When Labor Day weekend rolls around each summer, only one thing comes to mind for race fans: muscle car drag racing and high-flying Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) road racing.
It’s the 27th Annual Gopher State Timing Association (GSTA) Muscle Car Shootout, which features the lethal combination of big horsepower and wicked-fast speed. It also means many other traditional activities off the track, like a classic car show, live music, activities for kids and a unique fireworks display. The show is Sept. 4-6.
For drag racing fans, the Shootout signals the grand finale of the three-race Muscle Car Series. More than 400 drivers are expected to compete in the three-day event, where they’ll make qualifying runs Friday and Saturday and then get paired up for elimination rounds on Sunday. It’s their last shot at earning a series championship.
At center stage are the seven Heads-Up Classes, where speeds can top 220 mph and times can be in the low 6 seconds. It’s an impressive display of wheel stands and head-to-head racing. The point standings for most of the classes are tight at the top so drivers will be leaving it all on the track.
Meanwhile, the SCCA Jack Pine Sprints will be on BIR’s 2.5-mile Competition Road Course for two days of thrilling wheel-to-wheel road racing. More than 75 cars from throughout the Upper Midwest will be competing in a number of different classes. Practice and qualifying sessions are scheduled for Saturday and Sunday mornings, followed by racing sessions both afternoons. The schedule includes a 45-minute endurance race Saturday afternoon.
Those who are camping Friday and Saturday night will get the rare chance to see adisplay of handmade fireworks. The Northern Lighter Pyrotechnics is hosting the Lake Shoot, where Northern Lighter club members from throughout the country will show off handmade and unique fireworks, including shells, gerbs, wheels, girandolas, rockets and mines. The show will start at dusk both days.
“Every year, the GSTA Muscle Car Shootout is one of our biggest and best events,” BIR Owner Jed Copham said. “A lot of families make this their last outing of the summer before school starts, so it’s a really fun atmosphere. And since it’s the last race in the Muscle Car Series, drag racers are fighting for every available point. And then there’s the Lake Shoot fireworks display, which will blow our fans away.”
With a single ticket, fans can watch both drag racing and road racing. Daily admission is $25 and kids 12 and under are free. On-site camping is free with a multi-day ticket. Tickets are available at the front gate.
For more details, click here.
SCCA Photo by Rick Corwine
Richie Crampton raced to his fourth Top Fuel victory of the season Sunday to close out a record-setting day of action at the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals at BIR.
Robert Hight (Funny Car), Erica Enders (Pro Stock) and Eddie Krawiec (Pro Stock Motorcycle) also were winners of the penultimate regular season race in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series.
NHRA Top Fuel and Funny Car teams took advantage of the cool overcast weather conditions at BIR to reset all four national records in those categories. Among the records, Antron Brown set the Top Fuel elapsed time record at 3.680 seconds and Jack Beckman set the Funny Car mark at 3.901 seconds. National speed records were set by Spencer Massey (332.75 mph) and Matt Hagan (329.58 mph). Hagan also recorded the quickest Funny Car time in history at 3.879 seconds, and Shawn Langdon posted the quickest Top Fuel time with his 3.664-second effort, but neither driver was able to certify those times as national records per NHRA rules.
But it was the consistent performance of Crampton’s Aaron Brooks-tuned Lucas Oil dragster that took the event victory in Top Fuel when he held off Brittany Force in the final round. Crampton crossed the finish line first with a career-best time of 3.695 seconds at 325.30 mph to deny Force her first career victory, as her Monster Energy dragster trailed with 3.771 seconds at 293.79 mph.
“This race is going to go down in the history books,” Crampton said. “It was just some amazing racing today and there were some super-fast race cars out there. I keep forgetting that I ran a (3.69) in the final, because winning the event is so important. You want to carry momentum into the Countdown. The last two rounds today showed what kind of race car we have and we are right where we need to be for Indy and for the Countdown.”
Crampton, who defeated teammate Morgan Lucas, Larry Dixon and Langdon en route to the final round, moved to third in the points standings with his sixth career victory. Tony Schumacher remains in the series lead, 53 points ahead of Brown, who earned a 20-point bonus for setting the elapsed time record.
“Winning the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals when you drive the Lucas Oil car is exactly what you want to do,” Crampton said. “I just wanted to do that so badly for [team owners] Forrest and Charlotte [Lucas]. There is nothing cooler than getting the Wally from Charlotte at the end of the racetrack.”
Hight earned his first Funny Car victory in more than a year and the 35th of his career by defeating Tommy Johnson Jr. in the final round. Hight powered his Auto Club Chevy Camaro to a 3.956-second run at 323.58 mph to finish in front of Johnson’s Make-A-Wish Dodge Charger, which was making its third consecutive final round appearance.
“We had a real good car,” said Hight, who defeated Ron Capps, Brian Stewart and Tim Wilkerson in earlier rounds. “It was running good, but you never know what you’re going to get in these kinds of conditions. This thing was a handful to drive today. We changed a bunch of things on the car, and it’s carrying the front end. It’s tough. I’m not going to get cocky. The DSR cars have been dominant. We closed the gap a bunch this weekend, and I know we have a lot of work to do. We’re going to keep it up and test in Indy.”
Red-hot Beckman, who lost in the semifinals to Johnson when his ultra-quick Infinite Hero Dodge Charger lost traction, used his 20-point national record bonus to increase his series lead to 50 points over Hagan. Hagan lost in round two to Beckman in the quickest side-by-side race in NHRA history.
Enders moved back into the series points lead in Pro Stock by claiming her fifth victory of the season and 17th of her career. She used a quicker reaction time and a final-round performance of 6.552 seconds at 210.34 mph in her Elite Motorsports Chevy Camaro to take the win over rival and local favorite Jason Line, who posted a quicker, but losing, 6.541 seconds at 211.06 mph in his Summit Racing Equipment Camaro.
Enders outran Mark Hogan, Bo Butner and red-hot Chris McGaha, who won the last two races, to advance to the final round. She now holds a 16-point lead over four-time world champ Greg Anderson heading into the final race of the regular season.
