June 27th Results

Hughes Tops ABC Northern Renegades A-Main

by Nick Gima

                Ashland, WI, June 27 — Jori Hughes of Tower, MN, took advantage of another driver’s misfortune and held on to win the first-ever Northern Renegades’ traditional sprint car feature at the ABC Raceway on Saturday night.

On a sweltering 85-degree night, the program – presented by the NAPA Auto Parts stores of Ashland & Washburn – included 79 entries, 14 of which were from the regional sprint series, representing primarily northeastern Minnesota. The non-winged sprinters ran off a 20-lap spotlight event delayed by only four yellow-flag slowdowns – but the last of those was most crucial to the final outcome.

After Ken Hron’s spin negated the initial start, Caley Emerson outran his front-row starting mate Ryan Johnson to set the early pace. Paul Schultz looped his ride on lap 4 to halt the proceedings a second time, after which Emerson increased his advantage over the next four-lap green-flag stage. Hughes – whose only other laps on the northern Wisconsin oval came in a WISSOTA Midwest Modified during the 2010 Red Clay Classic – worked his way past Johnson for second during this stretch, while eighth-starting Denny Stordahl, the only Wisconsin native in the field, grabbed fourth from Chris Lewis.

The turning point of the race came on the restart after the lap 8 stoppage for Zach Olson’s spin. At the drop of the next green flag, Emerson’s car refused to go, forcing him to coast into the infield and hand the lead over to Hughes, who held the point for the duration of the run. Hughes and Stordahl drew away from the pack, with Hughes edging Stordahl by less than four-tenths of a second at the final stripe. Hron, who restarted dead last on the grid after his initial spin, made a tremendous drive through the field to finish third, with Johnson well back in fourth and Jake Barsness just nipping Lewis at the line for fifth.

The Northern Renegades are tentatively slated to return to the ABC Raceway on August 15.

Brandon Copp of Brule also got a bit of a gift when a caution flag wiped out a pass for the lead by Cole Spacek and went on to collect his first-ever feature win in the WISSOTA Modified division.

Tyler Luger swept around polestarter Bill Byholm at the start of the “big Mod” 20-lapper and set a strong early pace, with Copp close behind. On lap 5 Copp moved low to work past Byholm, and then he chipped away at Luger’s three-quarters-of-a-second lead before duplicating his inside move to get by Luger on lap 9.

With Copp storming to a 3.3-second lead over the next six laps, seventh-running Tanner Byholm spun to bring about the first caution flag on lap 15. Spacek took second from Luger on the subsequent restart, then made a strong drive to pull alongside Copp and take the lead, but Cole’s dad Jeff Spacek was tagged and spun, collecting Byholm in a hard wreck, before the lap was completed. Copp was replaced at the front, and he did not allow the younger Spacek – or anyone else – to take away his landmark win, pulling away to a 1.6-second cushion over the final laps.

Pat Cook, who started 12th, put up a stout effort to weave through the field, wrestling second from Cole Spacek with three laps to go, while 15th-starting Alex Van Natta also came on strong late to take fourth away from Luger on the final lap.

Four-time defending WISSOTA Super Stock track champ Nick Oreskovich on Mason maintained the lead through several early delays, then held on after a late caution to win his first feature of the season here.

Front-row starters Don Muzzy and Cory Casari battled fiercely during the first lap, but after fourth-place Matt Deragon’s spin, Oreskovich slipped by the lead pair on the outside. A multi-car melee on lap 2 stopped the action, after which Shawn McFadden Jr replaced Casari in third and Dave Flynn followed him into fourth.

On lap 3 Deragon and Patrick Beeksma got together to draw another yellow, but the next 11 laps stayed under green, with Oreskovich widening his margin. McFadden grabbed second right after the restart, but Flynn took that spot away within a couple of laps. Oreskovich had a 1.8-second cushion when Flynn took over second, but that lead shrank by half a second over the next seven laps.

Muzzy’s spin on lap 14, and a Kyle Copp-Andrew Mackey get-together on that restart, put Flynn right on Oreskovich’s trunklid for the dash to the finish, but Oreskovich held on by a half-second for his 22nd career feature win at ABC. Casari battled back for third, and Deragon recovered for fourth ahead of McFadden.

Ashland’s Tyler Vernon took advantage of a long green-flag run over the latter two-thirds of the race to earn his second WISSOTA Midwest Modified feature win of the season.

Rookie Brady Uotinen started from the pole and showed that he has learned a lot from watching his dad, six-time ABC Raceway “big Mod” champ Al Uotinen, as he kept his cool in front of the chaos chasing him over the first seven laps of the 20-lapper. First, Justin Weinberger spun right behind Uotinen while holding second during lap 1, and then two cars deep in the pack looped on lap 2. Two laps later John Kallas took a hard hit into the turn 3 wall, but fortunately he was able to walk away.

On the following restart Vernon made a thread-the-needle, four-wide pass for the lead, but during the move the outside car of the four – Jimmy Latvala – spun his ride to nix Vernon’s dramatics. Over the next three laps Uotinen took on the challenges of Ross Fuhman, Vernon, and Jesse Aho until finally Fuhrman completed and inside move to take the lead on lap 7. Uotinen and Aho swapped second for a couple of laps until Aho finally cleared the rookie on lap 11, with Vernon in tow to third.

With five laps to go Vernon decided to try the high line, and with a three-wide move he swept around both Aho and Fuhrman for the winning pass. He then ran off to a 1.9-second margin of victory ahead of Aho, Fuhrman, and Marcus Dunbar and George Dalbeck, who started side-by-side in row 4.

With points leader Randy Graham running his WISSOTA Pure Stock elsewhere on this night, car owner Dale Coddington of Hayward climbed behind the wheel and swept both the ABC Six-Cylinders heat and feature to keep the car undefeated in 2020.

Coddington, the three-time Sixes track champ, moved quickly from his outside-second-row starting spot to get around Josh Saunders to take over the lead on lap 2, and from there it was an exercise in patience. The field was stopped on lap 3 for fluids leaking from the back of Dalton Truchon’s car, and on the restart the cars of Dominic Hmielewski and Saunders jammed together nose-to-tail and ground to a halt. With four cars left to run and the race cut to nine laps from the originally scheduled 12, Truchon tried a power move to get by Coddington for the lead on the restart but spun himself instead.

The remaining three ran off the final six laps, Coddington coasted to a 1.95-second win over Forrest Schultz and Mathew Rohlfing. The win was the 25th of Coddington’s career at ABC.

In the WISSOTA Hornet 12-lap A-main, AJ House of Cloquet, MN, worked his way past Kristy Marken and ran off to his second win here this season.

After a stop for DeJay Jarecki’s jump of the initial start, Josh Rowe led a tight-knit pack for the first couple of laps, until Marken drove around him for the lead. House, who started eighth, moved into second and immediately challenged for the lead, taking the spot with an inside pass on lap 3.

It took a few laps before House had complete control of the run, eventually winning by a six-length margin over Marken, who had Jarecki threatening over the final few laps. Mitch Kieber and Hunter McDougall completed the top five.

The fastest laps timed in five of the six features were recorded by Stordahl in the sprints (17.715 secs; 76.207 mph); Luger in the Mods (17.336; 77.873); Oreskovich in the Supers (17.322; 77.936); Uotinen in the Mid-Mods (18.056; 74.767); and Coddington in the Sixes (18.603; 72.569).

The ABC Raceway will be off on the Fourth of July but will resume action on Saturday, July 11, with Northern Clearing Inc’s “Racing for a Reason” fundraiser program and Community Celebration event, presented by Little Caesar’s Pizza of Ashland. In addition to free general grandstand admission on that night, fans are encouraged to bring non-perishable food items as contributions to the fundraising efforts, and local organizations with raffle tickets to sell for their fundraising causes will be welcome to set up tables at the track that night.

The WISSOTA Pure Stocks will join the other five regular weekly divisions in action. The pits will open at 4:30 pm and the grandstands will open at 5, with hot laps set for 6:15 and the first green flag of the night scheduled for 7 pm. “Race Night” will air on WBSZ, 93.3 FM, as well as online at www.wbszfm.com, from 4:30 until 6 pm on that Saturday with the latest news and weather information from the track.

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, log on to the track’s website, www.abcraceway.com, or check out the track’s FaceBook page.

RESULTS

NORTHERN RENEGADES TRADITIONAL SPRINTS

Feature: 1-10: Jori Hughes, Tower, MN; Denny Stordahl, Centuria; Ken Hron, Grand Rapids, MN; Ryan Johnson, East Bethel, MN; Jake Barsness, Grand Rapids, MN; Chris Lewis, Grand Rapids, MN; Paul Schultz; Grand Rapids, MN; Josh Braford; Grand Rapids, MN; Brian Trembath; Grand Rapids, MN; Leah Steahl, Mound, MN.

11-12: Zach Olson, Grand Rapids, MN; Caley Emerson, Grand Rapids, MN.

Heat 1: Schultz; Hughes; Johnson; Braford; Lewis; Trembath; Steahl.

Heat 2: Hron; Stordahl; Barsness; Emerson; Olson; Danny Wait Jr, Cohasset, MN.

WISSOTA MODIFIEDS

Feature: 1-10: Brandon Copp, Brule; Pat Cook, Washburn; Cole Spacek, Phillips; Alex Van Natta, Minocqua; Tyler Luger, Oxford; Al Uotinen, Superior; Paul Suzik, Ironwood, MI; Bill Byholm, Glidden; Kelly Checkalski, Poplar; Jake Hiatt, Mason.

11-17: Paul Niznik, Medford; Neil Balduc, Bessemer, MI; Todd Gehl, Solon Springs; Rick Rivord, Superior; Shane Kisling, Butternut; Tanner Byholm, Glidden; Jeff Spacek, Phillips.

Heat 1: Uotinen; Rivord; Copp; B Byholm; Suzik; Checkalski; J Spacek; Balduc; Hiatt.

Heat 2: C Spacek; T Byholm; Gehl; Luger; Niznik; Cook; Kisling; Van Natta.

WISSOTA SUPER STOCKS

Feature: 1-10: Nick Oreskovich, Mason; Dave Flynn, Superior; Cory Casari, Montreal; Matt Deragon, Ashland; Shawn McFadden, Ashland; Kyle Copp, Brule; Terran Spacek, Phillips; Scott Lawrence, Superior; Patrick Beeksma, Ironwood, MI; Don Muzzy, Ironwood, MI.

11-14: David Elliott, Minocqua; Andrew Mackey, Duluth, MN; Aaron Mashlan, Ashland; Steve Stuart, Ashland.

Heat 1: Stuart; Flynn; Oreskovich; Muzzy; Beeksma; Mackey.

Heat 2: Copp; Deragon; McFadden; Casari; Elliott; Mashlan; Spacek.

WISSOTA MIDWEST MODIFIEDS

Feature: 1-10: Tyler Vernon, Ashland; Jesse Aho, Toivola, MI; Ross Fuhrman, Ashland; Marcus Dunbar, Marenisco, MI; George Dalbeck, Wakefield, MI; Brady Uotinen, Superior; Jack Rivord, Superior; Justin Weinberger, Butternut; Tanner Hicks, Ashland; Jimmy Latvala, Solon Springs.

11-17: Paul Ripley, Duluth, MN; Diamond Bressette, Spooner; Ryan Barningham, Bayfield; Bryan Lund, Ashland; John Darwin, Iron River; Jesse Polson, Superior; John Kallas, Hurley.

