The general manager of Heartland Park Topeka apparently has discovered a good problem to have.
“I don’t know if I’ll be coming or going or staying here all the time,’’ said Scott Gardner, who also serves as president of the motorsports facility.
Heartland Park recently finalized a 2017 racing schedule, which will include events contested on the drag strip, road course, motocross, dirt oval and autocross pad.
Competition will begin in April at each of the venues. A full event schedule can be accessed at the track’s website, HeartlandPark.com.
“We’ve come close to doubling the drag racing events,’’ Gardner said. “We have a full slate of road course and stock car (events). We’ve added more events with a sprint car race on the dirt track. And on the new motocross track we’ve got plenty of events there too.’’
Another addition was finalized late last week when the National Hot Rod Association announced that HPT will be one of eight drag strips to host a Top Fuel Harley category on the Nationals schedule. That division will be included as part of the Menards NHRA Heartland Nationals by Minties, scheduled May 19-21.
“The nitro-powered Top Fuel Harley category is wildly popular with fans of two-wheel racing action,’’ said Josh Peterson, NHRA vice president. “These machines travel down the track at amazing speeds and are incredible to witness.’’
During his time as president of the International Hot Rod Association, Gardner was involved in sanctioning Nitro Harleys into programs at national events. The addition of that division into the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series schedule was considered a viable opportunity for Heartland Park.
“I’m very excited to have 230 mph Nitro Harleys. I remember an exhibition here a few more years ago, but fans are going to get a much closer look at it now,’’ Gardner said.
“With the (Harley-Davidson) dealership in town, a lot of people enjoying Harleys and the (Harley) museum coming, I think it was a natural for everybody in our audience. Getting to see these kinds of things is tremendous.’’
Other featured events on the HPT schedule include the ASCS Sprint Car race on June 23 on the dirt oval, and the Heartland Motocross Classic on Sept. 9-10 on the motocross track.
Also, the road course will feature events into November after being resurfaced in 2016 as part of numerous facility improvements at the complex.