The Archer racing legacy that began in 1972 will add a new chapter this weekend when 21-year-old Dylan Archer rolls onto Brainerd International Raceway’s road course for the Trans Am Series presented by Pirelli weekend of racing.
It will be Archer’s debut in the historic racing circuit, and one in which his father, Bobby Archer, and his uncle, Tommy Archer, both raced in and earned trips to the podium. Tommy finished second in 2017 in his last Trans Am race at BIR. Tommy and Bobby, who grew up in Duluth and called BIR their home track, will coach Dylan this weekend. The brothers won more than 15 racing championships in several different racing series.
The weekend’s race is part of BIR’s free Fan Appreciation Weekend, which includes Sports Car Club of America racing and will feature Ryan Companies US presents the Jed Copham Tribute. A pair of 40-lap races on Sunday will cap off the weekend’s racing, when the TA class competes in the Jed Copham Memorial Race.
Archer is entered in the TA2 class, a race exclusively for Chevrolet Camaros, Ford Mustangs and Dodge Challengers. He will be driving a Camaro prepared by Troy Benner and TRB Autosport of Shakopee, Minn., and owned by fellow Texan Brad Gross, owner of Manufacturing News, with the support of primary sponsors Forgeline Wheels and TEAMTECH Motorsports.
The road to BIR was an interesting one for Archer. A month ago, he was completing the Trans Am by Pirelli Esports Challenge, which was an eight-race simulation circuit last spring. He had four Top 5 finishes, including 2 wins. A conversation about the BIR race led to testing a TA2 car two weeks ago when the Trans Am Series was at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Club. That led to the decision to get behind the wheel at BIR.
“It all happened in 10 days max,” Archer laughed. The race was on to get prepared for this weekend. Everything was set until he realized that he needed to have a physical and a doctor’s signature on his medical form. That proved to be a bigger challenge than it sounded, with medical facilities and doctors reserving themselves for COVID-19 cases. Archer and his dad spend three hours in the Twin Cities Thursday unsuccessfully trying to find someone to give him a physical. They started working their way north and finally found a doctor in the tiny town of Eagle Bend (population 521) who obliged.
“It was crazy but I can’t worry about the little things,” Archer said. “We need to stay focused on the big picture.
“It’s been fun and well worth it,” he added about preparing for this weekend. “I realize that I have big shoes to fill but I’m realistic and that I have a lot to learn. I have two great coaches, so we’ll see how it goes.”
The weekend includes practice and qualifying on Saturday and then a pair of 40-lap, 100-mile races on Sunday, the second of which is the Ryan Companies US presents the Jed Copham Memorial Race to honor the late BIR owner who died tragically in a swimming accident two years ago. The featured TA2 race on Sunday with Archer behind the wheel starts at 11:15 a.m.
The weekend is a free one for spectators and the first spectator event of the season for BIR. It’s a drive-in style event where people are asked to part facing the track and stay with their vehicle. They can download the free Trans Am Series app to watch six hours of live streaming on Sunday to maximize their experience.