by Nick Gima
Ashland, WI, May 8 — The 53rd season of stock car racing at the ABC Raceway is scheduled to begin on Saturday, May 13, with a full five-division program to be presented by the Northern State Bank of Ashland.
The PolyDome Dirt Track Series Program will include WISSOTA-sanctioned Modifieds, Super Stocks, Midwest Modifieds and Pure Stocks, as well as the track’s own unique Six-Cylinder class, for a full slate of qualifying heats and A-feature races.
Saturday’s program, under the direction of the award-winning Ashland-Bayfield County Racing Association and its all-volunteer staff, kicks off an ambitious and exciting 16-race regular-season schedule, with weekly race programs on every Saturday night but one from mid-May through the end of August, before capping off the season with the 42nd annual Red Clay Classic invitational in late September.
Four of the five division champions from last summer are expected to defend their crowns, while the other – Justin Weinberger of Park Falls – has moved up to compete in the Midwest Mods after a hugely successful 2016 season in the Pure Stocks, which culminated in track titles at both Ashland and Superior.
Ashland’s Tiffany Hudack will look to claim her third title in four years in the Sixes, while Paul Suzik of Ironwood, MI, will try to “three-peat” in the Mid-Mods.
Nick Oreskovich of Mason won the points title in the Super Stocks last year and is already off to a strong start in 2017, having taken his first feature win of the season at Rice Lake last Saturday night. And Bessemer, MI’s Neil Balduc also has a feature win in Rice Lake this spring as he builds momentum for a successful defense of his Modified crown here.
The month of May will also include a salute to all who have served or are currently serving in our country’s Armed Forces on May 20. Any fan entering the grandstands that night and presenting a valid active or retired military ID will be welcomed with free admission.
Returning to the ABC Raceway after a one-year hiatus will be the Interstate Racing Association’s 410 “outlaw” winged sprint cars, on May 27. Speeds of over 100 mph will be the norm on the sticky red-clay surface for the 800-horsepower winged sprinters.
June will include both popular mainstays to the ABC schedule as well as a couple of exciting surprises. On June 3 fans of all ages will be welcomed onto the track for an opportunity to meet the race drivers, and then on the 10th the Advantage RV Modified Tour will make its first-ever appearance at ABC. The visit to Ashland will be part of a four-race swing for the traveling series that will begin at Grand Rapids, MN, on the Thursday prior, then continue to Superior on Friday before its inaugural run here for a $1,500 feature winner’s paycheck.
The swing concludes at the prestigious “King on the Hill” event on Sunday, June 11, in Proctor, MN.
The 11th annual Six-Cylinder “Summer Sizzler” will follow on June 17, and on the 24th the track will hold its Afco Shocks Race of Champions qualifier features for its WISSOTA-sanctioned divisions, with the winners receiving invitations to compete in the Race of Champions event during the WISSOTA 100 weekend in Huron, SD, in mid-September.
The Raceway will host a rare regular-season Friday night event on June 30, but it will be for a good cause. All fans will receive free admission into the main grandstand for that night’s race program, while free-will offerings will be accepted all night long as part of the track’s fund-raising efforts for the American Cancer Society’s local “Relay for Life” chapter.
In July, the track will hold its popular kids’ bike races on July 8 and its 13th annual “Pure Excitement 25” special for Pure Stocks on July 15. The Ashland oval will then be the middle stop for the FastLane Motorsports Northland Super Stock Series on July 22. The third annual running of the Series starts at AmsOil Speedway in Superior on July 21, and after the stop at Ashland on that Saturday it concludes at the Proctor Speedway on Sunday the 23rd.
The track will cap off July by honoring those who have contributed to its success with its fourth annual Hall of Fame induction ceremonies on the 29th. Once the calendar turns to August, the fun continues with the 11th annual “Mid-Mod Madness” special on the 5th.
Another premier touring series, the WISSOTA Shaw Trucking Late Model Challenge Series, will return to the ABC Raceway for the first time since 2009. The tour’s three-day local visit starts on Friday, August 11, in Menomonie, and continues north to Ashland on Saturday the 12th before closing out the weekend on Sunday the 13th in Proctor. While at ABC the Late Models will compete for a shot at a starting spot in a 40-lap feature which will pay $2,000 to win.
The Raceway will host a “Summer Blast” night on August 19 that will include racing, music, food specials and lots of fun. The regular season will conclude on August 26 with Championship Saturday Night, when the track’s 2017 champions will be crowned.
The biggest event of the year – the Red Clay Classic – will be held on Friday and Saturday, September 29-30. The Northland’s traditional and prestigious season finale will feature upwards of 200 WISSOTA Late Models, Modifieds, Super Stocks and Midwest Mods competing for a share of a purse which is again expected to exceed $86,000.
The Raceway will also again offer a Kids’ Club during the 2017 season, with a variety of special activities, gifts and prizes for the younger fans on race nights. More information will be available at the track prior to each racing program.
Throughout the regular season, a “hot laps” practice session will begin each night at 6:15 pm, while the racing action is scheduled for a 7 o’clock start time. For all regular-season race nights adult tickets are just $11 each, and kids ages 12 and under are admitted free when accompanied by a paying adult.
Beginning its 14th straight season of live pre-race coverage from the track, “Z-93 Race Night” will air each Saturday on WBSZ, 93.3 FM, and stream on www.wbszfm.com, from 4:30-6 pm with up-to-date track news and weather information.
The ABC Raceway is located 3-1/2 miles south of Ashland on State Highway 13 and one mile west on Butterworth Road. For raceday information call (715) 682-4990,