by Nick Gima
Ashland, WI, June 11 — With 112 cars entered in the pit area and extra features on the docket, fans in the stands at the ABC Raceway on Saturday night probably knew they might be in for a long night with a lot of action. And they were right.
The NAPA Auto Parts Stores of Ashland & Washburn presented the tenth annual “Midwest Mod Madness” special at the northern Wisconsin speedplant, with bonus money contributed for the special event by Dalbeck Logging and Lake Shore Cafe generously spread about. In addition, the track ran its first set of make-up features from the shortened May 21 race program. As a result, it wasn’t until after midnight that Greenwood’s Shane Halopka collected the $1,000 first-place check and winner’s trophy.
Despite the significant rainfall in the area over the past two weeks, the track became hard, smooth and slick, which may have contributed to the unusually large number of caution flags throughout the 22 races run on this cool, breezy night.
The PolyDome Dirt Track Series program was kicked off by timed “batch qualifying” for the 39 WISSOTA Midwest Modifieds in attendance. Dave Flynn of Superior posted the quickest single-lap time of 18.085 seconds, earning himself the pole position for his heat race.
The evening of action was completed by a 24-car, 25-lap feature that, in essence, lived up to its billing. Halopka, who started outside on the front row, shot to the initial lead ahead of a three-wide battle for second that was eventually won by Jesse Aho. The first four laps clicked off without a hitch, but just as Aho made a move to the inside on the leader, Austin Ellis and Paul Suzik collided to spark a series of yellow-flag slowdowns that kept the participants from getting into any sort of rhythm.
After a three-car mess on the restart, Aho and Ryan Adamzak debated second place just behind Halopka for a couple of laps, while Curt Myers made gains on the outside line in getting by Flynn for fifth behind Dan Kingsley. But after a lap 10 spin by Bill Byholm – driving his son Tanner’s car – it would take five attempts to complete another lap, with the first of those attempts resulting in a melee that involved five of the top 11 runners and knocking Flynn from contention.
During each restart Aho shook off the persistent Adamzak and stuck right to the rear bumper of Halopka’s car, although he was unable to overtake the leader. Then, just prior to a lap 11 restart, tenth-starting Nick Oreskovich – filling in for the absent Kevin Eder – grabbed third place from Adamzak. That restart put Oreskovich in perfect position to swipe second away from Aho, but it also allowed Halopka to finally gain some breathing room and pull away over the closing laps to a 2.61-second margin of victory and become the ninth different winner of the special event.
Adamzak, who started on the pole, held on for fourth ahead of Wayne Stricker, who won one of the two semi-features in order to make the main event and started 18th on the grid. Halopka also set the fast lap of the race with a time of 17.922 seconds.
The WISSOTA Modifieds ran off what was, by comparison, a fast-paced 20-lap A-main, with former track champ Steve Stuart of Ashland leading green-to-checkered for the win. Stuart, like Halopka, started outside on the front row and grabbed the point going into the first turn, and he stayed there after a lap 2 restart for debris.
Over the course of an eight-lap green-flag run Stuart hugged the bottom groove of the three-eighths-mile oval, while first Neil Balduc and then visitor Mike Anderson worked the outer line to mount a challenge. Anderson changed lanes to take second away on lap 4, but once there he went back to the rim to try to reel Stuart in.
Just prior to the race’s midpoint Steve Lavasseur slipped past Balduc for third, and Al Uotinen used a low-lane move for a three-wide pass of Kevin Adams and Byholm for fifth. Then Scott Hudack looped his ride on lap 10 to bring out the yellow flag and eliminate Stuart’s 1.25-second buffer.
On lap 16 Uotinen took fourth from Lavasseur, and later in that circuit Byholm and Balduc got together to slow the pace. Balduc returned the favor on Uotinen after the restart, and Hudack’s second spin set up a green-white-checkered finish, but Stuart was up to the task and held off Anderson for the win.
Uotinen snuck past both Balduc and Lavasseur on the final lap for third-place money. Stuart also claimed the fast-lap bonus with a time of 17.810 seconds.
