Beckman smashes Funny Car record, locks down No. 1 spot

For the third consecutive race, Jack Beckman has clocked the quickest Funny Car run in NHRA history.  He powered his Infinite Hero Foundation Dodge Charger to an amazing 3.901-second elapsed time to take the No. 1 qualifying position in a rain-shortened day of racing Saturday at the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals at BIR.

NHRA officials were forced to cancel the final qualifying session due to persistent rain showers in the area and a warning of severe weather.

Jack Beckman, Funny Car

Jack Beckman, Funny Car

Richie Crampton (Top Fuel), Shane Gray (Pro Stock) and Andrew Hines (Pro Stock Motorcycle) also were No. 1 qualifiers and will also lead their classes into Sunday’s 11 a.m. eliminations at the penultimate regular season race in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series.

Beckman, who posted a 3.921 at Sonoma, Calif. and a 3.912 at Seattle at the previous two events, will need to post a time of 3.940 seconds or quicker in racing tomorrow to certify the 3.901 as a national record, which carries a 20-point bonus.

It was Beckman’s fourth No. 1 of the season and 14th of his career, and he will open eliminations against Bob Bode as he goes for his class-leading sixth victory of the season and tries to further increase his series points lead.

The ultra-quick run came at just the right time for Beckman, who was briefly bumped from the top spot by 16-time world champ John Force, who sped to a career-best time of 3.930 seconds in his Peak Antifreeze Chevrolet Camaro late in the third qualifying session.

Shane Gray, Pro Stock

Shane Gray, Pro Stock

“I am very satisfied with the 3.901 and the speed record,” said Beckman, who also set the national speed record on the run at 325.69 mph. “It’s been a long time since I’ve had a speed record. I saw John Force run that 3.93 right in front of us. But then there goes [crew chiefs] Jimmy [Prock], John [Medlen] and Chris [Cunningham] again. It’s so interesting when you see a car that’s this unbelievable; it’s like everything becomes believable.

“I love our chances tomorrow and I feel incredibly comfortable.”

Alexis DeJoria qualified third with a career-best of her own at 3.946 at 321.88 in her Patron XO Cafe Incendio Toyota Camry. Force’s daughter Courtney qualified fourth with her Friday best of 3.959 seconds at 320.66 mph in her Traxxas Camaro.

In Top Fuel, Crampton claimed his second No. 1 qualifying position of the season and third of his career with a track record time of 3.718 seconds at 323.50 mph in his Lucas Oil dragster.

Andrew Hines, Pro Stock Motorcycle

Andrew Hines, Pro Stock Motorcycle

“That’s what [crew chief] Aaron Brooks tries to do in conditions that are like this,” Crampton said. “It’s fun for me. I’m the new guy who got to get into one of the best cars in the world. For me to be in this position, I’m extremely spoiled. It’s a lot of fun, and my team deserves it. My dad is here from Australia, it’s a Lucas Oil race, and we’re the Lucas Oil flagship, so this is the time to do it. It’s exciting.”

The three-time season winner will open eliminations against his teammate and the event’s defending winner, Morgan Lucas.

“I’ve raced him once before and red-lighted against him, so let’s not do that again,” Crampton said. “We’re going to race and see what happens. He’s been struggling a little bit, but it’s going to be a good race. He’s got some kind of magic horseshoe when it comes to this racetrack, so it’s going to be a good one.”

Series points leader Tony Schumacher qualified second in his U.S. Army dragster with a 3.737-second run at 319.52 mph and veteran driver Doug Kalitta qualified third in his Mac Tools dragster with a 3.740 at 319.75.

Gray powered his Gray Motorsports Chevy Camaro to his first No. 1 qualifying position of the season in Pro Stock with a run of 6.607 seconds at 209.20 mph.

Due to the 15-car field, Gray will receive an uncontested pass in the opening round as he is seeking his first win of the season and an improved points position.

“Well, round one tomorrow’s going to be awful hard for me to screw up because I get a bye run,” Gray said with a smile. “Hopefully, I won’t cross the center line or something like that. It will be a fun day tomorrow. Conditions will be a lot different than they have been all weekend, so it will be different. I’m looking forward to it.”

Defending world champ Erica Enders qualified second in her Elite Motorsports Chevy Camaro with a 6.609-second run at 208.26 mph and Chris McGaha, who is riding a two-race winning streak, will start third in his Harlow Sammons Racing Camaro with a 6.614 at 208.49.

