By: Paul Reichert
September 9, 2023
When we talk about having good clean fun, we probably think about a running race through the mud that is raising money for charity. Now when you talk about having good clean fun at the LaCrosse Speedway, you will not get wet or covered in mud or have to do anything else but enjoy yourself. All you have to do is sit back and relax and let the professionals handle the smashing, mashing and bending of cars and metal during the 32nd annual Night of Destruction presented by Western Technical College. Not only would the fans witness a ton of metal mangling mayhem and carnage, there were also some exciting racing happening on the ‘action track’ quarter-mile.
Alex Liebsch pulled out to a huge lead in the final Mini-Van feature of the season. Al Bartels did everything he could to close the gap on Liebsch over the final six laps. Bartels was only three car lengths behind at the finish as Alex Liebsch won the race. Rob Stanfield struggled to an eight place finish in the feature, but held off third place Zach Liebsch to capture the season championship by a scant eight points.
The Mini-Vans ran the 2nd Over the Line Wins race, the final Novelty event of the year. The drivers had to use patience and cunning coming to the checkered flag to make the right move to be in second place. Devon Swenson may have forgotten about how the race works as Zach Liebsch let him pass by to claim the win. Alex Liebsch finished right behind his brother to become the Novelty champion.
Matt Parent was the first to make a smashing success in his first Steel Wall Crash as he nailed his car right in the trunk and completely destroyed both the front and rear ends. Jay Raines was also a first time participant, and he made such hard contact with his car that parts of the car flew high into the air. The fans voted on who gave the best smashing performance, and they chose Parent over Raines.
If you have seen any of the movies from the “Fast and Furious” franchise, you got to enjoy some exciting skill and talent on display in the Drifting exhibition. This is racing on a whole other level, and a group of drifters from a local Coulee Region club put on an amazing performance that thrilled the capacity crowd.
Sawyer and Shannon with the DOT Motorcycle Riders put on a thrilling performance of tricks and stunts done on two wheels. Both riders were able to pull off doing a wheelie around the entire length of the five-eights mile oval. They surfed on top of their motorcycles like they were riding a surfboard. They even capped off their performance by throwing out T-shirts over the fence to the crowd while on top of their motorcycles.
Davis Helgerson pulled off a perfect rollover his first time out, a near perfect rollover on his second try, and came awfully close to making another perfect rollover on his third try. Halgerson ran laps around Tristan Finnegan to capture the Rollover Contest victory.
The Monster Trucks put on another heart stopping show that left the fans speechless with their spectacular leaps through the night sky. Brad Shippert’s Against the Grain monster truck had the fans going “OOHH” and “AAHH” with his car crunching performance. Despite an issue with his truck at another event, Josh Baumgartner and his Mechanical Mischief monster truck got some impressive leaps that thrilled the crowd. Baumgartner even threw in a spin-a-roonie move and hopped on his rear wheels as the crowd cheered wildly.
Rob Stanfield put in a valiant effort in his first Burnout Contest that saw him blow out a right front tire. He was no match for the rat rod of Nick Steinhaus as he left a smoke show that could be seen from high above the earth.
Jake Adams perfectly center punched the motor home in the T-Bone Crash to give it some new air conditioning. He was ready to give it another try and give it more open space, but he went right through the hole he created in his first jump.
Annaliese Nock stepped inside a box filled with explosives in the Coffin of Doom. The box blew up and gave an earth shattering boom, but somehow Annaliese was able to survive the blast and came out of the box unharmed.
It was a hot time at the LaCrosse Speedway at the end of the night as Josh Baumgartner brought out his Magdatude jet car to torch and burn down a broken old mini-van to its foundation. It only took about three minutes to put that mini-van out of its misery and leave just its hot skeleton behind the fiery flames and exhaust of that powerful jet plane engine.
The Trailer Race of Destruction was another symphony of twisted metal that destroyed trailers, boats and campers into teeny tiny pieces. After the checkered flag was thrown, the fans once again had the final say on which competitor was the most destructive of the night. Tyler Mickschl got the hardest hits in the race that left the crowd speechless to win the fan vote over John Clauson and his retired ambulance.
Now the preparations begin in earnest for the one of the biggest year end specials in the Midwest. The 54th edition of the Oktoberfest Race Weekend takes place October 5 through 8 with roughly 700 laps of feature racing and 16 different divisions competing at the LaCrosse Speedway. ‘The last big racing get together’ kicks off on Thursday, October 5 headlined by the Super Late Model Futures and Super Late Model Knights. Season championships will be decided for the LaCrosse Sportsmen and Hornets. A pair of 20 lap features will be run for the LaCrosse Late Models, plus the Street Stocks and Six Shooters will get together to race on the quarter-mile. The night will wrap up with the wildly entertaining Double-O Race with all sorts of race vehicles competing. Gates open at 2:25, the first ‘Faster Than a Speeding Bullet’ qualifying session kicks off at 2:45 and racing goes green at 6.
For more information about LaCrosse Speedway or the 2023 schedule of events, please call the track office at 608-786-1525 or visit our web site at lacrossespeedway.com. Be sure to also check out oktoberfestraceweekend.com for the latest news and information concerning Wisconsin’s biggest year-end special. LaCrosse Speedway is proud to be a NASCAR Hometrack, part of the NASCAR Advance Auto Parts Weekly Series.
Mountain Dew Mini-Vans
Feature (15 laps): 1. Alex Liebsch, 2. Al Bartels, 3. Zach Liebsch, 4. Marshall Rinartz, 5. Matt Parent, 6. Matthew Miller, 7. Kyle Cottone, 8. Rob Stanfield, 9. Jake Lisowski, 10. Jay Raines, 11. Devon Swenson
Heat #1 (8 laps): 1. Jay Raines, 2. Zach Liebsch, 3. Rob Stanfield, 4. Devon Swenson, 5. Matt Parent
Heat #2 (8 laps): 1. Alex Liebsch, 2. Kyle Cottone, 3. Matthew Miller, 4. Al Bartels, 5. Marshall Rinartz, 6. Jake Lisowski
Qualifying: 1. Rob Stanfield, 2. Zach Liebsch, 3. Matt Parent, 4. Jay Raines, 5. Devon Swenson, 6. Al Bartels, 7. Matthew Miller, 8. Kyle Cottone, 9. Marshall Rinartz, 10. Alex Liebsch, 11. Jake Lisowski
2nd Over the Line Wins Race: 1. Zach Liebsch, 2. Alex Liebsch, 3. Jay Raines, 4. Al Bartels, 5. Matt Parent, 6. Kyle Cottone, 7. Matthew Miller, 8. Rob Stanfield, 9. Devon Swenson
Trailer Race of Destruction (Fan Vote): 1. Tyler Mickschl, 2. John Clauson, 3. Zach Liebsch