With about 200 drivers chasing championships in Brainerd International Raceway’s Bracket Drag Racing Series, a father-son team won the top two classes, while a third driver extended his winning streak to four.
The Bracket Drag Racing Series completed its six-weekend, 12-race season with champions announced in all 10 classes. The winners will he honored Jan. 31 at BIR’s annual Racer Banquet.
The Loeffelholz family is celebrating a successful drag racing season as Gary and his 20-year-old son Reno won the top two classes by the thinnest of margins. Gary won the Super Pro Class championship and Reno took home the title in the Pro ET Class.
“It was very cool,” Gary said of the father-son win. “We talked about it (the weekend of the last race) and if we could pull it off.”
Gary drives a 2004 Mustang that runs about 7.4 seconds and 180 mph. He beat second-place finisher Mike Campbell by only 22 points, with a total of 3,854. Racers generally receive about 100 points for each elimination round they win.
Gary’s 16-year-old son Kyle nearly knocked his dad out of first place in the season’s last race. Kyle beat Gary in the fourth round, but Campbell had been eliminated two rounds earlier and the other contenders came up short as well.
The championships are the first for both Gary and Reno. Gary’s been racing at BIR since he was 18 years old but has never won a championship. This is Reno’s fifth year in the series, and his first title as well.
Reno’s season started off very strong. He had his 1968 Mustang dialed in and proved that he was a serious contender for the title. During the second and third racing weekends, he won three races in a row and was looking like he was going to run away with the title, but things changed for him in the middle of the season.
“I couldn’t find the tree,” Reno said about his inconsistent reaction times. “But then I went to a test day and tried some different things. I finally got it figured out again.”
In Stock/Super Stock, the domination continued as Ben Line won his fourth consecutive class championship. He has won the class title in seven of the last eight years.
Driving a 1968 Mustang, Line’s season was punctuated with a King of the Track win in June. The top racers in the Bracket Drag Racing Series have a run-off to determine the best of the best. Line won his way to the finals where he met Travis Reutzel, last year’s King of the Track. Line snuck by Reutzel at the finish line.
Rory Emmans repeated as champion of the Sportsman Class. He battled car problems all season but was able to keep it running – and winning – despite setbacks that included a blown-out drive train, a wrecked torque converter, ignition problems and more.
Emmans was locked into a season-long battle with second-place finisher Bob Gillespie. They were set up for a showdown in the final race but third-place finisher Brad Mickle surfaced as Emmans’ biggest ally when he knocked out Gillespie both Saturday and Sunday. Emmans finished with a slim 27-point win over Gillespie and the rest of the field.
“I bought Brad a couple drinks for that,” Emmans said. “It takes some luck to win this thing.”
Jason Clampitt jumped out to an early points lead in the Pro Bike/Sled Class by winning the first race of the season, followed by a runner-up finish. He sat on top of the standings the rest of the season for his second class championship in the 12 years he’s been racing at BIR.
“I got some lucky breaks,” the humble Clampitt said. “I was good when I had to be good and lucky when I wasn’t good.”
He credited third-place finisher Mike Voss for his success. He raced Voss’ 1979 Kawasaki all season, clocking consistent runs at about 9.9 seconds and 125 mph.
“We’re good friends and travel together to a lot of races,” Clampitt said. “Mike has helped everyone out at one time or another.”
In the Trophy classes, Nick Arnold won Comp Trophy while Tracy Arneson easily won Street Trophy.
The Junior Dragsters crowned champions as well. Emma McFarland won the Junior Dragster Advanced championship while Trevor Jelinski won Junior Dragster Intermediate and Riley Luberda won Junior Dragster Novice. There were 18 drivers competing for a championship in the three Junior Dragster classes.
Click here to see all the point standings.
Below are the top three finishers in each class:
1. Gary Loeffelholz of Shafer
2. Mike Campbell of Brooklyn Park
3. Brandon Schmall of Lino Lakes
1. Reno Loeffelholz of Shafer
2. Shane Boney of Belview
3. Joe Scholla of Andover
1. Rory Emmans of Nowthen
2. Bob Gillespie of Brainerd
3. Brad Mickle of Lino Lakes
1. Ben Line of International Falls
2. Lance Line of Cromwell
3. Jimmy Paulson of Stacy
1. Jason Clampitt of Lino Lakes
2. Cameron Belisle of Hugo
3. Mike Voss of Maplewood
1. Nick Arnold of Maple Grove
2. Jared Hutar of Cromwell
3. Michelle Emmans of Nowthen
1. Tracy Arneson of Pillager
2. Tyler Gadacz of Little Falls
3. Tyler Young of Nisswa
Junior Dragster Advanced
1. Emma McFarland of Sabin
2. Abby Haben of Hibbing
3. Maggie Ruzich of Hibbing
Junior Dragster Intermediate
1. Trevor Jelinski of Little Falls
2. Sydney Haben of Hibbing
3. Aaron Clampitt of Lino Lakes
Junior Dragster Novice
1. Riley Luberda of Foley
2. Alex Clampitt of Lino Lakes
3. Ally Giese of Kandiyohi