Bracket drag racers battle in first of 6 weekends

After a seven-month break for winter, Brainerd International Raceway’s Bracket Drag Racing Series returned to the quarter-mile track for a new season last weekend.

Some drivers, like Ben Line, picked up right where they left off from last season. Line won the final Stock/Super Stock race last year, earning him a series championship. On Saturday, he mowed down his first four opponents on his way to a final-round match-up with Randy Mans. But Mans was too quick on the trigger and fouled at the starting line, handing Line and his 1969 Mustang the easy win.

Shawn Carlson, Sportsman winner

Shawn Carlson, Sportsman winner

Ron Prince, Stock/Super Stock

Ron Prince, Stock/Super Stock

It appeared that Brian Johnson and Bryce Miller were going to follow in Line’s footsteps Saturday. As defending series champs in the Super Pro and Pro ET classes, respectively, both racers beat six other racers on their way to Saturday’s finals. But for Johnson, Terry Pease had other ideas. Pease and his ’53 Thames took down the champ with a run of 10.726 seconds and 131.91 mph. The class had 87 drivers competing.

In the Pro ET finals, where there were 91 drivers competing, Dave Engler stood in the way of Miller getting his first victory of the season. Miller beat Engler off the starting line but Engler caught him at the finish line with a winning time of 10.647 seconds and 124.48 mph.

The Bracket Drag Racing Series features six weekends of super-competitive drag racing. Racers have two chances to win each weekend because the racing program for Saturdays and Sundays includes eliminations with winners crowned at the end of each day. Drivers earn points along the way toward a series championship.

Reno Loeffelholz, Pro ET

Reno Loeffelholz, Pro ET

Dylan Dancer, double winner

Dylan Dancer, double winner

In the Sportsman Class, Shawn Carlson took the early lead in the points standings. Driving a 1973 Plymouth Scamp, he lost in the semifinals Saturday but rebounded with a win on Sunday, beating Mike Simons in the finals with a time of 12.069 seconds at 108.91 mph.

Jeremy Berg, Mike Larson and Heather Ingman all took similar paths to the top of the points standings of the Pro Bike/Sled, Comp Trophy and Street Trophy classes, respectively. Berg lost in the first round of Saturday’s race while Larson and Ingman were bumped off in the second rounds. But all three came back on Sunday and won their way to the Winner’s Circle.

Berg and his Suzuki beat Richard Tadych with a time of 8.155 seconds and 158.78 mph. Driving an ’82 Trans Am, Larson beat Bill Wiltse in the finals with a time of 12.096 seconds and 104.18 mph. And Ingman drove her 2013 Lincoln to a win over Todd Anderson, who fouled at the starting line.

Dylan Dancer was the only driver with a double win last week. He’ll enter the second Bracket Drag Racing weekend undefeated, after he won the Junior Dragster Intermediate Class (for ages 10-12) both days. Dancer beat Travis Kurkosky in Saturday’s final and Riley Luberda in Sunday’s final.

Jazper Wiebusch won the Junior Dragster Advanced Class on Sunday and is now in first place, while Carter Luberda won Saturday’s Junior Dragster Novice Class on Saturday, giving him the early lead in the standings.

Click here to view the standings.

Results from Saturday, May 6

Super Pro
Finals: Terry Pease of Duluth def. Brian Johnson of Nowthen

Pro ET
Finals: Dave Engler of South Haven def. Bryce Miller of Maple Lake

Finals: Vern Murphy of W. Fargo, N.D. def. Mike Simons of Pine City

Stock/Super Stock
Finals: Ben Line of International Falls def. Randy Mans of Rogers

Pro Bike/Sled
Finals: Bruce Meagher of Hudson, Wis. def. Kayla Filipiak of Isanti

Comp Trophy
Finals: Kevin Walcheski def. Andrew Walcheski of Foley

Street Trophy
Finals: Tyler Kyllonen of St. Francis def. Kayla Brett of Mora

Junior Dragster Advanced
Finals: Garrett Lindquist of Minnetonka def. Sydney Haben of Hibbing

Junior Dragster Intermediate
Finals: Dylan Dancer of Foley def. Travis Kurkosky of Annandale

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

Results from Sunday, May 7

Super Pro
Finals Myron Streit of St. Cloud def. Al Gavlovsky of Bemidji

Pro ET
Finals: Reno Loeffelholz of Shafer def. Pat Haubrich of New Ulm

Finals: Shawn Carlson of Elbow Lake def. Mike Simons of Pine City

Stock/Super Stock
Finals: Ron Prince of Tamarack def. Jason DeForrest of Andover

Pro Bike/Sled
Finals: Jeremy Berg of Newport def. Richard Tadych of Fertile

Comp Trophy
Finals: Mike Larson of Brainerd def. Billy Wiltse of Kinney

Street Trophy
Finals: Heather Ingman of Andover def. Todd Anderson of Brainerd

Junior Dragster Advanced
Finals: Jazper Wiebusch of Ham Lake def. Trevor Jelinski of Little Falls

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

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


The Bracket Drag Racing launches 2017 season this weekend

For guys like Brian Johnson, Bryce Miller and Brandon Schmall, this weekend couldn’t some soon enough.

