By: Aspen Andre
(West Salem, WI – June 10, 2017) On a beautiful June night at the LaCrosse Speedway, there was a large crowd, kids galore for Klement’s Kids Night, and another eye-opening car count for an action-packed night of racing at the famed five-eighth’s mile track.
Devin Schmidt of Belle Plaine, Minn., led the pack for the 25-lap Tobacco Outlet Plus Late Model feature for the first 10 laps, but it wouldn’t last. Steve Carlson, a four-time defending Late Model track champion, made an amazing move in Turn 2, going low, then powering out of the turn on the back stretch to slide past Schmidt. Carlson took the lead, then brought Nick Panitzke – the early surprise of the season — with him. Carlson of West Salem and Panitzke of Lonsdale, Minn., fought hard to keep their spots as La Crosse’s Brad Powell, a former track champion, was pushing hard with everything he had to try and push the leaders. In the end though, it was Steve Carlson who saw the checkered flag first, followed by Panitzke and then Powell. It was Carlson’s first feature win of the young season.
After the race, track announcer and former Mid-Pack Legend Bill Niles asked Nick Panitzke what he thought of the last few laps, he had this to say.
“I have a lot of respect for these guys, Steve included, and they did great job up front.”
The Dean’s Satellite Sportsmen feature saw Bangor’s Brian Hesselberg take the early race lead, but by Lap 8, Steve Bachman of West Salem took it away from him. Brad Warthan of Sparta, last week’s feature winner, was in the right spot at the right time to grab the top spot with 3 laps to go in the 15-lap feature. He was forced to battle through three more caution flags before the checkered flag flew. Jeff Thompson of West Salem finished second, while another West Salem driver, Tom Luethe, took third.
The Auto Value Thunderstox feature was led the entire time by Jason Schaller of French Island. Sparta’s Adam Moore finished second, while La Crosse’s Kyle Lockington finished third after losing control coming out of Turn 4. Jason Bolster finished fourth while Kaleb Hardy rounded out the top five.
In the Ants Complete Pest Control feature, Jimmy Bjorkman of West Salem took over the race lead on Lap 6 and held it until the checkered flag flew. Mark Bornitz followed in second and Kayla Vian in third.
Jason Bolster led all 15 laps of the Subway Outlawz feature, with Mark Challet taking second.
After a wild start to the Queen Bee’s race where Amy Eckelberg of Madison hit the protective tires in Turn 2 and flipped her car onto its lid, Tina Gettinger eventually wound up taking the checkered flag. Wendy Liebsch took second, Amy Treu third, and fourth was Angie Piotrowski. Eckelberg was not injured and was in good spirits during the cleanup efforts when she told announcer Bill Niles, “I’m ok, but I think I need a new roof on my car.”
The next event on the Speedway calendar is Saturday, June 17, for Old Dutch Foods night where the Thrivent Financial Faster Pastor Races will take place, along with Late Models, Sportsmen, Thunderstox, and Street Stocks.
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.