By: Paul Reichert
(West Salem, WI – April 22, 2018) Mother Nature’s late winter barrage tried to slow us down, but the weather gods must be race fans. They warmed us up and got rid of the white stuff enough to allow the Frostbuster season opener to take place at the La Crosse Fairgrounds Speedway. We would witness the renewal of the rivalry that started last season between Nick Panitzke and Steve Carlson.
The Tobacco Outlet Plus Grocery NASCAR Late Models did not get their first feature of the season off to a good start. Contact between Ty Reedy and Bobby Wilberg on lap one sent Reedy hard into the wall. It took five laps after the complete restart for reigning champion Nick Pantizke to zoom by Cole Howland. Steve Carlson also got by the 1 car of Howland to take second and keep pace with Panitzke. Howland would suffer a mechanical failure in turns three and four just before halfway. Off the double-wide restart, Panitzke picked up the pace and drove away from Carlson to claim the first win of 2018. In his post-race interview, Panitzke no doubt echoed everyone’s feelings about the first lap. “You hate to see cars wrecking on the first lap of the first feature on the season. Glad we survived.” Carlson settled for second and Jacob Goede nipped Mike Carlson for third at the line after getting caught up in the first lap incident.
Chris Weber looked like he was on a “Sunday drive” win in the Dean’s Satellite and Security feature, until late race contact between Tom Luethe and Adam Oxborough sent Oxborough into the wall. That led to a one-lap shootout, but Weber drove way from the field to score the win over Steve Bachman and Jeff Thompson.
Joey Johnson’s continuing retirement tour almost netted him a long-overdue feature win in the Auto Value Thunderstox, but former champ Adam Moore got by the purple 99 on the final lap to steal the win. Clayton Hassig made it look easy to claim the first Auto Value Street Stocks feature of the season. Brandon Lamoine used a lapped traffic pick to separate himself from Jake Schomers to with three laps to go to claim the Ant’s Complete Pest Control Hornet feature.
The next event on the Speedway calendar is Friday, May 11th, with the first round of Street Drags, and then Saturday Night Weekly racing kicks off on May 12th, featuring the Late Models, Sportsmen, Thunderstox, Hornets, Mini-Vans and Kids’ Rides, plus a second over the line wins novelty race.
For more information please call the Speedway office at (608) 786-1525 or visit www.lacrossespeedway.com. LaCrosse Fairgrounds Speedway is a proud NASCAR Hometrack, part of the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series – www.hometracks.nascar.com.