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America Has an Openly Gay Drag Racer

Driver Travis Shumake made his debut at the NHRA Nationals this past weekend.

Out drag racer Travis Shumake (Photo courtesy of Travis Shumake and Visit Topeka)

America’s first openly gay drag racer, Travis Shumake, made his debut at the NHRA Nationals this past weekend in Topeka, Kansas in a Pride-themed decorated car.

“I am honored to have made my national racing debut in Topeka,” Shumake said. “I am proud to draw attention to the state’s first Pride event and look forward to people around the country discovering Topeka for themselves.” 

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. In February 2022, Shumake fully committed to the sport and has 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. 

Shumake’s NHRA debut at Heartland Motorsports Park came just a month before Kansas’ first-ever statewide Pride festival, which will take place in mid-September. The week-long celebration will feature regional artists and activists, with events. Kansas representative Brandon Woodard, who was elected to the Kansas State Legislature in 2018 as one of the state’s first openly gay state representatives, will speak at the inaugural event.

Travis Shumake’s Pride-decorated racing car. (Photo courtesy of Travis Shumake and Visit Topeka)

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