By: Paul Reichert
May 30, 2020
Race fans were treated to the first event of the season at the 2020 Season Opener at the La Crosse Fairgrounds Speedway. A beautiful “Chamber of Commerce” day welcomed a great field or race teams and race fans to the La Crosse Speedway for the long overdue kick off of the 2020 racing season. The Late Models has a couple dramatic moments in their first feature of the new year, but Steve Carlson stayed ahead of the drama to claim the victory.
The Old Dutch Foods 25 lap feature for the Late Models had to do a ‘take two’ after a spin by Dean Cornelius (New Prague, MN). Pole sitter Cole Howland (La Crosse, WI) shot past Jerimy Wagner (Onalaska, WI) to assume command of the race. While Howland and Wagner began to edge away from the pack, Steve Carlson (West Salem, WI) motored his way up to third by lap five. Carlson began to slowly reel in the lead pair. Hooked up on his patented outside lane, Carlson charged past both Wagner and Howland to take over the top spot on lap nine. As the first three runners pulled away from the field, yellow flew with ten to go. Brad Powell (La Crosse, WI) spun on the front straight and tagged the inside wall hard. Chaos ensued on the restart as Howland lost it in turn four. Several front runners including Adam Degenhardt (Coon Valley, WI), Matt Henderson (La Crosse, WI), Nick Clements (Onalaska, WI) and Kyle Kirberger (Ramsey, MN) suffered major damage to abruptly end their race days. Steve Carlson would have new challengers to deal with on restart with his own son Mike Carlson (West Salem, WI) and Nick Murgic (Rosemount, MN). As Carlson began to pull away from them, yellow came out again with three to go for a spin in turn two by Devyn Stocker (Farmington, MN). Steve Carlson would pull away on the final restart to drive away with another opening day feature win. Mike fought off the challenges of Murgic to take second.
The Sportsmen feature saw one of the most dramatic finishes in La Crosse Speedway history. Dave Edwards (Salem, WI) dove under Jack Litshiem (La Crosse, WI) coming out of turn four on the final lap, both collided coming to the checkered and spun out after crossing the finish line. The nose of Litshiem’s car crossed the finish line first to claim the victory.
Brandon Gallagher stayed ahead of last year’s championship drivers to score the win in the Hobby Stock feature. Kris Berg’s sudden loss of power with five laps to go in the Hornet feature was a big break for Jimmy Bjorkman as his drove off with his first win of the season. John Huebner drove past Jonahtan Burbach with five laps to go to score the Mini Van feature win in the championship car from last season.
The first Novelty event of the season was a battle between Hornets and Mini-Vans to see who did the best job of driving backwards and spinning out of reverse. Despite popping a tire while he spun, Jonathan Burbach got the best crowd reaction to win the Novelty event.
Action continues next Saturday, June 6 with the Late Models, Sportsmen and Hobby Stocks, plus the Street Stocks will make their season debut. Gates open at 6:00, qualifying begins at 6:15 and racing takes the green flag at 7:30. For more information about La Crosse Speedway or the 2020 schedule of events, please call the office at 608-786-1525 or visit lacrossespeedway.com.