Cameron’s Curt Myers was the man to beat in the 20-lap WISSOTA Super Stock feature, but it took nearly half of the run for him to get to the front. A lot of that long trek had to do with the fact that the defending national champion had to start from the fifth row of the 23-car field and pass a lot of high-quality competition in order to get there.
Aaron Mashlan’s first-lap spin spoiled Greg Kuklinski’s dash to the early lead, so on the restart polesitter Andy Grymala didn’t let the Raceway’s all-time feature wins leader make that move again. Shawn McFadden Jr moved into second place behind Grymala on lap 2, and on the restart after Charlie Anderson’s lap 4 spin McFadden moved inside on Grymala and took over the point, with Pat Beeksma making it three-wide as he went high-side around Grymala for second.
After Keith Corcilius’ spin a lap later, Myers – who restarted fifth – dropped low to move by Shane Kisling and then Grymala to claim third. Myers then tried the high side to challenge Beeksma, but Kyle Helling stopped the run with his bobble.
Myers made an outside move to pull alongside McFadden on the restart, and on lap 9 he cleared for the lead, while Kisling used the same move to take third from Beeksma and brought 11th-starting Oreskovich along to fourth. Kisling continued to ride the rim to get around McFadden for second on lap 13, and then two circuits later McFadden’s car began to smoke and slow dramatically; he attempted to dive out of the way into the infield, but Scott Lawrence had already committed to an inside move to pass him, and the two collided, sending Lawrence into the air and then spinning into the infield grass.
Myers held on over the final five laps for the win, and along the way he posted the race’s fastest lap with a time of 17.966 seconds. Oreskovich slipped past Kisling for second on lap 16 and stayed on Myers’ trunklid for the rest of the run. Lawrence passed three cars over those final four laps to take fourth, and Jeff Klopstein Jr followed him into fifth.
The ABC Six-Cylinders and WISSOTA Pure Stocks ran their make-up features from the shortened May 21 season opener as well as their complete slate of races for this night. The Sixes’ regularly-scheduled A-main was a nailbiter for pole-starter Bubba Anderson of Trego, whose car emitted a light but foreboding cloud of smoke almost from the very drop of the green flag.
Anderson shot out to the initial lead and had built a 1.22-second advantage over DeJay Jarecki over the first couple of laps. But by lap 5 Jarecki and Tiffany Hudack had reeled in the leader, and both were in perfect position to overtake Anderson on the restart after Bella Bretting’s spin on lap 5.
Hudack worked her way around Jarecki for second on the re-do, but that pass was wiped out by Dalton Truchon’s looped ride. Hudack repeated the move with the next green flag, and this time it stuck, but it was all she could do to find a way around Anderson, who held a steady line throughout the rest of the run.
Dale Coddington, who started alongside Hudack on row 4, swept around folks as he worked his way to the front, and once he caught the lead pair he was able to pull alongside Anderson and challenge for the lead. But he ran out of momentum and settled back into third behind Hudack, while Anderson held on for his second career feature win here. Jarecki and Forrest Schultz rounded out the top five, and Hudack set the fast lap at 18.923 seconds.
Hudack was dominant in the Sixes’ make-up feature held earlier in the program, taking the lead from pole-starter Jeremy Lindquist on lap 9 of 15 and cruising to the win, while again claiming the fast-lap bonus with a tour in 19.029 seconds.
A huge crash collected nearly half of the 15-car field and forced early exits for a couple of cars, including Anderson’s. But when Lindquist stumbled just a bit while trying to hold off Hudack’s challenges, the 2014 track champ from Ashland slipped by and ran away to her fourth career feature win. Lindquist also gave up second to Schultz for just a moment late in the run but got it back before the checkers, while Adam Traaholt and Brendon Ottman enjoyed rare top-five runs.
