Photos: SCCA / Mark Weber
The Trans-Am Series built a strong history at Minnesota’s Brainerd International Raceway (BIR). It was one of the track’s most popular events in the 1970s and ’80s, starting with the Uncola Nationals in 1974, which attracted 17,000 fans.
It was actor Paul Newman who attracted the most attention. He set a lap record during the 1977 Uncola Nationals and then won races in 1978 and 1979. Newman also won his first professional race during the 1982 Trans-Am Series race at BIR.
After a 20-year absence, SCCA Trans-Am racing returns to BIR this Labor Day weekend. The Trans-Am Series will play an integral role in BIR¹s efforts to re-establish itself as a major road racing track. Jed and Kristi Copham bought BIR in 2006 and pledged to bring back world-class road racing. The following year, they built a new 2.5-mile, 13-turn Competition Road Course, a highly technical and challenging track that will host the Trans-Am Series.
“We are very excited to have the Trans-Am Series back at BIR,” said Gary Curtis, BIR Racing Series Director. “The series has a very colorful and storied history at BIR that dates back to the late 1960s during the series’ glory days. We still have a lot of race fans who remember those events and have asked us over the years when we’re bringing back Trans-Am Series racing. Well, that time is now.”
The last time that BIR hosted a Trans-Am Series event was in 1989. It had been a yearly event for 15 years before. BIR was able to attract the series after completing an SCCA track certification, which also opens the door for future SCCA events.