by Nick Gima
Ashland, WI, July 9 — Kevin Eder felt a need to apologize for one of his feature wins at Ashland on Saturday night.
He had no reason to apologize for the other two.
Eder, of Ashland, became only the second driver in the ABC Raceway’s 52-year history to win three feature victories in one night, taking wins in both the regularly-scheduled and May 21 make-up A-mains for the WISSOTA Midwest Modifieds as well as in the WISSOTA Modified headliner, as the ABC Raceway hosted its annual kids’ bike race night, presented by Chicago Iron & Supply of Ashland.
In the regularly-slated Mid-Mod run of the PolyDome Dirt Track Series show, Eder leaned a little on leader Nick Koehler while battling for the lead halfway through the 20-lap event, just as a caution flag waived for a spinning Tanner Byholm. The contact sent Koehler to the pit area to check for damage, but he was able to return and nearly climbed his way back into the top ten.
“I feel kinda bad about bumping the 13 car there,” Eder said in Victory Lane after the run. “He was definitely the fastest car on the track, and I shouldn’t have taken out the fastest car.”
Eder was no slouch himself during the early stages of the run, slipping past pole-starter Ryan Barningham into second behind Tanner Hicks just one lap in. Eder then switched to the outside line and drove past Hicks on the very next go-around. Koehler worked his way past Hicks and Barningham into second on lap 3, but by lap 5 Eder had a lead of over a half-second.
Koehler benefitted from a lap 6 caution for Marcus Dunbar’s spun racer, and he took advantage two laps later by getting low on Eder and swiping the lead away. But then came Byholm’s spin on lap 10, along with the contact between the lead pair, and when Koehler dove into the pit area, Eder had the lead back for good.
Eder rebuilt a comfortable margin – over three seconds by lap 17 – while a very impressive Barningham fended off Paul Suzik’s determined charge for second. Robert Hyde’s spin with three to go eliminated Eder’s cushion, and two more restarts – for visiting Canadian Mike Jacques’ stalled ride and for a two-car spin – kept the field close, but Eder held on for the win.
Wayne Stricker clawed his way past Cole Spacek on the final lap for second place, while Barningham finished fourth ahead of Hicks. Koehler set the race’s fastest lap with a time of 17.538 seconds.
Earlier in the program, Eder headed to the first of his wins in the Mid-Mod make-up run, starting with an pass of George Dalbeck for the lead after five laps of close-quarters racing. Dalbeck struggled with an ill-running car and faded after Hicks, Spacek and others overtook him on a lap 6 restart, and just before mid-race Byholm began a charge to the front, taking third from Spacek.
Three attempts to restart the race after Cy Hoaglan’s stalled ride on lap 11 kept the field from recording a lap, but then Eder cruised away. Byholm took second from Hicks after the last of the three restarts, and Tad Bretting and Suzik rounded out the top five. Dalbeck set an early fast lap with a time of 17.450 seconds.
Eder capped off his memorable night with the win in the “big Mod” 20-lapper, which was run immediately after the second of his Mid-Mod wins. Jeff Spacek slipped past polesitter Scott Hudack for the early lead, but Eder drew right up close to Spacek’s rear push-bar within just a couple of brief circuits. And when Eder grabbed a big bite off of turn 2 on lap 6, he drove by the six-time track champion and into the lead.
Neil Balduc provided the biggest threat of the run for Eder, once he got past Spacek into second on lap 9. Without a caution flag to help his cause, Balduc chipped away at Eder’s one-and-a-half-second lead until he was within a car-length with two laps remaining. But that was all the closer he would get, as Eder finished a half-second up on Balduc for his third win of the night. Bill Byholm edged past Spacek on the white-flag lap for third, and Rick Rivord crossed under the checkers in fifth with a flat right-front tire.
Balduc’s 17.453-second lap during the middle stages of the run was the fastest posted lap of the race. Eder’s overall effort matched one put up by Jeff Spacek back in 2003, when the Phillips veteran chalked up three wins during one of the Raceway’s “Modified Triple Header” events.
Terran Spacek and Cory Casari battled tooth-and-nail for the lead during the early laps of the WISSOTA Super Stock feature, but neither could hold back Scott Lawrence, who took over the point on lap 3. Lawrence, in turn, had his hands full with Shane Kisling, who grabbed second from Casari on lap 5, just before Aaron Mashlan spun to bring about a caution slowdown.
