Eder, Spacek, Weber, Hudack & Christman are ABC Winners
by Nick Gima
Ashland, WI, August 11 – With a few additional drivers in the pits in support of race-night sponsor Rivord Trucking, a season-high 84 racers took to the ABC Raceway for AmsOil Dirt Track Series action on another beautiful summertime Saturday night in northern Wisconsin.
Kevin Eder of Ashland ran off to his second WISSOTA modified feature win of the season, while Jeff Spacek of Phillips jumped into Don Koivisto’s WISSOTA super stock and gave it its second win of the year. Also, Rob Weber of Ashland (WISSOTA Midwest modifieds) and Superior’s Jeff Christman (pure stocks) each cashed winner’s checks, and Tyler Hudack of Ashland dominated in a solid run in the six-cylinders.
Eder started the modified 20-lapper on the outside of the front row and immediately cleared pole-starter Pat Cook for the early lead. After a Steve Lavasseur spin one lap in and a Rick Rivord loop on the ensuing restart, Eder drove away from the battles behind him and led by as much as a straightaway by lap 12.
Cook ran second just ahead of Ross Lightner, while Al Uotinen and first-nighter Jody Bellefeuille slipped by Destin Lorimor for fourth and fifth on lap 5. Three circuits later Lorimor regained fifth from Bellefeuille, but the pair swapped the spot again near mid-race.
With eight to go Scott Hudack’s spin brought the field back to Eder’s rear push-bar, but no one had anything for the young hotshoe on this night, as he pulled away to a nearly one-second cushion over the final laps. On that final restart Lightner and Bellefeuille made quick work of Cook for second and third, and the best show of the rest of the run was this pair duelling for runner-up honors side by side, with Bellefeuille getting a run down the back straight to nose ahead, only to see Lightner retake the spot by mere feet at the start-finish line. Spacek gained on the battle for second and watched from close range as Lightner edged Bellefeuille for second. Cook held on for fifth.
Spacek stretched a two-point lead going into the feature to a seven-point advantage on Jared Loos afterwards, with two shows remaining.
Prior to the mod run, Spacek took Koivisto’s super stock to the win, and in doing so chalked up his first feature win of the summer despite holding the points lead in the mods. As he would tell the crowd from Victory Lane afterwards, there was “nothing better” than racing his brother Randy for the win.
Shawn Rivord started from the pole and held the early lead, but Jeff Spacek challenged right away. When Randy moved to the inside to take second away from his older brother, he brought Brian Mikkonen along to third, with Ken Truscott, Dave Flynn and Scott Lawrence behind them running three-wide for fifth.
Rivord slipped up the track on lap 5, allowing Randy to sneak down to the bottom lane and take the lead, and Jeff grabbed second. Rivord pushed too hard to try to regain the lost ground and turned his racer sideways in front of Lawrence, and after some mild contact Lawrence’s stopped car brought out the first caution flag of the run.
Jeff Spacek immediately drove to the outer lane to challenge his brother for the lead on the restart but lost some ground, and later Lawrence made another three-wide move by Flynn and Truscott for fourth on lap 7. Lawrence then stayed low to snare third from Mikkonen on lap 9, just a circuit before Rick Randall’s spin stopped the show again. After a failed attempt to restart for DJ Keeler’s turn-around, the final ten laps clicked off in quick fashion, with the Spacek boys putting on a show.
Jeff went to the high side again on the restart, and this time the move worked as he drove past Randy for a lead that he would not give up. Randy followed his brother’s advice and switched to the upper lane, and although this gave Lawrence his preferred bottom groove the points leader wasn’t able to take advantage and he stayed in third. With Flynn following in fourth, Lawrence extended his points lead to eight for next week’s show, while Mikkonen held firm to fifth at the line.
Jeff Spacek’s win was his 52nd of his career in Ashland – good for fourth-best all-time – but his first in a super stock since he jumped into Randy’s car in June and July of 2001 and steered it to three feature wins.
After a multi-car scramble on the initial start, the Mid-mod 15-lap main event ran off non-stop, much to the delight of Weber. The former street stock track champ started from the pole and drove low past Duane Dunbar into the initial lead and then paced every lap.
Rookie Paul Suzik followed Weber by the veteran Dunbar to grab second, with visiting Nathan Thums taking the same route into third. While Weber pushed his lead to over 1.3 seconds, Thums moved past Suzik to become the first challenger. Weber’s advantage stayed fairly steady during the race’s middle stages, but slowly Thums chipped away at the margin during the final five laps.
