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Saturday: Autograph sessions & Nitro School

Fans at BIR Saturday for the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals have a couple chances to meet some of the stars of the NHRA and pick up some autographs. They can also learn a thing or two about nitro cars work during Nitro School with announcer Alan Reinhart and Top Fuel pilot Richie Crampton.

There are two autograph sessions planned for Saturday. From 10:30-11:30 a.m., the Pro Stock Motorcycle teams will have their bikes on display outside their pit area, and the riders will be there to sign autographs, pose for photos and meet their fans. The session is free.

The Mello Yello Autograph Session starts at 11:30 a.m. at the Mello Yello display in Nitro Alley. The drag racers who will be on hand to sign autographs are Top Fuel driver JR Todd, Funny Car driver Del Worsham, Pro Stock racer Alex Laughlin and Pro Stock Motorcycle racer Melissa Surber.

JR Todd

JR Todd

Del Worsham

Del Worsham

Alex Laughlin

Alex Laughlin

Melissa Surber

Melissa Surber

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you’re interested in learning more about nitro cars work, stop by the pit area and listen to announcer Alan Reinhart and Top Fuel driver Richie Crampton as they explain how the cars work and what drivers need to do behind the wheel to get their dragsters down the track at 330 mph. It’s super interesting and entertaining. Take the time to check it out.

Richie Crampton, left, and Alan Reinhart explain show a fuel line for a Top Fuel dragster last year.

Richie Crampton, left, and Alan Reinhart show a fuel line for a nitro car during last year’s Nitro School.

 

 

Be the first on your block to get a 2016 Zoo T-shirt

If you’re at BIR this weekend for the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals, stop by the BIR Shirt Shack in the brick condos and pick up a 2016 Zoo T-shirt. Or do all your holiday shopping and buy one for the race fans in your family.

 

Zoo_Shirt

TV coverage of NHRA Nationals is on FOX Sports

This year’s TV coverage of the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals at Brainerd International Raceway will be on FOX Sports 1 and 2 this year and includes three hours of live coverage of Sunday’s elimination rounds.

FOX’s TV schedule also includes 30 minutes of live coverage on Saturday, when the rained-out Top Fuel and Funny Car finals from the Aug. 7 race in Seattle is scheduled to take place.

Below is the TV schedule for the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals:

Saturday, Aug. 20
2-2:30 pm – Live on FS1 – Postponed Top Fuel & Funny Car finals
9-11 pm – Qualifying on FS1 – Replay

Sunday, Aug. 21
2-4 am – Qualifying on FS2 – Replay from Saturday
5-7 pm – Qualifying on FS1 – Replay from Saturday
1-4 pm – Finals – Live on FS1
6-9 pm – Finals on FS2 – Replay

Tuesday, Aug. 23
7:30-10:30 am – Finals on FS1 – Replay

Thursday, Aug. 25
10 pm-1 am – Finals on FS2 – Replay

Sunday, Aug. 28
8-11 pm – Finals on FS2 – Replay

Wednesday, Aug. 31
5:30-8:30 pm – Finals on FS2 – Replay

Thursday, Sept. 1
8:30-11:30 pm – Finals on FS2 – Replay

 

 

Seattle’s finals set for Saturday at BIR

The Top Fuel and Funny Car finals from the rained-out Aug. 7 race at Pacific Raceway in Seattle will be settled on Saturday during the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals at BIR.

The Top Fuel finals is between Antron Brown and Steve Torrence, while the Funny Car finals features Del Worsham and Ron Capps. The two finals are scheduled to start at 2 p.m. Saturday during the afternoon qualifying session, and will be televised live on Fox Sports (FS1).

For more details on this weekend’s Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals at BIR, click here.

 

Jet dragsters to torch BIR’s track during Nationals

Shortly after the final qualifying sessions are complete Friday and Saturday, fans will be treated to something they don’t typically have a chance to see – a pair of jet dragsters flying down the drag strip.

Tony Franco is bringing a pair of 12,000-horsepower “blowtorch on wheels” to BIR this weekend to add more incredible speed to a racing program that’s already expected to break national records again, like last year.

In addition to looking cool as the jet engines lay down a huge trail of fire, the dragster are super fast: about 316 mph in the quarter mile in less than 5 seconds. Not bad.

The experience for the drivers is said to like being shot out of a cannon, or being on the wrong end of a stick of dynamite.

The dragsters take the track about 7:20 p.m. on Friday and 5:20 p.m. on Saturday.

