by Nick Gima
Ashland, WI, July 23 — Tiffany Hudack of Ashland took advantage of a mid-race restart to pass Scott Ovaska and win the tenth annual Six-Cylinder “Summer Sizzler,” presented by Lake Shore Cafe of Ashland, on Saturday night at the ABC Raceway.
The rest of the program, presented by the Safari Tavern of Ashland, saw the feature winners in the WISSOTA PolyDome Dirt Track Series divisions receive invitations to qualify for the prestigious Afco Shocks Race of Champions event during the WISSOTA 100 weekend at the Dakota State Fair Speedway in Huron, SD, in mid-September. In addition, the Northern Vintage Stockcar Racers (NVSR) group made their annual visit to the track, with two drivers winning at ABC for the first time in their careers.
Hudack, the 2014 Sixes champion who is leading the points standings again this year, started the 15-lap, $650-to-win spotlight event on the inside of row 3 but made minimal headway over the first couple of laps, as Forrest Schultz charged to a big early lead ahead of Dalton Truchon and rookie polestarter Joshua Saunders. On lap 2 Hudack and Ovaska surrounded Saunders and overtook him for third and fourth, just before Brendon Ottman’s spin brought about the first of three yellow-flag slowdowns.
On that restart Schultz was unable to completely run away from the field, as Ovaska worked his way around Truchon into the runner-up spot. Hudack followed the same line around Truchon for third a lap later, and the top three staged a great battle for the lead. On lap 8 Hudack moved to the outside lane, and a lap later the leaders were running three-wide through turn 3 when Schultz, in the middle of the pack, slowed with mechanical issues. Ovaska clipped the left-front of the leader’s car, but both he and Hudack got by as Schultz dropped into the infield. At about the same time Saunders’ car stopped on the back straight with a stream of fluid behind it, giving Ovaska the point for the restart.
At the green flag Hudack swept around Ovaska and edged ahead down the back straight, but a tangle between Ottman and Joe Newago Jr further back in field negated the pass. The next time, though, Hudack not only completed the pass but steamed away to what eventually ended up as a 3.69-second margin of victory over Ovaska, her fifth feature win of the season in six starts, and the eighth win of her career. She also claimed the fast-lap bonus with a time of 18.077 seconds.
Truchon completed a great night by crossing the line in third, but he failed to follow post-race procedure in the teching area and lost the position to Jeremy Lindquist, while DeJay Jarecki and Newago were awarded fourth and fifth.
Hudack was the only repeat winner on this night at ABC, as all other feature winners collected their first checkered flags of the season here.
In the WISSOTA Modified 20-lapper, Scott Hudack worked off the outside of the front row and around Bill Byholm for the early lead. First-night visitor Danny Vang, who won his heat earlier in his first-ever visit here in a “big Mod,” advanced quickly from his third-row starting spot and slipped past Brian Mikkonen into fourth behind Steve Stuart just four laps in.
Hudack’s lead was just six-tenths of a second when Vang nabbed third from Stuart on lap 7. But Byholm closed the short deficit on Hudack by mid-race, and he worked the inside groove on the sticky-fast red-clay oval to take the lead away on lap 13. The veteran driver from Glidden then extended his advantage to over a second-and-a-half until, with four laps left, Paul Niznik spun into the infield from the front straightaway with a broken car.
In the sprint to the finish Byholm stretched his cushion again, winning by nearly 1.4 seconds and posting the race’s fast time with a 16.569-second lap. Vang grabbed second away from Hudack on the late restart for an impressive first showing here, while Neil Balduc followed him into third. Stuart came away with fifth-place money.
Shane Kisling of Park Falls, whose last feature win here was at last fall’s Red Clay Classic, led every lap of a 20-lap WISSOTA Super Stock main event that was also stalled by only one caution. Kisling outran pole starter Cory Casari through the first pair of turns and stayed out front, although not without determined challenges by Casari, and also later by Scott Lawrence, throughout the run.
As the top three raced nose-to-tail, Shawn McFadden Jr and points leader Nick Oreskovich raced door-to-door for several laps while debating fifth behind Pat Beeksma. Oreskovich gained the positional edge just before Aaron Mashlan’s spin brought about the only stoppage of the race, but McFadden got him back on the restart and grabbed fourth from Beeksma to boot.
