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Drag Racing: BIR announces team for ET Finals

Brainerd International Raceway announced Wednesday the 40-member drag racing team that will represent the track during the NHRA West Central Summit Racing ET Finals this weekend at Heartland Park in Topeka, Kan.

Brainerd International Raceway announced Wednesday the 40-member drag racing team that will represent the track during the NHRA West Central Summit Racing ET Finals this weekend at Heartland Park in Topeka, Kan.

The team will compete against drag racing teams from 15 other tracks in the NHRA's West Central Division which stretches from Wyoming to Wisconsin and from Colorado to Kansas, including part of Canada. More than 450 racers are expected to compete.

Drag racers on BIR's team earned their way onto the roster based on the success they've had in BIR's Bracket Drag Racing Series, a six-weekend, 12-race series with one weekend left (Sept. 26-27). Racers on the team are at the top of the point standings in their respective classes.

The ET Finals has five classes: Super Pro, Pro ET, Sportsman, Pro Bike and High School. At stake are individual and team honors, prize money and contingency awards. Some drivers have a shot at earning a trip to compete for a national championship in Ponoma, Calif., during the NHRA's Auto Club Finals in November.

BIR's team has an additional incentive this year. The track will pay racers a bonus if they win their class or the Race of Champions. Up for grabs are $16,000 in bonuses and another $800 in BIR Bucks for a win in the High School Class. BIR will pay $4,000 for a win in Super Pro and Pro ET, $3,000 in Sportsman and Race of Champions, and $2,000 in Pro Bike.

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Racers competing for the trip to Pomona are those selected for the Race of Champions, which is a race within a race during the ET Finals. Each team identifies one driver in each of the five classes to represent the team in the Race of Champions. Drivers are paired up in an elimination format by class to determine the class champions, which advance to compete against the top drivers from the NHRA's other six divisions for a national championship in Pomona.

BIR teammates competing in the Race of Champions are Gary Loeffelholz (Super Pro), Reno Loeffelholz (Pro ET), Brandon Schmall (Sportsman) and Jimmy Paulson (Pro Bike).

"BIR always has some of the best bracket drag racers in the country," BIR owner Jed Copham said in a news release. "Last year's team placed third in Denver, which is really good considering the competition. But this year's team really wants first place, and we sweetened the pot this year with the bonuses for a class championship, so everyone will really be gunning for wins this weekend."

BIR ET Finals Team

SUPER PRO

Gary Loeffelholz of Shafer (Race of Champions), Dan Narusiewicz of St. Paul Park, Tony Leonard of Hastings, Bruce Kaul of Racine, Ryan Schelek of St. Cloud, Mike Campbell of Roseville, Mike Anderson of St. Joseph, Brian Johnson of Nowthen, Steve Roehrs of Frederic, Wis., Wally Higby of Maple Grove, Larry Wiebusch of Coon Rapids, Chris Anderson of Eagan

PRO ET

Reno Loeffelholz of Shafer (Race of Champions), Joe Howell of Big Lake, Brandon Schmall of Lino Lakes, Dave Engler of Ramsey, Travis Reutzel of Annandale, Mike Casteel of Thief River Falls, Steve Brings of Howard Lake, Chuck Roycraft of Minnetonka, Scott Dugdale of Stacy, Jenna Jahnke of Stillwater, Tevin Zavadil of Clearwater, Tony Leonard of Hastings

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SPORTSMAN

Brandon Schmall of Lino Lakes (Race of Champions), Lee Dugdale of Scandia, Joe Moriarty Sr of Ham Lake, Russ Elzy of Becker, Brad Mickle of Lino Lakes, Rory Emmans of Nowthen, Steve Elzy of Lindstrom

PRO BIKE

Jimmy Paulson of Stacy (Race of Champions), Mike Voss of Maplewood, Jeremy Berg of Newport, Kyle Olson

HIGH SCHOOL

Tracy Arneson of Pillager, Abby Haben of Hibbing

ALTERNATES

Steve Roehrs of Frederic, Wis., Michelle Emmans of Nowthen

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