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Bracket Drag Racing Series ends on high note

For Scott Dugdale, last weekend was his eighth straight weekend of drag racing, but it appears he saved his best racing for last.

Dugdale was one of about 400 drag racers who competed at Brainerd International Raceway in the final Bracket Drag Racing Series event, which included the annual NHRA annual National Dragster Challenge. On Sunday alone, Dugdale won the Pro ET Class, lost in the semifinals of the Super Pro Class and then beat the Super Pro winner in the Super Pro/Pro ET Shootout. He ended up pocketing $2,000 for the Shootout win and collected a Wally trophy for the Pro ET win, in addition to earning a truckload of points for the series.

Jason Kurkosky won Super Pro

Jason Kurkosky won Super Pro

Scott Dugdale won Pro ET

Scott Dugdale won Pro ET

“It was a good day,” Dugdale said.

The six-weekend Bracket Drag Racing Series wrapped up on Sunday. It was also the annual National Dragster Challenge, which means that the winners of the Super Pro, Pro ET, Sportsman, Pro Bike/Sled, Comp Trophy and Street Trophy classes went home with NHRA Wally trophies like those that the stars of the NHRA win.

Darkness ended racing on Saturday before five of the classes could finish. The large number of cars and long delays from cars that broke on the track slowed the racing program, allowing only the three Junior Dragster classes, Street Trophy and Comp Trophy to complete eliminations.

When racing resumed Sunday, the competition was fierce. Dugdale wondered if his reaction times at the starting line would end his racing day early.

“I was really struggling until Round 3 in Pro ET, and then I was on fire,” he said. “It was like I flipped a switch and suddenly I had great reaction times.”

Steve Elzy won Sportsman

Steve Elzy won Sportsman

Jimmy Paulson won Pro Bike/Sled

Jimmy Paulson won Pro Bike/Sled

Nobody in Pro ET could beat him Sunday. Driving a 1982 Camaro, he outlasted the other 89 drivers in the class before beating Dave Engler in the finals with a run of 10.692 seconds and 121.54 mph.

Dugdale also raced in the Super Pro Class, along with 103 other drivers. On Sunday, he won his way to the semifinals where he lined up against Jason Kurkosky and his 1988 Monte Carlo. Kurkosky beat Dugdale off the starting line and never looked back. He went on to beat Steve Brings in the finals with a time of 9.021 seconds and 141.11 mph.

“I forgot about the Wally race until the finals,” Kurkosky said. “It was really more about the purse for me anyway, but it’s always nice to win.”

Dugdale got his revenge on Kurkosky in the Super Pro/Pro ET Shootout. The winners of those two classes race each other with the winner taking home $2,000 and the loser claiming $1,000. This time, Dugdale had the quicker reaction time and held off Kurkosky at the finish line.

John Takacs won Comp Trophy

John Takacs won Comp Trophy

Michael Anderson won Street Trophy

Michael Anderson won Street Trophy

In Sportsman, Steve Elzy will have to make room in his trophy room for his first Wally trophy. Driving a 1969 Mustang, Elzy beat Layne Robinson in the finals with a time of 12.164 seconds and 105.95 mph to cap off his eighth season of drag racing at BIR.

“It was a great way to finish the season,” he said. “It’s been almost two full years since I won an event, and that was in Pro ET.”

Elzy admits that luck played a big part of his win. “My tree (reaction times) was all over the place but guys seemed to  red-light (foul) when I had bad lights so I really got lucky.”

Elzy also raced in the Pro ET Class and won two rounds before losing to Engler in Round 3.

Congratulations to the 2015 National Dragster Challenge winners!

Congratulations to the 2015 National Dragster Challenge winners!

Jimmy Paulson won his second Wally trophy in a week’s time. He won the Pro Bike/Sled Class Sunday, only one week after winning a Wally trophy at the NHRA ET Finals in Topeka, Kan., where he was racing on BIR’s drag racing team against teams from 15 other tracks. In Sunday’s finals, he beat Gord Gingles, who fouled at the starting line.

The drive home to Thunder Bay, Ontario was much more pleasant for John Takacs after he won a Wally trophy by winning the Comp Trophy class. He beat K.C. Slyford in the finals with a run of 11.565 seconds and 115.80 mph.

In Street Trophy, Michael Anderson drove his 2003 Mercedes to a class won and has a Wally trophy to prove it. He beat Hannah Line in the finals with a time of 15.013 seconds and 93.49 mph.

Below are the results from last weekend’s racing. Click here to view the final point standings.

SUNDAY’S RESULTS

Super Pro
Finals: Jason Kurkosky of Annandale def. Steve Brings of Howard Lake

Pro ET
Finals: Scott Dugdale of Stacy def. Dave Engler of Ramsey

Super Pro/Pro ET Shootout
Scott Dugdale def. Jason Kurkosky

Sportsman
Finals: Steve Elzy of Lindstrom def. Layne Robertson of Litchfield

Stock/Super Stock
Finals: Ben Line of International Falls def. John Overby of Minneapolis

Pro Bike/Sled
Finals: Jimmy Paulson of Stacy def. Gord Gingles of Winnipeg, Manitoba

Comp Trophy
Finals: John Takacs of Thunder Bay, Ontario def. K.C. Slyford of Nester Falls, Ontario

Street Trophy
Finals: Michael Anderson of St. Joseph def. Hannah Line of Cromwell

Quick 16
Finals: Jordan Pratt of Otsego def. Gary Loeffelholz of Shafer

Junior Dragster Advanced
Finals: Maggie Ruzich of Hibbing def. Meagen Neil of West Fargo, N.D.

Junior Dragster Intermediate
Finals: Trevor Jelinski of Little Falls def. Jazper Wiebusch of Ham Lake

Junior Dragster Novice
Finals: Davis Godwin of Pengilly def. Riley Luberda of Foley

Junior Dragster Youth
Finals: Daniel Dancer of Foley def. Brody Thompson of Nowthen
SATURDAY’S RESULTS
Racing ran late and some of the classes didn’t finish. The following are the classes that did finish.