Heat 1: Fuhrman; Aho; Latvala; Weinberger; Darwin; Barningham; Polson; Ripley.

Heat 2: Vernon; Dunbar; Dalbeck; Uotinen; Rivord; Kallas; Hicks; Bressette.

ABC SIX-CYLINDERS

Feature: 1-6: Dale Coddington, Hayward; Forrest Schultz, Ashland; Mathew Rohlfing, Cable; Dalton Truchon, Ashland; Joshua Saunders, Spooner; Dominic Hmielewski, Marengo.

Heat: Coddington; Saunders; Schultz; Hmielewski; Rohlfing; Truchon.

WISSOTA HORNETS

Feature: 1-10: AJ House, Cloquet, MN; Kristy Marken, Duluth, MN; DeJay Jarecki, Ashland; Mitch Kieber, Ironwood, MI; Hunter McDougall, Duluth, MN; Josh Rowe, Duluth, MN; Casey Fitzpatrick, Two Harbors, MN; Nate Rose, Duluth, MN; Brandon Hummelmeier, Maple; Austin Herr, Grand Rapids, MN.

11: Jake Wammer, Ashland.

Heat 1: House; McDougall; Rowe; Jarecki; Fitzpatrick; Shawn Young, Stone Lake.

Heat 2: Rose; Marken; Kieber; Herr; Hummelmeier; Wammer.

Racing for a Reason July 11th

The ABC Raceway will be off on the Fourth of July but will resume action on Saturday, July 11, with Northern Clearing Inc’s “Racing for a Reason” fundraiser program and Community Celebration event, presented by Little Caesar’s Pizza of Ashland. In addition to free general grandstand admission on that night, fans are encouraged to bring non-perishable food items as contributions to the fundraising efforts, and local organizations with raffle tickets to sell for their fundraising causes will be welcome to set up tables at the track that night.

The WISSOTA Pure Stocks will join the other five regular weekly divisions in action. The pits will open at 4:30 pm and the grandstands will open at 5, with hot laps set for 6:15 and the first green flag of the night scheduled for 7 pm. “Race Night” will air on WBSZ, 93.3 FM, as well as online at www.wbszfm.com, from 4:30 until 6 pm on that Saturday with the latest news and weather information from the track.

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, log on to the track’s website, www.abcraceway.com, or check out the track’s FaceBook page.

June 27th Revised

Due to the Hibbing Speedway opening this weekend, the ABC Raceway has made the very difficult decision to take the Late Models off of our June 27th show and add the Six Cylinders. We apologize for the late decision but in light of Hibbing’s announcement tonight, we feel it’s in the best interests of both tracks to make this change to the show. We are still very excited to welcome the Renegade Non Winged Sprints this Saturday Night! Ticket prices for the main grandstand will be $13 with kids 12 and under free with a paid adult. Pit admission will be $30 at the gate but $25 if you buy in advance on MRP. See you this Saturday!

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, log on to the track’s website, www.abcraceway.com, or check out the track’s FaceBook page.

ABC Raceway to Welcome Renegade Sprints

by Nick Gima

                Ashland, WI, June 24 — For the first time since 2018 – and only the second time ever – members of the Northern Renegade Sprint Car Series will compete at the ABC Raceway on Saturday night.

In a program to be presented by the NAPA Auto Parts Stores of Ashland & Washburn, the northeastern Minnesota-based traditional (non-winged) sprint tour will headline a six-division program on the historic northern Wisconsin red-clay oval. Joining the sprints will be WISSOTA-sanctioned Modifieds, Super Stocks, Midwest Modifieds and Hornets, as well as the Raceway’s own Six-Cylinders for a full night of heat- and feature-race action.

The Northern Renegades cars represent racing in its one of the purest and most traditional forms – inexpensive powertrains placed in lightweight chassis, no wings to create downforce, and huge tires to put the power to the ground. The cars can be quite a handful at speed, so it takes talented drivers paying complete attention to the task at hand.

But with this series, rules regarding engines, tires, suspensions and other components are designed to keep costs as low as possible, resulting in drivers with lower budgets being just as competitive as the “big-time” race teams. And that, in turn, translates to exciting racing.

“We appreciate the support and cooperation of the members of the Northern Renegades tour,” Raceway president Eric Erickson recently said. “These drivers will put on a whale of a show for our fans. It will be thrilling to see these cars fly around our red-clay oval at speeds reaching nearly 100 miles per hour!”

A couple of drivers familiar to local race fans who are currently traveling with the Northern Renegades tour include former WISSOTA Late Model stars Harry Hanson of Eveleth, MN, and Caley Emerson of Grand Rapids, MN.

The ABC Raceway originally planned to include the Late Models with this Saturday’s program, but scheduling conflicts forced the Raceway to change its offering for Saturday. The track’s Sixes have been added in their place; WISSOTA Pure Stocks still will have the night off.

For this Saturday’s show, the pit gates will open at 4:30 pm, the grandstand gates will welcome fans in at 5, hot laps will kick off the on-track action at 6:15, and green-flag racing gets going at 7 pm. Adult grandstand admission tickets are just $13 per person, either at the gate or online via www.myracepass.com, and kids ages 12 and under are admitted free when accompanied by a paying adult. Ten-race punch passes are also available at the Raceway’s ticket window on race nights, and advance pit passes are also available online.

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, log on to the track’s website, www.abcraceway.com, or check out the track’s FaceBook page.

June 20th Mid Mod Series

Race 1 of ABC Mid-Mod Summer Series Washed Out

Late models, sprints coming June 27

by Nick Gima

                Ashland, WI, June 20 — While Saturday’s late-afternoon shower may have been a welcome relief for lawns and gardens, it put a damper on the ABC Raceway’s plans for the opening round of the Ashland Ford-Chrysler Center Summer Series for WISSOTA Midwest Modifieds.

Set to be presented by Zar’s Bar & Banquet Hall of Ashland, the first night of the three-race series at the historic three-eighths-mile red-clay oval, along with the rest of the six-division race program, was cancelled about a half-hour before the scheduled start of the hot-lap practice session. Weather forecasts at the time called for the rains to continue over a two- to three-hour window, which would not allow the Raceway’s track prep crews enough time to run in the moisture so racing action could start at a reasonable hour.

“It was a frustrating decision for us to make,” president Eric Erickson said of the Raceway Board’s verdict. “A lot of work went into this event, just like for every race night here. Our staff wants to put on a show for our drivers and fans, but we also understand that the weather plays a big factor in what we do here.”

The Raceway Board will discuss options regarding a possible rescheduling of the first night of the Series. Races two and three of the Series are set for July 18 and August 8, respectively, and will pay $500 to the winner of the Midwest Mod feature each night. A Series points tally will also be kept, with the top three in points receiving bonuses of $300, $200 and $150 at the conclusion of the Series.

Mid-Mod Series to Begin as ABC Firms Up Schedule

by Nick Gima

                Ashland, WI, June 17 — The ABC Raceway will go from hosting one big event last Saturday night to a couple more in June, as the historic northern Wisconsin dirt track’s schedule for the 2020 season is starting to take shape.

On June 20 the first round of the recently-announced Ashland Ford-Chrysler Center Summer Series for the WISSOTA Midwest Modifieds will take place on the three-eighths-mile red-clay oval located just south of Ashland. The three-night series will see Mid-Mods racing for $500 to win in each night’s feature, with a bonus of $300 to the driver that has collected the most points at series’ end.

The opening round will be presented by Zar’s Bar & Banquet Hall of Ashland, and the first 500 paying adults to come through the grandstand gates for Saturday’s show will receive a free “can koozie,” complements of Ashland Ford-Chrysler Center and the ABC Raceway.

“The folks at Ashland Ford-Chrysler Center have been working with us for a while to put something together,” explained Raceway Board president Eric Erickson recently. “This is going to be a great collaboration that we hope will last for a long time – we get to work with another outstanding local business, and they get an opportunity to support our drivers and fans.”

Ever since the Mid-Mods came into existence with WISSOTA in 2001, the division has seen steady growth in terms of both car counts and fan enthusiasm, and because of that they became a regular offering at the ABC Raceway in 2008. The cars are basically a “baby brother” to the more powerful WISSOTA Modifieds, with a similar chassis design but less powerful drivetrain. Yet there is no doubt about the popularity of the division, as Mid-Mods have consistently generated the highest car counts in WISSOTA.

A great example of the excitement that Mid-Mods can provide came in last Saturday’s feature at ABC, when the division’s defending points champ here – George Dalbeck of Wakefield, MI – came from the 19th starting spot on a grid of 20 cars and sifted his way through the field to make a last-lap pass for his 22nd career feature win at Ashland, and his Raceway-record 19th win in the division.

Over 30 Midwest Mods are expected to compete during the series, which continues on July 18 and concludes on August 8.

In another scheduling update, the ABC Raceway has announced that it will host WISSOTA Late Models and Northern Renegades traditional (non-winged) sprint cars during its June 27 program. The visiting classes will join the WISSOTA Mods, Super Stocks, Midwest Mods and Hornets in what should be a full night of racing action.

“The scheduling has been in flux all season so far, due to the coronavirus pandemic,” Erickson stated regarding the addition of the sprints and Late Models. “Fortunately, we’ve been able to get both sponsors and drivers to support many of these eleventh-hour changes.”

For this Saturday’s show, the pit gates will open at 4:30 pm, the grandstand gates will welcome fans in at 5, hot laps will kick off the on-track action at 6:15, and green-flag racing gets going at 7 pm. Adult grandstand admission tickets are just $11 per person, either at the gate or online via www.myracepass.com, and kids ages 12 and under are admitted free when accompanied by a paying adult. Ten-race punch passes are also available at the Raceway’s ticket window on race nights, and advance pit passes are also available online.

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, log on to the track’s website, www.abcraceway.com, or check out the track’s FaceBook page.

Ashland Ford-Chrysler Center Summer Series for the WISSOTA Midwest Modifieds

The ABC Raceway will host the first of its three-race Ashland Ford-Chrysler Center Summer Series for the WISSOTA Midwest Modifieds on Saturday, June 20. The opening round will be presented by Zar’s Bar & Banquet Hall of Ashland, and during each of the three Series races the track will pay $500 to the winners of the Mid-Mod features, while a $300 bonus awaits the driver who can collect the most points over the three events.

Also, at each of the Summer Series events, the first 500 paid-ticket adults arriving through the grandstand gates will receive a free “can koozie,” complements of Ashland Ford-Chrysler Center and the ABC Raceway. The other two Series races are scheduled for July 18 and August 8

All six regular-weekly divisions will be in action this Saturday. The pits will open at 4:30 pm, with the grandstands opening at 5; hot laps will start at 6:15, and racing is scheduled for 7 pm. Raceway news and weather updates will air during the week on radio stations WBSZ, 93.3 FM; WJJH, 96.7 FM; WNXR, 107.3 FM; and WATW, 101.3 FM and 1400 AM; as well as online via the station websites and on the free Heartland Communications Group radio app.

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, log on to the track’s website, www.abcraceway.com, or check out the track’s FaceBook page.

June 13th Results

Anderson Sails to ABC Street Stock ‘Battle by the Bay’ Win

Lawrence returns to Ashland’s Victory Lane

by Nick Gima

                Ashland, WI, June 13 — After a hard-fought early three-car battle, Parker Anderson took the lead from Cody Kummer with ten laps remaining and pulled away to win the first-ever “Battle by the Bay” WISSOTA Street Stock feature at the ABC Raceway on Saturday night.

