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Accident results in tragic loss

A single-car accident on Brainerd International Raceway’s (BIR) road course resulted in the death of Trans Am Series driver and long-time racer Mel Shaw Sunday.

The incident is under investigation by the Crow Wing County Sheriff’s Department, but Shaw was racing in the Sports Car Club of America’s (SCCA) GT2 class when he ran off the track at Turn 3 and crashed into a concrete barrier. He was pronounced dead at the scene. His body was transported to the Ramsey County Medical Examiner’s office in St. Paul for an autopsy.

Shaw, a 70-year-old racer from New Jersey, was also scheduled to drive in the following race, the 100-mile, 40-lap Ryan Companies Independence Day Classic, which was the finale of BIR’s PleasureLand RV Show & Go, a three-day affair that featured drag racing, road racing, a car show, live music and fireworks. Shaw was set to drive a Camaro in the TA4 class for Breathless Performance Racing Team.

“The staff and racing community at Brainerd International Raceway are deeply sorry for the loss of a passionate and longtime racer, Mel Shaw,” said BIR owners Jed and Kristi Copham. “Our heartfelt condolences go out to Mel’s family, his racing team and the entire Trans Am Series and SCCA organizations.

It appears that Shaw may have been having some health issues before he crashed, Jed Copham said. Other drivers reported that he was driving erratically after Turn 2, and when he drove off the track, he didn’t let up on the throttle, didn’t hit the brakes and didn’t try to turn. “I can’t imagine an alert racer driving straight off a turn like that without attempting to avoid making contact with the wall,” he said.

Shaw

Cameron Lawrence takes Trans Am Win at BIR

Cameron Lawrence secured his first career Trans Am Series presented by Pirelli TA class victory during the Ryan Companies Independence Day Classic at Brainerd International Raceway (BIR). The victory completed a weekend that saw Lawrence compete in three separate races: the Continental Tire 120 at Watkins Glen, the TA2 class Ryan Companies Muscle Car Challenge at BIR, where he finished fifth, and the Ryan Companies Independence Day Classic, ending his weekend atop the podium.

Cameron Lawrence won the Trans Am Series' Ryan Companies independence Day Classic during BIR's PleasureLand RV Show & Go.

Cameron Lawrence won the Trans Am Series’ Ryan Companies independence Day Classic during BIR’s PleasureLand RV Show & Go.

Lawrence, a two-time TA2 champion and winner of 20 Trans Am races, captured the win in only his second TA class appearance, his first appearance having been cut short due to a mechanical failure at Indianapolis Motor Speedway just as the green flag flew. With poor luck a thing of the past, Lawrence brought home the No. 6 Derhaag Motorsports Chevrolet Corvette first overall in the 100-mile, 40-lap TA, TA3 and TA4 multi-class field.

“It was a weekend of threes, but this one was definitely a first for me in the TA class,” Lawrence said. “I’m definitely worn out and exhausted and looking forward to getting home and getting some sleep but what more can you ask for. Just getting to run three races in a weekend is rare and a great opportunity; but we’ve had some bad luck this year, as has the Derhaag team, and this is the best possible way to end today. I’m so glad we could put a win together for Derhaag Motorsports.”

The race was BIR’s weekend finale for the 31st Annual PleasureLand RV Show & Go. The Trans Am TA2 class raced earlier in the day during the 100-mile, 40-lap Ryan Companies Muscle Car Challenge, where Tony Buffomante led all 40 laps for the win. The Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) was on the road course as well, while the Muscle Car Series was on the drag strip for three days.

Lawrence, who missed qualifying due to his obligations at Watkins Glen, started the day in eighth position in the nine-car field, consistently working his way up the field, securing fourth position on the fifth lap before the race’s only full-course caution came out on lap nine with the No. 00 of James Pesek stuck off course in turn 12.

After green racing resumed on lap 12, Lawrence would move into third over Amy Ruman, in the No. 23 McNichols Company Chevrolet, on lap 16, then second over pole-sitter Vinnie Allegretta, in the No. 41 TA Sights Sounds Chevrolet Corvette, commencing pursuit of the No. 98 Buoniconti Fund Ford Mustang of Ernie Francis, Jr.

