Kevin Sand may have entered the record books last weekend at Brainerd International Raceway, with an incredible run that included winning two different classes as well as the Index Class run-off, a trifecta that may never have been accomplished before in the eight years of the BIR’s Muscle Car Series.
Sand could hardly believe it himself. “I just don’t think about anything when I start winning,” he said. “When you get on that streak it’s hard to take you down.”
It was a streak for the ages. Consider this: Sand, driving a 1983 Olds Cierra, won 14 straight races during Sunday’s elimination rounds. He won all six rounds in the Strip Eliminator 1 class, which is typically one of the toughest classes to win because it often attracts the most drivers. On Sunday, there were 45 drivers competing in that class.
Then Sand won the 10.00 Index class, where there were 10 racers and four rounds of eliminations. The 10 Index class winners are then paired up in an elimination format to determine the Index Class Champion. You guessed it, Sand beat all four racers he faced to take the title and finish off the three-race series in perfect fashion.
Oddly enough, there was one other driver who was one win away of accomplishing the exact same feat that Sand did. Gary Olson won the Strip Eliminator 2 and 12.50 Index classes before winning his way to the finals of the Index Class Championship, where he lined up against Sand. Regardless of who won that race, history was going to be made.
“It was his day today,” a gracious Olson said about Sand.
Olson actually had a tougher road to the Grand Slam. He raced in the Strip Eliminator 2 class, which featured 78 drivers last weekend. He had to beat seven drivers to win SE2, win four rounds in the 12.50 Index class and then win thee more rounds to get to the finals of the Index Class Championship and the chance to go undefeated for the day. In the finals against Sand, Olson and his ’79 Camaro had a better reaction time on the starting line but Sand caught him at the finish line and beat him by about two feet. Sand’s winning time was 10.002 seconds and 135.27 mph.
“Kevin ran a very good package,” said Olson, who won the SE2 class during last year’s Gopher State Timing Association (GSTA) Muscle Car Shootout. “He’s always a great competitor.”
The finale of the Muscle Car Series was the featured event of the 28th Annual GSTA Muscle Car Shootout, which also included the Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) Jack Pine Sprints on BIR’s 2.5-mile Competition Road Course.
Back on the drag strip, Ray Fuchs’ 1953 Studebaker was the fastest car at the track for all three series races this year, and last weekend was no exception. He qualified No. 1 in the Pro Outlaw class with the best time of 6.380 seconds and the top speed of 219.86 mph. He won his way to the finals where he faced off against Joseph Wilczek and his 2000 Mustang, which was fast that day, but not quite fast enough. Fuchs ran 6.503 seconds at 215.51 mph while Wilczek ran 6.620 seconds at 211.93 mph.
Fuchs’ win gave him a sweep of all three races this season and locked up the series championship. “Everything ran well,” a modest Fuchs said. “We had a little trouble getting down the track in the finals. It shook a little in the middle but we got it straightened out in time.”
By winning the series, Fuchs dethroned Rich Schmidt, who won the last two Pro Outlaw series championships.
In the Outlaw class, points leader and No. 1 qualifier Bubba Romanyshyn fouled at the starting line in the first round, opening the door for the rest of the field to steal a championship. On Sunday, that driver was local racer Greg Schmidt and his 1989 Camaro, which beat Jake Delmonico and his 1968 Camaro in the finals. Schmidt was quicker off the starting line and held off Delmonico at the finish line, winning with a time of 7.568 seconds at 183.02 mph. Delmonico ran 7.903 seconds at 178.92 mph.
A familiar name made a return to the Winner’s Circle in the King Street class last weekend. Brian Mahnke, who dominated the class by winning the championship in the series’ first five seasons, won the class Sunday in his 1972 Camaro by beating Ryan Baker and his ’70 Chevelle. Baker was a lot quicker off the starting line, but Mahnke had a quicker car and beat him to the finish line with a time of 7.999 seconds at 174.84 mph. Baker ran 8.765 seconds and 152.19 mph.
In Real Street Unlimited, Dennis Orr swept the series and locked up the series championship. Driving a ’70 Camaro, Orr narrowly beat Jesse Nelson in the finals with a time of 7.890 seconds at 180.69 mph. Nelson ran 8.040 seconds at 174.53 mph.
Bob Wilczek was unbeatable this year as well, sweeping the Real Street Natural class with a finals win over Bob Wallin, who fouled at the starting line.
In the True Street finals, Jason Nelson fouled at the starting line, handing the easy win to Todd Malik and his ’68 Camaro.
Brian Carpenter was looking to sweep the Outlaw Street 660 class this weekend but Dan Boyko had other ideas. Boyko had a winning time of 4.594 seconds at 163.45 mph in the eighth-mile track. Carpenter ran 4.866 seconds at 141.85 mph.
Click here to see the final point standings. Below are the results from the finals of each class:
Finals: Ray Fuchs of Bowman, N.D. def. Joseph Wilczek of Little Falls
Finals: Greg Schmidt of Brainerd def. Jake Delmoico of St. Paul Park
Finals: Brian Mahnke of Proctor def. Ryan Baker of Isanti
Real Street Unlimited
Finals: Dennis Orr of Superior, Wis. def. Jesse Nelson of Mountain Iron
Real Street Natural
Finals: Rob Wilczek of Little Falls def. Bob Wallin of Superior, Wis.
Finals: Todd Malik of Coon Rapids def. Jason Nelson of Champlin
Outlaw Street 660
Finals: Dan Boyko of Winnipeg, Manitoba def. Brian Carpenter of Forest Lake
Index Class Champion
Finals: Kevin Sand of Cambridge def. Gary Olson of Sartell
Strip Eliminator 1
Finals: Kevin Sand of Cambridge def. Barry Arendts of Stanchfield
Strip Eliminator 2
Finals: Gary Olson of Sartell def. Don Fotti of Winnipeg, Manitoba
Strip Eiminator 3
Finals: Paulina Backstrom of Grand Marais def. James Witschen of Monticello
Finals: Dick Zeman of Thief River Falls def. Derek Rasmusson of Cohasset
Finals: David Youngblom of LeSuer def. Jeremy Reitmeier of Crookston
Finals: Pat Huebner of Bloomington def. David Imgrund of Brainerd
Finals: Kevin Sand of Cambridge def. Brian Peterson of Park Rapids
Finals: Jim Lane of Brainerd def. Roger Peterson of Osage
Finals: Adam Legatt of Little Falls def. Karl Eckhart of Pequot Lakes
Finals: Jeff Purdham of St. Michael def. Daniel Richter of Eden Valley
Finals: Gary Olson of Sartell def. Greg Bednar of Mapleton
Finals: Eric Blumke of Pillager def. Charles Siegel of Carver
Finals: Troy Novak of Rice def. Josh Maras of Farmington
Finals: Todd Anderson of Brainerd def. Mike Simons of Pine City