KQDS to broadcast morning show from BIR this Friday

KQDS-FM will broadcast its wildly popular morning show from BIR’s Tower Suites Friday morning. KQDS, the top radio station in the Duluth market and throughout most of northeast Minnesota, will broadcast live from 6-10 a.m. from the Tower Suites overlooking the drag strip starting line.

KQDS logoThe show stars Jason Manning and Scott Savage, who will be talking about this weekend’s 29th Annual PleasureLand RV Show & Go all morning. The conversation will include interviews with some of the drivers who will compete this weekend, including Duluth’s own Tommy Archer, who will be driving in Sunday’s Trans Am Series race. Archer and his brothers John and Bobby are legendary racers in Minnesota. They’ve won at nearly every level of road racing throughout the country and call BIR their hometrack.

The morning show now airs in the Brainerd area on 95.9 FM. You can hear the show in Duluth and most of northeast Minnesota as well, and streaming online by clicking here to go to KQ’s website.


Minnesota connections highlight Trans Am Series race

As Trans Am prepares for its annual northern pilgrimage to Brainerd International Raceway, it does so in the midst of the creation of a new tradition, a celebration of both Trans Am’s heritage at this historic home for the Series and our country with the Ryan Companies Independence Day Classic, Round 6 of the 2015 Trans Am Championship July 4-5.

Trans Am brings with it a 41-car field to assist in the celebration, a near record entry at Brainered International Raceway, in the Series’ long and storied history at the Minnesota-based track—marking a drastic increase over the 29-car entry Trans Am fielded only last year.

“With this new date, we’re working to build something special at BIR,” said John Clagett, President of The Trans Am Race Company. “This is unquestionably one of the true homes of Trans Am, one that we’ve been racing at since 1969. Now, with the partnership of Ryan Companies, we’re bringing the spectacle of Trans Am at BIR to a national audience on CBS Sports Network and are working to build an event that celebrates the Fourth of July in style.”

In addition, hometown fans will have the opportunity to root for a large Minnesota contingent of drivers and teams who have made their own names within the Trans Am Series, including: Derhaag Motorsports, Archer Racing, Joe Stevens, Tim Gray, Jerry Greene, Jed Copham and, last, but certainly not least, Tommy Archer.

BIR will mark Archer’s return to Trans Am’s TA2 class, complete with a brand new No. 54 c3controls Chevrolet Camaro, after having sat out the prior four rounds in a final round of treatments in his battle with prostate cancer. Now cancer-free Archer, a Duluth native, will make a return to the drivers seat; as he begins his pursuit of Trans Am podiums once more at his home track of Brainerd International Raceway.

Jed Copham, owner of BIR and now driver of the 07 BIR Performance Chevrolet Corvette, has also thrown his hat into the ring for the weekend as a member of the TA class, competing in Trans Am for the third year in a row, as he prepares to take the meaning of home track advantage to a whole new level.

Joe Stevens, driver of the No. 11 MOPAR Dodge Challenger, hot off his career high fifth place finish at New Jersey Motorsports Park joins the hometrack contingent along with Ryan Companies’ own Tim Gray, in the No. 60 Ryan Companies US Inc Chevrolet Camaro, as they both push for their first podium placements of the year.

Derhaag Motorsports, based out of Minneapolis, will look to rebound at BIR as both Simon Gregg, in the No. 59 Derhaag Motorsports Chevrolet Corvette, and Mickey Wright, in the No. 6 Fan Rag Chevrolet Corvette, prepare under the guidance of team owner Jim Derhaag, Minnesota native, who perhaps knows the nuances of the BIR course better than anyone in the Trans Am paddock.

Jerry Greene, driver of the No. 93 Temp Air Porsche 996 GT3, will also carry the Minnesota banner as the lone home-state entrant in TA3, Trans Am’s production based class—a competition that he won at BIR last year.

All eyes will also be on the hotly contested battle for the TA class Championship between current points leader Amy Ruman, driver of the No. 23 McNichols Company Chevrolet Corvette, and Paul Fix, in the No. 4 Chevrolet Corvette. Ruman currently leads Fix by a meager 11 points going into BIR, setting up a second half of the season showdown between the two hottest drivers in the Trans Am paddock—both are yet to miss the podium; and while Ruman has four wins to Fix’s one, the pressure is on for both drivers in one of the tightest Championship races in memory.

One would be remise to neglect the presence of Doug Peterson, in the No. 87 Chevrolet Corvette. Peterson, two-time defending TA class Champion and 2014 BIR victor has had a less than optimal start to the season, hampered by mechanical issues and poor fortune; however the champ is more than well aware that there are plenty of races remaining on the 2015 circuit and a repeat performance at BIR would go a long way towards spring boarding his title defense.

Peterson, will join the likes of Cliff Ebben, John Baucom, David Pintaric, Claudio Burtin and Jim McAleese in an attempt to put a fresh face on the top of the TA class podium, one that has been dominated by Ruman and Fix so far in 2015.

