Motorsports: Muscle Cars, Superbikes take on BIR to celebrate Labor Day weekend

News from Brainerd International Raceway

Chris Willemssen, who’s contending for a series championship in the Muscle Car Series’ Outlaw Pro Mod class, races down the track at BIR earlier this season. Contributed Photo

Just two weeks after 11,000-horsepower dragsters flew down Brainerd International Raceway’s dragstrip during the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals, the track again will be under siege – and hot rubber – when the 32nd annual GSTA Muscle Car Shootout rolls back into BIR on Labor Day weekend.

BIR’s dragstrip will host as many as 500 cars that weekend for the finale of the three-race Muscle Car Series, a three-day slugfest with series championships on the line in 13 classes. While the drag racers are battling a quarter mile at a time, the Central Roadracing Association will be on the road course for high-flying Superbike racing. Saturday’s lineup includes a classic car show and live music by cover band Rock Godz.

The Muscle Car Series is reserved for door-slammer cars only – no dragsters, bikes or snowmobiles. And the cars, for the most part, are American Muscle classics: Mustangs, Camaros, Chevelles, GTOs, Corvettes, etc. Most are show-ready beauties that also have giant horsepower under the hood, so if you’re a sucker for Muscle Cars, BIR is the place to be this weekend.

On the dragstrip, the seven Heads-Up Classes take centerstage. It’s old-school drag racing where the cars leave at the same time, and the one that reaches the finish line first wins. Times can be 6-7 seconds with speeds over 200 mph. Time trials and qualifying are Friday and Saturday, starting at 9 a.m. On Sunday, eliminations start at 9 a.m. The race also highlights 10 Index classes, the winners of which have a separate run-off to crown the Index Class Champion. Three Strip Eliminator classes, Truck Eliminator and Manual Transmission class round out the schedule.

Over on the road course, the CRA has a busy three-day schedule of Superbike racing that features some of the best riders in the Midwest. Riders will be challenging themselves and their bikes on BIR’s highly technical 13-turn, 2.5-mile road course. It’s the fourth of five weekends of racing for the CRA at BIR, and this year’s competition has been fierce.


Friday’s schedule includes practice, while Saturday and Sunday’s schedules feature six-lap sprints.

“The Muscle Car Shootout has been a great family tradition at BIR for three decades, and always showcases some crazy fun drag racing and Superbike racing,” BIR owner Kristi Copham said. “It’s a great way to cap off the summer. The pits are open so fans can check out some gorgeous cars and meet the drivers.”

Daily admission is $30, and kids 12 and under are free. Parking is free and camping is free, too, with a multi-day ticket. Gates open daily at 7 a.m.

Covering the Brainerd lakes area sports scene for the past 23 years.
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