                A season-high 104 racers were entered for the program, presented by Anderson’s Body Shop of Phillips. The first appearance for WISSOTA Street Stocks at the historic northern Wisconsin speedplant since late August 2009 evolved from a simple offer to the division to run at ABC (since the home track for most of them – Rice Lake Speedway – had a scheduled Saturday night off) to a big-money special in less than a week.

                Anderson’s Body Shop and other associate sponsors gathered up over $5,300 in purse and bonuses for the Street Stock feature, resulting in a track-record winner’s check for the division of $1,200.

                Anderson, of Phillips, who was coming off a win at Eagle Valley Speedway in Jim Falls the night before, started alongside pole dash winner Cody Kummer on the front row, and throughout the first 15 of the 25 scheduled laps Anderson gave Kummer all he could handle, with Andrew Hanson running right on their rear bumper. The lead trio ran in extremely close formation as they pulled away from the rest of the 18-car field over the first five laps, before Kolby Kiehl’s spin brought out the first yellow flag.

                Jim Randall, who restarted in fourth, tried to join the lead battle but spun to slow the pace after lap 6, and Hunter Anderson’s spin collected a couple of his fellow racers before lap 7 was scored. But after Hunter Van Guilder’s loop on lap 9 brought about another caution stop, the rest of the run went uninterrupted.

                By lap 14 Kummer and Anderson had gained some separation from Hanson, and Anderson’s persistent efforts to nose by on the outside finally paid off when he edged ahead under the flagstand at the end of lap 15. From there Anderson stretched his lead to 3.25 seconds at the checkers for his first-ever feature win at the same track where his grandfather Bob won a Six-Cylinder points title in 1994. Kummer finished just ahead of Zach Manley, who had started last on the 18-car grid to earn hard-charger honors. Hanson, in his first race at ABC since his 2017 Pure Stock points title here, and Nick Traynor completed the top five.

                Scott Lawrence’s last feature win in Ashland seemed like nearly as long ago as the last Street Stock race here. “I nearly forgot how to get here,” Lawrence half-joked in Victory Lane after winning his first WISSOTA Super Stock feature at ABC since early July 2014.

                After a huge crash that collected ten of the 18 starters for the 20-lap A-main, Lawrence – the 14-time track champion from Superior who won 11 Super Stock titles in a row here from 2004-’14 – started on the pole and edged ahead of Andrew Mackey for the initial lead. Shawn McFadden Jr and Terran Spacek provided Lawrence with plenty of pressure before 2019 ABC Modified champ Steve Stuart, driving Greg Kuklinski’s car, collected visiting Tucker Quinn to bring out a quick second yellow flag on lap 2.

                Another big wreck at the drop of the next green flag began with contact between Mackey and Dave Flynn and eliminated or badly damaged several front-runners, but the race stayed under green for the final 18 laps, during most of which Lawrence and Spacek ran side-by-side and swapped the lead on nearly every lap. Stuart had battled back from the early back-of-the-pack penalty and swept past Cory Casari for third with six laps to go, as Lawrence finally wrestled control of the lead from Spacek.

                Over the final two laps Stuart overtook Spacek and tried to reel in Lawrence, but he couldn’t get any closer than four-tenths of a second away at the checkered. Spacek claimed third, comfortably ahead of 11th-starting Matt Deragon and 15th-starting Tristan LaBarge.

                The 55th win of his career at ABC ties Lawrence for fourth on the track’s all-time feature win list with another driver from Superior – Raceway Hall-of-Famer Dick Christman.

                Another veteran multi-time track champ from Superior, Al Uotinen, seemed to have the WISSOTA Modified 20-lap headliner well in hand, but a hard-charging Neil Balduc changed that outcome in dramatic fashion.

                Outside front-row starter Paul Niznik maintained the lead through two early restarts – after Jeff Spacek pounded the turn-1 guardrail hard after the first lap, and after Alex Van Natta’s spin in traffic during lap 2. But Uotinen, who owns six “big Mod” points titles at Ashland, worked his way by Niznik on the low groove after a slight bobble by the leader, and eventually he cruised out to a lead of over two full seconds on the field at mid-race.

                Balduc’s car, which started outside on the fourth row, was hooked up to the fast, wide, sticky red-clay oval, and he weaved his way into second place on lap 11. Balduc then shaved huge chunks of Uotinen’s advantage away until, on lap 17, he made a strong outside sweep around Uotinen for the lead. Uotinen fought back and, on a couple of occasions, edged ahead, but at the stripe Balduc, from Bessemer, MI, held a winning margin of less than four-tenths of a second – not much more than a car-length.

                Cole Spacek followed Balduc through the field to finish third, with Brandon Copp and Jeff Tardy close behind.

                The WISSOTA Midwest Modified feature also saw a strong run through traffic for the win, as defending division champ George Dalbeck of Wakefield, MI, drove from the 19th starting spot on the 20-car grid in his first night back on the Ashland track.

                Polestarter Kennedy Swan tried to keep Jesse Aho from passing her during the race’s early stages, but the veteran racer overtook the 13-year-old on lap 2 and brought Jimmy Latvala along to second. Swan’s spin and crash on lap 4 collected several cars and damaged hers enough to end her night, but with the green flag displayed Aho had his hands full with challenges from Latvala, Tanner Hicks and Marcus Dunbar.

                After first-nighter Jesse Raffaelli’s car stalled on lap 7, Dunbar charged into second place, and after visiting Guy Carley’s spin on lap 8, Dunbar made an inside pass on Aho stick for the lead, with Latvala following along to second. One lap later, Dalbeck moved into a tightly-packed top-five with a pass of Tyler Vernon.

                Raffaelli’s second stop on the track slowed the pace on lap 12, and after a multi-car spin on that restart, Aho and Latvala began an exciting duel for second, allowing Dunbar to sprint away. But debris on the track brought the field back to the leader with four laps left, and when Dunbar slipped up high in the first corner after the restart, Aho took over at the point, towing Dalbeck and Latvala by as well. With the white flag in the air Dalbeck worked past Aho for the lead and held on by a car-length for his track-best 19th career Mid-Mod win here.

                Dunbar recovered to overtake Aho for second, with Latvala and Jack Rivord not far behind.

                Trego’s Randy Graham stayed undefeated in the ABC Six-Cylinders in 2020, winning both the division’s heat and feature for the third time in as many nights.

                Graham had his work cut out for him in the feature but bided his time while running fifth in the six-car field early in the 12-lapper. After Dalton Truchon’s spin on lap 3 due to fluids spilled on the track, Graham sliced between second-running Dominic Hmielewski and leader Jordan Pearce to grab the lead during lap 4. Graham then withstood Pearce’s lap 8 spin and subsequent restart for his 29th career win, and 18th in the Sixes here, by 1.6 seconds over Truchon, Hmielewski, Forrest Schultz and Pearce.

                Visitor Travis Hazelton led the early going of the 12-lap WISSOTA Pure Stock feature, and he maintained his advantage over Nicholas Hazelton, Graham and James Vendela after a lap 2 stoppage for Tyler Kachinske’s spin. But when the leader broke with eight laps to go, Vendela sped by while others brake-checked to avoid heavy contact, and the second-generation driver from South Range ran away to his second career feature win at ABC.

                Graham recovered to finish a distant second, while Tanner Gehl snuck through to claim third, a ways ahead of Nicholas Hazelton and Devin Fries.

                Derek Dunbar grabbed the early lead from the pole in the 12-lap WISSOTA Hornet A-main, ahead of some tight-formation racing that fanned out to four- and even five-wide. A grinding crash involving Josh Rowe and Isiah Oakgrove brought about a stoppage of the race on lap 2, after which Jace Wiarda and AJ House put the pressure on Dunbar.

                House worked the low groove to get by Dunbar on lap 3, with Wiarda in tow to second, and two laps later Wiarda made a low-lane move of his own stick to get by House for the winning pass. After Dunbar’s car got caught up on the turn 3 infield marker tires and spun on lap 9, Wiarda, of Duluth, MN, ran away unchallenged for his first career feature win, well ahead of House, Casey Fitzpatrick, Kristy Marken and Hunter McDougall.

                The associate sponsors who contributed so generously to the success of the “Battle by the Bay” included Phillips Lanes, GA Dalbeck Logging, ICS Services LLC, Factory 43 Racing, Spacek Lawn Care, Butch Kummer, Copp Racing, Dark Side Racing, Passuello Racing, Bogdanovic Racing, 10-Pin Racing, Satch’s Auto Body, Ashland Ford-Chrysler Center, Hanson Trucking, Weber Works Construction, Hanco Utilities, Sevel’s Lawn Care, Trackside Collectibles, Dan Kozak, and Luger Trucking.

                The fastest laps posted in each of the feature races were by Niznik in the Mods (17.100 secs; 78.947 mph), Stuart in the Supers (17.407; 77.555), Dalbeck in the Mid-Mods (17.193; 78.520), Parker Anderson in the Streeters (18.509; 72.937), and Graham in the Sixes (18.643; 72.413).

                The ABC Raceway will host the first of its three-race Ashland Ford-Chrysler Center Summer Series for the WISSOTA Midwest Modifieds on Saturday, June 20. The opening round will be presented by Zar’s Bar & Banquet Hall of Ashland, and during each of the three Series races the track will pay $500 to the winners of the Mid-Mod features, while a $300 bonus awaits the driver who can collect the most points over the three events.

                Also, at each of the Summer Series events, the first 500 paid-ticket adults arriving through the grandstand gates will receive a free “can koozie,” complements of Ashland Ford-Chrysler Center and the ABC Raceway. The other two Series races are scheduled for July 18 and August 8

                All six regular-weekly divisions will be in action this Saturday. The pits will open at 4:30 pm, with the grandstands opening at 5; hot laps will start at 6:15, and racing is scheduled for 7 pm. Raceway news and weather updates will air during the week on radio stations WBSZ, 93.3 FM; WJJH, 96.7 FM; WNXR, 107.3 FM; and WATW, 101.3 FM and 1400 AM; as well as online via the station websites and on the free Heartland Communications Group radio app.

                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, log on to the track’s website, www.abcraceway.com, or check out the track’s FaceBook page.

RESULTS

WISSOTA MODIFIEDS

                Feature: 1-10: Neil Balduc, Bessemer, MI; Al Uotinen, Superior; Cole Spacek, Phillips; Brandon Copp, Brule; Jeff Tardy, Hibbing, MN; Alex Van Natta, Minocqua; Paul Niznik, Medford; Todd Gehl, Solon Springs; Pat Cook, Washburn; Paul Suzik, Ironwood, MI.

                11-15: Tyler Luger, Oxford; Jake Hiatt, Mason; Shane Kisling, Butternut; Mike Anderson, Jim Falls; Jeff Spacek, Phillips.

                Heat 1: Tardy; Kisling; Balduc; J Spacek; Van Natta; Cook; Anderson; Luger.

                Heat 2: C Spacek; Copp; Niznik; Uotinen; Gehl; Suzik; Hiatt.

WISSOTA SUPER STOCKS

                Feature: 1-10: Scott Lawrence, Superior; Steve Stuart, Ashland; Terran Spacek, Phillips; Matt Deragon, Ashland; Tristan LaBarge, Kelly Lake, MN; Shawn McFadden, Ashland; Andrew Mackey, Duluth, MN; Patrick Beeksma

Ironwood, MI; Nick Oreskovich, Mason; Kyle Copp, Brule.

