BRAINERD — At Brainerd International Raceway, you know summer has started when the ground rumbles, the grandstands shake and the unmistakable growl of big horsepower fills the air. It means American Muscle has taken over the dragstrip for BIR’s first major event of the season: the Street Car Showdown.
The Showdown is scheduled for Memorial Day weekend (May 28-30) and will provide fans with a healthy dose of drag racing and road racing, as the Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) provides all the action on the road course Saturday and Sunday during the annual Harvey West Memorial Classic. The Showdown has become an annual tradition for more than a decade, with live music, camping and fun for the entire family. A single ticket gets fans in to see both races, and kids 12 and younger are free.
The weekend starts Friday morning when the dragstrip wakes up to a steady stream of cars making qualifying runs in 13 different classes. The Street Car Showdown is for cars only – no dragsters, bikes or snowmobiles. If you’re a sucker for Muscle Cars, BIR is the place to be. Most of the cars on the track are show-ready beauties that are loaded under the hood. The seven heads-up classes feature the fastest cars, some of which push 5-second times and top 200 mph. They have two qualifying sessions both Friday and Saturday.
Qualifying for all classes continues Saturday, with elimination rounds starting Sunday morning and culminating with the crowning of champs that evening. Fans are invited to the Winners Circle where there will be a parade of winning and runner-up cars and drivers as the classes finish.
For drag racers, the Street Car Showdown kicks off the Muscle Car Series, which is a three-race series for drivers who are gunning for points that lead up to a class championship at the end of the season. The other races are the PleasureLand RV Show & Go on the Fourth of July weekend and the GSTA Muscle Car Shootout on Labor Day weekend.
While drag racers are competing a quarter-mile at a time, the SCCA racers will be on BIR’s 2.5-mile Competition Road Course, with its highly technical 13-turn design. Fans will be treated to a wide variety of race cars, including open-wheel racers, sports cars and more. Practice, qualifying sessions and racing are on the schedules for Saturday and Sunday.
“We’re really looking forward to a fun weekend of racing,” BIR Owner Kristi Copham said. “The Street Car Showdown has always signaled the start of summer and is the unofficial kickoff to the racing season but this year will be extra special because of last year’s shortened season for racers and because people are now able to get out and enjoy themselves. Why not do that at the race track?”
For those who are camping that weekend at BIR, free live music will be provided Saturday night by the cover band Uncle Chunk.
Daily admission is $30; kids 12 and under are free. Camping is free with the purchase of a multi-day ticket, and parking is free. The pits are always free and open to fans, so you can check out the cars and talk to the drivers.
Now in its 53rd season, BIR is one of North America’s largest race tracks, featuring a world-class quarter-mile drag strip, two road courses, 300 acres for rustic camping, 164 full-service RV sites and 12 on-site condos. BIR is about 120 miles north of the Twin Cities. For more information, visit www.BIRMN.com, or call 1-866-444-4455.