La CROSSE -- It's nicknamed "The Bullring" for a reason.
On Sunday night, it proved as wild as it possibly could be.
The quarter-mile Rush County Speedway in La Crosse proved to be the most demanding it has been in several years for the 305 sprint cars of the United Rebel Sprint Series. A previous night of racing on the dirt oval and dry conditions made for a dry, slick track Sunday.
That's not usually the case for the track. Instead, it usually holds just enough water throughout the night it provides multiple grooves and hammer-down racing.
This time, it was more of a finesse track -- of sorts.
The start of the race was crucial. Well, make that the starts of the race.
Three early cautions in the first six laps left drivers scratching their heads a bit on how things would pan out for the 30-lap feature and $1,000 payout.
Drivers simply had to find a way to survive.
"Right when we started, I knew there was going to be some wrecks," Josh Fairbank said. "So I laid back. I probably should have pressured it a little bit. But those first wrecks, I would have been right in the middle of them. It was probably a wise move to wait until mid-race to make our move. We kept our car clean until the last lap. But it was clean the whole way through."
Fairbank started 11th and finish fourth after the wild race. He was one of the few drivers patient enough to work the bottom of the track -- and wait for others to mess up.
"It is the most demanding," Fairbank said. "It shows you who can set up a car for the bottom, because that's all you need. (Jake) Bubak had that thing on the bottom, and I had it on the bottom moving up. That's all that matters. If you could hit that setup, you can run that bottom."
The other driver able to hold his car on the bottom was Bubak, the teenager from Colorado who won the night's feature.
Bubak is accustomed to competing on smaller tracks in Colorado, but Sunday night offered another challenge.
"It's tough. It wears you out," a smiling Bubak said after the win. "It's the toughest track we've been to this year."
The track might not have been ideal, but it provided some great racing action. That's the norm in La Crosse.
Not a lot of races are scheduled during the season at the small track, but when they are, they never leave a fan lacking for action when the night is done.
Hopefully, the track will be able to survive and provide more excitement in years to come.
* NICK SCHWIEN, HDN