TOPEKA, Kan, (KSNT) – Heartland Park Topeka is the site of many record-breaking performances throughout NHRA history but has also been the center of controversy for the past year.
The facility was purchased by Shelby LLC after a failed bail-out proposed by the city of Topeka earlier in December last year.
While this will be the 28th consecutive year for the NHRA, it was unclear whether the races would happen because of a constant tug-of-war between management and ownership.
But Scott Gardner, the most recent president and general manager of the facility, says the main hurdle for the facility was maintenance.
“The facility is going a complete new direction- a rebuild, if you will. A rebirth,” he says. “Paving was all messed up, you had to go in and pave areas that fans are going to be at. That was a big thing. To be able to get them in here safely and have an environment that was nice and enjoyable to be at.”
That’s why the facility has undergone multiple improvements, including track repairs and new electronic systems.
And managers aren’t the only ones who are happy with the track is turning out, NHRA racers are as well.
“There’s a couple of things about Heartland Park that make it great,” says Del Worsham. “One thing is the weather. It’s pretty consistent here as far as it’s never too cool or too hot but the surface here is just unbelievable.”
J.R. Todd says he’s happy to be back racing in Topeka.
“And for the fans that don’t know that we’re back yet, be sure to come out and check us out. They’ve done some renovations to the track and it’s going to be tough this weekend.”
Races will be happening all weekend long.