Call Brad Mickle “The Comeback Kid.”
Mickle has now won back-to-back series championships at Brainerd International Raceway, both in dramatic come-from-behind fashion. He’s one of 10 racers in the Bracket Drag Racing Series to be crowned series champions after the final series race last weekend.
Racing in the Sportsman Class, Mickle was sitting in sixth place, about 500 points behind the points leader. Mickle and his 1967 Mustang got hot Sunday, winning four close matchups, including the final race against Mark Pease and his 1972 Chevelle. Mickle escaped with a narrow victory, running 11.981 seconds and 106.95 mph.
It was similar to last year, when Mickle made the quarterfinals in the final race to vault him from fourth place to first in the point standings and steal the series championship.
But the main difference between the two season finales for Mickle was that he was using his back-up motor after blowing up his main motor last month.
“I wasn’t even thinking of winning the championship again,” he said. “We were just trying to get the car running consistent. I had the ET finals (this weekend) on my mind, but all the planets lined up for me last weekend. The car ran great and I did my job when I had to. This is fantastic!”
The series points system rewards drivers with 100 points for competing at the race, another 100 or so for winning each elimination round and bonus points for winners, runners-up and semifinalists.
In Stock/Super Stock, Ben Line continued to dominate. He won his fifth series championship in the last six years and now has two wins in a row.
Going into the weekend, Line was comfortably in first place, with his brother Lance Line in second. Neither competed last weekend, which opened the door for Glen Demenge, who was in third place. Driving a ’69 Camaro, Demenge beat Don Anderson in Sunday’s finals, which moved him into second place ahead of Lance Line.
In Street Trophy, Michelle Emmans and Taylor Arneson of Pillager were locked in a battle royal all season at the top of the point standings. They entered last weekend with Emmans holding a slim lead but she lost in the second round while Arneson drove her 1989 Camaro to the finals where she beat Suzie Helberg with a run of 16.933 seconds and 83.24 mph.
Arneson needed to win one more race Sunday to score a trifecta — finals win, series championship and a Wally trophy. She lined up against Henry with the winner taking home a Wally as part of Sunday’s National Dragster Challenge. The reaction times were close but Henry finished ahead of Arneson and took home the hardware.
Each year, the National Dragster Challenge is a chance for drivers in certain classes to win a Wally, just like the NHRA pros. Winners of the Super Pro, Pro ET, Sportsman, Pro Bike/Sled classes win a Wally as well as the winner in a run-off between the Street Trophy and Comp Trophy winners.
Zach McFarland had a big lead in Junior Dragster Novice and won the championship without having to race last weekend. Camryn Takacs finished third after beating second-place-finisher Trevor Jelinski of Little Falls in the finals.
Top three in each class
First: Mike Campbell, Brooklyn Park
Second: Rodney Thompson, Anoka
Third: Myron Streit, St. Cloud
First: Steve Roehrs, Frederic, Wis.
Second: Wally Higby, Maple Grove
Third: Dave Engler, Ramsey
First: Brad Mickle, Lino Lakes
Second: Lee Dugdale, Scandia
Third: Marie Swenson, Champlin
First: Brad Harder, Waconia
Second: Ken Doble, Clearwater
Third: Josh Luberda, Foley
First: Ben Line, International Falls
Second: Glen Demenge, McGregor
Third: Lance Line, Cromwell
First: Chris Henry, Sauk Rapids
Second: Darren Arnold, Hopkins
Third: Mike Voss, Maplewood
First: Taylor Arneson, Pillager
Second: Michelle Emmans, Dayton
Third: Michael Bombich, Gilbert
Junior Dragster Advanced
First: Erin Johnson, Nowthen
Second: Max Gust, Isanti
Third: Maggie Ruzich, Hibbing
Junior Dragster Intermediate
First: Sydney Thompson, Nowthen
Second: Cassidy Takacs, Thunder Bay, Ontario
Third: Sarah Johnson, Nowthen
Junior Dragster Novice
First: Zach McFarland, Sabin
Second: Trevor Jelinski, Little Falls
Third: Camryn Takacs, Thunder Bay, Ontario