End the summer on a fast note: Muscle Car Shootout

There’s no better way to cap off the summer than with a Labor Day tradition at Brainerd International Raceway – the 25th Annual Muscle Car Shootout.

A perennial fan favorite and one of BIR’s largest events, the Muscle Car Shootout is a smorgasbord of racing and fan activities, including drag racing, road racing, live music, a classic car show and a new addition this year: a unique fireworks show.

On the track, series championships in both drag racing and road racing are on the line. Drag racers will be gunning for championships during the grand finale of the three-race Muscle Car Series. On the 2.5-mile Competition Road Course, teams in the Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) Pro Racing’s Trans Am Series are wrapping up their season with only three races left after BIR’s race, so points will be at a premium for drivers who still have a shot at a championship in the 10-race series. When the Trans Am Series isn’t on the road course, fans will be treated to SCCA regional racing Saturday and Sunday during the Jack Pine Sprints.

There’s plenty to see and do off the track as well. On Saturday, a classic car show will be on the infield behind the main grandstand with judging in 28 categories, including People’s Choice. On Saturday night, Rhino will provide live music at BIR’s Wheelie Bar & Grille (no cover charge). Rhino covers bands like Three Doors Down, Prince, Tom Petty, Blink 182, Van Halen and Train.

New this year to the program is the Northern Lighters Lake Shoot, a unique display of handmade and vintage fireworks. It’s not a typical fireworks show with multiple explosions in the air at all times. Instead, the show is for pyro technicians from throughout the country to show off shells that are expected to be larger, more unique and every bit as spectacular as those normally used.

“The Muscle Car Shootout is traditionally one of our biggest events of the year and a great way for fans to finish off the summer,” BIR owner Jed Copham said. “There’s so much going on that weekend – on AND off the track – that it’s become a great family event. We’re also really excited to be hosting the Lake Shoot fireworks show, which will be amazing.”

Back on the track, more than 400 drag racers are expected for the grand finale of the Muscle Car Series. At center stage will be the six Heads Up Classes, where speeds top 200 mph and times can dip below 7 seconds. The two fastest classes – Pro Outlaw and Outlaw – will have new champions this year, as the reigning champs didn’t race this year. The same is true for the 660 Outlaw Street Class, which is a new addition to this year’s series. The drag strip is shortened up to an eighth mile for this class, which levels the playing field for the cars and makes for some very close times.

Qualifying starts at 9 a.m. Friday and Saturday, with eliminations starting at 9 a.m. Sunday.

On the road course, a change to this year’s road racing program involves the Trans Am Series, which will only race on Sunday, instead of Saturday and Sunday like in year’s past. The race will again be a 40-lap, 100-mile battle on the technical and competitive 13-turn track. Over the years, the race been dominated by Tony Ave, who split wins with Amy Ruman last year. Doug Peterson is currently in the points lead with Ruman in fourth and Ave in seventh.

The SCCA’s Jack Pine Sprints will be on the road course Saturday and Sunday, racing a variety of classes.

Road racing starts at 9 a.m. Saturday and Sunday. Trans Am has two practice sessions Saturday, at 10 a.m. and 1:45 p.m. Qualifying is at 10:30 a.m. Sunday followed by the race starting at 3:45 p.m.

On-site camping is available and tickets can be purchased at the gate. Daily admission is $25; kids 12 and under are free. The live music and fireworks are only for those who are camping at BIR Saturday night.