Steve Roehrs battled transmission problems all weekend, adjusting his strategy on the starting line and nursing his 1982 Camaro down the drag strip.
But by the end of racing Saturday, he overcame the annoying mechanical issues and earned the title of King of the Track for the second time in three years at Brainerd International Raceway.
Roehrs was among more than 250 drag racers who battled hot and humid conditions last weekend at BIR to compete in the fourth race of the six-race Bracket Drag Racing Series. This race included an added dimension that only comes once a year in the series — the showdown that determines King of the Track.
Racing in the Pro ET and Super Pro classes, Roehrs entered the weekend on top of the point standings in Pro ET after consistent performances in the first three races. His car was running well, his reaction times were solid and the Camaro was posting solid 10.3-second runs.
And then he got to BIR on Saturday.
Roehrs called his car “lethargic” all weekend because his rebuilt transmission was performing. Relying partly on finesse and luck, Roehrs survived three rounds in the King of the Track runoff Saturday and found himself in the finals against Brad Harder, who was No. 1 in the Pro Bike/Sled Class.
Harder’s 1998 Kawasaki motorcycle and Roehrs’ Camaro had nearly identical reaction times off the starting line but Roehrs squeaked out the win with a time of 10.274 seconds and 130.71 mph.
“I was driving a lame race car all weekend but was able to compensate and overcame it,” Roehrs said in a news release. “I took a shot at it and it came out pretty good for us.”
The top two racers in the point standings in the Super Pro, Pro ET, Sportsman, Pro Bike/Sled, Stock/Super Stock, Comp Trophy and Street Trophy classes race each other. The seven winners are then paired up in an elimination format with the last racer standing earning the title of King of the Track.
On Sunday night, Roehrs already had the car on his hoist at home and was ready to fix the nagging transmission. He said it would be back in top form for the next series race Aug. 3-5.
Meanwhile, other series racers were competing for points as the war raged between racers battling for a series championship.
In Super Pro, Andy Schmall again played the role of spoiler as he won the class for the second time this season. He is not competing for points but would be a candidate for a championship if he was.
Schmall outlasted 57 other racers in Super Pro and lined up against Myron Streit in the finals. Schmall and his 1971 Fastronix Vega had been running near flawlessly races all weekend, and the final was no different. Schmall beat Streit off the starting line and finished him off with a time of 10.352 seconds and 119.08 mph.
In Pro ET, Robert Ingman entered the weekend 15th in the point standings but make a move by winning the class. Driving a 1970 Cougar, he beat Jamie McKiski and his 1972 Nova with a time of 10.768 seconds at 123.76 mph.
Mark Pease was 21st of 26 drivers in the Sportsman Class but he drove like a contender as he and his 1972 Chevelle finished off Rory Emmans in the finals with a time of 12.50 seconds and 103.41 mph.
In the Pro Bike/Sled class, Josh Luberda rode his 2003 Arctic Cat snowmobile to a finals win over Harder, who fouled at the starting line. Harder will maintain his lead in the point standings, though.
The Stock/Super Stock final typically features one of the Line brothers, but Ben Line lost in the first round and Lance Line in the second, opening the door for Brett Speer, who drove his 1970 Nova to a finals win over Adam Mesenbring with a time of 10.604 seconds and 119.19 mph. Ben and Lance Line were Nos. 1 and 2 in the point standings, respectively.
In Comp Trophy, Dave Johnson and his 1929 Ford drove to a finals win over Darren Arnold with a time of 11.733 seconds and 110.66 mph. Joe Moriarity won the Street Trophy class in his 1967 Chevy Impala when Sidney Osterman fouled at the starting line in the finals.
Tevin Zavadil won the Junior Dragster Advanced Class, Cassidy Takacs won Junior Dragster Intermediate and Zach McFarland took the Junior Dragster Novice title.
The next Bracket Drag Racing Series race is Aug. 3-5, a Dual Event Weekend with the Central Roadracing Association on the Competition Road Course. One ticket gets fans into both events.
Finals: Andy Schmall of Lino Lakes def. Myron Streit of St. Cloud
Semifinals: Schmall def. Greg Grundman of St. Cloud; Streit def. Tim Hallberg of Champlin
Finals: Robert Ingman of Andover def. Jamie McKiski of East Bethel
Semifinals: Ingman def. Wally Higby of Maple Grove; McKiski def. Brandon Schmall of Lino Lakes
Finals: Mark Pease of Plymouth def. Rory Emmans of Dayton
Semifinals: Pease def. Eric Daniels of Ramsey; Emmans def. Joe Moriarity
Finals: Josh Luberda of Foley def. Brad Harder of Waconia
Semifinals: Luberda def. Ronald Coonfield of Brainerd; Harder def. Mike Voss of Maplewood
Finals: Brett Speer of Little Falls def. Adam Mesenbring of Rochester
Semifinals: Speer def. Lyn Johnson; Mesenbring def. James Findell of Zimmerman
Finals: Dave Johnson of Princeton def. Darren Arnold of Hopkins
Semifinals: Johnson def. Chris Henry of Sauk Rapids; Arnold def. Jesse Luberda of Foley
Finals: Joe Moriarty of Ham Lake def. Sidney Osterman of Pequot Lakes
Semifinals: Moriarty bye; Osterman def. Michelle Emmans of Dayton
JUNIOR DRAGSTER ADVANCED
Finals: Tevin Zavadil of Clearwater def. Haley Heitzman of Fargo, N.D.
Semifinals: Zavadil def. Nick Gust of Isanti; Heitzman def. Emily Durenburger of Dayton
JUNIOR DRAGSTER INTERMEDIATE
Finals: Cassidy Takacs of Thunder Bay, Ontario def. Sydney Thompson of Anoka
Semifinals: Takacs def. Garrett Lindquist of Minnetonka; Thompson had a bye
JUNIOR DRAGSTER NOVICE
Finals: Zach McFarland of Sabin def. Aaron Clampit of Lino Lakes
Semifinals: McFarland bye; Clampit def. Camryn Takacs of Thunder Bay, Ontario