Rain shortens drag racing, CRA Superbike racing

A soggy weather forecast for the first Bracket Drag Racing Series and Superbike weekend of the 2015 season didn’t seem to deter racers. Racers came out in full force to get a shot at BIR’s race track for the first time this year, in most cases.

Jimmy Paulson, foreground, beats Jeremy Berg in the first round.

Jimmy Paulson, foreground, beats Jeremy Berg in the first round.

Drag racers spent Friday testing their cars on the drag strip, and then competed on Saturday before the rain rolled in that evening and continued through most of Sunday. Seven of the 10 classes completed their elimination rounds on Saturday and determined winners.

The Central Roadracing Association’s (CRA) Superbike Racing was on the Competition Road Course all weekend. Dozens of bikes showed up for the first of five racing weekends at BIR this year. They had eight-lap sprints on Saturday as well as an 18-lap Trophy Dash. Click here for results.

On the drag strip, Mandy Anderson drove her 1979 Caprice to a Sportsman class finals win. Facing off against Grant Pesola, Anderson snuck off the starting line before Pesola and then inched past him at the finish line with a time of 12.985 seconds and 103.10 mph.

Mandy Anderson, Sportsman winner

Mandy Anderson, Sportsman winner

Josh Luberda, Street Trophy winner

Josh Luberda, Street Trophy winner

In the Pro Bike/Sled finals, Jimmy Paulsonand his Suzuki 1300 beat Cameron Belisle off the starting line and never looked back, taking the win with a 9.185-second pass at 130.95 mph.

Jared Hutar finished second in last year’s Comp Trophy final standings but will take an early lead in points this year by winning the class Saturday. He drove his ’94 Camaro to a win over Bryan Brager, who fouled at the starting line. Hutar finished with a 12.006-second pass at 111.69 mph.

Josh Luberda drove his 1970 Chevelle SS to a win Saturday in Street Trophy, beating Tyler Gadacz. Luberda nearly cut a perfect light on the starting line with a .001-second reaction time. He held off Gadacz for the win by running 14.143 seconds and 93.44 mph.

Jared Hutar won the Comp Trophy class.

Jared Hutar won the Comp Trophy class.

The Junior Dragsters were well represented this weekend as well, with 30 drivers competing. In Junior Dragster Advanced, Sarah Johnson beat Sydney Haben in the finals. Jazper Wiebusch beat Ashley Doffing in Junior Dragster Intermediate, and Dylan Dancer beat Travis Kurkosky in Junior Dragster Novice.

Results for the first Bracket Drag Racing Series race (Saturday only):

Super Pro
This class didn’t finish. The final three racers were Mike Campbell, Chuck Roycraft and Bruce Kaul

Pro ET
This class didn’t finish. The final four racers were Ken Drevnick, Joe Howell, Kaylyn Milton and Tevin Zavadill

Finals: Mandy Anderson of Sauk Rapids def. Grant Pesola of Duluth
Semifinals: Anderson had a bye; Pesola def. Layne Robertson of Litchfield

Stock/Super Stock
This class didn’t finish. The final two racers were Gene Mosbek and Alan Litke

Pro Bike/Sled
Finals: Jimmy Paulson of Stacy def. Cameron Belisle of Hugo
Semifinals: Paulson def. Mike Voss of Maplewood; Belisle def. Kyle Shilts of New Richmond, Wis.

Comp Trophy
Finals: Jared Hutar of Cromwell def. Bryan Brager of Pillager
Semifinals: Hutar def. Paul Songas of Stacy; Brager def. Tim McKenzie of Foley

Street Trophy
Finals: Josh Luberda of Foley def. Tyler Gadacz of Little Falls
Semifinals: Luberda had a bye; Gadacz def. Andrew Dancer of Royalton

Junior Dragster Advanced
Finals: Sarah Johnson of Nowthen def. Sydney Haben of Hibbing
Semifinals: Johnson def. Erin Johnson of Anoka; Haben def. Paige Findell of Zimmerman

Junior Dragster Intermediate
Finals: Jazper Wiebusch of Ham Lake def. Ashley Doffing of Cottage Grove
Semifinals: Wiebusch def. Trevor Jelinski; Doffing def. Aaron Clampitt of Lino Lakes

Junior Dragster Novice
Finals: Dylan Dancer of Foley def. Travis Kurkosky of Annandale
Semifinals: Dancer def. Cameron Giese of Kandiyohi; Kurkosky def. Allyson Giese of Kandiyohi

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

On the track this weekend: Drag Racing, Superbikes

The 2015 racing season starts this weekend for more than 250 drivers in the Bracket Drag Racing Series as well as dozens of motorcycle riders from the Central Roadracing Association (CRA).

Drag racing and Superbike racing will take place simultaneously Friday through Sunday.

