[track map]
17113 Minnetonka Boulevard
Suite 214
MN 55345

Tel: 612 475-1500 (office)    218 829-9836 (Track)
Fax: 612 475-2149
Brainerd International Raceway is a multipurpose racing facility, including a three-mile road course, located near Brainerd in central Minnesota. (BIR was originally known as Donnybrooke Speedway when it opened in 1963, the name was changed with its sale in 1973.) BIR contains an NHRA-sanctioned drag strip, a go-kart course, and the road course (which utilizes the entire drag strip and shutdown area as part of the main straight). Pro series and televised events are held each year on the dragstrip and the road course.

How to get there

The track is northwest of Brainerd MN on Route 371, 5.3 miles north of Route 120, on the east side of the road.

Where to stay

Camping is permitted at the track, for a modest fee (just remember that this is the north woods, and north woods mosquitoes are reliably reported to have been the original inspiration for the P-51 Mustang airplane).

There are motels close to the track; this list was updated in September 1994 from information in the AAA Tour Book, race entry forms, various motel chain accomodation guides, regional Chamber of Commerce maps and accomodation guides, and local telephone directories. An 'AAA' indicates that discounts are offered to AAA members; a 'DR' indicates a dining room on the premises or nearby; a 'CL' indicates a coin-operated laundry on the premises; a 'P' indicates that small pets are permitted, sometimes with a small extra charge, and 'NP' indicates that pets are not permitted; and a 'DEP' indicates that a reservation deposit is required.

Most motels listed here are along or near Routes 210 and 371. Route 371 comes north into Brainerd (where it is also known as 6th Street), joins Route 210 and goes west for about two miles (where it is also known as Washington Street), then turns north again to pass beside the track and into Nisswa. This list is essentially in order of increasing distance from the track.

The following motel is about one mile north of the track:

* White Gables, 4977 Hwy 371 N - (218) 829-7010

The following motel is about 4 miles south of the track:

* Country Inn, Hwy 371 N at Woida Rd. - (218) 828-2161, (800) 456-4000

The following motels are alongside Route 371 in Nisswa, about 4 miles north of the track:

* Interlachen Resort Motel, S 916 Gull Lake Rd. - (218) 963-2425

* Boberg Resort & Motel, S 800 Gull Lake Rd. - (218) 963-2351

The following motels are about 4.6 miles south of the track:

* Super 8 Motel, Hwy 371 N - (218) 828-4288, (800) 843-1991 NP

* AmericInn, Hwy 371 N - (218) 829-3080, (800) 634-3444

The following motels are one block east of the Route 210/371N intersection, on the north side of the road, about 5.5 miles south of the track:

* Best Western Paul Bunyan, 210 E of 371N - (218) 829-3571, (800) 528-1234 DR

* Days Inn Brainerd, Hwy 210 E of 371N - (218) 829-0391, (800) 325-2525 AAA DR

The following motel is on Route 210 just west of the Route 210/371N intersection, on the north side of the road, about 5.7 miles south of the track:

* Twin Birch Motel, Hwy 210 W of 371N - (218) 829-2833

The following motel is in Nisswa, near the intersection of Route 371 and County 77, about 6.5 miles north of the track:

* Days Inn Nisswa - (218) 963-3500, (800) 325-2525

The following motel is on Route 210/371 about 1.5 miles east of the Route 210/371N intersection, on the north side of the road, about 6.75 miles south and east of the track:

* Riverview Motel, 324 Washington - (218) 829-8771

The following motels are on Route 371 south of Route 210, about 7.5 to 8 miles south and east of the track (large trailer parking is difficult):

* Downtown Motel, 507 S 6th - (218) 829-4789

* Dellwood Motel, 1302 S 6th - (218) 829-8756 P DEP

The following motels are in and around Nisswa, 8 to 10 miles north of the track:

* Nisswa Motel, County 18 E of Route 371 - (218) 963-7611 P

* Birch Bay Country Inn, 1771 Birch Dr. W - (218) 963-4488

* Day Stop Motel, 45 Smiley Rd. - (218) 963-3500 CL P

* Minnewawa Lodge, 230 S Clark Lake Rd. - (218) 963-2444

The following motels are on Route 371 south of Brainerd, about 9 to 10 miles south and east of the track:

* Holiday Inn Brainerd, Hwy 371 S - (218) 829-1441, (800) 465-4329 DR CL

* EconoLodge, Hwy 371 S - (218) 828-0027, (800) 446-6900 DR

The following motels are in Motley, on Route 120 about 20 miles west of the Route 210/371N intersection and about 25 miles south and west of the track:

* El Ray Motel, US-10 & Route 210 - (218) 352-6326 DR

* Motley Motel, US-10 South - (218) 352-6386

Also 20 miles or so from the track is the Deerwood Motel, which on nationals weekends can be substantially cheaper than those nearer to the circuit.

