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NHRA: Memorial Day Weekend Racing Boosts Excitement in Topeka

Compiled by SEMA Editors



MEMORIAL DAY WEEKEND RACING ADDS BOOST OF EXCITEMENT IN TOPEKA: Already home to some of the most historic runs in NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series history, Heartland Park Topeka created an added incentive for fans by hosting the 26th annual NHRA Kansas Nationals over Memorial Day weekend, May 23–25. It marks the eighth of 24 events during the 2014 NHRA season, and all of the stars in Top Fuel, Funny Car and Pro Stock are already anticipating the added excitement of racing on a holiday weekend.

"Moving it up a week and having it over Memorial Day is going to be great for the fans in the Midwest and the Kansas area," said reigning Pro Stock world champion Jeg Coughlin—a two-time Pro Stock winner at the track and winner last weekend in Atlanta. "We enjoy the facilities at Heartland Park, and we've had some good success there over the years. We've been going to the racetrack for what seems like 20 years now, dating back to my Super Stock days. I think it's going to be a great weekend for the event."

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HIGHT CONTINUES HOT STREAK TO START SEASON IN FUNNY CAR CATEGORY: Robert Hight raced to his third Funny Car victory in a row and fourth overall this season on Monday at the rain-delayed Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Southern Nationals in Atlanta. Spencer Massey (Top Fuel), Jeg Coughlin Jr. (Pro Stock) and Eddie Krawiec (Pro Stock Motorcycle) also were winners at the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series event. Hight defeated John Force Racing teammate Courtney Force in a thrilling final at Atlanta Dragway with a performance of 4.049 seconds at 315.05 mph in his Auto Club Ford Mustang. It was the sixth final-round appearance in a row for Hight, who extended the John Force Racing team’s consecutive final-round streak to 14 races.

"We’ve just got to take it one run at a time," said Hight, who won his 33rd career event. "It’s a total team effort. First round, I was able to save it and pedal the car. Second round, my team definitely saved me. My brain got a mental overload. Luckily my team gave me a 4.05 that run. After that we got in sync, we were back as a team again."

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With his win in Atlanta, Spencer Massey added his name to the list of Top Fuel racers who have secured berths into the Traxxas Nitro Shooutout at Lucas Oil Raceway during the Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals. Khalid AlBalooshi, Antron Brown, Doug Kalitta, Tony Schumacher and Massey now make up are the first five racers in the field. In Funny Car John Force, Robert Hight and Alexis DeJoria are the three cars in that category. For more on the story visit

He Said, She Said


"I had a good day behind the wheel of my Summit Racing Chevrolet Camaro. I'm disappointed because I wanted that win, needed that win, but I'm happy because my health is fine and I can still drive these things. That's good news. I know that I can win again; it's just a matter of time. We're going to go home and work on the dyno tomorrow (Tuesday). We're close, but we're not there yet with our Camaros. But now I've answered the question. Can I still do this? Yes. I can start my racing career over. It's a new chapter for me. A new lease on life."

—Greg Anderson, who raced to his first final-round apperance since returning from open-heart surgery and missing the first five races of the season.

Inside the Numbers

12: Number of bonus points Erica Enders-Stevens earned during the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Southern Nationals by leading qualifying after every session. A driver earns three bonus points for being the top qualifier in each session. While the season is only seven events in, the points can go a long way to determine the champion in Pomona. Enders-Stevens leads the Pro Stock category in points by 110 points over Jason Line. She also earned her first No. 1 qualifying position of the season and the first for her Elite Motorsports team.

"It’s a true testament to how hard my guys work and what perfectionists they are," Enders-Stevens said. "We go back after every run and analyze the data and do our best to make the most perfect run at that run and time that we can."

Did You Know


NHRA MELLO YELLO DINNER CELEBRATES PARTNERSHIP: It was a dinner not of fast food, but one that celebrated fast people. Reigning champions and select former champions of the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series were special guests in Atlanta, May 15, at the NHRA Mello Partnership Dinner—an annual occurrence on the eve of the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Southern Nationals. Last year’s champions—Shawn Langdon (Top Fuel), John Force (Funny Car), Jeg Coughlin Jr., (Pro Stock) and Matt Smith (Pro Stock Motorcycle)—were the featured guests, and each champion was duly recognized for his tremendous achievement. For more on this story visit

View the complete 2014 Mello Yello Drag Racing Series schedule.