                11-18: Rita Anderson, South Range; Cory Casari, Montreal; Aaron Mashlan, Ashland; Tucker Quinn, Ladysmith; Don Muzzy, Ironwood, MI; Austin Workman, Dallas; Josh Bach, Barron; Dave Flynn, Superior.

                Heat 1: Oreskovich; McFadden; Lawrence; Beeksma; Quinn; Deragon; Muzzy; LaBarge; Bach.

                Heat 2: Spacek; Flynn; Stuart; Mackey; Casari; Copp; Anderson; Workman; Mashlan.

WISSOTA MIDWEST MODIFIEDS

                Feature: 1-10: George Dalbeck, Wakefield, MI; Marcus Dunbar, Marenisco, MI; Jesse Aho, Toivola, MI; Jimmy Latvala, Solon Springs; Jack Rivord, Superior; Tanner Hicks, Ashland; Tyler Vernon, Ashland; Brady Uotinen, Superior; Gunner Peterson, South Range; Justin Weinberger, Butternut.

                11-20: Ross Fuhrman, Ashland; Jake Stai, New Auburn; Guy Carley, Eagle River; Steve Altman, Mercer; John Darwin, Iron River; Jesse Polson, Superior; Ryan Barningham, Bayfield; Paul Ripley, Duluth, MN; Jesse Raffaelli, Toivola, MI; Kennedy Swan, Chippewa Falls.

                Heat 1: Fuhrman; Latvala; Peterson; Carley; Barningham; Dalbeck; Stai; John Kallas, Hurley.

                Heat 2: Dunbar; Aho; Swan; Weinberger; Ripley; Polson; Diamond Bressette, Spooner; Raffaelli.

                Heat 3: Rivord; Vernon; Hicks; Altman; Darwin; Uotinen.

WISSOTA STREET STOCKS

                Feature: 1-10: Parker Anderson, Phillips; Cody Kummer, Medford; Zach Manley, Chetek; Andrew Hanson, Iron River; Nick Traynor, Barron; Adam Soltis, Ladysmith; Jay Kesan, Weyerhaeuser; Kevin Bogdanovic, Wausau; Jim Randall, Rice Lake; Alex Minks, Bruce.

                11-18: Hunter Anderson, Phillips; Hunter VanGilder, Rice Lake; Joseph Ott, Spooner; Ron Hanestad, Glenwood City; William Fisher, Shell Lake; Kolby Kiehl, Barron; James Clausen, Barron; John Kallas, Hurley.

                Heat 1: Soltis; Hanson; Traynor; Kiehl; Hanestad.

                Heat 2: P Anderson; Randall; VanGilder; Kesan; Fisher; Ott.

                Heat 3: Kummer; H Anderson; Minks; Bogdanovic; Clausen; Manley.

                Pole Dash: Kummer; P Anderson; Hanson; Soltis; H Anderson; Randall.

ABC SIX-CYLINDERS

                Feature: 1-6: Randy Graham, Trego; Dalton Truchon, Ashland; Dominic Hmielewski, Marengo; Forrest Schultz, Ashland; Jordan Pearce, Ashland; Mathew Rohlfing, Cable.

                Heat: Graham; Schultz; Truchon; Pearce; Hmielewski; Rohlfing; Joshua Saunders, Spooner.

WISSOTA PURE STOCKS

                Feature: 1-8: James Vendela, South Range; Randy Graham, Trego; Tanner Gehl, Solon Springs; Nicholas Hazelton, Chippewa Falls; Devin Fries, Phillips; Tyler Kachinske, Duluth, MN; RJ Holly, Marengo; Travis Hazelton, Chippewa Falls.

                Heat: T Hazelton; Vendela; Graham; Gehl; Holly; N Hazelton; Kachinske; Fries.

WISSOTA HORNETS

                Feature: 1-10: Jase Wiarda, Duluth, MN; AJ House, Cloquet, MN; Casey Fitzpatrick, Two Harbors, MN; Kristy Marken, Duluth, MN; Hunter McDougall, Duluth, MN; Reid Johnson, Duluth, MN; DeJay Jarecki, Ashland; Ricky Helms, Hibbing, MN; Nate Rose, Duluth, MN; Mitch Kieber, Ironwood, MI.

                11-15: Cully Butterfield, Trego; Derek Dunbar, Iron River; Isiah Oakgrove, Bessemer, MI; Brandon Hummelmeier, Maple; Josh Rowe, Duluth, MN.

                Heat 1: House; Marken; Fitzpatrick; Butterfield; Johnson; Rose; Oakgrove.

                Heat 2: Wiarda; McDougall; Dunbar; Jarecki; Hummelmeier; Rowe; Helms; Kieber.

Street Stocks Return June 13th

Street Stocks Coming to ABC for Big-Money Special

by Nick Gima

                Ashland, WI, June 9 — For the first time in 11 years, WISSOTA Street Stocks will compete on the ABC Raceway’s red-clay oval, as part of a special event this Saturday night.

Anderson’s Body Shop of Phillips approached Raceway Board president Eric Erickson early this week to propose an appearance by the Streeters, as the division’s usual Saturday night haunt in this region – the Rice Lake Speedway – will be taking the upcoming weekend off. Plans developed quickly, and within only a couple of days what started out as simply adding the class to the traditional offering of ABC’s WISSOTA-sanctioned Modifieds, Super Stocks, Midwest Modifieds, Pure Stocks and Hornets, and the track’s Six-Cylinders, has become the first-ever $1,000-to-win “Battle by the Bay” for the Street Stocks.

“This all came about so quickly,” Erickson explained on Tuesday. “The Andersons have been so enthusiastic and helpful, and they have done all of the hard work, contacting potential sponsors and encouraging drivers to make the trip to Ashland this Saturday.

“It’s been a long time since the Street Stocks raced here. This will be a pretty special night.”

As of Tuesday night, at least fourteen Street Stock drivers had registered in advance to be a part of that division’s first race program here since August 2009, when the Raceway ended a 42-year relationship with the class dating back to the track’s earliest seasons. That number could grow to at least 20 by raceday.

The support for this event has been tremendous, thanks to title sponsor Anderson’s Body Shop as well as associate sponsors Phillips Lanes, GA Dalbeck Logging, ICS Services LLC, Factory 43 Racing, Spacek Lawn Care, Butch Kummer, Copp Racing, Dark Side Racing, Passuello Racing, Bogdanovic Racing, 10-Pin Racing, Satch’s Auto Body, Ashland Ford-Chrysler Center, Hanson Trucking, Weber Works Construction, Hanco Utilities, Sevel’s Lawn Care, and Trackside Collectibles.

The feature winner will receive a track-record check for Street Stocks of $1,000, while the minimum a driver can earn to start the main event is $100. The total purse, while still not yet finalized, is estimated at well over $4,000.

Dan Kozak has contributed an additional $100 bonus for the Street Stock feature’s “hard charger,” and Luger Trucking will pay another $100 to the Streeter driver that tows the farthest to compete in Saturday’s show.

Among those expected to compete is Andrew Hanson, the ABC Raceway’s 2017 Pure Stock champion from Iron River, who is the early-season leader in Street Stock points at Rice Lake. Another pre-registered driver is Jim Randall of Rice Lake – the only driver regularly competing in the division who has ever won a Street Stock (or the related Hobby Stock class) feature at Ashland.

John Kallas of Hurley, who has been competing in the WISSOTA Midwest Modified division since shortly after the Street Stock class was cut from ABC’s regular offerings, has eight career feature wins in Streeters and Hobby Stocks and has registered a Street Stock for this Saturday’s show.

The pit gates will open at 4:30 pm, the grandstand gates will welcome fans in at 5, hot laps will kick off the on-track action at 6:15, and green-flag racing gets going at 7 pm. Adult grandstand admission tickets are just $11 per person, either at the gate or online via www.myracepass.com, and kids ages 12 and under are admitted free when accompanied by a paying adult. Ten-race punch passes are also available at the Raceway’s ticket window on race nights. Advance pit passes are also available online.

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, log on to the track’s website, www.abcraceway.com, or check out the track’s FaceBook page.

STREET STOCK BATTLE OF THE BAY!

WISSOTA Street Stocks return the track this Saturday June 13th! $900 to win!

STREET STOCK Battle of the Bay! The ABC Raceway is excited to welcome the Wissota Street Stocks!

Street Stock Battle of the Bay purse!

1st -$1,180 2nd-$660 3rd-$585 4th-$260 5th-$210 6th-$240 7th-$175 8th-$155 9th-$165 10th-$155 11th-$120 12th-$210 13th-$105 14th-$105 15th-$105 16th-$105 17th-$105 18th-$105 19th-$100 20th-$100 21st-$100 22nd-$100 23rd-$100 24th-$100

Thank you to Anderson’s Body Shop for coordinating this event with us and getting all of the fine sponsors onboard!

DRIVERS Pre-register Here 

Purchase advance tickets Here

Fast Racing June 13th

ABC Raceway Kid’s Club

Due to COVID-19 and county health department guidelines on gatherings and social distancing the ABC Raceway and Kids Club are saddened to announce that the Little Caesar’s “Kids Meet the Drivers” night has been postponed to a possible later date this season. Thank you for your understanding.

The ABC Raceway will host another six-divisions race program on Saturday, June 13. The pits will open at 4:30 pm, the grandstands will open at 5, and hot laps will start at 6:15, with racing scheduled for 7 pm. Throughout the week, Heartland Communications Group will air Raceway news and weather updates throughout the Chequamegon Bay area on its radio stations, as well as online via the station websites, and on its free Heartland Communications Group radio app.

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, or log on to the track’s website, www.abcraceway.com.

Chamber / Military Appreciation Night

Dunbar, House Nab First ABC Feature Wins

Spacek, McFadden take checkers; Graham doubles up

by Nick Gima

                Ashland, WI, June 6 — Another great crowd was on hand to enjoy a fast-paced stock car racing program and celebrate two first-time feature winners at the ABC Raceway on Saturday night.

Presented by the Ashland Area Chamber of Commerce, the 77-entry show was sped up considerably by the fact that the final 67 of the scheduled 94 feature laps – including the last four full A-mains – clicked off without a single caution flag, a testament to some fine driving by the competitors and another outstanding job by the track prep crew.

The first of those to benefit from the excellent track conditions was Marcus Dunbar of Marenisco, MI. The son of long-time veteran and former ABC champion Duane Dunbar, Marcus gained control early in the 20-lap WISSOTA Midwest Modified headliner and survived a couple of mid-race cautions to cruise to his first career feature win at the historic three-eighths-mile red-clay oval.

Jimmy Latvala sped around rookie polestarter Jesse Polson to set the pace early, and although Latvala was under attack by Ross Fuhrman, Dunbar, Justin Weinberger and others often over the first few laps, he was saved by several yellow-flag stoppages for a variety of spins and crashes, and he was still scored as the leader when the green flag came out again to restart lap 3.

That was when Dunbar, working the outer line, worked his way around Latvala and began to run away from the field. Over a relatively long green-flag run Dunbar extended his lead to almost three-and-a-half seconds, until a four-car mess on lap 9 slowed the pace.

