NHRA to go ahead with Topeka race May 22-24, despite City Council vote against racetrack purchase

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Despite the Topeka City Council voting Tuesday night against the controversial purchase of Heartland Park Topeka, the NHRA announced Wednesday that the NHRA Kansas Nationals will go on as scheduled, May 22-24.

The Council voted 6-4 against the resolution, which needed a six-vote majority for approval.

“I want a racetrack in Topeka,” council member Jonathan Schumm told the Topeka Capital-Journal. “I simply do not want a racetrack owned by (the city of) Topeka.”

Heartland Park has hosted the NHRA since 1988. The upcoming race, which does not have a title sponsor, will be the 27th year that the track has welcomed the NHRA national tour.

How the NHRA will still put on the race is somewhat vague, as the city’s contract with the sanctioning body expired Monday.

In addition, Topeka city manager Jim Colson told the Capital-Journal that NHRA officials plan to go ahead with the race, although those plans reportedly do not include Raymond Irwin, whose Jayhawk Racing LLC is the current owner of Heartland Park.

However, the track’s official web site, HPT.com, carried the NHRA’s statement that the race is still on.

Here is the official statement from NHRA that the race will go on as planned:

The decision last night by the Topeka City Council to vote against a resolution that would have allowed the city to proceed with the purchase of Heartland Park Topeka will not affect the upcoming 27th annual NHRA Kansas Nationals, May 22-24, 2015.

“NHRA is hosting the event as scheduled and is looking forward to providing motorsports fans in the area with another thrilling NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series event at Heartland Park Topeka on Memorial Day weekend.

“NHRA already has operational team members on the ground at the facility making preparations for the race weekend and the advertising and promotional campaign is also underway.

“It is NHRA’s desire to keep Heartland Park Topeka as an NHRA Member Track to host sportsman events and continue to include the track on the NHRA Mello Yello Series racing schedule into the future and NHRA looks forward to working with a new ownership group to make that happen.”

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