“Brainerd is a very unique market we race in,” Coughlin said. “The town, the fans and the track officials are just fantastic. My first trip to BIR was in 1990, in Super Gas, and from that initial trip I knew it would always be special to race there, but to win would be amazing and we have been fortunate to do that.”
What makes BIR unique among other tracks on the NHRA circuit is its on-site camping, specifically, The Zoo campground, which has earned a reputation among drivers, teams and fans alike for being the place to be at the end of race day. Racers can often be found in The Zoo meeting their fans and signing autographs during the event.
“The Zoo is pretty cool; It’s incredible,” Hagan continued. “There are so many cool people there. The Canadians are awesome, they come down and hang out and have a good time. It’s a party. It’s a great atmosphere for everyone to get together and celebrate drag racing. It’s just neat.”
“I have enjoyed the fans, the live music and the “cruising” environment of the Zoo several times over the years,” Coughlin stated. “There is a great mix of people and never a dull moment…highly recommended.”
The racing action at the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals will be as intense as you will find at any event with only two events remaining where teams can secure or improve upon their positions in the Countdown to the Championship, NHRA’s six-race postseason playoffs.
In Top Fuel, Shawn Langdon leads the points standings on the strength of four wins and will be racing for his first career Brainerd victory. Tony Schumacher has three wins at the facility and will look to rebound after two consecutive first round losses. Morgan Lucas, Antron Brown and Doug Kalitta also have earned wins at the historic venue and will again look to hoist the NHRA Wally at the completion of the event.
Hagan holds the series lead in Funny Car and will attempt to keep Cruz Pedregon, who is second in the points, behind him and secure the No. 1 position for the Countdown to the Championship. Defending winner and three time BIR winner Ron Capps, along with John Force, Del Worsham, Johnny Gray, Jack Beckman and Country Force are among the pre-race favorites for the event.
Minnesota natives Greg Anderson and Jason Line will compete at a track where they raced as they honed their skills in their early years of competition. Anderson has three Pro Stock wins at the track while Line has yet to taste victory at the track in a professional category. Mike Edwards, Coughlin, Vincent Nobile and Allen Johnson will all attempt to spoil the homecoming party of the two native racers.