Up front Kisling held on despite a couple of threats by Casari to use the inside line to challenge for the lead. Lawrence also tried the low groove for a pass for position, but Kisling prevailed for the tenth time in his career at Ashland. Casari and Lawrence – who posted a 17.001-second circuit to take fast-lap honors – were followed in the top five by McFadden and Beeksma.
Despite leading the points in their respective divisions, the winners of the WISSOTA Midwest Modified and Pure Stock features were first-time successful on the season. In the case of Paul Suzik of Ironwood, MI, his win was his first here in two years.
The Mid-Mods clicked off their 20-lap A-main with only two slowdowns, and one came on the start, when rookie Gunner Peterson slipped up and collected Tad Bretting and Ross Fuhrman. Suzik, who started on the pole, then outran Brady Mesko-Jokinen out of the first turn for the lead, and he would not look back. In fact, after the other stoppage – for John Kallas’ stalled ride on lap 3 – the defending track champ cruised away to a seemingly effortless win.
Behind Suzik, however, was some very entertaining racing. It took Ryan Adamzak a couple of laps to clear a very strong Mesko-Jokinen for second, and the second-generation sophomore then gave Kevin Eder fits before giving up third on lap 9. Eder eventually caught Adamzak and, with two laps remaining, passed him for runner-up honors. But Suzik had a comfortable 3.3-second cushion by then for his third career ABC Raceway win, and picked up the fast-lap bonus with a time of 17.137 seconds in the process.
Along with Eder and Adamzak, an impressive Mesko-Jokinen and equally impressive Jeremy Lindquist took fourth and fifth.
The Pure Stocks also kept the yellow flags to a minimum, but the excitement stayed at a high level, as Justin Weinberger of Park Falls came away with the win in a green-white-checkered finish. The initial battle for the lead of the 15-lapper was between front-row-starting Brandle Pupp, polestarter Jeff Christman and Randy Graham, while behind them Weinberger was in the midst of a four-car scrum for position.
Graham tried to go outside on Pupp for the lead on lap 6, but he slipped up in turn 4 and gave Andrew Hanson an opening to drive through for second. On the next tour around Hanson made a strong move to take the lead from Pupp, leaving a four-car dog-fight for second in his wake.
Graham charged back by Weinberger for third on lap 12, and with two laps remaining Matt Deragon followed Graham into fourth. But just as the lead pack took the white flag Pupp’s car got loose after contact from behind, forcing the tight pack of cars to scramble, and damage to Deragon’s radiator shot coolant all over the track. The resulting mess left a two-lap shootout for the finish, with Pupp and Weinberger restarting on Hanson’s back bumper.
Weinberger gained the advantage on Pupp and then pulled alongside the leader coming under the white flag. In the bumping and banging that ensued between the leaders for the win, Hanson’s car broke loose and nearly spun, and Weinberger grabbed the victory. Pupp, Christman and Andy Poll took advantage to claim second through fourth, and Graham crossed the line in fifth, but his car did not meet a post-race inspection and he forfeited the position to Randy Connor.
In the NVSR Full-Bodied Division feature, a battle among the “Big Three” manufacturers saw Paul Dolphy of Mounds View, MN, shoot away from the pole in his late-’60s Ford Torino and then hold off Greg Manor’s Chevy Chevelle and Bobby LePage’s Dodge Challenger for his first-ever win in Ashland. In the vintage club’s Super Modified main event, Dave Whirley of Grand Rapids, MN, got by Ken Sabby’s winged racer at mid-race and drove to his first-ever feature win as part of an NVSR event, with Mike Bjorklund coming home in third.
On Saturday, July 30, the ABC Raceway will award an $800 check to the winner of the “big Mod” feature as part of its fifth annual “Modified Mayhem” special, to be presented by the Bad River Lodge, Casino & Convention Center of Odanah. A strong field is expected, while the other four regular weekly-appearing divisions will also be in action on the final night before the final month of the track’s 2016 regular season begins.
Hot laps will be at 6:15 pm, and the first green-flag racing of the night will follow at 7. Adult tickets are $11, and fans ages 12 and under are admitted free when accompanied by a paying adult. “Z-93 Race Night” will air live on WBSZ, 93.3 FM, and stream live online at www.wbszfm.com, from 4:30-6 pm with at-the-track news and weather updates.