Hines, the defending series champ and a two-time winner at BIR, rode his Screamin’ Eagle Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson to the top qualifying position in Pro Stock Motorcycle with a performance of 6.937 seconds at 190.54 mph. It is his first No. 1 of the season and 36th of his career.

Like Gray, Hines will also get a single in the opener, as there are only 15 bikes entered.

“Having that bye run the first round could mean the difference right now,” Hines said. “It’s unfortunate that we didn’t have enough motorcycles that trekked up here to Minnesota, but getting the No. 1 qualifier for Harley-Davidson and being able to have that bye run, we can take a chance on Sunday and try to learn something first round. That’s something we probably wouldn’t do on a normal Sunday when you have to race somebody in the other lane. The field is so stacked right now, so I guess it’s a blessing in disguise to have nobody in the other lane. We were going to try something in the fourth qualifier, and that setup is still in the bike, so we’ll roll it out first round tomorrow and see what happens.”

Eddie Krawiec qualified second with a 6.949-second pass at 191.97 mph on his Screamin’ Eagle Harley-Davidson and Hector Arana Jr. will start third on his Lucas Oil Buell with a 6.951 at 193.88.

* * *


Sunday’s first-round pairings for eliminations for the 34th annual Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals at Brainerd International Raceway, the 17th of 24 events in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series.  Pairings based on results in qualifying, which ended Saturday. DNQs listed below pairings.

Top Fuel — 1. Richie Crampton, 3.718 seconds, 323.50 mph  vs. 16. Morgan Lucas, 4.796, 234.66; 2. Tony Schumacher, 3.737, 319.52  vs. 15. Chris Karamesines, 4.032, 306.26; 3. Doug Kalitta, 3.740, 319.75  vs. 14. Wayne Newby, 4.011, 257.04; 4. Steve Torrence, 3.745, 326.63  vs. 13. Terry McMillen, 3.865, 313.73; 5. Shawn Langdon, 3.749, 323.04  vs. 12. Clay Millican, 3.801, 312.64; 6. Dave Connolly, 3.754, 330.31  vs. 11. Brittany Force, 3.787, 326.00; 7. Antron Brown, 3.757, 321.73 vs. 10. J.R. Todd, 3.780, 328.78; 8. Spencer Massey, 3.763, 330.31  vs. 9. Larry Dixon, 3.767, 324.51.  Did Not Qualify: 17. Luigi Novelli, 9.577, 260.56.

Funny Car — 1. Jack Beckman, Dodge Charger, 3.901, 325.69  vs. 16. Bob Bode, Toyota Camry, 6.352, 104.21; 2. John Force, Chevy Camaro, 3.930, 324.83  vs. 15. Dale Creasy Jr., Chevy Impala, 4.239, 301.74; 3. Alexis DeJoria, Camry, 3.946, 321.88  vs. 14. Brian Stewart, Ford Mustang, 4.145, 284.27; 4. Courtney Force, Camaro, 3.959, 320.66  vs. 13. John Hale, Charger, 4.123, 303.84; 5. Tommy Johnson Jr., Charger, 3.974, 319.60  vs. 12. Cruz Pedregon, Camry, 4.062, 299.60; 6. Robert Hight, Chevrolet Camaro, 3.974, 319.07  vs. 11. Ron Capps, Charger, 4.040, 319.98; 7. Chad Head, Camry, 3.976, 318.99  vs. 10. Tim Wilkerson, Mustang, 4.018, 314.39; 8. Del Worsham, Camry, 3.981, 323.97  vs. 9. Matt Hagan, Charger, 3.984, 324.83.  Did Not Qualify: 17. Tony Pedregon, broke.

Pro Stock — 1. Shane Gray, Chevy Camaro, 6.607, 209.20  vs. Bye; 2. Erica Enders, Camaro, 6.609, 208.26  vs. 15. Mark Hogan, Pontiac GXP, 18.731, 198.70; 3. Chris McGaha, Camaro, 6.614, 208.49 vs. 14. Deric Kramer, Dodge Dart, 7.069, 207.11; 4. Allen Johnson, Dart, 6.616, 208.20  vs. 13. Dave River, Chevy Cobalt, 6.744, 204.63; 5. Jason Line, Camaro, 6.618, 208.68  vs. 12. V. Gaines, Dart, 6.669, 207.50; 6. Vincent Nobile, Camaro, 6.620, 208.10  vs. 11. Larry Morgan, Camaro, 6.647, 208.81; 7. Drew Skillman, Camaro, 6.623, 207.62  vs. 10. Bo Butner, Camaro, 6.635, 208.07; 8. Greg Anderson, Camaro, 6.624, 208.14  vs. 9. Jonathan Gray, Camaro, 6.634, 208.04.