“This is a really crucial time in our season, especially heading into Indy (in two weeks), where it’s worth points and a half, so it’s a great time to get that momentum to swing back to our side of the fence, and I’m so proud of my team,” Enders said. “It’s an amazing win for my group. It’s really exciting for me because it’s hard not to get frustrated collectively as a group when things aren’t going your way, but that’s what makes our team work so great. We don’t allow ourselves to get down in the dumps and just dig deep and play with all our heart.”
In Pro Stock Motorcycle, Krawiec took his third consecutive victory of the season by racing past teammate Andrew Hines in an all-Screamin’ Eagle Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson final round. Krawiec finished in 6.844 seconds at 194.30 mph to take his 30th career victory and second at BIR, while Hines clocked a 6.894 at 190.06 in the runner-up effort.
“I have a great motorcycle under me,” said Krawiec, who beat a murder’s row of past world champions in Hector Arana, LE Tonglet and Matt Smith to advance to the final round.
“We’ve just lacked consistency,” Krawiec continued. “I’d say since Denver we’ve really gotten into the groove and figured out what the motorcycle wanted. I’ve been fortunate enough to go to three final rounds and win all three and also win the NHRA Pro Bike Battle in Sonoma, so I’m on a pretty good roll. Hopefully it’s not too early because after Indy is when you really want to get on a roll like this, but hopefully I can continue it all the way through to the end of Pomona.”
With the win, Krawiec increased his series lead to 166 over Hector Arana Jr.
A bunch of drivers secured berths into the Mello Yello Countdown to the Championship at this event, including Crampton and Larry Dixon in Top Fuel; Johnson Jr., John Force, Del Worsham and Ron Capps in Funny Car; Allen Johnson, Larry Morgan, Shane Gray and Jonathan Gray in Pro Stock; and Krawiec, Arana Jr. and Hines in Pro Stock Motorcycle.
The NHRA Mello Yello Series continues Sept. 2-7 with the Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals, the world’s most prestigious drag race at Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis.
Final finish order (1-16) at the 34th annual Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals.
1. Richie Crampton 2. Brittany Force 3. Shawn Langdon 4. Antron Brown 5. Steve Torrence 6. Doug Kalitta 7. Larry Dixon 8. Tony Schumacher 9. J.R. Todd 10. Spencer Massey 11. Terry McMillen 12. Clay Millican 13. Chris Karamesines 14. Dave Connolly 15. Morgan Lucas 16. Wayne Newby
1. Robert Hight 2. Tommy Johnson Jr. 3. Tim Wilkerson 4. Jack Beckman 5. Matt Hagan 6. John Force 7. Brian Stewart 8. John Hale 9. Ron Capps 10. Cruz Pedregon 11. Del Worsham 12. Dale Creasy Jr. 13. Alexis DeJoria 14. Courtney Force 15. Bob Bode 16. Chad Head
1. Erica Enders 2. Jason Line 3. Shane Gray 4. Chris McGaha 5. Bo Butner 6. Greg Anderson 7. Larry Morgan 8. Allen Johnson 9. Jonathan Gray 10. V. Gaines 11. Deric Kramer 12. Vincent Nobile 13. Drew Skillman 14. Mark Hogan 15. Dave River
PRO STOCK MOTORCYCLE
1. Eddie Krawiec 2. Andrew Hines 3. Matt Smith 4. Chaz Kennedy 5. LE Tonglet 6. Hector Arana Jr 7. Karen Stoffer 8. Jerry Savoie 9. Chip Ellis 10. Mike Berry 11. Hector Arana 12. Angie Smith 13. Jim Underdahl 14. Scotty Pollacheck 15. Steve Johnson
Top Fuel — Richie Crampton, 3.695 seconds, 325.30 mph def. Brittany Force, 3.771 seconds, 293.79 mph.
Funny Car — Robert Hight, Chevrolet Camaro, 3.956, 323.58 def. Tommy Johnson Jr., Dodge Charger, 4.130, 316.52.
Pro Stock — Erica Enders, Chevy Camaro, 6.552, 210.34 def. Jason Line, Camaro, 6.541, 211.06.
Pro Stock Motorcycle — Eddie Krawiec, Harley-Davidson, 6.844, 194.30 def. Andrew Hines, Harley-Davidson, 6.894, 190.06.
Top Alcohol Dragster — Mark Taliaferro, 5.292, 270.64 def. Joey Severance, 5.304, 274.00.
Top Alcohol Funny Car — Chris Foster, Ford Mustang, 5.686, 259.11 def. Jay Payne, Chevy Camaro, 5.694, 260.16.
Super Stock — Gene Mosbek, Plymouth Savoy, 10.239, 128.08 def. Curtis Hieb, Ford Mustang, 9.947, 134.74.
Stock Eliminator — Randi Lyn Shipp, Pontiac Firebird, 10.568, 124.69 def. Jeff Adkinson, Chevy Camaro, foul.
Super Comp — Luke Bogacki, Dragster, 8.929, 165.64 def. Gary Stinnett, Dragster, 8.930, 186.79.
Super Gas — Brian Folk, Chevy Camaro, 9.865, 151.32 def. Russ Ginger, Dodge Aspen, 9.821, 163.06.
Pro Stock Snowmobile — Glenn Hall, Arctic Cat, 8.165, 158.86 def. Scott Hagen, Ski Doo, 8.439, 148.74.
ROUND ONE — Larry Dixon, 3.703, 325.06 def. Spencer Massey, 3.739, 332.75; Brittany Force, 3.747, 324.75 def. Dave Connolly, 4.016, 220.01; Richie Crampton, 3.964, 313.66 def. Morgan Lucas, 4.678, 133.07; Tony Schumacher, 3.960, 312.57 def. Chris Karamesines, 3.977, 296.57; Doug Kalitta, 3.734, 320.36 def. Wayne Newby, 5.323, 137.54; Steve Torrence, 3.733, 324.98 def. Terry McMillen, 3.821, 321.42; Shawn Langdon, 3.861, 257.24 def. Clay Millican, 3.877, 309.98; Antron Brown, 3.680, 331.12 def. J.R. Todd, 3.703, 330.88;
QUARTERFINALS — Force, 3.757, 318.17 def. Kalitta, 3.917, 281.42; Crampton, 3.937, 289.88 def. Dixon, 8.482, 89.65; Langdon, 3.662, 321.12 def. Torrence, 3.746, 328.06; Brown, 3.696, 327.35 def. Schumacher, 11.914, 74.29;
SEMIFINALS — Force, 3.738, 299.73 def. Brown, 8.025, 90.64; Crampton, 3.719, 317.79 def. Langdon, 4.196, 279.27;
FINAL — Crampton, 3.695, 325.30 def. Force, 3.771, 293.79.