Jet Dragsters_W

Timing is crucial for NHRA drag racers this weekend

Timing is crucial in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series. In the fastest motorsport on the planet, in which 10,000-horsepower, nitro-burning dragsters reach 330 mph in less than four seconds, races are won and lost by hundredths of a second. Doing everything at the exact right time can lead to a championship, and drivers and teams heading to the 35th Annual Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals at Brainerd International Raceway are well aware of that.

The best in Top Fuel, Funny Car, Pro Stock and Pro Stock Motorcycle will fight tooth-and-nail to hoist a Wally trophy in the Winner’s Circle come Sunday, but they will also be fighting time. The Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals is the 17th of 24 events in the 2016 season and, more importantly, the penultimate race of the regular season. Drivers will be competing for much more than a win at BIR, they’ll be racing for a coveted spot in the NHRA’s six-race playoff – the Mello Yello Countdown to the Championship.

Drivers who finish in the top 10 in points of their respective categories will clinch a spot in the Countdown. At the end of the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals one year ago, four spots in Top Fuel, six spots in Funny Car, eight spots in Pro Stock and three spots in Pro Stock Motorcycle were already accounted for. Urgency was the underlying theme then, and teams and fans alike won’t expect anything different this time around.

BIR has been host to some of the world’s best drag racers for 34 years and will continue that trend this month. Last year, Richie Crampton (Top Fuel), Robert Hight (Funny Car), Erica Enders (Pro Stock) and Eddie Krawiec (Pro Stock Motorcycle) earned the stage in the Winner’s Circle.

Crampton’s win at BIR was his fourth victory of the year. The South Australia native sprinted past Brittany Force in the final round and clinched his spot in the Countdown to the Championship in the process. Crampton, competing in only his second year as a driver, went on to win again in Dallas later in the season and finished third in points. This year, Crampton is hoping to win again in Brainerd to jumpstart a season in which he has only appeared in two semifinal rounds. He is currently eighth in points.

Force, on the other hand, is having the best season of her career. After finishing seventh in points in 2015, the driver of the Monster Energy dragster opened the gates of the 2016 season with fire in her eyes, speeding to her first career win in Gainesville, Fla., and added a second trophy at the Four-Wide Nationals in Charlotte, N.C. Force was the Top Fuel points leader from Gainesville to Houston and is currently fourth. She’ll look to continue her championship quest in Brainerd.

In Funny Car, Hight defeated Tommy Johnson Jr. here one year ago to notch his first victory of the 2015 season. Hight, driver of the Auto Club Chevy Camaro SS, moved himself off the playoff bubble with the win, jumping from tied-for-ninth to eighth in points.

Ron Capps, teammate to Johnson Jr., will enter Brainerd with a target on his back. Capps has four wins and two runner-up finishes in 2016 and holds the Funny Car points lead. Chasing his sixth Brainerd victory, Capps will have to deal with a loaded Funny Car class that includes 11-time Brainerd winner John Force, national record holder Jack Beckman, who is second in points, Houston winner Courtney Force, reigning world champ Del Worsham and two-time 2016 winner Tim Wilkerson.

Pro Stock’s Erica Enders raced to her fifth victory of the 2015 season last year in Brainerd by outrunning Minnesota’s own Jason Line in the final round. Enders dominated the Pro Stock ranks last year, racing to eleven final rounds and claiming nine victories to earn her second consecutive world championship.

The story has been different this year. Line and his Summit Racing Equipment Chevy Camaro teammate Greg Anderson (another Minnesotan) have controlled the season thus far, combining to win the first 13 Pro Stock races. Both drivers have already secured their respective spots in the Countdown to the Championship. Anderson, who has six wins this year, has seen plenty of success in Brainerd, too. He is a three-time winner and will have a good shot at returning to the winner’s circle at BIR for the first time since 2011.

In Pro Stock Motorcycle, Krawiec powered to his third consecutive victory of the 2015 season last year at BIR. Krawiec defeated his Screamin’ Eagle Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson teammate, Andrew Hines, in the final round and went on to win one more race last year at the Auto Club Finals in Southern California. Krawiec is a two-time Brainerd winner and will have a good shot at his third this year, having won three races already this year. The points leader is pursuing his fourth world championship title.

