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BIR names Bracket Drag Racing Series champs

Brainerd International Raceway’s 12-race Bracket Drag Racing Series came to a dramatic end Sunday, as about 150 drag racers had their final shot at a series championship in 10 different classes.

Ben Line

Ben Line

Among those who laid claim to the title of champion was Ben Line, who “three-peated” in the Stock/Super Stock Class. Line has been the driver to beat for many years, having won the series championship in that class six out of the last seven years, including the last three years straight. He won three of the last five races of the season and finished with a comfortable 1,000-point lead over second place finisher Tim Lisson.

“I’ve been extremely lucky,” Line said modestly. “Drag racing is a pretty humbling sport. Once you start to get cocky, you get kicked down to the bottom again.”

Line give most of the credit to his 1969 Mustang, which ran consistently and problem-free all season – almost. He competed during the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals in August and developed some transmission problems. He borrowed the transmission from his brother Lance’s Mustang but it gave him problems last weekend and contributed to a second-round loss.

Although Line continues to be a marvel in the Stock/Super Stock Class, it was Travis Reutzel’s season that was nothing short of amazing. Reutzel won the series championship in the Pro ET Class as well as King of the Track honors earlier in the season and a coveted Wally trophy Sunday by winning the Pro ET Class during the National Dragster Challenge. Even Reutzel said he’s surprised by his accomplishments.

Travis Reutzel and his King of the Track Wally

Travis Reutzel and his King of the Track Wally

” I wanted (the series championship) in the worst way,” Reutzel said. “It took me a while to get to this point, though. You don’t learn his sport over night. You need to put a consistent car together and I need to do my job on the starting line.”

Reutzel credits a consistent car and some luck along the way, but his strategy was simple: “If you’re ever going to win a points championship, you can’t go out in the first round. You need to be consistent.”

Up against 44 other Pro ET drivers in the points race, Reutzel and his 1967 Camaro always advanced through two rounds at a minimum this season, which was his first year racing at BIR. He’s already looking forward to next year, and don’t expect him to change anything on the setup of his car – he’s sticking with what’s been working.

In Super Pro, where 43 drivers were vying for the series championship, Brian Johnson eeked out the title by only three points. His point total was 3,073, just ahead of Terry Pease’s 3,070. The difference was that Pease lost in the

Rory Emmans

Rory Emmans

first round Sunday while Johnson made it to the second round before losing. The top four finishers were all within 26 points and were all in the top five of the standings most of the year. Johnson, like Reutzel, never lost in the first round.

Rory Emmans lost in the first round Sunday but had enough points in the Sportsman Class to claim the series championship. Second-place finisher Mark Pease didn’t compete in the last two races, making the final leg of the series a little easier for Emmans.

Racing a 1968 Caprice, Emman won five of the 10 races, including a rare double win in July when he won the class Saturday and Sunday of the same weekend.

The following are the top three places in each class of the Bracket Drag Racing Series.

SUPER PRO
1. Brian Johnson of Nowthen
2. Terry Pease of Blaine
3. Brandon Schmall of Lino Lakes

PRO ET
1. Travis Reutzel of Eden Valley
2. Robert Ingman of Andover
3. Reno Loeffelholz of Shafer

SPORTSMAN
1. Rory Emmans of Dayton
2. Mark Pease of Plymouth
3. Joe Moriarty Sr. of Ham Lake

STOCK/SUPER STOCK
1. Ben Line of International Falls
2. Tim Lisson of Solon Springs, Wis.
3. Steve Hutar of Cromwell

PRO BIKE/SLED
1. Mike Voss of Maplewood
2. Brad Harder of Waconia
3. Kyle Lundberg of Isanti

COMP TROPHY
1. Chelsea Hjelle of Karlstad
2. Keith Larson of Brainerd
3. Darren Arnold of Eden Prairie

STREET TROPHY
1. Nick Arnold of St. Louis Park
2. Joe Moriarty Jr. of Ham Lake
3. Tracy Arneson of Pillager

JUNIOR DRAGSTER ADVANCED
1. Erin Johnson of Anoka
2. Jordan Pratt of Otsego
3. Nick Gust of Isanti

JUNIOR DRAGSTER INTERMEDIATE
1. Sydney Thompson of Anoka
2. Sarah Johnson of Nowthen
3. Ashley Doffing of Cottage Grove

JUNIOR DRAGSTER NOVICE
1. Aaron Clampitt of Lino Lakes
2. Cameron Beaulieu of Cambridge

Wallys awarded during last Bracket Drag Race

There was a lot on the line Sunday during the final race in the 6-weekend Bracket Drag Racing Series at Brainerd International Raceway. Four Wally trophies and big prize money was up for grabs, but most importantly, valuable series points toward a series championship were at stake.

