Street Car Showdown kicks off summer at BIR

Even after winning a Muscle Car Series championship last year, Warren Peterson refuses to take himself seriously.

“I’m out there just to amuse myself,” he says.

Last year, Peterson won his first series championship, running in the Outlaw class. That class¬† typically is the second-fastest class and features heads-up racing, where both cars leave at the same time and the one reaching the starting line first wins. He’ll be back this year to defend his title, starting Memorial Day weekend during the 8th Annual Street Car Showdown.

Warren Peterson's '33 Plymouth.

Warren Peterson’s ’33 Plymouth.

The Showdown is quickly becoming a Memorial Day tradition for racers and fans alike. As BIR’s first major event of the year, and the unofficial start of summer, the race is gaining popularity by fans who enjoy watching big horsepower on the drag strip and super-competitive road racing on the road course.

_MG_3260_WWhile the drag racers are slugging it out on the drag strip, the Sports Car Club of America will be on BIR’s 2.5-mile Competition Road Course for its annual Harvey West Memorial Day Classic. A variety of sports cars will compete on the 13-turn track Saturday and Sunday. Both days begin with practice and qualifying sessions, followed by 10-lap races on Saturday and 12-lap races on Sunday.

Fans have an opportunity to get on the road course both days. For $10 per car, they can tour the track from noon to 1 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

Back on the drag strip, Peterson won his championship driving a sharp-looking super-charged 1933 Plymouth, which he had planned to replace with a 1933 Ford sedan this season. But he couldn’t get the Ford together in time for the first race so he’ll be behind the wheel of the Plymouth again.

“We’re just out there to have fun,” he said, adding that the championship came about more because of his competition’s misfortune than his ability to win races. His car was never the fastest one in the class but he made the most of his opportunities.

In Pro Outlaw, which attracts the fastest cars, Rick Schmidt will return and looking to three-peat. He won the class championship the last two seasons and is looking for No. 3 in his 2004 Mustang, which flies down the track at 220 mph, posting times in the 6-second range. He’s been a tough customer to beat, but he knows that he’ll have some fast cars and hungry drivers gunning for him this season.

The Pro Outlaw and Outlaw classes are two of the seven Heads-Up Classes. There are also 10 Index classes, three Strip Eliminator classes and more. The event attracts about 300 cars from throughout the Midwest and Canada. It’s the first of the three-race Muscle Car Series, which also includes the PleasureLand RV Show & Go on the July 4th weekend and the GSTA Muscle Car Shootout on Labor Day weekend.

Time trials and qualifying sessions start Friday and Saturday at 9 a.m., with the Heads-Up Classes qualifying at 1 and 4 p.m. Friday and then 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. on Saturday. Eliminations for all classes start at 9 a.m. Sunday. Saturday’s program includes live music by Rock Godz.

Daily admission is $25, which allows fans to watch both races. Kids 12 and younger are free. On-site camping is free with a multi-day ticket. Suites in BIR’s Race Tower, which overlooks the starting line, are available for $100 a day.

SCCA Harvey West Memorial Day Classic photo by Rick Corwine

Watch drag racing on the webcam

We set up a webcam in one of the Tower Suites, and it’s pointed at the drag racing starting line. It’s live streaming, so if you can’t make it to the track, watch your favorite racers on your computer or mobile device.

Click on the button below.


Enduro racing meets drag racing this weekend

A pair of eight-hour endurance races will be on BIR’s road course this weekend while the drag strip will be busy with the second Bracket Drag Racing Series weekend.

IMGP8248_wThe World Racing League will be on BIR’s 2.5-mile Competition Road Course Saturday and Sunday for the Intercomp Endurance Challenge, where teams of drivers race for eight straight hours. The team with the most laps after eight hours is the winner.

Over on the drag strip, drivers will be gunning for series points and prize money during the second weekend of the Bracket Drag Racing Series. Friday’s schedule is a Test & Tune day for drivers. On Saturday and Sunday, the day starts with time trials for all classes followed by elimination rounds. Each of the BIR5-8-16-0230_w10 classes will crown a winner at the end of each day.

Two weeks ago, during the first Bracket Drag Racing Series weekend, 413 drivers competed, so the car counts are expected to be high for this weekend as well.

Friday’s racing program includes the Slowpokes Car Club, which will be on the road course all day with club driving events.

A single ticket gets fans in to see both types of racing this weekend. Daily admission is $25 but kids 12 and younger are free. Camping is free with the purchase of a multi-day ticket.

For more information on the Bracket Drag Racing Series, click here.

BIR hosts RV and camper show

PleasureLand RV Center rolled more than 200 RVs and campers onto the BIR grounds this week for a four-day blow-out sale, May 11-14.

