August 16, 2017 Community news from the prairie to the lakes  
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  Shawn Carlson is BIR’s 2017 King of the Track  

Shawn Carlson outlasted the top drag racers in Brainerd International Raceway’s Bracket Drag Racing Series last Sunday to win the coveted title of King of the Track and take home a Wally trophy – the first in his drag racing career.

Carlson’s the first to admit that he’s kind of an unlikely candidate for such royalty even though he’s been in first place in the Sportsman class all season. His 1973 Plymouth Scamp, which he’s been racing for only three years, doesn’t have the electronics and gadgetry that most of the fastest cars have. Plus, the 14 drivers in the King of the Track race typically are far more experienced.

Carlson is an elementry school teacher at West Central Area North in Elbow Lake.

But that didn’t seem to matter on Sunday. “It was pretty cool,” Carlson said of his finish. “The car was getting hot because I was making a lot of runs in Pro ET and Sportsman but we decided that we had to race – it was for the King of the Track!”

Carlson had gone four rounds in Pro ET and three rounds in the Sportsman class before getting to the King of the Track race. He beat Rory Emmans, Heather Ingman, and Reno Loeffelholz to earn his way to the finals, which presented a good-news-bad-news proposition. The good news was that he was one win away from earning the crown. The bad news was that he was racing Ben Line, who is arguably one of the toughest racers in the series and has been for years.

“I figured this is it,” Carlson said, admitting that the odds were probably not in his favor. “There’s really no runner-up in this race, you just go home. So my goal was to do what I was doing, and it worked out pretty good.”

Carlson and Line had similar reaction times at the starting line but Carlson was able to hold Line off at the finish line, posting a winning time of 12.119 seconds and 106.13 mph.

The King of the Track race was part of the fifth race weekend in the Bracket Drag Racing Series. There’s only one weekend left: Sept. 30-Oct. 1. That race will determine series champions in 10 of the 11 classes and is also the NHRA All Access Challenge, commonly called the “Wally Race.” On Saturday, the winners of the Super Pro, Pro ET, Sportsman, Pro Bike/Sled, Comp Trophy and Street Trophy classes will receive a Wally trophy, like the kind that the pros in the NHRA win.

That Saturday is also the NHRA Summit Racing Junior Drag Racing League Challenge, which gives Junior Dragster drivers a chance to win a Wally trophy as well. There are three Junior Dragster classes for kids ages 8-18.

Another notable finish from last weekend was Luke Schneider, who was well behind in the Sportsman standings but with 29 drivers racing in that class last weekend, he won both Saturday and Sunday. That should vault him up significantly in the standings. Schneider, who was the only double winner last weekend, beat Lee Dugdale in both finals. Dugdale was in fifth place in the standings.

The Stock/Super Stock class will not race in the final series weekend. That class determined its series champion on Sunday. Glen DeMenge finished off the season on top of the point standings, edging out second place finisher Ben Line.

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August 15, 2017