Drag racers honored at BIR’s annual banquet

Brainerd International Raceway’s annual BIR Racer Banquet attracted more than 200 drag racers, families and friends, many of whom went home with trophies, personalized winner’s jackets, prizes and lots of stories.

The banquet, held Feb. 25 at Cragun’s Resort in Brainerd, the banquet was a chance for the track to recognize the series champions from the Bracket Drag Racing Series and the Muscle Car Series, as well as others who made an impact on the racing community last season.

Al Schmidt of Paradigm Performance and DeDe Doolittle-Roberts

Al Schmidt of Paradigm Performance and DeDe Doolittle-Roberts

Outstanding Dedication Award to Vern and Ginger Laurin Jr., from Ron Zenzen, middle

Outstanding Dedication Award to Vern and Ginger Laurin Jr., from Ron Zenzen, middle

Al Schmidt from Paradigm Performance in Brainerd presented the second annual Dick Roe Appreciation Award to DeDe Doolittle-Roberts for her outstanding service to the drag racing community. She’s a member of BIR’s drag racing crew.

Ron Zenzen presented the Outstanding Dedication Award to Vern Laurin Jr. and his wife, Ginger.

The Rookie of the Year Award went to Emma McFarland, who took second place in the Comp Trophy Class (Bracket Drag Racing Series) in her first year after racing in the Junior Dragster classes.

And Ben Line won the Joe Angelo Sportsmanship Award for displaying great sportsmanship toward the other racers.

Emma McFarland, Rookie of the Year

Emma McFarland, Rookie of the Year

Ben Line, Joe Angelo Sportsmanship Award

Ben Line, Joe Angelo Sportsmanship Award

The Bracket Drag Racing Series was well represented, with eight of the 11 series champs in attendance . The winners survived an extremely competitive season in most of the classes. The series is 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 three-race Muscle Car Series attracts more than 300 cars and features 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. Ten of the champions attended to receive their personalized jackets and trophies.

Bracket Series champs, back row from left: BIR Owner Jed Copham, Brian Johnson, Bryce Miller, Chris Henry and Mike Simons. Front: Brody Thompson, Riley Luberda, Sydney Thompson, Ben LIne

Bracket Series champs, back row from left: BIR Owner Jed Copham, Brian Johnson, Bryce Miller, Chris Henry and Mike Simons. Front: Brody Thompson, Riley Luberda, Sydney Thompson, Ben Line

Muscle Car Series champs, back row, left: Greg Schmidt, Jesse Nelson, Dennis Orr, Chris Orr, Dan Gefre, Robert Wilczek, BIR's Jed Copham. Front: Tracy Meyer (for Brian Carpenter), Scott Hielscher, Gary Olson, Jesse Haugesag, Bob Peterson

Muscle Car Series champs, back row, left: Greg Schmidt, Jesse Nelson (runner up), Dennis Orr, Chris Orr, Dan Gefre, Robert Wilczek. Front: Tracy Meyer (for Brian Carpenter), Scott Hielscher, Gary Olson, Jesse Haugesag, Bob Peterson


Congrats to the Bracket Drag Racing Series champs!

The top three racers in each class:

Super Pro – 60
1. Brian Johnson
2. Mike Campbell
3. Jenna Jahnke

Pro ET – 55
1. Bryce Miller
2. Wally Higby
3. Reno Loeffelholz

Sportsman – 23
1. Brandon Schmall
2. Sid Osterman
3. Steve Elzy

Stock/Super Stock – 16
1. Ben Line
2. Brad Haugaard
3. Jared Hutar

Pro Bike/Sled
1. Kyle Lundberg
2. Brad Harder
3. Kelley Fager

Comp Trophy
1. Chris Henry
2. Emma McFarland
3. Brandon Kellen

Street Trophy
1. Mike Simon
2. Shelley Joel
3. Todd Anderson

Quick 16
1. Gary Loeffelholz
2. Brian Johnson
3. Bryce Miller

Junior Dragster Advanced
1. Sydney Thompson
2. Chandler Niemeyer
3. Zach Zavadil

Junior Dragster Intermediate
1. Riley Luberda
2. Dylan Dancer
3. Samantha Cielinski

Junior Dragster Novice
1. Brody Thompson
2. Daniel Dancer
3. Carter Luberda

Help cancer patients and win a new race car

Here’s your chance to help cancer patients by buying a raffle ticket to win 2017 Mazda MX-5 Cup Race Car from Long Road Racing!

