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Hjelle, Brings among winners in season finale

With series championships on the line and a chance for drivers to win Wally trophies, 322 drag racers punctuated the end of the racing season Saturday at Brainerd International Raceway with an exclamation point, or two.

Travis Hjelle, Super Pro

Travis Hjelle, Super Pro

Steve Brings, Pro ET

Steve Brings, Pro ET

Last weekend was the final spectator event of BIR’s season. It featured the Bracket Drag Racing Series on the drag strip and the World Racing League on BIR’s Competition Road Course. Mother Nature didn’t cooperate for drag racing on Sunday but the World Racing League ran in the rain and completed its pair of endurance races, an eight-hour race on Saturday and a seven-hour race on Sunday.

There was a lot on the line for drag racers. In addition to battling for series championships, Saturday’s race was also the annual NHRA All Access Challenge, commonly called the Wally Race. The winners of all the classes took home a Wally trophy, just like those that the NHRA pros win. Even the Junior Dragsters got in on the action. They also competed for Wally trophies as part of the NHRA Summit Racing Jr. Drag Racing League Challenge.

Jerry Heib, Sportsman

Jerry Heib, Sportsman

Richard Tadych, Pro Bike//Sled

Richard Tadych, Pro Bike//Sled

On the drag strip, the Super Pro class was awfully crowded as 107 drivers competed. One of them was Travis Hjelle, who won seven races Saturday to earn a spot in the Winner’s Circle. Driving a 1964 Nova, Hjelle lined up against Joe Schmall in the finals. Hjelle was almost perfect off the starting line, with a .004 reaction time, and wouldn’t be caught at the finish line, winning with a time of 9.889 seconds at 130.12 mph.

The Pro ET class also had high car counts, with 105 cars competing. The seventh and final round featured Steve Brings and Pat Haubrich, slugging it out for a Wally. Brings and his 1964 Ford Falcon beat Haubrich off the starting line and never looked back, posting a winning time of 9.208 seconds and 141.30 mph.

Amy Jo Luberda, Comp Trophy

Amy Jo Luberda, Comp Trophy

Ryan Rennquist, Street Trophy

Ryan Rennquist, Street Trophy

Hjelle and Brings then squared off in the Super Pro/Pro ET Shootout, with $3,000 in prize money at stake. Hjelle was a little over-anxious, though, and fouled at the starting line, giving Brings the easy win and a check for $2,000. Hjelle’s payoff was $1,000.

Jerry Hieb ran the table in the Sportsman class, outlasting 30 other drivers and beating Neil Webster in the finals. Driving a 1974 Camaro, Hieb was slower off the starting line but caught Webster at the finish line with a winning time of 12.029 seconds and 110.34 mph.

Richard Tadych rode his 2003 Arctic Cat F7 snowmobile to a win in the Pro Bike/Sled class. He beat Kayla Filipiak in the finals after flirting with a perfect reaction time (.002 seconds) and finishing her off at the finish line with a time of 10.764 seconds and 115.22 mph.

Sydney Thompson, Jr. Drag Advance

Sydney Thompson, Jr. Drag Advance

Ally Giese, Intermediate

Ally Giese, Intermediate

In the Comp Trophy class, Tim Williams handed Amy Jo Luberda a finals win by fouling at the starting line. Driving a 1994 Camaro, Luberda still ran 12.518 seconds and 109.18 mph.

Ryan Rennquist has a Wally for his trophy case after winning the Street Trophy class. He beat Michael Ische in the finals with a time of 14.602 seconds and 92.42 mph.

Wally trophies went home with three Junior Dragsters drivers as well: Sydney Thompson, Ally Giese and Daniel Dancer.

Thompson drove her dragster to a Junior Dragster Advanced finals win over Jazper Wiebusch, with a winning time of 8.003 seconds and 79.52 mph. In Junior Dragster Intermediate, Giese beat Megan Cielinski in the finals by posting a time of 9.471 seconds and 65.13 mph. And Dancer shuffled home with a finals win in Junior Dragster Novice when Daniela Krech fouled at the starting line.

Daniel Dancer, Novice

Daniel Dancer, Novice

On the road course, 21 cars made up the field for the World Racing League’s Comp Du Lacs Brainerd, a pair of endurance races. Although 21 cars started the race on Saturday, only 14 finished. The team that completed the most laps after seven hours had elapsed was In The Red 1, which completed 254 laps. Team Braunschweig was second with 252 laps and North Loop Motorsports was third with 250 laps.

Braunschweig turned in the best single-lap time of 1:45.480 and the top speed of 85.324 mph, both of which were achieved in the team’s final lap of the race.

On Sunday, the same three teams finished on top of the standings, but Braunschweig nudged out In The Red 1 for the win, with North Loop Motorsports taking third again. Braunschweig completed 189 laps, while In The Red 1 finished with 188 laps and 187 for North Loop Motorsports.

Braunschweig turned in the best single-lap time and speed again, with 1:58.729 and 75.803 mph, respectively

Drag Racing results from Saturday, Sept. 30

Super Pro
Finals: Travis Hjelle of Karlstad def. Joe Schmall of Lino Lakes

Pro ET
Finals: Steve Brings of Howard Lake def. Pat Haubrich of New Ulm

Super Pro/Pro ET Shootout
Finals: Steve Brings of Howard Lake def. Travis Hjelle of Karlstad

Sportsman
Finals: Jerry Hieb of Maple Grove def. Neil Webster of Little Canada

Pro Bike/Sled
Finals: Richard Tadych of Fertile def. Kayla Filipiak of Isanti

Comp Trophy
Finals: Amy Jo Luberda of Sauk Rapids def. Tim Williams of Corcoran

Street Trophy
Finals: Ryan Rennquist of Cloquet def. Michael Ische of Minnetonka

Junior Dragster Advanced
Finals: Sydney Thompson of  Nowthen def. Jazper Wiebusch of Ham Lake

Junior Dragster Intermediate
Finals: Ally Giese of Kandiyohi def. Megan Cielinski of Gilman

Junior Dragster Novice
Finals: Daniel Dancer of Foley def. Daniela Krech of Inver Grove Heights

 

 

Season finale features drag racing, enduro races

The final spectator event of the season is this weekend as the Bracket Drag Racing Series determines its series champions while the World Racing League spends two days on the road course for a pair of endurance races.