 

 

 

BIR racers steal the thunder at NHRA Divisional Race

Thunder at the Lakes winners, back row from left, Jim Greenheck, Phil Unruh, Gary Loeffelholz, Brett Speer, Glen DeMenge. Front row, Trevor Larson, Randy Nygaard, Joel Sandstrom, Beau Drexler

Thunder at the Lakes winners, back row from left, Jim Greenheck, Phil Unruh, Gary Loeffelholz, Brett Speer, Glen DeMenge. Front row, Trevor Larson, Randy Nygaard, Joel Sandstrom, Beau Drexler

Drag racers from throughout the country were at Brainerd International Raceway last weekend, competing for NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series West Central Division points, but it was five local drivers who stole the show.

Brett Speer, Gary Loeffelholz, Glen DeMenge, Joel Sandstrom and Trevor Larson, all of whom regularly race at BIR, stole the show by winning five of the nine classes Sunday during the elimination rounds of the Thunder at the Lakes NHRA Divisional Race.

Speer won the Super Stock class after beating Byron Worner  by about 11 inches at the finish line. Speer clock in at 10.152 seconds, 125.56 mph to Worner’s quicker 9.940, 129.80.

DeMenge beat out Candace Jurgens in the finals of the Stock Eliminator class. Jurgens fouled at the starting line, handing DeMenge the win. Larson won a close race over John Lobner in Super Comp.  Larson ran 8.925 seconds at 168.91 mph while Lobnor ran  8.907 seconds at 167.01 mph.

Cam Grundman beat Sandstrom off the starting line but still lost to Sandstrom’s 10.915 seconds at 136.75 mph. Loeffelholz won on a holeshot in the Jerry Haas Racecars Top Sportsman class. He beat Paul Pittman with a time of  7.480 seconds at 182.45 mph to Pittman’s 6.573, 213.64.

Jim Greenheck took the win in Comp Eliminator by beating former national champion Bruno Massel. Greenheck motored down the quarter mile, clocking in at 7.318 seconds, 184.80 mph for the win in his ’12 Camaro. Massel was off the pace with car problems.

The Madcap/Fineline Top Dragster trophy went to Phil Unruh, who covered the quarter mile in 6.426 seconds and 205.19 mph, just six inches ahead of Shawn Anderson, who posted a time of 7.264 seconds at 180.16 mph.

Rounding out the winners were Randy Nygaard defeating Dale Evens in Super Gas.  Nygaard recorded a 9.921-second lap at 137.85 mph to Evens’ 9.919, 156.12.  The Sportsman Motorcycle presented by Harley-Davidson title went to Beau Drexler.  Drexler and Kyle Lundberg left the line together but Drexler was better at the strip to take the win in 8.303 seconds at 155.45 mph.

The NHRA Summit Jr. Drag Racing League was also in action this weekend as Meagen Neil beat Erik Crooks in the Advanced class; Joseph Lindberg downed Jordin Jurgens in Intermediate; Cam Giese won over Brody Thompson in Novice; and Ryler Mohr took the Youth class over Addyson Scheleck.

In the Karl Performance Super Shootouts presented by Karl Chevrolet, Tony Leonard won in Super Comp, Tom Carlson took Super Gas and Sandy Cawsey scored in Super Street.

West Central division racers are back at BIR this weekend when they will be joined by the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series for the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals, Aug. 18-21.

The following are Sunday’s final results from the NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series, West Central division Thunder at the Lakes:

COMP ELIMINATOR
Jim Greenheck of Schofield, Wis., 7.318, 184.80  def. Bruno Massel of Elmhurst, Ill.,  7.788, 148.31

SUPER STOCK
Brett Speer of Little Falls, 10.152, 125.56  def. Byron Worner of Duncannon, Pa., 9.940, 129.80

STOCK ELIMINATOR
Glen DeMenge, of McGregor, 10.017, 131.32  def. Candace Jurgens of Watertown, S.D., foul

SUPER COMP
Trevor Larson of Starbuck, 8.925, 168.91  def. John Lobner of  DeSoto, Kan., 8.907, 167.01

SUPER GAS
Randy Nygaard of Watertown, S.D., 9.921, 137.85  def. Dale Evens of St. Cloud

SUPER STREET
Joel Sandstrom of Penqilly, 10.915, 136.75  def. Cam Grundman, St Cloud, 10.883, 138.31

TOP SPORTSMAN
Gary Loeffelholz of Shafer, 7.480, 182.45  def. Paul Pittman, Bloomington, 6.573, 213.64

TOP DRAGSTER
Phil Unruh of McPherson, Kan., 6.426, 205.19  def. Shawn Anderson, Eau Claire, Wis.,  7.264, 180.16

SPORTSMAN MOTORCYCLE PRESENTED BY HARLEY-DAVIDSON
Beau Drexler of Lakewood, Colo., 8.303, 155.45  def. Kyle Lundberg, Isanti, 8.562, 154.40