In TA2 two-time defending Champion Cameron Lawrence will look for a return to form after two races in which his podium pursuits have been ended prematurely by contact on course. While he still holds a large lead in the TA2 point standings, he’s seen his gap over runner-up Adam Andretti, driver of the No. 44 Engineered Components Ford Mustang, dwindle and will be more than ready for a return to normalcy in a class that he’s dominated over the past two years.

Standing in his way will be a bevy of competitors in the 20-car deep talent pool that is the TA2 class, with front runners like Andretti; Gar Robinson, in the No. 74 74 Ranch Resort Chevrolet Camaro; Dillon Machavern, in the No. 24 UniFirst Ford Mustang, Shane Lewis; in the No. 72 74 Ranch Resort Chevrolet Camaro; and Lawrence Loshak, in the No. 5 Raybestos Powertrain Ford Mustang, all looking to increase their current top five point standings and force their way into the Championship discussion for the remainder of the year.

Andretti in particular seems to have finally found his niche several races into the ECC team’s switch to the Ford Mustang platform, a switch that finally saw their efforts rewarded with a victory at New Jersey last round. Now, Andretti will aim to keep that momentum alive as he prepares to close the gap on Lawrence and reignite a rivalry with the two-time champ that went down to the wire last year.

As always, fans will be sure to keep an eye on Tony Ave, in the No. 70 Lamers Motor Racing Ford Mustang, as he continues his first season in TA2. The former two-time TA class Champion already has one TA2 win under his belt and has a history of success at Brainerd where he has four TA class victories.

Trans Am’s TA3 class will also be on display with both American Muscle and International Group set to participate. In the American Muscle class, current TA3 points leader and defending Champion, Ernie Francis, Jr., will once more be matched against Todd Napieralski, in the No. 39 Tremec/SKF/Backstreet Chevrolet Camaro—the two are currently one-two in the points as they head north to BIR where Napieralski was victorious last year—there, they will be joined by Fernando Seferis, Mel Shaw, Tim Rubright and Jason Fichter in the pony car exclusive class.

In the International Group, Minnesota’s own Jerry Greene will see the precision of his Porsche GT3 pitted against the American power of Lux Performance Group’s Dodge Vipers, driven by Cindi Lux and Steve Streimer. Greene will look to continue his success at his home track compared to the competition, as both Lux and Stremier prepare to make their Trans Am debuts at BIR.

Trans Am will kick off the weekend’s festivities on Saturday, July 4th with practice at 10:30 a.m. central, followed by “Fast Five” qualifying at 2:20 p.m. Action will continue on Sunday, July 5th at 9:00 a.m. for a second practice session followed by the second chance to qualify at 9:30 a.m. as teams prepare for the 100-mile, 40 lap, Ryan Companies Independence Day Classic at 1:50 p.m. for Round 6 of the 2015 Trans Am Championship with all three classes participating.

Trans Am will be joined at BIR by drag racing, the National Auto Sport Association, live music and a firework display for a full weekend of celebration and motorsports.

By Trans Am Series

Brainerd/Baxter Day at BIR this Sunday

Anyone who resides in Brainerd or Baxter has a very affordable chance to make history Sunday at Brainerd International Raceway but you have to act by 4:30 p.m. Friday.

BIR is offering a $25 ticket to Sunday’s racing for only $10! That’s a $15 savings! All you need to do is bring a coupon to the front gate, prove that your address is 56401 or 56425 and pay $10. It’s that easy. The coupons are available at the Brainerd Lakes Chamber offices at 224 W. Washington St., (next to Ace Hardware in Brainerd), or at the Welcome Center on Hwy 371 south of Brainerd/Baxter. Both offices close for the weekend at 4:30 p.m. Friday.

Ruman_WFans who take advantage of that special are in for an amazing day of racing. The weekend is the 29th Annual PleasureLand RV Show & Go, which features Muscle Car Series drag racing, NASA road racing and Sunday’s main event: the Trans Am Series’ Ryan Companies Independence Day Classic, with 50 cars battling in a 40-lap battle royal. It’s expected to the biggest race in the track’s history and will be televised at 11 a.m. July 25 on CBS Sports Network.

The Trans Am Series race starts at 1:50 p.m. Among the drivers is Adam Andretti, who is the nephew of racing legend Mario Andretti. He’ll be driving the No. 44 Chevy Camaro.

Sterling_WThe drag strip will be busy Sunday as well with elimination rounds in the second leg of the three-race Muscle Car Series, which features seven Heads-Up Classes. Fans will be treated to huge horsepower, 200 mph speeds and times in the 6- to 7-second range.

Click here for a full schedule on Sunday.

Parking is free and the pits are always open for fans. Without a coupon, daily admission is $25 and kids 12 and younger are always free.

Trans Am Series photo by Rick Corwine


Andretti, Archer among drivers racing in Trans Am Series

Adam Andretti

Adam Andretti

Two familiar racing names – Andretti and Archer – will be among the pro drivers on Brainerd International Raceway’s road course the Fourth of July weekend as they compete in the Trans Am Series race, the featured event of the 29th Annual PleasureLand RV Show & Go.

