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!


Think ‘BIR’ when holiday shopping this month

As you’re finishing up (or just starting) your holiday shopping, don’t forget to think “Brainerd International Raceway.”

BIR has some great gift ideas for your favorite race fan. Whether it’s BIR apparel, event tickets or a nitro experience at the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals, BIR has some amazing options.

BIR Apparel & Merchandise – If you’re in the Brainerd area, stop by Brainerd’s Westgate Mall and check out the BIR kiosk, which is selling BIR T-shirts, hats, sweatshirts and other apparel, as well as merchandise. The kiosk is open daily through Dec. 23.

Advance Tickets to the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals – Advance tickets to the 36th Annual Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals (Aug. 17-20) are now on sale and can be purchased by calling the BIR Ticket Office or ordering them online, by clicking here. Treat someone to the fastest show on Earth, an experience they’ll never forget.

BIR Gift Certificate – Here’s an excellent stocking stuffer idea. Our Gift Certificates come in any monetary value and are good for admission to all our events (including Nationals) as well as BIR apparel and merchandise. Call the Ticket Office for details on how to purchase them.

BIR Performance Driving School Gift Card – Give the gift of speed this season with a Gift Card from the BIR Performance Driving School. These cards can be used for admission to a driving school date or the StreetSmart Advanced Defensive Driving for Teens. The school is a day-long program that includes classroom instruction and driving sessions. Students can use the school’s Spec Racers or their own cars. Click here for more information.

BIR unveils new, easier online ticketing system

Brainerd International Raceway’s race fans and drivers will find that buying tickets online is a whole lot easier now, thanks to a new ticketing system BIR purchased through TicketForce.

For race fans, the most noticeable change is the online ticketing system. When fans go online to buy tickets, the process is much easier to navigate and is considerably more intuitive. Fans will find it much easier to determine which ticket package they want and then easily move to the check-out process. Click here to view the online ticketing page. Fans who have purchased tickets in the past will need to update the password on their account (easy instructions are below).

For racers, the new system will speed things up as well. Racers can now pay for their racer entry, parking, and auxiliary vehicles online prior to arriving at the track. That way, they can avoid standing in line at BIR’s Shirt Shack waiting to register.

In addition to its new online ticketing system, BIR also has a new computer ticketing system that will help the track better manage ticket sales and customer information.

“We are very excited to be working with the TicketForce team,” said Stephanie Wieczorek, BIR’s ticketing manager. “We were looking for a ticketing system that could help us connect with our customers, increase our marketing data and overall help the track grow. We are confident that we have found that in TicketForce.”

“We have been working with multiple tracks nationwide and have ticketed NHRA nationals events – we love the passion and excitement in these events and are happy to do our part to bring fans to the track,” said Lynne King Smith, CEO of TicketForce. “We welcome Brainerd International Raceway to the TicketForce racing family!”

For fans who have purchased tickets online in the past, a few steps are necessary this year to update their password. Follow the steps below:

Go to

Click “Your Account” – just below the header bar.

Click “Forgot Your Password”.

Enter the email associated with your account.

An email will be sent to your email mailbox where you will get a link to set up your password.

Once you have reset your password, it will take you into the account page.

At the bottom of the page it will list “Holds.”

Click to add the tickets to your basket and process your order.


Click on the text links below to watch helpful videos:

How To Reset Your Password

How To Add Holds to Basket




Advance Tickets for NHRA Nationals are on sale now

Advance tickets to the fastest show on Earth are now on sale. Get your tickets today for the 36th Annual Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals on Aug. 17-20 at Brainerd International Raceway.

The tickets available include multi-day admission-only and admission-camping packages, reserved seats, parking and some miscellaneous services. It also includes MegaWeek Tickets, which combines the NHRA Nationals and Thunder at the Lakes NHRA Divisional Race Aug. 11-13. Fans can buy a ticket that gets them into BIR Aug. 10 through Aug. 21. It’s 12 Days of Drag Racing!

Advance tickets to NHRA Nationals is a great holiday gift idea for the race fan in your life. Buy now and save a bundle. Or, ask us about a BIR Gift Certificate. You pick how much you want the certificate to be worth. It’s good for admission to any event at BIR – including NHRA Nationals – as well as merchandise and apparel.

Buy your BIR Gift Certificates at the BIR Ticket Office or by calling 1-866-444-4455. Advance tickets are available by phone or by ordering online with BIR’s new ticketing system. Click here to buy online.

If you’re in the Brainerd area this month, stop by our kiosk in the Westgate Mall, where we’re selling apparel and merchandise daily through Christmas.

Happy holidays from BIR!


Shop the BIR holiday kiosk at Westgate Mall

Brainerd International Raceway has a holiday kiosk in Brainerd’s Westgate Mall with dozens of great gift ideas.

Open daily until Christmas, the kiosk will be open at 10 a.m., selling your favorite BIR merchandise and apparel. Check out our selection of  holiday gifts for the race fan in your family. Tickets will not be sold at the kiosk, but Advance Tickets for the 2017 Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals are now available online by clicking here.



BIR’s 2017 schedule is heavy on variety again

Brainerd International Raceway (BIR) today released its 2017 racing lineup, a six-month schedule that features some of the most exciting and diverse motorsports in the Midwest.

