Series champs, special individuals honors at BIR Racer Banquet

Brainerd International Raceway’s top drag racers and individuals who had a positive impact on racing at the track were honored Feb. 23 during BIR’s Annual Racer Banquet.

The banquet, held at Arrowwood Lodge in Brainerd, attracted 231 racers, family members and fans – a record number – all of who came to celebrate the end of the one season and the beginning of the next. They were on hand to honor the champions of BIR’s Bracket Drag Racing Series and the Muscle Car Series, as well as four individual who made significant contributions to racing at BIR.

Al Schmidt & Krissi Martin

Al Schmidt, from sponsor Paradigm Performance, presented the fourth annual Dick Roe Appreciation Award to Krissi Martin for her outstanding service to the drag racing community. Martin can be found during race weekends in BIR’s ET Shack, handing out time slips.

Dan Antrim (BIR Operations) & Wyatt Neisen

BIR’s Rookie of the Year award went to Wyatt Niesen, who finished in fourth place in the Pro Bike/Sled Class.

Toby Giese, a long-time Bracket Drag Racer at BIR, won the Joe Angelo Sportsmanship Award for displaying great sportsmanship toward the other racers.

BIR’s Dan Antrim & Toby Giese

Racer Ron Zenzen presented the Outstanding Dedication Award to Stock/Super Stock drag racer Lyn Johnson.

The Bracket Drag Racing Series was well represented, with nine of the 11 series champs in attendance. The winners survived an extremely competitive season again in most of the classes. The extended series was over eight weekends, with winners crowned on both Saturdays and Sundays. The races typically attracted more than 250 dragsters, cars, trucks, bikes, snowmobiles and Junior Dragsters.

Ron Zenzen (middle) with Carson & Carter Line, accepting for Lyn Johnson

The Muscle Car Series was well represented as well. The three-race series continues to grow as the cars get faster and quicker. More than 300 cars compete, featuring seven Heads-Up Classes, 10 Index classes, four Eliminator classes and a class for manual transmissions. In all, 13 championships were awarded.

The series champions were awarded trophies and personalized jackets. For those who were not in attendance, BIR will mail them their jackets and they can pick up their trophies at the track during the first race.

Special thanks to Arrowwood Lodge, which was extremely accommodating and helping BIR put on a fun banquet.

The Bracket Drag Racing Series Champs
Steve Roehrs – Super Pro
Nick Engler – Pro ET
Joe Moriarty – Sportsman
Brad Koivisto – Stock/Super Stock
Jimmy Paulson – Pro Bike/Sled
Devrin Walcheski – Comp Trophy
Tyler Gadacz – Street Trophy
Gary Loeffelholz – Quick 16
Samantha Cielinski  – Jr. Dragster Advanced
Riley Luberda – Jr. Dragster Intermediate
Addy Scheleck – Jr. Dragster Novice

Bracket series winners. Front row from left: Devrin Walcheski, Tyler Gadacz. Back row: BIR Owner Kristi Copham, Steve Roehrs, Nick Engler, Joe Moriarty, Jimmy Paulson, Brad Koivisto, BIR Ticket Manager Stephanie Wieczorek
Junior Dragster winners, from left: BIR Owner Kristi Copham, Riley Luberda, Samantha Cielinski, BIR Ticket Manager Stephanie Wieczorek

Muscle Car Series Champs
Chris Willemssen – Outlaw Pro Mod
Bubba Romanyshyn – Outlaw
Brian Mahnke – King Street
Duane Godbout – Real Street Unlimited
Bob Wallin – Real Street Natural
Steve Luiten – True Street
Chris Gullikson – 660 Outlaw Street
Gary Tesar – Strip Eliminator 1
Kevin Hemenway – Strip Eliminator 2
Zach Schloesser – Strip Eliminator 3
Pete Trombley – Truck Eliminator
Cameron Dorion – Manual Transmission
Nathan Olson – Index Class Champion

Muscle Car Series winners, front row from left: Gary Tesar, Kevin Hemenway, Zach Schloesser. Back row: BIR Owner Kristi Copham, Chris Willemsson, Chris Gullikson, Stacy Wallin (for Bob Wallin), Cameron Dorion, Nathan Olson, BIR Ticket Manager Stephanie Wieczorek