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BIR’s 2015 racing schedule is packed with variety of events

Brainerd International Raceway’s 2015 racing schedule, a jam-packed lineup with new exciting events, long-running favorites and everything in between, kicks off this weekend with a pair of endurance road races.

The World Racing League takes on BIR’s road course for a nine-hour endurance race on Saturday and a seven-hour endure on Sunday. Tickets are available at the front gate.

The WRL launches a six-month schedule that reflects a combination of thrilling spectator events and an increasing number of opportunities for fans to try their hand at racing. Like in past years, though, the name of the game this year is diversity: drag racing, road racing, snowmobile watercross, Superbike racing, a cruising event, endurance racing, drifting and autocross competitions and the BIR Performance Driving School. The schedule even includes Lakes Jam, a three-day music and camping festival.

New to this year’s schedule is MN Time Attack, which is entering its inaugural season. This unique event, which is on BIR’s schedule in May and September, is a chance for race fans to get behind the wheel on BIR’s road course and test their driving skills against the clock.

One major change to the schedule involves the Trans Am Series, which was moved from the GSTA Muscle Car Shootout on Labor Day weekend to the PleasureLand RV Show & Go on Fourth of July weekend. The Trans Am Series’ 40-lap, 100-mile race on Sunday afternoon will be the weekend’s grand finale event.

Another change to the Show & Go’s racing program is the addition of National Auto Sport Association (NASA) road racing. BIR hosted a NASA race in 2012 but hasn’t been able to fit the series on the schedule again until this year. NASA brings an exciting brand of wheel-to-wheel road racing, which will be on Saturday and Sunday, prior to the Trans Am Series race.

One event that already was wildly popular got even better this year. The Wet & Wild Weekend in June will feature snowmobiles racing on open water, the Bracket Drag Racing Series on the drag strip and Superbike racing courtesy of a partnership between the Central Roadracing Association (CRA) and the Championship Cup Series from Texas.

The main attraction again this year is the 34th Annual Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals, set for Aug. 20-23. BIR will be the center of the drag racing universe when the best drag racers on the planet, the fastest cars and tens of thousands of crazy race fans descend on Brainerd to celebrate the largest motorsports event in the Upper Midwest. BIR’s infamous campground, The Zoo, takes on a life of its own with live music nightly, bonfires, a parade of “partywagons,” rickshaw races and a lot more. Advance tickets are now on sale.

The schedule also is full of fun, affordable and “non-traditional” racing, such as the ChumpCar World Series, where teams of four drivers race $500 junkers during a 12-hour endurance race in August. The Aussie-style Powercruise is back for a fourth year, giving fans the chance to participate in several driving events throughout the weekend. The Modern Automotive Performance Proving Grounds returns for two weekends, with imports and sport compacts competing in drifting, autocross, drag racing and more.

“We’re always looking for different and unique types of racing for our fans,” BIR owner Jed Copham said. “We have a great mix of races again this year that feature national-level pro racers along with regional amateur drivers. And most of the racing is fun and affordable family entertainment.”

The drag strip will be busy this year with six weekends reserved for the Bracket Drag Racing Series, where 250-plus amateurs compete in dragsters, cars, trucks, bikes, snowmobiles and Junior Dragsters for series championships and cash prizes. The three-race Muscle Car Series (Memorial Day, Fourth of July and Labor Day weekends) showcases huge horsepower and super-fast cars that battle with series championships on the line.

When most people think of BIR, they think of spectator races, but there are many opportunities for people to get behind the steering wheel and test their fortitude and driving skills. For example, the Wednesday Night Drags – Street Legal Style is a program where BIR opens its drag strip to anyone with a street legal car, truck or bike, and a helmet. The same thing is available on the road course, where the BIR Performance Driving School combines classroom instruction and on-track driving to teach drivers how to handle a car at high speeds. Most racing events have classes for those who want to try racing, using their own street car, truck or bike.

“I think that’s one of our best-kept secrets at BIR,” Copham said. “Many people don’t know that they can come here and compete rather than sit in the grandstands and watch. Most of our races are open to anyone, as long as their car or bike meets safety and tech requirements. Some of the races require a short instructional session as well, but most of our events are open.”

$16,000 bounty for ET Finals wins

Racers in BIR’s Bracket Drag Racing Series this year have another 16,000 reasons to earn a spot on BIR’s ET Finals team. That’s because BIR has put a bounty totaling $16,000 cash on class wins.