On that restart Steve Altman, whose car was involved in the previous incident, ground to a stop against the front-stretch wall before another circuit was scored. But from there Dunbar was not to be denied, pulling away over the final ten laps to a full-second advantage on Jack Rivord, who had worked his way around Latvala for second on the final restart. Eleventh-starting visitor Justin Jones and opening-night winner Tyler Vernon completed the top five.

The other first-time feature winner on this night was AJ House, who has been a tough customer both here and at Superior over the first few weeks of the season. The fourth-year racer made the long haul from Cloquet, MN, finally pay off with a main-event win in the entry-level WISSOTA Hornets.

The non-stop 12-lap run began with the field scrambling to avoid polestarter Mitch Kieber, whose car slowed dramatically after he led most of the first lap. Caleb Decker took advantage of Kieber’s misfortune, with Hunter McDougall right in his wake, but a lap later House had worked his way under McDougall for second, and over laps 4 and 5 House battled with Decker before taking over at the point.

Over the balance of the run House steadily built up a four-car-length advantage before scoring his landmark win, with Decker holding second throughout. McDougall finished just ahead of DeJay Jarecki and Derek Ament in the battle for third.

Cole Spacek of Phillips last landed in ABC’s Victory Lane in 2016 at the wheel of a Midwest Mod; on Saturday he scored his first-ever win in a “big” WISSOTA Modified at the Ashland track.

In the first of the four straight non-stop feature races, Spacek started on the pole, with Al Uotinen to his outside and Cole’s dad Jeff Spacek directly behind him, accounting for a full dozen ABC track championships between the pair. But the younger Spacek was completely up to the challenge, checking out to a huge 1.87-second lead on Uotinen within a mere three laps.

Eighth-starting visitor Mike Anderson got around Uotinen on lap 4 and attempted to reel in the leader, but Spacek maintained his advantage throughout the 20-lap go, while Alex Van Natta also slipped past Uotinen during the first half of the race for third. Spacek had tracked down the tail end of the field by the time he took the white flag, and he was still about a second-and-a-half ahead of Anderson at the checkered. Van Natta was comfortably ahead of Pat Cook for third, with Neil Balduc just behind in fifth.

Shawn McFadden Jr of Ashland also started on the pole and led every lap of his feature, but his victory in the 20-lap WISSOTA Super Stock A-main was a little more dramatic at the final stripe. McFadden won the early battle with fellow front-row starter Scott Lawrence, and when Cory Casari came up to challenge Lawrence, it allowed McFadden to pull away briefly.

Don Muzzy’s lap 4 spin drew the field back to McFadden’s rear bumper, and Lawrence’s shot at the lead was cut short by Kevin Salin’s spin on lap 5.

The lap 7 caution flag for debris would be the last yellow of the night, and McFadden pushed his lead out to 2.2 seconds over the next five laps. But the early yellows also kept eighth-starting Dave Flynn close to the front, and on lap 12 Flynn slipped low past Lawrence for second. Over the final eight laps Flynn trimmed all but a half-second off of McFadden’s huge cushion, flying around the upper lines of the track while McFadden protected the bottom.

“When I saw the 29 in second on the scoreboard, I figured if he was gonna beat me I was gonna make him go around the outside,” McFadden said during his first visit to ABC’s Victory Lane in nearly two full years.

Terran Spacek edged a late-charging Andrew Mackey at the line for third, while Casari clawed his way by Lawrence for fifth.

Trego’s Randy Graham topped two of the night’s caution-free features on this night – in the WISSOTA Pure Stocks and ABC Six-Cylinders, where he is the defending track champion in both divisions. In the ten-lap Pure Stock run Graham worked hard over the first three laps to displace rookie polestarter Tanner Gehl for pacesetter honors, and then he really didn’t draw away from Gehl until the closing laps.

As the lead pair ran off, Tyler Kachinske took third away from first-nighter Brandon Hummelmeier. Graham was not much more than about five car-lengths up on Gehl at the checkered flag, with Kachinske quite a distance back. Hummelmeier took the checkers fourth, but his car didn’t meet the minimum post-race weight requirement, allowing two other first-night runners – rookies RJ Holly and David Pederson – to claim fourth and fifth.

In the Sixes feature Graham had even more work to do, running in a tight pack with Dalton Truchon and Forrest Schultz behind polestarter Joshua Saunders before taking advantage of an opening on lap 2 to edge by Schultz into third. Within a lap he copied that inside pass to take second from Truchon.

It took a couple more tours before Graham worked by Saunders for the lead, but from there he led the final seven of the 12 scheduled laps for the win, with Saunders right on the champ’s trunklid until falling back to a one-second deficit at the finish. Schultz, Truchon and Jordan Pearce filled the top five.

Cole Spacek (Mods, 17.519 secs, 77.059 mph), McFadden (Supers, 17.871, 75.541), Dunbar (Mid-Mods, 17.447, 77.377), and Graham (Sixes, 19.080, 70.755) posted the fastest lap times in their respective features.

The ABC Raceway will host another six-divisions race program on Saturday, June 13. The pits will open at 4:30 pm, the grandstands will open at 5, and hot laps will start at 6:15, with racing scheduled for 7 pm. Throughout the week, Heartland Communications Group will air Raceway news and weather updates throughout the Chequamegon Bay area on its radio stations, as well as online via the station websites, and on its free Heartland Communications Group radio app.

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, or log on to the track’s website, www.abcraceway.com.

RESULTS

WISSOTA MODIFIEDS

Feature: 1-10: Cole Spacek, Phillips; Mike Anderson, Jim Falls; Alex Van Natta, Minocqua; Pat Cook, Washburn; Neil Balduc, Bessemer, MI; Jeff Spacek, Phillips; Paul Niznik, Medford; Jeff Tardy, Hibbing, MN; Al Uotinen, Superior; Jake Hiatt, Mason.

11-15: Brandon Copp, Brule; Tyler Luger, Oxford; Paul Suzik, Ironwood, MI; Bill Byholm, Glidden; Shane Kisling, Butternut.

Heat 1: Anderson; Suzik; Balduc; Van Natta; Luger; Kisling; Byholm; Hiatt.

Heat 2: C Spacek; Cook; J Spacek; Uotinen; Niznik; Copp; Tardy.

WISSOTA SUPER STOCKS

Feature: 1-10: Shawn McFadden, Ashland; Dave Flynn, Superior; Terran Spacek, Phillips; Andrew Mackey, Duluth, MN; Cory Casari, Montreal; Scott Lawrence, Superior; Andy Grymala, Superior; Nick Oreskovich, Mason; Don Muzzy, Ironwood, MI; Patrick Beeksma, Ironwood, MI.

11-13: Kevin Salin, Iron, MN; Rita Anderson, South Range; Matt Deragon, Ashland.

Heat 1: Spacek; Grymala; Flynn; Deragon; Mackey; Beeksma; Dan Severson, Ironton, MN; Kyle Copp, Brule.

Heat 2: Oreskovich; Casari; McFadden; Lawrence; Muzzy; Salin; Anderson; Aaron Mashlan, Ashland.

WISSOTA MIDWEST MODIFIEDS

Feature: 1-10: Marcus Dunbar, Marenisco, MI; Jack Rivord, Superior; Jimmy Latvala, Solon Springs; Justin Jones, Bemidji, MN; Tyler Vernon, Ashland; Ross Fuhrman, Ashland; Justin Weinberger, Butternut; Jesse Aho, Toivola, MI; Brady Uotinen, Superior; Ryan Barningham, Bayfield.

11-17: Jesse Polson, Superior; John Darwin, Iron River; Paul Ripley, Duluth, MN; Jesse Young, Stone Lake; John Kallas, Hurley; Steve Altman, Mercer; Kennedy Swan, Chippewa Falls.

Heat 1: Dunbar; Weinberger; Fuhrman; Darwin; Altman; Uotinen; Tanner Hicks, Ashland.

Heat 2: Rivord; Vernon; Latvala; Jones; Barningham.

Heat 3: Aho; Swan; Polson; Kallas; Ripley; Diamond Bressette, Spooner.

ABC SIX-CYLINDERS

Feature: 1-7: Randy Graham, Trego; Joshua Saunders, Spooner; Forrest Schultz, Ashland; Dalton Truchon, Ashland; Jordan Pearce, Ashland; Dominic Hmielewski, Marengo; Mathew Rohlfing, Cable.

Heat: Graham; Schultz; Truchon; Pearce; Saunders; Hmielewski; Rohlfing.

WISSOTA PURE STOCKS

Feature: 1-5: Randy Graham Trego; Tanner Gehl, Solon Springs; Tyler Kachinske, Duluth, MN; RJ Holly, Marengo; David Pederson, Hermantown, MN.

Heat: Graham; Gehl; Brandon Hummelmeier, Maple; Holly; Pederson.

WISSOTA HORNETS

Feature: 1-10: AJ House, Cloquet, MN; Caleb Decker, Mahtowa, MN; Hunter McDougall, Duluth, MN; DeJay Jarecki, Ashland; Derek Ament, Barnum, MN; Nate Rose, Duluth, MN; Casey Fitzpatrick, Two Harbors, MN; Cully Butterfield, Trego; Kristy Marken, Duluth, MN; Isiah Oakgrove, Bessemer, MI.

11-14: Shawn Young, Stone Lake; Josh Rowe, Duluth, MN; Derek Dunbar, Iron River; Mitch Kieber, Ironwood, MI.

Heat 1: Jarecki; House; Decker; Rose; Butterfield; Fitzpatrick; Rowe.

Heat 2: Ament; McDougall; Kieber; Marken; Dunbar; Oakgrove.

Ashland Chamber Night June 6th

Season Continues for ABC Raceway on Saturday

by Nick Gima

                Ashland, WI, June 3 — As bits and pieces of the 2020 stock car racing season schedule continue to fall into place for the ABC Raceway, night number two of the season will be held this coming Saturday night.

The Ashland Area Chamber of Commerce will present a full night of heat and feature races for WISSOTA-sanctioned Modifieds, Super Stocks, Midwest Modifieds, Pure Stocks and Hornets, and the Raceway’s own ABC Six-Cylinders.

A huge crowd came out for last Saturday’s season opener here, with fans and some of the 79 racing entries come from as far away as northern and central Minnesota, the Twin Cities area and the Chippewa Valley region to join the Raceway’s traditional contingent from Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, the Twin Ports, Wisconsin’s Price and Taylor Counties, and throughout the Chequamegon Bay area.

“Our opening night was an unexpectedly huge success,” noted ABC Raceway Board of Directors president Eric Erickson shortly after Saturday’s program was completed. “We were so appreciative of the racers and fans coming from such long distances to visit our track. We certainly hope they will come back as often as possible.

“And I can’t say enough about our all-volunteer work crew. The hard work and intense planning in the face of the current situation, with the COVID-19 pandemic creating so many obstacles … everyone went above and beyond the call to put together a successful race program.”

The on-track action was entertaining throughout the evening in all six classes, despite smaller numbers of entries in a couple of the divisions. In the WISSOTA Modifieds, Pat Cook of Washburn took advantage of an anxious Brandon Copp of Brule and held on for the feature win, while Superior’s Dave Flynn started out front and ran away from the field – including no less than defending national champion Kevin Burdick of Proctor – in the WISSOTA Super Stocks A-main.

Tyler Vernon of Ashland looked strong as he walked away with the WISSOTA Midwest Modified headliner, and DeJay Jarecki, also of Ashland, earned his first career feature win to start his 13th season of racing as he took the checkers in the WISSOTA Hornet main event.

