WEST SALEM, WI - What's the weather going to be like later this month?
More specifically, what is the forecast for West Salem, Wisconsin, on April 22?
Well, according to the National Weather Service, there is a LOW (33 percent) chance of rain or snow. The high temperature is forecast from 55 to 65 degrees with the low temperature forecast from 34 to 44 degrees.
Let's go racing!
"Last year was the worst weather year that I can recall," said Chuck Deery in his 31st year as track manager.
There were five rainouts according to Deery, adding that, "It rained before, during or right after 15 other nights."
Fans and drivers watch the weather almost as closely as Deery and his staff. Yet, while Deery and his veteran crew of officials prepare for the race card early in the day at the track, fans often decide earlier whether to attend the races or not.
"The law of averages comes into effect... going to have some crappy years... and we are going to have awesome years with the weather," Deery said. "We're hoping for an awesome year!"
The sixth annual Frostbuster kicks off the 2018 La Crosse Fairgrounds Speedway season on Sunday, April 22. Gates open at 12:30 p.m., qualifying at 12:45 p.m. Racing begins at 2 p.m. The event features NASCAR Whelen All-American Series action of the Tobacco Outlet Plus Late Models, Dean's Satellite Sportsmen, Auto Value Thunderstox, the ANTS Complete Pest Control Hornets and the Auto Value Parts Stores Street Stocks.
Almost 30 drivers have already registered for the Tobacco Outlet Plus Grocery NASCAR Late Model division this season. Returning will be Minnesota's Nick Panitzke, as he looks to be the first-time repeat Late Model Champion since 2006 without the last name Carlson. That feat was accomplished by Bangor's Kevin Nuttleman in 2005 and 2006.
Although Panitzke was strong all last year, six-time track champion Steve Carlson, who won four straight titles from 2013-2016, will be in the thick of the chase again. Competition was extremely tough last season as there were eight different feature winners in 16 races, including four that won their first feature race. But this year, look for to Carlson and Panitzke to be challenged each week by Cole Howland, Ty Reedy, Brad Powell and Mike Carlson.
Other drivers who could win on any given week are Mike Ehde, Jerimy Wagner, Jesse Pokszyk and Nick Clements. First-time winners this season could also be Justin Mullikin, Carter Christenson or newcomer Michael Beamish from Minnesota. And don't forget that Matt Henderson ended an eight-year drought in 2017, returning to Victory Lane last July.
While there were a couple of years where the track had 20 or less late model drivers, Deery said he made a couple of rule changes two years ago which paid off. A consistent method of operating the races also brought drivers from other tracks.
While the late model division is the main drawing card, Deery said the other divisions make a huge impact, too.
"The support divisions... Hornets, Street Stock and Vans... are easy to get into and loads of fun. We expect some great action and excitement from them this year... again," Deery said.
MYLAPS LIVE TIMING WIFI
Fans also can follow along during qualifying and racing events on their phones by downloading the "MYLAPS LIVE TIMING WIFI" app before coming to the track. When arriving at the track, open the app and connect to server 22.214.171.124, port 60000 and click connect in the app. The free app presents live timing data and running positions.
FAN SUPER PUNCH CARD
Fans also have one last chance to obtain the "Fan Super Punch Card."
OPEN PRACTICE/MEDIA DAY
The annual "Media Day" practice is scheduled Saturday, April 14. This is the first official practice date for race teams to test on the track in 2018. The pit gate opens at 10 a.m., practice runs from 11 a.m.-3 p.m.
It's called Media Day, as local media are invited out to take videos, photos, get interviews and an insight on the new season. Grandstands are open for anyone to watch for free.
PROMOTIONS AND SAVINGS
In recent years, fans have had opportunities to save money at the track during most events, or get something free. "Free stuff" will continue this year, as well as weekly savings coupons through our email newsletters, the U.S. Postal Service Direct Mailing List or our social media channels (Facebook & Twitter).
If you're not already a subscriber to any or all of these, be sure to do so before the season gets started so you don't miss out on any great deals. Get a complete summary of the promotions at our website's Promotions Page.
La Crosse Fairgrounds Speedway is a proud NASCAR Hometrack, part of the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series - www.hometracks.nascar.com.