The Andretti name should be a familiar one to anyone who has followed racing over the last six decades. Adam Andretti, 36, will be behind the wheel of the No. 44 Chevy Camaro during the Trans Am Series’ Ryan Companies Independence Day Classic July 5. Andretti is the younger brother of veteran NASCAR driver John Andretti, first cousin of Indy 500 drivers Michael and Jeff Andretti, and nephew of racing legend Mario Andretti, who is the only driver to win the Indy 500, the Daytona 500 and the Formula One World Championships. Mario even raced at BIR in the late 1960s, shortly after the track was built, and served on BIR’s Board of Directors in the track’s early years.

Tommy Archer

Tommy Archer

Adam Andretti brings the family name back to BIR for the second year in a row. He has a diverse racing resume himself, competing in the NASCAR Featherlite Southwest Series, 24 Hours of Daytona and the Indy Pro Series before settling in to the Trans Am Series last year. He is currently in second place in the series’ TA2 standings after five races.

Archer is also from a familiar – and very successful – racing family, one that got its start in Duluth on the dirt oval track in Proctor and the ice tracks off Park Point. Brothers Tommy, John and Bobby started Archer Brothers Racing and went on to dominate road racing in the 1980s, winning the Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) National Run-Off, eight straight SCCA World Challenge Championships and many races at BIR, which they consider their home track. Tommy, 57, also won the Detroit Grand Prix and had two second-place finishes at the prestigious 24 Hours of LeMans in France. He will be behind the wheel of the No. 49 Chevy Camaro at BIR.

Andretti and Archer will be among 50 drivers expected to race in the Independence Day Classic, a 40-lap, 100-mile race that will cap off a full weekend of racing. The Trans Am Series is typically part of BIR’s GSTA Muscle Car Shootout on Labor Day weekend, but was moved to the Show & Go this year so SCCA Pro Racing could expand the race and televise it. The race will be aired on CBS Sports Network at 11 a.m. July 25.

The Trans Am Series will be on BIR’s 2.5-mile Competition Road Course for practice and qualifying Saturday and Sunday morning, with the race starting at 1:50 p.m. Sunday.

When the Trans Am Series isn’t on the road course, the National Auto Sport Association (NASA) will be sharing its brand of competitive road racing. NASA has time trials, qualifying and racing scheduled both Saturday and Sunday.

BIR’s drag strip will be busy as well all weekend with the second leg of the three-race Muscle Car Series. The action will be redlining as more than 350 drivers chase series championships. The series’ seven Heads-Up Classes will be center stage because of the big horsepower and incredible speed on the track. Fans will see runs more than 200 mph and in the 6- to 7-second range.

Off the track, fans will be treated to a Classic Car Show on Saturday, live music by Waves Collide, a fireworks display and kids activities.

“We’re really excited about this year’s PleasureLand RV Show & Go because of the addition of the Trans Am Series and NASA on the road course,” BIR owner Jed Copham said. “The Trans Am Series race is going to be some of the best road racing we’ve ever had here because the TV contract will bring out so many more professional teams. Fans are in for a real treat.”

Daily admission is $25 and kids 12 and under are free. Tickets are available at the front gate or by calling BIR’s Ticket Office at 218-824-RACE (7223) or 866-444-4455.On-site camping is free with a multi-day ticket.

Junior Drag Racing Challenge highlights Bracket weekend

More than 300 drag racers descended on Brainerd International Raceway last weekend for the Bracket Drag Racing Series’ third race weekend, but it was the Junior Dragsters that stole the spotlight.

Junior Dragster Challenge winners: Emma McFarland, Trevor Jelinski, Alex Clampitt

Junior Dragster Challenge winners: Emma McFarland, Trevor Jelinski, Alex Clampitt

Junior Dragsters (ages 8-18) competed in three classes Saturday during the NHRA Summit Racing Junior Drag Racing League Challenge and a chance to win a Wally trophy, like the ones their heros in the Mello Yello Drag Racing Series win.

At the end of the day, Emma McFarland added another Wally to her trophy case, the second one in as many years. She won the Junior Dragster Advanced Class last year as well, and now has officially started a winning streak. She beat Caleb Schafer in the finals with a time of 8.024 seconds and 79.91 mph.

In Junior Dragster Intermediate, Trevor Jelinski beat Aaron Clampitt in the finals to take home a Wally trophy. His final pass was 9.116 seconds and 70.22 mph. Jelinski is now in first place in the point standings.

Alex Clampitt’s win in Junior Dragster Novice earned him a Wally trophy, while taking over first place in the point standings. Clampitt beat Dylan Dancer with a time of 13.035 seconds and 49.30 mph.

The Bracket Drag Racing Series was part of a big race weekend at BIR, with the International Watercross Association providing entertaining snowmobile racing on Lake BIR, and the Central Roadracing Association joining forces with the Championship Cup Series from Texas for a combined Superbike race.

