The 34th Annual PleasureLand RV Show & Go this weekend will have a dramatically different look than in the past. Because of restrictions relating to the COVID-19 pandemic, we are not allowed to have spectators, and there will be no classic car show. This year’s event is for racers and their families and crews only. We apologize for any inconvenience.
BIR is bringing back professional road racing July 11-12 while showing appreciation to its fans and honoring the track’s late owner, Jed Copham. It’ll be the first spectator event this season at BIR, a free drive-in style nostalgic race where fans can watch live streaming of Sunday’s two featured races on their mobile devices.
The FREE Fan Appreciation Weekend and the Ryan Companies’ Jed Copham Memorial Race feature the Trans Am Series presented by Pirelli and a full two days of wild road racing that also includes the Sports Car Club of America.
The weekend is a chance for BIR to thank its fans, racers and the Brainerd community for supporting motorsports for more than 50 years. But it’s also a chance to honor Jed Copham, the late track owner who died suddenly and tragically in November 2018 in a swimming accident in Florida. When the series raced at BIR prior to the accident, Jed raced in the TA class against the series’ top professional drivers. To honor his love of racing and his commitment to road racing, the Trans Am Series is calling Sunday’s featured race the Jed Copham Memorial Race, sponsored by Ryan Companies.
Fans will be treated to a unique format this weekend. BIR is encouraging fans to drive right up next to the track and watch from your vehicles, like a drive-in movie. Tailgating is allowed! To follow all the action, you can download the free Trans Am Series app (for Apple or Android) and watch live streaming of Sunday’s action. In all, there will be six hours of coverage, including live play-by-play of Sunday’s two 100-mile featured races, the second of which is the Jed Copham Memorial Race. Fans can also listen to coverage on BIR’s FM station: 87.9 FM. Click here for the weekend’s schedule.
The Trans Am Series has a long and rich history at BIR that dates back to 1969. Featuring professional drivers from throughout the country, the series includes five classes of racing: TA, TA2, XGT, SGT and GT, with classic muscle cars like Mustangs, Corvettes, Camaros and Challengers that fly around the 2.5-mile Competition Road Course. The schedule has practice and qualifying sessions on Saturday, followed by qualifying and the pair of 100-mile, 40-lap final races on Sunday.
SCCA will also be on the road course for club racing between the Trans Am sessions. SCCA is great wheel-to-wheel racing, with a variety of open- and closed-wheel classes, as well as vintage racing.
BIR follows the latest safety measures related to the COVID-19 pandemic, including social distancing and wearing masks. We encourage all our racers, teams and fans to follow the CDC and MDH guidelines to ensure everyone’s safety.
Through a six-week season delay and four race cancellations, drivers in Brainerd International Raceway’s Bracket Drag Racing Series were itching to get back on the track, to put an end to a long off-season that was made even longer by the COVID-19 outbreak.More than 225 drag racers eagerly showed up last weekend to renew their love of the sport during the first series event, and they put on a wild show.
When the dust cleared, there were some crazy finishes. On Saturday, for example, BIR used every minute of daylight to complete racing following an afternoon rain delay. The final pair of drivers – Gary Olson and Dave Engler – went down the track as the sun set, to close out the first full day of racing for the 2020 season.
Olson beat Engler for the Super Pro finals win, shortly after Olson beat his son, Nathan, in the Pro ET finals for a rare double win. Super Pro had 88 drivers competing and Pro ET had 78, which meant Olson and his 1971 Nova won 14 straight rounds. Both Olsons have been tough competitors in the Muscle Car Series and now are making their mark in the Bracket Series.In 2017, Shawn Carlson was nearly unbeatable in Sportsman. He spent the entire season at the top of the point standings and finished the season with a series championship and a King of the Track title. But he hasn’t spent much time in the Winner’s Circle since – until last weekend. He swept the Sportsman class, beating the defending champ Grant Pesola in Saturday’s finals and Bob Gillespie in Sunday’s finals. Just like that, Carlson’s back on top.