Pro Stock Motorcycle — 1. Andrew Hines, Harley-Davidson, 6.937, 190.54  vs. Bye; 2. Eddie Krawiec, Harley-Davidson, 6.949, 191.97  vs. 15. Hector Arana, Buell, 7.540, 188.83; 3. Hector Arana Jr, Buell, 6.951, 193.88  vs. 14. Angie Smith, Victory, 7.217, 185.54; 4. Jerry Savoie, Suzuki, 6.981, 192.49  vs. 13. Mike Berry, Buell, 7.082, 185.36; 5. Chip Ellis, Buell, 6.991, 190.51  vs. 12. Chaz Kennedy, Buell, 7.061, 186.79; 6. Matt Smith, Victory, 6.991, 188.57  vs. 11. Steve Johnson, Suzuki, 7.042, 189.82; 7. LE Tonglet, Suzuki, 6.997, 191.84  vs. 10. Scotty Pollacheck, Buell, 7.041, 188.65; 8. Karen Stoffer, Suzuki, 7.001, 189.44  vs. 9. Jim Underdahl, Suzuki, 7.024, 191.35.

Beckman, Langdon, Gray, Hines are quickest qualifiers Friday

Jack Beckman continued his late-season hot streak by making the third quickest Funny Car run in NHRA history Friday at the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals at BIR.

Shawn Langdon (Top Fuel), Shane Gray (Pro Stock) and Andrew Hines (Pro Stock Motorcycle) also were qualifying leaders in their categories at the penultimate regular season race in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series.

Jack Beckman, Funny Car

Jack Beckman, Funny Car

Beckman, who also owns the top two quickest runs in his class, had the best car in both qualifying sessions but powered his Infinite Hero Foundation Dodge Charger to the day’s leading run in the final session, posting a track record performance of 3.946 seconds at 324.75 mph.

The effort continues an impressive streak of three races starting in Sonoma, Calif., and Seattle, where Beckman posted jaw-dropping track record runs. In Sonoma, he clocked a 3.921-second effort and then outdid that performance the next weekend with a 3.912 at Pacific Raceways.

“Unloading with a good run absolutely puts us in a wonderful position,” Beckman said. “We were really trying to run a 3.93. There were several areas on the 3.94 where it wasn’t as good as we were hoping it would be, and that’s a good feeling when you miss it by a little bit and the car still runs that good. It’s my best speed by a bunch, and we took over the points lead with that one. After leaving Pomona in 18th, being in first for now is a wonderful position.”

He credits crew chief Jimmy Prock for the amazing performance of his car, and for making the rest of the teams dig deep to figure out a new way of running their machines. There were eight three-second runs in today’s qualifying, including two side-by-side three-second passes.

Andrew Hines. Pro Stock Bike

Andrew Hines. Pro Stock Bike

“I have never seen so many Funny Cars gain so much in such a short period of time,” Beckman said. “What happened was they looked at our time slip. It used to be that a certain amount of driveshaft speed on the computer was all it tolerated because the car wouldn’t make it much further. Now when they look and see our numbers, they go, ‘We’ve got to approach this differently.’ The only way to get quicker early is to get that wheel speed up early. It shows how smart all our crew chiefs are out here, but it stuns me how quickly they’ve gathered us back up. We’ve got to figure out how to take it to another level from here. Everybody has stepped out of their comfort level to chase us.”

In Top Fuel, 2013 world champ Langdon moved to the top of the 16-car qualifying order on the day’s final run with a 3.749 seconds at 321.35 mph in his Knuckle Sandwich/Toyota dragster.

Langdon, who is currently seventh in points and has only one win this season in two final-round appearances, says his team is peaking at just the right time.

“We really felt like we turned a corner with the car in the middle of the Sonoma race,” Langdon said. “We continued to make good runs in Seattle, where we were fortunate enough to get to the finals, and we made two more great runs today. It’s good timing. Alan [Johnson, team owner] always seems to turn it up a notch when we’re getting close to Countdown [to the Championship] time. It’s a good race. Hopefully, we can do a little celebrating tonight in The Zoo (campground).”

