Birch Run, MI (Thursday, January 28, 2021) - While the 2020 season was a wash due to county restrictions, 2021 and beyond looks to be very promising for the Birch Run Speedway and Event Center (BRSEC). The popular 4/10 mile and ⅓ mile facility in Birch Run, MI was purchased in 2017 by Andy Suski, who owns Suski Chevrolet/Buick Inc. in Birch Run, and has seen a plethora of improvements like the addition of a concert pavilion, repaving the concourse area and adding new concessions and ticket windows among other improvements.
“We didn’t rest on our laurels despite not having any racing events in 2020,” stated Fred Lynch, General Manager/Promoter of BRSEC. “With the help of staff, volunteers, and local businesses we were able to add a new drainage system and grass as well as pulling out 100 tons of dirt.”
The lack of events at BRSEC did provide opportunities for Lynch to travel to other facilities. “When we took over in 2017 we were running this as a business and over the course of the last three years and going forward I am trying to learn as much about the racing side of it as I can,” remarked Lynch. With visits to I-44 Speedway (Lebanon, MO), 5 Flags Speedway (Pensacola, FL), New Smyrna Speedway (New Smyrna Beach, FL), Anderson Speedway (Anderson, IN), and Kern County Speedway (Bakersfield, CA) the Birch Run and “Dixie” name is gaining traction across the country.
Adding to that, Lynch stated, “We had advertising at the Snowball Derby, will be featured at New Smyrna for Speedweeks and have advertising at two races at Hickory Motor Speedway in North Carolina.” The BRSEC name will also be featured on the side of some prominent racing machines as well. Dan Leeck (2014 and 2019 JEGS/CRA All-Stars Tour Champion), Chase Burda (2019 Victory Custom Trailers CRA Junior Late Model Champion and 2020 JEG’S/CRA All-Stars Tour Rookie of the Year), Katie Hettinger (2020 Victory Custom Trailers CRA Junior Late Model Champion), Travis Eddy (Three-time World Series of Asphalt Modified Champion), Scott Lamp II (2019 Whittemore Invitational winner), and Jesse Collinge (Multi-time street stock feature winner) will all represent the facility in 2021.
Along with their house divisions of Modifieds, Pure Stocks, American Trucks, and the new Dixie Mini Wedge Series on Friday nights, the “Dixie” (the racing surface) will also play host to Eve of Destruction events (the season opener will be highlighted by the MAVTv show, Lucas Oil On The Edge, filming the action for broadcast later on), Midwest Compact Touring Series, Outlaw Street Stocks, Outlaw Super Late Models, Auto Value Bumper To Bumper Winged Sprints, Street Stocks, Midwest Modified Tour, MCR Dwarf Car Series, Champion Racing Association (CRA), and the Rusty Wallace Ride N’ Drive and Dream Drive Exotics.
The CRA Shootout at the Dixie on July 31st is already a big event featuring the ARCA/CRA Super Series, the JEGS/CRA All-Stars Tour and the Victory Custom Trailers CRA Jr Late Models. But Lynch has big goals for this race. “We know it will take several years, but our goal is to make this rival the Snowball Derby. We want to have the biggest race north of the Ohio River Valley. We already have one of the nicest facilities in the state and we know that with the right promotion this event will be a destination for racers across the country” Lynch stated.
The Big One and The Dixie Classic for Outlaw Super Late Models just recently got a boost with the announcement that these two races, along with two at Berlin Raceway, will form the BR400 Series. “This started when I contacted Nick Rice from Berlin about a conflicting date for another race, and after some discussion we came up with this idea,” pointed out Lynch. The Big One will pay $3,000 to win while the Dixie Classic could pay up to $10,000 to win. There is a $250 bonus for drivers to compete in all four races as well as a points purse payout for the top three and possibly more that compete in the mini-series,” Lynch added. “With the history of Outlaw Super Late Models at Dixie it only makes sense to highlight this class with big events and big purses.”
Another big purse race will be the July 10th I-75 Modified Challenge. The race will see many drivers tackle the 4/10 mile oval for 75 laps and a cool $7,500 to win. The race will be known as the I-75 Modified Challenge Series for Suicide Awareness and will involve the Tritt Foundation (www.trittfoundation.org).
Summing up the goal of community, Lynch added, “We plan on continuing supporting charities like the Tritt Foundation as well as the Team Buddy Forever Foundation (www.teambuddyforeverfoundation.org) that helps with pediatric brain cancer, as well as any other charity that reaches out to us. We have a great venue and can host car shows, food cook-offs, concerts, and more.” BRSEC also played host to the Bridgeport and Birch Run High School’s drive-thru graduation ceremonies for the class of 2020.
Holding events at the facility from May through September is one thing, but Lynch says there needs to be more. “The plan right now is to expand our popular Trunk N’ Treat event for Halloween to include a light display as well as continue to hand out tons of candy and some trophies as the kids and their families get to see local drivers and their cars as well as community businesses and organizations that participate throughout the day.” Lynch continued on by stating “Once Halloween is over, we will redecorate the grounds for Christmas and allow people to come see the lights from the day after Thanksgiving until just before Christmas day. Our goal is to make BRSEC and “The Dixie'' a place for race fans and families to come enjoy themselves and have fun.”
For the complete 2021 Birch Run Speedway and Event Center schedule, visit www.birchrunracing.com.
For more stories from around the region, be sure to log onto www.horsepowerhappenings.com. Listen to on-demand episodes of the Horsepower Happenings Podcast, with new episodes every Monday night at 9:00 pm.
Story - Chuck Darling
Photo - File Photo