Loeffelholz scores double win during Wet & Wild

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

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

Gary Loeffelholz, Super Pro

Gary Loeffelholz, Super Pro

Jimmy Paulson, Pro Bike/Sled

Jimmy Paulson, Pro Bike/Sled

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

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

Grant Pesola, Pro ET

Grant Pesola, Pro ET

Mike Patnaude, Stock/Super Stock

Mike Patnaude, Stock/Super Stock

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

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

Joe Schmall, Pro ET

Joe Schmall, Pro ET

Mark Pease, Sportsman

Mark Pease, Sportsman

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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





Watercross skips into BIR for Triple Event Weekend

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Street Car Showdown pics

It doesn’t matter what the weather is like at BIR, our racers and fans enjoy the event regardless. BIR Photography Barry Bergeron took these photos last weekend at the Street Car Showdown.

Our amazing fans.

Our amazing fans.










This looks like trouble.

This looks like trouble.









Lee Loew in his bad-ass '36 Ford. Outlaw Pro Mod class

Lee Loew in his bad-ass ’36 Ford. Outlaw Pro Mod class







Street Classes lined up for Saturday's cruise.

Street Classes lined up for Saturday’s cruise.











Mike Sterling and his crew during the Street Cruise.

Mike Sterling and his crew during the Street Cruise.








Brian Mahnke under his '72 Camaro. King Street

Brian Mahnke under his ’72 Camaro. King Street


How can you sleep during a drag race?

How can you sleep during a drag race?



Jake Delmonico's '68 Camaro. Outlaw Class

Jake Delmonico’s ’68 Camaro. Outlaw Class










Sand does it again, with trifecta win at Showdown

Kevin Sand is officially the hottest drag racer in Brainerd International Raceway’s Muscle Car Series.

Three-time winner Kevin Sand

Three-time winner Kevin Sand

During last weekend’s Street Car Showdown – the first race in the three-race Muscle Car Series – Sand drove his 1983 Olds Cierra to wins in the Strip Eliminator 1 and 10.00 Index classes and then won the Index Class Champion by beating the nine other Index class winners. He won 12 straight races during Sunday’s elimination rounds, collecting an armload of trophies and plaques in the Winner’s Circle, and heading into the next series race as “the guy to beat.”

“I was super stoked,” Sand said of his final win. “My dad was smiling and I had a smile from ear to ear.”

Sand and the other drivers almost didn’t get a chance to finish the race. Rain continually interrupted  racing Sunday, but the BIR track crew was able to scramble late afternoon to dry the track for the remaining pairings. Sand was in the last pair of cars to race – at 9:06 p.m. It was for the Strip Eliminator 1 title and the finish to a great day of racing for the Cambridge driver.

What makes Sand’s finish even more impressive is that he did the same thing last year during the GSTA Muscle Car Shootout on Labor Day weekend, which is the series’ finale. He won 14 straight races to earn the same three titles. In fact, the last time he lost a series race was July 3 during the 2016 PleasureLand RV Show & Go, when he lost in the finals of all three classes.

Rick Schmidt, Outlaw Pro Mod

Rick Schmidt, Outlaw Pro Mod

Bubba Romanyshyn, Outlaw

Bubba Romanyshyn, Outlaw

The Street Car Showdown also featured the Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) on BIR’s Competition Road Course for the Harvey West Memorial Day Classic.

Back on the drag strip, Rick Schmidt ended Ray Fuchs’ three-race win streak in the Outlaw Pro Mod class. Schmidt’s 2011 Mustang was by far the fastest car on the track last weekend, in any class. He qualified first with a time of 6.261 seconds at 234.90 mph, which could be a series record. He beat Fuchs in the finals when Fuchs fouled at the starting line.

Bubba Romanyshyn has his 1967 Camaro flying down the drag strip, which should make the drivers in the Outlaw class nervous this year. He qualified first with a time of 6.780 seconds at 220.69 mph and then beat Todd Mueller in the finals when Mueller fouled at the starting line.