Like their junior counterparts, the adult drag racers were responsible for some great racing last weekend as well.

Super Pro winner Myron Streit

Super Pro winner Myron Streit

Pro ET winner Joe Howell

Pro ET winner Joe Howell

In Super Pro, Myron Streit was one win away from sweeping the class. He was runner up Saturday and then came back on Sunday to win the class and take a nice lead in the point standings. There were 94 drivers racing in the Super Pro Class.

On Saturday, Streit and his 1968 Camaro lost to Larry Wiebusch Jr. in the finals. Wiebusch had a slight lead off the starting line and held off Streit at the finish line to win with a 9.651-second run at 142.37 mph.

That would be Streit’s only loss of the weekend. On Sunday, he ran the table and faced off with Greg Grundman in the finals. Grundman beat Streit off the starting line but Streit caught him at the finish line for the win, posting a time of 10.882 seconds and 118.79 mph.

The Pro ET Class had 96 racers who provided some great racing as well. On Saturday, Joe Howell and his ’86 Mustang finished off Jon Kelly in the finals for the win and sole position of first place in the standings. Howell’s winning time was 9.420 seconds and 140.43 mph.

Howell was bumped in Round 5 on Sunday, while Tevin Zavadil and his ’90 Cavalier outlasted the field to win the class and move into fourth place in the standings. He beat Shawn Carlson in the finals with a time of 9.401 seconds and 141.61 mph.

In the 33-driver Sportsman Class, Brandon Schmall won the class on Saturday, moving into first place in the standings by a slim margin. Schmall and his ’70 Challenger beat Bob Gillespie in the finals, despite Gillespie’s near perfect .004-second reaction time on the starting line. But Gillespie couldn’t hold off Schmall, who won with a time of 12.511 seconds and 100.88 mph.

In Sunday’s Sportsman finals, Mark Pease and his ’03 Silverado beat Joe Moriarty, who fouled at the starting line.

In Pro Bike/Sled, Jeremy Berg and his 2002 Suzuki qualified No. 1 on Saturday and then beat Kayla Lundberg in the finals when Lundberg fouled at the starting line. On Sunday, Troy Gasoigne and his 2012 Kawasaki beat Kyle Olson in the finals with a time of 9.428 seconds and 144.13 mph.

In Comp Trophy, Jared Hutar is starting to run away with the class. He swept the class last weekend, beating Sid Osterman in Saturday’s finals and Chad Rach in Sunday’s finals. He’s got a commanding lead in the point standings.

In Street Trophy, Tyler Gadacz qualified No. 1 both days but he couldn’t get past the semifinals round.  Moriarty beat Todd Anderson in Saturday’s finals and Suzie Helberg beat Kellie Kastner in Sunday’s finals when Kastner fouled at the starting line.

The new Quick 16 Shootout paired up Brad Baklund, who was the fastest door car, and Brian Johnson, the fastest dragster. Backlund’s reaction time was .007-seconds, and he never looked back as he beat Johnson with a run of 8.090 seconds and 167.97 mph.

The next Bracket Drag Racing Series event is July 11-12. A new King of the Track will be crowned that Saturday.

Below are the results from each day of racing.


Junior Dragster Advanced
Finals: Emma McFarland of Sabin def. Caleb Schafer of Burnsville
Semifinals: McFarland def. Sydney Haben of Hibbing; Schafer had a bye

Junior Dragster Intermediate
Finals: Trevor Jelinski of Little Falls def. Aaron Clampitt of Lino Lakes
Semifinals: Jelinski def. Chandler Niemeyer of Brainerd; Clampitt def. Samantha Cielinski of Gilman

Junior Dragster Novice
Finals: Alex Clampitt of Lino Lakes def. Dylan Dancer of Foley
Semifinals: Clampitt def. Riley Luberda of Foley; Dancer had a bye

Super ProFinals: Larry Wiebusch Jr. of Nowthen def. Myron Streit of St. Cloud
Semifinals: Wiebusch had a bye; Streit def. Les Feist of Clearwater

Pro ET
Finals: Joe Howell of Big Lake def. Jon Kelly of Newport
Semifinals: Howell def. Rory Emmans of Nowthen; Kelly had a bye

Finals: Brandon Schmall of Lino Lakes def. Bob Gillespie of Brainerd
Semifinals: Schmall def. Brad Mickle of Lino Lakes; Gillespie def. Nick Arnold of Maple Grove

Pro Bike/Sled
Finals: Jeremy Berg of Newport def. Kayla Lundberg of Isanti
Semifinals: Berg def. Mike Voss of Maplewood; Lundberg def. Aaron Schrupp of Mount

Comp Trophy
Finals: Jared Hutar of Cromwell def. Sid Osterman of Pequot Lakes
Semifinals: Hutar had a bye; Osterman def. Mike Larson of Brainerd