JUNIOR DRAGSTER ADVANCED
Meagen Neil of West Fargo, N.D., 7.996, 83.17  def. Erik Crooks of Brandon, 8.015, 78.94

JUNIOR DRAGSTER INTERMEDIATE
Joseph Lindberg of Lindstrom, 9.061, 74.29  def. Jordin Jurgens of Watertown, S.D.,9.023, 72.58

JUNIOR DRAGSTER NOVICE
Cam Giese, Kandiyohi, 11.796, 55.49  def. Brody Thompson of Nowthen foul

JUNIOR DRAGSTER YOUTH
Ryler Mohr of Mitchell, S.D., 14.669, 45.89  def. Addyson Scheleck of St Cloud, foul

KARL PERFORMANCE SUPER COMP SHOOTOUT PRESENTED BY KARL CHEVROLET
Tony Leonard of Hastings, 8.903, 152.19  def. Tom Nygaard, of Watertown, S.D., 8.876, 156.21

KARL PERFORMANCE SUPER GAS SHOOTOUT PRESENTED BY KARL CHEVROLET
Tom Carlson of Two Harbors, 9.886, 154.95  def. Trevor Larson of Starbuck, 9.876, 159.97

KARL PERFORMANCE SUPER STREET SHOOTOUT PRESENTED BY KARL CHEVROLET
Sandy Cawsey of Regina, Sask., 10.902, 130.03  def. Dan Smith of Buffalo, 10.884, 144.58

Thunder at the Lakes signals start of NHRA MegaWeek

Thunder at the Lakes rolls into Brainerd International Raceway this weekend, but the NHRA divisional drag race has an all-new significance this year.

In addition to offering fans some of the best Sportsman drag racing in the country, Thunder at the Lakes signals the kick-off to BIR’s new MegaWeek, which is 12 days of drag racing that starts with Thunder at the Lakes and ends with the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals. With the MegaWeek ticket, fans can enter BIR Thursday evening and stay until Aug. 22, watching seven days of drag racing in the process.

Traditionally scheduled in early June, Thunder at the Lakes showcases the NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series, which features many of the Sportsman drag racers that fans watch during the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals, set for Aug. 18-21. Most of the drag racers compete in both events as they chase series points in nine different classes that can lead to divisional and national championships as well as a shot at part of the $519,000 year-end purse.

“We’ve had an excellent response from our fans who love this new format,” BIR Owner Jed Copham said. “There’s a large number of fans who start camping at BIR the Monday before Nationals anyway, so they’re planning to show up four days earlier to watch another weekend of awesome drag racing before the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals rolls into town.”

Thunder at the Lakes starts Friday with a Test & Tune day. Time trials and qualifying starts Saturday at 9 a.m., with the Top Sportsman, Top Dragster and Comp Eliminator classes qualifying at 11 a.m., 2 and 5 p.m. Elimination rounds are Sunday starting at 9 a.m. Gates open at 7 a.m. daily.

The drag racing categories this weekend are Comp Eliminator, Super Stock, Stock Eliminator, Super Comp, Super Gas and Super Street. The Jerry Haas Race Cars Top Sportsman, Fineline Graphics & Madcap Racing Top Dragster and NHRA Sportsman Motorcycle Series presented by Harley-Davidson are also in competition.

Daily admission for  Thunder at the Lakes is $25. Kids 12 and under are admitted free with a paid adult. Parking is free.

 

Watch TV coverage of Trans Am Series at BIR

Race fans got a double dose of the Trans Am Series earlier this summer when it was the featured event of the 30th Annual PleasureLand RV Show & Go. The two races were televised by CBS Sports Network and broadcast July 23 and 31. If you missed it then, here a chance to watch the two races at your leisure. Click on the links below to watch the entire broadcast.

Click here to watch TV coverage of the TA, TA3 and TA4 race.

Click here to watch TV coverage of the TA2 race.

 

Brad Haugaard is BIR’s King of the Track!

Brad Haugaard has had better weekends of drag racing at Brainerd International Raceway.

He entered last weekend in first place in the Stock/Super Stock point standings with a chance to lock up a championship in the Bracket Drag Racing Series. But Saturday and Sunday both started the same way, with a first-round loss, which basically guaranteed that he’d lose the championship.

