A team of 40 drag racers representing Brainerd International Raceway placed second last weekend at the 2007 Summit Racing Series Finals at Heartland Park in Topeka, Kan. The host team from Heartland Park took the championship.
Although the BIR team collected the second highest point total of the 19 teams competing, only one driver advanced to the final round in his class. Tom Carlson of Two Harbors, Minn., drove his ’84 Omni to a second-place finish in the Super Pro class. He lost in the finals to Junior Lobner of Gardner, Kan.
In the Sportsman class, Kevin Rolph of Minneapolis advanced through the rounds, eventually losing in the semifinals. Brad Mickle, of Lino Lakes, Minn., also did well in the Sportsman class, eventually losing in the quarterfinal round.
In the High School class, John Knebel of Pillager, Minn., advanced to the quarterfinals before getting knocked off.
“We sent a very experienced team to Topeka but we really had trouble getting out of the early rounds,” said Tim Berns, BIR’s team manager. “The competition was excellent this year, though, and we’re usually one of the teams that everyone’s gunning for because of the success we’ve had in the past. So our team really has to its A game.”
The Series Final is an annual year-end competition between amateur drag racers that represent their “home tracks.” Last weekend’s event was for the NHRA’s West Central Division, which includes 19 tracks from Minnesota, the Dakotas, Iowa, Wyoming, Colorado, Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri, western Wisconsin, Ontario and Manitoba. They compete in Super Pro, Pro, Sportsman, Bike and High School classes. 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.
The 40 BIR drag racers 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.