By: Paul Reichert
January 29, 2022
There may not be any more on-track activities at the LaCrosse Speedway now that we are in winter’s icy grip, but the 2021 racing season can now be considered official after this past Saturday night. This year there was no snowstorm to give the race teams and race families fits as they had no trouble making their way to the 35th Annual Champions’ Banquet. Formerly known as the Maple Grove Country Club, the Maple Grove Venues south of the race track welcomed everyone to this gala night to recognize the accomplishments of the season completed and some historic achievements as well.
The festivities kicked off with the Budweiser Social Hour as the drivers and teams talked about what happened during the season completed over some refreshing adult beverages. After handing out awards to the fourth through tenth place finishers in the divisions, it was time to enjoy a bountiful catered buffet dinner from C&C Catering. About 100 awards would be handed out to the champions and recognize the accomplishments of others. They would not be the only winners as everyone had a chance to win LaCrosse Speedway merchandise as door prizes as well as $50 gift cards from Kwik Trip through a special game at each individual table.
You never know what announcements will be made at the banquet and Mandi McKinney surprised everyone early on. Picking up her hardware as the NASCAR Late Model Rookie of the Year, McKinney told the crowd gathered that she will be stepping away from racing. Brother Jonathan will get back behind the wheel on a part-time basis while handling his new racing duties. Jonathan was officially introduced as the new director of the High School Racing Association, plus he handed out eight scholarships totaling $6,500 as part of the Chloe Kay Eckelberg Memorial Scholarship program. Justin Mullikin claimed a number of awards as well, but felt he still sucked after receiving the Most Improved Driver Award. Many will say differently after that one Saturday night back in July.
It was a banner night for Rob Stanfield as he made history by becoming the first driver to capture four division titles in the same season. The Street Stock, Mini-Van, Novelty and inaugural Six Shooter hardware all went to Stanfield. Teammate John Huebner made a number of consolation speeches, but he got the better of Stanfield for one award and earned the Most Popular Driver Award for the Street Stocks.
Cheyanne Stanfield made her own history as she not only became the first female champion of the Hornet division, but also became the first female track champion in LaCrosse Speedway history. Stanfield also earned the Best Appearing Car Award for the division.
The #RacingforJason team was given a Special Recognition Award for their hard work and tireless efforts to get the Sportsmen race car on the track that was meant for Jason Schaller to race before he was diagnosed with ALS. Dan Deicher handed out his Competition Achievement Award to Steven Brasda, who has become a top contender in the Street Stock division after being an accomplished crew chief and mechanical guru for the late John Eron.
Braydon Lockington brought another title home to the Lockington Racing Family as he picked up the High School Racing Association title, while Mitchell Berg earned the HSRA regional championship and Best Appearing Car Award as well. Even though Pastor Andy Buhrow was ill, but fellow Pastor and son Andrew was on hand to give out the Racing Family of the Year Award to the Barneys. Andrew would have some hardware to take home to Sparta as his dad became the first repeat recipient of the prestigious Sportsmen of the Year award at the end of the night.
A complete gallery of all of the night’s award winners will be available soon on photographer Mary Schill’s web site, fortedesign.com. The 2022 NASCAR Advance Auto Parts Weekly Series season drops the clutch on Saturday, May 14 with the Late Models, Sportsmen, Hobby Stocks, Street Stocks and a big after race Kick-Off Party. Gates open at 12:30, qualifying fires up at 12:45 and the first green flag of the year flies at 2.
For more information about the LaCrosse Speedway or the upcoming 2022 schedule of events, please call the track office at 608-786-1525 or visit our web site at lacrossespeedway.com. LaCrosse Speedway is proud to be a NASCAR Hometrack, part of the NASCAR Advance Auto Parts Weekly Series.
35TH ANNUAL LACROSSE FAIRGROUNDS SPEEDWAY CHAMPIONS’ BANQUET WINNERS
Kwik Trip NASCAR Late Model Champion–Nick Murgic
LawnKeepers Sportsmen Champion–Sam Niles
Auto Value Hobby Stocks Champion–Jason Bolster
ANT’s Complete Pest Control Hornets Champion–Cheyanne Stanfield
Auto Value Street Stocks Champion–Rob Stanfield
Coulee Tire Six Shooters Champion–Rob Stanfield
Mountain Dew Mini-Vans Champion–Rob Stanfeld
High School Racing Association Champion–Braydon Lockington
NASCAR Late Model Chase Champion–MIke Carlson
Rookie of the Year–Mandi McKinney (NASCAR Late Models), Dexter Malin (Sportsmen) and John Clauson (Hobby Stocks)
Best Appearing Car–Steve Bachman (NASCAR Late Models), Justin Berg (Sportsmen), Thomas Farra (Hobby Stocks), Cheyanne Stanfield (Hornets), Alex Liebsch (Street Stocks), Landon Lockington (Six Shooters), Zach Liebsch (Mini-Vans) and Mitchell Berg (High School Racing Association)
Novelty Champion–Rob Stanfield
Chloe Kay Eckelberg Memorial Scholarship Recipients–Bethany Hofer, Anna Bohnsack, Kaitlin Herman, Haylee Gilster, Jacob Iverson, Ashlee Garbers, Madelynne Pehl and Darci Erickson
Outstanding Performance Award–Justin Mullikin, Justin Berg and Carter Christenson
Budweiser Dash Champions–Jerimy Wagner (NASCAR Late Models), Sam Niles (Sportsmen) and Jason Bolster (Hobby Stocks)
Most Improved Driver–Justin Mullikin (NASCAR Late Models), Ed Ross (Sportsmen), John Clauson (Hobby Stocks), Keanna Barney (Hornets) and Peter Thompson (Street Stocks)
High School Racing Association Regional (Top Three)–Mitchell Berg, Jayden Dahlberg and Braydon Lockington
Showmanship Award–Adam Kerley, Jerimy Wagner and Team Eckelberg
Competition Achievement Awards–Joseph Scholze and Ken Christenson (by Barry Folgate, Sr.), Nick Clements (by Jeff Garbers), Steven Brasda (by Dan Deicher) and Mike Carlson (by Chuck Deery)
Racing Family of the Year (presented by Pastor Andy Buhrow)–Barney Racing
Sharing Award–Christenson Racing, Kerley Racing and Schott Family Racing
Hard Charger Award–Nick Clements (NASCAR Late Models), Jesse Green (Sportsmen), John Clauson (Hobby Stocks) and Jake Schomers (Hornets)
Special Recognition–Darla Olson, #RacingforJason Team and John Scott
Good Luck Award–Cole Howland, Nick Clements, Jesse Green, and Jacob and Justin Iverson
Most Popular Driver–Steve Bachman (NASCAR Late Models), Justin Berg (Sportsmen), Jason Bolster (Hobby Stocks), Kristopher Berg (Hornets), John Huebner (Street Stocks), Adam Kerley (Six Shooters) and Al Bartels (Mini-Vans)
Sportsmen of the Year–Pastor Andy Burhow