stuart in mn
stuart in mn UltimaDork
11/12/18 6:17 p.m.

Just saw this on the local news...sad news for his family.  I wonder what will happen with the track.

LEE COUNTY, Fla.—The body of a missing boater found Monday, Nov. 12, on Florida’s west coast was identified by family as Jed Copham, owner of Brainerd International Raceway.

NBC2 News in Florida was reporting that the Lee County Sheriff's Office removed the body from the water near Punta Rassa.

Search and rescue teams temporarily suspended their efforts to find the boater Sunday night after he had gone overboard earlier in the day.

The call to suspend the search came hours after law enforcement swarmed the waters off the coast of Lee County, near Punta Rassa, around 3 p.m. Sunday.

Lee County deputies haven't released details on how the boater went overboard.

Witnesses, however, said an anchored yacht seemed to be the center of the search.

Crime scene tape blocked off the Punta Rassa boat ramp while others on the water were being directed away from the area of concern, witnesses said.

Copham and his wife, Kristi, purchased the 600-acre BIR complex in 2006 from Sports International Inc. of Michigan which had owned the facility since 1994.

Vigo UltimaDork
11/12/18 7:01 p.m.

I suppose if i owned a racetrack and a yacht I'd probably prefer to have died using the racetrack, but I guess that's one choice money doesn't buy you. sad

Matt New Reader
11/13/18 10:55 a.m.

that's terrible news. i guess Gene Snow sold his interest in the facility to Sports International. last time i was there was 91 and i was told he was a part owner. 

stuart in mn
stuart in mn UltimaDork
11/13/18 6:20 p.m.

In reply to Matt :

Gene Snow the drag racer?  This is from the Brainerd newspaper: "In 1994, Don Williamson, owner of Colonel's Inc., a manufacturing business in Michigan operating as a supplier of plastic replacement bumpers and accessories for the automotive aftermarket industry, purchased 72 percent of the outstanding shares (at $2.26 per share) of Brainerd International from Gene Snow and Jim Littlejohn."  I didn't know he was ever involved with the track.  That would have been before he was convicted for molesting underage boys...  

I mostly remember going to the track back in the days when it was owned by Jerry Hansen (Jerry's daughter Courtney was the long time TV personality for the car shows on Spike TV.)

Matt New Reader
11/14/18 1:00 p.m.

In reply to stuart in mn :

Ouch - had no idea Snow was...well, I don't know what to say, a POS. but ya, he was the first to run a direct drive, no trans top fuel car, the standard today. i watched him and many others there, i love that track. hoping to get to the Proving Grounds event in 2019 - it looks like soooo much fun. 


stuart in mn
stuart in mn UltimaDork
11/14/18 8:55 p.m.

One of the interesting things Jed Copham did was to change the track layout.  You may remember the front straight was 1 mile long, and also was used for drag racing.  He reconfigured the road course so it's separate from that section of track, and now they can have road racing and drag racing events at the same time so you can watch either one on the same weekend.

I should get back up there again sometime...I went quite a few times in the late 1970s and early 1980s; my cousin was racing a GT-1 Corvette at the time and I crewed for him.  My older brother actually brought me there for the very first race back in the 1960s, when I was about 10 or 12 years old...  It was pretty primitive then, nothing really but the track itself sitting out in the woods.  If I remember correctly they didn't even have any grandstands yet.

Matt New Reader
11/15/18 1:14 p.m.

you were there when it was still Donnybrook! thats cool. A couple guys from here in Winnipeg go down and they told me about the new road course, they love it. ive been trying to get down there with no success, Its only 5 or 6 hours but its still a challenge.  

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