Saturday was what people in the racing world call a “junk air day,” said Hank Denning, president of the Sunflower Rod and Custom Association. That means some high performance race cars have a hard time “breathing” in the humidity. Still, with Great Bend the only division track in Kansas racing this weekend, racers from around the state and Oklahoma made the drive to the Great Bend track to increase their points rating and to have some fun.
Rainy weather earlier in the week left race tracks like Wichita’s Raceway Park and Manhattan’s Midwest Raceway sitting in mud. Denning began receiving calls at first light from racers asking if Great Bend would be running Saturday, and promising they were on their way, he said. Topeka’s Heartland Park, still mired in legal issues, has no events on the calendar now that the 2015 NHRA Kansas Nationals is over, prompting Topeka area drivers to look elsewhere for tracks.
For Great Bend, despite the fact water was standing in the grassy areas surrounding the track, the dragstrip was dry and racing began on time at 2 p.m. With pits on concrete, everyone in attendance had a dry place to park.
And the weather cooperated, even though rain threatened.
“Because of how the track is set up, if we get a little rain, we have a good chance of waiting it out and getting the track dry and keep racing,” said Tracey Swalley, one of the SRCA staff members.
Saturday’s was the first Summit Points Race in June, and the fourth in the serieis. Friday, June 26 will be the next test and tune event where street cars from all over western Kansas come to race for fun. A gamblers race is held to, with racers putting up $10 each, and the entire pot going back to the racers, Swalley said. Saturday, June 27 is race five in the Summit series. In July, Rocky Mountain Race WEek starts on July 15, and on Aug. 22, the Rocky Mountain Superchargers return for Summit Points Race 7. Just about every other weekend, there’s racing at the drag strip.
Divisions included the Junior Dragsters, consisting of racers from ages five to 17. Each participant observes a speed limit on the eighth-mile track. The Sportsman division is for entry level racers, followed by Street Legal, with each car required to be titled, registered, insured, and able to drive in off the street. There is a high school division also, with drivers ranging in age from 16 to 18. Graduation from high school disqualifies drivers from competing in this division. Finally, there area the Pro and Superpro divisions. Pro is a faster drag racer, with no computerized or electronic assists. Super Pro is unlimited as far as electronics go, but there can be no GPS locator divises used.