Here’s how it breaks down:
$4,000 for Super Pro and Pro ET wins
$3,000 for Sportsman and Race of Champions wins
$2,000 for a Motorcycle win
$800 in BIR Bucks for a High School win

The ET Finals is Sept. 19-21 at Heartland Park in Topeka, Kan. Each year, BIR puts together a team of drivers from its Bracket Drag Racing Series based on their position in the points standings and their availability. BIR’s team typically includes at least 30 racers who compete against more than 600 other racers representing 16 other race tracks across the Midwest and Canada. BIR finished third last year and regularly has one of the strongest teams in the competition.

The other teams come from tracks in the five-state area plus Nebraska, Missouri, Kansas, Wyoming, Colorado and Canada. Teams compete in five classes – Super Pro, Pro ET, Sportsman, Motorcycle and High School – with individual and team honors, $100,000 in prize money and contingency awards on the line. The class champions also go on to Pomona, Calif., in November for a chance to be crowned champion at the Auto Club NHRA Finals.

The ET Finals also includes the Race of Champions, which is a race within a race. Each team identifies one driver in each of the five classes to represent the team in the Race of Champions. Those drivers are then paired up in an elimination format by class to determine the Race of Champions winner, who is next in line if the class champion is unable to compete in Pomona. The winner of the High School Class wins a $1,000 scholarship. Time trials are Friday and Saturday, with eliminations on Sunday. The Race of Champions is Saturday as well.

 

Download our new App!

AppPhoneBrainerd International Raceway has a new app, and it’s free!

Download it today and stay in touch with what’s going on at BIR. The app has everything you need to keep up with what’s happening this season at BIR. At your fingertips, you’ll have the season schedule (including last-minute changes due to weather or other circumstances); track information such as rules, event information, location and parking; ticket prices; and more. You’ll also receive notices from BIR about promotions, specials and contests that you can take advantage of.

It’s super easy to use and free to download. It’s available at the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store. Or, scan the QR Code below and it’ll take you directly to the site where you can install the app with the tap of a button.

Join us today!

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GSTA signs sponsorship deal at BIR

Brainerd International Raceway is proud to announce that it signed a sponsorship deal with the Gopher State Timing Association (GSTA) for the 2015 and 2016 racing seasons.

The two-year deal includes title rights to the Muscle Car Shootout on Labor Day weekend. The Shootout is one of BIR’s largest events each season and features the grand finale of the three-race Muscle Car Series on the drag strip, Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) racing on the road course, a classic car show, live music and a fireworks show by Northern Lights Pyrotechnics. The event is called the GSTA Muscle Car Shootout.

The GSTA sponsorship also includes visibility at the track on signs and logo placement on BIR’s marketing materials.

“BIR has a long history with the GSTA, and now we’re really proud to have them on board as a sponsor,” BIR Owner Jed Copham said. “We think this will be great partnership for both of us.”

BIR as been a long-standing sponsor of GSTA’s annual Rod and Custom Spectacular, a large hot rod show in April in the Minnesota State Fair Coliseum. This year’s show is the 59th annual. Likewise, GSTA has had car exhibits in the past at various BIR events, including the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals, and has a vintage dragster that frequently races at BIR.

“GSTA is looking forward to getting back to its roots of sponsoring safe drag racing events and BIR is the perfect track to partner with to achieve that goal, given our long history together,” GSTA President Dave Smith said.

Since its inception in 1954, the GSTA has governed nearly 100 hot rod and custom car clubs in Minnesota, offering a unified voice in proposing safe drag racing in Minnesota as well as safe and courteous hot rodding.

For more information on the GSTA, click on the logo below.

GSTALogo

 

 

 

Series Champs honored at Racer Banquet

Brainerd International Raceway recently honored drag racers who won series championships last summer in the Bracket Drag Racing Series and the Muscle Car Series.

The annual Racer Banquet was held Jan. 30-31 at Cragun’s Resort. There were 150 racers, family members and guests at the event to recognize the 10 champions from the Bracket Drag Racing Series and the 13 champions from the Muscle Car Series. In addition to those honors, three racers received special awards: Jordan Pratt received the Rookie of the Year Award, Glen Demenge received the Joe Angelo Sportsmanship Award and Dave Engler won the Outstanding Dedication Award.