Comp Trophy
Finals: Zach Stengel of Blaine def. Keith Larson of Brainerd

Street Trophy
Finals: Mike Simons of Pine City def. Darla Pesola of Nashwauk

Junior Dragster Advanced
Finals: McKenna Bungert of Lakeville def. Garrett Lindquist of Minnetonka

Junior Dragster Intermediate
Finals: Jazper Wiebusch of Ham Lake def. Samanta Cielinski of Gilman

Junior Dragster Novice
Finals: Dylan Dancer of Foley def. Adam Kritzky of St. Paul Park

Junior Dragster Youth
Finals: Brody Thompson of Nowthen def. Daniela Krech of Inver Grove Heights

 

 

BIR crowns 2015 Muscle Car Series champs

Warren Peterson says that after drag racing in Brainerd International Raceway’s Muscle Car Series for six years, he rarely expects to win. It seems that the seventh year was the charm for Peterson, who won enough races to finish at the top of the point standings in the Outlaw Class to claim a series championship.

“I’ve never won it before because we can barely get down the track,” he joked. “It’s fun to win, though, especially when you don’t expect to.”

Rick Schmidt won Pro Outlaw

Rick Schmidt won Pro Outlaw

Warren Peterson won Outlaw

Warren Peterson won Outlaw

The three-race Muscle Car Series concluded Labor Day weekend. BIR tallied all the racers’ points and today announced the winners in the seven heads-up classes as well as 15 other racing classes. There were two repeat winners this year.

Peterson had a series-long slug fest with defending champion Jake Delmonico, who was gunning for a three-peat in Outlaw. He lost only once in the six races during 2013-2014 but lost to Peterson in the finals of the Street Car Showdown on Memorial Day weekend and in the second round of the PleasureLand RV Show & Go on the Fourth of July weekend before beating Peterson in the finals of the GSTA Muscle Car Shootout on Labor Day weekend when Peterson fouled at the starting line.

Peterson’s super-charged 1933 Plymouth ran about 7.8 seconds and 170 mph last season, which wasn’t nearly as fast as some cars in the class. He admits that he benefited from a lot of other drivers’ misfortune along the way and will show up again next year with a new car – a 1933 Ford sedan.

Jason Geiger won King Street

Jason Geiger won King Street

Duane Godbout won Real Street Unlimited

Duane Godbout won Real Street Unlimited

One of the two repeat champions this year was Rick Schmidt in the Pro Outlaw class, the fastest class in the series. It was only his second year racing in the series but he and his 2004 Mustang now have two championships.

Schmidt typically had the fastest car on the track, flying down the drag strip in 6.3 seconds at 220 mph. He won the Street Car Showdown, lost in the semifinals of the Show & Go and then broke in the second round of the Shootout. He still earned enough points to hold off former champ Bill Krech.

In King Street, defending champ Mike Sterling was looking to repeat, and he nearly pulled off a great comeback by winning the Shootout, but he came up short of Jason Geiger’s point total and settled for second. Sterling, Geiger and third-place finisher Josh Knudsen were locked up in a three-way battle all season, despite being in one of the largest classes, with 32 drivers.

“That’s the thing that’s fun about King Street,” Geiger said. “There’s a lot of cars in the class and they’re all getting faster every year.”

Bill Meyer won Real Street Natural

Bill Meyer won Real Street Natural

Dan Gefre won True Street

Dan Gefre won True Street

Geiger credited his 1968 Camaro, which ran consistently all season, dipping below 8 seconds at about 170 mph when he had to in the heads-up format. He predicts that to win next year in King Street, he’ll have to be in the 7′s every race, which is why he’s pulling his car apart over the winter and adding twin turbos.

In Real Street Unlimited, Duane Godbout had raced in all seven Muscle Car Series events, but had never won a race, let alone a series championship. He can’t say that anymore, though. Godbout won the Street Car Showdown and finished third in the other two races, which was enough to earn him a series championship.

Godbout credited his wife, Lisa, and crew chief Keith Musolf for his success. His 1969 Chevelle occasionally ran a hair faster than 9 seconds at 160 mph, but the series was an adventure for him after he added nitrous oxide and adjusted the suspension to give him more traction on the starting line. More power and more traction resulted in some spectacular wheelstands on the starting line, he said, so that’s an area that will get some attention during the off-season.

David Senderhauf won 660 OS

David Senderhauf won 660 OS

The Real Street Natural Class was easily the closest contest in the standings. Robert Wilczek beat Bill Meyer in the finals of the last race but still came up one point short of stealing the series championship from Meyer. Darrell Godbout (Duane Godbout’s twin brother) finished third with 179 points, only 12 points out of first place.

“I really got lucky,” Meyer said. “About half the cars are faster than mine but I got a lot of lucky breaks, and I didn’t do anything stupid. This was my first championship, so I was pretty excited.”

Meyer’s 1991 Mustang was running about 10.1 seconds at about 132 mph. He ended the season with one win and two runner-up finishes. He said he’ll be back for sure next year to defend this title.

In True Street, Dan Gefre held off 15 other drivers to win the series championship. Driving an ’83 Malibu Wagon, he won his way to the finals in all three races, finishing with one win (Street Car Showdown) and two runner-up titles.

David Senderhauf was the other driver to repeat as series champion. He won the 660 Outlaw Street Class in decisive style. He had one-third more points than the second-place finisher, Josh Brunz. “It was a good year,” he said.

Senderhauf won two races and was knocked out in the first round of the Show & Go. He said he’ll be back next year with a new motor in his ’86 Mustang to defend his title.

Below are the top three finishers in each class:

Pro Outlaw
1. Rick Schmidt of Dickinson, N.D.
2. Bill Krech of Inver Grove Heights
3. Joseph Wilczek of Little Falls

Outlaw Class
1. Warren Peterson of Duluth
2. Jake Delmonico of St. Paul Park
3. Peter Campbell of West St. Paul, Manitoba

King Street
1. Jason Geiger of Hanska
2. Mike Sterling of Oak Grove
3. Josh Knudsen of Frontenac

Real Street Unlimited
1. Duane Godbout of Cloquet
2. Dave Hodgmanof Ramsey
3. Clint Gregerson of Grand Rapids

Real Street Natural
1. Bill Meyer of Andover
2. Robert Wilczek of Little Falls
3. Darrell Godbout of Carlton

True Street
1. Dan Gefre of Coon Rapids
2. Todd Malik of Andover
3. Jason Nelson of Champlin

660 Street Outlaw
1. David Senderhauf of Zimmerman
2. Josh Brunz of Kasota
3. Aaron Van Heel of Otsego

Strip Eliminator 1
1. Logan Loesch of Hastings
2. Brad Lesnick of Maplewood
3. Jesse Haugesag of Prior lake

