With 17 different divisions and countless features to be run during Oktoberfest weekend, it’s not uncommon to see drivers run in multiple events throughout the weekend. However, there might not be a driver at LaCrosse Fairgrounds Speedway as busy as Nick Murgic will be this weekend.
The weekly Late Model points leader has seven races on his schedule during the four days between the Limited and Super Late Models. In that time, he will seek to clinch the track championship in the Limiteds while also defending his Trickle 99 win from one year ago in the Super.
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Murgic is no stranger to busy Oktoberfest weekends, running a similar schedule last year between the two Late Model classes.
“We ran both cars, the Limited and the Super last year so it should be a little bit of a repeat from last year,” Murgic told Speed51. “We’re going to run the Limited Late for LaCrosse Thursday night, they’ve got Twin-20 lap races. If we get through Thursday, we’re going to run the Limited again for the Twin-20 lappers, which is the last night for the championship. We’ll also run the Dick Trickle 99, which is always a blast.
“At that point we’ll see about running the Big 8 show and possibly the 200-lapper Sunday if we have a car left. We’ll play it by ear as the week goes on.”
The Rosemount, Minnesota driver scored one of the biggest wins of his career during Oktoberfest one year ago when he scored the overall win in the Trickle 99. In a race that utilizes a points format across three 33-lap segments, Murgic was tied with Dan Fredrickson after the final segment. A fifth-place finish in the final segment gave him the edge in the tiebreaker and the overall win.
“That was kind of a surprise tying Fredrickson there at the end. We didn’t know exactly where we were as far as points were and on finishing position in the third segment, I knew it was going to be close. I was catching the guy for fourth and I thought we ran out of time and I thought man, we got second by a single point or something. I heard that it ended up being a tie and with the finishing position I ended up getting the overall win.”
It was redemption for Murgic, who had the Trickle 99 won back in 2010 before failing post-race tech and having the race stripped away from him. Ironically, Fredrickson inherited the win that year.
“I had actually won that race 10 years ago. I beat Dan Fredrickson, but I had a little weight discrepancy, eight pounds of left side weight. We won the first segment and set fast time, it was one of them deals like rubber buildup or who knows. We got DQ’d out of the third segment, so I ended up losing that one, so I was pretty disappointed.
“It was awesome to win it back 10 years later. It took a while, not exactly ideal but it’s got to be the most fun race out of the year. My dad and grandpa both raced with Dick so it’s a fun deal for the family.”
After spending most of the 2010s in the Super Late Model ranks, Murgic shifted to the Limiteds to compete more locally and to get more races under his belt. He’s scored two feature wins on the year and leads the weekly Late Model points at LaCrosse by 71 points over legend Steve Carlson with the four 20-lap twin features at Oktoberfest remaining on the season. The stront season has put him sixth in the current NASCAR Advance Auto Parts Weekly Series National points.
“We really didn’t start out running for points, it’s one of those things where we just wanted to have fun. I love racing at LaCrosse, it’s one of those tracks where I just seem to know what I need to make the car work there. We started out getting beat by (Steve) Carlson a couple nights early on and we were real competitive with (Jacob) Goede. We slowly worked on it and got better, I kept improving. It’s just been a ton of fun, the competitors down there are a blast, they race with respect.”
Being able to get behind the wheel more often wasn’t the only thing that changed for Murgic with the move. It allowed his team to find the joy that comes with racing once again. As he goes into Oktoberfest with a championship on the line, he keeps reminding himself just that.
“I get excited about racing again. Running the four or five Super shows a year was getting super stressful, it’s just been a blast this past year. It’s reinvigorated the fun we’ve had racing all over again. This is a really good year to remember we’ve just got to have fun racing. You get into these points battles and it gets a little bit stressful but we’re just trying to have fun. If we can go out and run like we did early in the year and get some good, strong runs, it would be awesome.”
Fans unable to make it to LaCrosse Fairgrounds Speedway for Oktoberfest can watch all four days of action live on Speed51.TV. Click here to purchase your video ticket today.
-Story by: Koty Geyer, Speed51 National Correspondent – Twitter: @kgeyer3