In Street Trophy, Tyler Kyllonen made a statement by sweeping the class. He disposed of defending champ Keith Larson in Saturday’s final round and beat Jack Anderson in Sunday’s finals.Sunday’s Pro Bike/Sled finals featured a battle of the brothers. Wyatt and Max Niesen earned their way to the final round – Wyatt on a 2015 Grothus and Max on an ’85 Suzuki. Wyatt had a better reaction time and Max couldn’t catch him at the finish line. Wyatt posted a winning time of 8.385 seconds and 156.55 mph.
Owen Drake and his sister, Hannah, made it a family affair on Sunday in the finals of the Junior Dragster Advanced class. Hannah, however, got a little antsy on the starting line and fouled, handing her brother the win and family bragging rights…for now. Owen’s winning time was 7.770 seconds at 85.83 mph.The next Bracket Drag Racing Series weekend is July 10-12, which was just added to the schedule. It will be during the track’s Fan Appreciation Weekend, featuring the Trans Am Series and Sports Car Club of America on the road course.
Below are the finals for both days.
SATURDAY, JUNE 20
Super Pro Finals Gary Olson of Sartell def. Dave Engler of Zimmerman
Pro ET Finals Gary Olson of Sartell def. Nathan Olson of Sartell
Sportsman Finals Shawn Carlson of Elbow Lake def. Grant Pesola of Nashwauk
Stock/Super Stock Finals James Findell of Zimmerman def. Ron Prince of Tamarack
Pro Bike/Sled Finals Brad Harder of Waconia def. Bruce Meagher of Hudson, Wis.
Comp Trophy Finals Mike Larson of Baxter def. Samantha Cielinski of Gilman
Street Trophy Finals Tyler Kyllonen of St. Francis def. Keith Larson of Brainerd
Junior Dragster Advanced Finals Dylan Dancer of Foley def. Aspen Meagher of Hudson
Junior Dragster Intermediate Finals Brody Thompson of Nowthen def. Carter Luberda of Foley
Junior Dragster Novice Finals Wesley Krech of Inver Grove Heights def. Tyler Reynolds of Cologne
SUNDAY, JUNE 21
Super Pro Finals Chris Bishop of Grand Rapids def. Jesse Leonard of Hastings
Pro ET Finals Jason Charlton of Grand Rapids def. Steve Brings of Howard Lake
Super Pro/Pro ET Shootout Chris Bishop of Grand Rapids def. Jason Charlton of Grand Rapids
Sportsman Finals Shawn Carlson of Elbow Lake def. Bob Gillespie of Brainerd
Stock/Super Stock Finals Brad Haugaard of Ham Lake def. Ron Prince of Holdingford
Pro Bike/Sled Finals Wyatt Niesen of Brooklyn Park def. Max Niesen of Brooklyn Park
Comp Trophy Finals Michelle Emmans of St. Francis def. Cindy Fairchild of Aitkin
Street Trophy Finals Tyler Kyllonen of St. Francis def. Jack Anderson of Holdingford
Junior Dragster Advanced Finals Owen Drake of Zimmerman def. Hannah Drake of Zimmerman
Junior Dragster Intermediate Finals Carter Luberda of Foley def. Gabe Killian of Superior, Wis.
Junior Dragster Novice Finals Bodie Carlson of Elbow Lake def. Lily Covington of Merrifield
Hey Bracket Drag Racing Series drivers, here’s another chance to get on the track and earn some series points! We added another race to the calendar this season, on July 10-12. It’s during the Fan Appreciation Weekend, with the Trans Am Series and SCCA on the road course.
Make sure you mark your calendar and watch for updates. Right now, the race is for drivers and their family and crew. As you know, things are changing for us on a daily basis, so watch for updates on our website, social media channels and the app.
It is with deep sadness and heavy hearts that we announce the cancellation of the MAP Proving Grounds event at BIR, scheduled for June 12-14, 2020.
We know that this will come as an enormous disappointment, not only for racers but also to the fans who come to spectate and the entire car community as a whole here in the Upper Midwest. This is not a decision we took lightly, and there were many issues we needed to consider to make this decision.