Despite single-digit car counts in the WISSOTA Pure Stocks and ABC Six-Cylinders, the feature races in each class held some tense moments. In the Sixes, Ashland’s Forrest Schultz gave Randy Graham a sincere threat for the lead after a mid-race restart, but the defending division champ from Trego prevailed for the win. And Jared Akervik held off challenges from both Graham and impressive rookie Tanner Gehl of Solon Springs in order to collect the victory in the Pure Stocks.

While the highly-modified 2020 schedule is still being finalized, weekly racing action will continue on the historic northern Wisconsin track each Saturday night throughout the month of June, with plans currently in the works to add WISSOTA Late Models to the program on Saturday, June 27. With opportunities rather limited for WISSOTA’s marquee division around the region, the intent is to offer those racers a chance to race on the three-eighths-mile red-clay oval.

“We hope to draw Late Model drivers who might regularly race at tracks in Menomonie, Proctor, Hibbing and others,” Erickson said. “We’re looking forward to having them at our track, and we hope fans will appreciate the affordable grandstand price ($13) we have set for them.”

For this Saturday night, the pit and grandstand gates will open at 5 pm; hot laps will kick off the on-track action at 6:15, and green-flag racing gets going at 7 pm. Adult grandstand admission tickets are just $11 per person, either at the gate or online via www.myracepass.com, and kids ages 12 and under are admitted free when accompanied by a paying adult. Ten-race punch passes are also available at the Raceway’s ticket window on race nights. Advance pit passes are also available online.

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, or log on to the track’s website, www.abcraceway.com.

The Ashland Area Chamber of Commerce will present the race program slated for Saturday, June 6, at the ABC Raceway. All six divisions will once again be in action. The grandstands and pits will open at 5 pm, hot laps will start at 6:15, and the first green flag of the night is scheduled for 7 pm. Throughout the week, the Heartland Communications Group of radio stations will air Raceway news and weather updates in the Chequamegon Bay area, online on the station websites, and via the free Heartland Communications Group radio app.

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, or log on to the track’s website, www.abcraceway.com.

NSB Season Opener Results

Jarecki Takes First Feature Win on ABC Raceway Opening Night

Cook, Flynn, Vernon, Akervik, Graham also score

by Nick Gima

                Ashland, WI, May 30 — Despite the chaos and concerns that the coronavirus pandemic has caused in recent weeks, the ABC Raceway opened its 56th stock car racing season in front of a great turnout on Saturday night.

                During the program, presented by the Northern State Bank of Ashland, the big crowd watched 79 entries take to the historic three-eighths-mile red-clay oval in six divisions, and by the end of the night one veteran local driver had scored his first career feature win and two past track champs also kicked off their 2020 seasons here in winning fashion.

                Ashland’s DeJay Jarecki, who had become a local favorite over his 12 seasons in the Raceway’s Six-Cylinder division, made the move into a WISSOTA Hornet for the new season, and his decision has already paid a dividend, as he earned the first-ever feature win of his career on Saturday. Jarecki started outside on the front row and grabbed the initial lead, bringing Hunter McGougall and AJ House in tow to second and third before Josh Johnson Jr’s spin brought about an early caution stop.

                The order up front remained the same for the first half of the race, despite the field staying tight due to stoppages for spins by first-time visitors Harry Ruikka on lap 3 and Brady Albertson on lap 6. But during the second half of the 12-lapper Derek Ament and Kaleb Ruikka became serious contenders for the win, with Ament stealing second on the lap 6 restart, only to lose it back to House a circuit later. Ament tried to take it back with two to go, but House prevailed for runner-up honors while staying tight on Jarecki’s trunklid over the closing laps.

                Jarecki celebrated the landmark win with family and friends in Victory Lane after the race, as House, Kaleb Ruikka, Ament and McDougall completed the top five.

                During earlier Hornet heat race action, Jason Ronning took a wild three-turn barrel-roll in turn 4 while battling for a top-three position. Ronning was unhurt but unable to start the feature due to the damage to his car.

                Tyler Vernon, the 2017 ABC Raceway WISSOTA Midwest Modified champion from Ashland, sent a signal to his fellow competitors that he could be tough to beat this season, taking the early lead in the Mid-Mod main event on Saturday and running away to his eighth career feature win here and fifth in this division.

                Vernon who started outside on row 2, waited patiently through four frustrating attempts to start the 20-lap race, but on that last attempt he used an inside move to get by Ross Fuhrman to find himself in second behind polestarter and first-time visitor Justin Jones. Two laps later Vernon used the inside line again to take the lead from Jones and, after one last yellow flag for debris on lap 3, led the field the rest of the way.

                With no further delays in the run, Vernon was able to stretch his lead to over a second, while Jones stayed firmly entrenched in second. Fuhrman lost third to Marcus Dunbar shortly after the last restart but was solidly ahead of visiting Dan Wheeler, who spent much of the last half of the run fending off Tanner Hicks.

                Vernon crossed under the checkers 1.5 seconds ahead of Jones, whose car failed a post-race technical inspection. Dunbar was moved to second, with Fuhrman third, Wheeler fourth and Hicks fifth in the final rundown.

                Despite a thin field of ABC Six-Cylinders, defending track champ Randy Graham of Trego continued his winning ways by picking up that division’s opening-night feature win – but it was certainly not a cakewalk. Graham started on the pole and led every lap but one, as Forrest Schultz swiped second from Dalton Truchon after two laps had been scored and challenged the champ throughout the 12-lap run.

                Truchon, running alone in third, looped his ride with three laps remaining and was pushed to the pits. Joshua Saunders would have inherited third for the re-do, but he left the track with a flat during the yellow, ending his night. Schultz surprised Graham with a strong run off of turn 4 after the restart and nosed ahead at the line to lead lap 10, but Graham charged back to take the lead for good a half-lap later, just a couple of car-lengths ahead of Schultz at the final stripe. Second-year man Mathew Rohlfing and first-nighter Dominic Hmielewski were the only others running at the finish.

                Pat Cook of Washburn won a thrilling WISSOTA Modified feature from the pole, but it took a heartbreaking error by Brandon Copp to get the win. Copp, in his rookie season in the “big Mods” after several strong seasons in the Mid-Mods, shot out to a huge lead over Cook after a lap 1 restart, building the advantage to nearly two full seconds before a lap 4 stop for debris.

                Copp drove away again, but just as the margin got comfortable sixth-running Greg Chesley spun in traffic to stop the pace on lap 7. After this restart, however, Cook didn’t let Copp run off to hide, staying side-by-side with the leader through mid-race.

                Neil Balduc took third from 14th-starting Michael Truscott at the halfway point, and a couple laps later Copp had barely shaken loose of Cook’s threats when Jake Hiatt and Shane Kisling crashed together on lap 13, knocking Kisling from a top-ten run. Three laps after that restart Copp, who was getting pressure from Cook and the others, bobbled in turn 4, allowing Cook, Truscott and Balduc to slip by.

                From there Cook withstood one last challenge from Truscott for the 11th feature win of his career and fourth in a “big Mod” here. Chesley recovered from his early miscue and took advantage of the yellows to climb back to third, ahead of Balduc and Copp.

                Dave Flynn of Superior dominated the opening-night WISSOTA Super Stock A-main, leading every lap from the pole and running away from defending national champion Kevin Burdick.

                It did not take long for Flynn to flex his car’s muscles, pulling to a 1.1-second advantage on Burdick after just four laps and extending that lead to over two seconds another four laps later. Burdick had plenty of distance on Matt Deragon, so there was no challenge to hold Burdick back; Flynn was just that fast and smooth on this night. Even the lap 10 caution flag – the only stoppage of the race – for Andrew Mackey’s stalled car didn’t seem to concern Flynn, as he sailed away again over the last ten laps and finished 3.2 seconds ahead of Burdick for his 17th career Super Stock feature win at ABC and 19th overall here.

                A strong second-half run by four-time defending track champ Nick Oreskovich, who started tenth, earned him third-place honors in the final rundown after he sped past Deragon for the spot with eight laps to go. Deragon’s impressive effort on this night kept him in front of Terran Spacek at the pay window.

                In the WISSOTA Pure Stock feature, Superior’s Jared Akervik outran Graham for his second win in as many nights. Polestarter Tanner Gehl provided the early challenge to Akervik, driving low to take the lead on lap 2, before Akervik switched lanes and returned the favor on lap 3.

                Akervik drew away slightly when Graham pulled even with Gehl during the race’s middle stages, but once Graham displaced Gehl for second with two laps to go he was too many car-lengths back to catch the winner. The lead trio was well out front of visiting Jennie Krause in fourth.

                Quick lap times during the features were posted by Brandon Copp in the Mods (17.500 secs; 77.143 mph), Flynn in the Supers (17.538; 76.976), and Jones in the Mid-Mods (17.583; 76.779).

                The Ashland Area Chamber of Commerce will present the race program slated for Saturday, June 6, at the ABC Raceway. All six divisions will once again be in action. The grandstands and pits will open at 5 pm, hot laps will start at 6:15, and the first green flag of the night is scheduled for 7 pm. Throughout the week, the Heartland Communications Group of radio stations will air Raceway news and weather updates in the Chequamegon Bay area, online on the station websites, and via the free Heartland Communications Group radio app.

                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, or log on to the track’s website, www.abcraceway.com.

Results

WISSOTA MODIFIEDS

                Feature: 1-10: Pat Cook, Washburn; Michael Truscott, Chippewa Falls; Greg Chesley, Duluth, MN; Neil Balduc, Bessemer, MI; Brandon Copp; Brule; Alex Van Natta, Minocqua; Jeff Spacek, Phillips; Tyler Luger, Oxford; Al Uotinen, Superior; Jake Hiatt, Mason.

                11-15: Paul Niznik, Medford; Cole Spacek, Phillips; Shane Kisling, Butternut; Mike Knopps, Chippewa Falls; Tyler Vernon, Ashland.

                Heat 1: Kisling; C Spacek; Balduc; Niznik; Van Natta; Chesley; Luger.

                Heat 2: Copp; Cook; Knopps; Hiatt; Uotinen; Vernon; Truscott; J Spacek.

WISSOTA SUPER STOCKS

                Feature: 1-10: Dave Flynn, Superior; Kevin Burdick, Proctor, MN; Nick Oreskovich, Mason; Matt Deragon, Ashland; Terran Spacek, Phillips; Kyle Copp, Brule; Patrick Beeksma, Ironwood, MI; DJ Keeler, Superior; Cory Casari, Montreal; Harley Kroening, Bemidji, MN.

                11-17: Kevin Salin, Iron, MN; Greg Kuklinski, Ironwood, MI; Tyler Kroening, Bemidji, MN; Scott Lawrence, Superior; Andrew Mackey, Duluth, MN; Shawn McFadden, Ashland; Don Muzzy, Ironwood, MI.

                Heat 1: Flynn; Spacek; Mackey; Beeksma; Salin; Muzzy; H Kroening; Kuklinski; T Kroening.

                Heat 2: McFadden; Lawrence; Deragon; Burdick; Oreskovich; Copp; Keeler; Casari; Aaron Mashlan, Ashland.

WISSOTA MIDWEST MODIFIEDS

                Feature: 1-10: Tyler Vernon, Ashland; Marcus Dunbar, Marenisco, MI; Ross Fuhrman, Ashland; Dan Wheeler, Savage, MN; Tanner Hicks, Ashland; Justin Weinberger, Butternut; Cody Carlson, Superior; Jimmy Latvala, Solon Springs; John Darwin, Iron River; John Kallas, Hurley.

