Brainerd International Raceway honored its drag racers and those who made an impact on the track’s racing program, while celebrating the end of one season and the beginning of the next.
BIR hosted its annual Racer Banquet Feb. 24 at Cragun’s Resort. With more than 170 racers, family members and fans in attendance, BIR recognized the champions of the Bracket Drag Racing Series and the Muscle Car Series, as well as four individuals who made significant contributions to racing at BIR.
Al Schmidt, from drag racing sponsor Paradigm Performance, presented the third annual Dick Roe Appreciation Award to Keith Harris for his outstanding service to the drag racing community. Keith can be found in Race Control during drag racing weekends, keeping the racing program running smoothly.
BIR’s Rookie of the Year award went to Zach Zavadil, who finished in 11th place in the Pro ET Class. In 2016, he raced in Junior Dragster Advanced and finished third.
Zach’s dad, Terry Zavadil, won the Joe Angelo Sportsmanship Award for displaying great sportsmanship toward the other racers.
Racer Ron Zenzen presented the Outstanding Dedication Award to track photographer Barry Bergeron, who was unable to attend the banquet.
The Bracket Drag Racing Series was well represented, with nine of the 11 series champs in attendance. The winners survived an extremely competitive season again in most of the classes. The series was over six weekends, with winners crowned on both Saturdays and Sundays. The races typically attract more than 250 dragsters, cars, trucks, bikes, snowmobiles and Junior Dragsters.
The Muscle Car Series was well represented as well. The three-race series continues to grow as the cars get faster and quicker. More than 300 cars compete, featuring seven Heads-Up Classes, 10 Index classes, four Eliminator classes and a class for manual transmissions. In all, 13 championships were awarded after the season.
Congratulations to all the winners, all the racers and their families and friends!
The Bracket Drag Racing Series Champs:
Brian Johnson – Super Pro
Reno Loeffelholz – Pro ET
Shawn Carlson – Sportsman
Glen Demenge – Stock/Super Stock
Jimmy Paulson – Pro Bike/Sled
Devrin Walcheski – Comp Trophy
Todd Anderson – Street Trophy
Sydney Thompson - Jr. Dragster Advanced
Dylan Dancer – Jr. Dragster Intermediate
Daniel Dancer – Jr. Dragster Novice
Muscle Car Series Champs:
Rick Schmidt – Outlaw Pro Mod
Jake Delmonico – Outlaw
Brian Mahnke – King Street
Duane Godbout – Real Street Unlimited
Bob Wallin – Real Street Natural
Wayne Bellanger – True Street
Brian Carpenter – 660 Outlaw Street
Bob Lacey – Strip Eliminator 1
Gary Olson – Strip Eliminator 2
Kurt Loftis – Strip Eliminator 3
Jerry Jablonski – Truck Eliminator
Kelly Ruiz – Manual Transmission
Gary Olson – Index Class Champion