Francis held a comfortable lead but suffered a stuck throttle with only three laps remaining, causing the No. 98 to spin. Francis, the winner of four straight TA class competitions, fell back to third, leaving Lawrence to take the lead — completing an improbable victory for a driver for whom the start of the race marked his first time in the car all weekend.

“It was really tough,” Lawrence said. “Luckily enough I drove the same chassis in the June Sprints in 2014 when we were fortunate enough to win both races. I had plenty of laps in the TA2 race and that helped me get my markers and references down and get familiar with the track again. It’s been a while —  I didn’t even race here last year so it’s been two years since I’ve even seen this track. So it was difficult, but starting in the back, you learn a lot from everybody. There are plenty of good drivers in TA; so watching Amy, Vinnie and Ernie helped me. It was a patient day for us; it doesn’t always work out that way with the midrace caution. There were guys racing hard, making a few mistakes and some bad luck; it all fell our way today. You don’t get these all that often in racing; you have to appreciate them when you do.”

For his efforts working his way up through the TA class field Lawrence was also awarded the COOLSHIRT Systems Cool Move of the Race.

Pole-sitter Vinnie Allegretta finished second, while Francis recovered to secure a third-place finish — easily retaining his lead atop the TA class championship with 166 points to Allegretta’s 135. Francis also set the fast lap of the race, a 1:28.775 lap around the 2.5-mile road course.

BIR owner Jed Copham, in the No. 44 BC Race Cars/ Tesar Engines Chevrolet Corvette, finished fourth, his career best finish in his fourth Trans Am start, all of which have been at BIR. Amy Ruman, the two-time defending TA class champion, finished fifth to retain third in the points with 112.

Tim Kezman won the TA3 class.

Tim Kezman won the TA3 class.

In TA3, Tim Kezman, in the No. 4 Fall-Line/Calypso Porsche 911 GT3 Cup, secured his first victory of the 2017 season and fourth of his career. Kezman’s first win was the start of a Fall-Line Motorsport sweep of the podium, with points leader Mark Boden finishing second in the No. 46 Fall-Line/ Calypso Porsche 911 GT3 and Tom Herb, in the No. 16 Fall-Line/ Calypso Porsche 911 GT3, finishing third.

Kezman, who started in second position, withstood early pressure from Randy Kinsland in the No. 11 Kinsland Racing Chevrolet Corvette before overtaking Boden on the 22nd lap for the lead — a position he would not relinquish for the remaining 18 laps.

“It was a good race,” said Kezman. “Randy (Kinsland) put a ton of pressure on us for the majority of the time before the yellow. After the yellow, we were able to gap him for a bit. Then it was Mark (Boden) and I running away for some time, but you could tell his car was starting to give out. This is a hard place to pass; I don’t think he expected me to overtake him between 12 and 13 under the bridge — but he’s my teammate, I knew I could trust him and I stuck in there and the move worked. It was a great day for us here at Brainerd.”

For their top-three sweep of the TA3 class, the Fall-Line crew was awarded the PitBoxes.com Crew of the Race, while Crew Chief Tom Burek was awarded the Traq Gear Crew Chief of the Weekend.

The Lux Performance duo of Cindi Lux, in the No. 45 Lux Performance Group Dodge Viper ACRX, and Dirk Leuenberger in the No. 35 Lux Performance Group Dodge Viper ACRX finished fourth and fifth, respectively, with both improving on their starting positions.

JR Pesek, in the No. 10 Rennsport KC Ford Mustang, secured his career first TA4 and Trans Am victory after starting second and racing back and forth with his son, James Pesek, in the No. 00 Rennsport KC Ford Mustang, throughout the early laps, swapping the lead multiple times. However, James Pesek’s off into the gravel trap in turn 12 left JR to coast to victory.

The Ryan Companies Muscle Car Challenge will be televised on CBS Sports Network at 11 a.m. Aug. 5.

