas Nationals winner John Force finished the first day as the provisional No. 9 qualifier with an impressive 4.033 second pass. Brittany Force powered the Monster Energy Top Fuel dragster to the No. 6 position with a solid 3.762 second run at 325.14 mph.
TOPEKA, KS – The decision to bring out a new Chevrolet Camaro midway through the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season paid record dividends for Erica Enders during the NHRA Kansas Nationals on Friday at Heartland Park Topeka.
The 2014 Pro Stock champion set track elapsed-time and speed records with her new Elite Motorsports Chevy to snare the provisional No. 1 qualifier. Her pass of 6.515 seconds at 211.43 mph in the first qualifying session broke the e.t. record of 6.566 seconds set by Jason Line in May 2012 and the speed record of 211.30 mph set by Greg Anderson, also in May 2012.
“It’s been awesome,” Enders said. “We’ve had a really good hot rod for most of the year, and we brought out a new race car in Atlanta last week, so we feel like we’re taking baby steps to get it to run the way we want to. It’s proving to be an awesome race car so far.
The U.S. Army Top Fuel Dragster duo of Tony “The Sarge” Schumacher and Antron Brown picked up right where they left off a week ago with two of the top runs in Friday’s opening qualifying sessions for this weekend’s 27th annual NHRA Kansas Nationals at Heartland Park Topeka.
Schumacher’s best effort of the day in his U.S. Army Dragster for Don Schumacher Racing (DSR) came in today’s opening session, a run of 3.748 seconds at a reported speed of 304.32 mph. Team data calculated the actual speed at 326 mph as track timing equipment experienced problems reporting accurate speeds throughout the opening two sessions. “The Sarge” followed up his opening effort with a nighttime run of 3.815 seconds at 317.49 mph. The opening lap was second-best in the session and ended up third-best for the day.
Brown, Matco Tools hold top spot for second straight NHRA event; Beckman paces DSR Funny Cars at Topeka with 3-second run
TOPEKA, KS – Antron Brown and the Matco Tools/U.S. Army team is on the cusp of winning their second consecutive No. 1 qualifying position after setting a Heartland Park Topeka track record on his last lap Friday night with a time of 3.727 seconds.
A combination of temperatures in the 60s under cloudy skies and one of the best racing surfaces on the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series circuit produced track records in all pro categories to open the 27th annual Kansas Nationals.
Brown’s DSR teammate Jack Beckman and the Infinite Hero 2015 Dodge Charger R/T led by crew chief Jimmy Prock recorded Beckman’s seventh sub-4-second time in the last session when the team completed its run in 3.991 seconds at 319.37 mph to earn the provisional No. 3 qualify position.
PITTSBORO, NC – For seven years Tommy D’Aprile was the hired gun for Mel Bush Motorsports. When a turn of events sidelined D’Aprile early this year, he quickly turned what could have been viewed as a sour situation into a positive, character-building opportunity.
“You know how racing is: here today and gone tomorrow,” D’Aprile told. “This was a faith-growing tool for me. The focus was not on what was taken away, but being thankful for all that I had. This wasn’t anything that was bad. This was a business decision for Mel to help him afford to run his racing program. Mel and I never had a falling out. I was discouraged and disappointed a bit, but that’s just normal.”
IHRA Summit Racing Equipment Pro-Am Tour Presented By AMSOIL Doubleheader June 5-7 At State Capitol Raceway
NORWALK, OH – The IHRA’s Summit Racing Equipment Pro-Am Tour Presented By AMSOIL will host a double event on the weekend of June 5-7 at State Capitol Raceway in Port Allen, Louisiana, near Baton Rouge.
State Capitol Raceway’s gates will open on Friday, June 5, at noon, with tech inspection from 3-9 p.m. Test ‘n’ Tune will be conducted from 5-10 p.m.
On Saturday, June 6, gates will open at 7:30 for racers and tech inspection begins at 8 a.m. Two rounds of time trials will begin at 10 a.m., followed by Pro-Am eliminations.
Youngstown, OH – This past Wednesday evening, Top Dragster competitors Tom and Ryan Martino (Martino Motorsports) were present at Youngstown City Hall for the unveiling of the newest addition to the City of Youngstown’s famed streets, a Welcome to Youngstown sign dedicated in their names.
“Having the sign erected feels like having a star put down on Hollywood and Vine in Los Angeles, California. Our city has a deep-rooted tradition of producing championship athletes and sports teams, many of which helped put our City in the world-wide spotlight on numerous occasions. We’ve been a part of this formula since the 1970s. It’s great to be recognized for our accomplishments with the Welcome to Youngstown sign”, states Ryan Martino.