Saturday is a significant day of racing for 300-plus drag racers competing in the Bracket Drag Racing Series. It’s the annual NHRA All Access Challenge, commonly called the “Wally Race.” The winners of all six classes – Super Pro, Pro ET, Sportsman, Pro Bike/Sled, Comp Trophy and Street Trophy – will take home a coveted Wally trophy, like the ones that the stars of the NHRA win.

BrianJohnson_WDrag racers in the three Junior Dragster classes get in on the action, too. They’ll be competing Saturday in the annual NHRA Summit Racing Junior Drag Racing League Challenge, where winners will claim their own Wally trophy. The Junior Dragster classes is for racers ages 8-18.

While drag racers would love to add a Wally to their trophy case, most are gunning for a series championship as well. They’ve been accumulating series points over the previous 10 races, culminating in this weekend’s race for the title. Winners are determined both Saturday and Sunday, giving racers two more shots at earning valuable points. Fans can expect some high-intensity racing.

Over on BIR’s 2.5-mile Competition Road Course, the World Racing League will have a pair of endurance races. Saturday features an eight-hour endurance race while Sunday’s race is a seven-hour affair.

IMGP8248_wDaily admission is $25 and kids 12 and under are free. Parking is free and on-site rustic camping is free with a multi-day ticket.

Brian Hebeisen wins thrilling CRA Championship

Brainerd International Raceway’s famed Donnybrooke Road Course provided the setting for the Central Roadracing Association’s final round of the season last weekend, and the tight overall Expert and Novice championship battles provided the entertainment.

Going into the final round, Expert points leader Brian Hebeisen held a 54-point lead over reigning champion Kyle Ohnsorg, and Novice points leader Eric Hjelter was clinging to a 63-point lead. With at least 20 points going to the winner of each race, none of the four contenders were in a comfortable position, and each of them needed to battle for every point they could.

Brian Hebeisen en route to a CRA Championship. Photo by Brad Knight

Brian Hebeisen en route to a CRA Championship. Photo by Brad Knight

The tight championship battles affected those not even involved in those races as a significant amount of preparation was done by the commentary team, which bolstered its numbers for “Points Watch 2017.” Joining announcer Kris Skellenger in the commentary booth was Cheap Thrills Moto rider Ewa Kalinsky, who kept the current points standings updated, and TPL Racing’s Jordan Imrie, who pretty much sat behind Skellenger the whole day. Word has it that since he is used to being behind Skellenger on track, he is more comfortable behind him off track as well.

Fisk Brothers Racing pulled out all the stops in its pursuit of the overall championship for Hebeisen. Ohnsorg matched them every step of the way with both riders competing in every race on Saturday aside from Formula 40. The battle raged on all day in multiple classes with both riders on Yamaha R3’s, Suzuki SV650s, Yamaha R6’s and Ohnsorg bringing a gun to the knife fight in Unlimited by swinging a leg over his BMW S1000RR.

Ohnsorg had one thing in mind in every race – victory. His results were what you’d hope to see on a golf scorecard, with a series of 1’s in his race position column. Were it not for an unfortunate chain failure on his R6 or using his immense talent to highside one of the slowest bikes in the series while going straight (note, BIR’s front straight can be a bit slippery at times, can’t it Kyle?), Ohnsorg could have cleaned house by winning every race he was eligible for. Unfortunately, unlike golf, racing doesn’t offer mulligans and the rain that came in the late afternoon put a stop to “Peanut Brittle’s” attempt at winning every race he finished.

Realistically, Ohnsorg’s biggest hurdle was the tenacity of Hebeisen, who took time out of his busy schedule of flexing and not wearing a shirt to pick up as many points as possible throughout the day. Lacking the absolute speed of the dainty Ohnsorg, Hebeisen clearly understood that he could win the championship through consistency and smart riding. In some races, he pushed Ohnsorg and challenged for the win but in races where that wasn’t possible, he brought it home and earned solid points. Ohnsorg’s chain failure proved to be a giant momentum swing back toward Hebeisen, and Ohnsorg’s crash in Featherweight GP was the turning point in the championship. After taking maximum points in those races, Hebeisen just needed to complete 50 laps in Sunday’s annual 5-Hour Endurance Race to be classified as a points scorer and take home his first championship.

Hebeisen did just that and now holds the record as the oldest No. 1 plate-holder in CRA history, which seems fitting as the championship bonus from the CRA is one of those $3 pairs of reading glasses from the closest gas station. In all seriousness, massive congratulations go out to the Fisk Brothers Racing/Dryject, Inc. team of Hebeisen, Mark Fisk, Phil Fisk, Mike Smith, Anna Hanson, Brad Zajic and everyone else that made Hebeisen’s middle-aged dream come true.

The Novice side of the party was equally as intense with Sam Burke, who’s Ohnsorg’s teammate, in a similar scenario to the 2016 CRA champion. In order to take the championship, he needed to win every race he could. All season long, Burke has shown himself to be the quickest Novice rider in dry conditions but Eric Hjelter showed the world he meant business racing in the rain during the CRA’s August weekend.

With rain in the forecast for the Saturday afternoon, Hjelter needed to be like Hebeisen and grab every point possible. Unfortunately, a crash early in the day put one of his bikes out of commission and made the possibility of bringing home the championship very small. Burke was able to capitalize on Hjelter’s mistake. Even though Hjelter was able to borrow a bike to try to gain some points, it wasn’t enough to stop Burke as the championship lead changed hands during the final sprint race of the season.