Buffomante goes flag-to-flag for Trans Am TA2 win

Defending TA2 champion Tony Buffomante captured a flag-to-flag victory in the Trans Am Series presented by Pirelli’s Ryan Companies Muscle Car Challenge at Brainerd International Raceway. Buffomante weathered 100-miles of incessant pressure from points leader Gar Robinson to secure the win, Buffomante’s second of the season and ninth of his Trans Am career. Robinson, who remains the TA2 points leader,  finished second while his teammate Shane Lewis secured third.

The 100-mile, 40-lap affair was one of two finale races for the 31st Annual PleasureLand RV Show & Go at BIR. The second race, the Ryan Companies Independence Day Classic, featured the TA, TA3 and TA4 classes. The Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) was on the road course as well this weekend, while the Muscle Car Series was on the drag strip for three days drag racing.

Tony Buffamante won the Trans Am Series' Ryan Companies Muscle Car Challenge.

Tony Buffamante won the Trans Am Series’ Ryan Companies Muscle Car Challenge.

The weekend marked a touch of redemption for Buffomante and the No. 34 Bestline Superior Lubricants Ford Mustang, fielded by Mike Cope Racing Enterprises, after a disappointing outing in Indianapolis that saw the 34 finish 17th with clutch failure. This weekend Buffomante and the MCRE team unloaded from the trailer at a blistering pace and remained at speed, pacing every practice session, capturing pole in qualifying and leading every lap of the race, all while setting a new track record 1:31.093 lap around the 2.5-mile course.

“We did come into the weekend a little frustrated,” said Buffomante. “We had a couple little things happen in Detroit that pushed us back a little bit and had a clutch issue at Indy — not the way I wanted to coast across the bricks, not under power. The Mike Cope team went back and worked hard. It’s tough out here, the 72 and 74 are a great team, great drivers. We knew we had to bring our A game today. We were fast here last year, but a cut tire set us back. Today I just can’t thank the Mike Cope team enough, Bestline Lubricants, Ilmor power — when you’ve got some ponies under the hood, it doesn’t take a lot to look like a hero when you put your foot down! And the Wilwood brakes held up as well. I just couldn’t be happier — I’ve got my son here this weekend and my dad. It’s a great Fourth of July weekend, and we swept it! So I love it!”

Robinson, in the No. 74 Pura Vida Tequila/74 Ranch Resort Chevrolet Camaro, did not make the task any easier for Buffomante, hounding the No. 34 for the entirety of the race, but Robinson was unable to make a pass for the lead. Still, in finishing second, Robinson easily retained his points lead with 159 points to the 132 of Dillon Machvern, 131 of Shane Lewis and 128 of Buffomante, who is now in the position of chasing his championship defense.

“I think the pressure is gone actually,” said Buffomante. “We missed a round early, and thought that was going to be our mulligan, but then Indy happened. We’re in a deep hole from my standpoint, so we can go out and be super aggressive and just try and win things. Gar did what he needed to do today, second isn’t a bad way to collect points, so we’re just going to go flat out. It’s a nice way to go into the six week break. Mid-Ohio hasn’t been too kind to us lately, but we’ve got a lot of tracks coming up I’m really excited about.”

While Buffomante and Robinson battled back and forth, Shane Lewis, in the No. 72 Robinson Racing Chevrolet Camaro, held third for the entire race as well, bringing home his fifth podium finish of the season.

Lawrence Loshak, in the No. 5 Pennzoil/ ETE Reman Chevrolet Camaro, finished fourth, completing an unexpected charge from the back of the pack— gridding fourth but suffering a spin on the pace lap, sending the No. 5 to the back of the field come green. For retaining his “cool” and his efforts charging from 12th position to fourth, Loshak was awarded the COOLSHIRT Systems Cool Move of the Race.

Cameron Lawrence, in the No. 19 Class Auto Centers Chevrolet Corvette, completed a similar charge, finishing fifth after starting 11th, a consequence of missing qualifying due to his participation in the Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge at Watkins Glen the day before. Lawrence also competed in the TA class.

The TA2 top 10 also included, in order, Keith Prociuk, Tom Sheehan, Shannon Ivey, Tim Gray and Ray Neveau.