That’s because it’s been seven months since last year’s drag racing season at Brainerd International Raceway came to an end and they found themselves at the top of the points standings as champions of the Bracket Drag Racing Series. Starting Friday, they will go about the arduous task of trying to defend those titles as the 2017 version of the series begins.

Johnson, Miller and Schmall, who won the Super Pro, Pro ET and Sportsman classes, respectively, will be joined in their quest for a repeat by champions from eight other classes, including three Junior Dragsters (ages 18 and younger). Schmall will be gunning for a “three-peat” this year. Meanwhile more than 230 racers who competed last year in the series, will be trying wrestle away those titles.

“The first Bracket Drag Race of the season is always a lot of fun because the racers are fired up to get back on the track,” BIR owner Jed Copham said. “We’re expecting more than 250 cars here this weekend so fans will see some great racing.”

Gates open this weekend at 5 p.m. Thursday. On Friday,  an optional Test & Tune for drivers starts at 11 a.m. On Saturday and Sunday, racing starts at 9 a.m. with time trials for all 10 classes followed by elimination rounds, where the losers of each pairings are done for the day. Champions will be determined at the end of both days. The Quick 16 Class does not race this weekend.

Powercruise Early Bird Deadline

The deadline for get in on the Early Bird Registration Discount for Powercruise is Friday, April 7. Click on the graphic below to link to the registration page.


The 2017 BIR Fan Guides are new available

The 2017 BIR Fan Guides have been printed and mailed. Check your mailbox for your guide to everything that’s going on at BIR this season. If you didn’t receive one in your mailbox, there’s a couple ways to get your hands on one. You can click on the graphic below to download a copy, you can call the Ticket Office to have one sent to you, or you can pick one up at many locations throughout the Brainerd Lakes Area, including the Ticket Office, area chambers of commerce and dozens of Discover Racks in various businesses. See you at the track!


Drag racers honored at BIR’s annual banquet

Brainerd International Raceway’s annual BIR Racer Banquet attracted more than 200 drag racers, families and friends, many of whom went home with trophies, personalized winner’s jackets, prizes and lots of stories.

The banquet, held Feb. 25 at Cragun’s Resort in Brainerd, the banquet was a chance for the track to recognize the series champions from the Bracket Drag Racing Series and the Muscle Car Series, as well as others who made an impact on the racing community last season.

Al Schmidt of Paradigm Performance and DeDe Doolittle-Roberts

Al Schmidt of Paradigm Performance and DeDe Doolittle-Roberts

Outstanding Dedication Award to Vern and Ginger Laurin Jr., from Ron Zenzen, middle

Outstanding Dedication Award to Vern and Ginger Laurin Jr., from Ron Zenzen, middle

Al Schmidt from Paradigm Performance in Brainerd presented the second annual Dick Roe Appreciation Award to DeDe Doolittle-Roberts for her outstanding service to the drag racing community. She’s a member of BIR’s drag racing crew.

Ron Zenzen presented the Outstanding Dedication Award to Vern Laurin Jr. and his wife, Ginger.

The Rookie of the Year Award went to Emma McFarland, who took second place in the Comp Trophy Class (Bracket Drag Racing Series) in her first year after racing in the Junior Dragster classes.

And Ben Line won the Joe Angelo Sportsmanship Award for displaying great sportsmanship toward the other racers.

Emma McFarland, Rookie of the Year

Emma McFarland, Rookie of the Year

Ben Line, Joe Angelo Sportsmanship Award

Ben Line, Joe Angelo Sportsmanship Award

The Bracket Drag Racing Series was well represented, with eight of the 11 series champs in attendance . The winners survived an extremely competitive season in most of the classes. The series is over six weekends, with winners crowned on both Saturdays and Sundays. The races typically attract more than 250 dragsters, cars, trucks, bikes, snowmobiles and Junior Dragsters.

The three-race Muscle Car Series attracts more than 300 cars and features seven heads-up classes, 10 Index classes, four Eliminator classes and a class for manual transmissions. In all, 13 championships were awarded after the season. Ten of the champions attended to receive their personalized jackets and trophies.