                11-17: Ryan Barningham, Bayfield; Joey Krause, International Falls, MN; Bryan Lund, Ashland; Jesse Polson, Superior; Jennie Krause, Aurora, MN; Andy LaBarge, Keewatin, MN; Mark Kangas, Eveleth, MN.

                Heat 1: Weinberger; Dunbar; Carlson; Justin Jones, Bemidji, MN; Darwin; Jennie Krause; Kangas; LaBarge; Joey Krause.

                Heat 2: Vernon; Hicks; Fuhrman; Wheeler; Latvala; Barningham; Polson; Kallas; Lund.

ABC SIX-CYLINDERS

                Feature: 1-6: Randy Graham, Trego; Forrest Schultz, Ashland; Mathew Rohlfing, Cable; Dominic Hmielewski, Marengo; Dalton Truchon, Ashland; Joshua Saunders, Spooner.

                Heat: Graham; Schultz; Truchon; Rohlfing; Saunders; Hmielewski.

WISSOTA PURE STOCKS

                Feature: 1-4: Jared Akervik, Superior; Randy Graham, Trego; Tanner Gehl, Solon Springs; Jennie Krause, Aurora, MN.

                Heat: Akervik; Graham; Gehl; Krause.

WISSOTA HORNETS

                Feature: 1-10: DeJay Jarecki, Ashland; AJ House, Cloquet, MN; Kaleb Ruikka, Fort Ripley, MN; Derek Ament, Barnum, MN; Hunter McDougall, Duluth, MN; Caleb Decker, Barnum, MN; Rick Andrews Jr; Superior; Harry Ruikka, Fort Ripley, MN; Brady Albertson, Sauk Rapids, MN; Mitch Kieber, Ironwood, MI.

                11-14: Josh Rowe, Duluth, MN; Andy Leino, Sturgeon Lake, MN; Cully Butterfield, Trego; Joshua Johnson Jr, Superior.

                Heat 1: Jarecki; McDougall; Ament; Decker; Kieber; Albertson; Jason Ronning, Ashland; H Ruikka.

                Heat 2: House; K Ruikka; Andrews; Johnson; Rowe; Butterfield; Leino.

Season Opener Announcement

ABC Raceway Set for 56th Season Opener

by Nick Gima

                Ashland, WI, May 26 — The Board of Directors of the Ashland-Bayfield County Racing Association and its all-volunteer staff are ready to kick off the 2020 stock car racing season at the ABC Raceway this coming Saturday night.

The Northern State Bank of Ashland will present the 56th season opener at the historic three-eighths-mile northwestern Wisconsin red-clay oval on May 30, with a full night of heat and feature races for WISSOTA-sanctioned Modifieds, Super Stocks, Midwest Modifieds, Pure Stocks and Hornets, and the Raceway’s own ABC Six-Cylinders.

The start of the season was delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic, wiping out the first two originally-scheduled shows, but the Raceway’s staff has been busy over the past two months putting together a plan to help racers and fans feel safe and welcome at the venerable speedplant. By incorporating many recommendations and ideas from public health organizations, municipalities and other tracks, Raceway Board president Eric Erickson hopes that the precautionary measures taken will help assure those in attendance at the track this Saturday that the spread of the virus will be minimized as much as possible in the open-air public setting.

“We hope that fans will see that the ABC Raceway has their health, safety and well-being as its first priority,” Erickson recently said. “We are preparing our facility to be very fan-friendly by implementing a number of safeguards to protect our fans and our track workers from the possible spread of this highly-contagious virus.”

Fans coming into the ABC Raceway on Saturday will immediately notice many of the changes designed to help minimize possible health hazards. Plexiglass shields have been installed at all service windows where customers would typically make casual contact with track workers, such as at the ticket booths and concession areas.

Hand-sanitizing stations will be placed throughout the Raceway grounds for fan and track worker use, and the food and beverage concession area accesses will be rearranged to better promote safety through minimal food handling and social distancing. More self-service vending machines will be available at the track for various purchases. There will also be frequent scheduling of the cleaning of commonly-contacted surfaces throughout the Raceway grounds, and Raceway staff will be required to wash their hands frequently during the course of the race program.

Fans will be encouraged to practice safe distancing while sitting in the grandstands, and race teams will be asked to maintain a minimum of one full parking space between their trailers in the pit area in an effort to help minimize contact.

For fans wishing to use them, protective masks will be available for purchase at the Raceway.

In order to minimize the possible transfer of the virus by passing currency, fans are strongly encouraged to go online to www.myracepass.com, enter “ABC Raceway” in the Search box at the top of the web page, and follow the links to purchase advance grandstand tickets for this Saturday’s show. Racers are also asked to purchase their pit passes via the My Race Pass web page so as to help keep the potential for spreading the disease to a minimum.

In addition to all of that, the ABC Raceway staff still intends to host the best possible stock car racing program in the region. After all, exciting side-by-side dirt-track racing is what the facility is well known for.

Many interesting storylines should develop as the Summer goes along. Several drivers have moved their programs from one division to another, a couple of popular drivers have hung up their helmets, and a slew of new names will grace the line-up sheets at ABC in 2020.

In the Modified division, Ashland’s Steve Stuart has sold off his race equipment and will not be competing in 2020, leaving that division’s crown open for the taking. On the other hand, Nick Oreskovich of Mason will be back to defend his fourth straight Super Stock track championship at ABC last summer.

Midwest Mods should once again bring out the largest numbers of weekly visitors to the Ashland track – all with their sights set on defending champ George Dalbeck of Wakefield, MI. And Trego’s Randy Graham enjoyed a dream season in 2019, becoming the only driver in ABC Raceway history to win points titles in two classes in one season as he ran away with both the Pure Stocks and the Six-Cylinders.

The entry-level Hornets ran as a regular offering at ABC for the first time in 2019, and Paul George of Princeton, MN, who spent his weekends last summer in the Iron River area, made Raceway history by becoming its first-ever Hornet points champ.

The pit and grandstand gates will open at 5 pm on Saturday, while hot laps will lead off the on-track action at 6:15 before the green-flag racing gets going at 7 pm. Adult grandstand admission tickets are just $11 per person, either at the gate or online via www.myracepass.com, and kids ages 12 and under are admitted free when accompanied by a paying adult. Ten-race punch passes are also available at the Raceway’s ticket window on race nights.

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, or log on to the track’s website, www.abcraceway.com.

May 30 Tagged for ABC Raceway’s 56th Season Opener

by Nick Gima

                Ashland, WI, May 20 — Taking into account the effects of the current COVID-19 viral pandemic, the Board of Directors of the Ashland-Bayfield County Racing Association have decided that Saturday, May 30, will be the opening-night date for the 2020 stock car racing season at the ABC Raceway.

To be presented by the Northern State Bank of Ashland, a full night of heat and feature race action for the track’s regular weekly divisions – WISSOTA-sanctioned Modifieds, Super Stocks, Midwest Modifieds, Pure Stocks and Hornets, and the Raceway’s own ABC Six-Cylinders – will be held on the historic three-eighths-mile red-clay oval in northwestern Wisconsin on that night.

Preparations for the 56th season opener at the venerable speedplant have been far different than those for any race season before, according to Raceway Board president Eric Erickson. Along with the usual pre-season sprucing, prepping and fixing, members of the Board have implemented many carefully-planned precautions to help assure that the facility will be clean and safe for race fans, drivers and their crews, and the track’s race-night staff.

“We will put the safety and well-being of our fans as our first priority,” Erickson said regarding the Board’s decision to open the season. “We are preparing our facility to be very fan-friendly, while emphasizing the protection of the health and safety of our fans. But we also intend to do the best job possible in holding a good race program that fans can enjoy.”

With the recent decisions by State and local governments to relax the various “stay-at-home” restrictions around the region, fans have become eager to enjoy racing and other sporting events. However, racetrack promoters – and people in general – realize that a genuine and unprecedented health hazard still exists, forcing them to take unique steps to minimize the possibility of transmission of the coronavirus at their facilities.

Fans coming to the ABC Raceway will have access to many hand-sanitizing stations throughout the facility and will experience changes in the way food and beverages are served – all in the interests of their safety. Fans will also be encouraged to practice safe distancing in the grandstands, and race teams will be parked in the pits with a minimum of one parking space between haulers, in an effort to help minimize contact.

“We will continue to monitor guidelines set by the State, our local municipalities, and the Federal government as they pertain to the pandemic regarding social gatherings for facilities such as ours,” said Erickson. “If any further recommendations are made or mandates are passed along, we will do what is needed to protect the people that come to our track from possible contact with this dangerous virus.”

Erickson advised that a more extensive explanation of the track’s precautionary measures will be posted on the ABC Raceway FaceBook page. An updated 2020 season schedule will also be announced soon and will be posted on the Raceway’s FaceBook page and other social media sources as well as made available via newspapers and other mass media.

The ABC Raceway is located 3-1/2 miles south of Ashland, WI.  More information is available on the track’s website, www.abcraceway.com.

Season opener update

ABC Raceway Hoping to Set Season-Opening Date Soon

by Nick Gima

                Ashland, WI, May 13 — Despite the announcement earlier today that the Wisconsin State Supreme Court had overturned Gov. Tony Evers’ “Safer at Home” quarantine order, the ABC Raceway’s Board of Directors will stand by its decision not to open its 2020 stock car racing season on its originally-scheduled start date of May 16.

According to Raceway Board president Eric Erickson, the State Supreme Court’s decision does not change the Ashland-Bayfield County Racing Association’s intent to take every precaution in making sure that it is safe for fans, racers and track staff to attend a program at the northern Wisconsin facility.

“We are going to be cautious in our decision-making with regard to opening and operating our racetrack,” Erickson said shortly after the announcement of the Court ruling. “We will put the health and safety of our fans, racers and workers first as we set a course of action.”

The Raceway’s Board of Directors is scheduled to meet in a closed-door session on Monday, May 18, during which a game plan will be discussed for opening the facility to host stock car racing events. The plan will include setting a target date on which to get the race season started.

“We will strictly follow any guidelines set by local, state and Federal officials as to when we can open, how many people we can allow in the gates, what we need to do to keep people safe and protected, and so forth,” Erickson stated. “Those guidelines will help us determine when and how we will proceed with the 2020 season.”

Erickson said he hopes to be able to announce a date for the season opener by as early as Tuesday, May 19. The date will be posted on the Raceway’s website and FaceBook pages as soon as it is set.

The ABC Raceway is located 3-1/2 miles south of Ashland, WI.  More information is available on the track’s website, www.abcraceway.com.

Season On Hold

2020 ABC Raceway Season on Hold

Coronavirus pandemic forcing racing promoters to make difficult decisions

by Nick Gima

                Ashland, WI, April 30 — To use an auto racing analogy, the ABC Raceway’s 2020 stock car racing season is under an indefinite red flag.

As is the case with so many recreational facilities, the award-winning northern Wisconsin speedplant has felt the effects of the current COVID-19 pandemic by postponing many Spring facility preparations and canceling events on its early-season race schedule. Race fans everywhere are being asked to stay home, practice social distancing, and embrace other proactive measures to minimize the spread of what has become a deadly, unpredictable worldwide disease.