With a 12-point lead going into the 5-hour race, Burke took home a solid result in the team race to claim top honors and show Ohnsorg how it should be done. The Novice championship was a great way to repay the faith shown in him by his team of Mike Husman, Cheryl Husman, the entire Ohnsorg family, Zack Johnson, Stephen Peterson and many more who helped him through the year.

The 5-Hour race usually takes top billing during the September CRA weekend as championships are usually wrapped up well before the last day of the season but that was not the case this year. With so much riding on who finished where, there was massive changes to rider lineups all the way up until registration closed for the race 30 minutes before practice started. Going into the race, the favorites for the overall win seemed to be 3-Hour Team Challenge winners Full Nelson (Jesse Nelson, Skellenger, Scott Stall), 3 Men and a Baby (Aaron Anderson, Burke, Shane Keaveny, Stephen Peterson), Ohnsorg’s Cheap Goats (Erik DeVaan, Ohnsorg, Jake Schmotter), and Power Bottoms (Clark Davis, Josh Harein, Drew See). Other teams to keep an eye on due to their role in the overall championships were Team Kramer (Jack Barton, Hebeisen, Chase Sellers) and The MAD MEN (Adam Bastien, Hjelter, Barry Schmidt, Luke Trombley).

Off the start, Full Nelson held the lead with Zach Hughes shocking the world by donning his gold-plated leathers and putting in a solid performance on Despacito teammate Pat Gill’s Yamaha R1M. Close behind them, 3 Men and a Baby held onto the final overall podium spot with Ohnsorg’s Cheap Goats right behind. The Power Bottoms tried an unusual alternative strategy early in the race when a dipstick malfunction (we won’t specify if the dipstick was human or not) caused a red flag due to oil on the track. The team used the red flag to clean the excess lube off of their bike and continue on.

Just past halfway, Full Nelson developed a transmission problem that pu them out of the race. Then the forecasted rain arrived, causing havoc up and down the field – at one point two riders crashed on the front straight within five minutes! Multiple red flags through the rest of the race to deal with many incidents caused by rain that at times made it difficult to even see created a perfect “never give up” scenario with multiple teams crashing, repairing their bikes, crashing again, repairing their bikes again, etc.

This scenario is usually where Billy Vossberg shines. Vossberg, riding for the aptly named team We Put the CRA in CRASH, has a history of throwing bikes down the road multiple times during races and somehow bringing home very solid finishes. The most recent CRA fast guy, Josh Harein, threw his hat into the Crash & Dash talent pool by having multiple ground meetings with the Power Bottoms bike and getting it back to the pits for repairs. At one point, outgoing Tech Inspector Clint Lee stationed himself at the Power Bottom’s pit area on the assumption Harein would be back shortly for another post-crash inspection.

When the clouds cleared and the checkered flag flew, Ohnsorg’s Cheap Goats took a one-lap victory over the Power Bottoms (both of which were GP3 teams) while We Put the CRA in CRASH took top honors in GP4 over 3 Men and a Baby. Alive @45, a team consisting of three 45-year old men riding an 18-year old bike (even if the bike is the age of legal consent, it’s still creepy) to a very popular win in the GP2 class and GP1 top honors went to What Happened to Sam Miller? – a question many of us will never know the answer to.

The 2017 season was yet another in a long line of exciting seasons in the club’s history and while the end of the season is always a bit disappointing, the good times will continue at the season-ending banquet on Oct. 21. Thanks for the entertainment in 2017, 2018 promises to have just as much action!

Wet & Wild 2.0 makes a splash

Pick your pleasure: Superbikes screaming around a road course or snowmobiles flying around  buoys on open water. Fortunately, fans can have both this weekend during BIR’s Wet & Wild Weekend 2.0.

It’s a dual event weekend for fans who can watch both types of racing for a single ticket.

For the International Watercross Association, this weekend will be the final race on the schedule. Riders will be racing in eight different classes, including drag racing and oval racing around floating buoys. During oval racing, riders take off from shore, make four or five laps around the buoys and return to the same shore. Fans can watch from the shores of the lake.

The Central Roadracing Association (CRA) will be on BIR’s historic 3.1-mile Donnybrooke Road Course for three days of thrilling Superbike racing. It’s the last CRA weekend of the season, so bike counts will be high and speeds will be ridiculous as riders take on the track’s 10 turns and the mile-long straightaway.

C73U9219-X3Friday’s CRA schedule includes practice sessions followed by six-lap races on Saturday. Sunday’s finale is a 5-Hour Endurance Race.

Daily admission is $25, and kids 12 and under are free. Parking is also free.

 

 

 

 

C73U8845-M

Muscle Car Series ends in grand fashion during Shootout

The stage was set for some good ol’ fashioned showdowns on the dragstrip Sunday during the 29th Annual GSTA Muscle Car Shootout at Brainerd International Raceway.

The Outlaw Pro Mod and Outlaw classes, specifically, had some real heavyweight matchups shaping up, with Muscle Car Series championships on the line.

Lee Loew, Outlaw Pro Mod winner

Lee Loew, Outlaw Pro Mod winner

Jake Delmonico, Outlaw winner

Jake Delmonico, Outlaw winner

In Outlaw Pro Mod, Ray Fuchs and Rick Schmidt each won the class once this season and were expected to settle the score once and for all this weekend, with a winner-takes-all scenario in place. But fans were denied the chance to see that unfold, as Fuchs’ 1953 Studebaker broke on his semifinal run against Lee Loew and his ’36 Ford pickup. Schmidt, who qualified No. 1 with a pass of 6.134 seconds, advanced to the finals and lined up against Loew.

Loew, who had never won a Muscle Car Series race, can’t say that anymore. He was quicker off the starting line and held off Schmidt at the finish line with a rare hole shot win. Loew’s time was 6.599 seconds at 215.89 mph. Schmidt ran 6.585 seconds at 214.31 mph. The difference was on the starting line, where Loew’s reaction time was .066 seconds to Schmidt’s .124 seconds.

