By: Paul Reichert
Another warm night greeted race fans at the LaCrosse Speedway, but cooler and smarter heads would prevail in the heat of battle in tonight’s racing action. Steve Carlson may have a stranglehold on the NASCAR Late Model championship race, but reigning track champion Nick Panitzke still has some fight left in him. Pantizke would take the lead from Nick Clements with three laps to go, and keep Carlson at bay to capture his third feature win of 2018.
Pole sitter Tom Carlson surged ahead of Jerimy Wagner to lead the first three laps of the NASCAR Late Model feature. Wagner would catch Carlson and take the lead from him on lap four. Nick Clements got around Carlson for second two laps later. Clements could not make up a lot of ground on Wagner as the Onalaska veteran would maintain a lead of four car lengths. Would tonight be the night Wagner’s rough patch came to an end? It would be derailed by a caution on lap 13. Justin Mullikin’s rear end was smoking and leaking fluid, causing Justin Zmyewski and Ryan Brown to spin out in turn two. On the restart, Clements would assume command of the race from Wagner. Wagner would once again catch a second wind to charge past Clements and take back the lead on lap 17. Behind him, Nick Panitzke and Steve Carlson were starting to enter the picture. Both made quick work of Clements on lap 18. They began reeling in Wagner over the next four laps. Panitzke dove under Wagner in turn one on lap 22 to take over the top spot, while Carlson would claim second down the back straight. Both would be nose-to-tail in the closing laps, but Panitzke would not be denied victory in the end. After the race, Panitzke said “I think we fell behind due to lack of effort in recent weeks. We will continue to keep plugging away.” Wagner matched his career best feature finish with a third, while Mike Carlson and Cole Howland rounded out the top five.
Patiently working his way through the field in the Sportsmen feature, Tom Luethe would get around Dan Secor for the lead at halfway. Secor would crash on the back straight with four laps to go. Luethe had to deal with both uncle Dan Gilster and Chris Weber, but Luethe would successfully keep them behind him and capture his fourth feature win in five weeks.
Taylor Dobbs would lead the first half of the Thunderstox feature, but then Adam Moore would drive around Dobbs to take the win. After slicing and dicing his way through the field in the Mini-Van feature, Matt Moore would take the lead just before halfway to claim his second straight feature win.
Halfway through the show the annual wacky Outhouse Race novelty event took place. While Chris Christen took a header getting to the outhouse, Adam Moore was the quickest to grab the toilet paper.
Action continues next Saturday night, August 18th with the weekly racing finale. The final weekly show of 2018 before Oktoberfest includes the last double feature night of the season for the NASCAR Late Models, plus the Sportsmen, Thunderstox and Street Stocks. Bring the kids out early for the last KQ98 Kids’ Rides of the season. Gates open at 6:00, qualifying takes place at 6:15 and racing starts at 7:30.
For more information on 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.