NASA drivers got their first crack at the outstanding Heartland Park of Topeka, Kan., racing facility, and the Saturday night awards party finished off the first full season of events in the NASA Central region. With all four configurations of Heartland Park Topeka, plus the first ever NASA Central “Drag Race” on tap, everyone had a great time.

In Time Trials, class champions are Phil Verhaeghe in TTU, Todd Wayman in TTS, Jerry Willfong in TTA, and Team STi Guys Ron and Spencer Smith in TTB. Race class champions are Mark Adams in American Iron, with Zane Dexter winning PTC, and Warren Dexter taking the top honors in Spec Miata. Brett Westcott won PTE for 2012.

Time Trials “Most Improved Driver” award went to Bob Frato, who moved from HPDE 3 into Time Trials during 2012 and did an outstanding job to secure fourth in the toughest class in NASA Central Time Trials competition.

Two Rookies took home “Rookie of the Year” honors, Todd Wayman in Time Trials and Warren Dexter in racing. Both took their respective classes by storm with eight wins in eight events to lock up the championships in their classes.

Sunday during the lunch break, four brave volunteers took part in the NASA Central Region’s first ever “Drag Race.” The eighth-mile drag strip had more than six turns and a strict dress code. Check out the video from Steve Myers for the surprise.

Sunday’s final race started on the 2.1-mile intermediate course, only to have a full-course yellow on lap four. Racers endured two laps behind the pace car to change the configuration to the 1.8-mile short course, and then it was back to green flag racing! Did we mention that drivers had driven neither course prior to the start of the race? It made for huge fun and big laughs all around the pits after the race.

“The 2012 NASA Central season was a huge success,” said Regional Director Matt Rivard. “For our first full season, we saw more than 400 drivers participate in events. Our future is very bright and we can’t wait for 2013!”

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