The ABC Raceway is located 3-1/2 miles south of Ashland on State Highway 13 and one mile west on Butterworth Road. For more information visit the track’s website, www.abcraceway.com, or call the track on racedays at (715) 682-4990.
Feature: Bill Byholm, Glidden; Danny Vang, Deerwood, MN; Neil Balduc, Bessemer, MI; Scott Hudack, Ashland; Steve Stuart, Ashland; Brian Mikkonen, Iron River; Al Uotinen, Superior; Pat Cook, Washburn; Jacob Hiatt, New Richmond; Paul Niznik, Medford; Kevin Eder, Ashland.
Heat 1: Vang; Byholm; Rivord; Hudack; Cook; Uotinen.
Heat 2: Niznik; Balduc; Stuart; Mikkonen; Hiatt; Eder.
WISSOTA Super Stocks
Feature: Shane Kisling, Park Falls; Cory Casari, Montreal; Scott Lawrence, Superior; Shawn McFadden Jr; Ashland; Pat Beeksma, Ironwood, MI; Nick Oreskovich, Mason; Charlie Anderson, Ironwood, MI; Myron Basina, Washburn; Aaron Mashlan, Ashland; Cory Marincel, Ashland.
Heat 1: Kisling; McFadden; Anderson; Basina; Mashlan.
Heat 2: Lawrence; Beeksma; Casari; Oreskovich; Marincel.
WISSOTA Midwest Modifieds
Feature: Paul Suzik, Ironwood, MI; Kevin Eder, Ashland; Ryan Adamzak, Ashland; Brady Mesko-Jokinen, Mellen; Jeremy Lindquist, Ashland; Tyler Hudack, Ashland; Tad Bretting, Ashland; Tanner Hicks, Ashland; Ross Fuhrman, Ashland; Cy Hoaglan, Ashland; Robert Hyde, Ashland; Ryan Barningham, Bayfield; Gunner Peterson, Drummond; John Kallas, Hurley.
Heat 1: Lindquist; Suzik; Kallas; Barningham; Hoaglan; Peterson; Fuhrman.
Heat 2: Adamzak; Hudack; Mesko-Jokinen; Eder; Hyde; Hicks; Bretting.
Feature: Tiffany Hudack, Ashland; Scott Ovaska, Marengo; Jeremy Lindquist, Ashland; DeJay Jarecki, Ashland; Joe Newago, Bayfield; Chase Turner, Iron River; Brendon Ottman, Ashland; Joshua Saunders, Spooner; Forrest Schultz, Ashland; Dale Coddington, Hayward; Adam Traaholt, Ashland; Bubba Anderson, Trego.
Heat 1: Hudack; Ethan Beeksma, Ironwood, MI; Dalton Truchon, Ashland; Coddington; Jarecki; Traaholt.
Heat 2: Lindquist; Saunders; Ovaska; Schultz; Ottman; Turner; Newago.
WISSOTA Pure Stocks
Feature: Justin Weinberger, Park Falls; Brandle Pupp, Ashland; Jeff Christman, South Range; Andy Poll, Two Harbors, MN; Randy Conner, Hayward; Nick Paoli, Ironwood, MI; Andrew Hanson, Iron River; Brock Beilke, Hayward; Matt Deragon, Ashland; Josh Kallas, Hurley; Jake Nevala, Ashland.
Heat 1: Pupp; Hanson; Deragon; Conner; Paoli; Nevala.
Heat 2: Randy Graham, Trego; Weinberger; Poll; Christman; Kallas; Beilke.
NVSR Vintage Racers
Full-Bodied Feature: Paul Dolphy, Mounds View, MN; Greg Manor, Chippewa Falls; Bobby LePage, Hermantown, MN; Tom Godfrey, Backus, MN; Tom Getchell Jr, Cloquet, MN; Mike Hudyma, Duluth, MN; Tom Ahrndt, Hawley, MN.
Full-Bodied Heat: LePage; Godfrey; Manor; Dolphy; Getchell; Hudyma; Ahrndt.
Super-Modified Feature: Dave Whirley, Grand Rapids, MN; Ken Sabby, River Falls; Mike Bjorklund, Sandstone, MN; Mark Peine, White Bear Lake, MN; Dave Stone, Red Wing, MN.
Super-Modified Heat: Peine; Dennis Olson, Braham, MN; Sabby; Whirley; Bjorklund; Stone.