TOPEKA (KSNT) – Competition is heating up in the Heartland, as racers from across the nation compete in Shawnee County.

“We’re gonna have 15 to 20 thousand people a day braving the heat to come out here and watch 330 MPH dragsters in funny cars and all the rest of the categories going down the racetrack,” Track Manager Travis Hilton said. “It’s an event like no other, if you’re a fan of football, baseball, soccer, they’re phenomenal but you can catch most of the experience from the seat of your couch at home. It’s a great thing to be able to do that, but the form of drag racing we have here is something you cannot experience at home.” 

The 33rd NHRA Nationals event showcases all levels of competition – from competitors as young as 5 years old, to professional drag racers fighting it out for the championship title.

It’s not all about the competition though. One of the key aspects of the event is the community integration.

“Where in a lot of other motorsports, there’s a distance between you and the accessibility, and your seat in the grandstands,” Professional Drag Racer Dough Foley said. “Here you can watch us work on it, you can watch us warm it up, and then go walk up to the grand stands and watch us run, and then come back and meet us out here to see what’s going on. NHRA’s slogan is every ticket is a pit pass, and it’s truly one of the few things that makes us different in motorsports. 

In addition to creating a fun experience for competitors and fans alike, the event also has a major impact on the local community.

“Watching the hotels that have sold out, restaurants that have waiting lists hours long, and all these shops everyone is able to benefit from bringing these people from across the nation and truly from across the world to our great little city here in Topeka,” Hilton said.

If you’re wanting to check out those racers going 330 MPH, the final day of the event kicks off Sunday at 10 a.m.