Reno_WOn the drag strip, the top two drivers with the largest targets on their backs will be the father-son duo of Gary and Reno Loeffelholz, who won series championships last year in the two biggest classes in the Bracket Drag Racing Series: Super Pro and Pro ET. Those championships were the first for both drivers, but hopefully not the last, they said.

This weekend’s Bracket Drag Racing Series features dragsters, cars, trucks, bikes, snowmobiles and Junior Dragsters (for kids ages 8-18). They’ll be competing for cash prizes and points in the six-weekend, 12-race series. Friday is a Test & Tune day for drivers as they make passes to get their cars dialed in for competition. On Saturday and Sunday, racers will get at least one round of time trials before elimination rounds begin, with winners in each of the 10 classes crowned at the end of both days.

RacingBIR’s 2.5-mile Competition Road Course will be busy all weekend with Superbike racing, as the CRA takes over the track for the first of its five weekends at BIR.

Friday is for new riders and includes practice sessions. Saturday’s schedule includes practice, eight-lap sprints and 18-lap Trophy Dashes. Sunday’s schedule includes practice and eight-lap sprints.

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

Reno Loeffelholz, top, is the drag racer to beat in Pro ET.
Superbikes take on BIR’s road course this weekend. Photo by SDE



Wednesday Night Street Drags kick off this week

The first Wednesday Night Drags – Street Legal Style of the new season is this week!

The rules are the same as last year, just show up with your street legal car, truck or bike, an approved helmet and $25, and make as many runs on BIR’s world-class drag strip as time allows. But don’t come alone, load up your car with your buddies, family members and whoever else you can fit in your car. Admission is only $5 a head for spectators, and everyone needs a cheering section.

Drivers can use the burn-out box, the light tree and the scoreboard, and there’s even an announcer calling the action over the PA!

Last year, BIR also rotated in autocross or drifting. This week, drivers can try their hand at autocross, which is a challenging competition where drivers maneuver through a course set up with orange cones. The timed event really tests a driver’s skill level.

Thanks to NAPA Auto Parts, which is sponsoring the event again this year and will have representatives there to answer questions about cars and parts.

Let’s get the new Wednesday Night Drags program off to a great start this week.

Gates open at 4 p.m. and racing starts an hour later. Racing goes until dusk.

For more information, click here to go to the main Wednesday Night Street Drags page.

Bill Doolittle to be honored with tree re-dedication

The racing community at Brainerd International Raceway lost true friend a great champion of drag racing when Bill Doolittle passed away last month. DoolittleHe was 92.

Bill’s passion was NHRA drag racing and, for many years, he was a fixture on the starting line of BIR’s drag strip.

Bill will be honored this Saturday at the conclusion of racing. It’s BIR’s first Bracket Drag Racing Series race of the season. The family will be re-dedicating Kitty’s tree at the back of staging. Kitty was Bill’s beloved wife, who preceded him in death.

The event is open to all racers and fans.

Thank you from the Doolittle, Roberts and Pilarski families!


BIR’s 2015 racing schedule is packed with variety of events

Brainerd International Raceway’s 2015 racing schedule, a jam-packed lineup with new exciting events, long-running favorites and everything in between, kicks off this weekend with a pair of endurance road races.

The World Racing League takes on BIR’s road course for a nine-hour endurance race on Saturday and a seven-hour endure on Sunday. Tickets are available at the front gate.

The WRL launches a six-month schedule that reflects a combination of thrilling spectator events and an increasing number of opportunities for fans to try their hand at racing. Like in past years, though, the name of the game this year is diversity: drag racing, road racing, snowmobile watercross, Superbike racing, a cruising event, endurance racing, drifting and autocross competitions and the BIR Performance Driving School. The schedule even includes Lakes Jam, a three-day music and camping festival.

New to this year’s schedule is MN Time Attack, which is entering its inaugural season. This unique event, which is on BIR’s schedule in May and September, is a chance for race fans to get behind the wheel on BIR’s road course and test their driving skills against the clock.

One major change to the schedule involves the Trans Am Series, which was moved from the GSTA Muscle Car Shootout on Labor Day weekend to the PleasureLand RV Show & Go on Fourth of July weekend. The Trans Am Series’ 40-lap, 100-mile race on Sunday afternoon will be the weekend’s grand finale event.

Another change to the Show & Go’s racing program is the addition of National Auto Sport Association (NASA) road racing. BIR hosted a NASA race in 2012 but hasn’t been able to fit the series on the schedule again until this year. NASA brings an exciting brand of wheel-to-wheel road racing, which will be on Saturday and Sunday, prior to the Trans Am Series race.

One event that already was wildly popular got even better this year. The Wet & Wild Weekend in June will feature snowmobiles racing on open water, the Bracket Drag Racing Series on the drag strip and Superbike racing courtesy of a partnership between the Central Roadracing Association (CRA) and the Championship Cup Series from Texas.