Like many of you, we were desperately holding on to hope for this event but the current restrictions and guidelines laid out by the state of Minnesota drastically limit the number of people we’re able to host at BIR, making a public event like the Proving Grounds impossible. We understand that this is a last-minute announcement and we apologize for any inconvenience this has caused.
However, drifting will still be happening as scheduled. For those who pre-registered, please watch for an email with details. CWSCC will still be hosting Autocross on Friday and HPDE on Saturday and Sunday. Registration will be live tomorrow (June 3) starting at noon on motorsportsreg.com. This will be a non-spectator event. No camping will be allowed on BIR property.
All pre-purchased tickets for admission or camping will be applied as credits for Proving Grounds 2.0 on Aug. 28-30, 2020. Those who cannot attend that event or need your funds back, can do so by contacting the BIR Ticket Office at 866-444-4455.
We appreciate your understanding and look forward to seeing you all soon at PG2 in August!
Please monitor our website and social media channels for additional schedule changes. As of right now, all other events will go on as scheduled, including the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals.
The COVID-19 pandemic has made the June 5-7 Wet & Wild Weekend a little less wild than in the past. Because of restrictions on the track, only racers and their crews will be allowed inside the track. No spectators will be allowed.
The weekend will feature the International Watercross Association on Lake BIR and the Bracket Drag Racing Series on the drag strip. The North Star Chapter of the BMW Car Club and the Minnesota Autosports Club both cancelled.
There will be limitations on the number of racers and crew members for drag racing and watercross. Including BIR employees, there can only be 250 people on the drag strip and 250 for watercross. Drag racers will not be allowed to watch watercross and vice versa, so that BIR can maintain the 250-person limits for both. Drag racers can find more details here: https://www.brainerdraceway.com/news/june-5-7-bracket-drag-race-is-on-with-limitations/
Everyone who attends MUST download and print a Liability Waiver and then sign it and present it at the front gate. The waiver is available here: 2020 Season ATV Waiver
Everyone on the track MUST follow the guidelines from the Minnesota Department of Health and the Center for Disease Control in regards to social distancing, washing hands, sanitizing, etc. Those who refuse to exercise social distancing will be removed from the grounds.
Spectators who purchased advance tickets for this weekend can get a full refund by calling the Ticket Office this week or we’ll assume you want full credit for the second Wet & Wild Weekend, which is scheduled for Sept. 18-20, when the IWA will be on Lake BIR while the Nord Stern Porsche Club will be on the road course. No changes have been made to that event yet.
BIR asks everyone to be patient and help us show that we can offer a safe racing environment so that the state and Crow Wing County continues to loosen restrictions on our racing program. As of right now, we are still planning to host the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals in August and the rest of the races on the schedule, starting this weekend. Some may come with restrictions and limitations, so fans and racers should continue to monitor the website and social media channels for updates.
We appreciate your continued patience as we all try to navigate these unsettled times, but the news is not good for the near future. We’re cancelling the Street Car Showdown on Memorial Day weekend to comply with the Governor’s Executive Orders as they relate to the COVID-19 pandemic. That includes the Muscle Car Series on the drag strip and the SCCA’s Harvey West Memorial Day Classic. We are also canceling the NAPA Street Legals on Wednesday, May 20. We apologize for any inconvenience but, as you all know, this is a public health matter and our hands are tied. This weekend’s Bracket Drag Racing Series event is cancelled as well.
If you bought tickets in advance for the Street Car Showdown or the Bracket race, we will be offering a full credit that can be used for any future events or you may contact the front office for a refund. That goes for all other events that are cancelled because of COVID-19 as well.
As of right now, we still plan to offer the remainder of the schedule, but that continues to change and we ask that you watch for updates on our website, our social media channels and the app. Our first race of the year – as of now – will be the Wet & Wild Weekend on June 5-7.
One major change to the schedule involves the NHRA Division 5 race – Thunder at the Lakes. It was initially scheduled for Aug. 7-9 but has been moved back to Aug. 13-14. We combined it with the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals but that means there will be no MegaWeek tickets this year. Those tickets will be replaced with Superweek tickets, and the price difference will be refunded for those who already purchased them.
