Bruce Nuttleman Photography
Oregon, WI- The eyes of the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series National community will be on Madison International Speedway tonight, Friday September 7, 2018 as Steve Carlson and Nick Panitzke will return to ‘Wisconsin’s Fastest Half Mile’ looking to secure not only a Wisconsin NASCAR title, but their spot in the top three of the final NASCAR National point standings. A double feature program featuring five divisions of racing and a gigantic Fireworks display are on tap tonight at 7:30pm for Whelen NASCAR Championship Night.
Steve Carlson most recently visited MIS on August 17 scoring two top ten finishes, driving a car out of the Bobby Wilberg (third in WI NASCAR Points) stable. Carlson led early during the August 10 feature and looked solid behind the wheel. Engine problems for Wilberg at LaCrosse Fairgrounds Speedway forced the two-time defending MIS Champ into the seat of that car last week. Now, Carlson will bring his familiar #66 to MIS, a car he has driven to victory lane eight times at LaCrosse this season, placing him third in the current National standing. The 2007 NASCAR Whelen All-American Series National Champion is regarded as one of the best short track racers of all time, with nine titles and 67 victories to his credit in the ARTGO and NASCAR Midwest Series and a 2009 ARCA Midwest Tour Championship. The West Salem, WI racer recorded the ASA National Tour victory at MIS in 2002 and clipped off three straight NASCAR Elite Tour wins here from 1999-2000.
Nick Panitzke is the defending LaCrosse Fairgrounds Speedway Champion and currently trails Carlson by 4 markers at the 5/8 mile paved oval and sits seventh in the National hunt. Last season, Panitzke captured the Wisconsin NASCAR title, with help of a string of strong late season runs at MIS which included one victory. With five LaCrosse checkered flags thus far in 2018, Panitzke leaned on former Illinois NASCAR Champion Michael Bilderback for help in chasing the Lonsdale, MN driver’s second WI title in as many years. Panitzke battled his way to a fifth and seventh place showing last Friday night at MIS while behind the wheel of Bilderback’s machine, which Bilderback scored two victories in here just a season ago. Now the newly formed combo will attempt to catch one of the best in Carlson.
NASCAR uses a driver’s best 18 finishes from any sanctioned track within the state to determine the State Champion and the best 18 finishes from any sanctioned track in North America to determine the National Champion. While it is unlikely that either will catch Phillip Morris (22 wins in 33 starts), maximum points are on the line tonight for both drivers as a large field of NASCAR Late Models will be on hand at MIS. Carlson (8 wins in 20 starts) and Panitzke (5 wins in 18 starts) are both within striking distance of Keith Rocco (10 wins in 23 starts) who currently sits second in the National standings.
Pit gates open at 3:30 tonight, practice begins at 5pm, front gates open at 6pm, qualifying gets underway at 6:15pm with the first race at 7:30pm during Whelen NASCAR Championship Night. A full program featuring double features in all five divisions will conclude with the crowning of our 2018 Madison International Speedway Champions. Currently Zack Riddle (NASCAR Late Models), Robert Hansberry (Dave’s White Rock Sportsman) and Nick Schmidt (Pellitteri Waste Systems Bandits) lead their respected divisions. The Roto Rooter 6shooters and Upper Midwest Vintage Series will also be in action. A Spielbauer Fireworks display is expected to be even bigger than our crowd pleasing display in June. Adult general admission tickets are $14, Whelen heroes and Seniors are $12, Students ages 12-17 are $8, kids ages 6-11 $5 with kids ages 5 and under admitted free. Family pricing is just $30 for up to two adult admissions and up to four youth admissions (ages 17 and under). Madison International Speedway is located at 1122 Sunrise Rd in Oregon, WI. For additional information visit www.misracing.com or call 608-835-9700.