If race fans want variety, they’ll find it at BIR, where variety is the name of the game. BIR’s schedule includes drag racing, road racing, Superbike racing, endurance racing, drifting and autocross competition, an Aussie-style cruising event, two weekends for imports and sport compacts only, the BIR Performance Driving School and even watercross, where snowmobiles race on open water. It all starts in late April and continues into mid October.

The event that gets the most attention each year is the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals, which is set for Aug. 17-20. Last year, BIR extended the event by moving Thunder at the Lakes, an NHRA divisional race, from early June to the weekend prior to Nationals, and then opened the track for 12 straight days. That allowed fans to watch Thunder at the Lakes and stay on-track until after Nationals. The move proved to be a huge hit for both fans and racers alike, since many of the Sportsman drag racers competing in Thunder also race during Nationals.

“We got a great response last year for making that change,” BIR owner Jed Copham said. “We added a MegaWeek ticket package for those who wanted to stay for both events, and sales were much better than we expected. That just proves what we already know about our fans, that they can’t get enough NHRA drag racing.”

The Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals will again feature the fastest dragsters and best drivers in the world, as they compete for national championships. Off the track, the pit area is open to everyone, and BIR’s infamous campground, called The Zoo, provides non-stop entertainment by fans who celebrate the end of the race day with non-stop enthusiasm.

Another improvement that BIR made to last year’s schedule was moving the Trans Am Series race from Labor Day weekend to the PleasureLand RV Show & Go on the Fourth of July weekend. That move paid dividends as higher car counts resulted in a second race being added for the TA2 class. So fans were treated to back-to-back 40-lap races, both of which were televised on the CBS Sports Network.

The PleasureLand RV Show & Go is a prime example of an event where BIR tries to use every square inch of its facility for related activities and racing. With the Trans Am Series and the National Auto Sports Association on the road course all weekend, the Show & Go also features the Muscle Car Series on the drag strip, a classic car show, live music, on-site camping and fireworks.

The three-race Muscle Car Series is in its ninth season at BIR, with a growing number of muscle cars battling on the drag strip for series championships. BIR’s six-weekend Bracket Drag Racing Series is also a growing series for competitive and novice drag racers. Both series provide some of the best amateur drag racing anywhere in the Upper Midwest.

The Modern Automotive Performance Proving Grounds is a non-traditional event that continues to increase in popularity at BIR. Scheduled for two weekends again this season (in June and September), the Proving Grounds showcases import cars and sport compacts, which compete in drag racing, autocross, open lapping on the road course and the crowd favorite: drifting.

“We’ve always tried to load up our schedule with motorsports that most people wouldn’t typically have a chance to see,” Copham said. “I think we’ve been pretty successful at that. And for fans, the best part about our schedule is that most weekends have multiple events taking place. One ticket gets you in to see both events, and kids 12 and under are always free. So it’s an affordable and fun alternative for fans and families alike.”

For those who would rather be on the track instead of in the grandstands, BIR has many racing and driving opportunities, starting with the BIR Performance Driving School. It’s a daylong school that mixes classroom instruction with on-track driving where students can acquaint themselves with high performance driving.

The Wednesday Night Drags – Street Legal Style program gives people the chance to drag race on BIR’s drag strip. Nearly every racing event at BIR has racing classes for novices and those who are trying the sport. As long as they have proper safety equipment, street cars can be used in most cases by novice racers, to make the experience more affordable.

This summer will be BIR’s 49th season. BIR is one of North America’s largest race tracks, featuring a world-class quarter-mile drag strip, the 3.1-mile, 10-turn Donnybrooke Road Course, the 2.5-mile, 13-turn Competition Road Course, 300 acres for rustic camping, 164 full-service RV sites and 12 on-site condos. BIR is about 120 miles north of the Twin Cities. For more information, visit, or call 1-866-444-4455.




BIR’s season finale ends in Wally wins for drag racers

Gary Loeffelholz’s 2004 Mustang typically is one of the fastest cars in Brainerd International Raceway’s Bracket Drag Racing Series, flying down the dragstrip in 7.4 seconds at 180 mph.

So there was nobody more surprised than Loeffelholz when he coasted across the finish line Saturday at 81 mph for the win. And not just any win. It was the finals of the Super Pro class, with a Wally trophy going to the winner.


National Dragster Challenger winners (from left) Gary Loeffelholz, Mel Knott, Dan Butler and Cameron Belisle

National Dragster Challenger winners (from left) Gary Loeffelholz, Mel Knott, Dan Butler and Cameron Belisle

“I was waiting for (Terry Pease’s) win light to go on (above the scoreboard), but it never did,” Loeffelholz said. “And then my win light came on when I rolled across the finish line – I couldn’t believe it.”

Loeffelholz’s journey to the Winner’s Circle was an unusual one. It started Saturday morning when the track was blanketed with fog, which didn’t lift until about 10:30 a.m., putting the day’s racing program about 90 minutes behind. With an unusually high car count for the weekend – 350 racers showed up to compete – and seasonally short days, racing was going to run until sunset.

