By: Paul Reichert
A beautiful night of racing greeted the race fans for the annual Autograph Night at the LaCrosse Speedway. Lots of autographs, lots of free stuff, and lots of prize and cash giveaways from the race teams. The fans were also treated to some great racing on the track. Nick Panitzke would drive away on the final restart to claim his first feature win since the Frostbuster, and take a bite out of Steve Carlson’s point lead.
The 18 machines of Mike Ehde and Jerimy Wagner led the field to green in the NASCAR Late Model feature. Ehde would get around Wagner to lead the first seven circuits until the yellow came out for Tom Carlson’s spin in turn two. Both cars lined up side by side again for the restart, but this time Wagner would power past Ehde to assume command of the race. Wagner maintained his lead, even with Nick Clements and Nick Panitzke running second and third at halfway. With five laps to go, the gremlins struck Wagner’s car again as he slowed on the back straight. That put Clements into the top spot. Yellow flew with four laps to go for another incident that caught up Carter and Ken Christenson. Pantizke lined up alongside of Clements on the restart. Panitzke wasted little time in taking over the race lead and scoring his second win of the season. After the race, Panitzke said “The restarts helped me out. I knew the final restart was my shot at the win because the short restarts were making me run better.” Steve Carlson got around Clements to take second, Mike Carlson came home in fourth and Minnesota driver Michael Beamish completed the top five.
Dan Secor led the opening laps of the Sportsmen feature, only to be caught and passed by Brian Hesselberg on lap seven. Hesselberg built up a huge lead, but Chris Weber made things interesting in the closing laps. After bobbing and weaving his way through the field, Weber tracked down Hesselberg and shot by with two laps to go to take the lead and the victory.
Taylor Dobbs would lead much of the Thunderstox feature, but veteran Adam Moore would catch him with six laps to go to score yet another win. An exciting Hornet feature capped off the night. Garrett Thicke lead most of the way, until lap traffic allowed Matt Carpenter to take over the lead briefly. Thicke would fight back to reclaim the lead and come away with the win.
Action continues next Saturday night, June 30th with the Wisconsin Lottery Smash-O-Rama. The Street Stocks and Mini-Vans will be racing, plus there will tons of other mayhem as well. You’ll see monster trucks crushing cars, a car jumping into a pool, a Figure 8 race, the Shipwreck Boat Race, other good clean chaos and a huge fireworks display at the end of the night. Plus, the first 500 adults will receive a free Wisconsin Lottery scratch-off ticket. Gates open at 6:00 and the Smash-O-Rama fun begins at 7:30.
For more information about LaCrosse Speedway or the 2018 schedule of events, please call the office at 608-786-1525 or visit lacrossespeedway.com. LaCrosse Speedway is proud to be a NASCAR Hometrack, part of the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series.