By Kari Shear-Carlson
September 20, 2011 - Nick Panitzke’s racing career started when he was only 10 years old at a 1/2 mile dirt oval in Alexandria, MN. The Sauk Center, MN native is now 21 years old and continues to make a name for himself in the American Speed Association® Kwik Trip Midwest Tour presented by ECHO Outdoor Power Equipment and GrandStay Hospitality.
The ASA Midwest Touring Star has been racing with the ASA Midwest Tour since 2009. While winless in the ASAMT up to this point, Paniztke is a top contender anywhere he goes. “Unfortunately I am still winless, but I have made good progress and have done pretty well at some tracks I have never seen before,” said Nick.
One track that Nick has not seen before is Rockford Speedway. The ASA Midwest Tour will make its debut for the upcoming 46th Annual National Short Track Championship on October 1st and 2nd. Nick along with a few other drivers will be racing at the famed 1/4-mile oval for the first time in their careers.
Nick has been doing his homework for the upcoming event. “I’ve been talking with guys that have raced there quite a bit, so the expectations I have are pretty much one step at a time. My main goal is to have a decent, solid run, along with having a great time like we do at every Tour race,” said Panitzke. “Hopefully I’ll be able to add Rockford to my list of favorite tracks,” he added.
Drivers are faced with a lot of different challenges when they go to a track for the first time. In Nick’s case, the biggest challenge will be getting into the event based on qualifying time. Once in the show, the next step is keeping the car in one piece, especially with the championship Oktoberfest weekend the following weekend. “If we can accomplish that, I’ll be pretty happy,” acknowledged Nick.
One thing Nick and the entire Panitzke Racing Team like most about racing with the ASAMT is the great camaraderie between the drivers and teams. “It’s pretty cool to have other teams help out when needed. That is something you don’t always have when when you race weekly at local tracks. The ASAMT fields a lot of great drivers and I feel very fortunate to run with the best in the Midwest and have fun doing it,” said the Minnesota native.
While he may be winless so far in the ASAMT, Nick Panitzke is no stranger to victory lane. In fact between 1999 and 2003 he won six championships. In 2002 he won “King of the Dirt,” in Cedar Mills, MN. He started racing Thunder Cars in 2004 at 1-94 Raceway. He won his first time out and followed it up with seven more feature wins that year.
If that is not enough, he also won the 2004 Fall Nationals at LaCrosse Fairgrounds Speedway and continued to take home victories in his Thunder Car in 2005. He started racing a Super Late Model in the second half of the 2005 season. In 2006, Panitzke took the plunge and raced full time in a Super Late Model and captured his first local win.
“That first win in 2006 was an emotional one. We had a few struggles over the winter, so it meant that much more. I ended up second in points that year,” Panitzke said. To wrap up his pre-ASAMT career, Nick raced at I-94 for two more years and won the Governor’s Cup there in 2008.
As always, Nick could not do what he is doing without the support of his sponsors: Tesar Engineering, Northern Racing Products, LunchboxImagery.com, Citizens Bank, Amsoil, and Five Star. He would also like to thank the ASA Midwest Tour and all of their sponsors for providing the drivers the recognition and the support for racing in the Midwest.
Last, but not least, Nick would like to thank his family, his girlfriend, Morgan, and the crew for their continued support. “I greatly appreciate all of the time they give and the weekends they spend at race tracks supporting me. Without them, I would not be where I am today.”
To learn more about the American Speed Association® Kwik Trip Midwest Tour presented by ECHO Outdoor Power Equipment and GrandStay Hospitality, log on to asamidwesttour.com. For questions call the ASA Midwest Tour office at (630) 212-6022 or Tim Olson at (612) 327-5831 or e-mail Tim Olson at firstname.lastname@example.org or Steve Einhaus at email@example.com.
This article was posted to the website on September 20th, 2011
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