Outlaw Pro Mod is always a fan favorite of the three-race Muscle Car Series, which concluded this weekend with 457 cars battling for hardware and series championships. The series is part of the GSTA Muscle Car Shootout, which also included the Sports Car Club of America’s Jack Pine Sprints on the road course, live music, a fireworks display and a classic car show.

Brian Mahnke, King Street winner

Brian Mahnke, King Street winner

Duane Godbout, Real Street Unlimited

Duane Godbout, Real Street Unlimited

Back on the drag strip, the Outlaw class was shaping up to feature some big hitters this weekend as well. Jake Delmonico and Bubba Romanyshyn were exchanging blows on the blacktop this year, with each having won a series race and were at the top of the points standings. A showdown wasn’t in the cards for Romanyshyn, though, as he crashed his car prior to this weekend and wasn’t able to make a run at the championship.

That left the door open for Delmonico, who raced his ’68 Camaro to a No. 1 qualifying position. He then won his way to the finals where he faced 2015 Outlaw class champion Warren Peterson. Peterson was much quicker off the starting line, but he couldn’t hold off Delmonico’s powerful Camaro, which clocked a 7.284-second winning time at 202.21 mph. Peterson ran 7.662 seconds at 179.95 mph.

Bob Wallin, Real Street Natural

Bob Wallin, Real Street Natural

Jason King, True Street winner

Jason King, True Street winner

Two familiar faces won their way to the finals of King Street. Brian Mahnke, who dominated the King Street class during the first five years of the Muscle Car Series, had his ’72 Camaro dialed in last weekend. He advanced to the finals where he faced off with Mike Sterling, another past series champion.

Sterling and his ’66 Chevelle were quicker off the starting line but Mahnke chased him down at the finish line, posting a winning time of 7.832 seconds and 178.12 mph. Sterling was 8.238 seconds and 162.24 mph.

In Real Street Unlimited, Duane Godbout and Jason Nelson faced each other in the finals of the first two races, with each winning once. They both made it to the finals again last weekend to break the tie and determine the series champion. Godbout and his ’69 Chevelle was the top qualifier and showed why. Nelson beat him off the starting line but Godbout had too much horsepower for Nelson’s ’87 Trans Am, catching him at the finish line with a winning time of 8.083 seconds and 171.62 mph. Nelson ran 8.696 seconds at 152.52 mph.

Brian Carpenter, 660 OS

Brian Carpenter, 660 OS

Gary Olson, Index Class Champ

Gary Olson, Index Class Champ

Bob Wallin won his way to the finals of both Real Street Natural races this season, winning one and losing the other. Driving a ’72 Nova, he made it three-for-three last weekend, beating Taylor Gullickson in the finals with a time of 9.623 seconds at 137.32 mph.

In True Street, a pair of Mustangs were in the finals: Jason King’s 1987 and Bill Rolow’s 1989. On Sunday, King’s ’87 had a hair more juice as he was able to sneak across the finish line ahead of Rolow despite getting beat on the starting line. King ran 8.623 seconds and 158.41 mph, while Rolow ran 8.790 seconds and 158.09 mph.

Brian Carpenter won the 660 Street Outlaw class for the second time, giving him three trips to the finals and two wins. He beat Chris Gullickson in a tight one with a time of 4.632 seconds and 167.76 mph on the eighth-mile track. Gullickson ran 4.690 seconds and 163.08 mph.

For the second race in a row, Gary Olson won the Index Class Championship. He won the 12.00 Index class to advance to the race-off between the 10 Index Class winners, which included Ryan Nohner, who won the 11.00 Index and battled to the finals but couldn’t take down Olson.

Below are the finals results from each class.

RESULTS

Outlaw Pro Mod
Finals: Lee Loew of Darwin def. Rich Schmidt of Dickinson, N.D.

Outlaw
Finals: Jake Delmonico of St. Paul Park def. Warren Peterson of Duluth

King Street
Finals: Brian Mahnke of Proctor def. Mike Sterling of Oak Grove

Real Street Unlimited
Finals: Duane Godbout of Cloquet def. Jason Nelson of Champlin

Real Street Natural
Finals: Bob Wallin of Superior, Wis. def. Taylor Gullickson of North Branch

True Street
Finals: Jason King of Saginaw def. Bill Rolow of Crosslake

660 Outlaw Street
Finals: Brian Carpenter of Forest Lake def. Chris Gullickson of North Branch

Strip Eliminator 1
Finals: Nick Loesch of Hastings def. Joe Marudas of Milaca

Strip Eliminator 2
Finals: Gary Olson of Sartell def. Scott Popp of Rice

Strip Eliminator 3
Finals: Shawn Veith of Janesville def. Misty Hockett of Sebeka

Truck Eliminator
Finals: Troy Anderson of Little Canada def. Brandon Swanson of Ham Lake

Manual Transmission
Finals: Jeremy Reitmeier of Crookston def. Kelly Rutz of Randall

Index Class Champion
Finals: Gary Olson of Sartell def. Leon Vinkemeier of Belle Plaine

9.50 Index
Finals: Gerald Cook of Mora def. Pat Huebner of Bloomington

10.00 Index
Finals: RJ Laase of Duluth def. Kevin Sand of Cambridge

10.50 Index
Finals: Bob Peterson of Janesville def. Mark Angier of Waconia

11.00 Index
Finals: Leon Vinkemeier of Belle Plaine def. Darwyn Hansen of Brooklyn Park

11.50 Index
Finals: Ryan Nohner of Watkins def. Brian Schottenbauer of Clear Lake

12.00 Index
Finals: Gary Olson of Sartell def. Stefan Halverson of Cook

12.50 Index
Finals: Austin Morley of Merrifield def. Bobbi Halverson of Cook

13.00 Index
Finals: Brian Schraut of Sauk Rapids def. Brandon Hemenway of Park Rapids

13.50 Index
Finals: Shannon Halverson of Cook def. Ryan Hansen of Esko

14.00 Index
Finals: Steve Twaddle of Virginia def. Chad Nikstad of Superior, Wis.

Dale Earnhardt’s NASCAR car to lead Saturday’s cruise

The car that NASCAR legend Dale Earnhardt raced in 1989-90 will lead Saturday’s Street Car Cruise around Brainerd International Raceway’s 3.1-mile Donnybrooke Road Course at 7 p.m. as part of the 29th Annual GSTA Muscle Car Shootout.