Dillon Machavern, also a Watkins Glen competitor now in the No. 24 Heritage Motorsports Ford Mustang, moved his way up through the field as well running as high as fourth before suffering a mechanical failure on the 22nd lap, ending his day.

For their efforts in preparing the No. 34 of Buffomante, Mike Cope Racing Enterprises was named the Pitboxes.com Crew of the Race, while Travis Cope was named the TraqGear Crew Chief of the Weekend.

 

T-Shirt Special – This weekend

BIR is selling event T-shirts for the three Muscle Car Series events: Street Car Showdown (Memorial Day weekend), PleasureLand RV Show & Go (Fourth of July weekend) and GSTA Muscle Car Shootout (Labor Day weekend).

The T-shirts are selling separately for $25 each. If you buy all three this weekend, the cost is only $60. All are printed on black T-shirts.

Below are the designs. You can buy them at BIR’s Shirt Shack, which is on the ground level of the condos.

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Trans Am Series doubleheader is Show & Go finale again

If you love the sights and sounds of American Muscle flying around a road course in wheel-to-wheel racing, then you’ll love the pair of 100-mile feature races Brainerd International Raceway is hosting on July 2. It’s the return of the Trans Am Series presented by Pirelli.

You’ll see Mustangs, Corvettes, Camaros and Challengers — a massive dose of pure Americana, with just a touch of nostalgia – running side by side on BIR’s 2.5-mile Competition Road Course. It’s a nod to the early days of the Trans Am Series at BIR, which dates back to 1969.

The two Trans Am Series races are part of BIR’s 31st Annual PleasureLand RV Show & Go, set for June 30-July 2. In addition to the Trans Am Series, the event includes the Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) on the road course, the second leg of the three-race Muscle Car Series on the drag strip, fireworks, a Classic Car Show and live music.

This is the third year that the Trans Am Series will be the Show & Go’s finale. The first 100-mile, 40-lap race is the Ryan Companies Muscle Car Challenge, which starts at 11 a.m. and features the series’ TA2 class, which put on an incredible show the last two years. Duluth’s Tommy Archer finished second both years in great non-stop action, while Gar Robinson took home the checked flag last year after being chased by a seven-car pack during the final 20 laps.

At 2:30 p.m., the Ryan Companies Independence Day Classic begins, with another 100-mile, 40-lap showdown. The TA, TA3 and TA4 classes will be on the track at the same time, but all eyes will be on the much faster TA cars. Last year, Paul Fix sat in second place behind Cliff Ebben for 37 laps, finally passing him on the final lap when Ebben’s car started smoking.

Fans can expect similar action this year, which includes practice sessions at 9 and 11:30 a.m. on Saturday, and then 20-minute qualifying sessions that start at 2:30 p.m. More than 50 cars total are expected to fill the field this year.

“This is a great chance for fans to see some world-class road racing,” said BIR Owner Jed Copham, who will be racing in the TA class again this year. “These are professional drivers that have amazing skills and cars that really fly around the track. We have bleachers set up on the best places to watch all the action, and fans can move around the track to watch from different vantage points, so it’s a lot of fun for everyone.”

For those who can’t watch the races in person, or want to watch them on TV after the fact, both races will be televised on CBS Sports Network. The Ryan Companies Independence Day Classic will be televised at 11 a.m. on July 22. The Ryan Companies Muscle Car Challenge will be on at 11 a.m. on Aug. 5.

When the Trans Am Series isn’t on the track, the SCCA will be, with regional drivers competing in several different classes. The SCCA will have practice and qualifying sessions on Saturday and then 12-lap races on Sunday.

Over on the drag strip, the Muscle Car Series will be providing three days of non-stop drag racing with cars that showcase huge horsepower and incredible speeds. The fastest cars in the top classes are now well over 200 mph and closing in on the 5-second mark. Time trials and qualifying are Friday and Saturday, while elimination rounds are on Sunday.

One of the drag racers to watch is Kevin Sand, who hasn’t lost a race since July 3. He’s won 26 elimination-round match-ups and has ended up in the Winner’s Circle six times in the last two events.

