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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Final 2023 Rolex 24 at Daytona results, stats

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DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — The 2023 Rolex 24 at Daytona overall results were all streaks: two consecutive victories in the endurance classic for Meyer Shank Racing and three in a row for Acura.

And Helio Castroneves became the second driver to win three consecutive Rolex 24s and the first to win in three straight years (Peter Gregg won in 1973, ’75 and ’76; the race wasn’t held in ’74 because of a global oil crisis).

Starting from the pole position, Tom Blomqvist took the checkered flag in the No. 60 ARX-06 that led a race-high 365 of 783 laps with co-drivers Castroneves, Simon Pagenaud and Colin Braun.

RESULTS: Click here for the finishing order in the 61st Rolex 24 at Daytona l By class

Meyer Shank Racing now has two Rolex 24 victories and the 2022 championship since entering the premier prototype category of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship in 2021.

“I think what’s so special about this team is we are a small team compared to some of our opponents, but the atmosphere, the way we work, enables people to get the best out of themselves, and I think that’s why we’re such high achievers,” Blomqvist said. “I think there’s no egos. It’s a very open book, and that just enables each and every one of us to reach our potential. I think that’s why we’ve achieved so much success in really a short time at this level of competition.”

It’s the 16th IMSA victory for MSR.

The 61st running of the Rolex 24 at Daytona marked the debut of the Grand Touring Prototype category that brought hybrid engine technology to IMSA’s top level.

In other categories:

LMP2: James Allen passed Ben Hanley on the final lap and delivered a victory in the No. 55 ORECA by 0.016 seconds. It’s the second IMSA victory for Proton Competition, which last won at Sebring in 2012. It was the first Rolex 24 victory for Allen and co-drivers Gianmaria Bruni, Fred Poordad and Francesco Pizzi.

GTD Pro: Cooper MacNeil won in the last start of his IMSA career as the No. 79 Mercedes-AMG GT3 scored the first Rolex 24 at Daytona for WeatherTech Racing and the team’s fourth career victory.

MacNeil, who co-drove with Maro Engel, Jules Gounon and Daniel Juncadella, earned his 12th career victory and first at the Rolex 24.

“Winning by last IMSA race is tremendous,” MacNeil said.

GTD: The No. 27 Heart of Racing Team delivered the first Rolex 24 at Daytona for Aston Martin, which has been competing in endurance races at Daytona International Speedway since 1964. Drivers Marco Sorensen, Roman De Angelis, Darren Turner and Ian James (also the team principal) earned the victory in the English brand’s 13th attempt.

It’s also the first Rolex 24 at Daytona win for Heart of Racing, which has seven IMSA wins.

LMP3: Anthony Mantella, Wayne Boyd, Nico Varrone and Thomas Merrill drove the No. 17 AWA Duqueine D08 to victory by 12 laps for the team’s first class win in IMSA.


STATS PACKAGE FOR ROLEX 24 HOURS OF DAYTONA:

Fastest laps by driver

Fastest laps by driver after race (over the weekend)

Fastest laps by driver and class after race

Fastest lap sequence

Lap chart

Leader sequence

Race analysis by lap

Stint analysis

Time cards

Pit stop time cards

Best sector times

Race distance and speed average

Flag analysis

Weather report

NEXT: The 2023 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season will resume with the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring March 18 with coverage across NBC, USA and Peacock.