The regularly-scheduled Pure Stock 15-lap A-main saw Trego’s Randy Graham earn his first career feature win, and a hard-earned one at that. In the early going Graham held off a strong challenge from pole-starter Jeff Christman, with the pair swapping the lead before Graham claimed it for good on lap 3. Then, after a couple of restarts Graham was threatened by Justin Weinberger, who was coming off of a win at Superior the night before. A lap 7 crash involving Tim Carbon and Andrew Hanson – both running in the top-five at the time – gave Weinberger a chance to take the lead away on lap 10, but two circuits later Graham fought back and overtook Weinberger, and he held on from there for the landmark win.
Tim Carlson and Brandle Pupp were a distant third and fourth, respectively, while Christman – who spun to bring out a caution flag while running third – recovered for a fifth-place effort.
The Pure Stock make-up race started with a handful of lead changes. Pupp started on the pole but spun in the first corner, putting Randy Conner in the lead on the restart. But Graham slipped past Conner after a lap 3 re-do, and then Hanson moved by Tim Carlson and then Graham on lap 5 to claim the top spot. A wreck involving Carlson and Connor stopped the race on lap 7, with Conner’s car receiving significant damage.
Hanson pulled away as Graham’s bobble forced Weinberger and the rest of the field to check up, and then he survived a late-race restart caused by a Graham-Pupp get-together for his first-ever feature win in Ashland. Chad Carlson inherited second on the last restart and stayed there to the end, followed by his brother Tim, Weinberger and Steve Pohl.
Next Saturday night, the ABC Raceway invites everyone to bring a friend to the races, as it will offer a “buy one, get one free” adult grandstand admission ticket offer. The program, to be presented by Heartland Communications and Legendary Waters Resort & Casino, will feature all five regular weekly classes in action, plus the addition of the make-up features for the “big Mods” and Super Stocks.
Hot laps will be at 6:15 pm, and green-flag racing will follow at 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: Steve Stuart, Ashland; Mike Anderson, Colfax; Al Uotinen, Superior; Neil Balduc, Bessemer, MI; Steve Lavasseur, River Falls; Brian Mikkonen, Iron River; Pat Cook, Washburn; Rick Rivord, Superior; Mickey Nosser, Phillips; Jacob Hiatt, New Richmond; Pat Hoffman, Rice Lake; Kevin Adams, Cameron; Dustin Hudack, Ashland; Jeff Spacek, Phillips; Scott Hudack, Ashland; Bill Byholm, Glidden.
Heat 1: Adams; Uotinen; Mikkonen; Cook; Hiatt; Hoffman; S Hudack; D Hudack.
Heat 2: Stuart; Balduc; Anderson; Lavasseur; Rivord; Byholm; Spacek; Nosser.
WISSOTA Super Stocks
Feature: Curt Myers, Cameron; Nick Oreskovich, Mason; Shane Kisling, Park Falls; Scott Lawrence, Superior; Jeff Klopstein, Tomahawk; Randy Spacek, Phillips; Pat Beeksma, Ironwood, MI; Andy Grymala, Superior; Greg Kuklinski, Ironwood, MI; Terran Spacek, Phillips; Myron Basina, Washburn; Don Muzzy, Ironwood, MI; Charlie Anderson, Ironwood, MI; Colten Vernon, Ashland; Dave Elliott, Minocqua; Luke Schultz, Cameron; Cory Marincel, Ashland; Aaron Mashlan, Ashland; Shawn McFadden Jr, Ashland; Cory Casari, Montreal; Kyle Helling, Rice Lake; Dave Flynn, Superior; Keith Corcilius, Phillips.
Heat 1: T Spacek; Grymala; McFadden; Myers; Casari; Flynn; Anderson; Vernon.
Heat 2: Kisling; Kuklinski; Klopstein; Oreskovich; Schultz; Helling; Basina; Marincel.
Heat 3: Lawrence; Muzzy; Beeksma; R Spacek; Elliott; Corcilius; Mashlan.
