Brainerd International Raceway sold to Forest Lake family
BRAINERD, Minn. — Brainerd International Raceway has
been purchased by a Forest Lake family and the new
owners said Thursday that they plan to continue
Jed and Kristi Copham, operating as BIR Holdings LLC,
purchased the track for an undisclosed amount from
Michigan-based Sports Resorts International Inc. and
are renaming the facility Brainerd International
Raceway and Resort.
Jed Copham, a 33-year-old mechanical engineer with a
passion for cars, said he first talked to the track's
former owners when the 550-acre raceway was listed for
sale more than a year ago.
Copham, who worked with the family printing business
Liberty Enterprises until it was sold in June 2005,
said he has built two cars and has raced at BIR. He
described himself and his family as amateur road
racers and occasional drag racers.
Copham, who was involved in an effort to build a race
track west of Pine City in 2004, called BIR "a
national treasure." He said he plans to make the track
as attractive a destination as possible for anybody
who has a passion for racing.
Copham, who planned to meet with track employees
Friday, said the track is a long-term investment for
the family and they hope to have fun, earn a living
and be part of a racing legacy.
Don Williamson, mayor of Flint, Mich., is Sports
Resorts International chief executive officer. He said
in a news release that as mayor and with his wife,
Patsy Lou, running for state Senate in Michigan, the
couple is focusing their efforts within their local
"We have owned the Brainerd facility since 1994 and
continued to invest each year with numerous capital
improvements," Williamson said. "We feel this has
continued to make BIR a great destination for
thousands of motorsports fans and racers."
In the transaction announced Thursday, Williamson
retains a six-unit condominium on a 6.5-acre parcel
adjacent to the track.
BIR's largest annual event is the National Hot Rod
Associations Lucas Oil Nationals. The event, which is
set Aug. 10-13, is in its 25th year and draws an
estimated 30,000 to 50,000 people.
Copham said he plans to continue the current drag
racing and road course racing programs while searching
for new racing events.
Rod Wolter will continue as BIR general manager.
The raceway, with a number of ownership and management
changes, has been part of the Brainerd Lakes Area
almost continuously since it opened in 1968 as