Topeka Rob Wendland of Lawrence is serving as grand marshal of the O'Reilly Summer Nationals NHRA drag races this weekend at Heartland Park Topeka.
Wendland, who owns Wendland Performance Service, has been involved with drag racing since the mid-1970s as a driver, mechanic and consultant.
In 1999, Wendland won two national events as the driver of a Top Alcohol dragster. He also has worked with Top Fuel and Funny Cars.
Wendland retired from drag racing this year to spend more time with his 31â2-year-old daughter.
"I've never been a spectator at a race in the 14 years I've been doing this," Wendland said, "but it's kind of neat. It's a neat deal."
Wendland will be recognized at 10 a.m. Sunday during the ceremonies prior to the final eliminations. The meet began Friday and will continue today.