The show is free and open to the public. Visitors can enter BIR through the main gates.

The show is open through Friday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.




High school teams dazzle at Supermileage Challenge

High school teams from throughout state competed in the Minnesota Technology and Engineering Educators Association’s Supermileage Challenge this week at BIR.

The teams spent the school year designing small gas-powered cars that emphasized fuel efficiency. The cars’ fuel useage was measured after every trip around BIR’s 3.1-mile road course, and the schools with the best fuel mileage won. The cars could be entered in one of several classes.

Last year, for example, 102 cars were entered in the competition, and all were sleek, aerodynamic and lightweight vehicles with just enough room for a single driver. The two-day event was Tuesday and Wednesday.

Congratulations to all the high school teams!


Schmall scores double win in Bracket racing opener

Brandon Schmall picked up where he left off last year by proving that he’s one of the hottest drag racers in the Bracket Drag Racing Series, and has been for a few years.

Last weekend, he showed why he’s a candidate to repeat as a series champion when we won the Super Pro and the Sportsman classes on Saturday. It’s hard enough to win the Super Pro class, which typically features the best drivers and the largest field. Last weekend, there were 88 cars in Super Pro.

Schmall_WCSchraut_WCMiller_WCSchmall and his 1970 Dodge Challenger outlasted the other 87 cars and beat Brian Johnson in the finals with a pass of 10.314 seconds and 121.54 mph. He then returned to the Winner’s Circle by beating Lee Dugdale in the Sportsman finals driving a ’74 Dodge Dart. He finished with a time of 12.546 seconds at 95.39 mph.

Photos: From left, Brandon Schmall, Brian Schraut and Bryce Miller

Last weekend’s Bracket Drag Racing Series event kicked off the 2016 season for 431 racers who competed. The series is over six weekends and consists of 12 races. Each weekend features eliminations and winners on both Saturday and Sunday, so drivers have twice as many opportunities to take gain series points and possibly take home some prize money.

Like Schmall, Brian Schraut’s 2106 race season is off to a fast start. Driving a ’71 Camaro, Schraut won the Comp Trophy class on Saturday and then returned to the Winner’s Circle on Sunday for back-to-back wins. His winning time on Saturday was 12.760 seconds at 105.49 mph, just a hair quicker than his winning finals time on Sunday of 12.981 seconds and 102.63 mph. Schraut beat Angie Opatz in Saturday’s finals and Tammy Paquette Sunday.

On Saturday, Jack MacFarlane did what most racers in the Pro ET class couldn’t do last year – deny Joe Howell a win. Howell won the Pro ET championship last year and was crowned BIR’s King of the Track. But Howell couldn’t get past MacFarlane in the finals, losing by 2/100ths of a second.

In Pro Bike/Sled, Jimmy Paulson dominated the class last year as he easily cruised to a series championship. He’s off to a slower start this year. He lost in the second round of eliminations both days. That opened the door for other riders, and Kelley Fager and Kyle Lundberg took advantage. The duo won their way to the finals both Saturday and Sunday, with each ending up with a win and a runner-up finish. In Saturday’s final, Fager fouled at the starting line, handing Lundberg the win. But Fager found redemption Sunday by beating Lundberg with a time of 10.588 seconds at 114.65 mph.

The next Bracket Drag Racing Series event is May 20-22. The Slowpokes Car Club will be on the road course Friday, and the World Racing League will be on the road course Saturday and Sunday for a pair of endurance races.

Below are the results for both days and all classes. To review the points standings, click here.



Super Pro
Finals: Brandon Schmall of Lino Lakes def. Brian Johnson of Nowthen

Pro ET
Finals: Jack MacFarlane of Aitkin def. Joe Howell of Big Lake

Super Pro/Pro ET Showdown
Finals: MacFarlane of Aitkin def. Brandon Schmall of Lino Lakes

Finals: Brandon Schmall of Lino Lakes def. Lee Dugdale of Scandia

Stock/Super Stock
Finals: Gene Mosbeck of Elk River def. Brad Haugaard of Ham Lake

Pro Bike/Sled
Finals: Kyle Lundberg of Isanti def. Kelley Fager of Cedar

Comp Trophy
Finals: Brian Schraut of Sauk Rapids def. Angie Opatz of Sartell

Street Trophy
Finals: Mike Simons of Sawyer def. Tyler Gadacz of Little Falls

Junior Dragster Advanced
Finals: McKenna Bungert of Lakeville def. Sydney Haben of Hibbing

Junior Dragster Intermediate
Finals: Dylan Dancer of Foley def. Aaron Clampitt of Lino Lakes

Junior Dragster Novice
Finals: Carter Luberda of Foley def. Daniel Dancer of Foley


Super Pro
Finals: Jordan Pratt of Otsego def. Greg Grundman of St. Cloud

Pro ET
Finals: Bryce Miller of Maple Lake def. Big Block Shawn of Eau Claire, Wis.