We continue to work with Crow Wing County to get our racers on the track. That’s our main focus and we’re fighting on a daily basis to make that happen. We’re constantly looking for ways to change our procedures and racing program to meet the Governor’s requirements for limiting personal contact and maintaining a safe environment. We appreciate all they’ve done for us and for helping us work through this.
This COVID virus is a nasty thing, and we’re taking it very seriously here at BIR. The last thing we want is for racers and their families to contract it while at BIR and infect people back in their communities. So, we ask for your help to make sure that doesn’t happen, and that starts with everyone being patient with us while we work with Crow Wing County and try to salvage as much of the season as possible.
Stay safe everyone, and we’ll try to update you as often as possible.
This weekend’s Bracket Drag Racing Series event (May 15-17) has been cancelled due to the COVID-19 outbreak and the Governor’s Stay at Home order. If we can reschedule it, we will. As of right now, the rest of our racing schedule will go on as planned, but please monitor our social media channels, the website and our app for changes. As you know, things are changing on a daily basis for everyone, so we appreciate your patience. We’ll try to get you on the track as soon as we can.
There may have been a time several years ago when Bob Wallin’s success could be chalked up to beginner’s luck, but that’s certainly not the case anymore.
Wallin has been drag racing in the Real Street Natural class in Brainerd International Raceway’s Muscle Car Series for only four years now and just completed a three-peat by winning his third series championship in a row. He took second place his first year, in 2016. And drag racers won’t want to hear this, but he had never drag raced competitively before then.
“I used to run test days in Rock Falls (Wisconsin),” said Wallin, from Superior, Wis. “I just raced for fun but I knew the Orr brothers (Dennis and Chris, also from Superior) who raced up here and they talked me into it.”
Wallin drives a 1972 Chevy Nova that runs a consistent 9.3 seconds at 143 mph. He raced his way into the finals twice last season, winning once. “It’s not as easy as it may look,” he said. “There’s a lot of work involved to get down the track. And the competition (in Real Street Natural) is getting pretty stiff. I go in thinking I’m not going to win, but then I do.”
Wallin was one of 13 drag racers crowned series champion in the three-race Muscle Car Series last season. They were honored recently at BIR’s annual Racer Banquet and are putting the final tweaks on their cars for the 2020 season. The series includes the Street Car Showdown on Memorial Day weekend, the PleasureLand RV Show & Go on the Fourth of July weekend and the GSTA Muscle Car Shootout on Labor Day weekend.
Another newcomer to the series is Dave Feders, who, like Wallin, didn’t waste any time making a splash. Racing in the King Street class, the Isanti racer just completed his third season of racing and is on a four-race winning streak. He won the 2018 GSTA Muscle Car Shootout and then ran the table last year to win his first series championship. But it wasn’t easy, he admitted.
He blew up his motor at the 2018 Street Car Showdown and then used a street car at the Show & Go to get some points. “I got the motor back in for the Labor Day race and the car really came alive.”
Feders knows that you can’t take winning for granted in the King Street class because of the level of competition. “I just pull up to the line and basically race myself and hope for a clean pass,” he said. “There are no guarantees that you can just show up and win it. (Going into last season) I figured as long as the car and motor held together, I thought we had a good shot at being a contender, but you never know.”
Todd Mueller joined the ranks as one of the new kids on the block and may have had one of the most unusual journeys to a series championship, which was won in the Outlaw class. Last season, the Ham Lake racer had a win, a runner-up finish and a semifinal loss, which was enough to finish the season at the top of the point standings.
Mueller had his 1966 Chevy Chevelle running 7.8 seconds and 175 mph, which is typically not the fastest times in the field, but Mueller benefitted from a class that was missing the big horsepower cars that have dominated the class in the past, like defending champ Bubba Romanyshyn, who only competed in one race last season, and former champs Greg Schmidt and Jake Delmonico, who are both rebuilding their motors and cars.
“I can’t hang with those guys on a horsepower level but we took advantage of some bad luck by others,” Mueller said. “We’re kind of rookies at this but some of the other racers like Wade Deslauriers and Mark Freeman really helped us out.”
