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    40 drag racers to represent Brainerd International Raceway at NHRA Division Finals in Kansas  

(Sept. 10, 2007) – A team of 40 drag racers – including three high school students – representing Brainerd International Raceway will head to Heartland Park in Topeka, Kan., this week for the 2007 Summit Racing Series Finals, a year-end competition between race tracks in the NHRA’s West Central Division. The event is scheduled for Friday through Sunday.

BIR’s racers will compete for team and individual honors as well as part of a $13,000 purse. They race in five classes: Super Pro, Pro, Sportsman, Bike and High School. The individual winner of each class earns the chance to compete at the Automobile Club of Southern California NHRA Finals at Pomona Raceway in Pomona, Calif., in November against the champions from the other six NHRA divisions. At stake are a national championship and a check for $5,000.

The BIR team will be trying to improve on last year’s third-place finish by taking first place like it did two years ago. The BIR team will be up against 500-600 other racers on teams representing 20 tracks from throughout Minnesota, Iowa, North and South Dakota, Wyoming, Colorado, Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri, western Wisconsin, Ontario and Manitoba.

For BIR’s Rodney Thompson of Anoka, Minn., and Jeff Lanoue of Zimmerman, Minn., the weekend’s competition will give them a chance to repeat as individual champions. Last year, they earned a trip to Pomona by winning the Super Pro and Bike classes, respectively.

Lanoue will be one of four BIR racers who will also compete in the Race of Champions, which is a “race within a race” this weekend. Mike Anderson of St. Joseph, Minn., Steve Roehrs of Grantsburg, Wis., and Brad Mickle of Lino Lakes, Minn., will also complete in the Race of Champions in the Super Pro, Pro and Sportsman classes, respectively. The Race of Champions pits the top racers in each class from each track. At stake is additional prize money.

The 40 BIR drag racers who are heading for Topeka this week earned their way onto the team by accumulating points during BIR’s O’Reilly Auto Parts/Snap-On Tools Bracket Drag Racing Series, which is a 6-race amateur drag racing series at BIR. Drivers compete against each other for points toward a track championship. They were selected for the team based on the number of points they have earned to date during the first four races.

“We have another great team of racers going down to Topeka,” said team manager Tim Berns. “We have a lot of talented and experienced drivers on this team, including four former champions. Every year, our team goes down to this event expecting to win it, so expectations are very high again this year. We really like our chances of bringing home the championship trophy and sending a couple racers to California this fall to represent Brainerd International Raceway.”