Saturday’s race was rained out, so drivers had one last chance to chase points for the series championship. And drivers in four classes – Super Pro, Pro ET, Sportsman and Pro Bike/Sled – also had a shot at winning a Wally trophy, just like the kind the NHRA pros receive. Sunday’s race was the annual National Dragster Challenge, which is one of the rare opportunities for drivers in the Bracket Drag Racing Series to win a Wally.

Joe Schmall

Joe Schmall

Travis Reutzel

Travis Reutzel

Joe Schmall was one of the drivers who now has a Wally on his shelf. He outlasted 82 other drivers Sunday in the Super Pro Class, beating Glenn Gordon in the finals for the win and the Wally. Schmall had his 1969 Plymouth Fury dialed in, as he posted a 10.910-second run in the finals at 116.78 mph.

In the Pro ET Class, Travis Reutzel showed why he’s the driver to beat in that class. He won King of the Track honors earlier this season and now has a Wally trophy to go along with it. Mike Walcheski earned his way to the

Grant Pesola

Grant Pesola

Kyle Lundberg

Kyle Lundberg

finals but couldn’t get his car to the starting line. With 76 drivers in the class, Reutzel had to be the most consistent racer to survive seven rounds of eliminations, and he was. His ’67 Camaro ran a consistent 9.18 seconds and 145 mph all day.

Driving a 1997 Dodge Ram pickup, Grant Pesola didn’t have the flashiest race car Sunday but it was good enough to win the Sportsman Class and a Wally trophy. With 35 drivers in the class, Pesola racked up wins in five rounds then faced Brad Mickle in the finals. Mickle was a hair quicker off the starting line but Pesola got the big Dodge rolling down the track and won with a time of 12.719 seconds at 102.53 mph.

Kyle Lundberg only raced in three of the 10 series races in the Pro Bike/Sled Class, but he made those appearances count, and played the spoiler for those who aspired to take home the Wally. Lundberg has a semifinal loss and two finals wins, including one on Sunday. He and his Suzuki GSXR beat Cameron Belisle in the finals with a time of 8.977 seconds and 142.84 mph.

Brian Zenzen's 1987 Camaro

Brian Zenzen’s 1987 Camaro

While some classes were chasing Wallys, the Stock/Super Stock drivers were slugging it out for big prize money as they competed in the North Star Fall Classic, sponsored by Midwest Class Racers. Forty drivers showed up, lured by a purse that ended up being $8,500. The biggest payday went to winner Brian Zenzen, who beat James Findell in the finals. Zenzen earned $2,000 while Findell took home $1,000. Findell handed Zenzen the win by fouling at the starting line.

In the other classes, Guy Stengel beat Darren Arnold in the Comp Trophy finals, and Nick Arnold won his fifth Street Trophy finals of the season by beating Samantha Loberg.

In Junior Dragsters, Erin Johnson entered the weekend in first place in Junior Dragster Advanced, and will stay there with a finals win over Jordan Pratt. Sarah Johnson beat Sydney Thompson in the finals of Junior Dragster Intermediate, and Cameron Beaulieu beat Ally Giese in the finals of the Junior Dragster Novice Class.

Below are the final two rounds in each class.