And like so many businesses, the complete shutdown of stock car racing in the Upper Midwest has racetrack promoters wondering not only about the financial health of their facilities, but the very survival of their sport.

The ABC Raceway, which was scheduled to open its 56th season under the direction of the Ashland-Bayfield County Racing Association on May 16, will sit silent a little while longer, according to track officials. Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers has extended the State’s current “Safer at Home” public quarantining order until May 26, but the Raceway’s Board of Directors, taking a responsible as well as cautious approach, have decided to wait until sometime in June, or even later, for a possible opening night.

“First and foremost, as is always the case in racing, is the safety and well-being of our fans, our racers, and our track personnel,” according to Raceway Board president Eric Erickson. “Before we even consider turning a competitive lap on our track, or open the gates to our fans, we need to be certain that our State and local governments can assure us that it is safe for fans to sit with each other in the bleachers, for drivers and crews to be in close proximity to one another, and for track workers to do their jobs, without fear of contracting this serious disease.”

Gov. Evers’ “Badger Bounce Back” plan, which was announced April 20, has outlined a phase-in plan for Wisconsin businesses to be able to re-open, but only when State health officials deem it is safe to do so for employees as well as customers. The phase-in plan could prolong the start of the 2020 stock car racing season until well into the Summer, but race fans as well as track operators hope that the Governor’s plan will soon provide the “green flag” to get racing underway.

Once the State of Wisconsin does allow businesses to re-open, it will then be up to racetrack promoters to make crucial decisions as to how aggressively they want to approach what is left of their 2020 schedules. Balancing the “business” aspect of operating a racing facility with the emotional “fan” side of the sport has weighed heavily into conversations Erickson has had with his ABC Raceway staff.

“We all want to get the season started here,” Erickson said recently. “That’s what we are in this business to do. But we also have to look at the potential impact that this pandemic has had and will continue to have on our sport, and on businesses in general.

“If the State’s phase-in program dictates how many people we can allow in our grandstands, or in our pit area, or if it won’t allow us to serve or sell food, then we have to decide whether it is feasible to even open our gates without putting ourselves in a financial bind.”

The health scare is forcing track operators to make other significant changes to their business models. Implementing additional public-safety practices – such as the supplying and use of appropriate protective devices like masks and sanitizers, new ways to safely serve food and beverages, and the extra effort to keep public facilities such as restrooms even cleaner than before – could create a financial strain on some tracks. Erickson believes that those kinds of decisions could stress those racetracks already running on a tight budget, but they may also become more important to the survival of the sport of short-track stock car racing as a whole.

“The balancing act that race tracks currently face is, we need to open soon so we can bring in some revenue, just like any business, but we also need to keep the health of our race fans as a high priority,” Erickson said. “We need to pay attention to the consequences either way.”

For now, the ABC Raceway will take a very measured approach to how it will proceed with the upcoming racing season. Its 16-program schedule has been put into flux, and with no clear start to the season in sight, but Erickson and his staff are closely monitoring the decisions of the local, State and Federal governments with regard to the re-opening of businesses, while still respecting the dramatic effects of the viral pandemic.

“It will take a lot of patience, a lot of planning, and a lot of cooperation among track promoters, racers, and fans,” said Erickson. “But somehow, in due time, we will all get through this.”

The ABC Raceway is located 3-1/2 miles south of Ashland, WI.  More information is available on the track’s website, www.abcraceway.com.

ABC Raceway Banquet

Fans, Racers Celebrate Historic 2019 Season at ABC Raceway Banquet

by Nick Gima

                Ashland, WI, January 10 — Over 200 racers, crews, fans, track employees and their family members attended Saturday’s Awards Banquet to officially close the book on the ABC Raceway’s 2019 stock car racing season at the Bad River Lodge, Casino & Convention Center in Odanah.

Following a buffet dinner, the top ten drivers in final points in each of the Raceway’s six weekly divisions were awarded trophies and banners marking their accomplishments. In addition, qualifying drivers were presented checks from a points fund that exceeded $8,100, and jackets have been ordered for the divisional champions.

In his pre-ceremony remarks, Raceway Board president Eric Erickson praised the champions and all drivers in attendance, and he thanked the race teams’ pit crews for their selfless efforts in helping the drivers prepare for each race night. He also expressed appreciation for the generosity of the many sponsors who support the historic facility, and he paid homage to the Raceway’s Board of Directors and staff of nearly 40 volunteers who work tirelessly to put race programs together at the venerable northern Wisconsin red-clay oval.

Erickson also presented commemorative plaques to longtime Raceway Board members Ray Stuart and Katie Stuart. Ray has filled a number of capacities over the past several years, most notably as the track’s flagman, while his daughter-in-law Katie worked as Raceway Board secretary for nearly ten years. Each had recently announced that they would be stepping away from their involvement with the organization for family and personal reasons.

Emcee and Raceway announcer Nick Gima commented on the historic significance of the 2019 season, noting the addition of the WISSOTA Hornets to the weekly program, the first-ever appearance by the nationally-touring World of Outlaws Late Model Series, and several driver-attained milestones. The top-ten in points in each division were then introduced to the large crowd in attendance.

Steve Stuart of Ashland joined an elite group of drivers at ABC by winning his sixth track championship in 2019 and third in the WISSOTA Modifieds. A last-lap pass of Jeff Spacek in the final turn of the final feature of the regular season gave Stuart a one-point edge in the final standings.

Stuart scored two feature wins during the season to move him into a tie for 12th on the Raceway’s all-time win list, and with his sixth title he joins Scott Lawrence, Don Copp, Spacek, Al Uotinen and Dean Yrjanainen in reaching that total.

Spacek, of Phillips, reached a milestone of his own during 2019 when the second of his two feature wins brought his career total at ABC to 60 – good for third-best all-time. Steve Lavasseur of River Falls won that finale-night feature to clinch third in the standings, while Washburn’s Pat Cook scored the tenth A-main win of his career en route to a fourth-place points finish. Neil Balduc of Bessemer, MI, also tallied a feature win and ended up fifth in the rankings.

Sixth through tenth in the “big Mods” were claimed by Tyler Luger of Oxford; Paul Suzik of Ironwood, MI; Uotinen of Superior; Paul Niznik of Medford; and Mason’s Jacob Hiatt.

Nick Oreskovich of Mason accepted his fourth WISSOTA Super Stock championship trophy in as many seasons, establishing the third-longest consecutive-title streak in Raceway history, behind Lawrence (11) and Copp (six).

Oreskovich used consistently strong nightly efforts to dominate much of the season’s points chase, with one feature win, eight other top-five runs, and no finish worse than ninth.

Cory Casari of Montreal was runner-up in the Supers, scoring two feature wins to bring career total here to 26. Rookie Kyle Copp of Brule was third in the final rundown, ahead of Ashland’s Matt Deragon and Andrew Mackey of Roseville, MN.

Shawn McFadden Jr of Ashland led the second five in Super Stock points, followed by Greg Kuklinski of Ironwood, MI; Aaron Mashlan of Ashland; and Ironwood racers Patrick Beeksma and Don Muzzy.

An enthusiastic George Dalbeck of Wakefield, MI, claimed the champion’s trophy for his efforts in the WISSOTA Midwest Modified division. The title is the second for Dalbeck, who also won here in 2011.

The veteran racer started the season with five feature wins over the first seven nights of racing, becoming the all-time leader in Mid-Mods wins at ABC with 18.

David Simpson of Thunder Bay, ON, became the highest-finishing Canadian driver in points in Raceway history with his second-place effort, while Marcus Dunbar of Wakefield, MI, used a strong second-half of the season to move into third. Brandon Copp of Brule tallied nine top-ten runs to secure fourth, and Justin Weinberger of Park Falls had seven top-tens on his way to a fifth-place showing.

Gunner Peterson of South Range; Ashland’s Ross Fuhrman; Bayfield’s Ryan Barningham; Bill Muhlig of Bessemer, MI; and Clay Passuello of Ironwood, MI, were sixth through tenth in Mid-Mod points in 2019.

Randy Graham of Trego made Raceway history by becoming the first driver to earn points championships in two different divisions in the ABC Raceway’s 55-year history. In the ABC Six-Cylinders, Graham scored five feature wins and five other second-place efforts in the 11 shows run for his first title in that division.

A win in the 2019 season finale helped Ashland’s Forrest Schultz capture a career-best runner-up finish in Sixes points, while DeJay Jarecki of Ashland scored five top-fives on the season and finished third in the standings. Ashland’s Jake Nevala (fourth) and Jonathan Popp of Iron River (fifth) also claimed career-best points rankings.

The second five in the Sixes consisted of Adam Traaholt of Ashland; Bubba Anderson of Trego; Ashland’s Jordan Pearce; Josh Saunders of Spooner; and Devin Dalbec of Ashland.

In the WISSOTA Pure Stocks, Graham was every bit as dominant in defending his 2018 crown. He collected four feature wins and never finished out of the top-three in a main event at Ashland, and his nine combined feature wins on the ‘19 season gives him 26 for his career here.

Weinberger, pulling double-duty last summer, matched Graham for Pure Stock wins with four to grab the runner-up trophy, and Brandle Pupp of Highbridge returned from taking a season off to secure third. Jeff Christman of South Range scored his ninth top-ten points finish in 12 full-time seasons at ABC by claiming fourth, and James Vendela of South Range chalked up three runner-up finishes in seven appearances in Ashland to land fifth in the standings.

Poplar’s Jason Simonson; Don Livingston of Washburn; Jesse Mudgett of Park Falls; Cory Jorgensen of Duluth, MN; and Dylan Shelton of Wrenshall, MN, completed the Pure Stock top ten.

Traveling over three hours each weekend to race in Ashland as well as in the Twin Ports area, Paul George of Princeton, MN, became the ABC Raceway’s first-ever Hornets track champion. George ran in nine of the ten scheduled shows for the class and gained two wins, four second-places and two thirds to post the historic achievement.

Three feature wins and six other top-three finishes helped Hunter McDougall of Duluth, MN, claim second place in Hornets points, with Mitch Kieber of Ironwood, MI, taking third thanks to top-10 runs in all ten shows completed at ABC last summer. Iron River’s Derek Dunbar used seven top-tens to rank a close fourth, and Neil Dees of Hurley used six top-ten efforts in eight appearances to land in fifth.

Jason Ronning of Ashland led the second five in final Hornets points, ahead of Duluth, MN, racers Dayna Marken and Paul Ripley; Shawn Young of Stone Lake; and Tate Niehaus of Alborn, MN.

Suzik (Mods), Kyle Copp (Supers), Mudgett (Pure Stocks) and Kieber (Hornets) were each named Rookies of the Year in their respective divisions for 2019; Copp was also the WISSOTA national Rookie of the Year in the Super Stocks.

Weinberger was awarded the Raceway’s Most Improved Driver award, and Deragon was honored as the track’s Sportsman of the Year.

Erickson also announced that his annual “Valuable Volunteer” award would be presented to Lynn Chingo, a member of the Raceway’s food concessions staff.

The ABC Raceway will begin its 56th season of operation under the direction of the Ashland-Bayfield County Racing Association in mid-May, with a 16-race schedule planned. The facility is located 3-1/2 miles south of Ashland on State Highway 13 and one mile west on Butterworth Road. For more information, log on to the track’s website, www.abcraceway.com.

Banquet Photos Here

2019 Banquet Photos

previous arrowprevious arrow
next arrownext arrow
previous arrownext arrow
Shadow
Slider