With 115 cars racing in the Super Pro class, Loeffelholz and Pease won their way to the finals, just as the sun was setting. They were the last pair to run for the day.

Wally winner Luke Schneider

Wally winner Luke Schneider

Wally winner Guy Stengel

Wally winner Guy Stengel

After leaving the starting line, Loeffelholz’s Mustang veered toward the center line, resulting in the split-second decision to let off the gas and concede the win to Pease and his 1953 Thames panel truck. Unfortunately for Pease, he was ahead of Loeffelholz and couldn’t see what was going on. He kept his foot on the gas and “broke out,” meaning he went too fast. (Bracket drag racing is a form of handicapped racing, where the slower car gets a head start and both cars try to cover the quarter mile in their estimated elapsed time. If they go faster than that time, they lose. Pease lost.)

“Apparently, they said I lined up crooked at the starting line,” Loeffelholz said, admitting that things were a little hectic as they tried to get the last run in.

In addition to the win, Loeffelholz won a Wally trophy, as did the nine other winners Saturday. It was the annual National Dragster Challenge, where all the winners take home a Wally trophy that are a scaled-down version of the trophies that the stars of the NHRA win.

Jr. Dragster Wally winners (from left) Addyson Scheleck, Daniel Dancer, riley Luberda and Sydney Haben

Jr. Dragster Wally winners (from left) Addyson Scheleck, Daniel Dancer, riley Luberda and Sydney Haben

Even the four Junior Dragster winners won Wallys. For them, it was the annual NHRA Summit Racing Junior Drag Racing League Challenge.

More importantly, the weekend race – which included another round of class winners on Sunday – signaled the end of the six-weekend, 12-race Bracket Drag Racing Series, where drivers were competing for series points leading to a series championship in 11 different classes.

For Loeffelholz, his racing ended abruptly Sunday morning with a first-round loss, which was significant because he hadn’t lost at BIR since July. It included wins at Thunder at the Lakes and the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals, both of which feature some of the most skilled amateur Sportsman drag racers in the country. Loeffelholz competes in the Top Sportsman class, outlasting 20 other racers Aug. 14 in the elimination rounds of Thunder at the Lakes, an NHRA West Central Divisional Race. The following weekend, during the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals, he beat 21 other Top Sportsman drag racers for his second win – and his second Wally trophy – in as many weekends.

“It’s been a fun run,” he said.

Below are results from last weekend.

Winners won Wally trophies

Super Pro
Finals: Gary Loeffelholz of Shafer def. Terry Pease of Duluth

Pro ET
Finals: Mel Knott of Prior Lake def. Wally Higby of Maple Grove

Finals: Dan Butler of Fargo, N.D. def. Brandon Schmall of Lino Lakes

Pro Bike/Sled
Finals: Cameron Belisle of Hugo def. Josh Lavelle of Rice

Comp Trophy
Finals: Guy Stengel of Blaine def. Emma McFarland of Sabin

Street Trophy
Finals: Luke Schneider of St. Joseph def. Mike Simons of Pine City

Junior Dragster Advanced
Finals: Sydney Haben of Hibbing def. Trevor Jelinski of Little Falls

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

Junior Dragster Novice
Finals: Daniel Dancer of Foley def. Brody Thompson of Nowthen

Junior Dragster Youth
Finals: Addyson Scheleck of St. Cloud def. Daniela Krech of Inver Grove Heights


Super Pro
Finals: Jenna Jahke of Stillwater def. Jeff Anderson of Sartell

Pro ET
Finals: Steve Stockton of Colfax, Wis. def. Chuck Roycraft of Minnetonka

Finals: Shawn Carlson of Elbow Lake def. Brandon Schmall of Lino Lakes

Pro Bike/Sled
Finals: Mike Bolander of Mora def. Kelley Fager of Cedar

Comp Trophy
Finals: Dennis Olmstead of Fargo, N.D. def. Brandon Kellen of St. Cloud

Street Trophy
Finals: Bob Gillespie of Brainerd def. Heather Ingman of Andover

Junior Dragster Advanced
Finals: Chandler Neimeyer of Brainerd def. Sydney Thompson of Nowthen

Junior Dragster Intermediate
Finals: Riley Luberda of Foley def. Samantha Cielinski of Gilman

Junior Dragster Novice
Finals: Megan Cielinski of Gilman def. Brody Thompson of Nowthen

Muscle Car Series champs named; Gefre repeats

Greg Schmidt will be the first to tell you that when it comes to drag racing in the Muscle Car Series, every point counts.

After the three-race series concluded Labor Day weekend, only one point separated the top three drivers in the Outlaw Class. Fortunately for Schmidt, Bubba Romanyshyn and defending champ Warren Peterson came up one point short, and tied for second.

Ray Fuchs, Pro Outlaw

Ray Fuchs, Pro Outlaw

Greg Schmidt, Outlaw

Greg Schmidt, Outlaw

“That was a close one,” said Schmidt, who finished off the season by winning the GSTA Muscle Car Shootout to solidify his series title. He was runner up at the PleasureLand RV Show & Go after winning that event in 2015.

“It was kind of cool to win the (Muscle Car Shootout) and keep the championship in Brainerd.”