Further back, Dunbar maintained fourth, while second-in-points Alex Van Natta, who was penalized to the tail of the field for the caution at the start, clawed his way back to sixth behind points leader Travis Nye. Weber gained a little more of an edge at the checkers – his lead at the stripe was 1.1 seconds – while the running order of Thums, Suzik, Dunbar and Nye held true.
Nye’s 31-point lead on Van Natta coming into the night will be the same when the drivers come back for next Saturday’s show.
The sixes also ran off a quick 15 laps in their feature, thanks to the fast pace up front of Hudack and only one yellow-flag slowdown. Forrest Schultz was impressive in taking and maintaining the early lead, with Hudack moving up from his seventh-place start to third behind Neil Adamzak after just one lap. Greg Jaeger and Tad Bretting tangled while debating fourth on lap 4, and their spins brought about the race’s only stoppage.
Hudack immediately moved low and got by Schultz on the restart, and he quickly drove away to a lead of over a second. Points leader Pat Beeksma, who started alongside Hudack in row 4, also used a low-lane move to gain fourth on Adamzak a lap after the restart, but he was unable to get by third-running Don Muzzy over the balance of the race.
Hudack’s win – his first of the season – combined with Beeksma’s fourth-place effort, trimmed four points off of the defending champ’s lead, but Beeksma will still carry a 31-point advantage into next Saturday’s show. Schultz held off Muzzy for a career-best second-place performance, while Dale Coddington, who started 15th on the 17-car grid, earned fifth.
Hudack almost had two feature wins on the night, as he led the early stages of the pure stock finale in his sister Tiffany’s car and looked like he would be tough to beat. Hudack and Steve Udeen battled tooth-and-nail for the first couple laps before Hudack gained command, while Christman moved up from the third row to run third.
On lap 2 Matt Deragon, Nick Nye and others collected in turn 4 to bring about the caution flag. Deragon and Nye, along with Ken Tody, Jr, came into the night tied for the division’s points lead, and after Deragon’s car was disconnected from Nye’s he was sent to the rear of the field for the restart, while Nye’s ride suffered throughout the balance of the race from significant damage as a result of the crash.
On the restart Christman worked inside against Udeen and took over second spot, and a lap later Chad Carlson drove by Udeen into third. On lap 5 Carlson took a look to the inside to challenge Christman for second, and he grabbed the position away as the top four raced in close formation under the flagstand at mid-race.
The pace slowed when Dean Waby’s car was stopped and pointed the wrong direction on lap 7, and although Carlson slipped past Hudack for the lead on the restart the pass was negated when the bumpers on the cars of Chad Nikstad and Jim Eliason hooked together and both cars ground to a stop.
Christman took advantage of the last restart of the night to take the outside route around Hudack, and although he ground the side of his car against the concrete wall in a shower of sparks on his first attempt to make the winning pass, his second try went much smoother on lap 9. The veteran racer pulled away to his first win since opening night, crossing the final stripe two car-lengths ahead of Udeen, who grabbed second when Carlson leaned on Hudack and the pair slipped up the turn 4 hill with two laps to go. Hudack held on for third, Tody (who started 17th out of the 18 in the field) scrambled his way to fourth, and Carlson, who was later disqualified for aggressive driving, gave up his fifth-place run to a recovered Deragon.
Deragon will hold a six-point lead on Tody and a nine-point edge on Eliason and Nye with two shows remaining.
Several drivers came into the grandstands with helmets in hand to take up a collection for six-cylinder driver Scott Ovaska’s 12-year-old son David, who was seriously injured in a boating accident within the past week. Fans responded with their typical overwhelming generosity, raising over $650 for the very worthwhile cause.
Eder (16.990 secs) and Thums (17.618) were awarded bonuses for posting the fastest laps in their respective features, compliments of Northern Clearing, Inc.
Several youngsters were fortunate enough to win bikes given away by Rivord Trucking, including Hazel Edinger, Brooklyn Foster, Hailby Austin, Dakota Carter and Aron Basina, Jr.
On Saturday night the ABC Raceway will host its ninth annual “Pure Excitement 25” pure stock special, to be presented by the Ashland-Bayfield County Sportsman’s Club and Z93 WBSZ. Pure stockers from at least five different area race tracks will converge on the red-clay oval for this popular event to compete for a chance at a winner’s check of at least $700 and a total purse that is already at over $4,500 and growing.
Hot laps will start at 6:15 pm, followed by time trials for the sprints, while racing will follow at 7. “Race Night” will air on WBSZ, 93.3 FM, and online at www.wbszfm.com from 4:30-6 pm with live at-the-track news and weather updates. 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.