SUPER PRO
Finals: Joe Schmall of Lino Lakes def. Glenn Gordon of Walcott, N.D.
Semifinals: Schmall def. Mike Sonnek of Hutchinson; Gordon had a bye

PRO ET
Finals: Travis Reutzel of Eden Valley def. Mike Walcheski of Foley
Semifinals: Reutzel def. Jason Charlton of Grand Rapids: Walcheski had a bye

SPORTSMAN
Finals: Grant Pesola of Duluth def. Brad Mickle of Lino Lakes
Semifinals: Pesola had a bye; Mickle def. Bob Gillespie

STOCK/SUPER STOCK
Finals: Brian Zenzen of St. Cloud def. James Findell of Zimmerman
Semifinals: Zenzen had a bye; Findell def. Lyn Johnson of Cloquet

PRO BIKE/SLED
Finals: Kyle Lundberg of Isanti def. Cameron Belisle of Hugo
Semifinals: Lundberg had a bye; Belisle def. Jason Clampitt of Lino Lakes

COMP TROPHY
Finals: Guy Stengel of Blaine def. Darren Arnold of Eden Prairie
Semifinals: Stengel def. Angie Beck of Coon Rapids; Arnold had a bye

STREET TROPHY
Finals: Nick Arnold of St. Louis Park def. Samantha Loberg of Pequot Lakes
Semifinals: Arnold def. Andi Pesola of Duluth; Loberg had a bye

JUNIOR DRAGSTER ADVANCED
Finals: Erin Johnson of Anoka def. Jordan Pratt of Otsego
Semifinals: Johnson def. McKenna Bungert of Lakeville; Pratt def. Zachary Zavadil of Clearwater

JUNIOR DRAGSTER INTERMEDIATE
Finals: Sarah Johnson of Nowthen def. Sydney Thompson of Anoka
Semifinals: Johnson def. Garrett Lindquist of Minnetonka; Thompson had a bye

JUNIOR DRAGSTER NOVICE
Finals: Cameron Beaulieu of Cambridge def. Ally Giese of Kandiyohi
Semifinals: Beaulieu def. Aaron Clampitt of Lino Lakes; Giese def. Sami Cielinski of Gilman

 

This weekend! Bracket Drag Racing Series finale

Most drivers competing in Brainerd International Raceway’s Bracket Drag Racing Series only get one chance a year to hoist a coveted Wally trophy over their heads like the NHRA pros do, and that chance is Saturday during the National Dragster Challenge.

The Challenge will be part of the final weekend of racing for the 250-plus drivers expected for the Bracket Drag Racing Series’ grand finale, which concludes Sunday. Drivers are gunning for series points Saturday and Sunday en route to a series championship in one of 10 classes. But also at stake this weekend are five Wally trophies for drivers competing in the Super Pro, Pro ET, Sportsman and Pro Bike/Sled classes. The winners of those classes Saturday will earn Wally trophies.

Drivers in the Stock/Super Stock Class also have extra incentive this weekend during the North Star Fall Classic presented by Midwest Class Racers. In addition to battling for series points, drivers also will compete for a share of a $2,000 purse both Saturday and Sunday if a minimum of 64 cars enter.

For many racers this weekend, the main prize is the points they earn Saturday and Sunday during the elimination rounds. Championships will be won and lost this weekend in all the classes listed above, including Comp Trophy, Street Trophy and three Junior Dragster classes, so points will be at a premium.

“It’s going to be a great weekend of racing for our drivers, most of who will have extra incentives to do well, whether it’s for Wally trophies, big prize money or series championships,” BIR owner Jed Copham said. “It’s the last weekend of racing for the season so everyone will be leaving it all on the track. We’re expecting a really fun event.”

Gates open at 5 p.m. Friday, with time trials starting at 9 a.m. Saturday and Sunday. Time trials each day are followed by elimination rounds. Daily admission is $15 for adults; kids 12 and under are free. Camping is free with a multi-day ticket.
 

 

2013 Muscle Car Series champions crowned

When the 2013 Muscle Car Series kicked off Memorial Day weekend during the Street Car Showdown, one thing was for certain: The points standings for the Pro Outlaw and Outlaw classes were going to look a lot different than from the two previous years.

Gone were the father-son combination of Mike and Dean Bauerly, who were dominate in the Outlaw and Pro Outlaw classes, respectively. Gone was their teammate, Luke Volk, who tied for the Pro Outlaw championship last year. Gone was Eric Wourms, who won the Outlaw Class two of the last three years. That opened the door this year for other drivers to step up and make a run for a series championship in the fastest two classes of the series.

Bill Krech & Crew

Bill Krech & Crew

In Pro Outlaw, Craig Braun was a favorite entering the season after tying Volk last year for the championship. But Braun missed the first race this year – the Street Car Showdown – and finished third. Bill Krech and Ray Fuchs surfaced as the main contenders as they slugged it out during all three series races, with each winning one race and finishing second and third behind Braun in the final race: the Muscle Car Shootout. The difference was that Krech and his 1969 Camaro finished second in the finale, which was just enough to edge Fuchs out for the championship.