Brian Mahnke, King Street

Brian Mahnke, King Street

Jason Nelson, Real Street Unlimited

Jason Nelson, Real Street Unlimited

Brian Mahnke has his own streak going when he won  the King Street class. He also won the class during the GSTA Muscle Car Shootout last year, making it two in a row. He beat Jake Waste in the finals with a run of 8.056 seconds and 180.52 mph. Waste ran 8.182 seconds and 166.50 mph.

In Real Street Natural, Robert Wilczek kept his winning streak alive with a win over Bob Wallin in the finals. Wilczek hasn’t lost since the 2015 GSTA Muscle Car Shootout, having swept the class last year. He ran 9.283 seconds and 142.87 mph in his 1969 Mustang to beat Wallin, who posted a run of 9.569 seconds and 141.15 mph.

Below are the finals for each class. Click here to view the standings for each class.

The next Muscle Car Series race is June 30-July 2 during the 31st Annual PleasureLand RV Show & Go,

Robert Wilczek, Real Street Natural

Robert Wilczek, Real Street Natural

Zach Novak, True Street

Zach Novak, True Street

which also includes two 100-mile races on the road course by the Trans Am Series presented by Pirelli. The SCCA is on the road course as well, and the event includes fireworks, live music, a classic car show and more.


Outlaw Pro Mod
Finals: Rick Schmidt of Dickinson, N.D. def. Ray Fuchs of Bowman, N.D.

Finals: Bubba Romanyshyn of Belfield, N.D. def. Todd Mueller of Ham Lake

King Street
Finals: Brian Mahnke of Proctor def. Jake Waste of Loretto

Real Street Unlimited
Finals: Jason Nelson of Champlin def. Duane Godbout of Cloquet

Real Street Natural
Finals: Robert Wilczek of Little Falls def. Bob Wallin of Superior, Wis.

True Street
Finals: Zach Novak of Sauk Rapids def. Todd Malik of Coon Rapids

660 Outlaw Street
Finals: Chris Gullickson of North Branch def. Brian Carpenter of Forest Lake

Strip Eliminator 1
Finals: Kevin Sand of Cambridge def. Brian Peterson of Park Rapids

Strip Eliminator 2
Finals: Tony Scheunemann of Champlin def. Dean Markuson of Pequot Lakes

Strip Eliminator 3
Finals: Kurt Lotis of Merrifield def. Andrew Novak of Foley

Truck Eliminator
Finals Taylor Tesar of Medina def. Dan Huttsten of Becker

Manual TransmissionFinals: Kelly Rutz of Randall def. Mike Newman of Little Falls

Index Class Champion
Finals: Kevin Sand of Cambridge def. Karl Eckardt of Pequot Lakes

9.50 Index
Finals: Austin Siemers of Milaca def. Greg Bednar of Mapleton

10.00 Index
Finals: Kevin Sand of Cambridge def. Joe Marudas of Milaca

10.50 Index
Finals: Mike Hammerstrom of Bemidji def. Mark Angier of Waconia

11.00 IndexFinals: David Brostrom of Mora def. Dan Boyce of Minnetonka

11.50 Index
Finals: Karl Eckardt of Pequot Lakes def. Zach Stengel of Blaine

12.00 Index
Finals: Jeff Purdham of St. Michael def. Jerry Eischeus of Park Rapids

12.50 Index
Finals: Gary Olson of Sartell def. Bobbi Halverson of Cook

13.00 Index
Finals: Jesse Backstrom of Grand Marais def. Cole Scofield of Little Falls

13.50 Index
Finals: Ryan Hansen of Esko def. Shannon Halverson of Cook

14.00 Index
Finals: Steve Enberg of Winstead def. John Peterson of St. Michael

BIR fills with RVs for PleasureLand RV Sale/Show

PleasureLand RV Center is filling Brainerd International Raceway with more than 200 RVs and campers for its annual Brainerd RV Show and Sale, May 31-June 3.

Admission is free for the show, where you can see motorhomes, travel trailers, fifth wheels and toy haulers. Low-rate financing is available, too.

