NHRA brings ‘family’ fans from all over the country to Topeka

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The NHRA Drag Races are underway, and fans from all over the country are right here in Topeka, coming together as a group of strangers, and leaving as a family.

A family bond, made overnight, as Minnesota, Arkansas and Topeka came together for the thrill of drag racing.

Mark Tomberlin has been watching drag races for years, this being his second race in Topeka.

“I was hooked ever since,” Tomberlin said. “Once I’ve seen those cars going down the track. Back then it was 250 miles an hour. But it’s got into my blood.”

Mark arrived by himself but met his Topeka family members at the Heartland Motor Sports Park on Thursday, traveling from Minnesota.

Last year, Mark met Kendall and Kathleen, sharing a campsite again this year.

“My family of NHRA fans,” Tomberlin said. “We’re all one big happy family. Dysfunctional at times, but not necessarily in a bad way.”

For Kathleen Link, the Topekan’s love for racing started a few years ago. So much so, her and her husband will never forget a Topeka NHRA race again.

“Six years ago my husband and I got married on top of the tower here,”  Link said. “Right on top of the drags.”

Their last NHRA  brother, Steven Kastner from Arkansas, who is excited to see another race after 35 years.

“The engines,” Kastner said. “It’s beautiful, but most importantly it’s the atmosphere. The people you run into. You know no strangers here. It’s a wonderful place to be and you always meet some good people.”

While they said meeting new people is the most exciting part of the weekend long race, it’s also the sound of the cars and the smell of the nitrogen from the cars that makes them come to the drag races.

The racing will wrap up on Sunday afternoon. There is still time to get tickets as well. Tickets can be purchased at a local Menards through Sunday, June 9. There is an $8 discount when purchasing at Menards.

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