This year was the fifth year for the three-race Muscle Car Series, which includes the Street Car Showdown Memorial Day weekend, the NAPA Auto Parts Show & Go the Fourth of July weekend and the Muscle Car Shootout Labor Day weekend. At center stage are the seven Heads-Up Classes, where both cars get the green light at the same time, and the fastest car to the finish line wins. There are 15 other “handicap” classes each race.

Jake Delmonico, Outlaw Class Champ

Jake Delmonico, Outlaw Class Champ

In the Outlaw Class, Jake Delmonico swept the three races, taking the championship in his 1968 Camaro. Delmonico never had the fastest car in the class, running 7.7 seconds and about 175 mph, but he was the most consistent, which was the secret to this success, he said.

“The car was really consistent all year,” Delmonico said. “It’s like a perfect bracket drag racing car, not a heads-up car. But I let everyone else throw the power at the track.

“It’s a tough class to win. It was definitely a high note, a great year.”

Like Delmonico, Brian Mahnke credits consistency as the main reason for his success again in the King Street Class, he said. In a class with 29 other drivers chasing the championship, Mahnke also credits luck as playing a major role in winning his fourth straight series championship.

King Street Champ Brian Mahnke & Crew

King Street Champ Brian Mahnke & Crew

Mahnke and his 1972 Camaro swept the series again this year for the second time in three years and has become one of the toughest drivers to beat in the Muscle Car Series. Since the series started in 2009, Mahnke has 10 finals wins and one runner-up finish. He didn’t make it to the finals only four times.

There was no repeat in the Real Street Unlimited Class but the 2013 series resembled last year’s series for Jim Ripley, only with better results. Last year, Ripley and Tom Jones ended up in the finals of all three races, with Jones winning the class by beating Ripley in two of them.

This year, Ripley and his 1972 Nova found himself in the finals of the first two races with Jad Carlson, with each racer walking away with a win. In the Muscle Car Shootout, Carlson lost in the semifinals and Ripley went on to win the finals – and the series championship.

Jim Ripley, Real Street Unlimited Champ

Jim Ripley, Real Street Unlimited Champ

A fierce rivalry ended in the Real Street Natural Class as well, when Todd Malik left for the True Street Class. Malik and Matt Sathre were in the finals in all three races last year and the last two races of 2011. They split in 2011, when Malik won the series championship, but Sathre, who races an ’89 Mustang, got his revenge last year by beating Malik in all three finals for his first series championship. This year, Sathre swept the series again, extending his winning streak to include seven straight races and two championships.

“You’ve got to get lucky and have a car that’s reliable and has the right set-up,” Sathre said, regarding the streak. “You can’t red line and you can’t break. Repeating was more exciting than the first championship because it’s harder to do, to keep that streak alive. We’ll see what happens next year.”

Matt Sathre, repeat Real Street Natural Champ

Matt Sathre, repeat Real Street Natural Champ

Malik’s move to True Street this year turned out to be a good one. Driving a 1968 Camaro, Malik was off to a slow start when he didn’t make the elimination rounds in the Street Car Showdown, but rebounded by winning the next two races and the series championship.

New to the series this year was the 660 Outlaw Street Class, and Lucas Mlinar started his own streak by claiming the inaugural championship. For 660 Outlaw Street, BIR shortens the drag strip to an eighth mile and adds tire restrictions that level the playing field for the cars in that class. Mlinar won the last two races with his 2001 Trans Am that was running 4.8-second times at 157.48 mph.

The three Strip Eliminator classes all have new champions this year, partly because of the large number of racers in each class. Strip Eliminator 1, for example, had 39 racers chasing the series championship. Charlie Odden and his 1968 Camaro outlasted the field by winning the second race and losing in the semifinals of the last one to place first.

Todd Malik, True Street Champ

Todd Malik, True Street Champ

The field for Strip Eliminator 2 included 82 racers this year, including Gary Olson, who raced his ’79 Camaro to one win and a runner-up finish, which was good enough to earn him a series championship.

Strip Eliminator 3 had 32 racers, including Gary Tesar who won the series championship in his 1987 IROC Z with a win and a runner-up finish.