Bracket Series champs, back row from left: BIR Owner Jed Copham, Brian Johnson, Bryce Miller, Chris Henry and Mike Simons. Front: Brody Thompson, Riley Luberda, Sydney Thompson, Ben LIne

Bracket Series champs, back row from left: BIR Owner Jed Copham, Brian Johnson, Bryce Miller, Chris Henry and Mike Simons. Front: Brody Thompson, Riley Luberda, Sydney Thompson, Ben Line

Muscle Car Series champs, back row, left: Greg Schmidt, Jesse Nelson, Dennis Orr, Chris Orr, Dan Gefre, Robert Wilczek, BIR's Jed Copham. Front: Tracy Meyer (for Brian Carpenter), Scott Hielscher, Gary Olson, Jesse Haugesag, Bob Peterson

Muscle Car Series champs, back row, left: Greg Schmidt, Jesse Nelson (runner up), Dennis Orr, Chris Orr, Dan Gefre, Robert Wilczek. Front: Tracy Meyer (for Brian Carpenter), Scott Hielscher, Gary Olson, Jesse Haugesag, Bob Peterson


Congrats to the Bracket Drag Racing Series champs!

The top three racers in each class:

Super Pro – 60
1. Brian Johnson
2. Mike Campbell
3. Jenna Jahnke

Pro ET – 55
1. Bryce Miller
2. Wally Higby
3. Reno Loeffelholz

Sportsman – 23
1. Brandon Schmall
2. Sid Osterman
3. Steve Elzy

Stock/Super Stock – 16
1. Ben Line
2. Brad Haugaard
3. Jared Hutar

Pro Bike/Sled
1. Kyle Lundberg
2. Brad Harder
3. Kelley Fager

Comp Trophy
1. Chris Henry
2. Emma McFarland
3. Brandon Kellen

Street Trophy
1. Mike Simon
2. Shelley Joel
3. Todd Anderson

Quick 16
1. Gary Loeffelholz
2. Brian Johnson
3. Bryce Miller

Junior Dragster Advanced
1. Sydney Thompson
2. Chandler Niemeyer
3. Zach Zavadil

Junior Dragster Intermediate
1. Riley Luberda
2. Dylan Dancer
3. Samantha Cielinski

Junior Dragster Novice
1. Brody Thompson
2. Daniel Dancer
3. Carter Luberda

Help cancer patients and win a new race car

Here’s your chance to help cancer patients by buying a raffle ticket to win 2017 Mazda MX-5 Cup Race Car from Long Road Racing!

Lemons of Love is a non-profit organization that delivers hand-crafted goodie bags to cancer patients to make their day a little brighter. This will be the third year of the program, after doubling the number of bags delivered in the second year from the first. All proceeds from the raffle goes to Lemons of Love. A maximum of 2,500 tickets will be sold.

The drawing for the $59,000 race car will be during the 12 Hours of Sebring race, March 18. But don’t delay, buy your tickets today.

Click here to visit the official website where you can buy your tickets. Or to learn more about Lemons of Love, click here.

Lemons of Love


Check out BIR at these upcoming shows

The trade show season is here again, giving race fans a chance to get a jump on the racing season.

Look for Brainerd International Raceway at two trade shows this year: The Minneapolis Motorcycle Show and the Gopher State Timing Association (GSTA) Rod & Custom Spectacular.

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

Here are details of the shows:

The Minneapolis Motorcycle Show is Feb. 3-5 at the Minneapolis Convention Center. It’s all-things bikes at this show! Hundreds of the latest street bikes, dirt bikes, cruisers, scooters and ATVs will be on display, along with riding gear and aftermarket accessories. A custom bike competition will highlight a long list of entertainment.

The 61st Annual GSTA Rod & Custom Spectacular is April 8-9 at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds. Here, you’ll see the nastiest collection of hot rods and customs from throughout the Midwest. Don’t miss it if you’re into fins, flames and fender skirts.

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

BIR’s annual Racer Banquet is set for Feb. 25

BIR’s annual Racer Banquet is set for Saturday, Feb. 25 at Cragun’s Resort in Brainerd.

The program starts with a social hour at 5:30 p.m., followed by dinner at 6:30 p.m. The awards program follows dinner. The cost for the banquet  is $38 per person, $17 per child 8-12 years old and $11 per child 4-7 years old. Please be aware that those who attend the banquet must pay for dinner as well.

The Racer Banquet is BIR’s chance to recognize the top drag racers during the 2016 season. Champions of BIR’s Bracket Drag Racing Series and the Muscle Car Series will be honored, and individual awards will be given out as well. It’s a fun night for racers as well as their families and friends.

Make it a full weekend by staying both Friday and Saturday nights. BIR is receiving these special rates: $275.74 for two nights or $169.93 for a single night. Reserve your rooms by Jan. 16 for guaranteed rates and availability.

The registration process is a little different this year. You cannot reserve rooms at Cragun’s until you’ve contacted BIR and registered for the banquet. So your first step is to call Keri at BIR by phone at 218-824-7223. She will get you registered and then turn you over to Cragun’s to reserve your rooms. BIR’s offices are open from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Thursday.

Make a weekend out of it and enjoy snowmobiling, ice fishing or any of a host of other fun things to do at Cragun’s and in the Brainerd Lakes Area.

Visit the Cragun’s Resort website for more details about what they offer and where they’re located. Or visit the Visit Brainerd website to learn more about what’s happening in the Brainerd Lakes Area that weekend.

Hope to see you there!


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