Wednesday – Friday    10 am-7 pm
Saturday        10 am-6 pm


KQDS Morning Show broadcasts live from BIR

KQDS-FM will broadcast its wildly popular morning show from BIR’s Tower Suites Friday morning, May 26. KQDS, the top radio station in the Duluth market and throughout most of northeast Minnesota, will broadcast live from 6-10 a.m.

The show stars Jason Manning and Scott Savage, who will be talking about this weekend’s 9th Annual Street Car Showdown all morning. The conversation will include interviews with some of the drivers who will compete this weekend.

If you’re in northeast Minnesota, tune in to 94.9 FM or stream it online by clicking here to go to KQ’s website.

KQDS logo

Event T-shirt Special

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

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

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















This weekend: Street Car Showdown

If the competition among drivers in this year’s Outlaw Class is anything like last year, fans better strap themselves in for a good ol’ fashioned battle royal.

The Outlaw Class in Brainerd International Raceway’s three-race Muscle Car Series couldn’t get any closer for the top three drivers last year. Greg Schmidt finished as the series champion but was only one point ahead of defending champion Warren Peterson and Bubba Romanyshyn, who tied for second place.

Schmidt will be behind the wheel this weekend to defend his title and, with any luck, repeat as champion. But based on last year’s finish, it won’t be easy.

The Outlaw Class is one of the seven Heads-Up classes that will be featured this weekend during the 9th Annual Street Car Showdown, which kicks off the Muscle Car Series. More than 300 drag racers are expected to compete in the three-day event, which includes the Sports Car Club of America’s (SCCA) Harvey West Memorial Day Classic on BIR’s 2.5-mile Competition Road Course.

The Street Car Showdown, which runs Friday through Sunday, is also BIR’s first major race of the 2017 season. The other two races are PleasureLand RV Show & Go on the Fourth of July weekend and the GSTA Muscle Car Shootout on Labor Day weekend.

Ray Fuchs will be another Muscle Car Series drag racer who will begin defending his Pro Outlaw title this weekend. Fuchs and his mean-looking 1953 Studebaker swept the Pro Outlaw Class last year, knocking off two-time defending champ Rick Schmidt. Pro Outlaw is typically the fastest class in the Muscle Car Series, and Fuchs proved that last year by posting sizzling times (6.380 seconds) and ridiculous speeds (220 mph).

In addition to Pro Outlaw and Outlaw, the Muscle Car Series’ Heads-Up Classes include King Street, Real Street, True Street and the new 660 Outlaw Street. The race also has 10 Index Classes, the winners of who have a separate run-off to crown the Index Class Champion. Three Strip Eliminator classes, Truck Eliminator, and Manual Transmission class round out the race schedule. It’s a full weekend of racing, with qualifying that runs Friday and Saturday, and eliminations on Sunday.

On the road course, the SCCA will feature a variety of race cars piloted by some of the top amateur road racers in the Midwest. The road racing program is Saturday and Sunday and includes practice, qualifying and racing each day.

Prior to the Harvey West Memorial Day Classic, BIR will host the SCCA Competition Racing License School, which is how racers can get licensed to compete in SCCA races. The school runs Wednesday through Thursday at BIR and includes both classroom instruction and on-track sessions.

Gates open at 10 a.m. on Thursday and then daily after that at 7 a.m. Racing starts each day at 9 a.m. Daily admission is $25 and kids 12 and under are free. One ticket gets fans in to see both events. Parking is free and camping is free with a multi-day ticket.

Second Bracket Drag Racing weekend is a wash out

Mother Nature had other ideas for the drag racers who showed up for the second Bracket Drag Racing Series event last weekend. A few cars got down the track during time trials but rain washed out the race.

The Slowpokes Car Club, which was on the 2.5-mile Competition Road Course Saturday and Sunday, still was able to get its event in, as drivers are typically able to run rain or shine.

The racers who stuck around for the cold wet weekend still entertained themselves and each other, regardless of what the weather was doing. Some spent the time wrenching on their cars while others took refuge in The Wheelie Bar & Grille to play games or shoot the breeze. Below are a few photos from Soggy Weekend No. 2.

BIR5-21-17-108_w BIR5-21-17-130_W

MikeAnderson_W ScottDugdale_w
























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