Gray powered his Gray Motorsports Chevy Camaro to the qualifying lead in Pro Stock with a run of 6.607 seconds at 208.88 mph. Gray, who is looking to earn his first No. 1 qualifying position of the season if his time can hold through Saturday’s two sessions, had the quickest car in both sessions today.

“It’s important for me to get as many qualifying points as I can because here lately I haven’t been getting many points on Sunday,” Gray said. “They’re all important. It was nice to get all six of them today. Maybe we can get lucky and get a few tomorrow. It will be up to me to go out and do a good job on Sunday and see if we can capitalize on a good, fast car.”

Hines, the defending series champ and a two-time winner at BIR, rode his Screamin’ Eagle Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson to the Pro Stock Motorcycle qualifying lead with a performance of 6.937 seconds at 190.54 mph.

“Believe me, this is a big breath of fresh air for me,” said Hines, who is third in points and still looking for his first No. 1 qualifying position of the season. “It’s been a struggle for me pretty much all year. I got away with that one win there in Charlotte, but to run the way that we did just now, it’s nice to have a quick bike going into Saturday, and I’m going to take it as it comes.”

The third qualifying sessions for the pro classes starts at 1 p.m. Saturday, followed by the fourth and final qualifying session at 3:30 p.m. Saturday’s schedule includes live music that starts at 9 p.m. and a spectacular fireworks display that begins at dusk.

* * *

Friday’s results after the first two of four rounds of qualifying for the 34th annual Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals at Brainerd International Raceway, 17th of 24 events in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series.  Qualifying will continue Saturday for Sunday’s final eliminations.

Top Fuel — 1. Shawn Langdon, 3.749 seconds, 323.04 mph; 2. Richie Crampton, 3.754, 318.54; 3. Dave Connolly, 3.758, 330.31; 4. Steve Torrence, 3.758, 326.63; 5. Spencer Massey, 3.763, 330.31; 6. J.R. Todd, 3.780, 328.78; 7. Brittany Force, 3.787, 326.00; 8. Larry Dixon, 3.787, 320.28; 9. Tony Schumacher, 3.807, 318.62; 10. Antron Brown, 3.813, 317.42; 11. Clay Millican, 3.855, 312.64; 12. Terry McMillen, 3.867, 310.98.  Not Qualified: 13. Chris Karamesines, 3.918, 306.26; 14. Morgan Lucas, 3.977, 234.66; 15. Doug Kalitta, 3.987, 226.35; 16. Wayne Newby, 4.078, 227.15; 17. Luigi Novelli, 4.150, 260.56.

Funny Car — 1. Jack Beckman, Dodge Charger, 3.946, 324.75; 2. Courtney Force, Chevy Camaro, 3.959, 320.66; 3. Tommy Johnson Jr., Charger, 3.974, 319.60; 4. Robert Hight, Chevrolet Camaro, 3.974, 319.07; 5. Chad Head, Toyota Camry, 3.976, 318.99; 6. Matt Hagan, Charger, 3.996, 320.97; 7. John Force, Camaro, 4.010, 317.94; 8. Alexis DeJoria, Camry, 4.011, 317.72; 9. Tim Wilkerson, Ford Mustang, 4.035, 314.39; 10. Ron Capps, Charger, 4.048, 315.78; 11. Del Worsham, Camry, 4.084, 312.57; 12. John Hale, Charger, 4.123, 303.84.  Not Qualified: 13. Cruz Pedregon, 4.166, 289.20; 14. Brian Stewart, 4.318, 242.93; 15. Dale Creasy Jr., 4.565, 202.12; 16. Tony Pedregon, 4.691, 179.59.

Pro Stock — 1. Shane Gray, Chevy Camaro, 6.607, 209.20; 2. Erica Enders, Camaro, 6.609, 208.26; 3. Allen Johnson, Dodge Dart, 6.616, 208.20; 4. Jason Line, Camaro, 6.618, 208.68; 5. Chris McGaha, Camaro, 6.618, 208.49; 6. Vincent Nobile, Camaro, 6.620, 208.10; 7. Greg Anderson, Camaro, 6.624, 208.14; 8. Bo Butner, Camaro, 6.635, 208.07; 9. Drew Skillman, Camaro, 6.635, 207.62; 10. Jonathan Gray, Camaro, 6.645, 208.04; 11. Larry Morgan, Camaro, 6.647, 208.81; 12. V. Gaines, Dart, 6.669, 207.50.  Not Qualified: 13. Deric Kramer, 6.686, 207.11; 14. Dave River, 6.736, 204.63; 15. Mark Hogan, 6.814, 198.70.