Strip Eliminator 2
1. Scott Davich of Pequot Lakes
2. Lonnie Ellenson of Park Rapids
3. Justin Iverson of Saginaw

Strip Eliminator 3
1. Jessica Purdham of Albertville
2. Gary Tesar of Medina
3. Gordy Hanson of Iron

Truck Eliminator
1. Chad Rach of Aitkin
2. Jeremy Jablonski of Duluth
3. Troy Novak of Rice

Manual Transmission
1. Kelly Rutz of Randall
2. Keith Sand of Cambridge
3. Gregory Dancer of Foley

Index Classes
1. Gary Olson of Sartell
2. Kevin Hemenway of Park Rapids
3. Zach Stengel of Blaine

 

 

BIR takes first at ET Finals; Schmall, Paulson win classes

A 40-member drag racing team from Brainerd International Raceway won first place last weekend at the NHRA West Central Summit Racing ET Finals at Heartland Park in Topeka, Kan.

Two of the racers, Brandon Schmall and Jimmy Paulson, also won their respective classes.

BIR’s team competed against teams from 15 other tracks in the NHRA’s West Central Division, which stretches from Wyoming to Wisconsin and from Colorado to Kansas, including part of Canada. More than 450 drivers raced in five different classes.

Brandon Schmall won Sportsman Class Race of Champions

Brandon Schmall won Sportsman Class Race of Champions

Jimmy Paulson won the Pro Bike Race of Champions

Jimmy Paulson won the Pro Bike Race of Champions

“We always have a very competitive team at the ET Finals but it’s been a while since we’ve won it all,” BIR Owner Jed Copham said. “This was a very strong team and everyone raced really well so we’re excited for them.”

Schmall raced in both the Sportsman and Pro ET classes, but he was also selected to represent the team in the Sportman Class Race of Champions. Each team picks one racer in each class to compete in a Race of Champion to determine the best of the best. Schmall qualified 12th of 15 racers but dialed in his 1974 Dart and benefited from consistent reaction times at the starting line. His winning time in the finals was 12.292 seconds at 94.13 mph.

“It was definitely a nice feeling to win it,” he said. “You catch some luck and the car runs great, and this is what happens.”

Paulson gave a lot of credit to his drag bike for his Race of Champions win in the Pro Bike Class. “The bike ran flawlessly all weekend,” he said. “The rider did his job when he had to.”

Like Schmall, Paulson increased his chances of winning with quick reaction times on the starting line and consistent passes. He qualified sixth of the 10 racers who competed. In the finals, he ran 9.137 seconds and 136.68 mph.

The 2015 BIR ET Finals Team

The 2015 BIR ET Finals Team

Two of Paulson’s  teammates, Mike Voss and Jeremy Berg, advanced to the semifinals in the Pro Bike Class elimination rounds before losing. Also of note, Reno Loeffelholz and Joe Howell advanced to the quarterfinal rounds in Pro ET before getting knocked off. Tracy Arneson also won her way to the quarterfinals in the High School Class before losing. She also raced in the High School Race of Champions and qualified No. 2 but lost in the second round.

The drag racers on BIR’s team earned their way onto the roster based on the success they’ve had in BIR’s Bracket Drag Racing Series, which is a six-weekend, 12-race series with one weekend left (Sept. 26-27). The racers on the team are at the top of the point standings in their respective classes.

The ET Finals has five classes: Super Pro, Pro ET, Sportsman, Pro Bike and High School. At stake are individual and team honors, prize money and contingency awards. Some drivers even have a shot at earning a trip to compete for a national championship in Ponoma, Calif., during the NHRA’s Auto Club Finals in November.

Below are the members of BIR’s ET Finals team:

SUPER PRO
Gary Loeffelholz of Shafer (Race of Champions)
Dan Narusiewicz of St. Paul Park
Tony Leonard of Hastings
Bruce Kaul of Racine
Ryan Schelek of St. Cloud
Mike Campbell of Roseville
Mike Anderson of St. Joseph
Brian Johnson of Nowthen
Steve Roehrs of Frederic, Wis.
Wally Higby of Maple Grove
Larry Wiebusch of Coon Rapids
Chris Anderson of Eagan
Myron Streit of St. Cloud

PRO ET
Reno Loeffelholz of Shafer (Race of Champions)
Joe Howell of Big Lake
Brandon Schmall of Lino Lakes
Dave Engler of Ramsey
Travis Reutzel of Annandale
Mike Casteel of Thief River Falls
Steve Brings of Howard Lake
Chuck Roycraft of Minnetonka
Scott Dugdale of Stacy
Jenna Jahnke of Stillwater
Tevin Zavadil of Clearwater
Tony Leonard of Hastings

SPORTSMAN
Brandon Schmall of Lino Lakes (Race of Champions)
Lee Dugdale of Scandia
Joe Moriarty Sr of Ham Lake
Russ Elzy of Becker
Brad Mickle of Lino Lakes
Rory Emmans of Nowthen
Steve Elzy of Lindstrom

PRO BIKE
Jimmy Paulson of Stacy (Race of Champions)
Mike Voss of Maplewood
Jeremy Berg of Newport
Kyle Olson, Moorland, Iowa

HIGH SCHOOL
Tracy Arneson of Pillager

ALTERNATES
Steve Roehrs of Frederic, Wis.
Michelle Emmans of Nowthen

Series championships, Wallys on the line this weekend

With series championships, Wally trophies and prize money at stake, car counts are expected to be high this weekend for the finale of Brainerd International Raceway’s Bracket Drag Racing Series.

It’s the sixth and final weekend of the series, which means drivers who are gunning for a series championship have one last shot at points and a chance to earn the title of series champion.

All drivers, including those out of contention, also have a chance to win a Wally trophy like those that the NHRA pro drivers win. Saturday’s race is the annual National Dragster Challenge, where drivers in six of the 10 series classes have a rare chance at winning a Wally trophy by finishing first in their class. The classes involved are Super Pro, Pro ET, Sportsman, Pro Bike/Sled, Comp Trophy and Street Trophy.

Last year’s winners were Larry Wiebusch in Super Pro, Brandon Schmall in Pro ET, Dale Richter in Sportsman, Jayne Bode in Pro Bike/Sled, Nick Arnold in Comp Trophy and Josh Luberda in Street Trophy.

