Heartland Motorsports Park (Heartland) will host the last and final NHRA National Event in Topeka, Kansas on August 11th-13th, 2023. Regretfully, this is the end of NHRA National Events in Topeka. Shawnee County is succeeding in taxing Heartland out of business with their excessive land valuation and property taxes.
The first NHRA National Event took place in Topeka, Kansas in 1989 and Heartland is home to some of the greatest world records set in professional drag racing.
Thirty-four years ago, Topeka’s National Event immediately became one of the premier events in the State of Kansas as well as in the heartland of the nation. The event draws fans, racers, support crew and families, and vendors from all over North America. Though the Park is only open to the public about 80 days a year, Heartland has grown its events to collectively draw hundreds of thousands of people annually to Topeka and the state of Kansas.
Shelby Development LLC, property owner, is of the opinion the loss of Topeka’s National Event is a direct result of Shawnee County’s continued efforts to tax Heartland out of business, which has devalued Shelby’s property to an ongoing liability with no commercial value. For years, the Shawnee County Appraiser has gone the extra mile, in Shelby’s opinion, to overvalue Heartland’s property to almost four times its actual value. This process results then in an almost $1,500 per day property tax liability. It remains Shelby’s opinion that Shawnee County hides behind statements like, “Shelby did not file property tax appeals,” but that begs the fundamental question, “Why doesn’t the County Commission require the Appraiser to follow the clear duties under the law in the appraisal process”?
Years ago, Shelby exercised what it believed to be a more viable and necessary option by filing an eleven-count lawsuit against the County Appraiser, including allegations of fraud. The County Appraiser has manipulated third party appraisers to provide appraisal results that are “made as instructed”, has withheld documents and legitimate appraisals.
Shawnee County’s actions have caused Shelby’s property to devalue to almost nothing from the burden of such mountainous taxes. In Shelby’s opinion and to add insult to injury, the County’s efforts to damage Heartland and Shelby are even more painful with the witnessing of the County giving away land for free adjacent to Heartland and offering no property tax burden for decades to large corporations.
Heartland and Shelby has always agreed taxes should be paid, but not at 400% of market value. Shawnee County is well aware Heartland has never been self stainable, even without any tax liability, so to tax the property almost $500,000 annually is seen by Shelby as blatant action to close Heartland.
Shelby is extremely thankful for its partnership with the NHRA and its many sponsors. Heartland is grateful to the racers, their support crew, the enormous fan base and countless vendors who have supported Heartland and this NHRA National Event for decades.
Let’s make the last NHRA National Event in Topeka Kansas a lasting and special event for the ages. Be there to bid a fond farewell to NHRA and all the professional racers, such as the legendary John Force, who has competed in most every Topeka National Event.
All area Menard’s stores are selling single day tickets as “buy one and get the second ticket free”. Come make history along with all the participants in your Last National Event in Topeka, and then remember why it ended.