When the Muscle Car Series returns to Brainerd International Raceway next weekend, you can bet that there’ll be plenty of drag racers wondering how to stop Nate Olson.
Olson is on a terror, dating back to last year’s series finale: the GSTA Muscle Car Shootout. He beat all 15 drivers he faced on Sunday, winning the Strip Eliminator 2 class, the 12.50 Index class and the Index Class Championship.
With a ton of momentum heading into the first series race this year – the Street Car Showdown – he almost repeated his Shootout performance, coming up one win short. He won the Strip Eliminator 2 class and the 12.50 Index class again, but he couldn’t beat Jim Lane in the finals of the Index Class Championship. Olson fouled at the starting line, handing Lane the win. That left Olson with a 12-1 record the last time he was on the track – make that 27-1 during his last two races.
Olson will be back on the drag strip with his 1979 Camaro next weekend for the 33rd Annual PleasureLand RV Show & Go, July 5-7. It’s the second leg of the three-race Muscle Car Series. Qualifying is Friday and Saturday, followed by elimination rounds on Sunday.
Olson will be joined by 400 other drag racers, all looking for series points and hardware as they converge on BIR for this long-standing event. While the drag racers are battling on the drag strip, the Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) will be on the road course for the Jed Copham Mid-Summer Classic Double Divisional Championship. Saturday’s schedule includes a classic car show, fireworks and live music by Brat Pack Radio. Parking is free, and camping is free with a multi-day ticket. Kids 12 and under are free as well.
Drag racing fans will be treated to big horsepower on the drag strip, and few cars have more horsepower and are faster than the 2011 Mustang driven by Rick Schmidt, who races in the Outlaw Pro Mod class. During last year’s GSTA Muscle Car Shootout, Schmidt posted what’s believed to be the first 5-second run in series history. He’d been flirting with it during the last few races and cracked that mark in the elimination rounds with 5.982-second pass.
Schmidt’s best run during the Street Car Showdown was 6.047 seconds in eliminations and he had the fastest speed of anyone in the class at 229.55 mph. During the Show & Go, he’ll have tough competition by last year’s series champ Chris Willemssen and Lee Loew, who was the No. 1 qualifier in his 1936 Ford truck.
The Outlaw Pro Mod class is one of seven Heads-Up Classes, where both drivers leave the starting line at the same time and the first one to the finish line wins. The Outlaw class is another group of drivers that can break the 200 mph threshold. The 2018 series champ, Bubba Romanyshyn, consistently ran faster than 200 mph but he wasn’t at the Street Car Showdown, opening the door to other drivers to take the points lead. And Todd Mueller did just that.
Driving a 1966 Chevelle, Mueller was the No. 1 qualifier with the fastest speed and the lowest time of any driver, beating Paul Gibbs in the finals for the win and first place in the point standings. He ran 7.826 seconds and 175.21 mph.
Dave Feders is in the points lead in the King Street class, just ahead of the driver he beat in the finals of the Showdown, Dick Fulton, and the 2018 series champ, Brian Mahnke. Fulton had the fastest car in the class all weekend but problems with his 1969 Firebird kept him from beating Feders and his 1968 Chevelle in the finals.
In Real Street Unlimited, last year’s champ Duane Godbout has been the guy to beat, but he was a no-show during the Showdown. No. 1 qualifier Jason Rolow, who finished second in last year’s point standings, won the Showdown finals in his 1970 Nova, beating Jesse Nelson with a time of 7.776 seconds at 175.41 mph.
In Real Street Natural, nobody’s beaten Bob Wallin since 2017. He swept all three events last year on his way to a series title and picked up right where he left off during the Showdown. Driving a ’72 Nova, he beat Bill Meyer in the finals with a time of 9.293 seconds at 144.38 mph. Meyer finished in second place last year, so that rivalry is alive and well again this year.
Below are the winners (and point standings leaders) from the Street Car Showdown.
Outlaw Pro Mod – Rick Schmidt
Outlaw – Todd Mueller
King Street – Dave Feders
Real Street Unlimited – Jason Rolow
Real Street Natural – Bob Wallin
True Street – Jason King
660 Outlaw Street – Dan Gefre
Strip Eliminator 1 – Jake Lesnick
Strip Eliminator 2 – Nathan Olson
Strip Eliminator 3 – Steve Enberg
Truck Eliminator – Dan Hyttsten
Manual Transmission – Mike Hed
Index Class Champion – Jim Lane
9.50 Index – Jesse Haugesag
10.00 Index – RJ Lasse
10.50 Index – Jim Lane
11.00 Index – Cole Carpenter
11.50 Index – Will Matsch
12.00 Index – Chad Hoffmann
12.50 Index – Nathan Olson
13.00 Index – Jesse Backstrom
13.50 Index – Dan Hyttsten
14.00 Index – Jessica Purdham