5523 Birchdale Road
31st annual Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals
Elevation: 1,200 feet
Tickets: www.brainerdraceway.com;218-824-RACE (7223); 866-444-4455
Radio Frequency: 105.3 FM
NHRA’s version of a weeklong campout, this event is a popular stop due to the area’s recreational opportunities. Avid fishers often spend the days before the event trolling the area’s many lakes for walleye, bass, and northern pike, and a huge on-site campground provides nightly camaraderie for racegoers who sit around fires discussing the day’s action. A 700-foot concrete launchpad, one of the longest on the tour, helps boost performances at the second to last event at which teams can secure positions for the Countdown playoffs.
2011 recap: Don Schumacher Racing fielded all four finalists in Top Fuel and Funny Car, guaranteeing the team a double win at the event, ultimately delivered by Antron Brown in Top Fuel and Johnny Gray in Funny Car. The victory was the first in Gray’s professional career. Joining them in the BIR winner’s circle were regular 2011 visitors Greg Anderson (Pro Stock) and LE Tonglet (Pro Stock Motorcycle).
How to Get There: The track is six miles north of Brainerd on Highway 371 North. From Minneapolis, take Highway 10 North to Highway 371 North; go north to the track.
Visitor Information: Brainerd Int’l Raceway, 218-824-7223 or 866-444-4455; Brainerd Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce, 218-829-2838 or 800-450-2838; Nisswa Chamber of Commerce, 218-963-2620 or 800-950-9610