By: Ashley Iwanski
(West Salem, WI – September 10, 2011) The fans came out in masses to witness all the thrills and spills of the 19th annual Eve of Destruction presented by Coca-Cola. But before the real destruction got underway, the fans were treated with a special guest appearance by the Clements Racing Sausages who had their own foot race on the front stretch, getting the crowd pumped up for the nights events.
The Window World Hornets kicked off the night racing for the 2011 Track Championship. Jay Raines was crowned the champion after a third place finish in the second feature Saturday. Raines recorded one feature win, four Top-5s and six Top-10s in the 2011 season. Tim Murphy Sr. finished second in points and Matthew Moore third. Chris Swenson won the second heat race and the first feature of the night. John Eron was able to take the checkered flag in the second feature.
The Skidders started their feature with a bang as four cars were piled up after the first turn. As a result the cars, which race with steel plates welded to their rear rims, were dragging bumpers and other pieces as they slid around the track. For five laps cars continued to spin their way around the track as sparks flew off the back of the cars. Kyle Swenson was able to skid past Ron Burus on the last lap to take the checkered flag.
Cole Scholze and Ben Allen went head-to-head in a Steel Wall Crash competition. Scholze took his turn first. In his first attempt, Scholze went straight towards the wall, which is a car propped up on it’s nose by two-by-fours, and swerved to miss it at the last minute. The officials allowed Scholze to make a second attempt and this time he slammed into the wall sending the car flying with pieces shooting off of it. When the car eventually crashed back to the ground it landed in two pieces. Resident stunt man Allen didn’t need two attempts. He ran head-on into the wall shattering the car with only pieces left to fall to the ground. What was left of the original car, flipped and landed on the tires. After a fan vote Scholze was crowned the champion, dethroning Steel Wall veteran Allen.
Even with the upset Allen was able to quickly run over to another car to charge through the Gauntlet of Doom. Allen started in Turn Four and hit the gauntlet, comprised of three cars stacked to make a pyramid, at 50 mph. The top car was sent flying towards the infield while one of the cars on the bottom was sent barrel-rolling down the front stretch.
Doug Gilbertson dominated in the fan-favorite Roll Over Contest. Gilbertson was first up; he hit the ramp and rolled the car over completely for five points. On his second time around he flipped his car all the way over for another five points. Then, for the first time in track history, Gilbertson barrel-rolled his car for a third straight time, finishing the event with 15 points. Just when the fans thought he was done, Gilbertson made two more attempts to roll his car over and he succeeded. Gilbertson had the crowd on its feet and earned the official title of Roll Over Master.
Mechanical Mischief didn’t just pounce on four cars on the front stretch, the beloved Monster Truck also jumped two tractor tires. The fans cheered emphatically as the truck hit the tires, shot up straight towards the sky, bounced back to the ground and then continued to destroy the cars on the track. But, he was the only one wanting to get in on the action the Incinerator was also in attendance to finish pancaking what Mechanical Mischief left behind. And to give the fans something extra, the Incinerator also did donuts in front of the flag stand bringing the crowd to its feet.
A ramp, a school bus and four cars were thrown together to create the always-impressive Bus Jump. The ramp was set up on the start/finish line with four cars lined up double-file behind it. The bus started in Turn Four and sped towards the ramp, jumping off of it and slamming its nose right into the center of the cars. At that point the bus seemed to use two of the cars as skates, sailing down the front stretch while the other two cars coasted towards Turn One.
If the Fans were chilled by the cool night air the Green Mamba Jet Car was able to take care of that problem. The Green Mamba raced around both the small and large track sending 15-foot flames, which could be felt 50 yards away, out of the back of its jet engine. It came back later in the night to melt down a car in the infield.
And for the big finale of the night, there were cars, there were trucks, there were vans and SUVs, but most importantly there were trailers. It was the event fans wait all year long for, the Trailer Race of Destruction. Sixteen trailers, some decorated to look like submarines and patriotic party buses, graced the track for the La Crosse Speedway’s version of a demolition derby. What was left on the quarter mile wasn’t pretty, in fact it look more like a natural disaster. The tornado of trucks complete demolished every recognizable piece on the track. All that was left were heaps of bent metal and scraps of wood and plastic. And for the fourth year in a row John Ratz was declared the fan favorite with his patriotic trailer.
The 42nd annual Oktoberfest Race Weekend is Oct. 6th thru 9th, so be sure to mark your calendars. Thursday, Oct. 6th is championship night for the Kwik Trip NASCAR Late Model, North Country Contractors Sportsmen and the United Auto Supply Thunderstox divisions. Friday, Oct. 7th feature the Super Late Models, Super Sportsmen and Area Sportsmen. Saturday, Oct. 8th the Big-8 Late Models will race along with ASA Midwest Tour Preliminaries. Sunday, Oct. 9th is the final day of Oktoberfest racing including the ASA Midwest Tour, JMck Big-8 Invitational and ASA Midwest Trucks. A full schedule and event times can be seen atwww.oktoberfestraceweekend.com. For more information please call the Speedway office at (608) 786-1525 or visit www.lacrossespeedway.com.
La Crosse Fairgrounds Speedway is a proud NASCAR Hometrack, part of the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series – www.hometracks.nascar.com.