From that point on, it was Nick Oreskovich that the field had to worry about. The “Flyin’ Farmer” restarted fourth, took third right after the restart, and then, after several stoppages in quick sequence, slipped past Kisling for second on lap 10. He then changed lanes and drove around Lawrence for the lead on lap 12.
Lawrence didn’t let go of the lead easily, sticking a nose under Oreskovich on a couple of occasions as the laps wound down. But Oreskovich, of Mason, held on for his second feature win of the year here, and set the fastest lap of the race in the process at 17.583 seconds. Kisling, a charging Patrick Beeksma, and Jeff Klopstein completed the top five.
For a little while, anyway, Ashland’s Tiffany Hudack was the track’s feature win leader on the season, after she scored her third ABC Six-Cylinder win to kick off the regular slate of A-mains. Hudack started mid-pack in the 15-car field, but thanks to a strong run and several mid-race cautions she was able to take the lead away from Scott Ovaska.
Front-row starter Bubba Anderson pulled off just as the field took the green flag, causing some early-race anxiety for the field, but Adam Traaholt cleared the chaos and led the first couple of laps. Ovaska tracked him down and got around him, and Dale Coddington followed into second on lap 4, with Hudack right on Coddington’s heels.
Ovaska had a nice two-second cushion and was cruising along until the first of Derek Milligan’s two spins put the field right back on his trunk lid. The first restart was aborted by debris on the race surface, and two laps later came Milligan’s second spin. That’s when Hudack charged past both Coddington and Ovaska on the restart and took over the pace, which she set for the remainder of the run even after Coddington’s stalled racer drew a caution on lap 9. Hudack’s final winning margin was just shy of two seconds, and her lap of 18.267 seconds was the fastest of the race.
Tyler Vernon, who started dead last of the 15 cars on the grid, used the restarts to climb to second at the pay window, ahead of Ovaska, DeJay Jarecki, and rookie Joshua Saunders.
Michael Blevins of Hibbing, MN, made a rare appearance in Ashland on Saturday, and it paid off for his second career feature win here. Blevins, who like Hudack, started from the outside of row 4, and he spent the first four laps of the 15-lap run tracking down early leader Randy Conner. But Blevins was aided by two early yellow flags – one for Nick Paoli’s spin, and the other for a get-together which involved top-five runners Don Livingston and Brandle Pupp.
After Randy Graham got by Justin Weinberger for second on the latter restart, Blevins returned the favor on Graham, and within a lap he was alongside Conner and taking over the lead. Graham’s spin on lap 5 would be the final delay of the night, after which Blevins attempted to shake loose of the challenges presented by Weinberger, who stuck to Blevins’ rear bumper for as long as he could. Only over the final two laps did Blevins have enough breathing room, posing the win a couple car-lengths up on Weinberger. Conner held on for third, just ahead of Andrew Hanson and Pupp.
Bike race winners included Cayden Cook (2-5 year-old age group), Xander Beeksma (6-7), Tanner Schmidt (8-9), and Ryan Sharpe (11-12). In an open age-group one-lap event, 13-year-old Mid-Mod driver Jared Stricker topped a strong field consisting of both kids and stock-car racers.
Five bikes were given away to lucky young fans, courtesy of the AmericInn of Ashland and the ABC Raceway. Also, Chicago Iron & Supply gave away many nice prizes to the fans, including t-shirts, gift certificates and concession-stand vouchers.
Next Saturday night, the ABC Raceway will host race number two of the three-track, three-night Northland Super Stock Challenge Series, to be presented by FastLane Motorsports & Custom Powdercoating of Ashland. As many as 30 or more Super Stock drivers are expected to compete in the Series, which starts the Friday night before in Superior and ends on the Sunday after in Proctor, MN. All five weekly divisions will be in action.
Hot laps will be at 6:15 pm, and the first green-flag racing of the night should follow by around 7. Adult tickets are $11, and fans ages 12 and under are admitted free when accompanied by a paying adult. “Z-93 Race Night” will air live on WBSZ, 93.3 FM, and stream online at www.wbszfm.com, from 4:30-6 pm with 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 more information visit the track’s website, www.abcraceway.com, or call the track on racedays at (715) 682-4990.
Feature: Kevin Eder, Ashland; Neil Balduc, Bessemer, MI; Bill Byholm, Glidden; Jeff Spacek, Phillips; Rick Rivord, Superior; Paul Niznik, Medford; Steve Stuart, Ashland; Al Uotinen, Superior; Pat Cook, Washburn; Scott Hudack, Ashland; Brian Mikkonen, Iron River; Steve Lavasseur, River Falls.