Pro Stock Motorcycle — 1. Andrew Hines, Harley-Davidson, 6.937, 190.54; 2. Eddie Krawiec, Harley-Davidson, 6.949, 191.97; 3. Hector Arana Jr, Buell, 6.951, 193.88; 4. Jerry Savoie, Suzuki, 6.994, 192.49; 5. LE Tonglet, Suzuki, 6.997, 191.84; 6. Chip Ellis, Buell, 6.997, 190.51; 7. Karen Stoffer, Suzuki, 7.001, 189.10; 8. Matt Smith, Victory, 7.012, 188.57; 9. Jim Underdahl, Suzuki, 7.024, 191.35; 10. Scotty Pollacheck, Buell, 7.041, 188.65; 11. Steve Johnson, Suzuki, 7.042, 189.82; 12. Chaz Kennedy, Buell, 7.061, 186.79.  Not Qualified: 13. Angie Smith, 7.113, 185.54; 14. Mike Berry, 7.145, 185.05; 15. Hector Arana, 7.461, 188.83.

‘Nitro School’ comes to BIR’s pits this weekend

Hey race fans, if you’re interested in learning the “nuts and bolts” of NHRA drag racing, or if you’re curious about a driver’s perspective, then “Nitro School” is for you.

The NHRA has two Nitro Schools scheduled during the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals at BIR this weekend. The schools are scheduled for 1 p.m. Friday and 11 a.m. Saturday on a stage in front of Top Fuel driver Richie Crampton’s Lucas Oil pit area next to the Nitro Mall.

NHRANitroSchoolCrampton and NHRA announcer Alan Reinhart will be leading the 30-minute Nitro Schools, which will include entertaining and educational discussions about topics like the Christmas tree, fuel volume, ignition, engine and clutch parts, clutch application, etc. They’ll also compare a dragster’s workings to that of a street car, and will  take questions from the fans.

Nitro School is intended to be a fun, light-hearted way to educate fans in the pits. So set an alert on your phone to remind you of when school is in session, and join us for the first-ever Nitro School at BIR!

No ticket required – Be part of the action

You don’t need a ticket to be part of the 34th Annual Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals at Brainerd International Raceway. The fastest show on Earth returns to BIR Aug. 20-23 and we want you to take advantage of up-close-and-personal opportunities during Race Week.

Some of your favorite drivers will be making free public appearances in the Brainerd Lakes Area and other parts of the state. We’ll have the details below as we get them. So check back here often for updated information. Or download our new BIR App for the most updated information.

If nothing else, tune in to ESPN2 Saturday and Sunday night to watch two hours of qualifying and three hours of eliminations. Details below.

Thursday, 3-7 pm, Walmart in Baxter - Richie Crampton will be there 4-6 pm. Lots of giveaways!
Friday, 10 am-4 pm, Open House at the US Army Reserve Center, 310 10th Ave NE, Brainerd – Tony Schumacher will be there from 10 am – 1 pm.

Saturday – 10 pm-midnight – Two hours of qualifying
Sunday – 8-11 pm – Three hours of eliminations

8:15 am – BIR Owner Jed Copham
6:50 am – Greg Anderson
7:10 am – Andrew Hines
7:35 am – Eddie Krawiec
7:50 am – Dave Connolly
8:20 am – J.R. Todd
8:35 am –  Larry Morgan
8:50 am –  Larry Dixon
7:50 am –  Matt Hagan
8:20 am – Tommy Johnson Jr
8:35 am – Erica Enders
8:50 am – Richie Crampton
7:45 am – Tony Schumacher
8:05 am – Robert Hight
8:35 am – Hector Arana Jr. & Sr.
8:50 am – Morgan Lucas

DeMenge wins PB Classic during Bracket Drag Racing Series

Fifty-two drag racers in the Stock/Super Stock Class converged on Brainerd International Raceway last weekend for a crack at a piece of the $4,000 guaranteed purse that was up for grabs Saturday and Sunday during the Midwest Class Racers’ 2nd Annual Paul Bunyan Classic.