The main attraction again this year is the 34th Annual Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals, set for Aug. 20-23. BIR will be the center of the drag racing universe when the best drag racers on the planet, the fastest cars and tens of thousands of crazy race fans descend on Brainerd to celebrate the largest motorsports event in the Upper Midwest. BIR’s infamous campground, The Zoo, takes on a life of its own with live music nightly, bonfires, a parade of “partywagons,” rickshaw races and a lot more. Advance tickets are now on sale.

The schedule also is full of fun, affordable and “non-traditional” racing, such as the ChumpCar World Series, where teams of four drivers race $500 junkers during a 12-hour endurance race in August. The Aussie-style Powercruise is back for a fourth year, giving fans the chance to participate in several driving events throughout the weekend. The Modern Automotive Performance Proving Grounds returns for two weekends, with imports and sport compacts competing in drifting, autocross, drag racing and more.

“We’re always looking for different and unique types of racing for our fans,” BIR owner Jed Copham said. “We have a great mix of races again this year that feature national-level pro racers along with regional amateur drivers. And most of the racing is fun and affordable family entertainment.”

The drag strip will be busy this year with six weekends reserved for the Bracket Drag Racing Series, where 250-plus amateurs compete in dragsters, cars, trucks, bikes, snowmobiles and Junior Dragsters for series championships and cash prizes. The three-race Muscle Car Series (Memorial Day, Fourth of July and Labor Day weekends) showcases huge horsepower and super-fast cars that battle with series championships on the line.

When most people think of BIR, they think of spectator races, but there are many opportunities for people to get behind the steering wheel and test their fortitude and driving skills. For example, the Wednesday Night Drags – Street Legal Style is a program where BIR opens its drag strip to anyone with a street legal car, truck or bike, and a helmet. The same thing is available on the road course, where the BIR Performance Driving School combines classroom instruction and on-track driving to teach drivers how to handle a car at high speeds. Most racing events have classes for those who want to try racing, using their own street car, truck or bike.

“I think that’s one of our best-kept secrets at BIR,” Copham said. “Many people don’t know that they can come here and compete rather than sit in the grandstands and watch. Most of our races are open to anyone, as long as their car or bike meets safety and tech requirements. Some of the races require a short instructional session as well, but most of our events are open.”

$16,000 bounty for ET Finals wins

Racers in BIR’s Bracket Drag Racing Series this year have another 16,000 reasons to earn a spot on BIR’s ET Finals team. That’s because BIR has put a bounty totaling $16,000 cash on class wins.

Here’s how it breaks down:
$4,000 for Super Pro and Pro ET wins
$3,000 for Sportsman and Race of Champions wins
$2,000 for a Motorcycle win
$800 in BIR Bucks for a High School win

The ET Finals is Sept. 19-21 at Heartland Park in Topeka, Kan. Each year, BIR puts together a team of drivers from its Bracket Drag Racing Series based on their position in the points standings and their availability. BIR’s team typically includes at least 30 racers who compete against more than 600 other racers representing 16 other race tracks across the Midwest and Canada. BIR finished third last year and regularly has one of the strongest teams in the competition.

The other teams come from tracks in the five-state area plus Nebraska, Missouri, Kansas, Wyoming, Colorado and Canada. Teams compete in five classes – Super Pro, Pro ET, Sportsman, Motorcycle and High School – with individual and team honors, $100,000 in prize money and contingency awards on the line. The class champions also go on to Pomona, Calif., in November for a chance to be crowned champion at the Auto Club NHRA Finals.

The ET Finals also includes the Race of Champions, which is a race within a race. Each team identifies one driver in each of the five classes to represent the team in the Race of Champions. Those drivers are then paired up in an elimination format by class to determine the Race of Champions winner, who is next in line if the class champion is unable to compete in Pomona. The winner of the High School Class wins a $1,000 scholarship. Time trials are Friday and Saturday, with eliminations on Sunday. The Race of Champions is Saturday as well.


Download our new App!

AppPhoneBrainerd International Raceway has a new app, and it’s free!

Download it today and stay in touch with what’s going on at BIR. The app has everything you need to keep up with what’s happening this season at BIR. At your fingertips, you’ll have the season schedule (including last-minute changes due to weather or other circumstances); track information such as rules, event information, location and parking; ticket prices; and more. You’ll also receive notices from BIR about promotions, specials and contests that you can take advantage of.

It’s super easy to use and free to download. It’s available at the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store. Or, scan the QR Code below and it’ll take you directly to the site where you can install the app with the tap of a button.

Join us today!


GSTA signs sponsorship deal at BIR

Brainerd International Raceway is proud to announce that it signed a sponsorship deal with the Gopher State Timing Association (GSTA) for the 2015 and 2016 racing seasons.

