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Menards NHRA Heartland Nationals Friday Gallery

From the pits to the starting line, check out the NHRA.com gallery from Friday's opening day of the Menards NHRA Heartland Nationals presented by Minties.
07 Jun 2019
NHRA National Dragster staff
Race coverage
campbell

Hours before the start of professional qualifying, Clay Millican's Parts Plus team was hard at work preparing their Top Fuel dragster for the first two qualifying runs of the weekend.

Top Fuel racer Scott Palmer is promoting the Topeka-based Evel Knievel Museum during this weekend's event. Palmer, and Top Fuel Harley racer Ricky House have special edition Evel Knievel paint schemes on their respective rides and also have special driving suits honoring the legendary daredevil.

Chassis builder Larry Larson made a pair of exhibition runs in his amazing street legal five-second S-10 truck. Larson, the Top Sportsman winner at the 2015 Topeka race, fell short of his goal to re-set the 5.86 second record for street legal machines, but did manage to produce a solid 5.96-second pass.

During a pre-race warm-up, Bob Tasca III seems impressed by the power of his nitro-burning Ford Mustang Funny Car. Tasca got off to a solid start in Q1 with a competitive 4.08-second effort.

Funny Car points leader Robert Hight had a chance to spend some time with the fans at Heartland Motorsports Park. Hight, and his Auto Club team, won back-to-back titles in Topeka in 2010-11.

Racing in front of his homestate fans, Steve Matusek of Olathe, Kan., did not disappoint with a strong 5.827-second pass behind the wheel of his turbocharged Aeromotive Mustang during qualifying for the E3 Spark Plugs Pro Mod series.

David Grubnic, right, the crew chief for 2017 Mello Yello Top Fuel champion Brittany Force, discussed track conditions with John Force Racing track specialist Lanny Miglizzi prior to Friday's opening session. 

Jim Campbell, driving the special edition Menards/DiPinto paint scheme on "Big Jim" Dun's Dodge Charger Funny Car, kicked off nitro qualifying with a respectable 4.163.

Making his 250th start in the Funny Car class, two-time world champ Matt Hagan is wearing the colors of Shelor Motor Mile on his Schumacher Racing Dodge Charger Hellcat.

Leah Pritchett also has a new look this weekend after debuting the colors of Shell Rotella on her Top Fuel dragster. Pritchett is also pulling double-duty this weekend with her Dodge Challenger DragPak entry in the SAM Tech.edu Factory Stock Showdown.