Final Menards NHRA Heartland Nationals

Officials at the National Hot Rod Association announced earlier that the Heartland Motorsports Park would be hosting the final NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series event in Topeka, Kansas, over this past weekend. Thirty four years ago, the track hosted the first NHRA national event in the nation’s heartland and has continued to grow the popular event with hundreds of thousands of visitors to the park each year.

Owner of the Heartland Motorsports Park, Shelby Development LLC, has argued with the Shawnee County property tax appraiser over the facilities taxable value. But, according to the promoters, it would be impossible to pay an almost $1500 per day property tax bill for a facility that is only open to the public about 80 days per year. The development company agreed that property taxes should be paid but not at 400% of the market value.

To encourage NHRA drag racing fans to make the 34th annual Menards NHRA Heartland Nationals presented by PetArmor a spectacular event, all Menard stores in the area (Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, and Iowa) offered a buy-one and get-one free ticket promotion for the farewell event. Somewhat fittingly, morning rain greeted teams, drivers and fans on the final day of drag racing at Heartland but passed through allowing the safety crew to dry the track, so NHRA Nationals winners could be crowned for a final time.


Justin Ashley Top Fuel Winner at Menards

In round two of eliminations, defending Top Fuel world champion Brittany Force took out Mission #2Fast2Tasty NHRA Challenge winner Steve Torrence with a holeshot victory. Force would muscle her Monster Energy dragster past Clay Millican in the semifinal round with a 3.717-second elapsed time to advance to a final round match-up against Justin Ashley.

Driving the 11,000 horsepower Phillips Connect Toyota, Ashley eliminated Josh Hart, Tony Stewart Racing’s Leah Pruett and Matco Tools driver Antron Brown enroute to the Final against Force. Ashley posted a 3.702 ET at 323.58 mph for a holeshot victory over Force’s 3.707-seconds elapsed time to remain on top of the Top Fuel points. Force heads to Brainerd third in points behind Ashley and Steve Torrence.


Bob Tasca III Wins Funny Car at Topeka

Funny Car points leader Matt Hagan was sporting new American Rebel graphics for his Tony Stewart Racing Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat and looking for his second win of the weekend after eliminating Alex Laughlin, Tim Wilkerson and J.R. Todd. Bob Tasca III had sent Blake Alexander, Alexis DeJoria and Number One qualifier Robert Hight packing enroute to a final round match-up against the Mission #2Fast2Tasty NHRA Challenge winner.

Tasca was looking for his second straight Wally at the Menards NHRA Nationals at Heartland Raceway Park and his second win of the 2023 NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series. Hagan was off the line first but Tasca’s BG3 Ford Mustang quickly ran him down posting a 3.885-seconds elapsed time at 332.26 mph. He ran the quickest ET and top speed of the event to claim his 14th career win in nitro Funny Car.


Erica Enders Tops Pro Stock at Heartland

Greg Anderson qualified his HendricksCars.com Camaro in second place on Saturday before eliminating David Cuadra, Troy Coughlin Jr. and Deric Kramer on his way to a final round match against defending champ Erica Enders. The Melling Performance Chevrolet driver qualified fourth and outpaced Chris McGaha and Aaron Stanfield to advance to the semifinal round against Dallas Glenn. Her .009-second reaction time resulted in a holeshot win over a quicker Glenn.

It really hadn’t been the type of season that either Pro Stock veteran (with five world championships each) had hoped for; but the matchup was a treat for the Topeka race fans. Enders got the jump at the tree and never looked back. Her Johnson’s Horsepowered Garage Chevrolet Camaro was quick enough (6.617 ET) and fast enough (206.13 mph) for her second win of the season and her 45th career Pro Stock Wally.


UP COMING:

Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals

Brainerd International Raceway has seen drag racing fans flock to the Minnesota dragstrip for the fastest show on earth for over forty years. At center stage is four days of ground-pounding, lightning-fast, blow-your-mind drag racing and The Zoo campground has a reputation of being the place to be at BIR. On Saturday, fans can enjoy the #2Fast2Tasty Mission NHRA Challenge, where semifinalists from the previous race in the pro classes will duel during qualifying for bonus money and points.

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