By:  Paul Reichert
September 27, 2023
Since the LaCrosse NASCAR Late Models started deciding their season championship at the Oktoberfest Race Weekend back in 2010, the drama of a long season of racing has brought about nail-biting excitement to end the season with a big 40 lap main event.  With the introduction of the Chase Championship about ten years ago, drivers not in the hunt for a track title have had a chance to claim the LaCrosse Speedway’s version of the Chase Championship.  Three years ago a new challenge was given to the LaCrosse NASCAR Late Models with a pair of 20 lap features taking place on Thursday night of Oktoberfest and again on Friday night.  This gauntlet of running four features over two nights led to the creation of a new title race, the Nuttleman Grain Cleaning Festmaster Championship.
Thanks to the winningest driver in LaCrosse Speedway history Kevin Nuttleman and his family’s business, the Nuttleman Grain Cleaning Festmaster has become a much sought after title just like the other special Oktoberfest racing awards over the weekend.  The point system for the Festmaster is exactly like the point system for the Dick Trickle 99.  The winner of each feature earns one point, the runner-up gets two points, third place claims three points, and so on the through the rest of the field.  After the fourth and final feature takes place on Friday night, the driver with the lowest overall score will be crowned the Nuttleman Grain Cleaning Festmaster Champion.  Jacob Goede came out on top in the inaugural Festmaster Championship in 2020 over that year’s track champion Nick Murgic by just two points.  Last year Dan Fredrickson prevented Goede from capturing a second Festmaster title by just two points.  Of course if there is a tie for the Festmaster title, it will be settled the same way they settle ties for the Dick Trickle 99 as the driver with the better finish in the final feature on Friday night will earn the title.  That happened with the 2021 Festmaster Championship as Nick Murgic and Adam Bendzick were tied for the crown, but Murgic’s third place effort in the final feature over Bendzick’s sixth place run crowned him the Festmaster champion.  The Festmaster Championship could also be very lucrative for a few drivers.
There will also be some big money on the line in the Festmaster Championship thanks to Nuttleman Grain Cleaning.  Each feature winner will earn $400 for their efforts, while the top four overall finishers will share in the $1,000 bonus for the overall Festmaster title.  $400 goes to Festmaster champion, second place will receive $300, third place earns $200 and fourth place will pick up a crisp new $100 bill.   While it has not happened yet, one LaCrosse NASCAR Late Model driver could have the best Oktoberfest Race Weekend of their life.  There is a chance that one competitor could be victorious in all four LaCrosse NASCAR Late Model features and be crowned the Nuttleman Grain Cleaning Festmaster champion.  If that does happen then that one racer will depart the Oktoberfest Race Weekend with a $2,000 payday.  Nick Panitzke and Jacob Goede have come the closest to a total clean sweep of all the features with two checkered flag wins in 2020 and 2022 respectively.
The season finale for the LaCrosse NASCAR Late Models and the Nuttleman Grain Cleaning Festmaster Championship are just one part of the excitement you will witness over the first two days of the Oktoberfest Race Weekend on October 5 and 6.   Season championships for other LaCrosse divisions, lots of competitive Super Late Model action featuring veterans and newcomers, plus the thrilling and heart pounding Double-O Race are other reasons to attend Thursday and Friday of Oktoberfest.  Visit our website at often for the Fan Guide, the racing and practice schedules, the Competitor Guide if you plan to race and catch up on the latest news on Wisconsin’s biggest racing weekend.  You can also call the track office at 608-786-1525 with any questions you may have concerning the Oktoberfest Race Weekend.