Drag Racing: Muscle Car Shootout caps off summer for series racers

Eric Anderson launches his 1955 Chevy BelAir from the starting line in the King Street Class during the GSTA Muscle Car Shootout at Brainerd International Raceway. Submitted photo.

BIR's Muscle Car Series may have been shortened by the COVID-19 pandemic this season but drag racers came out of the woodwork last weekend to finish off the series - and the summer - during the GSTA Muscle Car Shootout.

By the end of the weekend, the Winner’s Circle was visited by a few familiar faces but most were hoisting BIR hardware for the first time in the series, which will create an interesting finish in the point standings as series championships are on the line in 13 classes.

The three-race Muscle Car Series became a two-race series after the pandemic caused the cancellation of the Street Car Showdown Memorial Day weekend. That left the PleasureLand RV Show & Go on the Fourth of July weekend and the Shootout to determine the series champs.

One racer who won’t repeat as a series champion this year is Rick Schmidt in Outlaw Pro Mod. Always flirting with a 5-second run, Schmidt was a no-show for both races this year, opening the door for someone else to take the title. Vern Laurin Jr. is a candidate after driving his 2008 Dodge Stratus to a finals win over No. 1 qualifier Lee Loew. Loew was the No. 1 qualifier and had the fastest car on the track last weekend but he fouled at the starting line, handing the win to Laurin.

The Outlaw class will have a new champ as well. Defending champion Todd Mueller didn’t race this year, so Troy Bednarz took advantage by beating past champion and No. 1 qualifier Jake Delmonico. In a great finals race, Bednarz and his 1967 Camaro eeked out the win with a time of 7.010 seconds at 206.80 mph. Delmonico and his ’68 Camaro ran 7.147 seconds at 194.16 mph.


For many years, Brian Mahnke dominated the King Street class, but gave way the past couple of seasons to other drivers. He looked like the Mahnke of old last weekend when he swept the 23-driver field as the No. 1 qualifier and then beat Jake Waste in the finals. Driving his ’72 Camaro, Mahnke’s winning time was 7.986 seconds at 176.10 mph, compared to Waste’s 8.482 seconds at 172.47 mph.

The 660 Outlaw Street class was a two-driver slugfest this season, featuring Gary Anderson and Chris Gullickson. Anderson and his 2010 Camaro completed the two-race sweep Sunday by beating Gullickson in the finals again. Anderson was the No. 1 qualifier in both races and proved too much for Gullickson, winning the finals with a time of 4.615 seconds and 165.05 mph in the eighth-mile class. Gullickson, who finished third in points last season, ran 6.093 seconds and 104.63 mph.

Eric Dethlefs won the Index Class Championship with a finals win over Brandon Hemenway with a winning time of 9.515 seconds and 135.43 mph. Dethlefs was the 9.50 Index class winner. He and the winners of the other nine Index classes faced off in a run-down for the Index class crown.

Below are the finals rounds from Sunday’s eliminations.

Outlaw Pro Mod
Finals: Vern Laurin Jr. of Duluth def. Lee Loew of Darwin
Finals: Troy Bednarz of Nowthen def. Jake Delmonico of St. Paul Park
King Street
Finals: Brian Mahnke of Proctor def. Jake Waste of Corona, Calif.
Real Street Unlimited
Finals: Randy Belehar of Detroit Lakes def. Jacob Cooney of Cedar
Real Street Natural
Finals: Jeff Saucier of New Hope def. Bob Wallin of Superior, Wis.
Limited Street 660
Finals: Jeffrey Richards of Bloomington def. Greg Schmidt of Brainerd
660 Outlaw Street
Finals: Gary Anderson of Ogilvie def. Chris Gullickson of North Branch
Street Eliminator 1
Finals: David Imgrund of Brainerd def. Zach Stengel of Blaine
Street Eliminator 2
Finals: Ben Awaijane of Shoreview def. Josh Maras of Farmington
Street Eliminator 3
Finals: Joleigh Hoffman def. Kurt Loftis of Merrifield
Truck Eliminator
Finals: Mike Marchell of Park Rapids def. Branden Swanson of Ham Lake
Manual Transmission
Finals: David Brambrink of Big Lake def. Mike Hed of Menahga
Index Class Champion
Finals: Eric Dethlefs of St. Cloud def. Brandon Hemenway of Park Rapids
9.50 Index
Finals: Eric Dethlefs of St. Cloud def. Jesse Haugesag of Shakopee
10.00 Index
Finals: Larry Curtis of Bethel def. RJ Laase of Duluth
10.50 Index
Finals: Dan Ciskovsky of Princeton def. Guy Stengel of Blaine
11.00 Index
Finals: Nick Pirkola of Duluth def. Leon Vinkemeier of Belle Plaine
11.50 Index
Finals: Karl Eckhardt of Pequot Lake s def. TJ Tharaldson of East Bethel
12.00 Index
Finals: Nathan Olson of Sartell def. Shawn Hammre of Zimmerman
12.50 Index
Finals: Brandon Hemenway of Park Rapids def. Brian Hollan of Anoka
13.00 Index
Finals: Jesse Backstrom of Grand Marais def. Charlie Siegel of Carver
13.50 Index
Finals: John Peterson of St. Michael def. Carl Reinecclus of Princeton
14.00 Index
Finals: Kurt Loftis of Merrifield def. Dan Hyttsten of Becker
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