The car, which is the first to earn more than $1 million in prize money, is a Goodwrench-sponsored Lumina Aerocoupe that was driven to wins at Atlanta Motor Speedway in 1989 and 1990, setting a record during the 500-mile race along the way.

The car is now owned locally and will be available on Saturday for viewing. It’ll lead a parade of street-legal drag cars for four laps around the road course to prove that they can operate in normal driving conditions. It’s a requirement at each of BIR’s three Muscle Car Series races, and has become a popular event for race fans as they line the track through the pit area to watch the parade of cars.

EarnhardtCar

Schmotter shines at CRA’s Round 4

The Central Roadracing Association was at Brainerd International Raceway last weekend for it’s fourth Superbike racing weekend of the season, and one that turned out to feature some of the best racing and biggest surprises of the season.

Jake Schmotter negotiates Turn 2 in tricky conditions. Photo courtesy of Becca Erickson

Jake Schmotter negotiates Turn 2 in tricky conditions. Photo courtesy of Becca Erickson

Jake Schmotter had a dream weekend in the Unlimited Expert class, celebrating his one-year wedding anniversary to his wife KT in style by bringing home four wins for her. Generally, roadracers are good at getting on one knee but in Sunday’s Unlimited Supersport race, Schmotter must have been trying to recreate his marriage proposal move in Turn 5, which resulted in him and his beautiful Yamaha R1 going for a roll in the hay. This opened the door for one of the many shocking results of the weekend when Fisk Brother’s Racing/Dryject, Inc. rider Brian Hebeisen pulled off the move of his career on his Yamaha R6 by passing BMW S1000RR-mounted Kyle Ohnsorg going into Turn 6 and carrying the momentum to pass Scott Stall and his Kawasaki ZX-10R around the outside of the same corner. After that move, Hebeisen carried on to win the Unlimited Supersport race in dominating fashion.

The Middleweight & Heavyweight Expert classes showcased some amazing racing and multiple winners. Kris “Skellbow” Skellenger competed in both classes on his John Anderson Racing Yamaha R6. Skellenger brought home wins in Saturday’s Heavyweight Superbike and Middleweight Grand Prix races.

The Middleweight & Heavyweight Expert classes featured some of the closest racing of the season and saw multiple first-time winners as well as a victory by CRA veteran-amongst-veterans, Mark Dargis. Unsurprisingly, Ohnsorg was consistently at the front of the field, bringing home five wins between the two classes but debut wins for Josh Harein and Jake Hennen, plus two wins for Skellenger came as a surprise to some.

In the Middleweight & Heavyweight Novice ranks, Eric Hjelter continued his great run of form and taking home multiple wins with Sam Burke and Dillon Baumeister occasionally taking the spoils from Hjelter. The biggest shock of the Middleweight & Heavyweight Novice races came in Saturday’s Middleweight GP race when Jesse VanderWeide took victory on his Lightweight spec Power Brokers, Inc. Suzuki SV650. With VanderWeide essentially guaranteed of bumping to Expert for 2018, CRA fans are anxiously awaiting the showdown between him, Chris “Chimp” Mattson and Jan Chomp.

Speaking of Lightweights, an unofficial Ironman award was presented to Adam Harrison well after racing had ended for the weekend. Unfortunately, Adam had already left the premises so the award was thrown away, but either way he had to have set some sort of record by entering 24 races over the weekend on one motorcycle – the much-maligned Honda CBR600F2, also known as the Race Couch. Harrison captured multiple wins on the Race Couch and a round of applause from Champ’s mother, Julie, as a sign of respect for his achievement. Speaking of the Champ, a truly unfortunate food allergy knocked the Champ out of commission for Saturday’s races and while he poked his head out of his shell and came back on Sunday, it was more with a whimper instead of a vengeance. That being said, Champ is so dominant in the Lightweight class that even a whimpering Champ can beat the rest of the Lightweight field.

On the Novice side of the Lightweight Grid, Super Rookie Brian Rogers notched up three victories over the rest of the field in another great showing. Rogers even had the audacity to finish a close second to winner Eric Hjelter in the Middleweight Supersport Novice race on his Suzuki SV650. One can only wonder if Rogers will bump to Expert a year early. There is some great talent spread between the Lightweight Expert and Novice classes currently and once a few more riders have attained Expert status we could see a resurgence in the Lightweight class competition, possibly even back to the heyday when four-wide racing was the norm between Champ, Cole Naymark, Jake Northrup and Alex Zelenski.

Ultralight Expert was essentially the Jack Barton Show, with the Krämer HKR-Evo2 rider taking victory in every race but one. Barton even captured a coveted Brad Kreller Victory Tour (as did Eric Hjelter) when he won a race in which he was the only starter, therefore finishing both first and last.

Featherweight Expert was essentially dominated by Ohnsorg who made a guest appearance on Ewa Kalinsky’s Cheap Thrills Moto Yamaha R3 with the reigning CRA champion taking every victory but one over Hebeisen and the rest of the field. In the Novice class, a few new faces adorned the top step of the podium with Justin Miest winning multiple races compared to one each for Tom Conroy and Lawrence Lin.