Schmidt and his 1989 Camaro ran about 7.5 seconds at 180 mph all season. He didn’t have the fastest car in the class so he relied on consistency, good reaction times and a little luck. He plans to return next year to defend his title.

“We’ll make a couple small changes to the car but for the most part, we’ll have the exact same car next year,” he said.

Schmidt was among more than 300 drivers who competed in the eight annual Muscle Car Series, which included the Street Car Showdown Memorial Day weekend, the Show & Go on the Fourth of July weekend and the Muscle Car Shootout on Labor Day weekend. The Outlaw Class was one of seven heads-up classes, where both drivers start at the same time, with the winner being the first car to the finish line.

Schmidt and the rest of the series champs will be honored Feb. 25 at BIR’s annual Racer Banquet at Cragun’s Resort.

There was only one repeat series champion last season, Dan Gefre, who won the True Street Class for the second year in a row. Scott Davich won the series championship in Strip Eliminator 3 this year after winning the Strip Eliminator 2 title last year.

“I’m pretty happy about (the championship),” Gefre said. “Last year I was in every final but everyone stepped it up this year. You had to run your best every round. The new guys are running faster than I’ve ever seen before.”

Driving a 1983 Malibu Wagon, Gefre had some good news for the other racers in True Street: He’s changing cars and moving to the 660 Street Outlaw class next season.

Chris Orr, King Street

Chris Orr, King Street

Dennis Orr, Real Street Unlimited

Dennis Orr, Real Street Unlimited

One of the first-time series champions was Ray Fuchs and his mean-looking 1953 Studebaker. He swept the Pro Outlaw Class, knocking off two-time defending champ Rick Schmidt, who finished second. Fuchs won all three races while posting sizzling times (6.380 seconds) and speeds (220 mph).

Fuchs rebounded well after a disappointing 2015 season that was plagued with car problems, which landed him in 11th place in the standings. “We had a lot of breakage last year but we got everything under control so we can push (the car) a little harder,” he said. “The car is set up pretty well now. We always have plenty of power. It’s better to just beat the other car by a couple tenths (of a second) rather than beat them by a mile because then things can start going wrong.”

A pair of brothers came from Superior, Wis., this year to win the King Street and Real Street Unlimited classes. Chris and Dennis Orr are both first-time series champs. Dennis swept the Real Street Unlimited Class while Chris won the King Street Class with win, a runner-up finish and a quarterfinal loss in the Muscle Car Shootout.

“We had a really good year equipment-wise,” Chris said. “We were fast enough to win but not so overpowered that stuff was breaking.”

Robert Wilczek, Real Street Natural

Robert Wilczek, Real Street Natural

Dan Gefre, True Street

Dan Gefre, True Street

Chris Orr’s ’67 Pontiac Firebird was consistently around 7.7 seconds at about 180 mph. He was up against 31 other King Street drivers, so consistency and good reaction times were the name of the game, he said.

His brother agreed, even though  Real Street Unlimited is a smaller class with 12 drivers. The competition is still tough even though Dennis made it look easy. His ’70 Camaro was running 7.9 seconds at 180 mph.

“It wasn’t an ideal season but we’re getting it figured out,” he said. “We switched fuels during the qualifying rounds (of the Muscle Car Shootout) and that seemed to work pretty good. We picked up 2 mph and 2/10ths of a second.”

Dennis plans to be back next year to defend his title. “We’ll add a bigger turbocharger to it next year and try to squeeze a couple more tenths (of a second) out of it.”

Rob Wilczek is all too familiar with disappointment. He came into this season with a chip on his shoulder from last year after loosing the 2015 Real Street Natural title by only one point to Bill Meyer despite qualifying No. 1 in all three races. He admits that he thought a lot about that finish over the off season.

“(Coming into this season) I wanted to win races but I really wanted the championship,” he said. He did both. He only qualified first once but he ended up in the Winner’s Circle all three times with his ’69 Mustang that was running at 9.1 seconds and 145 mph.

Brian Carpenter’s been racing at BIR for 20 years but showed up this year with a 2003 Mustang car and proceeded to win the 660 Street Outlaw championship. For the 660 class, BIR shortens the track to an eighth mile, so the cars are very quick. Carpenter said the new car required a lot of learning and changes but was still able to win two of the races and finish as runner up in the final race.

Below are the top three finishers in each class.

Pro Outlaw
1 Ray Fuchs of Bowman, N.D.
2 Rick Schmidt of Dickinson, N.D.
3 Joseph Wilczek of Little Falls

1 Greg Schmidt of Baxter
2 Bubba Romanyshyn of Belfield, N.D.
2 Warren Peterson of Duluth

King Street
1 Chris Orr of Superior, Wis.
2 Jake Waste of Loretto
3 Brian Mahnke of Proctor

Real Street Unlimited
1 Dennis Orr of Superior, Wis.
2 Jesse Nelson of Mountain Iron
3 Duane Godbout of Cloquet

Real Street Natural
1 Rob Wilczek of Little Falls
2 Bob Wallin of Superior, Wis.
3 Bill Meyer of Andover

True Street
1 Dan Gefre of Coon Rapids
2 Jason Nelson of Champlin
3 Zach Novak of Sauk Rapids

