Stock car racing has long been a family affair for Nick Schwebach and his wife, Brooke. This year, the couple from Caledonia is giving new meaning to that term.
For the first time, there will be two No. 38 Wissota Stock Cars on the Schwebachs’ hauler -- one for Nick, one for Brooke, who finished her first-ever feature race eight days ago at Mississippi Thunder Speedway in Fountain City, Wis.
“It’s been nerve-wracking, but she’s learning (by doing),” Nick said Thursday as he prepared for a practice session at Deer Creek Speedway. “At first I didn’t know how it was going to go, but I think after watching … I said ‘I can’t teach you the foot techniques inside the car, everyone has to learn that on their own.’ I told her to keep doing what she’s doing, pick up her speed a bit and she’ll get there. It just takes time.”
Nick is hoping this summer could be his time to break through and win a track championship. He has finished in the top four of the Deer Creek points standings four times in the past six years, including runner-up finishes in 2014 and 2018. He also placed fourth in 2015 and third in 2016.
“I’d like to race for points this year,” he said. “We’ve come close a couple times; last year in Fountain City, and (at Deer Creek) a couple years ago. But me and Brooke always talk and say ‘just out there and have fun.’
“You’re going to have bad nights -- we had a lot of those here last year -- so hopefully the monkey will get off our backs and we’ll have a decent season and get this car figured out.”
All of the wins and the strong finishes Nick accomplished over the past couple of seasons were done so in the car that Brooke now drives. Nick is still adjusting to his new Street Stock, one that he’s only driven twice, both times in practice sessions. Saturday at Deer Creek will mark his first actual race in the car.
He’ll also be racing in front of a mostly empty grandstand, as Deer Creek is not yet able to sell tickets for the main grandstand. The only way into the facility is by purchasing a pit pass, which are $30 for adults or $15 for boys and girls ages 6-15.
“It’ll be definitely different with hardly anybody in the stands,” Schwebach said, “but just to get back out there, we’ve been looking forward to it. We were going to go to Decorah (Iowa) on Saturday and race and kind of shake this (new car) down a little more, but as soon as I saw they’re going to race (at Deer Creek), we switched plans.”
GUIDELINES IN PLACE AT DEER CREEK
The gates to the grandstand will be shut at Deer Creek this weekend and the bleachers will be mostly empty, but track officials hope the pit area will be as full as possible with haulers and race cars.
Track officials have put some guidelines in place -- a list that will be passed out to all drivers at the entry gate Saturday -- to help avoid the possible spread of the coronavirus.
Among those guidelines are leaving proper space between haulers and cars in the pits, follow social distancing practices as outlined by the CDC, and limiting groups to no more than 10 people per hauler/pit area. Masks are not required for anyone entering the pit area or sitting in the bleachers, but they are strong recommended. The nightly pit meeting will be conducted over the public-address system in the pits area, to avoid all the drivers congregating in one place, as is customary.
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DEER CREEK OPENER
What: Season opening races
When: Saturday, hot laps begin at 5:30 p.m., racing at 6 p.m.
Where: Deer Creek Speedway, approximately 15 miles south of Rochester on U.S. 63
Tickets: No general admission or reserved grandstand tickets will be sold. Pit passes are $30 for adults or $15 for children ages 6-15.
Defending track champions: Brandon Davis (USRA Modifieds), Jeff Brauer (Wissota Super Stocks), Dustin Doughty (Wissota Street Stocks), Mitch Weiss (Wissota Midwest Modifieds), Jim Chisholm (USRA B-Modifieds).