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First-time stop here for national touring series
by Nick Gima
Ashland, WI, December 4 — The ABC Raceway is proud to announce that it will host a stop during the World of Outlaws Craftsman Late Model Series’ national tour in 2019.
The event, to be held on Tuesday, July 9, marks the first time in the nearly 55-year history of the award-winning northern Wisconsin speedplant that it will play host to a national touring series.
On December 4, the Series announced its complete schedule for the upcoming season, which starts in early February in Sylvania, GA, and finishes during the second weekend in November in Charlotte, NC. The busy slate encompasses 47 scheduled race events at 36 different short tracks in 16 states, with the historic night in Ashland set just after the tour’s halfway point.
With its race events often aired on a tape-delayed basis on television and live via webcasts, the WoOLMS is one of the most recognized short-track racing series in the country, and many of its drivers have become legendary in the sport.
Representatives of the Series approached ABC Raceway president Eric Erickson in mid-November about the possibility of hosting a date on the ‘19 schedule. Erickson gathered the Raceway’s Board of Directors to discuss the idea just after Thanksgiving, and after a thorough discussion the Board strongly approved the Series’ invitation.
“The World of Outlaws people polled several of its drivers regarding new tracks to explore for the upcoming season,” explained Erickson at the time of the schedule announcement. “Our track was strongly recommended by former Red Clay Classic champion Brent Larson, and many other Late Model drivers who are also familiar with our facility eagerly seconded Brent’s opinion.”
Larson, the 2000 RCC champion from Lake Elmo, MN, just completed an impressive rookie season as a full-time World of Outlaws Craftsman Late Model Series competitor, starting the features at all 40 events that he entered and finishing tenth in the Series’ final 2018 points standings.
The Ashland race will offer $10,000 to the Late Model feature winner of the July 9 event – by far the largest check ever offered to a driver in ABC Raceway history. The stop here follows the prestigious $10,000-to-win “Gopher 50” at the Deer Creek Speedway in Spring Valley, MN, on Saturday, July 6, on the WoO calendar.
The nationally-recognized tour draws many of the top names in Dirt Late Model racing from throughout the country, such as 2018 Series champion Mike Marlar of Winfield, TN; Brandon Sheppard of New Berlin, IL, who was a 13-time feature winner on the tour last season; and third-in-points Chris Madden of Gray Court, SC. Other well-known racers who competed in the Series in 2018 include Rick Eckert of York, PA; Shane Clanton of Zebulon, GA; and Billy Moyer of Batesville, AR.
Many drivers more familiar to ABC Raceway fans have competed with the WoOLMS in recent years, such as Menomonie’s Jimmy Mars; Pat Doar of New Richmond; and 2018 RCC Late Model champ Ricky Weiss of Headingsley, MB. It’s possible that as many as six to eight past Red Clay Classic champions, plus another dozen or so more top-flight area Late Model pilots, could be in attendance that night to compete against the national traveling stars.
The ABC Raceway is located 3-1/2 miles south of Ashland, WI.