660 Outlaw Street
1 Brian Carpenter of Forest Lake
2 David Senderhauf Jr. of Zimmerman
3 Dan Boyko of Winnipeg, Manitoba

Strip Eliminator 1
1 Scott Hielscher of Otsego
2 Kevin Sand of Cambridge
3 Jeremy Brostrom of Brooklyn Park

Strip Eliminator 2
1 Gary Olson of Sartell
2 Lonnie Ellenson of Park Rapids
3 Wendy Lane of Brainerd

Strip Eliminator 3
1 Scott Davich of Pequot Lakes
2 Heather LaClare of Zimmerman
3 Cameron Novak of Rice

Truck Eliminator
1 Bob Peterson of Roseville
2 Taylor Tesar of Medina
3 Corey Winkelman of Clear Lake

Manual Transmission
1 Keith Sand of Cambridge
2 Mike Hed of Menahga
3 Jeremy Reitmeier of Crookston

Index Class Champion
1 Jesse Haugesag of Prior Lake
2 Gary Olson of Sartell
3 Jeff Purdham of St. Michael


Ohnsorg crowned 2016 CRA overall champ

Kyle Ohnsorg wrapped up the 2016 Central Roadracing Association (CRA) championship in style by taking the win in the final sprint race of the year on his Mike Husman tuned BMW S1000RR. Returning to Brainerd International Raceway’s 3.1-mile Donnybrooke Road Course, the scene of his amazing 197 mph run on the way to a new lap record, Ohnsorg took it easy for most of the day’s races as he was still nursing a few injuries – a broken right hand and still-healing left wrist, which made his win on the Husman BMW (rumored to be putting out more than 240 hp) even more impressive. He didn’t have it all his own way in the Unlimited GP race as Scott Stall put forth a valiant effort to make a break at the front during his debut weekend on his 2016 Kawasaki ZX-10R, but the reigning champion had no answer to Ohnsorg and settled for second place in front of a very impressive Kaleb DeKeyrel on the Anderson Racing Yamaha R6.

CRA champ Kyle Ohnsorg is chased by 2015 champ Scott Stall.

CRA champ Kyle Ohnsorg is chased by 2015 champ Scott Stall.

On the topic of DeKeyrel, the 2013 CRA champion made his return to the club in fine form, showing that he still has the speed that carried him to the championship and the AMA podium. DeKeyrel simply dominated Middleweight and Heavyweight proceedings on the Worldwide Machining & Welding Yamaha R6 taking victory in every race and challenging for the win against the 1000cc machinery in the Unlimited class. Without a doubt, DeKeyrel’s performance was one of the many highlights of the weekend. A special mention goes to Willy “The Boss” Vossberg on his Shakeweight Kawasaki ZX-6R. Vossberg suffered a vicious near high-side out of the lead of the Middleweight Supersport race. While he somehow managed to save the bike from crashing, his chain came off and he had the presence of mind to stop on the side of the track (not in an impact zone), put the chain back on and charge back through the field, laying down the best lap of the race on his way to sixth place, .026 seconds behind the fifth place rider, Fisk Bros. Racing/Dryject.’s Brian Hebeisen. Much like DeKeyrel in the Expert division, Joe Mastain cleaned house in the Novice Middleweight & Heavyweight with Patrick Wagaman following him across the line in multiple races.

The Lightweight classes were the scene of the biggest upset of the weekend with Matt Cina putting the moves on perennial frontrunner Jon Champ and handing him his first defeat of the season, followed closely by first-year racer Chris Mattson who put in a remarkable ride to keep up with the top experts on his aging first-generation SV650.

The combined Featherweight/Ninja 250 race on Saturday afternoon was the most entertaining of the weekend with more than a handful of riders donning costumes for their final race of the season. With rarities like a panda bear, a mermaid, a minion and a unicorn lining up for the grid the race became an instant CRA classic and was a perfect example of the fine line between serious racing and fun that the CRA has become known for.

Sunday was completely dedicated to the annual 5-hour endurance race. In what has become the normal pecking order in regional endurance races, Team Worldwide entered the race as the team to beat but this time they were fielding a completely new rider roster with Kaleb DeKeyrel, Aaron Anderson and Bell Helmets rider Shane Keaveny looking to bring Team Worldwide back into victory lane as the overall winners after getting beat to the finish line in 2015 by Drew See’s team. See put together an all star cast for the 2016 running of the race with Jake Schmotter, Chase Sellers and Erik Devaan joining him to form Drew’s Cheap Goats (a mediocre attempt at combining their three existing team names – this writer would have suggested “Drew Thrills Goats”). Another team in the big bike (GP3/GP4) classes looking for the overall win was MAKE CRA GREAT AGAIN, featuring Brandon Punt, Todd Larson and Willy Vossberg.

The GP2 class win was anything but certain with multiple teams putting together very potent lineups. The pre-race talk centered around Milton’s GP2 Ions with Christian Schmidt, Harry Jensen, Adam Harrison and Matt Cina and Collar Poppin’ (named in honor of team stalwart Steve Johnson’s recently broken collarbone) with riders Jon Champ, Chris Mattson and Kris Skellenger. Midway through the race, the Pub Scouts showed that they meant business. The GP1 race was a race to stay out of trouble (which was much more difficult than usual in this race) as the Kramer Motorcycle USA team of Joe Karvonen, Mark Praska, Jack Barton and Dan Mataczynski made up the only GP1 team in the race.

