2014 schedule is loaded with great racing

Brainerd International Raceway announced its 2014 racing schedule, which is wall-to-wall racing action from May through September, featuring an increasingly diverse lineup of motorsports events.

BrownBIR’s schedule continues to target a cross-section of racing fans with a variety of motorsports, including drag racing, road racing, snowmobile watercross, cruising events, drifting and autocross competitions, the BIR Performance Driving School and a lot more. BIR’s drag strip and 2.5-mile Competition Road Course are busy nearly every weekend from May 9 through the end of September, giving fans a lot of different options.

The main attraction again this year is the 33rd Annual Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals, set for Aug. 14-17. The entire drag racing universe will be watching as the best drag racers, the fastest TransAmcars and thousands of crazy race fans descend on BIR to celebrate the largest motorsports event in the Upper Midwest. BIR’s infamous campground, called The Zoo, takes on a life of its own the week of Nationals with live music nightly, bonfires, a parade of “partywagons,” rickshaw races and a lot more. Advance tickets are now on sale.

New to BIR’s schedule this year is the Pirelli World Challenge TC/TCB classes, The Pirelli World Challenge is the fastest-growing road racing circuit in the country and North America’s top racing series for production-based cars. Now in its 24th season, Pirelli features professional drivers from Sports Car Club of America (SCCA)Racing6 Pro Racing who will compete in 50-minute races on BIR’s Competition Road Course Saturday and Sunday during the 28th Annual Muscle Car Shootout Labor Day weekend. Pirelli joins the Trans Am Series (Sunday) and the SCCA Jack Pine Sprints on the road course that weekend, with the grand finale of the three-race Muscle Car Series on the drag strip.

The Muscle Car Series kicks off Memorial Day weekend during the 6th Annual Street Car Showdown, which will include SCCA road racing on the road course. The second leg of the Muscle Car Series is the Fourth of July weekend during the 28th Annual Show & Go, a perennial favorite for race fans. With drag racing on the drag strip and regional SCCA racing on the road course, fans are also treated to a classic car show, fireworks, live music and camping.

The imports and sport compacts invade BIR for two weekends this season: June 20-22 and Sept. 5-7. The Modern Automotive Performance Proving Grounds is one of the fastest-growing events at BIR, attracting racers from throughout the country who compete in drag racing, drifting, autocross, open lapping, car shows and burnout contests.

For those who enjoy racing on the edge, the Central Roadracing Association (CRA) is bringing its insane brand of Superbike racing to BIR for five weekends again this season. Riders take on the 13-turns on the Competition Road Course in a number of different classes.

The Bracket Drag Racing Series is back this summer with six race weekends on the schedule. It’s super-competitive amateur drag racing with series championships on the line in 10 classes. Winners are crowned Saturday and Sunday each weekend.

The schedule is full of fun, affordable and “non-traditional” racing as well, such as the ChumpCar World Series, where teams of four drivers race $500 junkers during seven-hour endurance races. Another one is the International Watercross Association’s Snowmobile Watercross Racing, which will be at BIR two weekends and features snowmobiles racing around a course on open water. The Aussie-style Powercruise is back for a fourth year, giving fans the chance to participate in several driving events throughout the weekend. And the World Racing League is making its debut  at BIR with a 12-hour endurance race on the road course.

“We’re always looking for different and unique types of racing for our fans,” Copham said. “We have a great mix of races again this year that feature national-level pro racers along with regional amateur drivers. And most of the racing is fun and affordable family entertainment.”

When most people think of BIR, they think of spectator races, but there are many opportunities for people to get behind the steering wheel and test their fortitude and driving skills. For example, the Wednesday Night Drags – Street Legal Style is a program where BIR opens its drag strip to anyone with a street legal car, truck or bike, and a helmet.

The same thing is available on the road course, where the BIR Performance Driving School combines classroom instruction and on-track driving to teach drivers how to handle a car at high speeds. Most racing events have classes for those who want to try racing, using their street car, truck or bike.

“I think that’s one of our best-kept secrets at BIR,” Copham said. “Many people don’t know that they can come here and compete rather than sit in the grandstands and watch. Most of our races are open to anyone, as long as their car or bike meets safety and tech requirements. Some of the races require a short instructional session as well, but most of our events are open.”

Trans Am photo courtesy of Rick Corwine

CRA Superbike photo courtesy of SDE