The series also has 10 Index classes, the winners of each get paired up for a run-off to determine the Index Class Champion at each race. The racers in those run-offs also earn points toward a series championship. Mike Hammerstrom had two runner-up finishes, which was enough for a series championship.

Below are the top three places in each class:

Pro Outlaw – sponsored by Gizmos
1.     Bill Krech of Inver Grove Heights
2.     Ray Fuchs of Bowman, N.D.
3.     Craig Braun of Hampton

Outlaw – sponsored by K.T.R.E.
1.     Jake Delmonico of St. Paul Park
2.     Brian Carpenter of Forest Lake
3.     Jason Rolow of Anoka

King Street – sponsored by TNT Speed Shop
1.     Brian Mahnke of Proctor
2.     Evan Boettcher of Andover
3.     Mike Sterling of Oak Grove

Real Street Unlimited – sponsored by Modern Automotive Performance
1.     Jim Ripley of Duluth
2.     Jad Carlson of Hermantown
3.     Clint Warpula of Chisholm

Real Street Natural – sponsored by Rushio Farmers Insurance
1.     Matt Sathre of Brooklyn Park
2.     Kelly Rutz of Randall
3.     Jerry Stellrecht of Goodhue

True Street – sponsored by Norm’s Tire Sales
1.     Todd Malik of Andover
2.     Jason Nelson of Champlin
3.     Zack Novak of Sauk Rapids

660 Outlaw Street – sponsored by K.T.R.E
1.     Lucas Mlinar of Winnipeg, Manitoba
2.     Nick Strohbeen of Roseville
3.     Jim Friendt of Cottage Grove

Strip Eliminator 1
1.     Charlie Odden of Pine Center
2.     Jesse Haugesag of Prior Lake
3.     Jeff Weston of Champlin

Strip Eliminator 2
1.     Gary Olson of Sartell
2.     Warren Anderson of Cambridge
3.     Lonnie Ellenson of Park Rapids

Strip Eliminator 3
1.     Gary Tesar of Medina
2.     Kirk Leith of Prior Lake
3.     Gordon Hanson of Iron

Truck Eliminator
1.     Troy Anderson of St. Paul
2.     David Adams of Brooklyn Center
3.     Jerry Jablonski of Duluth

Manual Transmission
1.     Chris Moorman of St. Michael
2.     Sheldon Lee of St. Peter
3.     Larry Jarosiewicz of Hugo

Index Class Championship
1.     Mike Hammerstrom of Bemidji
2.     Kevin Sand of Cambridge
3.     Bruce Morley of Brainerd

BIR drag racing team finishes second in Kansas

Fractions of a second were what stood between three drag racers from Brainerd International Raceway and first-place finishes in a team competition with 21 other tracks last weekend.

ET_Team13Mike Campbell, Rory Emmans and his daughter Michelle all took home runner-up honors during the NHRA West Central Summit Racing ET Finals at Heartland Park in Topeka, Kan. They were members of BIR’s 40-member team, which tied for second place with Cedar Falls Raceway in Cedar Falls, Iowa. Kansas International Dragway in nearby Wichita placed first.

Rory Emmans’ loss in the finals was even more painful because it in the Race of Champions, which is a race within a race for the top drag racers from each track. Had he won that race, he would’ve qualified to compete for a national championship in Ponoma, Calif., during the NHRA’s Auto Club Finals in November.

Rory Emmans

Rory Emmans

“It’s fun to come close but I couldn’t close the deal,” said Emmans, who was competing in his fifth ET Finals. “You can’t beat yourself up over it but it was on my mind all the way home.”

Emmans and his 39 teammates earned their way onto the team based on where they were in the points standings in BIR’s Bracket Drag Racing Series, which is a six-weekend series with one weekend left (Sept. 28-29). The racers on the team are at the top of the points standings in their respective classes.

The team competed against teams from 21 other tracks in the NHRA’s West Central Division, which stretches from Wyoming to Wisconsin and from Colorado to Kansas, including part of Canada. More than 600 racers competed.

Driving his 1968 Caprice, Emmans won his way through four rounds of competition before landing in the finals against Mark Johnson from Kansas.

