Trans Am returns to Brainerd on Jed Copham Tribute weekend

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Trans Am returns to Brainerd on Jed Copham Tribute weekend

Trans Am

Trans Am returns to Brainerd on Jed Copham Tribute weekend


After a three-year hiatus, the Trans Am Series presented by Pirelli will return to Brainerd International Raceway on July 10-12, a weekend celebrating the life of the track’s late owner Jed Copham.

Ryan Companies US, Inc., has signed on to the event and will be partnering Dave and Cheryl Copham in providing live stream coverage for Sunday’s doubleheader on the Trans Am by Pirelli Racing App (download HERE).

This will mark the fourth year of the firm playing a pivotal role in bringing the iconic Trans Am Series to one of its legacy race circuits.

“We are happy and honored to be able to sponsor The Ryan Companies Jed Copham Tribute Weekend in Brainerd this week,” said Ryan Companies US Chairman Emeritus of the Board Tim Gray. “Trans Am has a great tradition at this track and Ryan is pleased to be part of it while we celebrate the legacy of Jed’s work at the Brainerd International Speedway.”

To show its appreciation to its long-time supporting fans, the weekend will be free to spectators.

BIR is taking a nostalgic drive-in-style approach, celebrating its long history of road racing with Trans Am by encouraging fans to drive up next to the safety fence to watch and tailgate from their cars. A limited number of camping spots will also be available on a first-come, first-served basis.

Free WiFi will be offered to fans to access the live stream on the Trans Am by Pirelli Racing App and full PA commentary will air over the track’s radio station 87.9 FM.

“We’re really excited about the weekend because it’s hard to watch road racing on a 2.5-mile road course,” BIR owner Kristi Copham said. “But watching with the help of this app is really going to be a game changer. Fans can watch all the action on every section of track, which will keep everyone involved in the race.

“The race itself is going to be a great part of the weekend, but we’re also looking forward to using this opportunity to thank our fans, the Brainerd Lakes Area and the racing community for all their support — especially during these difficult times.”

Jed Copham purchased the complex in 2006. A hands-on owner, he made improvements to both the facility and the racing program, and was instrumental in the Trans Am series return in 2010. The series headlined the circuit’s road racing through 2017, running two races in both 2011 and 2012.

Jed lost his life at the age of 46 in a swimming accident while vacationing in Florida in late 2018. His widow Kristi now operates the facility.

“Dave and I are excited and honored to have a Trans Am race back here at Brainerd,” said Jed’s mom, Cheryl Copham. “It was a series our son loved – not only to watch, but to participate in. I’m sure the fans will find it enjoyable and exciting on the safe and beautiful 2.5-mile road course that Jed helped to develop. I know that he will be here in spirit…watching every turn.”

Teams and drivers will be rewarded for making the pilgrimage north to the 2.5-mile, 13-turn road course with $20,000 in tow funds and driver bonuses from BIR.

“We are really excited to return to Brainerd, and with free entry to the event, we expect to hear lots of fans honking in celebration from their cars,” said Trans Am Race Company President John Clagett. “The Copham family has been so welcoming and supportive of Trans Am’s return. They have rolled out the red carpet for our drivers and teams. While we will miss Jed’s presence, we are humbled to be able to celebrate his life the only way we know how, with the thundering roar of Trans Am racing.”

Following a full day of testing on Friday, July 10, practice and qualifying will be held on Saturday. Highlighting the Sunday schedule are a 100-mile TA2 Powered by AEM race at 11:15 a.m. followed by a 100-mile race for TA, XGT, SGT and GT competitors starting at 1:35 p.m. Streaming will start on the TA2 pregrid Sunday at 11:15 a.m. through the TA/XGT/SGT/GT podium celebrations. All times CT.