Lemons of Love is a non-profit organization that delivers hand-crafted goodie bags to cancer patients to make their day a little brighter. This will be the third year of the program, after doubling the number of bags delivered in the second year from the first. All proceeds from the raffle goes to Lemons of Love. A maximum of 2,500 tickets will be sold.

The drawing for the $59,000 race car will be during the 12 Hours of Sebring race, March 18. But don’t delay, buy your tickets today.

Click here to visit the official website where you can buy your tickets. Or to learn more about Lemons of Love, click here.

Lemons of Love


Check out BIR at these upcoming shows

The trade show season is here again, giving race fans a chance to get a jump on the racing season.

Look for Brainerd International Raceway at two trade shows this year: The Minneapolis Motorcycle Show and the Gopher State Timing Association (GSTA) Rod & Custom Spectacular.

BIR Performance Driving School Director Gary Curtis will be at both shows, along with a variety of other BIR staff and volunteers. They’ll be able to answer questions about the upcoming race season and will have information available for the school and BIR’s racing schedule. You’ll also have a chance to register to win some great prizes from BIR.

Here are details of the shows:

The Minneapolis Motorcycle Show is Feb. 3-5 at the Minneapolis Convention Center. It’s all-things bikes at this show! Hundreds of the latest street bikes, dirt bikes, cruisers, scooters and ATVs will be on display, along with riding gear and aftermarket accessories. A custom bike competition will highlight a long list of entertainment.

The 61st Annual GSTA Rod & Custom Spectacular is April 8-9 at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds. Here, you’ll see the nastiest collection of hot rods and customs from throughout the Midwest. Don’t miss it if you’re into fins, flames and fender skirts.

See you at the show. Stop by and say hello!

BIR’s annual Racer Banquet is set for Feb. 25

BIR’s annual Racer Banquet is set for Saturday, Feb. 25 at Cragun’s Resort in Brainerd.

The program starts with a social hour at 5:30 p.m., followed by dinner at 6:30 p.m. The awards program follows dinner. The cost for the banquet  is $38 per person, $17 per child 8-12 years old and $11 per child 4-7 years old. Please be aware that those who attend the banquet must pay for dinner as well.

The Racer Banquet is BIR’s chance to recognize the top drag racers during the 2016 season. Champions of BIR’s Bracket Drag Racing Series and the Muscle Car Series will be honored, and individual awards will be given out as well. It’s a fun night for racers as well as their families and friends.

Make it a full weekend by staying both Friday and Saturday nights. BIR is receiving these special rates: $275.74 for two nights or $169.93 for a single night. Reserve your rooms by Jan. 16 for guaranteed rates and availability.

The registration process is a little different this year. You cannot reserve rooms at Cragun’s until you’ve contacted BIR and registered for the banquet. So your first step is to call Keri at BIR by phone at 218-824-7223. She will get you registered and then turn you over to Cragun’s to reserve your rooms. BIR’s offices are open from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Thursday.

Make a weekend out of it and enjoy snowmobiling, ice fishing or any of a host of other fun things to do at Cragun’s and in the Brainerd Lakes Area.

Visit the Cragun’s Resort website for more details about what they offer and where they’re located. Or visit the Visit Brainerd website to learn more about what’s happening in the Brainerd Lakes Area that weekend.

Hope to see you there!


Think ‘BIR’ when holiday shopping this month

As you’re finishing up (or just starting) your holiday shopping, don’t forget to think “Brainerd International Raceway.”

BIR has some great gift ideas for your favorite race fan. Whether it’s BIR apparel, event tickets or a nitro experience at the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals, BIR has some amazing options.

BIR Apparel & Merchandise – If you’re in the Brainerd area, stop by Brainerd’s Westgate Mall and check out the BIR kiosk, which is selling BIR T-shirts, hats, sweatshirts and other apparel, as well as merchandise. The kiosk is open daily through Dec. 23.

