TOPEKA, KS – August 13, 2021 – (Motor Sports NewsWire) – Returning to the site of his first career Pro Stock win, Deric Kramer hopes it’s precisely the spark he’s been looking for to get his 2021 NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series season back on track. Kramer’s 2018 win at Heartland Motorsports Park wrapped up a memorable weekend for the standout driver and he’s remained the defending Pro Stock champ at the race, as the class returns to the track for first time since that event for this weekend’s 32nd annual Menards NHRA Nationals presented by PetArmor.
For Kramer, it’s a chance to grab some much-needed momentum after his season started with plenty of progress. He was second in points in his Get BioFuel Chevrolet Camaro after a final round appearance in Houston, but Kramer has fallen on tough times, losing in the first round at the past four races to drop to ninth in points. With the Countdown to the Championship closing in, Kramer looks to find success at a track that already holds plenty of special memories for him.
“It was an awesome weekend (in 2018), qualifying No. 1 and capping it off with a race win,” Kramer said. “It’s nice being the reigning champ the past three years, but it’s good to go back to Topeka. You never forget that first win. We’re struggling right now and that’s not hard to see, but we’re going to keep on trying. It’s nice going someplace where you at least have some expectations of what you should be doing. We did it right once before (in Topeka), so we should be able to do it again. That’s what we’re shooting for.”
Steve Torrence (Top Fuel) and Robert Hight (Funny Car) won the most recent race at Topeka in 2019. This year, eliminations will be televised on Fox Sports 1 and FOX, including a broadcast of eliminations beginning at 3:00 p.m. ET on FOX. It is the 11th of 20 races during the 2021 NHRA campaign, with the stop at Heartland Motorsports Park kicking off the second half of the season.
For the Pro Stock class, it’s the ninth of 17 races this year, and only one race follows the Topeka race before the Countdown to the Championship playoffs begin. That adds a sense of urgency for Kramer, who will look to build momentum at the penultimate race of the Pro Stock regular season. To do so, the four-time race winner will try to find the consistency that’s plagued the team in recent races.
“We haven’t been able to get down the race track,” Kramer said. “We have to get down the track on every attempt. That lets to better qualifying positions, better performances, all of it. It’s been a struggle, that’s for sure, but it’s not something we’re trying to dwell on. At the end of the weekend, we want to win or lose on an actual run. That’s been the hardest part. There’s a lot of losing in drag racing, but losing when you don’t even get the opportunity to win is frustrating.”
Kramer, though, is confident the team can make a swift turnaround in crunch time. He qualified second earlier this year and Atlanta, advancing to final rounds in both Las Vegas and Houston. There’s plenty of strong competition in the class, including points leader Greg Anderson, Aaron Stanfield, who has wins in three of the past four races, defending world champ Erica Enders, Matt Hartford and rookie Dallas Glenn, but Kramer knows he has a car capable of winning.
“If we didn’t think we could fix things, we would go,” Kramer said. “Our intention is to win and have a chance to win at every race we go to. We’ve gone back to the basics and we’ll go from there, but we still think we can go out there and win.”
In Top Fuel, Torrence has enjoyed a dominant season, as the three-time defending world champ and points leader has six wins in 2021. But Leah Pruett won the most recent race in Pomona and she’ll look for more success against the likes of Antron Brown, Justin Ashley, Brittany Force, Doug Kalitta and Shawn Langdon.
Hight has picked up two wins this season in Funny Car, but everyone is chasing Ron Capps, who took over the points lead after winning in Pomona. In all, there have been seven different winners in the class this year, including Bob Tasca III, John Force, Cruz Pedregon, defending world champ Matt Hagan and J.R. Todd.
The event also features thrilling competition in the NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series, showcasing the future stars of the sport, as well as the Top Fuel Harley Drag Racing Series and the Constant Aviation Factory Stock Showdown class.
As always, fans are granted an exclusive pit pass to the most powerful and sensory-filled motorsports attraction on the planet. This unique opportunity gives fans a chance to see teams in action and service their hot rods between rounds.
NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series qualifying will feature one round at 7:30 p.m. CT on Friday, Aug. 13 and the final two rounds of qualifying on Saturday, Aug. 14 at 2:30 and 5:30 p.m. Final eliminations are scheduled for 11 a.m. CT on Sunday, Aug. 15. Television coverage includes qualifying action on FS1 at 12 p.m. ET on Saturday and then eliminations action at 3 p.m. on FOX on Sunday.
To purchase general admission or reserved seats, call (800) 884-NHRA (6472) or visit www.NHRA.com/tickets. Kids 12 and under are free in general admission areas with a paid adult. For more information about the NHRA visit www.NHRA.com.
Headquartered in Glendora, Calif., NHRA is the primary sanctioning body for the sport of drag racing in the United States. NHRA presents 22 national events featuring the NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series, NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series, E3 Spark Plugs Pro Mod Drag Racing Series presented by J&A Service, Factory Stock Showdown and Top Fuel Harley Series. NHRA provides competition opportunities for drivers of all levels in the NHRA Summit Racing Series and the NHRA Drags: Street Legal Style. NHRA also offers the NHRA Jr. Street program for teens and the Summit Racing Jr. Drag Racing League for youth ages 5 to 17. With over 120 Member Tracks, NHRA allows racers to compete at a variety of locations nationally and internationally. NHRA’s Youth and Education Services (YES) Program reaches over 30,000 students annually to ignite their interest in automotive and racing related careers. NHRA’s streaming service, NHRA.tv, allows fans to view all NHRA national events as well as exclusive features of the sport. In addition, NHRA owns and operates four racing facilities: Atlanta Dragway in Georgia; Gainesville Raceway in Florida; Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis; and Auto Club Raceway at Pomona in Southern California. For more information, log on to www.NHRA.com, or visit the official NHRA pages on Facebook, YouTube and Twitter. and YouTube.
Source: National Hot Rod Association