The CRA’s season finale takes place Sept. 22-24 on BIR’s 3.1-mile Donnybrooke Road Course and will feature sprint races on Saturday and the historic 5-Hour Endurance Race on Sunday. The International Watercross Association will be on Lake BIR that same weekend for two days of snowmobiles racing on open water. It’s Wet & Wild Weekend 2.0.

 

Labor Day weekend is reserved for American Muscle

Brainerd International Raceway is the place to be Labor Day weekend for those who love muscle cars.

More than 400 muscle cars are expected for the 29th Annual GSTA Muscle Car Shootout. For three days, they’ll be drag racing and road racing, with another two dozen or more sitting on display during Saturday’s Classic Car Show. Bring your camera.

Schmidt_WThe Muscle Car Shootout is a long-standing tradition at BIR, and a great way to close out the summer. In addition to racing, the event includes live music by Them Pesky Kids on Saturday and a unique fireworks display, where the Northern Lighters Pyrotechnics club will shoot off their homemade fireworks. Fan will have a rare chance to see some non-traditional and creative fireworks.

The main attraction, though, is on the drag strip, where the three-race Muscle Car Series will wrap up. Series championships are on the line in 13 classes, so drivers will be leaving everything on the blacktop as they slug it out for points.

The seven Heads-Up Classes will attract the most attention because the rules are simple: both cars leave at the same time, and the one that reaches the finish line first wins. The Outlaw Pro Mod class, with the fastest cars, will feature a showdown between defending champion Ray Fuchs and 2014 and 2015 champ Rick Schmidt. Each has won an event this year, setting up a winner-takes-all situation on Sunday.

C73U7028-X3The other story line coming out of the Outlaw Pro Mod class is Schmidt’s quest to break the 5-second mark. During the Street Car Showdown on Memorial Day weekend, Schmidt qualified with a ridiculous speed of 239.40 mph – a track record for that class. During the PleasureLand RV Show & Go, he qualified first with a time of 6.129 seconds and then ran 6.124 seconds in the first elimination round for another track record. He inches ever so close to 5 seconds.

The Outlaw class is providing some crazy entertainment as well. Jake Delmonico and Bubba Romanyshyn have each won a race and are sitting in the top two spots in the point standings. Both drivers have their cars flying down the track at more than 200 mph, setting up an incredible finale for drivers and fans alike. The other Heads-Up Classes – King Street, Real Street (Unlimited and Natural), True Street and 660 Outlaw Street – all have serious battles taking place in the point standings as well, setting the stage for some intense racing Labor Day weekend.

Qualifying and time trials are Friday and Saturday. Elimination rounds start at 9 a.m. Sunday.

Over on the 2.5-mile Competition Road Course, the Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) returns with the Jack Pine Sprints, two days of exciting wheel-to-wheel road racing. The track will be busy with a number of different classes, including Vintage Racers, which are always fan favorites. The SCCA will have practice, qualifying and racing sessions both Saturday and Sunday.

Daily admission is $25, and kids 12 and under are free. Parking is also free. Camping is free, too, with a multi-day ticket. Gates open daily at 7 a.m.

Pritchett, DeJoria, Gray, Savoie are NHRA Nationals champs

Leah Pritchett piloted her dragster to her fourth Top Fuel victory of the season Sunday at the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals . Alexis DeJoria (Funny Car), Tanner Gray (Pro Stock) and Jerry Savoie (Pro Stock Motorcycle) were also victors.

Pritchett, who raced the quickest pass in NHRA history during Friday’s qualifying session, ran a 3.682-second pass at 328.06 mph in her Papa John’s Pizza dragster to defeat Don Schumacher Racing teammate and reigning world champion Antron Brown’s 4.001 seconds at 246.35 mph in his Matco Tools dragster in his fifth consecutive finals appearance.

Winners_W“Don Schumacher has given me the best team, in my opinion,” Pritchett said. “We keep continuing to prove that. I really like that these numbers and their work ethic and the consistency really backs it up when I say we have the best team because we have the best hot rod. We’re going to enjoy this win.”

Pritchett defeated Rob Passey, Scott Palmer and Clay Millican before facing off against Brown, who defeated Shawn Langdon, Brittany Force and Steve Torrence en route to his 10th final-round appearance of the season. With his win over Torrence in the semifinals, Brown now leads the Top Fuel points standings.

In Funny Car, DeJoria raced to her first win of the season, fifth of her career and the 250th women’s victory in NHRA history when she defeated Tommy Johnson Jr. in the finals. Her 3.906-second pass at 330.96 mph in her Tequila Patron Toyota Camry bettered Johnson Jr.’s 3.933 seconds at 324.44 mph in his Make-A-Wish Dodge Charger R/T.

Leah Pritchett, Top Fuel

Leah Pritchett, Top Fuel

“The last two years have been really difficult,” DeJoria said. “Lots of ups and downs, injuries, no wins. We just couldn’t get up to speed with everybody else. We were fighting so hard out there and you start to lose yourself in it. You start to forget the love that you had in the beginning. It’s times like those that make this so much better. You really appreciate every moment. This is a huge win for us.”

DeJoria raced against Tim Wilkerson, Cruz Pedregon and 16-time world champ John Force before making it to her first finals appearance of the season. Johnson Jr. defeated rookie Jonnie Lindberg, Courtney Force and world-record holder Robert Hight before falling to Dejoria in the finals. It was his fifth finals appearance of the season.

Pro Stock rookie Gray powered to the fourth victory of his career by defeating points leader Bo Butner with a 6.610-second run at 208.04 mph in his Gray Motorsports/Valvoline Chevrolet Camaro. Butner, who has secured the No. 1 seed heading into the Countdown to the Championship, NHRA’s six-race playoffs, raced 6.629 seconds at 207.85 mph in his Jim Butner’s Auto Chevy Camaro.

“I’m not sure what my team has done but they’ve got a handle on this car the last few races,” Gray said. “They got something going right for them over there. They’re making my job a whole lot easier and I’m just blessed to be able to sit in the driver’s seat.”

