Larson, Vandeventer among Thunder winners

True to its name, Thunder at the Lakes experienced soggy, unpleasant weather conditions Sunday, delaying the final rounds of 11 drag racing classes and causing the Comp Eliminator class to complete its elimination rounds next month at the next NHRA Division 5 race at Tri State Raceway in Earlville, Iowa.

By noon Monday, the 11 winners had been determined, though, including Kendra Larson, Jeremiah Vandeventer and Ben Line. All the winners took home Wally trophies and earned points toward an NHRA West Central Division title and a possible trip to Pomona, Calif., in November to compete for a national championship.

Kendra Larson, Top Dragster
Kendra Larson, Top Dragster


Jeremiah Vandeventer, Top Sportsman
Jeremiah Vandeventer, Top Sportsman

Thunder at the Lakes is Brainerd International Raceway’s annual Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series divisional race, and it now signals the start of MegaWeek, which concludes this weekend with the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals. Many of the Sportsman drag racers who raced last weekend will compete again next weekend during Nationals.

Larson had her 2007 dragster dialed in, mowing through the Fineline Madcap Top Dragster field and earning a trip to the finals against Todd Bruce. Larson beat Bruce off the starting line and held him off to win with a time of 7.486 seconds at 179.49 mph. Bruce crossed the line at 7.665 seconds and 169.15 mph.

In the Jerry Haas Top Sportsman class, Vandeventer and his 1996 Mustang pulled out a finals win over Michael Freischel. Freischel took a huge lead off the starting line but gave it all back to Vandeventer at the finish line, with Vendeventer posting a winning time of 8.818 seconds at 182.11 mph to beat Freischel’s 7.518 seconds and 177.86 mph.

In Stock Eliminator, Line showed why he’s a perennial powerhouse in BIR’s Bracket Drag Racing Series. He outlasted 83 other racers in the field, meeting up with Ron Mattson in the finals. Mattson was nearly perfect off the starting line but Line and his ’69 Mustang ran him down at the finish line with a 10.515-second winning time at 121.39 mph to Mattson’s 10.837 seconds and 119.73 mph.

The winners of 2017 Thunder at the Lakes. Not shown are the 3 Jr. Dragster winners.
The winners of 2017 Thunder at the Lakes. Not shown are the 3 Jr. Dragster winners.

Reigning West Central Division Lucas Oil Champion Brett Speer drove his ’87 Camaro to the Super Stock win over Eric Bell. Speer crossed the line in 10.038 seconds at 124.02 mph to Bell’s loosing but quicker 9.170 seconds at 142.42 mph.

Gary Stinnett added a win to his impressive resume. Stinnett and Ed Shaughnessy squared off in the finals of the Super Comp class. They nearly had identical reaction times off the starting line but Stinnett and his 2017 dragster won with a time of 8.894 seconds and 181.18 mph.

Rounding out Monday’s winners were Kevin Dyck in Super Gas, Corey Bentley in Super Street and Kyle Lundberg in Sportsman Motorcycle.

The NHRA Summit Jr. Drag Racing League was also in action this weekend with Chelsey Mohr leading the charge as she picked up a win in the Advanced class. Mohr beat Chandler Niemeyer with a winning time of 7.873 seconds to Niemeyer’s 8.046 seconds. Joseph Lindberg beat Aspen Meagher in Jr. Dragster Intermediate and Blake Noysen beat Eleanor Lindberg in Jr. Dragster Novice.

The following are Monday’s results from each final round:

Brett Speer of Pierz, 10.038, 124.02  def. Eric Bell of Chandler, Ariz., 9.170, 142.42

Ben Line of International Falls, 10.515, 121.39 def. Ron Mattson of Cloquet, 10.837, 119.73

Gary Stinnett of Emporia, Kan., 8.894, 181.18  def. Ed Shaughnessy of Coleraine, 8.889, 154.92

Kevin Dyck of Winnipeg, Manitoba, 9.913, 163.22  def. Scott McMasters of Rose Creek, 9.885, 145.39

Corey Bentley of Fremont, Neb., 10.939, 145.08  def. Ronnie Luberda of Foley 10.884, 140.31

Jeremiah Vandeventer of Hastings, Neb., 8.818, 182.11  def. Michael Freischel of Cottage Grove, 7.518, 177.86

Kendra Larson of Starbuck, 7.486, 179.49  def. Todd Bruce of Horace, N.D., 7.665, 169.15

Kyle Lundberg of Isanti, 8.598, 147.34  def. Toby Giese of Kandiyohi, 10.132, 124.67

Chelsey Mohr of Mitchell, S.D., 7.873, 82.64 def. Chandler Niemeyer of Brainerd, 8.046, 81.14

Joseph Lindberg of Lindstrom, 9.104, 73.08 def. Aspen Meagher of Hudson, Wis., 8.921, 74.24

Blake Noysen of Foley, 12.377, 50.25 def. Eleanor Lindberg of Lindstrom, 14.113, 44.40