Racing starts at 9 a.m. Saturday and Sunday, with one round of time trials followed by elimination rounds until winners are determined at the end of each day.
BIR’s Bracket Drag Racing Series features some of the best amateur drag racing in the country as racers compete in dragsters, cars, trucks, bikes, snowmobiles and Junior Dragsters. More than 250 drivers are expected to compete this weekend.

Daily admission is $20 and kids 12 and under are free. Tickets can be purchased at the gate. Click here for more details of the Bracket Drag Racing Series.

BIR announces ET Finals drag racing team

Brainerd International Raceway today announced the 40-member drag racing team that will represent the track during the NHRA West Central Summit Racing ET Finals this weekend at Heartland Park in Topeka, Kan.

The team will compete against drag racing teams from 15 other tracks in the NHRA’s West Central Division, which stretches from Wyoming to Wisconsin and from Colorado to Kansas, including part of Canada. More than 450 racers are expected to compete.

The drag racers on BIR’s team earned their way onto the roster based on the success they’ve had in BIR’s Bracket Drag Racing Series, which is a six-weekend, 12-race series with one weekend left (Sept. 26-27). The racers on the team are at the top of the point standings in their respective classes.

The ET Finals has five classes: Super Pro, Pro ET, Sportsman, Pro Bike and High School. At stake are individual and team honors, prize money and contingency awards. Some drivers even have a shot at earning a trip to compete for a national championship in Ponoma, Calif., during the NHRA’s Auto Club Finals in November.

BIR’s team has an additional incentive this year. The track will pay racers a bonus if they win their class or the Race of Champions. Up for grabs are $16,000 in bonuses and another $800 in BIR Bucks for a win in the High School Class. BIR will pay $4,000 for a win in Super Pro and Pro ET, $3,000 in Sportsman and Race of Champions, and $2,000 in Pro Bike.

The racers competing for the trip to Pomona are those selected for the Race of Champions, which is a race within a race during the ET Finals. Each team identifies one racer in each of the five classes to represent the team in the Race of Champions. Racers are paired up in an elimination format by class to determine the class champions, which advance to compete against the top drivers from the NHRA’s other six divisions for a national championship in Pomona. The BIR teammates competing in the Race of Champions are Gary Loeffelholz (Super Pro), Reno Loeffelholz (Pro ET), Brandon Schmall (Sportsman) and Jimmy Paulson (Pro Bike).

“BIR always has some of the best bracket drag racers in the country,” said BIR owner Jed Copham. “Last year’s team placed third in Denver, which is really good considering the competition. But this year’s team really wants first place, and we sweetened the pot with the bonuses for a class championship, so everyone will really be gunning for wins this weekend.”

Below are the members of BIR’s ET Finals team – good luck!

SUPER PRO
Gary Loeffelholz of Shafer (Race of Champions)
Dan Narusiewicz of St. Paul Park
Tony Leonard of Hastings
Bruce Kaul of Racine
Ryan Schelek of St. Cloud
Mike Campbell of Roseville
Mike Anderson of St. Joseph
Brian Johnson of Nowthen
Steve Roehrs of Frederic, Wis.
Wally Higby of Maple Grove
Larry Wiebusch of Coon Rapids
Chris Anderson of Eagan

PRO ET
Reno Loeffelholz of Shafer (Race of Champions)
Joe Howell of Big Lake
Brandon Schmall of Lino Lakes
Dave Engler of Ramsey
Travis Reutzel of Annandale
Mike Casteel of Thief River Falls
Steve Brings of Howard Lake
Chuck Roycraft of Minnetonka
Scott Dugdale of Stacy
Jenna Jahnke of Stillwater
Tevin Zavadil of Clearwater
Tony Leonard of Hastings

SPORTSMAN
Brandon Schmall of Lino Lakes (Race of Champions)
Lee Dugdale of Scandia
Joe Moriarty Sr of Ham Lake
Russ Elzy of Becker
Brad Mickle of Lino Lakes
Rory Emmans of Nowthen
Steve Elzy of Lindstrom

PRO BIKE
Jimmy Paulson of Stacy (Race of Champions)
Mike Voss of Maplewood
Jeremy Berg of Newport
Kyle Olson

HIGH SCHOOL
Tracy Arneson of Pillager
Abby Haben of Hibbing

ALTERNATES
Steve Roehrs of Frederic, Wis.
Michelle Emmans of Nowthen

 

This weekend: MAP Proving Grounds 2.0

Imports and sport compacts take over Brainerd International Raceway this weekend for the second of two Modern Automotive Performance (MAP) Proving Grounds events.

The three-day turbo-charged event features some of the most diverse motorsports of the year at BIR, which has quickly made it one of the most popular weekends on the track’s schedule each year. Where else can you see drifting, autocross, drag racing, open lapping and burnout contests, all on the same track and on the same weekend?

MAP_WOne reason the Proving Grounds has grown so fast is that it’s open to everyone, as long the car or truck meets certain performance and safety requirements. There are different classes for novice drivers as well as for advanced drivers and everything in between.

Over the year, the fan favorite has been the drifting competition, where drivers are timed as they navigate through a course mostly in controlled (or uncontrolled, in many cases) skids. Most of the competition involves a single car on the course at a time, but there’s also a Tandem Drifting Competition for advanced drivers, where there’s multiple cars on the course.

Autocross is similar in that drivers are timed as they maneuver through a course, but they’re slower and more controlled without the skidding. Open lapping – called Time Attack – is on the road course, where cars aren’t racing against each other but race against the clock while gunning for the quickest lap time.

Drag racing is also very popular as fans get to watch some very quick cars in several classes. It’s not unusual to see some 8- and 9-second cars on the quarter mile. Import bikes have their own class as well.

For drivers who want to compete in multiple events, they can register for the Triple Track Showdown, where they can accumulate points by competing in drag racing, autocross and the Time Attack open lapping.

Click here to watch a preview video of the MAP Proving Grounds.

The Proving Grounds begins at noon on Friday and continues through Sunday. Tickets are $25 and are available at the front gate. Kids 12 and younger are free.

For more information, click here.