King of the Track Brad Haugaard

King of the Track Brad Haugaard

The weekend was far from being a total bust for Haugaard, though. Saturday evening was BIR’s annual King of the Track race, where Haugaard and 13 other racers squared off to see who was the best of the best. The race is a showdown among the top two drivers in seven of the series’ 11 classes. They get paired up in an elimination format, with the last driver standing earning the title of King of the Track.

Haugaard won his way to the finals, beating 2014 King of the Track Ben Line in the first round, followed by a bye round and an easy win in the semifinals when Mike Simons fouled at the starting line.

Haugaard and his 2005 Dodge Stratus lined up against Brad Harder and his 1998 Kawasaki in the finals. Haugaard admits that Harder may have been a little distracted, having broke his chain in the semifinals against Wally Higby. He replaced the chain after a short delay but couldn’t beat Haugaard, who was 1/1,000ths of a second away from a perfect reaction time on the starting line, followed by a near flawless race by posting a time of 10.199 seconds and 124.36 mph.

“It was a cool deal,” Haugaard said of his win. “I guess everyone is out to get me now.”

His King of the Track win will be special, he said, especially if he could’ve polished off the season with a series championship. “It happens,” he said of the two first-round losses. “It would’ve been a nice way to cap off the season, but what are you going to do?”

Line went on to win the Stock/Super Stock class on Sunday to lock up the series championship. Last weekend was the final race of the season for Stock/Super Stock. The remaining classes will close out the season Oct. 1-2. The top of the point standings are getting clogged up with racers, setting the stage for a battle royal during the final weekend.

While more than 250 racers were tearing up the drag strip, 18 teams were on BIR’s 2.5-mile Competition Road Course competing in a pair of seven-hour endurance races during the ChumpCar World Series’ Brainerd Grand Prix. On Saturday, PBR Light won with 208 laps, a best time of 1:51.488 and a top speed of 80.726 mph. On Sunday, Panzyschrek! took home first place (no details were available).

Below are the finals of each day of racing.

SATURDAY, JULY 30

King of the Track
Finals: Brad Haugaard of Ham Lake def. Brad Harder of Waconia

Super Pro
Finals: Tanner Schiffer of West Fargo, N.D. def. Mike Anderson of St. Joseph

Pro ET
Finals: Brenden Bungert of Lakeville def. Pat Haubrich of New Ulm

Super Pro/Pro ET Shootout
Brenden Bungert of Lakeville def. Tanner Schiffer of West Fargo, N.D.

Sportsman
Finals: Neil Webster of Little Canada def. Brandon Schmall of Lino Lakes

Stock/Super Stock
Finals Corey Hopkins of North Branch def. Terry Johnson of Maple Grove

Pro Bike/Sled
Finals: Donnie Durenberger of Minneapolis def. Kyle Lundberg of Isanti

Comp Trophy
Finals: Chris Henry of Sauk Rapids def. Mike Larson of Brainerd

Street Trophy
Finals: Joe Moriarty Jr. of Ham Lake def. Daniel Wiebusch of Ham Lake

Quick 16
Finals: Gary Loeffelholz of Shafer def. Robert Fisher of Gibbon

Junior Dragster Advanced
Finals: Carter Lindquist of Minnetonka def. Sdney Thompson of Nowthen

Junior Dragster Intermediate
Finals: Dylan Dancer of Foley def. Riley Luberda of Foley

Junior Dragster Novice
Finals: Carter Luberda of Foley def. Brody Thompson of Nowthen

SUNDAY, JULY 31

Super Pro
Finals:Brian Tuma of Pillager def. Gary Koch of Clearwater

Pro ET
Finals: Tevin Zavadil of Clearwater def. Travis Reutzel of Annandale

Super Pro/Pro ET Shootout
Tevin Zavadil of Clearwater def. Brian Tuma of Pillager

Sportsman
Finals: Jerry Heib of Maple Grove def. Mike Pflepsen of Duluth

Stock/Super Stock
Finals: Ben Line of International Falls def. Terry Johnson of Maple Grove

Pro Bike/Sled
Finals: Kyle Lundberg of Isanti def. Nick Fox of Hugo

Comp Trophy
Finals: Todd Thomas of Two Harbors def. Gregory Dancer of Foley

Street Trophy
Finals: Heather Ingman of Andover def. Mike Simons def. Pine City

Junior Dragster Advanced
Finals: Sydney Thompson of Nowthen def. Zachary Zavadil of Clearwater

Junior Dragster Intermediate
Finals: Dylan Dancer of Foley def. Riley Luberda of Foley

Junior Dragster Novice
Finals: Brody Thompson of Nowthen def. Carlee Reber of St. Joseph

 

 

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