Street Trophy
Finals: Joe Moriarty of Ham Lake def. Todd Anderson of Brainerd
Semifinals: Moriarty def. Tyler Gadacz of Little Falls; Anderson def. Kellie Kastner of Clearwater

Quick 16
Finals: Brad Baklund of Rogers def. Brian Johnson of Nowthen
Semifinals: Baklund def. Tom Carlson of Two Harbors; Johnson def. Dan Narusiewics of St. Paul

Super Pro
Finals: Myron Streit of St. Cloud def. Greg Grundman of St. Cloud
Semifinals: Streit def. Tony Leonard of Hastings; Grundman had a bye

Pro ET
Finals: Tevin Zavadil of Clearwater def. Shawn Carlson of Elbow Lake
Semifinals: Zavadil had a bye; Carlson def. Tony Leonard of Hastings

Finals: Mark Pease of Corcoran; def. Joe Moriarty of Ham Lake
Semifinals: Pease def. Russ Elzy of Becker; Moriarty def. Darin Altmann

Pro Bike/Sled
Finals: Troy Gasoigne of Zumbrota def. Kyle Olson of Moorland, Iowa
Semifinals: Gasoigne had a bye; Olson def. Jimmy Paulson of Stacy

Comp Trophy
Finals: Jared Hutar of Cromwell def. Chad Rach of Aitkin
Semifinals: Hutar def. John Takacs of Thunder Bay, Ontario; Rach had a bye

Street Trophy
Finals: Suzie Helberg of St. Croix Falls, Wis. def. Kellie Kastner of Clearwater
Semifinals: Helberg def. Joe Moriarty of Ham Lake; Kastner def. Tyler Gadacz of Little Falls

Junior Dragster Advanced
Finals: Sarah Johnson of Nowthen def. Erik Johnson of AnokaSemifinals: Johnson def. Carter Lindquist of Minnetonka; Johnson had a bye

Junior Dragster Intermediate
Finals: Aaron Clampitt of Lino Lakes def. Zach McFarland of Sabin
Semifinals: Clampitt def. Reese Reutzel of Annandale; McFarland def. Camryn Takacs of Thunder Bay, Ont.

Junior Dragster Novice
Finals: Alex Clampitt of Lino Lakes def. Dylan Dancer of Foley
Semifinals: Clampitt def. Riley Luberda of Foley; Dancer def. Travis Kurkosky of Annandale

MAP Proving Grounds brings wild import action to BIR

The Modern Automotive Performance Proving Grounds returns to Brainerd International Raceway this weekend for crazy competition featuring drifting, drag racing, autocross, open lapping, burnout contests, car shows and more.

Imports, sport compacts, trucks and bikes from all corners of the Midwest will invade BIR for the Proving Grounds. If you like the scream of turbo-charged imports and the smell of burnt rubber, than this event is for you.

MAPThe entire BIR facility will be busy with Proving Grounds events, starting with the always-popular drifting competition, where drivers use controlled skids to maneuver their cars through a cone-lined course. It’s a timed event and a fun one for fans to watch. There’s even a Tandem Drift Competition for advanced drivers Saturday afternoon, where multiple cars fly through the course together. Drifting is Friday, all day Saturday and Sunday afternoon.

On the drag strip, cars will  compete in seven different classes, all of which feature heads-up racing, meaning they both start at the same time and the fastest car to the finish line wins. There are classes for bikes and snowmobiles as well. Time trials and qualifying are Friday and Saturday, with eliminations Sunday morning. On Sunday afternoon, MAP added Grudge Style Rolling Racing, for a little drag racing nostalgia.

Autocross is also on the schedule. Similar to drifting, autocross features cars maneuvering their way through a cone-lined course in a more controlled fashion but still timed. Autocross is Friday and Saturday.

MAP2014And on BIR’s 2.5-mile Competition Road Course, drivers will test themselves against the clock in the Time Attack event. Drivers begin from a standstill on the starting line and then complete the 2.5 miles in the fastest time possible. Time Attack is Saturday and Sunday.

Drivers who really want to test themselves can compete in the Triple Track Showdown, which is a combined event that includes drag racing, autocross and Time Attack.

The Proving Grounds is for novice drivers, expert drives and everything in between.

For schedules of events and more details, click here.

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

This weekend: Superbikes, dragsters, watercross

Where else can you find Superbikes flying around a road course, drag racers burning up the drag strip and snowmobiles defying gravity as they race around an oval track on open water – all taking place at the same time?

It can only be a Wet & Wild Weekend at Brainerd International Raceway. A single ticket gets fans in to see all three races.

IWA_BIR_WThe snowmobiles are part of the International Watercross Association, which features drag racing and oval racing on Lake BIR. In drag racing, snowmobiles race from one shoreline to the other. For oval racing, the snowmobiles take off from shore, complete four or five laps around floating markers and then return to shore. Sometimes, the laws of physics catch up to them and they sink to the bottom of the lake, which requires a special pontoon to hoist them out of the water and deliver them back to shore where the sled is dried out in time for the next heat.