Photo courtesy of SDE

Muscle cars finish strong during series finale

Bill Krech’s road to the Winner’s Circle at Brainerd International Raceway hasn’t been an easy one. It took three years and nine races, but last Sunday he earned the chance to hoist the first-place trophy in Pro Outlaw at the conclusion of the 27th Annual GSTA Muscle Car Shootout.

In weather conditions that were anything but ideal for drag racing, Krech’s 1969 Camaro ran as consistently as it ever has, Krech said, allowing him to rip off runs as quick as 6.621 seconds, which made him the No. 1 qualifier going into Sunday’s elimination rounds.

Bill Krech, Pro Outlaw

Bill Krech, Pro Outlaw

Jake Delmonico, Outlaw

Jake Delmonico, Outlaw

But Krech was quick to admit that he benefited from the misfortunes of many of other racers as well. Cars were breaking all around him, including Pro Outlaw defending champion Rick Schmidt’s 2011 Mustang, which ran the weekend’s top speed of 209.79 mph  and proved to be the car to beat all season. His car broke in the second round. Craig Braun’s 1955 Chevy also broke, but not until he had lined up against Krech in the finals, handing Krech the win.

“A little luck always helps in these situations,” Krech said. “Luck was on our side this weekend.”

In the Outlaw Class, Jake Delmonico was completing a very frustrating season. He won five of the six races in 2013 and 2014, repeating as the class champion in the process. This year was a different story, though.

“We struggled all year, and then we struggled all day Friday and Saturday,” he said, referring to the first three qualifying sessions last weekend where he couldn’t get his 1968 Camaro to perform. He replaced a variety of parts before trying a new ignition box before the final qualifying session Saturday. That was the ticket.

Mike Sterling, King Street

Mike Sterling, King Street

Jesse Nelson, Real Street Unlimited

Jesse Nelson, Real Street Unlimited

With his car dialed in, Delmonico was ready to take on the field, which included No. 1 qualifier Peter Campbell, whose Camaro was running 6.9 seconds, about a half second faster than Delmonico. But like the Pro Outlaw Class, Outlaw drivers like Campbell had trouble keeping their cars from breaking.

Delmonico found himself in the finals against Warren Peterson, who beat him in the finals of the Street Car Showdown earlier this year and then knocked him out of eliminations in the second round of the PleasureLand RV Show & Go. Peterson made it easy for Delmonico, though, by fouling at the starting line.

Last year’s King Street Class champion, Mike Sterling, took on the 20-car field and finished with a finals win over Steve Carson with a run of 8.233 seconds and 165.94 mph. Carson ran 8.805 seconds and 154.17 mph.

It was Sterling’s first trip to the finals this year. He had his work cut out in the semifinals, where he was paired up with Brian Mahnke, the No. 1 qualifier who had the quickest time (7.886 seconds) and top speed (177.51 mph). But Mahnke’s ’72 Camaro broke on that run, giving Sterling the win.

Robert Wilczek, Real Street Natural

Robert Wilczek, Real Street Natural

Jason Bergeson, True Street

Jason Bergeson, True Street

In Real Street Unlimited, Jesse Nelson raced in the elimination rounds for the first time this season and made the most of it. He was the No. 1 qualifier, had the quickest time (8.174 seconds) and top speed (171.62 mph), and then backed it all up by winning his way to the finals with his 1970 Chevelle. He lined up against Dave Hodgman, who won the class during the PleasureLand RV Show & Go. Hodgman blew him off the starting line but couldn’t put him away. Nelson ran him down and the finish line for the win, with a time of 8.301 seconds and 169.34 mph. Hodgman finished with 9.123 seconds and 148.61 mph.

Like Nelson, Robert Wilczek entered the elimination rounds as the No. 1 qualifier and then outlasted the field for the win. Driving a 1969 Mustang, Wilczek faced off against Bill Meyer in the finals, but Meyer fouled at the starting line, giving Wilczek a free pass to the Winner’s Circle.

Jason Bergeson was a model of consistency and power in the True Street Class, resulting in a No. 1 qualifying position with the quickest time (8.641 seconds) and top speed (157.08 mph). Throughout the elimination rounds, he maintained 8.6-second times, which earned him a trip to the finals against Dan Gefre. Bergeson’s ’84 Monte Carlo had too much power for Gefre, who lost with a time of 8.835 seconds and 155.29 mph. Bergeson’s winning run was at 8.605 seconds and 157.08 mph.

The Muscle Car Shootout is the grand finale of the three-race Muscle Car Series. The winners of each class will be announced soon.

Below are the results from the final round in each class:

Pro Outlaw
Finals: Bill Krech of Inver Grove Heights def. Craig Braun of Hampton

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

King Street
Finals: Mike Sterling of Oak Grove def. Steve Carson of New Ulm

Real Street Unlimited
Finals: Jesse Nelson of Mountain Iron def. Dave Hodgman of Ramsey

Real Street Natural
Finals: Robert Wilczek of Little Falls def. Bill Meyer of Andover

True Street
Finals: Jason Bergeson of Cottage Grove def. Dan Gefre of Coon Rapids

660 Outlaw Street
Finals: Dave Senderhauf of Zimmerman def. Paul Hennum of Blaine

Strip Eliminator 1
Finals: Logan Loesch of Hastings def. Dave Vasseur of Rogers

Strip Eliminator 2
Finals: Gary Olson of Sartell def. Colleen Dircks of Carver

Strip Eliminator 3
Finals: Jessica Purdham of Albertville def. Gordy Hanson of Iron

Truck Eliminator
Finals: Lane Zuidema of Woodbury def. Bob Peterson of Roseville

Manual Transmission
Finals: Kelly Tutz of Randall def. Jared Lane of Brainerd

Index Class Champion
Finals: Zach Stengel of Blaine (11.50 Index) def. Kevin Hemenway of Park Rapids (12.50 Index)

9.50 Index
Finals: Josh Danielson of Carlson def. Patrick Huebner of Bloomington

10.00 Index
Finals: Ryan Merritt of Duluth def. Eric Baker of Browerville

10.50 Index
Finals: Brian Sloan of Monticello def. Mike Rocum of Perham

11.00 Index
Finals: Logan Loesch of Hastings def. Tim Davey of Gilbert

11.50 Index
Finals: Zach Stengel of Blaine def. Dan Boge of Minnetonka

12.00 Index
Finals: Robb Johnson of New Prague def. Gary Olson of Sartell

12.50 Index
Finals: Kevin Hemenway of Park Rapids def. Justin Iverson of Saginaw

13.00 Index
Finals: Charles Siegel of Carver def. Bryan Brager of Pillager

13.50 Index
Finals: Joe Yechout of Plymouth def. Paul Zoak of Beach, N.D.

14.00 Index
Finals: David Hyttsten of Monticello def. Mike Simons of Pine City

 

GSTA Muscle Car Shootout is fitting end to summer

When Labor Day weekend rolls around each summer, only one thing comes to mind for race fans: muscle car drag racing and high-flying Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) road racing.

