Thunder at the Lakes signals start of NHRA MegaWeek

Thunder at the Lakes rolls into Brainerd International Raceway this weekend, but the NHRA divisional drag race has an all-new significance this year.

In addition to offering fans some of the best Sportsman drag racing in the country, Thunder at the Lakes signals the kick-off to BIR’s new MegaWeek, which is 12 days of drag racing that starts with Thunder at the Lakes and ends with the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals. With the MegaWeek ticket, fans can enter BIR Thursday evening and stay until Aug. 22, watching seven days of drag racing in the process.

Traditionally scheduled in early June, Thunder at the Lakes showcases the NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series, which features many of the Sportsman drag racers that fans watch during the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals, set for Aug. 18-21. Most of the drag racers compete in both events as they chase series points in nine different classes that can lead to divisional and national championships as well as a shot at part of the $519,000 year-end purse.

“We’ve had an excellent response from our fans who love this new format,” BIR Owner Jed Copham said. “There’s a large number of fans who start camping at BIR the Monday before Nationals anyway, so they’re planning to show up four days earlier to watch another weekend of awesome drag racing before the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals rolls into town.”

Thunder at the Lakes starts Friday with a Test & Tune day. Time trials and qualifying starts Saturday at 9 a.m., with the Top Sportsman, Top Dragster and Comp Eliminator classes qualifying at 11 a.m., 2 and 5 p.m. Elimination rounds are Sunday starting at 9 a.m. Gates open at 7 a.m. daily.

The drag racing categories this weekend are Comp Eliminator, Super Stock, Stock Eliminator, Super Comp, Super Gas and Super Street. The Jerry Haas Race Cars Top Sportsman, Fineline Graphics & Madcap Racing Top Dragster and NHRA Sportsman Motorcycle Series presented by Harley-Davidson are also in competition.

Daily admission for  Thunder at the Lakes is $25. Kids 12 and under are admitted free with a paid adult. Parking is free.