For fans, the Show & Go includes plenty of extras off the track as well. Saturday’s schedule includes a Classic Car Show, a fireworks display and live music by Gel.

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

 

Hebeisen wins 4 races at Superbike dual event

The Central Roadracing Association (CRA) welcomed the Championship Cup Series’ (CCS)  Midwest region to Brainerd International Raceway’s Competition Road Course last weekend for what has quickly become the most anticipated weekend on CRA’s schedule. With an international field of riders from as far away as California, Canada and Colorado, the third annual CRA/CCS Super Summer Showdown exceeded expectations for both grid sizes and great racing.

Brian Hebeisen took four wins during the CRA/CCS dual race.

Brian Hebeisen took four wins during the CRA/CCS dual race.

The rider of the weekend was undoubtedly Brian Hebeisen on his Fisk Brothers Racing/Dryject/Team Hoff Yamaha R6. Hebeisen has been a fixture in the top 5 Middleweight and Heavyweight Expert races for many years but the support of Fisk Brothers Racing, Dryject and Team Hoff has clearly paid off for the seasoned rider as he took home four wins across the Middleweight and Heavyweight Expert races last weekend. Hebeisen’s win tally would have been five if it wasn’t for a mystery problem with his throttle application mechanism, allowing for CCS’ Dave Collins to steal a win by .020 seconds.

The CRA and CCS Superbike racing was part of BIR’s Wet & Wild Weekend, which lived up to its name again with high car, bike and sled counts – all racing at the same time. The CRA and CCS bikes were on the Competition Road Course while the Bracket Drag Racing Series was on the drag strip and the International Watercross Association featured snowmobiles racing on open water on Lake BIR.

The Unlimited Expert class saw Bell Helmets/Farrell Performance rider Scott Stall clean house during each of Saturday’s Unlimited races. However, Sunday saw Jason Farrell suit up and put a stop to Stall’s dominance by starting the day with a spectacular last lap pass on the way to victory in Unlimited Supersport and ending the day with an assault on his existing track record of 1:35.010 during the Unlimited Grand Prix race.

While Farrell took home the win in Unlimited Grand Prix, he fell short of breaking his track record. Undoubtedly disappointed at falling less than four tenths of a second short of his track record, rumor has it that Farrell was seen consoling himself by wearing all of the Pirelli track record bounty hats he has earned in recent years at the same time.

In Unlimited Novice, visiting CCS rider Josiah Burke went home with three wins as he took the victory in more than half of his races while Stephen Peterson took top honors in two races and Marcus Taite stood on the top step in one.

While Hebeisen was dominating the Middleweight and Heavyweight Expert races, Dillon Baumeister was replicating the feat in even more impressive fashion in the Novice ranks. A Stall protégé, Baumeister took advantage of Stall’s teachings and crossed the line first in 10 of his 12 races. Stall, however, was unable to open the winner’s champagne bottle due to his tiny farmer hands so the duo chose to celebrate by dousing each other with cans of Schlitz beer.

The Lightweight field was the largest in years and while Jon Champ looked poised to continue his absolute dominance in the Expert class, his teammate in the 2016 5-hour endurance race, Chris Mattson, put an end to Champ’s winning ways in the mixed conditions found during Sunday’s Lightweight Supersport race. Sensing the likelihood that he will not be invited back onto Champ’s 5-hour team, Mattson put on another good showing in Lightweight Superbike in the hopes of attracting interest from other potential teams.

Unhappy at being displaced at the front of the field, Champ struck back in the Lightweight GP race and will head to the upcoming CCS/CRA round at Road America with plenty of momentum. The Lightweight Novice races didn’t have one standout rider as Daniel Mataczynski, Jesse VanderWeide, Kyle Franz and Brian Rogers each grabbed at least one victory throughout the weekend.

The most exciting races of the weekend were found in the combined Ultralight/Featherweight races, which featured so much action that it was hard to follow everything. At the front of the Ultralight field, the Krämer vs. Krämer battles raged on between Jack Barton and Mark Praska. Barton and Praska traded wins throughout the weekend, and Praska’s efforts to wrestle the lead away from Barton in races he didn’t win was as clear as the sparks flying from his bike as he railed through Turn 11.

