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Points are at a premium with
only a single race left.

 
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(September 21, 2008) – With only two races left this season, most racers competing in the O’Reilly Auto Parts/Snap-On Tools Bracket Drag Racing Series came to Brainerd International Raceway this weekend trying to improve their position in the points standings or chase down the points leader. Others came to play the role of spoiler.

Such was the case in the Super Pro class, where 83 drivers were chasing Ryan Scheleck of St. Cloud, Minn., who had a commanding lead in the points standing. But Scheleck was knocked off in the third round last weekend, and the next four racers in the standings lost in the first round, which increased Scheleck’s lead and opened the door for racers to move up in the standings.

But there will be little change at the top of the standings, as the top three finishers last weekend came from obscurity to collect the hardware and most of the points. Winner Mark Hovorka of Ramsey, Minn., never made it past the third round all season, while runner-up Kayla Lundberg of Isanti, Minn., never made it past the first round in the two races she competed in. Semifinalist Dustin Jones of West Fargo, N.D., competed in only two races and won only one round but went six rounds last weekend before losing to Lundberg.

This weekend was the fourth of BIR’s five-race O’Reilly Auto Parts/Snap-On Tools Bracket Drag Racing Series. Under near-perfect weather conditions, 368 cars competed for valuable series points and a crack at a track championship. In addition to a Gambler’s Race, this event also included a King of the Track race, where the winners of all the classes competed Sunday for the crown and bragging rights. 

This year’s king is Greg Grundman, who won the Super Street class before edging out Mike Anderson in the finals of the King of the Track competition. Driving a ’71 Camaro, Grundman was slightly quicker off the starting line and then held off Anderson at the end with a 10.925 ET on a 10.90 dial-in and 120.38 mph. Horvorka was semifinalist.

In the Pro class, a three-way log jam at the top of the points standings left little room for error, but one of the racers didn’t compete last weekend and the other two lost in the first round. But the winner, runner-up and semifinalist each had made it to the third round only once this year. Until last weekend.

Jason Sandstrom of Big Lake, Minn., outlasted Lee Dugdale of Scandia, Minn., for the finals win, while Brian Zenzen of St. Cloud was the only semifinalist, losing to Sandstrom when he fouled at the starting line. Sandstrom and his ’69 Mustang ran 11.502 seconds at 110.94 mph in the finals.

In the Sportsman class, Mike Anderson and Kevin Rolph chipped away at Bob Gillespie’s lead in the points standing. Gillespie, of Brainerd, lost in the first round. Anderson, of St. Joseph, Minn., drove his ’67 Nova SS to the win over Minneapolis’ Rolph with a 12.740-second quarter mile at 106.19 mph.

Toby Giese came into this weekend nipping at the heels of Alex Barmettler at the top of the Bike 1 points standings. Facing off against each other in the finals Sunday, Barmettler of Maplewood, Minn., fouled at the starting line, giving Giese of Kandiyohi, Minn., the win and a share of the lead in the points standings. Giese ran the quarter mile in 9.498 seconds at 135.54 mph.

In the Bike 2 class, second-place Glenn Vanzee knew he needed a big weekend to catch the points leader, Ken Niesen of Brooklyn Park, Minn. Niesen lost in the first round but Vanzee, of St. Cloud, advanced to the finals before losing to Mike Voss of Maplewood, who ran a 9.363-second quarter mile at 126.31 mph. Vanzee didn’t catch Niesen but he’ll make it interesting in the final race of the season.

Don Kritzky of Cottage Grove, Minn., ran his dragster to a finals win in the Super Comp class over Mike Campbell of Brooklyn Park with a run of 8.917 seconds and 159.46 mph. Kritzky and Campbell had each competed in only one race prior to last weekend and are well behind in points, so their finishes may disrupt things in the standings.

Rodney Thompson made a bid for a top five finish in the Super Gas class points standing. The Anoka, Minn., racer defeated Kari Larson of Starbuck, Minn., with a fun of 9.918 seconds and 165.25 mph. Thompson was 11th in the standings.

The Super Street class featured Greg Grundman of St. Cloud and Robert Ingman of Andover, Minn. Grundman, who’s leading in the points standing, was quicker off the starting line and squeaked by Ingman for the win, running a 10.907 elapsed time and 123.69 mph.

In Stock/Super Stock, a pair of Lines and ’69 Mustangs showed up for the finals. Ben Line of Cromwell, Minn., increased his lead in the points standing with a finals win over Lance Line of Cromwell with a 10.695 ET (10.66) at 117.75 mph.

Jesse Luberda of Foley, Minn., increased his lead in the Comp Trophy points standings with his runner-up finish Sunday. He lost a close race to Jeff Anderson of Sartell, Minn., who posted a 12.807 elapsed time at 99.95 mph.

Kevin Cooklin of West St. Paul, Minn., drove his ’01 Chrysler 300 to a finals win in the Street Trophy class with a 16.411-second run at 84.75 mph. Andy Knebel of Pillager, Minn., increased his lead in the points standing with a runner-up finish.

In Bike Trophy, Voss doubled his win total for the day with a win over Chad Davidson of Pine City, Minn., in the finals. Riding an ‘01 Kawasaki, Voss had a near-perfect reaction time of .007 seconds and then finished strong with a run of 11.481 seconds and 118.45 mph.

The Junior Dragsters had two events this weekend. On Saturday, they competed in the O’Reilly Auto Parts Junior Drag Racing League Challenge, and on Sunday it was the Reichert Bus Service Challenge.

In the Junior Dragster Advanced class, Tanner Schiffner won both events, defeating Stephen Moran in Saturday’s finals and Keith Wiejak in Sunday’s finals. Junior Dragster Major had two winners: Lauren Turner defeated Gina Kastner in Saturday’s finals, and Max Gust beat Christian Tharp in Sunday’s finals. In Junior Dragster Minors, Emma McFarland beat Cassidy Takacs in Saturday’s finals but then Takacs beat McFarland in Sunday’s finals.

The final race in the series is Oct. 4-5 at BIR.