With the riders taking the green flag under cloudy skies, the wet weather came after an hour and a half, causing havoc on the track with multiple riders going down while they tried to get back to pit lane on their slick tires. This resulted in a red flag and during the short delay the rain stopped and the 30+mph winds started to dry the track. This saw a wide variety of tire strategies take shape for the restart of the race with some teams starting on rain tires, some on DOT’s and some on slicks. Each rider and team were gambling on what they thought the weather would do, which is notoriously difficult in the Brainerd Lakes region. The restart initially favored the riders on rain tires but as the stint wore on the riders on slicks were able to begin to reel in the riders on rains. After a short period of this, Mother Nature was irritated with the consistency and decided some sprinkles would be the perfect solution. When the light rain came again the riders on rain tires began to pull away, only for it to immediately start drying again.

This pattern would repeat itself many times throughout the five hours and the only time consistent weather arrived was roughly 30 minutes from the end when there was a steady rain that under normal circumstances would have necessitated rain tires. Due to the fact that there was less than 30 minutes left in the five hour race and many teams weren’t using quick-change pit equipment, a change to rain tires could cost them more time to their competition than running around a soaked track, dodging puddles while on slicks. Most teams stayed out to finish the race in the worst conditions in recent memory and everyone who finished the race most definitely earned their finishing position after that race.

Congratulations go out to Team Worldwide, John Anderson, Kaleb DeKeyrel, Aaron Anderson and Shane Keaveny as they brought the win back to Superior, Wis., and to all of the other class winners and podium finishers.

CRA Photo by Jessica Johnk


Unlimited SS Expert
1 Shane Keaveny (Kaw ZX-10R)
2 Zach Hughes (Yam YZF-R1)
3 Ryan Fors (Kaw ZX-6R)
4 Christian Schmidt (Kaw ZX-10R)

Unlimited SB Expert
1 Scott Stall (Kaw ZX-10R)
2 Kyle Ohnsorg (BMW S1000RR)
3 Kaleb De Keyrel (Yam YZF-R6)
4 Lucas Wygant (Yam YZF-R1)
5 Shane Keaveny (Kaw ZX-10R)
6 Tony Mahto (Yam YZF-R1)

Unlimited SB Novice
1 Josh Harein (Hon CBR1000RR)
2 Patrick O’Daniel (Yam YZF-R1)
3 David Stone (Hon CBR1000RR)

Unlimited GP Expert
1 Kyle Ohnsorg (BMW S1000RR)
2 Scott Stall (Kaw ZX-10R)
3 Kaleb De Keyrel (Yam YZF-R6)
4 Lucas Wygant (Yam YZF-R1)
5 Brandon Punt (BMW S1000RR)
6 Zach Hughes (Yam YZF-R1)

Unlimited GP Novice
1 Patrick O’Daniel (Yam YZF-R1)
2 Josh Harein (Hon CBR1000RR)
3 David Stone (Hon CBR1000RR)

Heavyweight SS Expert
1 Billy Vossberg (Kaw ZX-6R)
2 Justin  Ebnet (Hon CBR600RR)
3 Brett Donahue (Suz GSX-R750)
4 Kyle Ohnsorg (Yam YZF-R6)
5 Brian Hebeisen (Yam YZF-R6)
6 Ryan Fors (Kaw ZX-6R)

Heavyweight SS Novice
1 Ken Nielsen (Yam YZF-R6)
2 Nathan Dotson (Yam YZF-R6)
3 James Michaelson (Yam YZF-R6)
4 Martin Holte (Hon CBR600RR)
5 Patrick Wagaman (Hon CBR600RR)
6 Daniel O’Day (Kaw ZX-6R)

Heavyweight SB Expert
1 Kaleb De Keyrel (Yam YZF-R6)
2 Aaron Anderson (Suz GSX-R750)
3 Justin Ebnet (Hon CBR600RR)
4 Brian Hebeisen (Yam YZF-R6)
5 Brett Donahue (Suz GSX-R750)
6 Drew See (Yam YZF-R6)

Heavyweight SB Novice
1 Joe Mastain (Yam YZF-R6)
2 Patrick Wagaman (Hon CBR600RR)
3 James Michaelson (Yam YZF-R6)
4 Nathan Dotson (Yam YZF-R6)\
5 Adam Bastien (Yam YZF-R6)
6 Martin Holte (Hon CBR600RR)

Heavyweight GP Expert
1 Kaleb De Keyrel (Yam YZF-R6)
2 Aaron Anderson (Suz GSX-R750)
3 Brian Hebeisen (Yam YZF-R6)
4 Brett Donahue (Suz GSX-R750)
5 Erik DeVaan (Yam YZF-R6)
6 Lucas Wygant (Yam YZF-R6)

Heavyweight GP Novice
1 Joe Mastain (Yam YZF-R6)
2 Patrick Wagaman (Hon CBR600RR)
3 James Michaelson (Yam YZF-R6)
4 Nathan Dotson (Yam YZF-R6)
5 Adam Bastien (Yam YZF-R6)
6 Martin Holte (Hon CBR600RR)

