The Bracket Drag Racing launches 2017 season this weekend

For guys like Brian Johnson, Bryce Miller and Brandon Schmall, this weekend couldn’t some soon enough.

That’s because it’s been seven months since last year’s drag racing season at Brainerd International Raceway came to an end and they found themselves at the top of the points standings as champions of the Bracket Drag Racing Series. Starting Friday, they will go about the arduous task of trying to defend those titles as the 2017 version of the series begins.

Johnson, Miller and Schmall, who won the Super Pro, Pro ET and Sportsman classes, respectively, will be joined in their quest for a repeat by champions from eight other classes, including three Junior Dragsters (ages 18 and younger). Schmall will be gunning for a “three-peat” this year. Meanwhile more than 230 racers who competed last year in the series, will be trying wrestle away those titles.

“The first Bracket Drag Race of the season is always a lot of fun because the racers are fired up to get back on the track,” BIR owner Jed Copham said. “We’re expecting more than 250 cars here this weekend so fans will see some great racing.”

Gates open this weekend at 5 p.m. Thursday. On Friday,  an optional Test & Tune for drivers starts at 11 a.m. On Saturday and Sunday, racing starts at 9 a.m. with time trials for all 10 classes followed by elimination rounds, where the losers of each pairings are done for the day. Champions will be determined at the end of both days. The Quick 16 Class does not race this weekend.