Michelle Emmans

Michelle Emmans

“I just kept thinking to myself, ‘I’ve got to do this. I’ve got to do this. Don’t screw this up,’” Emmans said. Johnson was quicker off the starting line but his car was smoking all the way down the track. Emmans admits that he was a little distracted by the smoke, which was just enough to keep him out of the Winner’s Circle. Emmans ran a 12.171 seconds and 104.05 mph.

Emmans’ 19-year-old daughter, Michelle, also missed out on a first-place finish. She was competing in the High School class with 31 other racers. Driving her ’98 Regal, Michelle was hoping to improve on her runner-up finish at her first ET Finals last year.

“I just wanted to go one more round than last year,” said Michelle, who graduated from high school last spring.

She had car problems before she even lined up for her first run, though. Her catalytic converter went bad, leaving her with less power. But she won four rounds of eliminations before finding herself in the finals against Katelyn Parnell from Colorado.

Mike Campbell

Mike Campbell

“I was nervous because of the catalytic converter,” she said. “And then I left (the starting line) late. I caught a bad light, and it was all over.” Michelle ran 13.948 seconds at 98.06 mph.

Mike Campbell was the only BIR racer to make it past the third round in the Super Pro class. BIR had 14 racers in Super Pro; the field totaled 174 racers.

BIR had 10 racers in the Pro ET class but only Travis Reutzel made it past the second round, losing in the third round. In all, 188 racers competed in Pro ET.

In the Sportsman class, BIR had 10 racers, including Rory Emmans, who lost in the first round. Teammate Brad Mickle lasted the longest for BIR, making it to the fifth round before losing.

Mike Voss and Kyle Lundberg were BIR’s only team members in the Pro Bike class. Lundberg was eliminated early and Voss lost in the quarterfinals.

Michelle Emmans was one of four racers competing in the High School class for BIR. Tracy Arneson advanced to the semifinals before losing.

Below were the members of BIR’s ET Finals team:

SUPER PRO
Terry Pease of Blaine (Race of Champions)
Brandon Schmall of Lino Lakes
Mike Campbell of Brooklyn Park
Brian Johnson of Nowthen
Rodney Thompson of Anoka
Nick Engler of Ramsey
Greg Grundman of St. Cloud
Mike Anderson of St. Joseph
Dean Beaulieu of Cambridge
Ronnie Luberda of Foley
Toby Giese of Kandiyohi
Ryan Scheleck of St. Cloud
John Helmin of Rice
Al Govlovsky of Bemidji

PRO ET
Travis Reutzel of Eden Valley (Race of Champions)
Robert Ingman of Andover
Mike Casteel of Thief River Falls
Dave Engler of Ramsey
Brad Mickle of Lino Lakes
Steve Roehrs of Frederic, Wis.
Todd Larson of Bagley
Steve Elzy of Lindstrom
Rick Beaulieu of Forest Lake

Kayla Noyes of Andover

SPORTSMAN
Rory Emmans of Dayton (Race of Champions)
Mark Pease of Plymouth
Chris Henry of Sauk Rapids
Lee Dugdale of Scandia
Marie Swenson of Champlin
Joe Moriarty Sr of Ham Lake
Russ Elzy of Becker
Jamie Turcotte of Coon Rapids
Vern Gjelhaug of Dresser, Wis.
Brandon Schmall of Lino Lakes

BIKE/SLED
Mike Voss of Maplewood (Race of Champions)
Kyle Lundberg of Isanti

HIGH SCHOOL
Joe Moriarty Jr  of Ham Lake (Race of Champions)
Taylor Arneson of Pillager
Tracy Arneson of Pillager
Michelle Emmans of Dayton

Kids get in for FREE!

Don’t leave the kids at home on race weekend.

Kids 12 and under get in to all BIR events this year for free! They must be accompanied by an adult, but they get in to all events for free, including the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals. For Nationals, they still must pay for a reserved seat to sit in the grandstands and they must pay for camping, but entrance into the facility is free. For all events, there will only be one ticket price for everyone who is 13 and older.

This weekend! Superbikes & Watercross

Intense Superbike racing combined with amazing snowmobile racing on open water are on tap this weekend at Brainerd International Raceway.

Racing6It’s the second weekend for this duo, as the Central Roadracing Association (CRA) brings its insane brand of Superbike racing to BIR’s 2.5-mile Competition Road Course while the International Watercross Association (IWA) is racing snowmobiles on open water on Lake BIR.