Ultralight  #3 Expert
1 Jack Barton (Kra HKR Evo2)
2 Trevor Treviranus (Yam YZ450F)

Ultralight  #3 Novice
1 Mark Praska (Kra HKR-Evo2)
2 Justin Pittman (Yam YZ450F)

FWGP Expert
1 Brad Zajic  (Yam YZF-R3)
2 Adam Knauer (Kaw EX250R)
3 William Miller (Yam YZF-R3)

FWGP Novice
1 William Nystrom  (Yam YZF-R3)
2 Roy Konicek (Yam YZF-R3)

Ninja 250 Novice
1 Sean Stettnichs (Kaw EX250R)
2 Jayme Schmit (Kaw EX250R)
3 Brian O’Mara (Kaw EX250R)

Ninja 250 Expert
1 Bryan Lachmiller (Kaw EX250R)
2 Sam Miller (Kaw EX250R)
3 Scott Laudon (Kaw EX250R)

New Rider Championship
1 Josh Harein (Hon CBR 1000)
2 Patrick Wagaman (Hon CBR600RR)
3 Dillon Baumeister (Yam YZF-R6)
4 David Stone (Hon CBR1000RR)
5 David Juntunen (Kaw ZX-6R)
6 Sonia Pond (Suz SV650)

Middleweight GP Expert
1 Kaleb De Keyrel (Yam YZF-R6)
2 Justin Ebnet (Hon CBR600RR)
3 Drew See (Yam YZF-R6)
4 Brian Hebeisen (Yam YZF-R6)
5 Lucas Wygant (Yam YZF-R6)
6 Harry Jensen (Duc 848)

Middleweight GP Novice
1 Joe Mastain (Yam YZF-R6)
2 Patrick Wagaman (Hon CBR600RR)
3 Nathan Dotson (Yam YZF-R6)
4 James Michaelson (Yam YZF-R6)
5 Adam Bastien (Yam YZF-R6)
6 Mark Nutter (Suz GSX-R600)

Middleweight SS Novice
1 Ken Nielsen (Yam YZF-R6)
2 Nathan Dotson (Yam YZF-R6)
3 James Michaelson (Yam YZF-R6)
4 Martin Holte (Hon CBR600RR)
5 David Juntunen (Kaw ZX-6R)
6 Brandon Connett (Tri D675)

Middleweight SB Expert
1 Kaleb De Keyrel (Yam YZF-R6)
2 Justin Ebnet (Hon CBR600RR)
3 Brian Hebeisen (Yam YZF-R6)
4 Drew See (Yam YZF-R6)
5 Lucas Wygant (Yam YZF-R6)
6 Kyle Ohnsorg (Yam YZF-R6)

Middleweight SB Novice
1 Nathan Dotson (Yam YZF-R6)
2 James Michaelson (Yam YZF-R6)
3 Dillon Baumeister (Yam YZF-R6)
4 Mark Nutter (Suz GSX-R600)
5 Martin Holte (Hon CBR600RR)
6 Adam Bastien (Yam YZF-R6)

Supertwins Expert
1 Matt Cina (Yam FZ-07)
2 Jeff Touhey (Suz SV650)
3 David Hanson (Yam FZ-07)
4 Pierre Champon (Suz SV650)

Supertwins Novice
1 Bill Plucky (Suz SV650)
2 Chris Mattson (Suz SV650)
3 Jesse Vanderweide (Suz SV650)
4 Anthony Marcinek (Suz SV650)
5 Sonia Pond (Suz SV650)
6 Nathan Jessup (Suz SV650)

Sportsman Lightweight  Expert
1 Jack Barton (Kra HKR Evo2)
2 Adam Harrison (Hon CBR600F2)

Sportsman Lightweight  Novice
1 Mark Praska (Kra HKR-Evo2)

Ultralight  #2 Expert
1 Jack Barton (Kra HKR Evo2)
2 Barry  Schmidt (KTM 450)
3 Trevor Treviranus (Yam YZ450F)

Ultralight  #2 Novice
1 Mark Praska (Kra HKR-Evo2)
2 Justin Pittman (Yam YZ450F)

FWSB Expert
1 Brad Zajic (Yam YZF-R3)
2 Adam Knauer (Kaw EX250R)
3 William Miller (Yam YZF-R3)

FWSB Novice
1 William Nystrom (Yam YZF-R3)
2 Roy Konicek (Yam YZF-R3)

Ninja 250 Novice
1 Sean Stettnichs (Kaw EX250R)
2 Jayme Schmit (Kaw EX250R)
3 Brian O’Mara (Kaw EX250R)

Ninja 250 Expert
1 Bryan Lachmiller (Kaw EX250R)
2 Scott Laudon (Kaw Ex250R)

Lightweight GP Expert
1 Jon Champ (Suz SV650)
2 Jack Barton (Kra HKR Evo2
3 Matt Cina (Yam FZ-07)
4 Adam Harrison (Suz SV650)
5 pierre Champon (Suz SV650
6 Katie Champ (Suz SV650)

