For those who love muscle cars, Brainerd International Raceway is the place to be Labor Day weekend.
More than 400 muscle cars are expected for the 29th annual GSTA Muscle Car Shootout. For three days, there will be drag racing and road racing, with another two dozen or more on display during Saturday's Classic Car Show.
The Muscle Car Shootout is a long-standing tradition at BIR to close out the summer. In addition to racing, the event includes live music by Them Pesky Kids Saturday and a fireworks display where the Northern Lighters Pyrotechnics club will shoot off homemade fireworks.
On the drag strip, the three-race Muscle Car Series will wrap up. Series championships are on the line in 13 classes, so drivers will be leaving everything on the blacktop as they slug it out for points.
Seven Heads-Up classes will attract the most attention because the rules are simple: both cars leave at the same time, and the one that reaches the finish line first wins. The Outlaw Pro Mod class, with the fastest cars, will feature a showdown between defending champion Ray Fuchs and 2014-15 champ Rick Schmidt. Each has won an event this year, setting up a winner-takes-all situation Sunday.
The other story line in the Outlaw Pro Mod class is Schmidt's quest to break the five-second mark. During the Street Car Showdown on Memorial Day weekend, Schmidt qualified with a speed of 239.40 mph—a track record for that class. During the PleasureLand RV Show and Go, he qualified first with a time of 6.129 seconds. Then he ran 6.124 seconds in the first elimination round for another track record.
The Outlaw class is providing entertainment as well. Jake Delmonico and Bubba Romanyshyn have each won a race and are sitting in the top two spots in the point standings. Both drivers have their cars flying down the track at more than 200 mph.
The other Heads-Up classes — King Street, Real Street (Unlimited and Natural), True Street and 660 Outlaw Street—all have battles taking place in the point standings as well.
Qualifying and time trials are Friday and Saturday. Elimination rounds start at 9 a.m. Sunday.
On the 2.5-mile Competition Road Course, the Sports Car Club of America returns with the Jack Pine Sprints, two days of wheel-to-wheel road racing. The track will be busy with a number of different classes, including Vintage Racers. The SCCA will have practice, qualifying and racing sessions Sept. 2-3.
Daily admission is $25. Children 12 and under are free. Parking is also free. Camping is free, too, with a multi-day ticket. Gates open daily at 7 a.m.