The IWA made BIR a stop on their circuit last year and instantly became very popular with race fans, mostly because of how unique the sport is. Racers are literally skipping across the water on snowmobiles that have very few modifications made to them. They drag race across Lake BIR from one shoreline to the other, and they oval race around three markers in the water. Three or four snowmobiles at a time take off from shore – several yards from the water line – with enough speed and momentum to carry them around the markers four or five times before returning to shore.

IWA2_WDo they sink to the bottom? Absolutely. Racers occasionally lose momentum and their sled sinks to the bottom. After the heat is done, a special pontoon maneuvers over the sled, lifts it up and transports it back to shore. With little effort, the racer dries out the sled and it’s typically ready for his or her next heat.

Racing begins at 9 a.m. Saturday and Sunday.

The CRA will be at the track for the fifth and final weekend of the season. Practice sessions are scheduled for Friday and Saturday morning followed by six-lap races Saturday afternoon. A practice session Sunday morning is followed by CRA’s grand finale – a five-hour endurance race that starts at noon. Practice starts at 9 a.m. daily.

“IWA racing is really fun for the fans to watch,” BIR Owner Jed Copham said. “Fans have a great time sitting on the shoreline watching these guys race on open water. But CRA puts on some great racing as well, including the five-hour endurance race on Sunday. That will be a great event to end the season on.”

Tickets are available at the gate. Daily admission is $15; kids 12 and under are free. On-site camping is free with the purchase of a multi-day ticket.

CRA Photo courtesy of SDE Photography.

BIR sets drag racing team for annual ET Finals

Brainerd International Raceway today announced the 40-member drag racing team that will represent the track during the NHRA West Central Summit Racing ET Finals this weekend at Heartland Park in Topeka, Kan.

Travis Ruetzel will race in Pro ET.

Travis Ruetzel will race in Pro ET.

The team will compete against drag racing teams from 21 other tracks in the NHRA’s West Central Division, which stretches from Wyoming to Wisconsin and from Colorado to Kansas, including part of Canada. More than 600 racers are expected to compete.

BIR’s 40 drag racers earned their way onto the team by successfully competing in BIR’s Bracket Drag Racing Series, which is a six-weekend series with one weekend left (Sept. 28-29). The racers on the team are at the top of the points standings in their respective classes.

The ET Finals has five classes: Super Pro, Pro ET, Sportsman, Pro Bike and High School. At stake are individual and team honors, prize money and contingency awards. Some drivers even have a shot at earning a trip to compete for a national championship in Ponoma, Calif., during the NHRA’s Auto Club Finals in November.

The drivers competing for the trip to Pomona are those selected for the Race of Champions, which is a race within a race during the ET Finals. Each team identifies one driver in each of the five classes to represent the team in the Race of Champions. Drivers are paired up in an elimination format by class to determine the class champions, which advance to compete against the top drivers from the NHRA’s other six divisions for a national championship in Pomona. The five BIR teammates competing in the Race of Champions are Terry Pease (Super Pro), Travis Reutzel (Pro ET), Rory Emmans (Sportsman), Mike Voss (Bike/Sled), and Joe Moriarty Jr. (High School).

“BIR always sends a really competitive team to the ET Finals and this team is no different,” said BIR owner Jed Copham. “The racers in our Bracket Drag Racing Series prove every year that they’re some of the top amateur drag racers in the country and they represent BIR well at the ET Finals. We’re really excited about the makeup of this team and we’re hoping for a strong finish again.”

Below are the members of BIR’s ET Finals team:

SUPER PRO
Terry Pease of Blaine (Race of Champions)
Brandon Schmall of Lino Lakes
Mike Campbell of Brooklyn Park
Brian Johnson of Nowthen
Rodney Thompson of Anoka
Nick Engler of Ramsey
Greg Grundman of St. Cloud
Mike Anderson of St. Joseph
Dean Beaulieu of Cambridge
Ronnie Luberda of Foley
Toby Giese of Kandiyohi
Ryan Scheleck of St. Cloud
John Helmin of Rice
Al Govlovsky of Bemidji