The final step of the podium was always a heated battle between Barry Schmidt and Trevor Treviranus, and just when the spectators thought the excitement of the race was over they were treated to three rider battles to the line in Featherweight by Brad Kreller, Chase Sellers and Brad Zajic. With such intense racing on track, the real winners were the spectators who were lucky enough to see such great examples of hard but fair racing.

The CRA will pack up and head east to join the CCS at Road America July 1-2 and will be back on BIR’s Competition Road Course July 21-23.

Loeffelholz scores double win during Wet & Wild

Gary Loeffelholz had a weekend of drag racing that he’ll remember for a long time. Unfortunately for him, the 90 drivers he beat will probably remember it as well.

Loeffelholz and his 2004 Mustang made 18 runs down the drag strip during elimination rounds Saturday and Sunday, winning 17 of them and losing only once. Along the way, he won the Super Pro class both days as well as the Super Pro/Pro ET Shootout, which pits the winners of the Super Pro and Pro ET classes against each other. The only race he lost was in the Quick 16 class. He won two rounds before losing to Michael Freischel in the semifinals.

Gary Loeffelholz, Super Pro

Gary Loeffelholz, Super Pro

Jimmy Paulson, Pro Bike/Sled

Jimmy Paulson, Pro Bike/Sled

Defending Super Pro champ Brian Johnson will also remember Loeffelholz’s winning ways last weekend because he lost to Loeffelholz in both finals. Loeffelholz’s winning time in Saturday’s finals was 7.444 seconds and 184.67 mph. His winning time Sunday was 7.412 seconds and 178.87 mph, which included a near-perfect reaction time of .005 seconds on the starting line. The Super Pro class had 84 cars last weekend.

Loeffelholz went on to beat Joe Schmall in Saturday’s Shootout and Grant Pesola in Sunday’s Shootout. After the dust settled Sunday, he vaulted from 24th place in the points standings to second, just behind Johnson.

Grant Pesola, Pro ET

Grant Pesola, Pro ET

Mike Patnaude, Stock/Super Stock

Mike Patnaude, Stock/Super Stock

Jimmy Paulson also had a memorable weekend, running the table both days in the Pro Bike/Sled class. Riding a 2012 Clampitt, Paulson beat Brad Harder in Saturday’s final with a 9.057-second pass at 136.87 mph. On Sunday, he won his way to the finals again and a chance to take on Kyle Lundberg. He was quicker off the starting line and held on to win with a time of 9.057 seconds and 143.34 mph. With that effort, Paulson sits atop the points standings.

Last weekend’s drag racing program was just one part of an action-packed schedule, with Superbike racing on the Competition Road Course and watercross on Lake BIR, where snowmobiles drag raced and raced laps on open water. Fans got all three races for a single ticket.

Joe Schmall, Pro ET

Joe Schmall, Pro ET

Mark Pease, Sportsman

Mark Pease, Sportsman

The next Bracket Drag Racing Series weekend is July 7-9. The watercross snowmobiles will be back at BIR Sept. 22-24 for Wet & Wild Weekend 2.0. And the Central Roadracing Association’s Superbike racing will be at BIR for its third of five weekend races July 21-23.

Below are the two-day results from the Bracket Drag Racing Series last weekend.

SATURDAY, JUNE 10

Super Pro
Finals: Gary Loeffelholz of Shafer def. Brian Johnson of Nowthen

Pro ET
Finals: Joe Schmall of Lino Lakes def. Steve Roehrs of Frederic, Wis.

Super Pro/Pro ET Shootout
Gary Loeffelholz of Shafer def. Joe Schmall of Lino Lakes

Sportsman
Finals: Joe Moriarty Sr. of Ham Lake def. David Lacasse of Forest Lake

Stock/Super Stock
Finals: Glen Demenge of McGregor def. Lance Line of Cromwell

Pro Bike/Sled
Finals: Jimmy Paulson of Stacy def. Brad Harder of Waconia

Comp Trophy
Finals: Taylor Arneson of Pillager def. Eric Blumke of Pillager

Street Trophy
Finals: Todd Anderson of Brainerd def. Joe Moriarty of Ham Lake

Quick 16
Finals: Dan Narusiewcz of St. Paul Park def. Michael Freischel of Cottage Grove

Junior Dragster Advanced
Finals: Sydney Thompson of Nowthen def. Meagen Neil of West Fargo, N.D.

