Finally! The Bracket Drag Racing Series is under way

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