It’s the 27th Annual Gopher State Timing Association (GSTA) Muscle Car Shootout, which features the lethal combination of big horsepower and wicked-fast speed. It also means many other traditional activities off the track, like a classic car show, live music, activities for kids and a unique fireworks display. The show is Sept. 4-6.

Schmidt_WFor drag racing fans, the Shootout signals the grand finale of the three-race Muscle Car Series. More than 400 drivers are expected to compete in the three-day event, where they’ll make qualifying runs Friday and Saturday and then get paired up for elimination rounds on Sunday. It’s their last shot at earning a series championship.

At center stage are the seven Heads-Up Classes, where speeds can top 220 mph and times can be in the low 6 seconds. It’s an impressive display of wheel stands and head-to-head racing. The point standings for most of the classes are tight at the top so drivers will be leaving it all on the track.

Meanwhile, the SCCA Jack Pine Sprints will be on BIR’s 2.5-mile Competition Road Course for two days of thrilling wheel-to-wheel road racing. More than 75 cars from throughout the Upper Midwest will be competing in a number of different classes. Practice and qualifying sessions are scheduled for Saturday and Sunday mornings, followed by racing sessions both afternoons. The schedule includes a 45-minute endurance race Saturday afternoon.

_MG_3260_WNot all the action is on the track, though. A classic car show will be Saturday afternoon, and A Girl’s Journey will perform at BIR’s Wheelie Bar & Grille Saturday night.

Those who are camping Friday and Saturday night will get the rare chance to see adisplay of handmade fireworks. The Northern Lighter Pyrotechnics is hosting the Lake Shoot, where Northern Lighter club members from throughout the country will show off handmade and unique fireworks, including shells, gerbs, wheels, girandolas, rockets and mines. The show will start at dusk both days.

“Every year, the GSTA Muscle Car Shootout is one of our biggest and best events,” BIR Owner Jed Copham said. “A lot of families make this their last outing of the summer before school starts, so it’s a really fun atmosphere. And since it’s the last race in the Muscle Car Series, drag racers are fighting for every available point. And then there’s the Lake Shoot fireworks display, which will blow our fans away.”

With a single ticket, fans can watch both drag racing and road racing. Daily admission is $25 and kids 12 and under are free. On-site camping is free with a multi-day ticket. Tickets are available at the front gate.

For more details, click here.

SCCA Photo by Rick Corwine

 

Rains end, records fall, Nationals winners are crowned!

Richie Crampton raced to his fourth Top Fuel victory of the season Sunday to close out a record-setting day of action at the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals at BIR.

Robert Hight (Funny Car), Erica Enders (Pro Stock) and Eddie Krawiec (Pro Stock Motorcycle) also were winners of the penultimate regular season race in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series.

Winners_WNHRA Top Fuel and Funny Car teams took advantage of the cool overcast weather conditions at BIR to reset all four national records in those categories. Among the records, Antron Brown set the Top Fuel elapsed time record at 3.680 seconds and Jack Beckman set the Funny Car mark at 3.901 seconds. National speed records were set by Spencer Massey (332.75 mph) and Matt Hagan (329.58 mph). Hagan also recorded the quickest Funny Car time in history at 3.879 seconds, and Shawn Langdon posted the quickest Top Fuel time with his 3.664-second effort, but neither driver was able to certify those times as national records per NHRA rules.

But it was the consistent performance of Crampton’s Aaron Brooks-tuned Lucas Oil dragster that took the event victory in Top Fuel when he held off Brittany Force in the final round. Crampton crossed the finish line first with a career-best time of 3.695 seconds at 325.30 mph to deny Force her first career victory, as her Monster Energy dragster trailed with 3.771 seconds at 293.79 mph.

“This race is going to go down in the history books,” Crampton said. “It was just some amazing racing today and there were some super-fast race cars out there. I keep forgetting that I ran a (3.69) in the final, because winning the event is so important. You want to carry momentum into the Countdown. The last two rounds today showed what kind of race car we have and we are right where we need to be for Indy and for the Countdown.”

Richie Crampton, Top Fuel winner

Richie Crampton, Top Fuel winner

Crampton, who defeated teammate Morgan Lucas, Larry Dixon and Langdon en route to the final round, moved to third in the points standings with his sixth career victory. Tony Schumacher remains in the series lead, 53 points ahead of Brown, who earned a 20-point bonus for setting the elapsed time record.

“Winning the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals when you drive the Lucas Oil car is exactly what you want to do,” Crampton said. “I just wanted to do that so badly for [team owners] Forrest and Charlotte [Lucas]. There is nothing cooler than getting the Wally from Charlotte at the end of the racetrack.”

Hight earned his first Funny Car victory in more than a year and the 35th of his career by defeating Tommy Johnson Jr. in the final round. Hight powered his Auto Club Chevy Camaro to a 3.956-second run at 323.58 mph to finish in front of Johnson’s Make-A-Wish Dodge Charger, which was making its third consecutive final round appearance.

Eddie Krawiec, Pro Stock Bike

Eddie Krawiec, Pro Stock Bike

“We had a real good car,” said Hight, who defeated Ron Capps, Brian Stewart and Tim Wilkerson in earlier rounds. “It was running good, but you never know what you’re going to get in these kinds of conditions. This thing was a handful to drive today. We changed a bunch of things on the car, and it’s carrying the front end. It’s tough. I’m not going to get cocky. The DSR cars have been dominant. We closed the gap a bunch this weekend, and I know we have a lot of work to do. We’re going to keep it up and test in Indy.”

Red-hot Beckman, who lost in the semifinals to Johnson when his ultra-quick Infinite Hero Dodge Charger lost traction, used his 20-point national record bonus to increase his series lead to 50 points over Hagan. Hagan lost in round two to Beckman in the quickest side-by-side race in NHRA history.