The six-weekend, 12-race Bracket Drag Racing Series is a fiercely competitive amateur drag racing program that features racers from the five-state area and Canada. More than 250 racers compete each weekend for prize money and series points. Each weekend includes elimination rounds on Saturday and Sunday, with winners crowned each day in 10 classes. All 10 champions were on hand at the banquet to receive their series champions trophy and jackets.

The 2015 Bracket Drag Racing Series champs are (back row from left): BIR Owner Jed Copham, Gary Loeffelholz, Reno Loeffelholz, Rory Emmans, Jason Clampitt and Ben Line. Front row: Emma McFarland, Trevor Jelinski, Riley Luberda, Tracy Arneson and Nick Arnold.

The 2014 Bracket Drag Racing Series champs are (back row from left): BIR Owner Jed Copham, Gary Loeffelholz, Reno Loeffelholz, Rory Emmans, Jason Clampitt and Ben Line. Front row: Emma McFarland, Trevor Jelinski, Riley Luberda, Tracy Arneson and Nick Arnold.

The three-race Muscle Car Series has been part of BIR’s drag racing program for six years and includes the Street Car Showdown on Memorial Day weekend, the PleasureLand RV Show & Go on the Fourth of July weekend and the GSTA Muscle Car Shootout on Labor Day weekend. It features the seven Heads-Up Classes where speeds top 200 mph and times dip below 7 seconds. Eight of the 13 series champions attended the banquet to receive their series champions jackets.

The 2015 Muscle Car Series champs are (back row from left): Roger Peterson, Dave Hodgeman, Lee Loew, Jason Waste, Greg Schmidt and BIR owner Jed Copham. Front row: Gary Tesar, Mike Sterling and Guy Stengel.

The 2014 Muscle Car Series champs are (back row from left): Roger Peterson, Dave Hodgeman, Lee Loew, Jason Waste, Greg Schmidt and BIR owner Jed Copham. Front row: Gary Tesar, Mike Sterling and Guy Stengel.

Click here for a list of the top three racers in each Bracket Drag Racing Series class. 

Click here for a list of the top three racers in each Muscle Car Series class.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The 2014 Junior Dragster champs are from left, Emma McFarland, Trevor Jelinski and Riley Luberda.

The 2014 Junior Dragster champs are from left, Emma McFarland, Trevor Jelinski and Riley Luberda.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The 2014 Outstanding Dedication Award went to Dave Engler. From left is Chris-Ann Wilkoski, Engler, emcee Ron Zenzen, and BIR owners Kristi and Jed Copham.

The 2014 Outstanding Dedication Award went to Dave Engler. From left is Chris-Ann Wilkoski, Engler, emcee Ron Zenzen, and BIR owners Kristi and Jed Copham.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Look for BIR at Twin Cities trade shows

The trade show season is officially under way, giving race fans a chance to get a jump on the racing season.

Look for Brainerd International Raceway at four trade shows this year: The Minnesota Sportsmen’s Show, the Progressive International Motorcycle Show, the Twin Cities Auto Show and the Gopher State Timing Association Rod & Custom Spectacular.

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

Here are details of each show:

The 45th Annual Minnesota Sportsmen’s Show is Jan. 8-11 at the St. Paul RiverCentre in downtown St. Paul. It’s a boat, camping and vacation show with a wide variety of displays, including boats, RVs, outdoor equipment and vacation attractions and destinations. There’s something for everyone!

The Progressive International Motorcycle Show is Feb. 6-8 at the Minneapolis Convention Center. It’s all-things bikes at this show! Hundreds of the latest street bikes, dirt bikes, cruisers, scooters and ATVs will be on display, along with riding gear and aftermarket accessories. A custom bike competition will highlight a long list of entertainment.

The 42nd Annual Twin Cities Auto Show is March 7-15 at the Minneapolis Convention Center. It’s the biggest indoor car show of the year, featuring more than 450 cars. New models represent 35 models of domestic and import vehicles. If you’re looking for the latest and greatest on four wheels, it’s here.

The 59th Annual GSTA Rod & Custom Spectacular is April 11-12 at the Minnesota State Fair Coliseum. Here, you’ll see the nastiest collection of hot rods and customs from throughout the Midwest. Don’t miss it if you’re into fins, flames and fender skirts. A special appearance by Danielle Colby of the History Channel’s American Pickers show.

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

Give BIR Gift Cards for the holidays

Need gift ideas for that special race fan in your life? BIR has the answer.