While the snowmobiles are on the lake, Superbikes will be on BIR’s 2.5-mile Competition Road Course. It’s the Central Racing6Roadracing Association’s second of five club racing weekends at BIR this season, but this one has added importance because it’s a joint race weekend with the Champion Cup Series from Texas. Superbike riders from both organizations will be on the track for practice sessions and racing all weekend. That means high bike counts and great racing action.

The drag strip will be busy as well with BIR’s third Bracket Drag Racing Series weekend. The last series weekend attracted more than 400 drag racers competing in dragsters, cars, trucks, bikes and

Clayton Mattson won Sunday's Stock/Super Stock Class

Clayton Mattson won Sunday’s Stock/Super Stock Class

Junior Dragsters. This weekend’s race includes the NHRA Summit Racing Junior Drag Racing League Championship, where kids under age 18 will compete in three Junior Dragster classes for a Wally trophy. Saturday and Sunday both feature time trials and qualifying, followed by eliminations rounds.

“This weekend’s event will be a lot of fun,” BIR Owner Jed Copham said. “The snowmobile race has become really popular with our fans because it’s so unusual. The Superbike racing is going to be great racing with the addition of the CCS from Texas. And our bracket racers always put on a great show.”

Daily admission is $20 and kids 12 and under are free. Tickets are available at the gate.

CRA photo courtesy of SDE.

NHRA Divisional drag racers put on a show during Thunder

Doug Engels qualified No. 1 in Comp Eliminator and out-ran the competition straight to the winners circle during last weekend’s NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series at Brainerd International Raceway.

Paul Pittman won Top Sportsman
Paul Pittman won Top Sportsman

Engels faced off with No. 3 qualifier Clint Sallee in the finals and had the power to hold him off with a 7.201-second lap at 185.05 mph to Sallee’s quicker 6.797, 203.49. Both drivers are former West Central division champions.

J.R. Lobner was out first on Brad Basgall in the Fineline Graphics/Madcap Racing Top Dragster class with a .008-second reaction time and cruised to a 6.963-second win as Basgall had car problems from the start.

In the Jerry Haas Race Cars Top Sportsman class, Paul Pittman took the win over Tom Schmidt, who was out first but ran too quick by .013 seconds. Pittman went 6.656 seconds on the 6.64 dial at 212.23 mph in his ’13 Camaro for the win.

Abe Loewen and Tyler Wudarczky captured wins in Super Stock and Stock, respectively.  Loewen took the holeshot on Mark Jenkins in the finals and ran 9.526 seconds on the 9.52 dial to down Jenkins. Wudarczyk drove his ’69 Nova past Ben Line, covering the quarter mile in 11.472 seconds at just over 100 mph.

Your 2015 winners.
Your 2015 winners.

Three Minnesota racers won in the super index classes as Jordan Pratt downed Austin Sharpe in Super Comp, Mark McMasters ousted Chuck Rose in Super Gas and Tony Leonard knocked off Jeff Landholm in Super Street. Pratt and Sharpe were close off the line but Pratt was better at the stripe in a double break-out, 8.894 seconds to 8.855. McMasters was better at both ends of the tracks, running 9.899 seconds, just .001 off the index, and Leonard had a tenth of a second lead at the start with a near perfect 10.901-second pass to hold off Jeff Landholm.

In Sportsman Motorcycle presented by Harley-Davidson, Cameron Belisle beat Jason Clampitt, who was out first but Belisle had the power to run him down, posting a 9.335-second pass on his ’90 Kawasaki at 132.06 mph.

In the Super Shootouts, Chris Bishop beat Jeremy Lehrke in Super Comp; John Gosh ended Russ Ginger’s day in Super Gas; and Laurie Pederson-Duffield won over Amy Jo Luberda in Super Street.

Adman Kritzky and Candace Jurgens took the honors in the NHRA Summit Jr. Drag Racing League. Kritzky held off local racer Chandler Niemeyer in the 8-12 year old class and Jurgens beat Meagen Neil in the 13-17 year old division.

West Central Division racers head to Bandimere Speedway for the next NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series event, June 19-21.

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

Doug Engels, Watertown, S.D., dragster, D/D, 7.201, 185.05 def. Clint Sallee, Glendive, Mont., dragster, B/D, 6.797, 203.49.

Abe Loewen, Regina, Sask., ’98 Grand Am, SS/DM, 9.526, 134.82  def. Mark Jenkins, Wymore, Neb., ’02 Cavalier, GT/D, 9.761, 133.49.

Tyler Wudarczyk, Wakarusa, Kan., ’69 Nova, G/SA, 11.472, 106.47 def. Ben Line, International Falls, Minn., ’69 Mustang, C/SA, 10.801, 122.62.

Jordan Pratt, Otsego, Minn., dragster, 8.894, 168.64 def. Austin Sharpe, Omaha, Neb., dragster, 8.855, 174.35.

Mark McMasters, Owatonna, Minn., ’57 Corvette, 9.899, 161.38 def. Chuck Rose, S. Sioux City, Neb., ’71 Challenger, 9.893, 150.97.