Getting this far has been a real adventure for Mueller. He got hooked after driving a 13-second dragster and started looking for a car that would allow him to get into the sport. After three years of searching, he found the Chevelle, a 7-second car. He’s still learning how to drive it four seasons later and can’t thank his crew chief John Onuschko enough for keeping it running.
He admits that the first couple years were a comedy of errors on the starting line and in the burnout box, but everything came together for him last season year, and he was rewarded with hardware.
The Outlaw class is typically the second-fastest class in the series. The fastest – Outlaw Pro Mod – has been dominated by RicK Schmidt, who repeated as series champ this year with a dazzling display of speed in his 2011 Mustang. He’s on a four-race winning streak, flirting with 5-second runs and closing in on 240 mph. Schmidt’s from Dickinson, N.D.
The father-son combo of Gary and Nathan Olson accounted for the most rounds won last year, and both took home series championships for their efforts. Gary Olson won the Strip Eliminator 1 class, where he competed against about 70 other drivers each event. He only won the Show & Go but he won enough rounds each race to finish first. Nathan won the Strip Eliminator 2 class, which had just as many drivers each race. He won two of the events last season.
Most of this year’s series champs were first-time winners and either finished second or third in 2018. Jason Rolow won the Real Street Unlimited class after finishing second the previous year. The same was true for Jason King, who won the True Street title, Steve Engberg, who won the Strip Eliminator 3 crown, and Dan Hyttsten, who won the Truck Eliminator title. Mike Hed finished in third in the Manual Transmission class but took home the championship last year.
Below are the top three winners in each class.
Outlaw Pro Mod 1. Rick Schmidt, Dickinson, N.D. 2. Lee Loew, Darwin 3. Chris Willemssen, Stewart
Outlaw 1. Todd Mueller, Ham Lake 2. Troy Bednarz, Nowthen 3. Keith Kastonek, Hinkley
King Street 1. Dave Feders, Isanti 2. Dick Fulton, Crystal 3. Mike Sterling, Oak Grove
Real Street Unlimited 1. Jason Rolow, Anoka 2. Jesse Nelson, Mountain Iron 3. Jacob Cooney, Cedar
Real Street Natural 1. Bob Wallin, Superior, Wis. 2. Bill Meyer, Andover 3. Shawn Halverson, Orr
True Street 1. Jason King, Saginaw 2. Graham Boyd, White Bear Lake
660 Outlaw Street 1. Dan Gefre, Ramsey 2. Zach Novak, Sauk Rapids 3. Chris Gullickson, North Branch
Strip Eliminator 1 1. Gary Olson, Sartell 2. Joe Marudas, Milaca 3. Jake Lesnick, Maplewood
Strip Eliminator 2 1. Nathan Olson, Sartell 2. Paul Baillif, Brainerd 3. Brian Schottenbauer, Clear Lake
Strip Eliminator 3 1. Steve Enberg, Big Lake 2. Dan Reisinger, Albany 3. Dan Hyttsten, Becker
Truck Eliminator 1. Dan Hyttsten, Becker 2. Jerry Jablonski, Duluth 3. Tyler Novak, Rice
Manual Transmission 1. Mike Hed, Menahga 2. Jeremy Reitmeier, Crookston 3. Kyle Lendt, Faribault
Index Class Champion 1. Jim Lane, Brainerd 2. Cole Carpenter, Forest Lake 3. Nathan Olson, Sartell
To comply with the state guidelines regarding COVID-19, we’re closing our offices from Monday, March 30 through Friday, April 10. We’re planning to reopen for business on Monday, April 13 with summer hours: 9am-5pm Monday-Friday.
The best way to contact us during that period is by email (tickets@BrainerdRaceway.com) or through our Facebook page. You’ll still be able to buy tickets online during those two weeks but we won’t be answering the phone.
We also extended the April 15 deadline for renewing condos reservations and reserved seats in the grandstand for the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals. That deadline is now Wednesday, April 29.
These are definitely some strange times. Please be patient with us as everyone tries to navigate our way through it all. Please abide by your state’s guidelines for social distancing and Stay at Home. The sooner we get through this, the quicker we’ll get back on the track!