BIR has just the right Gift Card for all race fans, whether you enjoy watching all the action from the grandstands or prefer being behind the wheel. We have Gift Cards that give you all kinds of options for purchasing BIR merchandise, admission to events, BIR Performance Driving School sessions or rides in our exotic sports cars.

The BIR Gift Card is perfect for fans who are regulars at any of our racing events. You can get these cards in any amount and use them for admission to any 2015 BIR event, including the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals. They can also be used to buy BIR merchandise like hats, shirts, sweatshirts, etc. The BIR Shirt Shack is the place to go to shop for all your BIR merchandise.

The BIR Performance Driving School has Gift Cards that start at $25. Cards can be used to buy sessions at the driving school next season or for StreetSmarts Advanced Defensive Driving for Teens. Those who use them for the driving school can either drive their own car or use one of the school’s Spec Racers. Click here for details.

Race fans can also use their Gift Card to purchase ride-alongs in one of our exotic sports cars. These are HIGH-SPEED laps on the2.5-mile Competition Road Course by one of our school instructors, all of whom have extensive racing experience. It’s an experience you’ll never forget! Here are the cars:

Lamborghini Gallardo
Lotus Exige
Radical SR3 RS
Corvette Z06

Get your gift cards today!

BIR Racer Banquet set for Jan. 30-31

Details of the BIR Racer Banquet are set! Get your reservations in and help us celebrate another fantastic year of racing at BIR!

The Racer Banquet, which is for racers and fans alike, is set for Jan. 30-31 at Cragun’s Resort in Brainerd. The event includes snowmobile trail rides Friday night and Saturday morning, with the banquet Saturday night. It’s going to be another fun weekend and a chance to recognize the Bracket Drag Racing Series Champions and the Muscle Car Series Champions for last season.

The banquet starts at 5:30 p.m. Saturday with a social hour, followed by dinner at 6:30 p.m. and then the awards presentation following dinner. The cost for the banquet is:

Ages 13-Adult – $35.00 each
Ages 8-12 – $15.00 each
Ages 4-7 – $10.00 each

To register, contact Keri at BIR at 218-824-7223 or 866-444-4455 Monday-Friday from 9 a.m.-5 p.m.

For those who will be staying at Cragun’s Resort at least one night, click here - CragunsForm – to download a lodging form. Fill it out and either fax it to BIR at 218-824-7240 or scan it and email it to keri@brainerdraceway.com.

We will provide you with more details on the snowmobile trail rides in the coming weeks. Weather permitting – no rain again, please – we’ll have a ride on Friday evening and another one Saturday morning. Bring your sleds or rent one from Cragun’s. Click here for prices and details: Sleds Pricing

Hope to see everyone there! Bring the whole family – it’s a great mid-winter getaway!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bracket Drag Racing Series championships awarded

With about 200 drivers chasing championships in Brainerd International Raceway’s Bracket Drag Racing Series, a father-son team won the top two classes, while a third driver extended his winning streak to four.

The Bracket Drag Racing Series completed its six-weekend, 12-race season with champions announced in all 10 classes. The winners will he honored Jan. 31 at BIR’s annual Racer Banquet.

Gary Loeffelholz, Super Pro

Gary Loeffelholz, Super Pro

Reno Loeffelholz, Pro ET

Reno Loeffelholz, Pro ET

The Loeffelholz family is celebrating a successful drag racing season as Gary and his 20-year-old son Reno won the top two classes by the thinnest of margins. Gary won the Super Pro Class championship and Reno took home the title in the Pro ET Class.

“It was very cool,” Gary said of the father-son win. “We talked about it (the weekend of the last race) and if we could pull it off.”

Gary drives a 2004 Mustang that runs about 7.4 seconds and 180 mph. He beat second-place finisher Mike Campbell by only 22 points, with a total of 3,854. Racers generally receive about 100 points for each elimination round they win.

Gary’s 16-year-old son Kyle nearly knocked his dad out of first place in the season’s last race. Kyle beat Gary in the fourth round, but Campbell had been eliminated two rounds earlier and the other contenders came up short as well.

Rory Emmans, Sportsman

Rory Emmans, Sportsman

Ben Line, Stock/Super Stock

Ben Line, Stock/Super Stock

The championships are the first for both Gary and Reno. Gary’s been racing at BIR since he was 18 years old but has never won a championship. This is Reno’s fifth year in the series, and his first title as well.