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

Junior Dragster Novice
Finals: Danial Dancer of Foley def. Carlee Reber of St. Joseph

SUNDAY, JUNE 11

Super Pro
Finals: Gary Loeffelholz of Shafer def. Brian Johnson of Nowthen

Pro ET
Finals: Grant Pesola of Nashwauk def. Brandon Schmall of Palo, Iowa

Super Pro/Pro ET Shootout
Finals: Gary Loeffelholz of Shafter def. Grant Pesola of Nashwauk

Sportsman
Finals: Mark Pease of Rogers def. Chris Henry of Sauk Rapids

Stock/Super Stock
Finals: Mike Patnaude of Sawyer def. Lawrence Line of Wright

Pro Bike/Sled
Finals: Jimmy Paulson of Stacy def. Kyle Lundberg of Isanti

Comp Trophy
Finals: Devin Walcheski def. Mike Larson of Brainerd

Street Trophy
Finals: Joe Moriarty of Ham Lake def. Luke Schneider of St. Joseph

Junior Dragster Advanced
Finals: Sydney Thompson of Nowthen def. Samantha Cielinski of Gilman

Junior Dragster Intermediate
Finals: Megan Cielinski of Gilman def. Dylan Dancer of Foley

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

 

 

 

 

Watercross skips into BIR for Triple Event Weekend

At Brainerd International Raceway, snowmobile season is year-round.

You won’t find any snow at BIR this weekend but the sleds will be providing high-flying racing action all the same – on open water. It’s BIR’s annual Wet & Wild Weekend, which features drag racing, Superbike racing and watercross, where snowmobiles race on Lake BIR in drag racing and oval racing. It’s all scheduled for June 9-11.

C73U8687-SWatercross has quickly become a crowd favorite at BIR partly because of its novelty but also because it’s just a blast to watch. Snowmobiles defy gravity as they skip across the water, with riders “steering” their sleds by leaning into the turns while keeping their speeds up. And yes, they do occasionally sink, which prompts the rescue pontoon to hover over the sled and lift it out of the water with a hoist. The sled is then taken back to shore, where it’s usually ready for the next race.

“Watercross is a lot of fun for fans to watch,” BIR owner Jed Copham said. “They can sit along the edge of the lake on the grass or on lawn chairs and watch these guys put on a great show. The skill level of these riders is amazing.”

There are three drag racing classes, where the snowmobiles start on one shore and race across the lake to the other shore. And there are five classes for oval racing, where racers make four or five laps around floating markers and return to the same shore they left from.

BIR5-7-17-0359_WWatercross is scheduled for Saturday and Sunday, but BIR’s drag strip and road course will be busy Friday as well. The Bracket Drag Racing Series will feature 250-plus drag racers in the third of six race weekends. The previous race weekend was rained out, so drivers will be itching to get back on the throttle.

The drag racers compete in 11 different classes, with two chances to win and earn series points each weekend. Friday is a Test & Tune day. On Saturday and Sunday, each day starts with time trials and qualifying, followed by elimination rounds. So winners are determined in all classes at the end of both days.

On BIR’s 2.5-mile Competition Road Course, the Central Roadracing Association (CRA) will be showcasing it’s crazy brand of Superbike racing over all three days. Friday is reserved for practice sessions. Saturday and Sunday both start with practice sessions in the morning followed by six-lap sprint races in the afternoon.

C73U8845-MThe fans will be the big winners this weekend. For a single ticket, they can watch all three types of racing and can go from one to the other at will. Daily admission is $25, and kids 12 and under are free. Tickets are available at the front gate. Parking is free, as is rustic camping (with a multi-day ticket).

Watercross and Superbike racing will return for Wet & Wild 2.0 on Sept. 22-24, in case fans want another chance to watch.

 

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