WISSOTA Midwest Modifieds
Feature: Shane Halopka, Greenwood; Nick Oreskovich, Mason; Jesse Aho, Twin Lakes, MI; Ryan Adamzak, Ashland; Wayne Stricker, Highbridge; Dan Kingsley, Superior; Paul Suzik, Ironwood, MI; Michael Truscott, Chippewa Falls; George Dalbeck, Ironwood, MI; Tanner Hicks, Ashland; Austin Ellis, Rice Lake; Bill Byholm, Glidden; George Truscott, Greenland, MI; Tad Bretting, Ashland; Ryan Barningham, Bayfield; Jeremy Lindquist, Ashland; Brady Mesko-Jokinen, Mellen; Brad Seavers, Rib Lake; Duane Dunbar, Marenisco, MI; Shawn Rivord, Superior; Curt Myers, Cameron; Cole Spacek, Phillips; Dave Flynn, Superior; Denny Cutsforth, Rice Lake.
Heat 1: Flynn; Aho; Suzik; R Barningham; Rivord; Jordan Barningham, Bayfield; John Kallas, Hurley; Robert Hyde, Ashland; Cy Hoaglan, Ashland; Gunner Peterson, Drummond.
Heat 2: Adamzak; Halopka; Oreskovich; D Dunbar; W Stricker; Marcus Dunbar, Marenisco, MI; Dalbeck; Cutsforth; Matt Deragon, Ashland; Mike Jacques, Thunder Bay, ON.
Heat 3: Myers; Kinglsey; Spacek; Byholm; Hicks; G Truscott; Lindquist; Tyler Hudack, Ashland; Pete Paulus, Phillips; Darren Zorich, Marenisco, MI.
Heat 4: M Truscott; Ellis; Bretting; Seavers; Ross Fuhrman, Ashland; Mesko-Jokinen; Jared Stricker, Mellen; Bill Muhlig, Bessemer, MI; Clay Passuello, Ironwood, MI.
Semi-Feature 1: Hicks; Rivord; G Truscott; Lindquist; Hudack; J Barningham; Hoaglan; Hyde; Zorich; Peterson; Kallas.
Semi-Feature 2: W Stricker; Dalbeck; Cutsforth; Mesko-Jokinen; Fuhrman; Deragon; M Dunbar; J Stricker; Muhlig; Jacques.
Feature: Bubba Anderson, Trego; Tiffany Hudack, Ashland; Dale Coddington, Hayward; DeJay Jarecki, Ashland; Forrest Schultz, Ashland; Scott Ovaska, Marengo; Jeremy Lindquist, Ashland; Joe Newago, Bayfield; Brendon Ottman, Ashland; Adam Traaholt, Ashland; Matt Larson, Spooner; Dalton Truchon, Ashland; Cole Vernon, Ashland; Paige Vernon, Ashland; Derek Milligan, Bayfield; Bella Bretting, Washburn.
Heat 1: Coddington; Jarecki; C Vernon; Schultz; Ottman; Larson.
Heat 2: Hudack; Ovaska; Lindquist; Anderson; Newago; Truchon; P Vernon; Bretting.
Make-up Feature from 5/21/16: Hudack; Lindquist; Schultz; Traaholt; Ottman; Milligan; Ovaska; Truchon; Newago; Larson; Bretting; Jarecki; Coddington; C Vernon; Anderson.
WISSOTA Pure Stocks
Feature: Randy Graham, Trego; Justin Weinberger, Park Falls; Tim Carlson, Superior; Brandle Pupp, Ashland; Jeff Christman, South Range; Bob Skrobot, Manitowish Waters; Chris Johnson, Superior; Steve Pohl, Manitowish Waters; Andy Poll, Two Harbors, MN; Don Livingston, Bayfield; Nick Paoli, Ironwood, MI; Chad Carlson, Superior; Tim Carbon, Highbridge; Josh Kallas, Hurley; Brock Beilke, Hayward.
Heat 1: Graham; Pupp; T Carlson; Christman; Poll; Livingston; Skrobot; Kallas.
Heat 2: Weinberger; Carbon; C Carlson; Andrew Hanson, Iron River; Pohl; Johnson; Paoli; Beilke.
Make-up Feature from 5/21/16: Hanson; C Carlson; T Carlson; Weinberger; Pohl; Christman; Skrobot; Poll; Paoli; Graham; Pupp; Randy Conner, Hayward; Jake Nevala, Ashland; Beilke.
ABC 6/11/16 results