The NHRA Kansas Nationals will not only showcase the incredible speed and power of the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series, but it will also entertain fans by unleashing the jaw-dropping performances of the NHRA Harley-Davidson Drag Racing Series May 22-24 at Heartland Park Topeka. The thunderously loud and wildly unpredictable Top Fuel Harleys produce an incredible 1,000 horsepower, and the nitro-fueled bikes cover the race distance in less than 6.5 seconds at more than 230 mph.
The race is one of four NHRA Harley-Davidson Series events held in conjunction with NHRA Mello Yello Series events. The popular two-wheel machines already ran at the season-opening Circle K NHRA Winternationals in Pomona and in early April at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. After the Topeka event, the Top Fuel Harleys will finish their four-race stint with the Mello Yello Series at the NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals at Bristol Dragway in Tennessee, June 19-21. The 10-race NHRA Harley-Davidson Series also features six races at NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series divisional events.
Len Darnell, aboard his fan-favorite Damian Cownden Racing Bird of Prey Top Fuel Harley, has raced to victory at the last two NHRA Mello Yello Series events where the Top Fuel Harleys were featured. The Vancouver, Wash., rider is a veteran motorcycle racer with three Pro Mod championship titles. He is one of the riders entered in the field at Heartland Park Topeka, along with Pomona runner-up Joey Stenotti, Pomona and Las Vegas No. 1 qualifier Tommy Grimes, and a pair of Kansas residents, Mitch Brown from Clearwater and Julian Seaman from Emporia.
One round of Top Fuel Harley qualifying will be held Friday, May 22, at 6 p.m., and two Saturday, May 23, at 2:45 and 5:30 p.m. Top Fuel Harley eliminations are set for approximately 1 p.m. Sunday, May 24.
The race is also round eight of the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series, and the very best in Top Fuel, Funny Car, and Pro Stock will compete to earn a coveted Wally and points toward world championship titles at the tradition-rich event. Spencer Massey (Top Fuel), Courtney Force (Funny Car), and Allen Johnson (Pro Stock) are the defending winners of the race, which will be televised on ESPN2.
In Top Fuel, defending winner Massey, who scored his second win in Topeka last year, is riding some momentum after winning this year in Gainesville and posting a semifinal finish as the No. 1 qualifier in Houston. Three-time Top Fuel world champ Larry Dixon has two wins at the facility, and others to watch are 2012 world champ and Atlanta winner Antron Brown, defending and eight-time world champion Tony Schumacher, 2006 Topeka winner Doug Kalitta, who also won the most recent event in Houston, Las Vegas winner Richie Crampton, 2014 Topeka No. 1 qualifier Brittany Force, Steve Torrence, category newcomer Dave Connolly, and J.R. Todd.
Sixteen-time Funny Car world champion John Force has nine wins in Topeka, and his daughter Courtney will be trying to defend her milestone victory from last year. John Force Racing teammate Robert Hight has two Topeka victories, and Cruz Pedregon has four wins at the track. Class stars also include points leader Ron Capps, who has earned wins this season in Gainesville and Houston, Jack Beckman, who won the Charlotte event in March, defending world champ Matt Hagan, Alexis DeJoria, Del Worsham, two-time world champ Tony Pedregon, Atlanta winner Tim Wilkerson, and Chad Head.
Defending Pro Stock winner Johnson will be looking for a fourth Topeka win, and Greg Anderson also has a successful pedigree in Topeka, earning four victories there. Las Vegas and Houston winner Erica Enders is looking for her 15th victory and first at the NHRA Kansas Nationals. Atlanta winner and points leader Jason Line, Vincent Nobile, Shane Gray, Larry Morgan, Jonathan Gray, V. Gaines, and Chris McGaha also figure to be major factors in the 200-mph factory hot rod category.
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 the highly skilled mechanics service their hot rods between rounds and enjoy cherished face time with and get autographs from their favorite NHRA drivers.
Mello Yello Series qualifying begins Friday, May 22, with sessions at 4:30 and 7 p.m. The final two qualifying sessions will take place Saturday, May 23, at 1:30 and 4 p.m. Final eliminations are scheduled for 11 a.m. Sunday, May 24.
To purchase general-admission or reserved seats for the NHRA Kansas Nationals, log on to NHRA.com/tickets or call 800-884-NHRA (6472). Children 12 and younger are admitted free to general-admission areas with a paying adult.
The Ray Price Motorsports team sends sincere thanks to all their sponsors for their support. They include our Primary Sponsors: Akea, Ray Price Harley-Davidson, with special thanks to our Associate Sponsor Raleigh H.O.G. and our Support Sponsors: Vanson Leathers, PJ1 Products, RC Components, CP Pistons, Barnett Clutches & Cables, Autolite Sparkplugs, Mickey Thompson Tires, Gates Belts, Nationwide Insurance, Brown & Miller Racing Solutions, JIMS USA, Industrial Machine Solutions, Wiley X, LAT Racing Oils and Nitrolube. Additional thanks: Bill Hayes, Hargis Consulting, Ultra Pro Machining and Freddie Robbins.