Travis Shumake will make his national racing debut in a pride-themed dragster during the Menards National Hot Rod Association Nationals, August 12-14
TOPEKA, Kan., July 21, 2022 /PRNewswire-PRWeb/ -- Visit Topeka and Pride Kansas today announced its partnership with the first openly gay professional drag racer, Travis Shumake. Shumake will make his racing debut in a pride-themed dragster – designed in partnership with Visit Topeka and Pride Kansas – during the Menards National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) Nationals on August 12-14 at Topeka's Heartland Motorsports Park.
The dragster – a 24-foot, 4,000-horsepower, nitromethane burning rocket – will be outfitted with the Pride Kansas logo to represent the state's inaugural week-long Pride celebration happening in Topeka on September 17-24. It also features a modern geometric rainbow hood and matching parachutes.
"Just like the city of Topeka, the sport of NHRA drag racing is an unexpectedly welcoming and diverse place," said Shumake. "Making my national event debut in Topeka sends a clear message that cities and sports with traditionally conservative reputations shouldn't be overlooked as leaders in diversity. I couldn't have picked a better debut sponsor. We are both trying to provide representations, resources and hope to underrepresented groups."
A second-generation racer, Shumake grew up competitive shifter-kart racing with his father Tripp Shumake, a nationally renowned Funny Car racer who also competed in the NHRA. At the age of 37, Shumake fully committed to the sport in February 2022 and spent the last several months finalizing his sponsorship opportunities and completing his vehicle licensing, making him eligible to race at NHRA-sanctioned tracks and national events.
"We are extremely excited to welcome Travis to Topeka in August for his national debut," said Topeka Mayor Mike Padilla. "Topeka is committed to being an inclusive and welcoming community, which has been demonstrated in our recent Human Rights Commission Municipal Equality Index score, in which we received the highest score in the state, tying only with Overland Park. As a city, we continue to increase our efforts on the score, ensuring that everyone has a seat at the table in everything we do."
"It was a no-brainer for Visit Topeka to support Travis' inaugural ride on the national stage," said Sean Dixon, president of Visit Topeka. "As a destination, we strive to be inclusive and welcoming of all. That mentality is evident in local attractions, such as our rainbow-covered Equality House, and in the events and people we support. Travis' appearance at Heartland Motorsports Park comes just a month before Kansas' first-ever statewide Pride festival, and it's exciting to see this community step up as it continues to make history."
"The Pride Kansas team is grateful to Visit Topeka for sponsoring Travis Shumake's historic debut on our behalf," said Shawn Zarazua, director of Pride Kansas. "Our organization is committed to celebrating the LGBTQ+ people of our state and we are proud to be based in Topeka. When Travis makes his first national NHRA appearance here this August, we are honored that he will wear the Pride Kansas Bison."
A rendering of the car and photos of Travis can be found here, with an unveiling press event taking place on August 12, 2022 at the Rainbow Crosswalk in the North Topeka Arts and Entertainment District (NOTO).
About Visit Topeka Inc.
As Topeka's official destination marketing organization, Visit Topeka Inc. is dedicated to marketing the region as an exceptional destination for meetings, events, sports and leisure tourism, thereby enhancing the local economy. Visit Topeka is a 501(c)6 nonprofit. Learn more at VisitTopeka.com.
About Greater Topeka
The Greater Topeka area in Shawnee County represents a community of 178,915 people, located in the Greater Kansas City region. As the state capital of Kansas, Topeka is home to a dynamic employer base with headquartered companies including Hill's Pet Nutrition, Advisors Excel, Security Benefit, Capitol Federal and Evergy. Topeka is proud to be a part of the #KCHeartland.
Sam Brancato, Topeka Inc., 8627543332, [email protected]
SOURCE Topeka Inc.