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First LGBTQ Drag Car Racer (AUDIO)

By Charlotte Robinson, September 02, 2022


This week I talked with Travis Shumake, the first openly gay professional drag car racer who made his national racing debut during the Menards National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) Nationals at Topeka’s Heartland Motorsports Park last month. Shumake in partnership with Visit Topeka & Pride Kansas crossed the NHRA Nationals finish line in a Pride Kansas-themed dragster to represent the state’s inaugural week-long Pride celebration that happens in Topeka September 17th to 24th. His 24-foot, 4,000-horsepower, nitromethane burning rocket also featured a modern geometric rainbow hood & matching rainbow parachutes. As a second-generation racer Travis grew up competitive in shifter-kart racing with his father Tripp Shumake who was a nationally renowned Funny Car racer who also competed in the NHRA. Last February Travis fully committed to the sport spent the last several months finalizing his sponsorship opportunities & completing his vehicle licensing making him eligible to race at NHRA-sanctioned tracks & national events. One of those new sponsors is Grindr the gay dating app & when $8,000 of safety gear was stolen from Shumake’s pit Grindr stepped up & replaced the equipment. Shumake states that at 280 MPH he’s proud to be turning heads & raising eyebrows with Grindr as a partner & to represent our LGBTQ community in this sport that draws 30 million American drag racing fans each year. He’s also especially proud of providing visibility for our community & serving as a role model for our LGBTQ youth. I talked to Travis about what he hopes to accomplish with his drag racing career & his spin on our LGBTQ issues. LISTEN  

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