TOPEKA (KSNT) – It’s the first day of the last NHRA event at Heartland Motorsports Park.
After a recent court ruling forced one of the park’s most popular events to move elsewhere many race car fans aren’t happy.
Fans at Heartland Motorsports Park told 27 News this weekend is bittersweet. So many of the people attending The National Hot Rod Association have been visiting the track for years. For many, it’s become an annual family tradition and seeing the event race out of town is emotional.
“It’s nostalgic,” Faron Hiles, a Kansas City resident said. “It’s something we plan on every year. And when I heard they were closing I thought, ‘Now what are we going to do?'”
“I’ve been coming out here for all 33 races,” long-time Topeka resident Scott Staubus said. “It’s so close and convenient. I hate for it to go.”
“It’s like right here. I don’t have to go anywhere, no long drive, you don’t have to do anything like that,” John Haight, another long-time Topeka resident said. “It’s just right here, right in the backyard. You’re done here, you go home, you’re right there.”
Haight and Staubus have both lived in Topeka for several decades. Attending the NHRA race has become part of their summer routine, as is the same for many other visitors.
“It’s going to be really, really sad because there’s a lot of speed records and ET records that are here,” Haight said. “So it’s going to be kind of sad to know they’re all kind of, sort of going away.”
Race car fans will soon have to travel to a new location to watch the annual event.
“All the NHRA fans, I hope we can all get together somewhere because it’s going to be a sad day Sunday when this place closes,” Hiles said. “I’m sure there will be a lot of tears and a lot of families thinking it’s sad.”
The future of Heartland Sports Park is unknown at this time, but right now, visitors are enjoying the NHRA’s last lap through Topeka while they can.
The race runs from Aug. 11-13.