Super Pro/Pro ET Showdown
Finals: Jordan Pratt of Otsego def. Bryce Miller of Maple Lake

Finals: Steve Elzy of Lindstrom def. Shawn Carlson of Elbow Lake

Stock/Super Stock
Finals: Brett Speer of Pierz def. Brad Haugaard of Ham Lake

Pro Bike/Sled
Finals: Kelly Fager of Cedar def. Kyle Lundberg of Isanti

Comp Trophy
Finals: Brian Schraut of Sauk Rapids def. Tammy Paquette of Murillo, Ontario

Street Trophy
Finals: Shelly Joel of Brainerd def. Kyle Luberda of Foley

Junior Dragster Advanced
Finals: Sydney Haben of Hibbing def. Trevor Jelinski of Little Falls

Junior Dragster Intermediate
Finals: Samantha Cielinski of Gilman def. Alex Clampitt of Lino Lakes

Junior Dragster Novice
Finals: Carter Luberda of Foley def. Megan Cielinski of Gilman

Superbikes open season this weekend

The Central Roadracing Association (CRA) will be at BIR May 13-15 with its amazing brand of Superbike racing.

This is the first of five weekends that the CRA will be at BIR this season. With dozens of amateur Superbike racers on hand for the weekend, the CRA offers riding lessons for new riders, practice sessions and ultra-competitive racing. The best vantage points to watch the racing is on the corners, where riders fly by on two wheels and a knee. The CRA will be using BIR’s 2.5-mile Competition Road Course.

Racing6The weekend event begins Friday with practice sessions and a five-lap new rider race at the end of the day. Saturday starts with practice sessions in the morning and then eight-lap races in the afternoon. The day culminates with two 18-lap Trophy Dash races. Sunday features eight-lap races all day after a morning practice session.

Daily admission is $25, and kids 12 and under are free. On-site camping is free with a multi-day ticket.

CRA Superbike photo by SDE



Bracket Drag Racers return for start of 2016 season

When racers in the Bracket Drag Racing Series take over the drag strip this weekend, you can bet they won’t waste any time getting their cars – and their racing skills – dialed in for the season.

Most of the final point standings last year came down to one or two rounds that separated first and second place, so racers know exactly how important each run is during the 6-weekend, 12-race series.

Joe Howell

Joe Howell

This weekend’s race kicks off the series and is expected to attract more than 200 dragsters, cars, trucks, motorcycles and Junior Dragsters from throughout the five-state area and Canada. They’ll be gunning for important series points and, for some classes, prize money.

Gates open at 5 p.m. Thursday, with Friday reserved for a Test & Tune day. Saturday and Sunday start with time trials, followed by elimination rounds that culminate with winners being crowned in all 10 racing classes.

“These drag racers have waited all winter to get back on the track, so the first race of the season is always a lot of fun,” BIR Owner Jed Copham said. “It can also be an adventure as a lot of these drivers have made adjustments to their cars during the off-season and are making adjustments on the fly to get it just right. Anything can happen.”

Among the racers who will have targets on their backs this year are Joe Howell, Gary Loeffelholz and Jimmy Paulson, among others. Howell won the coveted King of the Track race and the Pro ET title after sitting out the entire 2014 season. Loeffelholz repeated as Super Pro champion and also won the new Quick 16 class, while Paulson easily won the Pro Bike/Sled title after his first year of riding a drag bike.

Daily admission is $20 and kids 12 and under are free. Camping is free with a multi-day ticket.

For more information on the Bracket Drag Racing Series, click here.



Wednesday Night Drags start this week!

Time to get off the couch and get on the gas! The 2016 edition of Wednesday Night Drags – Street Legal Style starts this week!

Wednesday Night Drags is your chance to try drag racing on the fastest drag strip in the country. Bring your street-legal car, truck or bike and make as many runs as time allows. Race your friends, your relatives, your adversaries – we love a good grudge match.

WedDrag2For just $25, you can use the burnout box, the light tree  and the scoreboard. We even have a PA announcer calling the action. Click here to check out the rules for details.

This week, we’ll also have a course set up for autocross, which is an increasingly popular timed event where drivers test their skills by driving through a course marked off with orange cones. It’s not as easy as it sounds. The autocross course is no extra charge.

BIR’s 2016 schedule includes nine Wednesday Night Drags, which alternate between autocross and drifting. Drifting is another timed event where drivers maneuver through a cone-lined coarse, except they do it during controlled skids.

Gates open at 4 p.m. Racing starts at 5 p.m. and shuts down at dusk. Spectators are $5.


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