A team of 38 drag racers from BIR was runner up last weekend at the NHRA Summit Racing ET Finals at Heartland Park in Topeka, Kan.
The team competed against 16 other drag racing teams from throughout the Midwest, totaling about 500 racers. They were gunning for a team championship, prize money and a chance to compete for a national title in November in Pomona, Calif.
Team BIR had to overcome a number of setbacks, mostly involving car trouble but also a health scare that left one racer in the hospital. But Steve Roehrs won the Pro ET class and two racers – Brad Harder and Rodney Thompson – won their respective Race of Champions.
Roehrs was among three BIR racers who won their way to the Pro ET semifinals. Bob Ingman had a bye while Joe Howell lost to Roehrs, who went on to beat Ingman for the championship. He won a $5,000 check from BIR and a chance to compete in Pomona for a national championship. Good luck Steve!
Harder was racing in Pro Motorcycle while Thompson was in Super Pro. Each team identifies one racer in each class to represent it in the Race of Champions, which is usually reserved for the best of the best. Riding his 1999 Kawasaki, Harder won with in the Race of Champions finals with a time of 9.308 seconds at 138.84 mph. Thompson, in a 2005 Cavalier, had a winning time of 8.208 seconds at 139.27 mph for the title.
Last year’s BIR team took second place as well.
BIR Owner Kristi Copham accompanied the team to Topeka. Here’s her report from Topeka during the weekend.
ET Finals 2019! This might be a long post but my phone is blowing up still so here ya go. As most of you know going that far with that many people sometimes doesn’t always go smoothly. On the trip down Pat Haubrich and his wife Carol (they were racing for Grove Creek) got in a horrible accident and their truck and trailer were completely wrecked. Pat and Carol are going to be OK, thank God, but they ended their trip and headed for home. Joe Howell’s trailer hitch literally broke off, sending the trailer one direction and Joe the other. No one was injured and he was able to get it fixed and made it to the track. Phew. On Friday morning, I got a phone call from (NHRA’s) Rob Park saying that Jerry Hieb was in staging and was showing signs of having a stroke. He was taken by ambulance to a local hospital where he was placed in intensive care. We got word on Sunday that he was doing well and would be moved to a regular room soon. Hoping he will be released today or tomorrow. Prayers for Jerry please. Jerry was supposed to run for Race of Champions in Sportsman. We missed you Jerry! Next, Mike Campbell had major problems with his is car and ended up running a truck in Sportsman. He now says “racing is stupid.” See you in 2 weeks Mike! Lol… Then Shawn Carlson’s car blew up and, again, we have another truck in Sportsman! Did I mention we really missed Jerry? On Friday, we had the Race of Champions. There were five classes and BIR took home 2 wins. Brad Harder in Bike and Rodney Thompson is Super Pro. BIR pays $500 to anyone winning that race. Congratulations to both of them! Saturday is race day. I am so proud of this group of racers! Incredible. This was a really close race for Brainerd but it came down to having three guys left out of 38. Unfortunately, the last 3 cars we had left turned out to literally be the last 3 cars left in the Pro class! Bob Ingman, Joe Howell and Steve Roehrs. Bob got the bye into the final and Steve Roehrs took out Joe. The final result: Steve wins! Steve got a check from BIR for $5,000 dollars and will be heading to Pomona to compete for the National title in November! Thanks in advance for the trip I will be taking to California, Steve! We ended up taking 2nd place to Bandimere. A little disappointing because our racers did an amazing job. Congrats to Sporty Bandimere and the rest of your team. To my Brainerd team – Thank you so much for all your support! I love my BIR family! THANK YOU to everyone for making the trip and making it a memorable one! See you in 2 weeks!