Heartland Park West Central Division preview

NHRA WEST CENTRAL DIVISION OPENS 2006 LUCAS OIL DRAG RACE SERIES SEASON IN TOPEKA TOPEKA, Kan. (May 3, 2006) - The National Hot Rod Association's West Central Division Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series opens the 2006 season this weekend, May 5-7, as...

NHRA WEST CENTRAL DIVISION OPENS 2006 LUCAS OIL DRAG RACE SERIES SEASON IN TOPEKA

TOPEKA, Kan. (May 3, 2006) - The National Hot Rod Association's West Central Division Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series opens the 2006 season this weekend, May 5-7, as Heartland Park Topeka will host the first of six divisional drag races on the HPT quarter-mile.

The Heartland Spring Shootout Presented by Goodyear is the first of two races scheduled at the facility for 2006. The Lucas Oil NHRA Division Five Heartland Championships will be contested at Heartland Park Topeka, Aug. 25-26.

Racers in eight categories, including 250 MPH Top Alcohol Dragsters (TAD) and Top Alcohol Funny Cars (TAFC) will be on hand vying for points, ultimately leading to divisional and national championships in each category. This weekend's racing also is the last opportunity for racers to earn points toward a berth on the team that will represent the NHRA's West Central Division at the 2006 JEG's All Stars event in June.

Although it is the first race of the season in the West Central Division, some drivers have taken an opportunity to get a jump in the point standings by attending out-of-division races. One racer, Randy Meyer of Spring Hill, Kan., has already earned Top Alcohol Dragster points in the West Central Division by winning a South Central Division event in Memphis, Tenn. Meyer, a two-time divisional champion, made five final-round appearances at division races in 2005 and took home a victory in four of those final rounds.

Cy Chesterman is likely the man to beat in Top Alcohol Funny Car in 2006. A native of Sioux City, Iowa, Chesterman claimed his third straight divisional crown (and fourth overall) in 2005, earning wins at Brainerd (Minn.) International Raceway and Nebraska Motorplex (Scribner, Neb.) and making the final round at Bandimere Speedway (Denver, Colo.) and Tri-State Raceway (Earlville, Iowa).

Emporia, Kan. resident Gary Stinnett will have a large bull's-eye on his back as he competes this weekend. Stinnett, who also builds high-performance drag racing engines, is the reigning national champion in Super Comp and a divisional champion in Super Comp and Super Stock.JLast year marked the second time in his racing career that Stinnett earned three titles in one season.

The weekend's racing gets underway Friday with qualifying and time trials starting at 9 a.m. Top Alcohol Dragster and Top Alcohol Funny Car classes are scheduled for one qualifying round on Friday and two on Saturday. Final round eliminations begin Sunday at 8 a.m., with the first round of eliminations for Top Alcohol Dragster and Top Alcohol Funny Car set for noon.

Heartland Park Topeka, a multi-purpose racing facility located in Topeka, Kan. annually hosts NHRA POWERade drag racing, the Sports Car Club of America (SCCA), and many other pro and amateur drag racing, road racing, and dirt racing events throughout the race season.

WHAT: The Heartland Spring Shootout presented by Goodyear, round one of the NHRA West Central Division Lucas Oil NHRA Drag Racing Series, where drivers earn points ultimately leading to divisional and national championships. Categories include Top Alcohol Dragster, Top Alcohol Funny Car, Comp Eliminator, Super Stock, Stock Eliminator, Super Comp, Super Gas, and Super Street. The division's Sportsman Motorcycle class will also run in conjunction with the event. The event is the first of six in West Central Division competition and the first of two scheduled for 2006 at Heartland Park Topeka.

WHERE: Heartland Park Topeka, Topeka, Kan. The track is located four miles south of Topeka off Topeka Blvd. From Interstate 470, take U.S. Highway 75 south to 77th Street Exit. Turn left (east) and proceed approximately one mile to Heartland Park Topeka.

WHEN: Friday through Sunday, May 5-7, 2006

SCHEDULE: Time trials and qualifying scheduled for Heartland Spring Shootout presented by Goodyear:

FRIDAY, May 5 -- Gates open 7 a.m. Qualifying and time trials begin at 9 a.m. Top Alcohol Dragster and Top Alcohol Funny Car qualifying sessions scheduled to begin 4 p.m.

SATURDAY, May 6 -- Gates open 7 a.m. Final qualifying and time trials are scheduled to begin at 8 a.m. Top Alcohol Dragster and Top Alcohol Funny Car qualifying sessions are scheduled for 1 and 4 p.m.

SUNDAY, May 7 -- Gates open 7 a.m. Eliminations begin 8 a.m.JEliminations for Top Alcohol Dragster and Top Alcohol Funny Car begin 12 p.m.

TICKETS: GENERAL ADMISSION/PIT PASS -- $10 Friday, $15 Saturday, $15 Sunday. Children six to 12 are $5 each day, kids five and under are admitted free. Military personnel with valid military ID are admitted free. For more information, please contact Heartland Park Topeka at (800) 43-RACES.

PURSE: The NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series competitors will vie for cash and contingency awards of $149,200, as well as a chance at a share of the year-end purse of more than $560,000

DEFENDING

CHAMPIONS: Heartland Park Topeka did not host a spring NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Race Series event in 2005.

FEATURES: More than 450 drivers in eight racing categories. Eight-car fields in Top Alcohol Dragster and Top Alcohol Funny Car, featuring five-second, 250 MPH side-by-side drag racing.

-hpt-

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Series NHRA
Drivers Randy Meyer