Schedule for HOT ROD Drag WeekTM 2011:
Sunday, Sept. 11: Test ‘n Tune at Heartland Park, Topeka, Kan.
Monday, Sept. 12: Racing at Heartland Park
Tuesday, Sept. 13: SRCA Dragstrip, Great Bend, Kan.
Wednesday, Sept. 14: Amarillo Dragway, Amarillo, Texas
Thursday, Sept. 15: Tulsa Raceway Park, Tulsa, Okla.
Friday, Sept. 16: Finals at Heartland Park
Monday, September 12, 2011
The smell and sound of burning rubber is a sweet smell to the community of Great Bend this week. The National Hot Rod Association's Drag Week started in Topeka on Sunday They'll race in Great Bend on Tuesday, September 13th. It's an event that means a lot to a community where the first ever NHRA sanctioned race was held back in 1955.
It's quiet now at this Great Bend drag strip, but come Tuesday morning the hot rods will be roaring down the drag strip and you can watch them for free.
"We have to have Drag Week go back to Great Bend." That's what the publisher of Hot Rod Magazine told the Drag Week promoters last year, which got the ball rolling to bring Drag Week back to where it all started in 1955. Hot Rodders have been talking about returning to Great Bend all year. "This is the National Dragster put out by NHRA," Hank Denning, president of the Kansas-based Sunflower Rod and Custom Association. "We've been in this magazine almost every week since January."
Denning explains what Hot Rod Drag Week is all about. "It's about the fastest street car that Hot Rod says is in the United States," he said. "These are purpose-built race cars. They're all street legal cars. They're all insured. They have to drive them from track to track. They have no support."
Denning also points out that these are races of time and endurance. The drag racers can run several times until they get their best time. Then, they'll go on to the next race, which is in Amarillo.
"The cool thing about it is some of these cars will run on pump gas, and then when they get to the track and put their slicks on them, they'll switch them over to race fuel. Some of these cars can run in the high sixes," Denning said.
Folks, that mean six seconds through the quarter mile. Reaching speeds close to 200 miles per hour. But the racers will first stop, eat and check into Great Bend hotels. And that's good for the local economy, Ron Straub, of the Great Bend Chamber of Commerce, said.
"For Great Bend, it's going to mean 200 extra people probably that are going to be in town...probably more than that, Straub said. "Of course, anytime you get folks in your town there's a chance to have them spend money here and see your community. And, hope that they'll come back in the future."
Gates open at 8 a.m. Tuesday in Great Bend, on Tuesday, September 13, with the hot rods burning off at 9 a.m. Admission is free. You can find out the cities and dates of the rest of the week's races by clicking here.