NASCAR fans are in store for road racing when Brainerd International Raceway hosts the Cellular One NASCAR 300 and Dodge Viper Racing Series, presented by Home Depot.
The event, scheduled Aug. 20-22 on BIR's three-mile road course, is a stop on the NASCAR AutoZone Elite Division Midwest Series circuit.
In addition to three days of NASCAR racing, fans will be treated to racing by the Dodge Viper Racing Series and the Sports Car Club of America, both of which will be racing throughout the weekend.
The main attraction will be the NASCAR event, which starts Friday with practice sessions, continues Saturday with qualifying and ends with a 60-lap, 180-mile finale Aug. 22.
It's the longest feature race of any Elite Division event in the country. Racers will compete for $100,000 in prize money and series points. About 70 cars are expected.
"This event is going to be like no other race in the NASCAR Elite Division," BIR general manager Scott Quick said. "We've been working on getting NASCAR here for years, and when it started coming together, we wanted to give fans a show they'd never forget. That's when we started contacting the Dodge Viper Racing Series and the SCCA. Fans will be in for an incredible weekend of road racing."
The event will give fans an opportunity to see the Dodge Viper Racing Series, which features 550-horsepower Vipers that will scream down BIR's mile-long straightaway and enter Turn 1 at 180 mph. It's the eighth race on the series' 12-race schedule, which extends from coast to coast. Drivers are coming from across the country. They're not professional drivers. They're doctors, lawyers, contractors, business owners, etc., who love to race the powerful Vipers.
In addition to NASCAR and Dodge Vipers, the event will feature the Sports Car Club of America, which will showcase a variety of cars. The SCCA's Midwest region will feature vintage, open-wheel and closed-wheel race cars. Many Vintage cars are 30 to 40 years old and are in the GT class, having raced in the 70s and 80s. About 30 open-wheel cars (similar to Formula One cars like at the Indy 500) will be featured, as will closed-wheel modified sedans like VW Rabbits, Honda Civics, etc.
The Midwest Series schedule includes 13 races but only the BIR race will be on a road course, a term that refers to a race track that has both left- and right-hand turns. BIR's road course features seven right-hand and three left-hand turns. Most NASCAR tracks are ovals or teardrop shaped.
The last time Midwest Series drivers competed on a road course was in 2001 at Road America in Wisconsin. BIR's event is expected to attract drivers from outside the series who like to race on road courses. Drivers from the Nextel Cup Series and the Busch Series could be included.
The Midwest Series includes races in Colorado, Ohio, Wisconsin, Illinois, Michigan and Minnesota.
Tracks on the schedule are considerably shorter than BIR's. Gateway International Raceway in Madison, Ill., (at 1.25 miles long) and Pikes Peak International Raceway in Fountain, Colo., (at 1 mile long) are the only tracks longer than five-eighths of a mile. BIR's track will be the longest track on the series.
Brainerd Dispatch ©2013. All Rights Reserved.