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Campers flock to raceway

Race fans enjoy each other's company while they waited five days for Brainerd International Raceway's gates to open. Photo by Dan Determan

Race fans from around the Midwest flocked to the area outside Brainerd International Raceway (BIR) last week in preparation for the 33rd annual Lucas Oil NHRA National races, eight days before the event began and five days before the gates opened for Superweek campers.

More than a dozen campers parked in the lot of Freedom Valu Center, waiting for BIR's gates to open Monday morning, Aug. 11.

"The sad part is we have reserved parking," Kathy Bossen said, laughing.

Bossen came up from Cottage Grove with her husband, Gordy, for the 12th consecutive year. They arrived at the raceway gates last Thursday afternoon, Aug. 7.

"You hear about tailgating for football games; well, we tailgate for the races," Bossen said. "People think we are crazy, but it is a chance for us to get together with friends that we see every year."

Bruce and Charlene Posekany of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, have met Bob and Jane Mosher of Minot, North Dakota, outside the gates for the past several years. They were the first ones to make it to the raceway last Wednesday, Aug. 6, with the Moshers less than an hour behind them.

"We only see these people once a year, but we enjoy this time we have together," Charlene said.

Bruce is a former racer, and he has never let go of that passion. He finds his time at the raceway as the perfect way to get his fix.

"Once you catch that racing bug, you are hooked for life," he said. "The atmosphere there is unlike anything else."

Scott "Abe" Abelson, who has been coming to Brainerd from Andover every August for the past 36 years, echoed Posekany's statement, praising the feeling once a fan walks through the gate.

"Your hair stands on end in there," Abelson said. "The nitrous fires up and you can feel the earth shaking. It's a pretty cool feeling."

Abelson has been to several states to attend NHRA events, but enjoys coming to BIR each year. He omplimented the ability to get "up close and personal" with the racers and the positivity of the fans, insisting he has never seen a fight break out in his 36 years.

"If you haven't been to the races yet, you have to go," Abelson said.

Dan Determan
Staff Writer for the Pineandlakes Echo Journal weekly newspaper