Heat 1: Balduc; Niznik; Stuart; Hudack; Cook; Mikkonen.
Heat 2: Spacek; Byholm; Rivord; Eder; Lavasseur; Uotinen.
WISSOTA Super Stocks
Feature: Nick Oreskovich, Mason; Scott Lawrence, Superior; Shane Kisling, Park Falls; Pat Beeksma, Ironwood, MI; Jeff Klopstein, Tomahawk; Jeff Brauer, Eyota, MN; Cory Casari, Montreal; Randy Spacek, Phillips; Terran Spacek, Phillips; Myron Basina, Washburn; Jim Campbell, Two Harbors, MN; Colton Vernon, Ashland; Keith Corcilius, Phillips; Don Muzzy, Ironwood, MI; Jordan Kurtti, Bruce Crossing, MI; Aaron Mashlan, Ashland; Andy Grymala, Superior.
Heat 1: Grymala; Oreskovich; Casari; Kisling; R Spacek; Beeksma; Basina; Kurtti; Vernon.
Heat 2: Lawrence; Campbell; Brauer; T Spacek; Muzzy; Klopstein; Corcilius; Mashlan.
WISSOTA Midwest Modifieds
Feature: Keven Eder, Ashland; Wayne Stricker, Highbridge; Cole Spacek, Phillips; Ryan Barningham, Bayfield; Tanner Hicks, Ashland; Paul Suzik, Ironwood, MI; Duane Dunbar, Marenisco, MI; John Kallas, Hurley; Tad Bretting, Ashland; George Dalbeck, Ironwood, MI; Nick Koehler, Bloomer; Jeremy Lindquist, Ashland; Ryan Adamzak, Ashland; Marcus Dunbar, Marenisco, MI; Brady Mesko-Jokinen, Mellen; Ross Fuhrman, Ashland; Tyler Hudack, Ashland; Jared Stricker, Highbridge; Robert Hyde, Ashland; Mike Jacques, Thunder Bay, ON; Bill Muhlig, Bessemer, MI; Tyler Vernon, Ashland; Jordan Barningham, Bayfield; Tanner Byholm, Glidden.
Heat 1: Byholm; Eder; R Barningham; D Dunbar; Lindquist; M Dunbar; Kallas; Hudack; Muhlig.
Heat 2: Suzik; Spacek; W Stricker; Vernon; Jacques; J Barningham; Gunner Peterson, Cable.
Heat 3: Koehler; Hicks; Dalbeck; Mesko-Jokinen; Bretting; Fuhrman; Hyde; J Stricker.
Make-up feature from 5/21: Eder; Byholm; Hicks; Bretting; Suzik; Lindquist; Dalbeck; Hudack; R Barningham; Kallas; Fuhrman; Mesko-Jokinen; M Dunbar; Cy Hoaglan; Ashland; Adamzak; Spacek; Muhlig; Vernon.
Feature: Tiffany Hudack, Ashland; Tyler Vernon, Ashland; Scott Ovaska, Marengo; DeJay Jarecki, Ashland; Josh Saunders, Spooner; Forrest Schultz, Ashland; Joe Newago, Bayfield; Jeremy Lindquist, Ashland; Dalton Truchon, Ashland; Chase Turner, Iron River; Adam Traaholt, Ashland; Dale Coddington, Hayward; Derek Milligan, Bayfield; Jeff Klopstein, Tomahawk; Bubba Anderson, Trego.
Heat 1: Anderson; Ovaska; Klopstein; Traaholt; Lindquist; Saunders; Turner; Vernon.
Heat 2: Coddington; Hudack; Schultz; Jarecki; Milligan; Newago; Truchon.
WISSOTA Pure Stocks
Feature: Michael Blevins, Hibbing, MN; Justin Weinberger, Park Falls; Randy Conner, Hayward; Andrew Hanson, Iron River; Brandle Pupp, Ashland; Andy Poll, Two Harbors, MN; Jeff Christman, South Range; Kyle Copp, Brule; Casey Hartshorn, Duluth, MN; Nick Paoli, Ironwood, MI; Joshua Kallas, Hurley; Matt Deragon, Ashland; Randy Graham, Trego; Don Livingston, Bayfield; Jaason Simonson, Superior.
Heat 1: Conner; Blevins; Hanson; Graham; Christman; Copp; Kallas; Hartshorn.
Heat 2: Pupp; Poll; Livingston; Weinberger; Simonson; Deragon; Paoli.
ABC 7/9/16 results