by Nick Gima
 Ashland, WI, January 5
— All the hard work and dedication of the volunteer staff of the ABC Raceway has recently been recognized on a national scale, and it could be rewarded in a big way next month.
Racing Promotion Monthly (RPM), a nationally-published newsletter targeted at auto racing promoters, released its list of 2012 regional Auto Racing Promoters of the Year (“ARPY”) winners on January 2, each representing one of six specific regions of the United States. And on that list is the Ashland-Bayfield County Racing Association, promoters of the ABC Raceway of Ashland, as the Region Four (Northern Region) award winner.
From the six regional ARPY winners, the 37th National Auto Racing Promoter of the Year will be selected. The national award presentation will take place during the 40th annual RPM Speedweek National Workshop at the Plaza Resort & Spa in Daytona Beach, FL, February 18-20.
“This is an amazing deal for the ABC Raceway,” stated Raceway president Kurt Beeksma upon hearing of the regional award. “With over 1,400 race tracks in the country, just to be considered one of the six finalists for the national award is an enormous honor.
“This is a tribute to the efforts of the many folks who donate their time to put on a racing show at our track every Saturday night (during the summer months).”
The ARPY is short-track auto racing’s most prestigious award, having been presented each year since 1976. The award is the only one of its kind recognizing promotional excellence in grass-roots level auto racing as voted on by fellow track promoters.
Racing facilities eligible for ARPY nomination include dirt and paved oval tracks, drag strips and road courses throughout the US. Once regional nominees are selected they are voted upon, with the top vote-getters in each region eligible for the national award.
The Ashland-Bayfield County Racing Association is one of three first-time regional ARPY winners, along with Dan Robinson of Lucas Oil (MO) Speedway (Great Plains Region) and Harold Crook of Lonesome Pine (VA) Raceway (Southeastern Region).
Bruce & Teresa Rogers of Grandview (PA) Speedway (Eastern Region) have been selected for the fourth time, while Steve Beitler of Skagit (WA) Speedway (Rocky Mountain Region) is a three-time nominee. Ron Drager and Scott Schultz of the Flat Rock (MI) and Toledo (OH) Speedways (Central Region) have been nominated once before. None of this year’s regional ARPY winners has ever won the national honor.
The ABC Raceway is a long-time member of the WISSOTA Promoters Association, a Midwestern-based stock car racing organization that is one of the four largest such sanctioning bodies in the US. In recent years four other WISSOTA track promoters have won regional recognition by RPM, including Orville Chenoweth of Dakota State Fair Speedway in South Dakota, Wayne Anderson and Darrien Evavold of River Cities (ND) Speedway, the Cook family of Cedar Lake Speedway near New Richmond, and the Queensland family of Deer Creek (MN) Speedway. The Queenslands won the national ARPY in 2010.
Other past national ARPY winners include several promoters well known in the national short-track community, such as Earl Baltes, the legendary former owner of Eldora (OH) Speedway; JC and Cary Agajanian of that famous racing family, and Jody and Charles Deery, who have successfully operated paved oval tracks in LaCrosse and Rockford, IL.
Recognition from its peers is something the ABC Raceway has been blessed with before. After the 2002 racing season WISSOTA awarded the venerable northern Wisconsin speedplant with its annual Track of the Year award.
The ABC Raceway is located 3-1/2 miles south of Ashland on State Highway 13 and one mile west on Butterworth Road.