PRO ET
Travis Reutzel of Eden Valley (Race of Champions)
Robert Ingman of Andover
Mike Casteel of Thief River Falls
Dave Engler of Ramsey
Brad Mickle of Lino Lakes
Steve Roehrs of Frederic, Wis.
Todd Larson of Bagley
Steve Elzy of Lindstrom
Rick Beaulieu of Forest Lake
Kayla Noyes of Andover

SPORTSMAN
Rory Emmans of Dayton (Race of Champions)
Mark Pease of Plymouth
Chris Henry of Sauk Rapids
Lee Dugdale of Scandia
Marie Swenson of Champlin
Joe Moriarty Sr of Ham Lake
Russ Elzy of Becker
Jamie Turcotte of Coon Rapids
Vern Gjelhaug of Dresser, Wis.
Brandon Schmall of Lino Lakes

BIKE/SLED
Mike Voss of Maplewood (Race of Champions)
Kyle Lundberg of Isanti

HIGH SCHOOL
Joe Moriarty Jr  of Ham Lake (Race of Champions)
Taylor Arneson of Pillager
Tracy Arneson of Pillager
Michelle Emmans of Dayton

Tonight! Last Wednesday Night Drags

Wednesday Night Drags kick off 2013 season tonight!

The first official event of the 2013 season at BIR is the Wednesday Night Drags – Street Legal Style. Tonight is the first of eight Wednesday nights on the schedule this year. Bring your street-legal car, truck or bike to BIR, along with a bunch of friends, and help us warm up the drag strip for the 2013 season.

If you’re a newby, Wednesday Night Drags are for anyone who wants to try drag racing. Bring your street-legal vehicle, a helmet and $25, and you can make as many runs as time allows. You use the burnout box, the light tree and the scoreboard. There’s even an announcer calling the action. Click here for more details.

 

MAP Proving Grounds returns this weekend for Round 2

The imports, sport compacts and bikes return to Brainerd International Raceway this weekend for a second turbo-charged round of racing action during the Modern Automotive Performance (MAP) Proving Grounds.

This is the first year that there’s been two Proving Grounds weekends on BIR’s racing schedule because the event is growing fast, with more than 5,000 drivers and fans during the first event in June.

This weekend’s Proving Grounds will again showcase cars, trucks and bikes from all corners of the Midwest and Canada. Front-, rear- and all-wheel-drive cars, including the turbo-charged variety, will compete in drag racing, drifting, autocross, burnout contests and open lapping. A new addition to the event this year is the Triple Tuner Showdown for drivers who enter drag racing, autocross and the Time Attack open lapping on BIR’s 2.5-mile Competition Road Course. They earn points in each event, with the most points earning the Showdown title. In June, the top three finishers were (in order) Brandon Ranvek, Ronnie Soliman and Tom Hille. Ranvek and Soliman drove Mitsobishi Evo IXs, while Hille drove an Evo VIII.

On the drag strip, cars and import bikes will compete in seven different classes, including Outlaw, Outlaw Natural, Real Street Natural and Real Street Unlimited. Speeds are expected to dip into the 8-second range on the quarter mile. Testing will be Friday, followed by time trials and qualifying Saturday, and then qualifying and eliminations on Sunday.

Drag racing is a big part of the program but the drifting competition is typically the fan favorite each year. Driving through a course marked by orange cones, drivers are timed as they fly through the course mostly in controlled (or uncontrolled, in some cases) skids. That usually creates a lot of smoke, burnt rubber and screeching. Drifting starts Friday evening and continues Saturday and Sunday.

Autocross, which will be Friday and Saturday evenings, involves cars maneuvering through a course while they’re timed. Unlike drifting, autocross is about car control and driving skills.

BIR’s 2.5-mile, 13-turn Competition Road Course will be busy Saturday and Sunday with open lapping and a Time Attack for the fastest lap. A burnout contest is at 7 p.m. Saturday, and the event concludes with an awards ceremony at 4 p.m. Sunday.

“The MAP Proving Grounds continues to really grow and is quickly becoming one of our more popular events,” BIR Owner Jed Copham said. “The drifting competition, for example, draws a great crowd and is a lot of fun to watch.”

The Proving Grounds is for novice drivers, expert drives and everything in between. Those who want to compete should contact Modern Automotive Performance.

Daily admission is $15 with kids 12 and under free. On-site camping is free with a multi-day ticket.

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