Rick Schmidt is a realistic man. He understands that when you have the fastest car at the race track for an entire season and walk away with a class championship, you’re going to have a big target on your back the following season.
That’s the situation for Schmidt, who will be returning to Brainerd International Raceway (BIR) Memorial Day weekend for the 7th Annual Street Car Showdown to kick off his second year in BIR’s three-race Muscle Car Series on the drag strip, where Schmidt will be racing in the series’ fastest class: Pro Outlaw.
The Street Car Showdown, May 22-24, is the first major event of the season at BIR and features the Muscle Car Series on the drag strip and the Sports Car Club of America’s (SCCA) Harvey West Memorial Day Classic on
the road course, a two-for-one event for race fans and a great way to kick off the summer.
Last year was Schmidt’s first crack at the Muscle Car Series, but he stole the show by driving his beefed-up 2011 Mustang to two series wins and a runner-up finish. He was flying down the quarter-mile track at 210 mph and posting winning times around 6.5 seconds.
That 6.5 seconds is quick but Schmidt doesn’t think it’s going to be quick enough this year to take the championship. He worked on his car all winter trying to get more speed out of it, because he knows that the competition did the same to knock him off this year.
“There’s going to be some heavy hitters out there this year,” he said of the competition. “It’ll be a lot harder (to win). Some of the guys are stepping up their game and will be pulling some big horsepower.”
The same thing went through Jake Delmonico’s mind this winter. He’s won five of the last six races in the Outlaw Class and is trying to three-peat as class champion this year. He spent the winter making modifications to his 1968 Camaro but didn’t really like the results, so he’s going back to the same set-up he had the last two years, when his car was rarely the fastest in the class. That required him to be the most consistent racer to win races, and that may be the formula again this year, he said.
The Pro Outlaw and Outlaw classes, as well as five other “heads-up classes” are the featured events during the Muscle Car Series because they feature the fastest cars and a “heads-up” style of racing.
The Muscle Car Series starts Friday with qualifying and time trials on the drag strip. On Saturday, qualifying and time trials continue, followed by elimination rounds on Sunday.
BIR’s 2.5-mile Competition Road Course also will be busy with racing action all weekend, starting Wednesday with the three-day SCCA Competition Racing Licensing School. Drivers can take the course to get licensed for SCCA-sanctioned racing events, like the Harvey West Memorial Day Classic that will take place Saturday and Sunday.
The Classic features a variety of racing classes, which will have practice and qualifying sessions both days, followed by 10-lap races on Saturday and 12-lap races on Sunday. Saturday’s racing program ends with a 45-minute Enduro Race.
“The Street Car Showdown is our first major event of the year and really signals the beginning of the racing season for us,” BIR Owner Jed Copham said. “The SCCA brings super competitive road racing to BIR that weekend, and the Muscle Car Series really shows off some giant horsepower. It’s a great family event and a fun way to start the summer.”
Daily admission is $25, and kids 12 and under are free. Camping is free with the purchase of a multi-day ticket. Visit BrainerdRaceway.com for more details.
SCCA photo by Rick Corwine