Tony Leonard, Hastings, Minn., ’70 Nova, 10.901, 119.93 def. Jeff Landholm, Oakland, Neb., ’68 Camaro, 10.926, 142.97.

J.R. Lobner, Gardner, Kan., dragster, 6.963, 161.69 def. Brad Basgall, Hays, Kan., dragster, 40.424, 37.37.

Paul Pittman, Bloomington, Minn., ’13 Camaro, 6.656, 212.23 def. Tom Schmidt, Lindstrom, Minn., ’09 GXP, 6.927, 200.62.

Cameron Belisle, Hugo, Minn., ’90 Kawasaki, 9.335, 132.06 def. Jason Clampitt, Lino Lakes, Minn., ’79 Kawasaki, 9.931, 129.39.


400+ cars compete in second Bracket Drag Racing weekend

Gary Loeffelholz didn’t waste any time making his presence known last weekend during Brainerd International Raceway’s Bracket Drag Racing Series.

Loeffelholz is the defending champion in the Super Pro Class and joined 400 other drivers for the series’ second race weekend of the season. By Sunday night, he had a runner-up finish and pocketed $1,200 for winning the new Quick 16 Shoot.

Clayton Mattson won Sunday's Stock/Super Stock Class

Clayton Mattson won Sunday’s Stock/Super Stock Class

Loeffelholz had his 2004 Mustang dialed in, posting times of 7.3 seconds and speeds of 180 mph, which made him one of the fastest cars at the track. “I was extremely happy (with the car),” he said. “It was deadly.”

On Saturday, Loeffelholz won his way to the fifth round of eliminations where he lost to Tom Carlson, who went on beat Ronnie Luberda in the Super Pro finals. Loeffelholz chalked up his loss to a driving error at the starting line.

There were no mistakes Saturday during the Quick 16 Shoot, though. The Quick 16 features the eight fastest door cars against the eight fastest dragsters. Loeffelholz won the first three rounds and then lined up across from Jordan Pratt and his Spitzer dragster in the finals. Loeffelholz was 7/1,000ths of a second quicker off the starting line and held off Pratt to win by 5/1,000ths of a second. His winning time was 7.298 seconds and 185.54 mph.

Loeffelholz carried that momentum through Sunday’s race where he outlasted 102 other drivers in the Super Pro class for a runner-up finish, losing to Mike Anderson and his 1965 Nova in the finals. Anderson ran 9.334 seconds and 140.49 mph.

Mike Anderson

Mike Anderson

Chuck Roycraft

Chuck Roycraft

Anderson went on to win Sunday’s Super Pro/Pro Shootout to pocket $2,000 in prize money. The Shootout pits the Super Pro Class winner against the Pro ET Class winner, with a $3,000 cash purse on the line. Chuck Roycraft beat out 81 other drivers to win the Pro ET Class, but he couldn’t keep up to Anderson in the Shootout.

The next Bracket Drag Racing Series is June 12-14 and will feature the NHRA Summit Racing Junior Drag Racing League Challenge, which will be Saturday. It’s a chance for kids who compete in the three Junior Dragster classes to win a Wally trophy.

In addition to bracket drag racing, that weekend will include International Watercross Association (IWA) racing on Lake BIR. IWA racing features snowmobiles racing on open water in drag racing and around an oval course Crowd_Wmarked by floating markers.

BIR’s 2.5-mile Competition Road Course will be busy as well, with a dual event featuring Superbike racing courtesy of the Central Roadracing Association (CRA) and the Championship Cup Series (CCS) from Texas. The CRA typically has five weekends on the schedule at BIR and invited the CCS for a joint event.

Below are results from the weekend.


Super Pro
Finals: Tom Carlson of Two Harbors def. Ronnie Luberda of Foley
Semifinals: Carlson had a bye; Luberda def. Bruce Kaul of Racine

Pro ET
Finals: Dave Engler of Ramsey def. Aaron Milton of Maple Grove
Semifinals: Engler def. Jenna Jahnke of Stillwater; Milton had a bye

Finals: Russ Elzy of Becker def. Ryan Hutar of Cromwell
Semifinals: Elzy had a bye; Hutar def. Andy Kuklok of St. Cloud

Stock/Super Stock
Finals: Bill Feist of Maple Grove def. Scott Dugdale of Stacy
Semifinals: Feist def. Tim Bosbek of Andover; Dugdale def. Brett Speer of Little Falls

Pro Bike/Sled
Finals: Kyle Olson of Moorland, Iowa def. Jimmy Paulson of Stacy
Semifinals: Olson def. Jeremy Berg of Newport; Paulson def. Mike Voss of Maplewood

Comp Trophy
Finals: Sid Osterman of Pequot Lakes def. Jared Hutar of Cromwell
Semifinals: Osterman def. DJ Spiczka of Rice; Hutar had a bye

