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    Van Houten named Drag Manager  
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BRAINERD, Minn. – Bob Van Houten was named Drag Manager at Brainerd International Raceway. He started his new position this week.

Van Houten’s history with BIR dates back to 1977, when he was hired to help start a formal drag racing program here. At that time, BIR had a loosely organized program that had no race classes. Van Houten worked with the National Hot Rod Association to develop the amateur bracket drag racing program that has grown into a very successful series of races that attracts more than 400 racers per event. Some of those racers are among the best in the Midwest.

Van Houten was still at BIR in 1981 when the NHRA first started making BIR a stop on its NHRA Nationals circuit. He eventually left the track in 2000. Prior to joining BIR, Van Houten worked at Minnesota Dragways in Coon Rapids, Minn. in 1976, when the track closed.

“I’m really looking forward to returning to BIR,” Van Houten said. “It’s a great track that drivers just love to race on. I’ve got so many memories of the track and watching the drag racing program grow. I’m excited about building the car counts for the bracket races and strengthening the contingency drag racing program. It’ll be fun to reacquaint myself with a lot of the racers out there.”  In addition, Bob will be working with returning Technical Inspection team members, Tim Giese and Daryl Gabrielson.

“We’re really fortunate to have been able to hire Bob,” BIR President Jed Copham said. “He’s been involved in drag racing for over 40 years and his knowledge of BIR and its drag racing history is invaluable. We’re really looking forward to him moving our drag racing program forward and developing it into one of the premier programs in the country.”

Now in its 40th season, Brainerd International Raceway is one of North America’s largest racetracks, featuring a world-class quarter-mile drag strip, a three-mile, 10-turn road course, 500 acres for rustic camping, 164 full-service RV sites and 12 on-site condos. BIR is about 120 miles north of the Twin Cities.