The Classic, which was part of BIR’s Bracket Drag Racing Series weekend, saw drag racers slugging it out for a chance at the $2,000 first-place prize. In the end, Glen DeMenge and his 1969 Camaro had a near-perfect reaction time at the starting line in the finals, which helped him beat Tim Mosbek with an 11.20-second run at 105.85 mph. Mosbeck collected $1,000 for his efforts. In fact, the purse ended up to be nearly $6,500 and paid out the top 26 racers because Sunday’s race was rained out.

MCR Paul Bunyan Classic winner Glen DeMenge

MCR Paul Bunyan Classic winner Glen DeMenge

Pro Bike/Sled double winner Jimmy Paulson

Pro Bike/Sled double winner Jimmy Paulson

The Paul Bunyan Classic was the featured event last weekend but there was no shortage of great drag racing in the other classes. There was a lot on the line for nearly all of the 310 racers as everyone was scrambling for series points, prize money and a spot on BIR’s ET Finals team, which competes next month in Topeka, Kan. The selection process is based on the point standings after last weekend. The last series weekend is Sept. 26-27, so the pressure was on many racers.

Jimmy Paulson’s double-win weekend in the Pro Bike/Sled Class may have wrapped up a series championship, during a season in which he dominated the class on his 1350 Suzuki. He made it to the finals in seven of the nine races this year and has a comfortable lead over second place Jeremy Berg.

Paulson beat Josh LaValle in  Saturday’s final with a pass of 9.293 seconds and 127.02 mph, and then dropped Kyle Olson in Sunday’s final with a sizzling 9.264-second, 139.88 mph run.

Super Pro winner Terry Pease

Super Pro winner Terry Pease

Sportsman & Pro ET winner Brandon Schmall

Sportsman & Pro ET winner Brandon Schmall

The two biggest classes, Super Pro and Pro ET, undoubtedly will be settled on the final day of the series. There’s log jam at the top of the point standings now in both classes, with the father-son duo of Gary and Reno Loeffelholz resting in first place in Super Pro and Pro ET, respectively, right where they finished the season last year.

Gary Loeffelholz and his 2004 Mustang outlasted 95 other drivers Saturday to meet Travis Reutzel in the finals. Despite Reutzel’s perfect reaction time on the starting line, Loeffelholz chased him down and won with a time of 7.474 seconds and 181.86 mph.

BIR’s 2015 King of the Track, Joe Howell, beat Mike Casteel in Saturday’s Pro ET finals with a time of 9.483 seconds and 143.4 mph to set up a showdown with Gary Loeffelholz in the Super Pro/Pro ET Shootout, where the winner earns $2,000 and the loser claims $1,000. It was Howell’s day to win, though, as he nipped Loeffelholz at the finish line for the win.

Sunday’s Super Pro winner was Terry Pease, who beat Vern Lauren Jr. in the finals with a time of 10.854 seconds and 131.29 mph. He lined up against the Pro ET winner, Brandon Schmall, in the Super Pro/Pro ET Shootout. Pease’s 1953 Ford Thames was too much for Schmall, as he pocketed $2,000 with the win.

Quick 16 winner Mike Kritzky

Quick 16 winner Mike Kritzky

Schmall is in a dogfight with Reno Loeffelholz and Howell in the Pro ET points standings. Schmall beat Loeffelholz in Sunday’s finals to inch closer to the top two spots.

Schmall has a significant lead in the Sportsman points race. He beat Joe Moriarty Sr. in Saturday’s finals but was bumped in the second round Sunday and had to watch as Brad Mickle beat Paul Baillif in Sunday’s final.

Jared Hutar was another double winner last weekend to stay in the points lead in Comp Trophy. He beat Andrew Walcheski in Saturday’s final and Chad Dalland Sunday.

In Street Trophy, Jed Anderson and Joe Moriarty Jr. won on Saturday and Sunday, respectively.

Saturday’s Quick 16 Shootout, which pits the quickest cars against the quickest dragsters, saw Mike Kritzky rip off a 6.992-second run at 191.92 mph in his dragster to beat Brad Baklund and his ’63 Corvette in the final. The win earned Kritzky $1,500.

Even the three Junior Dragster classes are knotted up at the top of the point standings. Zachary Zavadil was a double winner in Junior Dragster Advanced, while Samantha Cielinski and Zach McFarland won Saturday and Sunday, respectively, in Junior Dragster Intermediate. In Junior Dragster Novice, Alex Clampitt and Megan Cielinski were winners.