A Hot Lap of Brainerd

Contributions from Mark Shumaker

The road course is three miles long, has ten turns, and is quite wide around its entire length -- the main straight is 60 feet wide. There is essentially no elevation change. Brainerd is a very high-speed course; CSR cars will reach speeds near 160 MPH and take the slowest corners around 80 MPH. There are wide runoff areas at most of the corners, but trees seem frighteningly near the outside of the track at turns 3 and 8, and they appear to approach closer as you go faster. However, the local safety staff will assure you that cars going off the track there do not actually reach the trees -- and will repeat that assurance as they cheerfully recount their favorite lurid anecdotes about cars which have managed to do so.

Except for the runoff area at the exit of Turns 2 and 3, curbs on the outsides of the exits of Turns 4 through 8, and ditches and low (2 to 3-foot) banks six or eight feet off the right-hand edge of the track coming into Turns 4 and 7, the ground off the edge of the track is generally smooth. The drag strip and Turns 3 through 10 have been repaved and are smooth; but the surface of the short straights, Turns 1 and 2, and the braking areas into Turns 3 through 10 is very abrasive. Except for some pronounced irregularities at the drag strip's start line and burnout areas, the track is remarkably free of other bumps, frost heaves, holes, and pavement flaws.

What follows is a generic description of the track, describing its features without defining speeds, gears, or shift points -- all of which will vary widely from car type to car type.

Most of the turns at Brainerd are sufficiently well separated by straight segments that they may be treated as isolated turns. Only Turns 7 and 8 must be considered as a set of clustered turns (where your line through or out of a turn must be modified to accomodate the requirements of the next turn or the one after it).

The false grid is immediately behind the grandstand at the east end of the paddock, cars line up heading east for practice and qualifying sessions and west for races. No particularly tight turns are required to get from the false grid onto the track, but part of the false grid has a slope and some cars may have difficulty from a dead stop.

The starter's stand is nearly at the end of the drag strip, about a quarter mile from the last turn, and is clearly visible from the last turn. The front straight is extremely wide and leads into the narrower but very high-speed banked right-hand 60-degree Turn 1 which is intended be taken flat out by all cars. You can go through Turn 1 pretty much anywhere on the width of the track, although you will scrub off less speed if you take the classic line through the corner. Following Turn 1 is a straight long enough for you to regain most or all of the speed you scrubbed off in Turn 1. Turn 2 is a very high-speed flat wide-radius right-hand 90-degree sweeper that can be taken flat out by many cars. Watch for a piece of old pavement on the inside at the late-apex point, you must use this extra bit of width if you're going to get through Turn 2 really fast; the track is widened at the exit of Turn 2 but only for a short distance. There is a long, generally flat but rutted, runoff area at the exit of 2, with a robust tire wall just short of the trees. Following Turn 2 is another straight, again long enough for you to regain much of the speed you scrubbed off in Turn 2.

Your car's top speed at Brainerd will be limited by aerodynamics and power, rather than by torque and weight as at slower tracks. You should be able to attain your top speed well before entering Turn 1, and may be able to reach it again coming into Turn 2 and possibly into Turn 3; maintaining a high speed in this part of the course is crucial to good lap times. Just be sure not to overstress your engine, you will be spending a lot of time each lap turning hard right at max revs.

Turn 3 is slow only by comparison with the two previous turns, but many drivers don't brake properly for it (after all, it's the first chance to use your brakes for over a mile, and they will be well cooled). Turn 3 is a 100-degree right-hand turn with the track widened slightly at the exit, with a following short straight leading into the left-hand Turn 4. Into Turn 4 and the following turns, the remains of previous paving are found at the turnin and exit points and can provide useful extra width if they are not so bumpy that they upset your car. Turns 4, 5, and 6 are a set of esses, very similar 90-degree turns (Turn 4 is a little faster than the others, and slightly more than 90 degrees). These turns are far enough apart that can easily get back across the track each time, and you may even recover enough speed that you need to change gears up and down between them (if you do, consider that you may be geared incorrectly).

Turn 7 is a higher-speed left-hand 60-degree turn that is followed very closely by Turn 8, you must make a very late apex in Turn 7 and stay to the left edge of the track at the exit to be set up properly for Turn 8. Turn 8 is a 90-degree right-hand turn with a following short straight which leads into the fast 60-degree right-hand Turn 9, under the vehicle access bridge. Taking too early an apex in Turn 9 can put you into the bridge abutment, and you will be going fast enough here for that to be most undesirable.

The straight following Turn 9 runs past the drag-strip paddock area down into Turn 10; sound measurements are made on the outside of the track part way down this straight from Turn 9. (Don't forget that Central Division tracks enforce a sound limit lower than the SCCA requirement; at Brainerd it's 105 dBA.) Turn 10 is a fast and very wide right-hand turn leading out onto the front straight; there is a little dip on the inside that gives the effect of a slight banking, but check it out carefully since it may be too early for practical use as your apex. You can swing wide coming out of Turn 10 but don't overdo it, if you get too far to the left before stabilizing the car in a straight-ahead attitude you may come unstuck going over the burnout area of the drag strip and hit the end of the guard rail at driver's left. One you've straightened it out, though, it's just a matter of keeping your foot down and your eye on the mirror until you come into Turn 3 again. (Don't forget to shift up occasionally.) Keep an eye out for merging traffic from the pit exit onto the track, about halfway between the starter's stand and Turn 1.