After waiting nearly 18 months to make his NHRA debut in a top fuel dragster, Kelly Harper will finally get his chance at the upcoming NHRA Nevada Nationals.

Kelly will be driving the Paton Racing entry with sponsorship from Ruud Manufacturing and RSD (Refrigeration Supplies Distributor). The event will provide Ruud, an industry leader in heating and cooling technologies since the late 1800’s, with their first taste of NHRA top fuel competition. “My friends at RSD, with Ruud’s support, are a big part of helping put this together this weekend and I’m thrilled to bring them into the world of NHRA top fuel drag racing. I can’t wait to share this experience with them,” Kelly remarked.

“I’ve been working towards my top fuel debut for some time and things lined up for us to make this happen finally in Vegas,” said Harper. “I’ve kept in touch with Todd throughout this time as we looked for the right opportunity and the folks at Ruud have stepped up to help Vegas be that time”.

Harper, from Phoenix, Arizona completed his license at a test session in Gainesville, Florida earlier this year. However, he hasn’t just been sitting on his hands all this time; he’s been keeping himself sharp driving his Top Sportsman Mustang and competing in Top Dragster, but the chance to get back behind the wheel of the Paton top fueler has been his main focus for much of the year.

Car owner Todd Paton said, “We were able to get Kelly some laps last year after we runner-upped at the Charlotte 4-wide event. It was an exciting weekend that continued into Monday, with Kelly making a couple of licensing runs. Unfortunately, we ran out of time then to complete his license that day, but we had him come out to Gainesville early this year where he did a great job finishing his license upgrade. The team and I are excited to see what we can do together now under the lights of real competition. We’re thrilled to have the folks at RSD and Ruud join our other partners: 3FP, Ogilvie’s Auto, Quality Plus Compressors, Engineered Racing Services, Performance Data Systems and Fast Eddie Speedwear for this event.”

“Top fuel is the place I’ve always hoped to be at in NHRA competition and I can’t wait to get things started. Vegas can’t get here soon enough!!” exclaimed Harper.


RSD is the largest independently owned refrigeration parts and HVAC equipment wholesaler in the western United States. We have been serving the west since 1907, recently celebrating 116 years as a company. RSD has grown to include 80 locations covering 10 western states, including Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, and Washington.

Ruud Manufacturing

At Ruud, we’re committed to doing good by our customers, our partners, our employees—and our planet. From industry-leading technologies to next- generation energy efficiencies, Ruud has been a pioneer in developing some of the most innovative advancements in heating, cooling, and water heating. With a long list of award-winning solutions, Ruud continues to deliver advanced comfort, savings, and experiences to our customers—just as we’ve done for over 100 years.