Feature: Kevin Eder, Ashland; Ross Lightner, Washburn; Jody Bellefeuille, Duluth, MN; Jeff Spacek, Phillips; Pat Cook, Washburn; Al Uotinen, Superior; Destin Lorimor, Superior; Steve Stuart, Ashland; Jared Loos, Loyal; Steve Lavasseur, River Falls; Rick Rivord, Superior; David Baxter, Eau Claire; Scott Hudack, Ashland; Jeff Tardy, Hibbing, MN.
Heat 1: Bellefeuille; Eder; Loos; Lorimor; Hudack; Baxter; Rivord.
Heat 2: Lavasseur; Uotinen; Cook; Lightner; Spacek; Tardy; Stuart.
WISSOTA Super Stocks
Feature: Jeff Spacek, Phillips; Randy Spacek, Phillips; Scott Lawrence, Superior; Dave Flynn, Superior; Brian Mikkonen, Iron River; Nick Oreskovich, Mason; Cory Casari, Montreal; Shawn Rivord, South Range; Andy Grymala, Superior; Mike Bellefeuille, Duluth, MN; Ken Truscott, Greenland, MI; Trevor Wilson, Superior; Joe Olson, Superior; Rick Randall, Wakefield, MI; Dave Elliott, Minocqua; DJ Keeler, Superior; Charlie Anderson, Ironwood, MI.
Heat 1: Mikkonen; Grymala; Rivord; Truscott; Olson; Elliott; Keeler; Greg Kuklinski, Ironwood, MI; Bellefeuille.
Heat 2: Lawrence; J Spacek; Flynn; R Spacek; Oreskovich; Wilson; Anderson; Randall; Casari.
WISSOTA Midwest Modifieds
Feature: Rob Weber, Ashland; Nathan Thums, Wausau; Paul Suzik, Ironwood, MI; Duane Dunbar, Marenisco, MI; Travis Nye, Ashland; Alex Van Natta, Minocqua; Neil Balduc, Ironwood, MI; George Dalbeck, Ironwood, MI; Rick Przybylski, Ashland; Tyler Luger, Iron River; Kyle Matuska, Stacy, MN; John Kallas, Hurley; Tanner Byholm, Glidden; Chad Adamzak, Ashland; Steve Anderson, Ironwood, MI; Cole Spacek, Phillips.
Heat 1: Van Natta; Nye; Luger; Dunbar; Spacek; Przybylski; Adamzak; Anderson.
Heat 2: Dalbeck; Weber; Suzik; Thums; Balduc; Byholm; Matuska; Kallas.
Feature: Tyler Hudack, Ashland; Forrest Schultz, Ashland; Don Muzzy, Ironwood, MI; Pat Beeksma, Ironwood, MI; Dale Coddington, Hayward; Neil Adamzak, Ashland; Tad Bretting, Ashland; Greg Jaeger, Mellen; Bill Anderson, Wakefield, MI; DeJay Mihalek, Ashland; Jonathan Popp, Iron River; Aaron Mashlan, Ashland; Tiffany Hudcak, Ashland; Adam Traaholt, Ashland; Cory Marincel, Ashland; Zach Pagels, Marengo; Ron Lillie, Wakefield, MI.
Heat 1: Adamzak; Beeksma; Schultz; Mihalek; Tiffany Hudack; Mashlan; Traaholt; Coddington.
Heat 2: Muzzy; Tyler Hudack; Bretting; Jaeger; Popp; Anderson; Pagels; Lillie; Marincel.
Feature: Jeff Christman, Superior; Steve Udeen, Superior; Tyler Hudack, Ashland; Ken Tody Jr, Ashland; Matt Deragon, Ashland; Chad Nikstad, Superior; Andy Udeen, Superior; Dean Waby, Ashland; Jim Eliason, Ashland; Rita Anderson, South Range; Tim Ayers, Foxboro; Brandle Pupp, Ashland; Nick Nye, Ashland; Bob Anderson, Iron River; Justin Madsen, Foxboro; Tim Carbon, Highbridge; Jonathan Vanusek, Mellen.
Heat 1: Madsen; Chad Carlson, Superior; S Udeen; Christman; Pupp; Ayers; R Anderson; B Anderson; Tody.
Heat 2: Hudack; Deragon; Nye; A Udeen; Nikstad; Eliason; Carbon; Waby; Vanusek.
Eder, Spacek, Weber, Hudack & Christman are ABC Winners