Brainerd International Raceway’s 2015 racing schedule, a jam-packed lineup with new exciting events, long-running favorites and everything in between, kicks off this weekend with a pair of endurance road races.
The World Racing League takes on BIR’s road course for a nine-hour endurance race on Saturday and a seven-hour endure on Sunday. Tickets are available at the front gate.
The WRL launches a six-month schedule that reflects a combination of thrilling spectator events and an increasing number of opportunities for fans to try their hand at racing. Like in past years, though, the name of the game this year is diversity: drag racing, road racing, snowmobile watercross, Superbike racing, a cruising event, endurance racing, drifting and autocross competitions and the BIR Performance Driving School. The schedule even includes Lakes Jam, a three-day music and camping festival.
New to this year’s schedule is MN Time Attack, which is entering its inaugural season. This unique event, which is on BIR’s schedule in May and September, is a chance for race fans to get behind the wheel on BIR’s road course and test their driving skills against the clock.
One major change to the schedule involves the Trans Am Series, which was moved from the GSTA Muscle Car Shootout on Labor Day weekend to the PleasureLand RV Show & Go on Fourth of July weekend. The Trans Am Series’ 40-lap, 100-mile race on Sunday afternoon will be the weekend’s grand finale event.
Another change to the Show & Go’s racing program is the addition of National Auto Sport Association (NASA) road racing. BIR hosted a NASA race in 2012 but hasn’t been able to fit the series on the schedule again until this year. NASA brings an exciting brand of wheel-to-wheel road racing, which will be on Saturday and Sunday, prior to the Trans Am Series race.
One event that already was wildly popular got even better this year. The Wet & Wild Weekend in June will feature snowmobiles racing on open water, the Bracket Drag Racing Series on the drag strip and Superbike racing courtesy of a partnership between the Central Roadracing Association (CRA) and the Championship Cup Series from Texas.
The main attraction again this year is the 34th Annual Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals, set for Aug. 20-23. BIR will be the center of the drag racing universe when the best drag racers on the planet, the fastest cars and tens of thousands of crazy race fans descend on Brainerd to celebrate the largest motorsports event in the Upper Midwest. BIR’s infamous campground, The Zoo, takes on a life of its own with live music nightly, bonfires, a parade of “partywagons,” rickshaw races and a lot more. Advance tickets are now on sale.
The schedule also is full of fun, affordable and “non-traditional” racing, such as the ChumpCar World Series, where teams of four drivers race $500 junkers during a 12-hour endurance race in August. The Aussie-style Powercruise is back for a fourth year, giving fans the chance to participate in several driving events throughout the weekend. The Modern Automotive Performance Proving Grounds returns for two weekends, with imports and sport compacts competing in drifting, autocross, drag racing and more.
“We’re always looking for different and unique types of racing for our fans,” BIR owner Jed Copham said. “We have a great mix of races again this year that feature national-level pro racers along with regional amateur drivers. And most of the racing is fun and affordable family entertainment.”
The drag strip will be busy this year with six weekends reserved for the Bracket Drag Racing Series, where 250-plus amateurs compete in dragsters, cars, trucks, bikes, snowmobiles and Junior Dragsters for series championships and cash prizes. The three-race Muscle Car Series (Memorial Day, Fourth of July and Labor Day weekends) showcases huge horsepower and super-fast cars that battle with series championships on the line.
When most people think of BIR, they think of spectator races, but there are many opportunities for people to get behind the steering wheel and test their fortitude and driving skills. For example, the Wednesday Night Drags – Street Legal Style is a program where BIR opens its drag strip to anyone with a street legal car, truck or bike, and a helmet. The same thing is available on the road course, where the BIR Performance Driving School combines classroom instruction and on-track driving to teach drivers how to handle a car at high speeds. Most racing events have classes for those who want to try racing, using their own street car, truck or bike.
“I think that’s one of our best-kept secrets at BIR,” Copham said. “Many people don’t know that they can come here and compete rather than sit in the grandstands and watch. Most of our races are open to anyone, as long as their car or bike meets safety and tech requirements. Some of the races require a short instructional session as well, but most of our events are open.”