Enders moved back into the series points lead in Pro Stock by claiming her fifth victory of the season and 17th of her career. She used a quicker reaction time and a final-round performance of 6.552 seconds at 210.34 mph in her Elite Motorsports Chevy Camaro to take the win over rival and local favorite Jason Line, who posted a quicker, but losing, 6.541 seconds at 211.06 mph in his Summit Racing Equipment Camaro.

Enders outran Mark Hogan, Bo Butner and red-hot Chris McGaha, who won the last two races, to advance to the final round. She now holds a 16-point lead over four-time world champ Greg Anderson heading into the final race of the regular season.

“This is a really crucial time in our season, especially heading into Indy (in two weeks), where it’s worth points and a half, so it’s a great time to get that momentum to swing back to our side of the fence, and I’m so proud of my team,” Enders said. “It’s an amazing win for my group. It’s really exciting for me because it’s hard not to get frustrated collectively as a group when things aren’t going your way, but that’s what makes our team work so great. We don’t allow ourselves to get down in the dumps and just dig deep and play with all our heart.”

In Pro Stock Motorcycle, Krawiec took his third consecutive victory of the season by racing past teammate Andrew Hines in an all-Screamin’ Eagle Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson final round. Krawiec finished in 6.844 seconds at 194.30 mph to take his 30th career victory and second at BIR, while Hines clocked a 6.894 at 190.06 in the runner-up effort.

“I have a great motorcycle under me,” said Krawiec, who beat a murder’s row of past world champions in Hector Arana, LE Tonglet and Matt Smith to advance to the final round.

“We’ve just lacked consistency,” Krawiec continued. “I’d say since Denver we’ve really gotten into the groove and figured out what the motorcycle wanted. I’ve been fortunate enough to go to three final rounds and win all three and also win the NHRA Pro Bike Battle in Sonoma, so I’m on a pretty good roll. Hopefully it’s not too early because after Indy is when you really want to get on a roll like this, but hopefully I can continue it all the way through to the end of Pomona.”

With the win, Krawiec increased his series lead to 166 over Hector Arana Jr.

A bunch of drivers secured berths into the Mello Yello Countdown to the Championship at this event, including Crampton and Larry Dixon in Top Fuel; Johnson Jr., John Force, Del Worsham and Ron Capps in Funny Car; Allen Johnson, Larry Morgan, Shane Gray and Jonathan Gray in Pro Stock; and Krawiec, Arana Jr. and Hines in Pro Stock Motorcycle.

The NHRA Mello Yello Series continues Sept. 2-7 with the Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals, the world’s most prestigious drag race at Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis.

FINAL RESULTS

Final finish order (1-16) at the 34th annual Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals.

TOP FUEL
1.  Richie Crampton 2.  Brittany Force 3.  Shawn Langdon 4.  Antron Brown 5.  Steve Torrence 6.  Doug Kalitta 7.  Larry Dixon 8.  Tony Schumacher 9.  J.R. Todd 10.  Spencer Massey 11.  Terry McMillen 12.  Clay Millican 13.  Chris Karamesines 14.  Dave Connolly 15.  Morgan Lucas 16.  Wayne Newby

FUNNY CAR
1.  Robert Hight 2.  Tommy Johnson Jr. 3.  Tim Wilkerson 4.  Jack Beckman 5.  Matt Hagan 6.  John Force 7.  Brian Stewart 8.  John Hale 9.  Ron Capps 10.  Cruz Pedregon 11.  Del Worsham 12.  Dale Creasy Jr. 13.  Alexis DeJoria 14.  Courtney Force 15.  Bob Bode 16.  Chad Head

PRO STOCK
1.  Erica Enders 2.  Jason Line 3.  Shane Gray 4.  Chris McGaha 5.  Bo Butner 6.  Greg Anderson 7.  Larry Morgan 8.  Allen Johnson 9.  Jonathan Gray 10.  V. Gaines 11.  Deric Kramer 12.  Vincent Nobile 13.  Drew Skillman 14.  Mark Hogan 15.  Dave River

PRO STOCK MOTORCYCLE
1.  Eddie Krawiec 2.  Andrew Hines 3.  Matt Smith 4.  Chaz Kennedy 5.  LE Tonglet 6.  Hector Arana Jr 7.  Karen Stoffer 8.  Jerry Savoie 9.  Chip Ellis 10.  Mike Berry 11.  Hector Arana 12.  Angie Smith 13.  Jim Underdahl 14.  Scotty Pollacheck 15.  Steve Johnson

FINALS RESULTS

Top Fuel — Richie Crampton, 3.695 seconds, 325.30 mph  def. Brittany Force, 3.771 seconds, 293.79 mph.

Funny Car — Robert Hight, Chevrolet Camaro, 3.956, 323.58  def. Tommy Johnson Jr., Dodge Charger, 4.130, 316.52.
 
Pro Stock — Erica Enders, Chevy Camaro, 6.552, 210.34  def. Jason Line, Camaro, 6.541, 211.06.
 
Pro Stock Motorcycle — Eddie Krawiec, Harley-Davidson, 6.844, 194.30  def. Andrew Hines, Harley-Davidson, 6.894, 190.06.
 
Top Alcohol Dragster — Mark Taliaferro, 5.292, 270.64  def. Joey Severance, 5.304, 274.00.

Top Alcohol Funny Car — Chris Foster, Ford Mustang, 5.686, 259.11  def. Jay Payne, Chevy Camaro, 5.694, 260.16.

Super Stock — Gene Mosbek, Plymouth Savoy, 10.239, 128.08  def. Curtis Hieb, Ford Mustang, 9.947, 134.74.

Stock Eliminator — Randi Lyn Shipp, Pontiac Firebird, 10.568, 124.69  def. Jeff Adkinson, Chevy Camaro, foul.

Super Comp — Luke Bogacki, Dragster, 8.929, 165.64  def. Gary Stinnett, Dragster, 8.930, 186.79.

Super Gas — Brian Folk, Chevy Camaro, 9.865, 151.32  def. Russ Ginger, Dodge Aspen, 9.821, 163.06.

Pro Stock Snowmobile — Glenn Hall, Arctic Cat, 8.165, 158.86  def. Scott Hagen, Ski Doo, 8.439, 148.74.

