BIR Gets Ready For 38th Annual Lucas Oil NHRA Drag Races
It’s the calm before the storm…the 38th annual Lucas Oil NHRA Drag Races at the Brainerd International Raceway start tomorrow, and it’s one of the biggest local events of the summer.
“We get 100,000 fans through the gates over the course of the weekend and that brings all kinds of people vendors, sponsors, race teams, and they’re coming from all corners of the country,” said Geoff Gorvin, Marketing Director for BIR.
With that amount of people comes quite a bit of money.
“The University of Minnesota did a study several years ago on the economic income from this weekend, it was about $10 million to the community, so that’s a big chunk of change,” said Gorvin.
But this year won’t be quite the same, as the former owner of Brainerd International Raceway, Jed Copham, died in a swimming accident in Florida last November.
“Saturday would be Jed’s birthday and the fireworks are going to be incredible, every year it was just something he’d look forward to,” said Kristi Copham, Jed’s wife and current owner of BIR.
“It was a huge, huge loss, there was no doubt about it, nobody is going to dispute that; he was kind of the heart and soul of this place, the face of BIR, everybody loved him and his passion for racing was just unbelievable,” said Gorvin.
However, the legacy of Jed Copham lives on.
“Kristi made the decision very quickly that she was going to run the place, that she was going to keep it as BIR, she was going to keep it in the Copham family; everybody rolled up their sleeves at that point, there was very little transition, everybody knew what they had to do,” said Gorvin.
Every seat at the Brainerd International Raceway is expected to be filled, as fans come from all over the country and also internationally.
“We know people from Canada we met here and just about every other state that you can think of, we probably met people from up here at one point of time or another … this is the mecca of NHRA racing as far as I’m concerned of because we are camped right here where the races are, we all come up here for the races, but it’s a big social event is what it is,” said Wisconsin resident Dan Klitgard.
Tickets can only be purchased at the front gate, which opens tomorrow at 7:00 AM.