ROUND ONE — John Force, Chevy Camaro, 4.098, 323.81 def. Dale Creasy Jr., Chevy Impala, 7.721, 88.17; Tommy Johnson Jr., Dodge Charger, 3.985, 319.90 def. Cruz Pedregon, Toyota Camry, 4.754, 172.52; John Hale, Charger, 6.126, 113.75 def. Courtney Force, Camaro, 8.844, 72.28; Jack Beckman, Charger, 4.392, 196.93 def. Bob Bode, Camry, 9.244, 66.04; Brian Stewart, Ford Mustang, 6.487, 168.14 def. Alexis DeJoria, Camry, 8.710, 94.97; Robert Hight, Chevrolet Camaro, 4.172, 238.81 def. Ron Capps, Charger, 4.373, 208.62; Tim Wilkerson, Mustang, 3.927, 322.81 def. Chad Head, Camry, 13.530, 62.63; Matt Hagan, Charger, 3.879, 329.58 def. Del Worsham, Camry, 5.663, 142.69; Tim Wilkerson, Mustang, 3.927, 322.81 def. Chad Head, Camry, 13.530, 62.63;
QUARTERFINALS — Hight, 3.935, 325.69 def. Stewart, 9.160, 80.53; Johnson Jr., 4.009, 317.72 def. Hale, 9.242, 69.21; Beckman, 3.903, 326.63 def. Hagan, 3.947, 327.19; Wilkerson, 3.921, 328.70 def. J. Force, 4.326, 208.23;
SEMIFINALS — Hight, 3.928, 324.59 def. Wilkerson, 4.005, 313.88; Johnson Jr., 3.980, 320.97 def. Beckman, 8.636, 72.98;
FINAL — Hight, 3.956, 323.58 def. Johnson Jr., 4.130, 316.52.
ROUND ONE — Greg Anderson, Chevy Camaro, 6.578, 209.36 def. Jonathan Gray, Camaro, 6.578, 210.05; Bo Butner, Camaro, 6.579, 210.31 def. Drew Skillman, Camaro, 6.640, 209.62; Larry Morgan, Camaro, 6.613, 209.69 def. Vincent Nobile, Camaro, 6.622, 208.97; Jason Line, Camaro, 6.581, 210.34 def. V. Gaines, Dodge Dart, 6.594, 209.43; Allen Johnson, Dart, 6.627, 209.72 def. Dave River, Chevy Cobalt, 9.333, 93.78; Chris McGaha, Camaro, 6.557, 210.34 def. Deric Kramer, Dart, 6.620, 208.68; Shane Gray, Camaro, 6.587, 211.20 was unopposed; Erica Enders, Camaro, 6.566, 210.37 def. Mark Hogan, Pontiac GXP, 6.745, 205.10;
QUARTERFINALS — Line, 6.564, 210.54 def. Johnson, 13.812, 84.41; S. Gray, 6.561, 211.39 def. Anderson, 6.581, 209.98; Enders, 6.561, 210.57 def. Butner, 6.570, 210.70; McGaha, 6.574, 210.31 def. Morgan, 8.490, 107.02;
SEMIFINALS — Enders, 6.541, 210.67 def. McGaha, 9.571, 97.03; Line, 6.553, 210.47 def. S. Gray, 6.572, 211.26;
FINAL — Enders, 6.552, 210.34 def. Line, 6.541, 211.06.
PRO STOCK MOTORCYCLE
ROUND ONE — Jerry Savoie, Suzuki, 6.864, 191.24 def. Mike Berry, Buell, 6.953, 191.51; Karen Stoffer, Suzuki, 6.967, 192.77 def. Jim Underdahl, Suzuki, 15.639, 49.98; Chaz Kennedy, Buell, 6.964, 191.78 def. Chip Ellis, Buell, 6.918, 191.84; Andrew Hines, Harley-Davidson, 6.827, 195.42 was unopposed; Hector Arana Jr, Buell, 6.860, 197.05 def. Angie Smith, 7.016, 188.17; LE Tonglet, Suzuki, 6.904, 195.56 def. Scotty Pollacheck, Buell, broke; Eddie Krawiec, Harley-Davidson, 6.852, 195.03 def. Hector Arana, Buell, 6.999, 194.02; Matt Smith, 6.840, 194.41 def. Steve Johnson, Suzuki, broke;
QUARTERFINALS — Kennedy, 6.959, 188.94 def. Savoie, broke; Krawiec, 6.788, 197.39 def. Tonglet, 6.830, 196.36; M. Smith, 6.856, 194.35 def. Arana Jr, 6.891, 195.99; Hines, 6.877, 193.40 def. Stoffer, 6.946, 193.32;
SEMIFINALS — Hines, 6.847, 193.96 def. Kennedy, 7.001, 188.10; Krawiec, 6.835, 194.04 def. M. Smith, 6.902, 192.82;
FINAL — Krawiec, 6.844, 194.30 def. Hines, 6.894, 190.06.
For the third consecutive race, Jack Beckman has clocked the quickest Funny Car run in NHRA history. He powered his Infinite Hero Foundation Dodge Charger to an amazing 3.901-second elapsed time to take the No. 1 qualifying position in a rain-shortened day of racing Saturday at the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals at BIR.
NHRA officials were forced to cancel the final qualifying session due to persistent rain showers in the area and a warning of severe weather.