Street Trophy
Finals: Joe Moriarty of Ham Lake def. Tyler Gadacz of Little Falls
Semifinals: Moriarty def. Holly Johnson of Mound; Gadacz def. Josh Luberda of Foley

Junior Dragster Advanced
Finals: Cassidy Takacs of Thunder Bay, Ontario def. Zachary Zavadil of Clearwater
Semifinals: Takacs def. Carter Lindquist of Minnetonka; Zavadil def. Derrick Howell of Big Lake

Junior Dragster Intermediate
Finals: Trevor Jelinski of Little Falls def. Samantha Cielinski of Gilman
Semifinals: Jelinski def. Aaron Clampitt of Lino Lakes; Cielinski def. Zach McFarland of Sabin

Junior Dragster Novice
Finals: Alex Clampitt of Lino Lakes def. Megan Cielinski of Gilman
Semifinals: Clampitt def. Riley Luberda of Foley; Cielinski def. Dylan Dancer of Foley

Junior Dragster Youth
Finals: Daniel Dancer of Foley def. Carter Luberda of Foley
Semifinals: Dancer def. Brody Thompson; Luberda had a bye

Quick 16 Shootout
Gary Loeffelholz of Shafer def. Jordan Pratt of Otsego



Super Pro
Finals: Mike Anderson of St. Joseph def. Gary Loeffelholz of Shafer
Semifinals: Anderson def. Chuck Roycraft of Minnetonka; Loeffelholz def. Myron Streit of St. Cloud

Pro ET
Finals: Chuck Roycraft of Minnetonka def. Steve Brings of Howard Lake
Semifinals: Roycraft had a bye; Brings def. Travis Reutzel of Annandale

Finals: Brandon Schmall of Lino Lakes def. Jesse Luberda of Foley
Semifinals: Schmall had a bye; Luberda def. Jerry Heib of Maple Grove

Stock/Super Stock
Finals: Clayton Mattson of Cloquet def. Brett Speer of Little Falls
Semifinals: Mattson def. Glen DeMenge of McGregor; Speer def. Dean Mesenbring of Rochester

Pro Bike/Sled
Finals: Jimmy Paulson of Stacy def. Jason Clampitt of Lino Lakes
Semifinals: Paulson def. Kyle Olson of Moorland, Iowa; Clampitt had a bye

Comp Trophy
Finals: Lawrence Schreiner of St. Cloud def. Jared Hutar of Cromwell
Semifinals: Schreiner def. Sid Osterman; Hutar def. Sheryl Takacs of Thunder Bay, Ontario

Street Trophy
Finals: Tyler Gadacz of Little Falls; def. Ryan Eisen of South St. Paul
Semifinals: Gadacz def. Joe Moriarty of Ham Lake; Eisen def. Chuck Holien of Maple Grove

Junior Dragster Advanced
Finals: Derrick Howell of Big Lake def. Paige Findell of Zimmerman
Semifinals: Howell def. Cassidy Takacs of Thunder Bay, Ontario; Findell def. Sydney Haben of Hibbing

Junior Dragster Intermediate
Finals: Zach McFarland of Sabin def. Trevor Jelinski of Little Falls
Semifinals: McFarland def. Samantha Cielinski of Gilman; Jelinski def. Jazper Wiebusch of Ham Lake

Junior Dragster Novice
Finals: Riley Luberda of Foley def. Megan Cielinski of Gilman
Semifinals: Luberda def. Travis Kurkosky of Annandale; Cielinski def. Allyson Giese of Kandiyohi

Junior Dragster Youth
Finals: Carter Luberda of Foley def. Daniel Dancer of Foley
Semifinals: Luberda def. Brody Thompson; Dancer had a bye




NHRA drag racing at center stage for Thunder at the Lakes

The NHRA’s Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series makes its annual stop at BIR this weekend for Thunder at the Lakes, a three-day speed fest for drag racers gunning for a national championship.

Doug Woody competed in Top Sportsman last year.

Doug Woody competed in Top Sportsman last year.

For fans, Thunder at the Lakes is a sneak preview to the type of Sportsman drag racing they can see during the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals in August. These racers come from all over the country to earn points toward divisional and national championships and to take home a piece of the year-end purse worth more than $519,000.

While drag racers are on the drag strip this weekend, the North Star Chapter of the BMW Car Club of America will be on BIR’s 2.5-mile Competition Road Course for three days of driving events. The BMW event is included in daily admission, and fans are encouraged to watch these skilled

Daryl Forrest raced in Top Dragster.

Daryl Forrest raced in Top Dragster.

drivers take on the 13-turn track.

The drag racing program provides some of the season’s best racing. Fans are treated to super-competitive drag racing in nine classes: 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 round out the classes.

Thunder at the Lakes features drag racers in the NHRA’s West Central Division, which stretches from Wyoming to Wisconsin and from Colorado to Kansas, and includes parts of Canada. Friday is a testing day, qualifying and time trials are Saturday, and eliminations are Sunday.

Daily admission is $25, and kids 12 and younger are free.


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