Some of the top Sportsman drag racers in the country will make their annual trek to Brainerd International Raceway this weekend for Thunder at the Lakes, which is their chance to slug it out for NHRA divisional points, a shot at a national title and a cut of the year-end purse worth more than $500,000.
Across BIR’s infield from the drag strip, the 2.5-mile Competition Road Course will be hosting three different events this weekend, starting with the BIR Performance Driving School Friday, a 12-hour endurance race on Saturday and the Slowpokes car club on Sunday.
The endurance race is the World Racing League’s debut at BIR. Teams of three or more drivers and one car will try to complete as many laps as possible in 12 hours. It’s affordable, grassroots racing that’s entertaining to watch.
On Sunday, the Slowpokes car club will be on the road course with a variety of cars for an open track day. Friday’s Performance Driving School is basically the same thing, where drivers are honing their skills and challenging themselves on the 13-turn track.
The drag racing program this weekend always provides some of the year’s best racing. It features the NHRA West Central Division’s Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series, which has been a mainstay at BIR for decades. Fans are treated to super-competitive drag racing in 11 classes: Comp Eliminator, Super Stock, Stock Eliminator, Super Comp, Super Gas, Super Street, Sportsman Motorcycle, Top Sportsman, Top Dragster and two Junior Dragster classes (Saturday only). Fans will see dragsters, cars, motorcycles and snowmobiles on the track, as well as Junior Dragsters for kids ages 10-18.
Thunder at the Lakes is a chance for drag racers in the NHRA’s West Central Division to compete for divisional points and a shot at a national championship. The West Central Division stretches from Wyoming to Wisconsin and from Colorado to Kansas, and includes parts of Canada. Test & Tune is Friday, qualifying and time trials are Saturday, and eliminations are Sunday.
“Thunder at the Lakes always offers some of the best drag racing of the season,” BIR owner Jed Copham said. “Most of the cars you see racing this weekend will be back for the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals in August, so the competition is amazing. The road course will provide fans with some entertaining action as well. We’re excited about the new World Racing League and are looking forward to seeing how many cars can keep rolling for 12 hours!”
Gates open at 7 a.m. daily and tickets are available at the front gate. Daily admission is $25 and kids 12 and under are free. On-site camping is free with the purchase of a multi-day ticket.
For more details, visit the Thunder at the Lakes page by clicking here.
Bottom photo is World Racing League, courtesy of Moh Flo Photography.