Richie Crampton (Top Fuel), Shane Gray (Pro Stock) and Andrew Hines (Pro Stock Motorcycle) also were No. 1 qualifiers and will also lead their classes into Sunday’s 11 a.m. eliminations at the penultimate regular season race in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series.
Beckman, who posted a 3.921 at Sonoma, Calif. and a 3.912 at Seattle at the previous two events, will need to post a time of 3.940 seconds or quicker in racing tomorrow to certify the 3.901 as a national record, which carries a 20-point bonus.
It was Beckman’s fourth No. 1 of the season and 14th of his career, and he will open eliminations against Bob Bode as he goes for his class-leading sixth victory of the season and tries to further increase his series points lead.
The ultra-quick run came at just the right time for Beckman, who was briefly bumped from the top spot by 16-time world champ John Force, who sped to a career-best time of 3.930 seconds in his Peak Antifreeze Chevrolet Camaro late in the third qualifying session.
“I am very satisfied with the 3.901 and the speed record,” said Beckman, who also set the national speed record on the run at 325.69 mph. “It’s been a long time since I’ve had a speed record. I saw John Force run that 3.93 right in front of us. But then there goes [crew chiefs] Jimmy [Prock], John [Medlen] and Chris [Cunningham] again. It’s so interesting when you see a car that’s this unbelievable; it’s like everything becomes believable.
“I love our chances tomorrow and I feel incredibly comfortable.”
Alexis DeJoria qualified third with a career-best of her own at 3.946 at 321.88 in her Patron XO Cafe Incendio Toyota Camry. Force’s daughter Courtney qualified fourth with her Friday best of 3.959 seconds at 320.66 mph in her Traxxas Camaro.
In Top Fuel, Crampton claimed his second No. 1 qualifying position of the season and third of his career with a track record time of 3.718 seconds at 323.50 mph in his Lucas Oil dragster.
“That’s what [crew chief] Aaron Brooks tries to do in conditions that are like this,” Crampton said. “It’s fun for me. I’m the new guy who got to get into one of the best cars in the world. For me to be in this position, I’m extremely spoiled. It’s a lot of fun, and my team deserves it. My dad is here from Australia, it’s a Lucas Oil race, and we’re the Lucas Oil flagship, so this is the time to do it. It’s exciting.”
The three-time season winner will open eliminations against his teammate and the event’s defending winner, Morgan Lucas.
“I’ve raced him once before and red-lighted against him, so let’s not do that again,” Crampton said. “We’re going to race and see what happens. He’s been struggling a little bit, but it’s going to be a good race. He’s got some kind of magic horseshoe when it comes to this racetrack, so it’s going to be a good one.”
Series points leader Tony Schumacher qualified second in his U.S. Army dragster with a 3.737-second run at 319.52 mph and veteran driver Doug Kalitta qualified third in his Mac Tools dragster with a 3.740 at 319.75.
Gray powered his Gray Motorsports Chevy Camaro to his first No. 1 qualifying position of the season in Pro Stock with a run of 6.607 seconds at 209.20 mph.
Due to the 15-car field, Gray will receive an uncontested pass in the opening round as he is seeking his first win of the season and an improved points position.
“Well, round one tomorrow’s going to be awful hard for me to screw up because I get a bye run,” Gray said with a smile. “Hopefully, I won’t cross the center line or something like that. It will be a fun day tomorrow. Conditions will be a lot different than they have been all weekend, so it will be different. I’m looking forward to it.”
Defending world champ Erica Enders qualified second in her Elite Motorsports Chevy Camaro with a 6.609-second run at 208.26 mph and Chris McGaha, who is riding a two-race winning streak, will start third in his Harlow Sammons Racing Camaro with a 6.614 at 208.49.
Hines, the defending series champ and a two-time winner at BIR, rode his Screamin’ Eagle Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson to the top qualifying position in Pro Stock Motorcycle with a performance of 6.937 seconds at 190.54 mph. It is his first No. 1 of the season and 36th of his career.
Like Gray, Hines will also get a single in the opener, as there are only 15 bikes entered.
“Having that bye run the first round could mean the difference right now,” Hines said. “It’s unfortunate that we didn’t have enough motorcycles that trekked up here to Minnesota, but getting the No. 1 qualifier for Harley-Davidson and being able to have that bye run, we can take a chance on Sunday and try to learn something first round. That’s something we probably wouldn’t do on a normal Sunday when you have to race somebody in the other lane. The field is so stacked right now, so I guess it’s a blessing in disguise to have nobody in the other lane. We were going to try something in the fourth qualifier, and that setup is still in the bike, so we’ll roll it out first round tomorrow and see what happens.”
Eddie Krawiec qualified second with a 6.949-second pass at 191.97 mph on his Screamin’ Eagle Harley-Davidson and Hector Arana Jr. will start third on his Lucas Oil Buell with a 6.951 at 193.88.
* * *
Sunday’s first-round pairings for eliminations for the 34th annual Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals at Brainerd International Raceway, the 17th of 24 events in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series. Pairings based on results in qualifying, which ended Saturday. DNQs listed below pairings.
Top Fuel — 1. Richie Crampton, 3.718 seconds, 323.50 mph vs. 16. Morgan Lucas, 4.796, 234.66; 2. Tony Schumacher, 3.737, 319.52 vs. 15. Chris Karamesines, 4.032, 306.26; 3. Doug Kalitta, 3.740, 319.75 vs. 14. Wayne Newby, 4.011, 257.04; 4. Steve Torrence, 3.745, 326.63 vs. 13. Terry McMillen, 3.865, 313.73; 5. Shawn Langdon, 3.749, 323.04 vs. 12. Clay Millican, 3.801, 312.64; 6. Dave Connolly, 3.754, 330.31 vs. 11. Brittany Force, 3.787, 326.00; 7. Antron Brown, 3.757, 321.73 vs. 10. J.R. Todd, 3.780, 328.78; 8. Spencer Massey, 3.763, 330.31 vs. 9. Larry Dixon, 3.767, 324.51. Did Not Qualify: 17. Luigi Novelli, 9.577, 260.56.