ROUND-BY-ROUND RESULTS

TOP FUEL
ROUND ONE — Larry Dixon, 3.703, 325.06 def. Spencer Massey, 3.739, 332.75; Brittany Force, 3.747, 324.75 def. Dave Connolly, 4.016, 220.01; Richie Crampton, 3.964, 313.66 def. Morgan Lucas, 4.678, 133.07; Tony Schumacher, 3.960, 312.57 def. Chris Karamesines, 3.977, 296.57; Doug Kalitta, 3.734, 320.36 def. Wayne Newby, 5.323, 137.54; Steve Torrence, 3.733, 324.98 def. Terry McMillen, 3.821, 321.42; Shawn Langdon, 3.861, 257.24 def. Clay Millican, 3.877, 309.98; Antron Brown, 3.680, 331.12 def. J.R. Todd, 3.703, 330.88;
QUARTERFINALS — Force, 3.757, 318.17 def. Kalitta, 3.917, 281.42; Crampton, 3.937, 289.88 def. Dixon, 8.482, 89.65; Langdon, 3.662, 321.12 def. Torrence, 3.746, 328.06; Brown, 3.696, 327.35 def. Schumacher, 11.914, 74.29;
SEMIFINALS — Force, 3.738, 299.73 def. Brown, 8.025, 90.64; Crampton, 3.719, 317.79 def. Langdon, 4.196, 279.27;
FINAL — Crampton, 3.695, 325.30 def. Force, 3.771, 293.79.

FUNNY CAR

ROUND ONE — John Force, Chevy Camaro, 4.098, 323.81 def. Dale Creasy Jr., Chevy Impala, 7.721, 88.17; Tommy Johnson Jr., Dodge Charger, 3.985, 319.90 def. Cruz Pedregon, Toyota Camry, 4.754, 172.52; John Hale, Charger, 6.126, 113.75 def. Courtney Force, Camaro, 8.844, 72.28; Jack Beckman, Charger, 4.392, 196.93 def. Bob Bode, Camry, 9.244, 66.04; Brian Stewart, Ford Mustang, 6.487, 168.14 def. Alexis DeJoria, Camry, 8.710, 94.97; Robert Hight, Chevrolet Camaro, 4.172, 238.81 def. Ron Capps, Charger, 4.373, 208.62; Tim Wilkerson, Mustang, 3.927, 322.81 def. Chad Head, Camry, 13.530, 62.63; Matt Hagan, Charger, 3.879, 329.58 def. Del Worsham, Camry, 5.663, 142.69; Tim Wilkerson, Mustang, 3.927, 322.81 def. Chad Head, Camry, 13.530, 62.63;
QUARTERFINALS — Hight, 3.935, 325.69 def. Stewart, 9.160, 80.53; Johnson Jr., 4.009, 317.72 def. Hale, 9.242, 69.21; Beckman, 3.903, 326.63 def. Hagan, 3.947, 327.19; Wilkerson, 3.921, 328.70 def. J. Force, 4.326, 208.23;
SEMIFINALS — Hight, 3.928, 324.59 def. Wilkerson, 4.005, 313.88; Johnson Jr., 3.980, 320.97 def. Beckman, 8.636, 72.98;
FINAL — Hight, 3.956, 323.58 def. Johnson Jr., 4.130, 316.52.

PRO STOCK

ROUND ONE — Greg Anderson, Chevy Camaro, 6.578, 209.36 def. Jonathan Gray, Camaro, 6.578, 210.05; Bo Butner, Camaro, 6.579, 210.31 def. Drew Skillman, Camaro, 6.640, 209.62; Larry Morgan, Camaro, 6.613, 209.69 def. Vincent Nobile, Camaro, 6.622, 208.97; Jason Line, Camaro, 6.581, 210.34 def. V. Gaines, Dodge Dart, 6.594, 209.43; Allen Johnson, Dart, 6.627, 209.72 def. Dave River, Chevy Cobalt, 9.333, 93.78; Chris McGaha, Camaro, 6.557, 210.34 def. Deric Kramer, Dart, 6.620, 208.68; Shane Gray, Camaro, 6.587, 211.20 was unopposed; Erica Enders, Camaro, 6.566, 210.37 def. Mark Hogan, Pontiac GXP, 6.745, 205.10;
QUARTERFINALS — Line, 6.564, 210.54 def. Johnson, 13.812, 84.41; S. Gray, 6.561, 211.39 def. Anderson, 6.581, 209.98; Enders, 6.561, 210.57 def. Butner, 6.570, 210.70; McGaha, 6.574, 210.31 def. Morgan, 8.490, 107.02;
SEMIFINALS — Enders, 6.541, 210.67 def. McGaha, 9.571, 97.03; Line, 6.553, 210.47 def. S. Gray, 6.572, 211.26;
FINAL — Enders, 6.552, 210.34 def. Line, 6.541, 211.06.

PRO STOCK MOTORCYCLE

ROUND ONE — Jerry Savoie, Suzuki, 6.864, 191.24 def. Mike Berry, Buell, 6.953, 191.51; Karen Stoffer, Suzuki, 6.967, 192.77 def. Jim Underdahl, Suzuki, 15.639, 49.98; Chaz Kennedy, Buell, 6.964, 191.78 def. Chip Ellis, Buell, 6.918, 191.84; Andrew Hines, Harley-Davidson, 6.827, 195.42 was unopposed; Hector Arana Jr, Buell, 6.860, 197.05 def. Angie Smith, 7.016, 188.17; LE Tonglet, Suzuki, 6.904, 195.56 def. Scotty Pollacheck, Buell, broke; Eddie Krawiec, Harley-Davidson, 6.852, 195.03 def. Hector Arana, Buell, 6.999, 194.02; Matt Smith, 6.840, 194.41 def. Steve Johnson, Suzuki, broke;
QUARTERFINALS — Kennedy, 6.959, 188.94 def. Savoie, broke; Krawiec, 6.788, 197.39 def. Tonglet, 6.830, 196.36; M. Smith, 6.856, 194.35 def. Arana Jr, 6.891, 195.99; Hines, 6.877, 193.40 def. Stoffer, 6.946, 193.32;
SEMIFINALS — Hines, 6.847, 193.96 def. Kennedy, 7.001, 188.10; Krawiec, 6.835, 194.04 def. M. Smith, 6.902, 192.82;
FINAL — Krawiec, 6.844, 194.30 def. Hines, 6.894, 190.06.

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