Lightweight GP Novice
1 Chris Mattson (Suz SV650)
2 Bill Plucky (Suz SV650)
3 Mark Praska (Kra HKR-Evo2)
4 Jesse Vanderweide (Suz SV650)
5 Anthony Marcinek (Suz SV650)
6 David Burke (Suz SV650)

Formula 40 – F2
1 Shane Keaveny (Kaw ZX-10R)
2 Tony Mahto (Yam YZF-R1)
3 Brett Donahue (Suz GSX-R750)
4 Harry Jensen (Duc 848)
5 Mark Dargis (Kaw ZX-10R)
6 John Anderson (Yam YZF-R6)

Formula 40 – F1
1 Matt Cina (Yam FZ-07
2 Barry Schmidt (KTM 450)

Lightweight SS Novice
1 Jesse Vanderweide (Suz SV650)
2 David Burke (Suz SV650)
3 Chris Mattson (Suz SV650)
4 Anthony Marcinek (Suz SV650)
5 Nathan Jessup (Suz SV650)
6 Sonia Pond (Suz SV650)

Lightweight SS Expert
1 Jon Champ (Suz SV650)
2 David Hanson (Yam FZ-07)
3 Katie Champ (Suz SV650)

Middleweight SS Expert
1 Justin  Ebnet (Hon CBR600RR)
2 Ryan Fors (Kaw ZX-6R)
3 Karl Rehpohl (Kaw ZX-6R)
4 Kyle Ohnsorg (Yam YZF-R6)
5 Brian Hebeisen (Yam YZF-R6)
6 Billy Vossberg (Kaw ZX-6R)

Lightweight SB Expert
1 Matt Cina (Yam FZ-07)
2 Jon Champ (Suz SV650)
3 Pierre Champon (Suz SV650)
4 Katie Champ (Suz SV650)
5 David Hanson (Yam FZ-07)

Lightweight SB Novice
1 Chris Mattson (Suz SV650)
2 Bill Plucky (Suz SV650)
3 Jesse Vanderweide (Suz SV650)
4 Anthony Marcinek (Suz SV650)
5 David Burke (Suz SV650)
6 Nathan Jessup (Suz SV650)

250GP Expert
1 Jack Barton

Ultralight  #1 Expert
1 Jack Barton (Kra HKR Evo2)
2 Trevor Treviranus (Yam YZ450F)
3 Barry Schmidt (KTM 450)

Ninja 250 Novice
1 Sean Stettnichs (Kaw EX250R)
2 Jayme Schmit (Kaw EX250R)
3 Brian O’Mara (Kaw EX250R)

FWSS Expert
1 William Miller  (Yam YZF-R3)
2 Adam Knauer (Kaw EX250R)

Ninja 250 Expert
1 Bryan Lachmiller (Kaw EX250R)

Ultralight  #1 Novice
1 Justin Pittman (Yam YZ450F)

Endurance GP3
1 Team Worldwide (Yam YZF-R6)
2 Drew’s Cheap Goats (Yam YZF-R6)
3 DCTC Racers (Hon CBR600RR)
4 The Gorilla’s (Hon CBR600RR)
5 Nutter’s Nuts (Suz GSX-R600)
6 JP Racing (Yam YZF-R6)

Endurance GP4
2 Team Hoff (Yam YZF-R6)
3 The Kid, Gramps and THE Ginger (Suz GSX-R750)

Endurance GP2
1 Collar Poppin’ (Suz SV650)
2 Pub Scouts (Suz SV650)
3 Milton’s GP2 Ions (Hon CBR600F2)
4 Wild Bill & The Young Guns (Suz SV650)
5 Chump Racing (Yam FZ-07)
6 44 and Young (Suz SV650)

Endurance GP1
1 Kramer Motorcycle USA (Kra HKR-Evo2)



Series championships on the line this weekend at BIR

For drivers in Brainerd International Raceway’s Bracket Drag Racing Series, there’s a lot on the line this weekend.

It’s the sixth and final weekend of the series, meaning champions will be decided in 10 classes by the end of Sunday. More than 250 drivers will have one last chance to earn points toward a championship, so every round of racing will be critical.

The weekend is also important for another reason – it’s Wally weekend. Saturday’s race is the annual National Dragster Challenge, where the winners of the Super Pro, Pro ET, Sportsman, Pro Bike/Sled, Street Trophy and Comp Trophy classes will win a gold Wally trophy.

Saturday’s race is also the NHRA Summit Racing Junior Drag Racing League Challenge, where kids who win the three Junior Dragster classes win a Wally trophy, too. The three classes are Junior Dragster Advanced (ages 13-18), Junior Dragster Intermediate (ages 10-12) and Junior Dragster Novice (ages 8-9).

The Bracket Drag Racing Series features some of the best amateur drag racing in the Midwest, showcasing dragsters, cars, trucks, bikes, snowmobiles and Junior Dragsters. The weekend starts Friday with a Test & Tune day. The racing program on Saturday and Sunday begins with a round of time trials, followed by elimination rounds. Winners are crowned both days, giving drivers two chances to grab series points.

Daily admission is $25, with kids 12 and under free. Parking is free as well. On-site camping is free with the purchase of a multi-day ticket.




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