Funny Car — 1. Jack Beckman, Dodge Charger, 3.901, 325.69 vs. 16. Bob Bode, Toyota Camry, 6.352, 104.21; 2. John Force, Chevy Camaro, 3.930, 324.83 vs. 15. Dale Creasy Jr., Chevy Impala, 4.239, 301.74; 3. Alexis DeJoria, Camry, 3.946, 321.88 vs. 14. Brian Stewart, Ford Mustang, 4.145, 284.27; 4. Courtney Force, Camaro, 3.959, 320.66 vs. 13. John Hale, Charger, 4.123, 303.84; 5. Tommy Johnson Jr., Charger, 3.974, 319.60 vs. 12. Cruz Pedregon, Camry, 4.062, 299.60; 6. Robert Hight, Chevrolet Camaro, 3.974, 319.07 vs. 11. Ron Capps, Charger, 4.040, 319.98; 7. Chad Head, Camry, 3.976, 318.99 vs. 10. Tim Wilkerson, Mustang, 4.018, 314.39; 8. Del Worsham, Camry, 3.981, 323.97 vs. 9. Matt Hagan, Charger, 3.984, 324.83. Did Not Qualify: 17. Tony Pedregon, broke.
Pro Stock — 1. Shane Gray, Chevy Camaro, 6.607, 209.20 vs. Bye; 2. Erica Enders, Camaro, 6.609, 208.26 vs. 15. Mark Hogan, Pontiac GXP, 18.731, 198.70; 3. Chris McGaha, Camaro, 6.614, 208.49 vs. 14. Deric Kramer, Dodge Dart, 7.069, 207.11; 4. Allen Johnson, Dart, 6.616, 208.20 vs. 13. Dave River, Chevy Cobalt, 6.744, 204.63; 5. Jason Line, Camaro, 6.618, 208.68 vs. 12. V. Gaines, Dart, 6.669, 207.50; 6. Vincent Nobile, Camaro, 6.620, 208.10 vs. 11. Larry Morgan, Camaro, 6.647, 208.81; 7. Drew Skillman, Camaro, 6.623, 207.62 vs. 10. Bo Butner, Camaro, 6.635, 208.07; 8. Greg Anderson, Camaro, 6.624, 208.14 vs. 9. Jonathan Gray, Camaro, 6.634, 208.04.
Pro Stock Motorcycle — 1. Andrew Hines, Harley-Davidson, 6.937, 190.54 vs. Bye; 2. Eddie Krawiec, Harley-Davidson, 6.949, 191.97 vs. 15. Hector Arana, Buell, 7.540, 188.83; 3. Hector Arana Jr, Buell, 6.951, 193.88 vs. 14. Angie Smith, Victory, 7.217, 185.54; 4. Jerry Savoie, Suzuki, 6.981, 192.49 vs. 13. Mike Berry, Buell, 7.082, 185.36; 5. Chip Ellis, Buell, 6.991, 190.51 vs. 12. Chaz Kennedy, Buell, 7.061, 186.79; 6. Matt Smith, Victory, 6.991, 188.57 vs. 11. Steve Johnson, Suzuki, 7.042, 189.82; 7. LE Tonglet, Suzuki, 6.997, 191.84 vs. 10. Scotty Pollacheck, Buell, 7.041, 188.65; 8. Karen Stoffer, Suzuki, 7.001, 189.44 vs. 9. Jim Underdahl, Suzuki, 7.024, 191.35.
Jack Beckman continued his late-season hot streak by making the third quickest Funny Car run in NHRA history Friday at the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals at BIR.
Shawn Langdon (Top Fuel), Shane Gray (Pro Stock) and Andrew Hines (Pro Stock Motorcycle) also were qualifying leaders in their categories at the penultimate regular season race in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series.
Beckman, who also owns the top two quickest runs in his class, had the best car in both qualifying sessions but powered his Infinite Hero Foundation Dodge Charger to the day’s leading run in the final session, posting a track record performance of 3.946 seconds at 324.75 mph.
The effort continues an impressive streak of three races starting in Sonoma, Calif., and Seattle, where Beckman posted jaw-dropping track record runs. In Sonoma, he clocked a 3.921-second effort and then outdid that performance the next weekend with a 3.912 at Pacific Raceways.
“Unloading with a good run absolutely puts us in a wonderful position,” Beckman said. “We were really trying to run a 3.93. There were several areas on the 3.94 where it wasn’t as good as we were hoping it would be, and that’s a good feeling when you miss it by a little bit and the car still runs that good. It’s my best speed by a bunch, and we took over the points lead with that one. After leaving Pomona in 18th, being in first for now is a wonderful position.”
He credits crew chief Jimmy Prock for the amazing performance of his car, and for making the rest of the teams dig deep to figure out a new way of running their machines. There were eight three-second runs in today’s qualifying, including two side-by-side three-second passes.
“I have never seen so many Funny Cars gain so much in such a short period of time,” Beckman said. “What happened was they looked at our time slip. It used to be that a certain amount of driveshaft speed on the computer was all it tolerated because the car wouldn’t make it much further. Now when they look and see our numbers, they go, ‘We’ve got to approach this differently.’ The only way to get quicker early is to get that wheel speed up early. It shows how smart all our crew chiefs are out here, but it stuns me how quickly they’ve gathered us back up. We’ve got to figure out how to take it to another level from here. Everybody has stepped out of their comfort level to chase us.”
In Top Fuel, 2013 world champ Langdon moved to the top of the 16-car qualifying order on the day’s final run with a 3.749 seconds at 321.35 mph in his Knuckle Sandwich/Toyota dragster.
Langdon, who is currently seventh in points and has only one win this season in two final-round appearances, says his team is peaking at just the right time.
“We really felt like we turned a corner with the car in the middle of the Sonoma race,” Langdon said. “We continued to make good runs in Seattle, where we were fortunate enough to get to the finals, and we made two more great runs today. It’s good timing. Alan [Johnson, team owner] always seems to turn it up a notch when we’re getting close to Countdown [to the Championship] time. It’s a good race. Hopefully, we can do a little celebrating tonight in The Zoo (campground).”