Reno’s season started off very strong. He had his 1968 Mustang dialed in and proved that he was a serious contender for the title. During the second and third racing weekends, he won three races in a row and was looking like he was going to run away with the title, but things changed for him in the middle of the season.

“I couldn’t find the tree,” Reno said about his inconsistent reaction times. “But then I went to a test day and tried some different things. I finally got it figured out again.”

In Stock/Super Stock, the domination continued as Ben Line won his fourth consecutive class championship. He has won the class title in seven of the last eight years.

Nick Arnold, Comp Trophy

Nick Arnold, Comp Trophy

Jason Clampitt, Pro Bike/Sled

Jason Clampitt, Pro Bike/Sled

Driving a 1968 Mustang, Line’s season was punctuated with a King of the Track win in June. The top racers in the Bracket Drag Racing Series have a run-off to determine the best of the best. Line won his way to the finals where he met Travis Reutzel, last year’s King of the Track. Line snuck by Reutzel at the finish line.

Rory Emmans repeated as champion of the Sportsman Class. He battled car problems all season but was able to keep it running – and winning – despite setbacks that included a blown-out drive train, a wrecked torque converter, ignition problems and more.

Emmans was locked into a season-long battle with second-place finisher Bob Gillespie. They were set up for a showdown in the final race but third-place finisher Brad Mickle surfaced as Emmans’ biggest ally when he knocked out Gillespie both Saturday and Sunday. Emmans finished with a slim 27-point win over Gillespie and the rest of the field.

Tracy Arneson, Street Trophy

Tracy Arneson, Street Trophy

Emma McFarland, Jr Drag Advanced

Emma McFarland, Jr Drag Advanced

“I bought Brad a couple drinks for that,” Emmans said. “It takes some luck to win this thing.”

Jason Clampitt jumped out to an early points lead in the Pro Bike/Sled Class by winning the first race of the season, followed by a runner-up finish. He sat on top of the standings the rest of the season for his second class championship in the 12 years he’s been racing at BIR.

“I got some lucky breaks,” the humble Clampitt said. “I was good when I had to be good and lucky when I wasn’t good.”

He credited third-place finisher Mike Voss for his success. He raced Voss’ 1979 Kawasaki all season, clocking consistent runs at about 9.9 seconds and 125 mph.

Trevor Jelinski, Jr Drag Intermediate

Trevor Jelinski, Jr Drag Intermediate

Riley Luberda, Jr Drag Novice

Riley Luberda, Jr Drag Novice

“We’re good friends and travel together to a lot of races,” Clampitt said. “Mike has helped everyone out at one time or another.”

In the Trophy classes, Nick Arnold won Comp Trophy while Tracy Arneson easily won Street Trophy.

The Junior Dragsters crowned champions as well. Emma McFarland won the Junior Dragster Advanced championship while Trevor Jelinski won Junior Dragster Intermediate and Riley Luberda won Junior Dragster Novice. There were 18 drivers competing for a championship in the three Junior Dragster classes.

Click here to see all the point standings.

Below are the top three finishers in each class:

Super Pro
1. Gary Loeffelholz of Shafer
2. Mike Campbell of Brooklyn Park
3. Brandon Schmall of Lino Lakes

Pro ET
1. Reno Loeffelholz of Shafer
2. Shane Boney of Belview
3. Joe Scholla of Andover

Sportsman
1. Rory Emmans of Nowthen
2. Bob Gillespie of Brainerd
3. Brad Mickle of Lino Lakes

Stock/Super Stock
1. Ben Line of International Falls
2. Lance Line of Cromwell
3. Jimmy Paulson of Stacy

Pro Bike/Sled
1. Jason Clampitt of Lino Lakes
2. Cameron Belisle of Hugo
3. Mike Voss of Maplewood

Comp Trophy
1. Nick Arnold of Maple Grove
2. Jared Hutar of Cromwell
3. Michelle Emmans of Nowthen

Street Trophy
1. Tracy Arneson of Pillager
2. Tyler Gadacz of Little Falls
3. Tyler Young of Nisswa

Junior Dragster Advanced
1. Emma McFarland of Sabin
2. Abby Haben of Hibbing
3. Maggie Ruzich of Hibbing

Junior Dragster Intermediate
1. Trevor Jelinski of Little Falls
2. Sydney Haben of Hibbing
3. Aaron Clampitt of Lino Lakes

Junior Dragster Novice
1. Riley Luberda of Foley
2. Alex Clampitt of Lino Lakes
3. Ally Giese of Kandiyohi

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