By: Ashley Iwanski (West Salem, WI – April 26, 2015) Two-time division champion Steve Carlson grabbed a win in the Kwik Trip Late Model division season-opening Budweiser Frostbuster feature Sunday at La Crosse Fairgounds Speedway.
Carlson was mid-pack when his son, Mike Carlson, took over the lead on the first lap of the 25 lap main event. It wasn’t long though before Mike Carlson had his dad, along with Shawn Pfaff, Ty Majeski and Brad Powell in his rear-view mirror.
Mike Carlson was able to gain a small lead over Pfaff, who was trying to fend off lightning fast Majeski and Steve Carlson.
Pfaff appeared to be loose in every turn and after a few laps was overpowered by the duo. Directly behind them was Powell, who was also able to maneuver around Pfaff for the fourth spot.
By the half-way point Mike Carlson had both Majeski and Steve Carlson on his back bumper itching to lead the field.
With only 10 laps left, Majeski stole the lead from Mike Carlson as the caution flag flew.
Justin Zmyewski spun in Turn 4. The yellow brought the field together with SteveCarlson restarting on the outside of Majeski.
Steve Carlson was quick to jump into the lead and was able to put room between himself and second place finisher Majeski.
Brad Powell finished third. Fast-time qualifier Harley Janskowski finished fourth and Mike Carlson held on to a top five finish.
Fast-time qualifier Nick Clements raced his way to the front of the field to win the Dean’s Satellite Sportsmen feature.
Clements started 12th and it wasn’t long before he found himself in the top five battling Jake Arneson, Brad Warthan, and Justin Mullikin for the lead.
Mullikin was leading when Clements followed Arneson around Warthan for the second and third spots. Clements quickly worked his way around the leader for the top spot, but as Arneson was trying to maneuver around Mullikin he made contact with Steve Bachman bringing out a caution.
Arneson slammed into the backstretch wall with Bachman under his back bumper. Arneson’s night was ended, but Bachman was able to drive away.
Clements was able to hold onto the lead through the restart. Four laps later Clements faced another challenger.
Mandi Eckelberg took a hard hit slamming into the wall on the exit of Turn 4 with only four laps to go. The crowd gasped as her car erupted into flames after the hit. She was able to walk away safely, but shaken.
Clements and Tony Leis were side by side on the restart. Leis was able to run with the leader for a few laps, but wasn’t able to make a pass.
Leis finished second, Brian Hesselberg third, Rick Johnson fourth and Mullikin fifth.
Three different drivers broke the original track record for the Sportsmen division six times during qualifying. Clements, Bachman and Arneson all turned laps that beat the previous record held by Dan Gilster, who turned a lap of 21.797 seconds on May 14, 2011.
Arneson’s first qualifying lap of the night was a 21.687, his second lap was 21.642. Clements followed with times of 21.593 and 21.440 to place himself at the top of the leader board. Bachman, attempting to grab the top spot from Clements, was just shy of first with laps of 21.613 and 21.681.
Jacinda Pfaff edged out Andy Moore to win the Auto Value Thunderstox feature. It was a close race for 15 laps. By the last lap the two were side by side crossing the finish line with Pfaff inches ahead of Moore.
Patrick Thicke grabbed the checkered flag in the ANTS Complete Pest Control Hornets feature, outracing the 26 other cars on the quarter-mile track.
Cole Scholze dominated in the Mountain Dew Outlawz division winning both the feature and heat races after being fast-time qualifier.
Up next at the La Crosse Fairgrounds Speedway is the first installment of Friday Night Stret Drags. May 8 Premier Powdercoating Street Drags presents over 15 different brackets of racing, plus a Burnout Contest and Shine N’ Show contest. The Saturday night weekly racing season kicks off May 16 with the Late Models, Sportsmen, Thunderstox and Hornet divisions. There will also be a Second Over the Line Wins novelty race and kid’s rides. 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.