Gray powered his Gray Motorsports Chevy Camaro to the qualifying lead in Pro Stock with a run of 6.607 seconds at 208.88 mph. Gray, who is looking to earn his first No. 1 qualifying position of the season if his time can hold through Saturday’s two sessions, had the quickest car in both sessions today.
“It’s important for me to get as many qualifying points as I can because here lately I haven’t been getting many points on Sunday,” Gray said. “They’re all important. It was nice to get all six of them today. Maybe we can get lucky and get a few tomorrow. It will be up to me to go out and do a good job on Sunday and see if we can capitalize on a good, fast car.”
Hines, the defending series champ and a two-time winner at BIR, rode his Screamin’ Eagle Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson to the Pro Stock Motorcycle qualifying lead with a performance of 6.937 seconds at 190.54 mph.
“Believe me, this is a big breath of fresh air for me,” said Hines, who is third in points and still looking for his first No. 1 qualifying position of the season. “It’s been a struggle for me pretty much all year. I got away with that one win there in Charlotte, but to run the way that we did just now, it’s nice to have a quick bike going into Saturday, and I’m going to take it as it comes.”
The third qualifying sessions for the pro classes starts at 1 p.m. Saturday, followed by the fourth and final qualifying session at 3:30 p.m. Saturday’s schedule includes live music that starts at 9 p.m. and a spectacular fireworks display that begins at dusk.
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Friday’s results after the first two of four rounds of qualifying for the 34th annual Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals at Brainerd International Raceway, 17th of 24 events in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series. Qualifying will continue Saturday for Sunday’s final eliminations.
Top Fuel — 1. Shawn Langdon, 3.749 seconds, 323.04 mph; 2. Richie Crampton, 3.754, 318.54; 3. Dave Connolly, 3.758, 330.31; 4. Steve Torrence, 3.758, 326.63; 5. Spencer Massey, 3.763, 330.31; 6. J.R. Todd, 3.780, 328.78; 7. Brittany Force, 3.787, 326.00; 8. Larry Dixon, 3.787, 320.28; 9. Tony Schumacher, 3.807, 318.62; 10. Antron Brown, 3.813, 317.42; 11. Clay Millican, 3.855, 312.64; 12. Terry McMillen, 3.867, 310.98. Not Qualified: 13. Chris Karamesines, 3.918, 306.26; 14. Morgan Lucas, 3.977, 234.66; 15. Doug Kalitta, 3.987, 226.35; 16. Wayne Newby, 4.078, 227.15; 17. Luigi Novelli, 4.150, 260.56.
Funny Car — 1. Jack Beckman, Dodge Charger, 3.946, 324.75; 2. Courtney Force, Chevy Camaro, 3.959, 320.66; 3. Tommy Johnson Jr., Charger, 3.974, 319.60; 4. Robert Hight, Chevrolet Camaro, 3.974, 319.07; 5. Chad Head, Toyota Camry, 3.976, 318.99; 6. Matt Hagan, Charger, 3.996, 320.97; 7. John Force, Camaro, 4.010, 317.94; 8. Alexis DeJoria, Camry, 4.011, 317.72; 9. Tim Wilkerson, Ford Mustang, 4.035, 314.39; 10. Ron Capps, Charger, 4.048, 315.78; 11. Del Worsham, Camry, 4.084, 312.57; 12. John Hale, Charger, 4.123, 303.84. Not Qualified: 13. Cruz Pedregon, 4.166, 289.20; 14. Brian Stewart, 4.318, 242.93; 15. Dale Creasy Jr., 4.565, 202.12; 16. Tony Pedregon, 4.691, 179.59.
Pro Stock — 1. Shane Gray, Chevy Camaro, 6.607, 209.20; 2. Erica Enders, Camaro, 6.609, 208.26; 3. Allen Johnson, Dodge Dart, 6.616, 208.20; 4. Jason Line, Camaro, 6.618, 208.68; 5. Chris McGaha, Camaro, 6.618, 208.49; 6. Vincent Nobile, Camaro, 6.620, 208.10; 7. Greg Anderson, Camaro, 6.624, 208.14; 8. Bo Butner, Camaro, 6.635, 208.07; 9. Drew Skillman, Camaro, 6.635, 207.62; 10. Jonathan Gray, Camaro, 6.645, 208.04; 11. Larry Morgan, Camaro, 6.647, 208.81; 12. V. Gaines, Dart, 6.669, 207.50. Not Qualified: 13. Deric Kramer, 6.686, 207.11; 14. Dave River, 6.736, 204.63; 15. Mark Hogan, 6.814, 198.70.
Pro Stock Motorcycle — 1. Andrew Hines, Harley-Davidson, 6.937, 190.54; 2. Eddie Krawiec, Harley-Davidson, 6.949, 191.97; 3. Hector Arana Jr, Buell, 6.951, 193.88; 4. Jerry Savoie, Suzuki, 6.994, 192.49; 5. LE Tonglet, Suzuki, 6.997, 191.84; 6. Chip Ellis, Buell, 6.997, 190.51; 7. Karen Stoffer, Suzuki, 7.001, 189.10; 8. Matt Smith, Victory, 7.012, 188.57; 9. Jim Underdahl, Suzuki, 7.024, 191.35; 10. Scotty Pollacheck, Buell, 7.041, 188.65; 11. Steve Johnson, Suzuki, 7.042, 189.82; 12. Chaz Kennedy, Buell, 7.061, 186.79. Not Qualified: 13. Angie Smith, 7.113, 185.54; 14. Mike Berry, 7.145, 185.05; 15. Hector Arana, 7.461, 188.83.
Hey race fans, if you’re interested in learning the “nuts and bolts” of NHRA drag racing, or if you’re curious about a driver’s perspective, then “Nitro School” is for you.
The NHRA has two Nitro Schools scheduled during the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals at BIR this weekend. The schools are scheduled for 1 p.m. Friday and 11 a.m. Saturday on a stage in front of Top Fuel driver Richie Crampton’s Lucas Oil pit area next to the Nitro Mall.
