Rick Schmidt’s Mustang appears to be running flawlessly, and that’s bad news for the competition.
Schmidt came within 33/100ths of a second – the blink of an eye – of making another five-second run last weekend, July 5-7, en route to his third straight Muscle Car Series victory in the Outlaw Pro Mod class at Brainerd International Raceway. He qualified first with a run of 6.033 seconds, and his speed of 230.57 mph was the fastest quarter-mile run of any car at BIR.
During Sunday’s eliminations, Schmidt mowed down the competition on his way to the finals. Ray Friesen and his 1968 Camaro came the closest to beating Schmidt, posting a losing time of 6.448 seconds and 218.16 mph to Schmidt’s 6.216 seconds at 229.63 mph. In the finals, Schmidt beat Cecil Epp, whose car broke down during the run.
Schmidt didn’t race in last year’s PleasureLand RV Show & Go but hasn’t lost a race since, as he heads into the series finale Labor Day weekend during the GSTA Muscle Car Shootout, where he broke the five-second mark last year.
The Muscle Car Series was featured on the drag strip last weekend during the 33rd Annual PleasureLand RV Show & Go. After Friday’s qualifying sessions were rained out, a whopping 467 cars took to the track for qualifying Saturday and then eliminations on Sunday.
Over on the road course, the Sports Car Club of America was hosting the Jed Copham Memorial Mid-Summer Classic, two days of wheel-to-wheel racing. A classic car show, fireworks and live music rounded out the weekend.
Back on the drag strip, Bubba Romanyshyn made his first appearance in the 2019 Muscle Car Series after winning the Outlaw series title last year. He missed the Street Car Showdown in May but had his Camaro dialed in last weekend, qualifying first with a sizzling pass of 6.612 seconds and a top speed of 214.66 mph.
Romanyshyn breezed through the elimination rounds, with his first two opponents fouling at the starting line. He had a bye in the semifinals before lining up across from Troy Bednarz and his 1967 Camaro in the finals. Bednarz had a near-perfect reaction time on the starting line but couldn’t hold off Romanyshyn, who won with a 6.749-second run at 212.36 mph. Bednarz ran 7.332 seconds at 203.12 mph.
Nate Olson came into the Show & Go with a 27-1 record during the last two Muscle Car Series events, winning the Strip Eliminator 2 class twice, the 12.50 Index class twice and the Index Class Championship once. He was Index Class Championship runner up at the Street Car Showdown.
Olson’s competition didn’t have an answer for him again last weekend. He outlasted 73 other drivers to win the Strip Eliminator 2 class and was looking like he was on another roll. But he fouled at the starting line in the first round of the 12.50 Index eliminations, handing the win to Jim Carlson and ending his run.
Olson’s dad, Gary Olson, picked up where his son left off. Gary won the Strip Eliminator 1 class and was runner up in the 11.50 Index class.
The biggest upset of the weekend may have been in the Real Street Natural class, where Bob Wallin was beaten for the first time since 2017. He swept the class last year and won the Street Car Showdown in May. But Taylor Gullickson had other ideas. Driving a 1998 Chevy S10, Gullickson was slower off the starting line but barely pulled out the win with a 9.155-second pass at 145.55 mph. Wallin and his ’72 Nova ran 9.397 seconds and 142.51 mph.
In King Street, top qualifier Dave Feders was a repeat winner and is looking toward Labor Day weekend for a clean sweep and a series title. Driving a 1968 Chevelle, Feders faced off against Mike Sterling and his 1966 Chevelle in the finals. Sterling, who frequents the finals often, didn’t have the horses to stay with Feders, who won with a time of 7.647 seconds and 183.57 mph to Sterling’s 8.295 seconds and 161.88 mph.
Outlaw Pro Mod
Finals: Rick Schmidt of Dickinson, N.D. def. Cecil Epp of Anola, Manitoba.
Finals: Bubba Romanyshyn of Belfield, N.D. def. Troy Bednarz of Nowthen.
Finals: Dave Feders of Isanti def. Mike Sterling of Oak Grove.
Real Street Unlimited
Finals: Sam Awaijane of Fridley def. Jacob Cooney of Cedar.
Real Street Natural
Finals: Taylor Gullickson of North Branch def. Bob Wallin of Superior, Wisconsin.
Finals: Jason King of Saginaw def. Graham Boyd of White Bear Lake.
660 Outlaw Street
Finals: Chris Gullickson of North Branch def. Zach Novak of Sauk Rapids.
Strip Eliminator 1
Finals: Gary Olson of Sartell def. Roger Peterson of Osage.
Strip Eliminator 2
Finals: Nathan Olson of Sartell def. Mike Brandt of Lexington.
Strip Eliminator 3
Finals: Dan Reisinger of Albany def. Dillian Preston of Thief River Falls.
Finals: Dan Hyttsten of Becker def. Aron Bjonskaas of Duluth.
Finals: Mike Hed of Menahga def. Kelly Rutz of Randall.
Index Class Champion
Finals: John Peterson of St. Michael def. Cole Carpenter of Forest Lake.
Finals: Gerald Cook of Mora def. Rob Weyker of Coon Rapids.
Finals: Greg Maaninga of Menahga def. Mike Yocum of Perham.
Finals: Jim Lane of Brainerd def. Phil Ives of Carver.
Finals: Jason Hartkopf of Eden Valley def. Russ Storms of Cologne.
Finals: Cole Carpenter of Forest Lake def. Gary Olson of Sartell.
Finals: Jagger Hoffmann of Courtland def. Jeff Purdham of St. Michael.
Finals: Dick Harnois of Brooklyn Park def. Kevin Hemenway of Park Rapids.
Finals: Jesse Backstrom of Grand Marais def. Zach Ellenson of Park Rapids.
Finals: John Peterson of St. Michael def. Dillan Weinand of Sartell.
Finals: Kurt Loftis of Merrifield def. Steve Enberg of Winsted.