The two-year deal includes title rights to the Muscle Car Shootout on Labor Day weekend. The Shootout is one of BIR’s largest events each season and features the grand finale of the three-race Muscle Car Series on the drag strip, Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) racing on the road course, a classic car show, live music and a fireworks show by Northern Lights Pyrotechnics. The event is called the GSTA Muscle Car Shootout.

The GSTA sponsorship also includes visibility at the track on signs and logo placement on BIR’s marketing materials.

“BIR has a long history with the GSTA, and now we’re really proud to have them on board as a sponsor,” BIR Owner Jed Copham said. “We think this will be great partnership for both of us.”

BIR as been a long-standing sponsor of GSTA’s annual Rod and Custom Spectacular, a large hot rod show in April in the Minnesota State Fair Coliseum. This year’s show is the 59th annual. Likewise, GSTA has had car exhibits in the past at various BIR events, including the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals, and has a vintage dragster that frequently races at BIR.

“GSTA is looking forward to getting back to its roots of sponsoring safe drag racing events and BIR is the perfect track to partner with to achieve that goal, given our long history together,” GSTA President Dave Smith said.

Since its inception in 1954, the GSTA has governed nearly 100 hot rod and custom car clubs in Minnesota, offering a unified voice in proposing safe drag racing in Minnesota as well as safe and courteous hot rodding.

For more information on the GSTA, click on the logo below.





Series Champs honored at Racer Banquet

Brainerd International Raceway recently honored drag racers who won series championships last summer in the Bracket Drag Racing Series and the Muscle Car Series.

The annual Racer Banquet was held Jan. 30-31 at Cragun’s Resort. There were 150 racers, family members and guests at the event to recognize the 10 champions from the Bracket Drag Racing Series and the 13 champions from the Muscle Car Series. In addition to those honors, three racers received special awards: Jordan Pratt received the Rookie of the Year Award, Glen Demenge received the Joe Angelo Sportsmanship Award and Dave Engler won the Outstanding Dedication Award.

The six-weekend, 12-race Bracket Drag Racing Series is a fiercely competitive amateur drag racing program that features racers from the five-state area and Canada. More than 250 racers compete each weekend for prize money and series points. Each weekend includes elimination rounds on Saturday and Sunday, with winners crowned each day in 10 classes. All 10 champions were on hand at the banquet to receive their series champions trophy and jackets.

The 2015 Bracket Drag Racing Series champs are (back row from left): BIR Owner Jed Copham, Gary Loeffelholz, Reno Loeffelholz, Rory Emmans, Jason Clampitt and Ben Line. Front row: Emma McFarland, Trevor Jelinski, Riley Luberda, Tracy Arneson and Nick Arnold.

The 2014 Bracket Drag Racing Series champs are (back row from left): BIR Owner Jed Copham, Gary Loeffelholz, Reno Loeffelholz, Rory Emmans, Jason Clampitt and Ben Line. Front row: Emma McFarland, Trevor Jelinski, Riley Luberda, Tracy Arneson and Nick Arnold.

The three-race Muscle Car Series has been part of BIR’s drag racing program for six years and includes the Street Car Showdown on Memorial Day weekend, the PleasureLand RV Show & Go on the Fourth of July weekend and the GSTA Muscle Car Shootout on Labor Day weekend. It features the seven Heads-Up Classes where speeds top 200 mph and times dip below 7 seconds. Eight of the 13 series champions attended the banquet to receive their series champions jackets.

The 2015 Muscle Car Series champs are (back row from left): Roger Peterson, Dave Hodgeman, Lee Loew, Jason Waste, Greg Schmidt and BIR owner Jed Copham. Front row: Gary Tesar, Mike Sterling and Guy Stengel.

The 2014 Muscle Car Series champs are (back row from left): Roger Peterson, Dave Hodgeman, Lee Loew, Jason Waste, Greg Schmidt and BIR owner Jed Copham. Front row: Gary Tesar, Mike Sterling and Guy Stengel.

Click here for a list of the top three racers in each Bracket Drag Racing Series class. 

Click here for a list of the top three racers in each Muscle Car Series class.









The 2014 Junior Dragster champs are from left, Emma McFarland, Trevor Jelinski and Riley Luberda.

The 2014 Junior Dragster champs are from left, Emma McFarland, Trevor Jelinski and Riley Luberda.












The 2014 Outstanding Dedication Award went to Dave Engler. From left is Chris-Ann Wilkoski, Engler, emcee Ron Zenzen, and BIR owners Kristi and Jed Copham.

The 2014 Outstanding Dedication Award went to Dave Engler. From left is Chris-Ann Wilkoski, Engler, emcee Ron Zenzen, and BIR owners Kristi and Jed Copham.












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