Brainerd International Raceway’s 12-race Bracket Drag Racing Series came to a dramatic end Sunday, as about 150 drag racers had their final shot at a series championship in 10 different classes.
Among those who laid claim to the title of champion was Ben Line, who “three-peated” in the Stock/Super Stock Class. Line has been the driver to beat for many years, having won the series championship in that class six out of the last seven years, including the last three years straight. He won three of the last five races of the season and finished with a comfortable 1,000-point lead over second place finisher Tim Lisson.
“I’ve been extremely lucky,” Line said modestly. “Drag racing is a pretty humbling sport. Once you start to get cocky, you get kicked down to the bottom again.”
Line give most of the credit to his 1969 Mustang, which ran consistently and problem-free all season – almost. He competed during the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals in August and developed some transmission problems. He borrowed the transmission from his brother Lance’s Mustang but it gave him problems last weekend and contributed to a second-round loss.
Although Line continues to be a marvel in the Stock/Super Stock Class, it was Travis Reutzel’s season that was nothing short of amazing. Reutzel won the series championship in the Pro ET Class as well as King of the Track honors earlier in the season and a coveted Wally trophy Sunday by winning the Pro ET Class during the National Dragster Challenge. Even Reutzel said he’s surprised by his accomplishments.
” I wanted (the series championship) in the worst way,” Reutzel said. “It took me a while to get to this point, though. You don’t learn his sport over night. You need to put a consistent car together and I need to do my job on the starting line.”
Reutzel credits a consistent car and some luck along the way, but his strategy was simple: “If you’re ever going to win a points championship, you can’t go out in the first round. You need to be consistent.”
Up against 44 other Pro ET drivers in the points race, Reutzel and his 1967 Camaro always advanced through two rounds at a minimum this season, which was his first year racing at BIR. He’s already looking forward to next year, and don’t expect him to change anything on the setup of his car – he’s sticking with what’s been working.
In Super Pro, where 43 drivers were vying for the series championship, Brian Johnson eeked out the title by only three points. His point total was 3,073, just ahead of Terry Pease’s 3,070. The difference was that Pease lost in the
first round Sunday while Johnson made it to the second round before losing. The top four finishers were all within 26 points and were all in the top five of the standings most of the year. Johnson, like Reutzel, never lost in the first round.
Rory Emmans lost in the first round Sunday but had enough points in the Sportsman Class to claim the series championship. Second-place finisher Mark Pease didn’t compete in the last two races, making the final leg of the series a little easier for Emmans.
Racing a 1968 Caprice, Emman won five of the 10 races, including a rare double win in July when he won the class Saturday and Sunday of the same weekend.
The following are the top three places in each class of the Bracket Drag Racing Series.
1. Brian Johnson of Nowthen
2. Terry Pease of Blaine
3. Brandon Schmall of Lino Lakes
1. Travis Reutzel of Eden Valley
2. Robert Ingman of Andover
3. Reno Loeffelholz of Shafer
1. Rory Emmans of Dayton
2. Mark Pease of Plymouth
3. Joe Moriarty Sr. of Ham Lake
1. Ben Line of International Falls
2. Tim Lisson of Solon Springs, Wis.
3. Steve Hutar of Cromwell
1. Mike Voss of Maplewood
2. Brad Harder of Waconia
3. Kyle Lundberg of Isanti
1. Chelsea Hjelle of Karlstad
2. Keith Larson of Brainerd
3. Darren Arnold of Eden Prairie
1. Nick Arnold of St. Louis Park
2. Joe Moriarty Jr. of Ham Lake
3. Tracy Arneson of Pillager
JUNIOR DRAGSTER ADVANCED
1. Erin Johnson of Anoka
2. Jordan Pratt of Otsego
3. Nick Gust of Isanti
JUNIOR DRAGSTER INTERMEDIATE
1. Sydney Thompson of Anoka
2. Sarah Johnson of Nowthen
3. Ashley Doffing of Cottage Grove
JUNIOR DRAGSTER NOVICE
1. Aaron Clampitt of Lino Lakes
2. Cameron Beaulieu of Cambridge