Advance Tickets to the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals – Advance tickets to the 36th Annual Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals (Aug. 17-20) are now on sale and can be purchased by calling the BIR Ticket Office or ordering them online, by clicking here. Treat someone to the fastest show on Earth, an experience they’ll never forget.

BIR Gift Certificate – Here’s an excellent stocking stuffer idea. Our Gift Certificates come in any monetary value and are good for admission to all our events (including Nationals) as well as BIR apparel and merchandise. Call the Ticket Office for details on how to purchase them.

BIR Performance Driving School Gift Card – Give the gift of speed this season with a Gift Card from the BIR Performance Driving School. These cards can be used for admission to a driving school date or the StreetSmart Advanced Defensive Driving for Teens. The school is a day-long program that includes classroom instruction and driving sessions. Students can use the school’s Spec Racers or their own cars. Click here for more information.

BIR unveils new, easier online ticketing system

Brainerd International Raceway’s race fans will find that buying tickets online is a whole lot easier now, thanks to a new ticketing system BIR purchased through TicketForce.

For race fans, the most noticeable change is the online ticketing system. When fans go online to buy tickets, the process is much easier to navigate and is considerably more intuitive. Fans will find it much easier to determine which ticket package they want and then easily move to the check-out process. Click here to view the online ticketing page. Fans who have purchased tickets in the past will need to update the password on their account (easy instructions are below).

In addition to its new online ticketing system, BIR also has a new computer ticketing system that will help the track better manage ticket sales and customer information.

“We are very excited to be working with the TicketForce team,” said Stephanie Wieczorek, BIR’s ticketing manager. “We were looking for a ticketing system that could help us connect with our customers, increase our marketing data and overall help the track grow. We are confident that we have found that in TicketForce.”

“We have been working with multiple tracks nationwide and have ticketed NHRA nationals events – we love the passion and excitement in these events and are happy to do our part to bring fans to the track,” said Lynne King Smith, CEO of TicketForce. “We welcome Brainerd International Raceway to the TicketForce racing family!”

For fans who have purchased tickets online in the past, a few steps are necessary this year to update their password. Follow the steps below:

Go to

Click “Your Account” – just below the header bar.

Click “Forgot Your Password”.

Enter the email associated with your account.

An email will be sent to your email mailbox where you will get a link to set up your password.

Once you have reset your password, it will take you into the account page.

At the bottom of the page it will list “Holds.”

Click to add the tickets to your basket and process your order.


Click on the text links below to watch helpful videos:

How To Reset Your Password

How To Add Holds to Basket




Advance Tickets for NHRA Nationals are on sale now

Advance tickets to the fastest show on Earth are now on sale. Get your tickets today for the 36th Annual Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals on Aug. 17-20 at Brainerd International Raceway.

The tickets available include multi-day admission-only and admission-camping packages, reserved seats, parking and some miscellaneous services. It also includes MegaWeek Tickets, which combines the NHRA Nationals and Thunder at the Lakes NHRA Divisional Race Aug. 11-13. Fans can buy a ticket that gets them into BIR Aug. 10 through Aug. 21. It’s 12 Days of Drag Racing!

Advance tickets to NHRA Nationals is a great holiday gift idea for the race fan in your life. Buy now and save a bundle. Or, ask us about a BIR Gift Certificate. You pick how much you want the certificate to be worth. It’s good for admission to any event at BIR – including NHRA Nationals – as well as merchandise and apparel.

Buy your BIR Gift Certificates at the BIR Ticket Office or by calling 1-866-444-4455. Advance tickets are available by phone or by ordering online with BIR’s new ticketing system. Click here to buy online.

If you’re in the Brainerd area this month, stop by our kiosk in the Westgate Mall, where we’re selling apparel and merchandise daily through Christmas.

Happy holidays from BIR!


Shop the BIR holiday kiosk at Westgate Mall

Brainerd International Raceway has a holiday kiosk in Brainerd’s Westgate Mall with dozens of great gift ideas.

Open daily until Christmas, the kiosk will be open at 10 a.m., selling your favorite BIR merchandise and apparel. Check out our selection of  holiday gifts for the race fan in your family. Tickets will not be sold at the kiosk, but Advance Tickets for the 2017 Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals are now available online by clicking here.