The final Bracket Drag Racing Series weekend next month is significant in another way as well. It’s also the National Dragster Challenge on Saturday, where drivers in Super Pro, Pro ET, Sportsman, Pro Bike/Sled, Comp Trophy and Street Trophy classes can take home a Wally trophy with a class win.

Below are the weekend’s winners:


Super Pro
Finals: Gary Loeffelholz of Shafer def. Travis Reutzel of Annandale

Pro ET
Finals: Joe Howell of Big Lake def. Mike Casteel of Thief River Falls

Super Pro/Pro ET Shootout
Joe Howell def. Gary Loeffelholz

Finals: Brandon Schmall of Lino Lakes def. Joe Moriarty Sr. of Ham Lake

Stock/Super Stock
Finals: Glen DeMenge of McGregor def. Tim Mosbek of Andover

Pro Bike/Sled
Finals: Jimmy Paulson of Stacy def. Josh LaValle of Rice

Comp Trophy
Finals: Jared Hutar of Cromwell def. Andrew Walcheski of Foley

Street Trophy
Finals: Jed Anderson of Sartell def. Rachel Hutar of Cromwell

Quick 16 Shootout
Finals: Mike Kritzky def. Brad Baklund of Corcoran

Junior Dragster Advanced
Finals: Zachary Zavadil of Clearwater def. Maggie Ruzich of Hibbing

Junior Dragster Intermediate
Finals: Samantha Cielinski of Gilman def. Camryn Takacs of Thunder Bay, Ontario

Junior Dragster Novice
Finals: Alex Clampitt of Lino Lakes def. Megan Cielinski of Gilman



Super Pro
Finals: Terry Pease of Blaine def. Vern Lauren Jr.

Pro ET
Finals: Brandon Schmall of Lino Lakes def. Reno Loeffelholz

Super Pro/Pro ET Shootout
Terry Pease def. Brandon Schmall

Finals: Brad Mickle of Lino Lakes def. Paul Baillif of Brainerd

Stock/Super Stock
Rained Out

Pro Bike/Sled
Finals: Jimmy Paulson of Stacy def. Kyle Olson of Moorland, Iowa

Comp Trophy
Finals: Jared Hutar of Cromwell def. Chad Dalland of Fort Ripley

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

Junior Dragster Advanced
Finals: Zachary Zavadil of Clearwater def. Emma McFarland of Sabin

Junior Dragster Intermediate
Finals: Zach McFarland of Sabin def. Camryn Takacs of Thunder Bay, Ontario

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


This weekend: Bracket Drag Racing Series is heating up

With only two weekends left on the schedule, drivers in Brainerd International Raceway’s Bracket Drag Racing Series are starting to ratchet up the intensity as they slug it out for series championships.

The series continues this weekend, with a Test & Tune on Friday and then time trials and eliminations both Saturday and Sunday. The drag racers are down to four chances to earn points toward a series championship. This is the fifth weekend for the six-weekend series.The final weekend is Sept. 26-27, after which series champs will be crowned.

The Zalusky Advanced Riding School will be on BIR’s 2.5-mile Competition Road Course Saturday and Sunday.

Myron Streit

Myron Streit

On the drag strip, Myron Streit still sits atop the Super Pro Class point standings but he’s got Gary Loeffelholz nipping at his heals. Loeffelholz won the class championship last year and is looking to repeat. Tony Leonard, currently in third place, is well within striking range as well. Super Pro has 61 drivers in the hunt.

Loeffelholz is leading 32-driver field in the new Quick 16 Shootout. Jordan Pratt isn’t far behind in second place, with Bruce Kaul in third.

The Pro ET Class has a similar situation. With 59 drivers in the points chase, Joe Howell is holding on to first place, but a red-hot Reno Loeffelholz is close behind and, like his father, is looking at repeating as class championship. Brandon Schmall is in third place and could easily spoil the party for both Howell and Loeffelholz.

Schmall also races in the Sportman Class, where he’s in first place, ahead of 31 other drivers in the points standings. He’s got a slim lead over second-place contender Russ Elzy and Mark Pease, who’s in third.

Joe Howell

Joe Howell

James Findell is on top of the standings in Stock/Super Stock, but you can bet he’s looking over his shoulder. Sitting back in third place is Ben Line, who has won the class championship the last four years in a row, and seven of the last eight years. Doug Jonak, another tough customer, is in second place.