Gray defeated two-time world champion Erica Enders and reigning world champion Jason Line before reaching the finals. Butner defeated Doug Rivers, Gray’s father, Shane Gray and KB Racing teammate Greg Anderson to get to his eighth finals appearance of the season.

Alexis DeJoria, Funny Car

Alexis DeJoria, Funny Car

Savoie, the Pro Stock Motorcycle reigning world champion, defeated teammate and points leader LE Tonglet in the finals for his second win of the season and eighth of his career. Savoie’s 6.846-second pass at 194.80 mph on his White Alligator Racing Suzuki bettered Tonglet’s 6.910 seconds at 194.02 mph on his Nitro Fish Racing Suzuki.

“The season has been really good,” Savoie said. “I’ve had some misfortune a couple times and my riding hasn’t been like it should be. LE is solid as a rock so when you beat him it’s pretty rewarding. He’s taught me a lot and I’ve taught him some things and we thrive off each other. We bring out the best in each other and that’s what it takes to win races.”

Savoie faced Mike Berry, Angie Smith and Matt Smith before lining up against Tonglet in his third finals appearance of the season. Tonglet, who has five victories this season, raced past 2016 Rookie of the Year Cory Reed and five-time world champ Andrew Hines before facing his teammate.

RESULTS

Final finish order (1-16) at the 36th annual Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals.

TOP FUEL
1. Leah Pritchett; 2. Antron Brown; 3. Steve Torrence; 4. Clay Millican; 5. Brittany Force; 6. Doug Kalitta; 7. Tony Schumacher; 8. Scott Palmer; 9. Shawn Langdon; 10. Chris Karamesines; 11. Terry Haddock; 12. Terry McMillen; 13. Rob Passey; 14. Steven Chrisman; 15. Luigi Novelli; 16. Troy Coughlin Jr..

FUNNY CAR
1. Alexis DeJoria; 2. Tommy Johnson Jr.; 3. John Force; 4. Robert Hight; 5. Ron Capps; 6. Cruz Pedregon; 7. Courtney Force; 8. Jack Beckman; 9. J.R. Todd; 10. Brian Stewart; 11. Dale Creasy Jr.; 12. Tim Wilkerson; 13. Del Worsham; 14. Jonnie Lindberg; 15. Matt Hagan; 16. Jim Campbell.

PRO STOCK
1. Tanner Gray; 2. Bo Butner; 3. Greg Anderson; 4. Jason Line; 5. Drew Skillman; 6. Allen Johnson; 7. Erica Enders; 8. Shane Gray; 9. Jeg Coughlin; 10. Deric Kramer; 11. John Gaydosh Jr; 12. Alan Prusiensky; 13. Vincent Nobile; 14. Dave River; 15. Mark Hogan.

PRO STOCK MOTORCYCLE
1. Jerry Savoie; 2. LE Tonglet; 3. Andrew Hines; 4. Matt Smith; 5. Eddie Krawiec; 6. Hector Arana Jr; 7. Cory Reed; 8. Angie Smith; 9. Joey Gladstone; 10. Karen Stoffer; 11. Scotty Pollacheck; 12. Mike Berry; 13. Jim Underdahl; 14. Freddie Camarena; 15. Angelle Sampey; 16. Steve Johnson.

Sunday’s final results from the 36th annual Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals

Top Fuel — Leah Pritchett, 3.682 seconds, 328.06 mph def. Antron Brown, 4.001 seconds, 246.35 mph.

Funny Car — Alexis DeJoria, Toyota Camry, 3.906, 330.96 def. Tommy Johnson Jr., Dodge Charger, 3.933, 324.44.

Pro Stock — Tanner Gray, Chevy Camaro, 6.610, 208.04 def. Bo Butner, Camaro, 6.629, 207.85.

Pro Stock Motorcycle — Jerry Savoie, Suzuki, 6.846, 194.80 def. LE Tonglet, Suzuki, 6.910, 194.02.

Top Alcohol Dragster — Justin Ashley, 5.237, 268.60 def. Gord Gingles, 12.344, 54.22.

Top Alcohol Funny Car — Johan Lindberg, Chevy Monte Carlo, 5.489, 268.22 def. Kris Hool, Chevy Camaro, 5.575, 260.11.

Super Stock — Eric Bell, Plymouth Barracuda, 9.301, 127.10 def. Darrell Dietz, Ford Mustang, Foul – Red Light.

Stock Eliminator — Ben Line, Ford Mustang, 10.533, 118.45 def. Bill Feist, Mustang, 10.101, 131.28.

Super Comp — Trevor Larson, Dragster, 8.891, 172.63 def. Jeremy Demers, Dragster, 8.886, 177.23.

Super Gas — Jim Davis, Chevy Camaro, 9.971, 157.83 def. Ken Griffiths, Chevy Corvette, 9.995, 148.58.

Top Dragster presented by RacingRVs.com — Bob Fischer, Dragster, 7.403, 176.33 def. Michael Kritzky, Dragster, 6.411, 212.36.

Top Sportsman presented by RacingRVs.com — Brian Heath, Pontiac GTO, 7.152, 185.41 def. Joseph Mohana, Chevy BelAir, 6.841, 202.58.

Pro Stock Snowmobile — Glenn Hall, Arctic Cat, 8.186, 154.94 def. Scott Hagen, Ski Doo, 8.319, 155.29.

