Championship Saturday

ABC to Crown 2019 Points Champs on Saturday

by Nick Gima

                Ashland, WI, August 22 – After 12 straight weeks of hard, competitive racing, it will take just a few more hours on Saturday night to determine who the 2019 points champions will be at the ABC Raceway.

“Championship Saturday Night,” to be presented by Mountain Dew, North Star Beverage of Hurley, and WIMI-FM of Ironwood, MI, will close out the regular-season portion of the 55th season at the award-winning northern Wisconsin red-clay oval. By the end of what should be an exciting racing program, the points champs in all six regular weekly divisions will be crowned – including the first-ever champion in the WISSOTA Hornets at ABC.

The tightest battle to be decided will be in the WISSOTA Modified division, where six-time track champ Jeff Spacek of Phillips just took over the top spot in the standings from five-time champ Steve Stuart of Ashland after last Saturday’s action. Spacek holds a slim advantage of just three points, which – under WISSOTA’s points system, which was revamped before the 2018 season – could mean a difference of one, two, three or even four positions on the track that Stuart will need to make up in order to overtake Spacek, depending on the size of the feature field and how far forward or back in the pack the pair are running.

Randy Graham of Trego can make a little history of his own, as he takes points leads in both the WISSOTA Pure Stocks and ABC Six-Cylinders into Saturday night. Titles in both divisions would make him the first driver to ever accomplish that feat in the same season at ABC.

Graham, the defending ABC Pure Stock champ, has been in a battle with Justin Weinberger of Park Falls all summer in that division. Both drivers have collected four feature wins, and neither has finished outside of the top-five in a main event here all summer. However, Graham’s five runner-up efforts in the seven features that he did not win give him a 23-point edge going into the final night.

In the Sixes, Graham has a little bigger margin of error – 84 points – over Ashland’s Forrest Schultz. Graham has been as dominant as anyone in any division, scoring five feature wins and five second-place runs in 11 shows for the division this summer.

Paul George, who hails from Princeton, MN, but has spent much of his summer in the Iron River area, has grown quite comfortable with Ashland as his Saturday night home, as his 31-point advantage over Derek Dunbar of Iron River will confirm. George (2) is one of three drivers who have collected at least two feature wins – Hunter McDougall (3) and national points leader Jake Smith (2) are the others – in what has been an entertaining first season in Ashland for the entry-level division.

George Dalbeck of Wakefield, MI, has enjoyed a successful and dominant season in the WISSOTA Midwest Modifieds, yet he hasn’t quite wrapped up his second ABC track title. Dalbeck, the division’s all-time feature-win leader, tallied five main-event wins over the first seven nights of the season to open up a huge early points lead, but he’s needed all three of his second-place runs over the past five weeks to hold off David Simpson of Thunder Bay, ON, who is 37 points back but solidly in position to become the first-ever Canadian driver to finish in the top-five in points at ABC.

Mason’s Nick Oreskovich did not pick up his first feature win here this season until early August – in the completion of the rain-delayed July 9 special – but by then he was solidly on pace for his fourth consecutive WISSOTA Super Stock championship. Oreskovich leads the division’s top rookie, Kyle Copp of Brule, by 83 points and could join Scott Lawrence (11) and Don Copp (6) as the only drivers in Raceway history with more than three consecutive track titles.

The grandstand gates will open at 5 pm on Saturday, hot laps will start at 6:15, and the first heat race of the final night should “get the green” at 7 pm. “Race Night” will air from 4:30-6 pm on WBSZ, 93.3 FM, with up-to-date news and weather information every 15-20 minutes.

The ABC Raceway is located 3-1/2 miles south of Ashland, just one mile west of State Highway 13 on Butterworth Road. For race day information, please call (715) 682-4990.

The ABC Raceway will crown its 2019 points champs in all six divisions on Saturday, August 24, when Mountain Dew, North Star Beverage of Hurley, and WIMI-FM of Ironwood, MI will present “Championship Saturday Night.” The grandstands will open at 5 pm, hot laps will start at 6:15, and the first green flag of the night is set to fly at 7 pm. “Race Night” will air on WBSZ, 93.3 FM, with up-to-date track news and weather updates every 15-20 minutes from 4:30-6 pm; coverage will also stream on www.wbszfm.com 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

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