Jimmy Paulson looks like he may be able to walk away with the Pro Bike/Sled Class. He’s well ahead of Jeremy Berg and Mike Voss, who are currently tied for second place in the standings.

The Comp Trophy Class appears to be a two-horse race, with Jared Hutar and Sid Osterman in first and second place, respectively. Andrew Walcheski is in a distant third place.

Tyler Gadacz has spent most of the season on top of the point standings in Street Trophy. Chasing him is Joe Moriarty Jr. in second place and Hannah Line in third.

Things are tight in the Junior Dragster classes as well. In Junior Dragster Advanced, Sarah Johnson is in first, with a slim lead over Sydney Haben. Trevor Jelinski is holding on to first place in Junior Dragster Intermediate, but all six racers have a shot taking home the championship. And Dylan Dancer is leading the pack in the Junior Dragster Novice Class, with Riley Luberda in second.

Daily admission is $20, and kids 12 and younger are free.


Thank You! Thank You! Thank You!

All of us at Brainerd International Raceway want to thank the 200+ individuals who volunteered their time to help us clean up the track from the storm that hit us July 12. We can’t thank you enough. We always say that we have the best racers and fans in the country, because you continue to give us reasons to do so. Here’s another reason.

Because of your generosity, we didn’t need to cancel any events, except for a Wednesday Night Street Drags on July 15. We’re repairing the damage to the shop and the press box, and will figure out how to get some bleachers in here to replace the section that was destroyed. That will be done before the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals. Those who come to Nationals this year shouldn’t notice any difference, except for missing trees.

Again, thank you to everyone who helped, including Papa John’s and Fresh Start Meat Market in Pine River (the former Shamp’s Meat Market), both of which donated food for our volunteers. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

Tune in Saturday to watch BIR’s Trans Am Series on TV

The Trans Am Series’ Ryan Companies Independence Day Classic from Brainerd International Raceway will be televised Saturday and Sunday (July 25 & 26) on CBS Sports Network.

BIR hosted the Trans Am race on July 5 as part of the 29th Annual PleasureLand RV Show & Go. With CBS  cameras rolling, the Trans Am classes put on crazy great race, with Amy Ruman winning the TA class and an amazing finish in TA2 with Duluth native Tommy Archer finishing second behind Dillon Machavern after a mad scramble between the top three drivers.

Fans will have four chances to watch BIR’s Trans Am race, which will be part of  16 hours of Trans Am coverage Saturday and Sunday from races at BIR, Sebring, Fla., Road Atlanta and Lime Rock, Conn. BIR’s race will air at:

11 am on Saturday
5 pm on Saturday
1 am on Sunday
4 am on Sunday

So tune in or set your DVRs/recorders. You can find your CBS Sports Network channel by clicking here.



Superbike racing is on; Wednesday Night Drags cancelled

There will be noticeable storm damage this weekend at Brainerd International Raceway but racing will go on anyway.

BIR expects to be ready to host the Central Roadracing Association (CRA) Friday through Sunday for Superbike racing on BIR’s original 3.1-mile Donnybrooke Road Course. BIR did, however, cancel the Wednesday Night Street Drags that were scheduled for Wednesday evening. That includes drag racing and drifting, both of which were scheduled.

RacingThe track for this weekend’s Superbike racing will be free of debris and in good shape, after a wicked storm ripped through the area Sunday evening, doing extensive damage to the track. The storm, with straight-line winds clocked at 70 mph, toppled and twisted a section of bleachers on the dragstrip, ripped the roofs off of the press box and the main shop, rolled at least two RVs in the campground, blew down dozens of signs, flipped over large dumpsters and knocked down too many trees to count.

Power has been restored to the BIR Ticket Office, which will open at 9 a.m. Wednesday. The office will also have the ability to print tickets, and online ticket sales will resume.

All other events on BIR schedule, including the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals set for Aug. 20-23,  will still take place. The bleacher situation will be addressed in the coming weeks, and the main grandstand will be tested to ensure that it’s safe.

The CRA has a big weekend of racing planned. Friday includes practice sessions. Saturday’s schedule includes practice sessions in the morning, followed by eight-lap sprints and 18-lap Trophy Dashes in the afternoon. On Sunday, the morning’s practice sessions will be followed by eight-lap sprints and the eight-lap Formula 40 race.

Daily admission is $20. Tickets are available at the front gate, and kids 12 and younger are free. Camping is free with a multi-day ticket.

 Photo by SDE

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