BIR’s 2017 schedule is heavy on variety again

Brainerd International Raceway (BIR) today released its 2017 racing lineup, a six-month schedule that features some of the most exciting and diverse motorsports in the Midwest.

If race fans want variety, they’ll find it at BIR, where variety is the name of the game. BIR’s schedule includes drag racing, road racing, Superbike racing, endurance racing, drifting and autocross competition, an Aussie-style cruising event, two weekends for imports and sport compacts only, the BIR Performance Driving School and even watercross, where snowmobiles race on open water. It all starts in late April and continues into mid October.

The event that gets the most attention each year is the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals, which is set for Aug. 17-20. Last year, BIR extended the event by moving Thunder at the Lakes, an NHRA divisional race, from early June to the weekend prior to Nationals, and then opened the track for 12 straight days. That allowed fans to watch Thunder at the Lakes and stay on-track until after Nationals. The move proved to be a huge hit for both fans and racers alike, since many of the Sportsman drag racers competing in Thunder also race during Nationals.

“We got a great response last year for making that change,” BIR owner Jed Copham said. “We added a MegaWeek ticket package for those who wanted to stay for both events, and sales were much better than we expected. That just proves what we already know about our fans, that they can’t get enough NHRA drag racing.”

The Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals will again feature the fastest dragsters and best drivers in the world, as they compete for national championships. Off the track, the pit area is open to everyone, and BIR’s infamous campground, called The Zoo, provides non-stop entertainment by fans who celebrate the end of the race day with non-stop enthusiasm.

Another improvement that BIR made to last year’s schedule was moving the Trans Am Series race from Labor Day weekend to the PleasureLand RV Show & Go on the Fourth of July weekend. That move paid dividends as higher car counts resulted in a second race being added for the TA2 class. So fans were treated to back-to-back 40-lap races, both of which were televised on the CBS Sports Network.

The PleasureLand RV Show & Go is a prime example of an event where BIR tries to use every square inch of its facility for related activities and racing. With the Trans Am Series and the National Auto Sports Association on the road course all weekend, the Show & Go also features the Muscle Car Series on the drag strip, a classic car show, live music, on-site camping and fireworks.

The three-race Muscle Car Series is in its ninth season at BIR, with a growing number of muscle cars battling on the drag strip for series championships. BIR’s six-weekend Bracket Drag Racing Series is also a growing series for competitive and novice drag racers. Both series provide some of the best amateur drag racing anywhere in the Upper Midwest.

The Modern Automotive Performance Proving Grounds is a non-traditional event that continues to increase in popularity at BIR. Scheduled for two weekends again this season (in June and September), the Proving Grounds showcases import cars and sport compacts, which compete in drag racing, autocross, open lapping on the road course and the crowd favorite: drifting.

“We’ve always tried to load up our schedule with motorsports that most people wouldn’t typically have a chance to see,” Copham said. “I think we’ve been pretty successful at that. And for fans, the best part about our schedule is that most weekends have multiple events taking place. One ticket gets you in to see both events, and kids 12 and under are always free. So it’s an affordable and fun alternative for fans and families alike.”

For those who would rather be on the track instead of in the grandstands, BIR has many racing and driving opportunities, starting with the BIR Performance Driving School. It’s a daylong school that mixes classroom instruction with on-track driving where students can acquaint themselves with high performance driving.

The Wednesday Night Drags – Street Legal Style program gives people the chance to drag race on BIR’s drag strip. Nearly every racing event at BIR has racing classes for novices and those who are trying the sport. As long as they have proper safety equipment, street cars can be used in most cases by novice racers, to make the experience more affordable.

This summer will be BIR’s 49th season. BIR is one of North America’s largest race tracks, featuring a world-class quarter-mile drag strip, the 3.1-mile, 10-turn Donnybrooke Road Course, the 2.5-mile, 13-turn Competition Road Course, 300 acres for rustic camping, 164 full-service RV sites and 12 on-site condos. BIR is about 120 miles north of the Twin Cities. For more information, visit, or call 1-866-444-4455.




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