Crampton and NHRA announcer Alan Reinhart will be leading the 30-minute Nitro Schools, which will include entertaining and educational discussions about topics like the Christmas tree, fuel volume, ignition, engine and clutch parts, clutch application, etc. They’ll also compare a dragster’s workings to that of a street car, and will take questions from the fans.
Nitro School is intended to be a fun, light-hearted way to educate fans in the pits. So set an alert on your phone to remind you of when school is in session, and join us for the first-ever Nitro School at BIR!
You don’t need a ticket to be part of the 34th Annual Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals at Brainerd International Raceway. The fastest show on Earth returns to BIR Aug. 20-23 and we want you to take advantage of up-close-and-personal opportunities during Race Week.
Some of your favorite drivers will be making free public appearances in the Brainerd Lakes Area and other parts of the state. We’ll have the details below as we get them. So check back here often for updated information. Or download our new BIR App for the most updated information.
If nothing else, tune in to ESPN2 Saturday and Sunday night to watch two hours of qualifying and three hours of eliminations. Details below.
Thursday, 3-7 pm, Walmart in Baxter - Richie Crampton will be there 4-6 pm. Lots of giveaways!
Friday, 10 am-4 pm, Open House at the US Army Reserve Center, 310 10th Ave NE, Brainerd – Tony Schumacher will be there from 10 am – 1 pm.
Saturday – 10 pm-midnight – Two hours of qualifying
Sunday – 8-11 pm – Three hours of eliminations
THE POWER LOON – 107.5 FM OR STREAMING
8:15 am – BIR Owner Jed Copham
6:50 am – Greg Anderson
7:10 am – Andrew Hines
7:35 am – Eddie Krawiec
7:50 am – Dave Connolly
8:20 am – J.R. Todd
8:35 am – Larry Morgan
8:50 am – Larry Dixon
7:50 am – Matt Hagan
8:20 am – Tommy Johnson Jr
8:35 am – Erica Enders
8:50 am – Richie Crampton
7:45 am – Tony Schumacher
8:05 am – Robert Hight
8:35 am – Hector Arana Jr. & Sr.
8:50 am – Morgan Lucas
Fifty-two drag racers in the Stock/Super Stock Class converged on Brainerd International Raceway last weekend for a crack at a piece of the $4,000 guaranteed purse that was up for grabs Saturday and Sunday during the Midwest Class Racers’ 2nd Annual Paul Bunyan Classic.
The Classic, which was part of BIR’s Bracket Drag Racing Series weekend, saw drag racers slugging it out for a chance at the $2,000 first-place prize. In the end, Glen DeMenge and his 1969 Camaro had a near-perfect reaction time at the starting line in the finals, which helped him beat Tim Mosbek with an 11.20-second run at 105.85 mph. Mosbeck collected $1,000 for his efforts. In fact, the purse ended up to be nearly $6,500 and paid out the top 26 racers because Sunday’s race was rained out.
The Paul Bunyan Classic was the featured event last weekend but there was no shortage of great drag racing in the other classes. There was a lot on the line for nearly all of the 310 racers as everyone was scrambling for series points, prize money and a spot on BIR’s ET Finals team, which competes next month in Topeka, Kan. The selection process is based on the point standings after last weekend. The last series weekend is Sept. 26-27, so the pressure was on many racers.
Jimmy Paulson’s double-win weekend in the Pro Bike/Sled Class may have wrapped up a series championship, during a season in which he dominated the class on his 1350 Suzuki. He made it to the finals in seven of the nine races this year and has a comfortable lead over second place Jeremy Berg.
Paulson beat Josh LaValle in Saturday’s final with a pass of 9.293 seconds and 127.02 mph, and then dropped Kyle Olson in Sunday’s final with a sizzling 9.264-second, 139.88 mph run.
The two biggest classes, Super Pro and Pro ET, undoubtedly will be settled on the final day of the series. There’s log jam at the top of the point standings now in both classes, with the father-son duo of Gary and Reno Loeffelholz resting in first place in Super Pro and Pro ET, respectively, right where they finished the season last year.
Gary Loeffelholz and his 2004 Mustang outlasted 95 other drivers Saturday to meet Travis Reutzel in the finals. Despite Reutzel’s perfect reaction time on the starting line, Loeffelholz chased him down and won with a time of 7.474 seconds and 181.86 mph.
BIR’s 2015 King of the Track, Joe Howell, beat Mike Casteel in Saturday’s Pro ET finals with a time of 9.483 seconds and 143.4 mph to set up a showdown with Gary Loeffelholz in the Super Pro/Pro ET Shootout, where the winner earns $2,000 and the loser claims $1,000. It was Howell’s day to win, though, as he nipped Loeffelholz at the finish line for the win.
Sunday’s Super Pro winner was Terry Pease, who beat Vern Lauren Jr. in the finals with a time of 10.854 seconds and 131.29 mph. He lined up against the Pro ET winner, Brandon Schmall, in the Super Pro/Pro ET Shootout. Pease’s 1953 Ford Thames was too much for Schmall, as he pocketed $2,000 with the win.
Schmall is in a dogfight with Reno Loeffelholz and Howell in the Pro ET points standings. Schmall beat Loeffelholz in Sunday’s finals to inch closer to the top two spots.
Schmall has a significant lead in the Sportsman points race. He beat Joe Moriarty Sr. in Saturday’s finals but was bumped in the second round Sunday and had to watch as Brad Mickle beat Paul Baillif in Sunday’s final.
Jared Hutar was another double winner last weekend to stay in the points lead in Comp Trophy. He beat Andrew Walcheski in Saturday’s final and Chad Dalland Sunday.
In Street Trophy, Jed Anderson and Joe Moriarty Jr. won on Saturday and Sunday, respectively.
Saturday’s Quick 16 Shootout, which pits the quickest cars against the quickest dragsters, saw Mike Kritzky rip off a 6.992-second run at 191.92 mph in his dragster to beat Brad Baklund and his ’63 Corvette in the final. The win earned Kritzky $1,500.
Even the three Junior Dragster classes are knotted up at the top of the point standings. Zachary Zavadil was a double winner in Junior Dragster Advanced, while Samantha Cielinski and Zach McFarland won Saturday and Sunday, respectively, in Junior Dragster Intermediate. In Junior Dragster Novice, Alex Clampitt and Megan Cielinski were winners.