Final round-by-round results from the 36th annual Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals

TOP FUEL
ROUND ONE — Antron Brown, 3.695, 331.77 def. Shawn Langdon, 3.734, 318.62; Clay Millican, 3.655, 330.23 def. Chris Karamesines, 4.261, 221.67; Leah Pritchett, 3.709, 325.30 def. Rob Passey, 4.321, 247.75; Brittany Force, 3.728, 327.03 def. Steven Chrisman, Foul – Red Light; Doug Kalitta, 3.697, 328.54 def. Terry Haddock, 4.267, 226.92; Tony Schumacher, 3.711, 324.67 def. Troy Coughlin Jr., 16.216, 22.28; Steve Torrence, 3.726, 328.62 def. Luigi Novelli, 6.418, 98.82; Scott Palmer, 3.787, 327.90 def. Terry McMillen, 4.302, 194.69;
QUARTERFINALS — Pritchett, 3.715, 330.63 def. Palmer, 3.906, 257.48; Millican, 3.658, 330.47 def. Schumacher, 3.718, 327.66; Brown, 3.681, 332.43 def. Force, 3.675, 332.75; Torrence, 3.723, 328.30 def. Kalitta, 3.709, 332.10;
SEMIFINALS — Brown, 3.706, 331.61 def. Torrence, 3.726, 323.19; Pritchett, 3.666, 330.88 def. Millican, 3.792, 263.00;
FINAL — Pritchett, 3.682, 328.06 def. Brown, 4.001, 246.35.

FUNNY CAR
ROUND ONE — Courtney Force, Chevy Camaro, 3.862, 334.90 def. Del Worsham, Toyota Camry, 4.808, 195.11; Robert Hight, Camaro, 3.850, 331.45 def. Dale Creasy Jr., Dodge Charger, 4.168, 258.32; Cruz Pedregon, Camry, 5.714, 128.92 def. Matt Hagan, Charger, Broke; John Force, Camaro, 3.901, 333.25 def. Jim Campbell, Charger, Broke; Tommy Johnson Jr., Charger, 3.922, 328.86 def. Jonnie Lindberg, Camry, 7.147, 106.26; Jack Beckman, Charger, 4.290, 207.56 def. Brian Stewart, Ford Mustang, Foul – Red Light; Alexis DeJoria, Camry, 4.416, 210.05 def. Tim Wilkerson, Mustang, 4.650, 271.13; Ron Capps, Charger, 3.894, 330.96 def. J.R. Todd, Camry, 3.973, 323.35;
QUARTERFINALS — Johnson Jr., 3.932, 326.48 def. C. Force, 8.099, 84.74; Hight, 3.828, 336.23 def. Capps, 3.938, 304.80; J. Force, 3.896, 335.48 def. Beckman, 9.505, 72.67; DeJoria, 3.883, 330.96 def. Pedregon, 4.505, 192.47;
SEMIFINALS — DeJoria, 3.892, 329.02 def. J. Force, 3.909, 331.94; Johnson Jr., 6.875, 128.60 def. Hight, 9.806, 78.40;
FINAL — DeJoria, 3.906, 330.96 def. Johnson Jr., 3.933, 324.44.

PRO STOCK
ROUND ONE — Erica Enders, Chevy Camaro, 6.659, 207.78 def. Jeg Coughlin, Camaro, 6.657, 207.66; Shane Gray, Camaro, 6.634, 207.05 def. Vincent Nobile, Camaro, 6.965, 165.42; Greg Anderson, Camaro, 6.588, 209.20 def. Deric Kramer, Dodge Dart, 6.691, 206.48; Drew Skillman, Camaro, 6.614, 208.23 def. Alan Prusiensky, Dart, 6.855, 198.79; Allen Johnson, Dart, 6.641, 207.11 def. Mark Hogan, Pontiac GXP, Broke; Tanner Gray, Camaro, 6.601, 207.69 was unopposed; Bo Butner, Camaro, 6.623, 207.43 def. Dave River, Chevy Cobalt, 6.976, 196.90; Jason Line, Camaro, 6.621, 207.75 def. John Gaydosh Jr, Chevrolet Camaro, 6.704, 205.51;
QUARTERFINALS — Butner, 6.619, 207.50 def. S. Gray, 6.665, 207.11; Line, 6.624, 207.27 def. Skillman, 6.628, 208.20; T. Gray, 6.620, 207.46 def. Enders, 6.648, 207.66; Anderson, 6.594, 208.30 def. Johnson, 6.628, 207.21;
SEMIFINALS — T. Gray, 6.620, 207.56 def. Line, 7.140, 159.89; Butner, 6.642, 207.37 def. Anderson, Foul – Red Light;
FINAL — T. Gray, 6.610, 208.04 def. Butner, 6.629, 207.85.

PRO STOCK MOTORCYCLE
ROUND ONE — Jerry Savoie, Suzuki, 6.881, 192.85 def. Mike Berry, Buell, 7.026, 190.48; Andrew Hines, Harley-Davidson, 6.929, 195.90 def. Angelle Sampey, 8.326, 107.91; LE Tonglet, Suzuki, 6.864, 194.66 def. Steve Johnson, Suzuki, Foul – Red Light; Angie Smith, Buell, 6.935, 193.29 def. Karen Stoffer, Suzuki, 6.942, 192.58; Eddie Krawiec, Harley-Davidson, 6.883, 194.91 def. Joey Gladstone, Suzuki, 6.939, 193.60; Cory Reed, 6.944, 190.03 def. Scotty Pollacheck, Suzuki, 6.960, 191.54; Matt Smith, 6.859, 194.55 def. Freddie Camarena, Suzuki, 7.104, 189.98; Hector Arana Jr, Buell, 6.893, 194.49 def. Jim Underdahl, Suzuki, 7.079, 190.46;
QUARTERFINALS — Savoie, 6.845, 192.77 def. A. Smith, 7.001, 190.62; Hines, 6.918, 195.31 def. Arana Jr, 6.919, 194.24; Tonglet, 6.850, 194.77 def. Reed, 6.961, 190.00; M. Smith, 6.884, 194.21 def. Krawiec, 6.894, 194.18;
SEMIFINALS — Savoie, 6.869, 194.66 def. M. Smith, 9.011, 97.00; Tonglet, 6.869, 194.63 def. Hines, 6.952, 195.79;
FINAL — Savoie, 6.846, 194.80 def. Tonglet, 6.910, 194.02.

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