The final Bracket Drag Racing Series weekend next month is significant in another way as well. It’s also the National Dragster Challenge on Saturday, where drivers in Super Pro, Pro ET, Sportsman, Pro Bike/Sled, Comp Trophy and Street Trophy classes can take home a Wally trophy with a class win.
Below are the weekend’s winners:
SATURDAY, AUGUST 8
Finals: Gary Loeffelholz of Shafer def. Travis Reutzel of Annandale
Finals: Joe Howell of Big Lake def. Mike Casteel of Thief River Falls
Super Pro/Pro ET Shootout
Joe Howell def. Gary Loeffelholz
Finals: Brandon Schmall of Lino Lakes def. Joe Moriarty Sr. of Ham Lake
Finals: Glen DeMenge of McGregor def. Tim Mosbek of Andover
Finals: Jimmy Paulson of Stacy def. Josh LaValle of Rice
Finals: Jared Hutar of Cromwell def. Andrew Walcheski of Foley
Finals: Jed Anderson of Sartell def. Rachel Hutar of Cromwell
Quick 16 Shootout
Finals: Mike Kritzky def. Brad Baklund of Corcoran
Junior Dragster Advanced
Finals: Zachary Zavadil of Clearwater def. Maggie Ruzich of Hibbing
Junior Dragster Intermediate
Finals: Samantha Cielinski of Gilman def. Camryn Takacs of Thunder Bay, Ontario
Junior Dragster Novice
Finals: Alex Clampitt of Lino Lakes def. Megan Cielinski of Gilman
SUNDAY, AUGUST 9
Finals: Terry Pease of Blaine def. Vern Lauren Jr.
Finals: Brandon Schmall of Lino Lakes def. Reno Loeffelholz
Super Pro/Pro ET Shootout
Terry Pease def. Brandon Schmall
Finals: Brad Mickle of Lino Lakes def. Paul Baillif of Brainerd
Finals: Jimmy Paulson of Stacy def. Kyle Olson of Moorland, Iowa
Finals: Jared Hutar of Cromwell def. Chad Dalland of Fort Ripley
Finals: Joe Moriarty Jr. of Ham Lake def. Todd Anderson of Brainerd
Junior Dragster Advanced
Finals: Zachary Zavadil of Clearwater def. Emma McFarland of Sabin
Junior Dragster Intermediate
Finals: Zach McFarland of Sabin def. Camryn Takacs of Thunder Bay, Ontario
Junior Dragster Novice
Finals: Megan Cielinski of Gilman def. Riley Luberda of Foley
With only two weekends left on the schedule, drivers in Brainerd International Raceway’s Bracket Drag Racing Series are starting to ratchet up the intensity as they slug it out for series championships.
The series continues this weekend, with a Test & Tune on Friday and then time trials and eliminations both Saturday and Sunday. The drag racers are down to four chances to earn points toward a series championship. This is the fifth weekend for the six-weekend series.The final weekend is Sept. 26-27, after which series champs will be crowned.
The Zalusky Advanced Riding School will be on BIR’s 2.5-mile Competition Road Course Saturday and Sunday.
On the drag strip, Myron Streit still sits atop the Super Pro Class point standings but he’s got Gary Loeffelholz nipping at his heals. Loeffelholz won the class championship last year and is looking to repeat. Tony Leonard, currently in third place, is well within striking range as well. Super Pro has 61 drivers in the hunt.
Loeffelholz is leading 32-driver field in the new Quick 16 Shootout. Jordan Pratt isn’t far behind in second place, with Bruce Kaul in third.
The Pro ET Class has a similar situation. With 59 drivers in the points chase, Joe Howell is holding on to first place, but a red-hot Reno Loeffelholz is close behind and, like his father, is looking at repeating as class championship. Brandon Schmall is in third place and could easily spoil the party for both Howell and Loeffelholz.
Schmall also races in the Sportman Class, where he’s in first place, ahead of 31 other drivers in the points standings. He’s got a slim lead over second-place contender Russ Elzy and Mark Pease, who’s in third.
James Findell is on top of the standings in Stock/Super Stock, but you can bet he’s looking over his shoulder. Sitting back in third place is Ben Line, who has won the class championship the last four years in a row, and seven of the last eight years. Doug Jonak, another tough customer, is in second place.
Jimmy Paulson looks like he may be able to walk away with the Pro Bike/Sled Class. He’s well ahead of Jeremy Berg and Mike Voss, who are currently tied for second place in the standings.
The Comp Trophy Class appears to be a two-horse race, with Jared Hutar and Sid Osterman in first and second place, respectively. Andrew Walcheski is in a distant third place.
Tyler Gadacz has spent most of the season on top of the point standings in Street Trophy. Chasing him is Joe Moriarty Jr. in second place and Hannah Line in third.
Things are tight in the Junior Dragster classes as well. In Junior Dragster Advanced, Sarah Johnson is in first, with a slim lead over Sydney Haben. Trevor Jelinski is holding on to first place in Junior Dragster Intermediate, but all six racers have a shot taking home the championship. And Dylan Dancer is leading the pack in the Junior Dragster Novice Class, with Riley Luberda in second.
Daily admission is $20, and kids 12 and younger are free.
All of us at Brainerd International Raceway want to thank the 200+ individuals who volunteered their time to help us clean up the track from the storm that hit us July 12. We can’t thank you enough. We always say that we have the best racers and fans in the country, because you continue to give us reasons to do so. Here’s another reason.
Because of your generosity, we didn’t need to cancel any events, except for a Wednesday Night Street Drags on July 15. We’re repairing the damage to the shop and the press box, and will figure out how to get some bleachers in here to replace the section that was destroyed. That will be done before the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals. Those who come to Nationals this year shouldn’t notice any difference, except for missing trees.
Again, thank you to everyone who helped, including Papa John’s and Fresh Start Meat Market in Pine River (the former Shamp’s Meat Market), both of which donated food for our volunteers. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!