all photos – Norm Tesch photo
Ebert Hammers Advantage RV Mod Tour Field at ABC
by Nick Gima
Ashland, WI, June 9 — He doesn’t get to the ABC Raceway often, but Dan Ebert of Lake Shore, MN, might get to liking the long haul to the Northwoods of Wisconsin.
In only his second visit to the track, Ebert swiped the lead from Jody Bellefeuille roughly a third of the way through the 40-lap WISSOTA Modified A-feature and disappeared to a dominant win during Saturday’s Advantage RV Mod Tour visit here.
The five-division race program, presented by Auto Value Auto Parts of Ashland and Ironwood, MI, and the Kwik-Trip convenience stores of Ashland, saw 94 entries file into the pit area, including 25 of the “big Mods” participating in the Tour’s second-ever stop at ABC. Cool temperatures kept the red-clay surface tacky and created plenty of horsepower, making for some lightning-fast lap times all night long.
All 25 Mods qualified for the $1,500-to-win A-feature, which was lengthened from the initially-scheduled 30 laps to 40 to bring it in line with the rest of the Tour’s shows. The added distance didn’t bother the field, however, as all 40 laps ran off without a single yellow for the first time in the Tour’s six stops to date.
Ebert started behind polesitter Bellefeuille and slipped in behind outside-front-row starter Rick Rivord to ride third, as Bellefeuille ran off to a healthy early lead. Then on lap 6 Ebert made his way past Rivord and began to chip away at what was a deficit of over three seconds to Bellefeuille.
The leader had caught the tail-end of the field within just 11 laps, and this allowed Ebert to close quickly. On lap 12 Bellefeuille got too close to Brady Jokinen and made contact with the tail-ender, giving Ebert the opening he needed to get by. From that point on, no one got close enough to threaten his grip on the lead.
Battles for position were scattered all around the three-eighths-mile course. Mike Anderson rode comfortably in third at a distance behind Bellefeuille and well ahead of Tour points leader Shane Sabraski at lap 17, but as slower traffic became a factor near mid-race Sabraski had not only caught but overtaken Anderson for the spot, bringing Dave Cain, Andy Jones and several others along to create a tight group battling for position.
Ebert kept several lapped cars between himself and Bellefeuille over the second half of the show, increasing his cushion with every tour around the oval. Over the final ten laps he did most of his damage, running in the open field while Bellefeuille contended both with lappers and with a closing Sabraski, who stole the runner-up spot in the waning laps. Ebert’s margin of victory was an incredible 9.332 seconds – about two-thirds of a lap – over the close-knit group of Sabraski, Bellefeuille, Cain and Anderson.
The win gave Ebert two victories on the Tour to date, matching Sabraski, who carried the Tour points lead into Proctor on Sunday.
Nick Oreskovich of Mason continued his winning ways with his second WISSOTA Super Stock feature win of the season here. Like Ebert, Oreskovich started inside on the second row and had to battle with the outside-front-row starter – in this case, Shawn McFadden Jr – during the early going. But two quick restarts – one for a five-car mess just two laps in, and another for debris off of David Elliott’s car as result of the aforementioned scrum – kept the field close.
Over the next 11 laps, polestarter Scott Lawrence took to the high groove and got out front by a few car-lengths. But Oreskovich, once clear of the persistent McFadden, closed the gap quickly and rode right on the leader’s rear bumper during the long green-flag run. Just as Oreskovich was about to make his move, debris on the track stopped the pace, and on the restart Curt Myers made a quick move past McFadden and Terran Spacek into third.
With six laps to go Lawrence bobbled up the track, allowing Oreskovich to grab the lead with Myers right behind. Within another lap, Myers had switched lanes and swept by to first, but as he led down the front straight Myers appeared to check up, as if something mechanical had gone wrong. Oreskovich, right on is bumper, piled into the back of Myers’ car, and Lawrence spun his car to avoid more contact. The yellow was costly for Lawrence, whose spin was deemed the cause of the caution and thus he was dropped to the tail of the field. But it was also bad for Myers, as Oreskovich got a strong run on the restart, took the lead away, and held on over the final four laps to the win.
An impressive run by Terran Spacek earned him third-place money, ahead of Andy Grymala and McFadden.
The 20-lap WISSOTA Midwest Modified feature was frustrating in many ways, but not for Michael Truscott of Chippewa Falls, who returned to the track for the first time since his Red Clay Classic win last September and ended up in the same Victory Lane.
It took the 24-car field three tries to get a single lap in, as various spins and crashes kept the green-flag action to a minimum. Polestarter Ross Fuhrman looked tough to beat early as he held off challenges from both Tyler Hudack and Truscott on each attempt to start the race, and then over the first couple of laps under green as well.
A spin on lap 2 again caused a delay, but Paul Suzik used the restart to grab the lead away from Fuhrman, with Truscott following into second just before another spin on lap 3. With the green back out, Truscott worked the high side for a couple of laps until he was able to clear Suzik, and from there he used the next ten uninterrupted laps to push out to a one-second lead.
Once Truscott had caught the back of the field, however, Suzik and Hudack were able to close the gap. Truscott’s lead was less than a car-length when the white flag was about to be shown to the field, and that’s when the havoc returned. Diamond Bressette’s spin, combined with Brandon Copp’s broken car, stopped the race, and on the green-white-checkered restart several cars made contact on the front straight, causing Gunner Peterson’s car to scrape along the top of the concrete wall and Cy Hoaglan’s ride to get shoved and take a wild roll. Both drivers were a little shook but otherwise unharmed.
The field nearly completed another lap, but another five-car scramble just after the front half of the field took the white collected several among the top-ten runners. Officials called the race complete at this point, and despite some confusion both on the track and in the scoring booth, Truscott was awarded the win. Suzik, who had slipped up the track and lost some spots prior to the yellow, was repositioned in second ahead of Hudack, Fuhrman, and Canadian visitor Colin Chaschuk, who had started the race 13th.
The 15-lap Six-Cylinder feature also had its share of chaos, but in the end a determined Tiffany Hudack charged through to her second win of the young season. After three attempts to start the race each ended in yellow flags, the race was finally started single-file, with polesitter DeJay Jarecki leading the way. Hudack, starting midway through the alignment, quickly disposed of several cars to get to third by lap 2, and on lap 3 she overtook Jake Nevala and set her sights on the leader.
Over the next four laps Hudack kept the pressure on, but Jarecki held fast to the point. Just as Hudack moved low to challenge the leader, Jonathan Popp’s stalled ride brought about a stoppage. Then, in the tight confines of the restart, Nevala tagged and spun Hudack, bringing about another yellow flag.
The final eight laps went off without another delay, and Hudack swapped the second position with Randy Graham over a couple of laps before Hudack established herself there. With three laps remaining she drove low on Jarecki, and after finally clearing him for the lead a lap later she ran on to the win. Graham came home third well back of the lead pair, followed closely by Bubba Anderson. Fifth-finishing Forrest Schultz forgot to bring his car to the scales post-race, conceding his position to 13th-starting Aaron Mashlan.
The 12-lap WISSOTA Pure Stock A-main came down to a shootout between the division’s top two drivers at this track, with Kyle Copp claiming the win in this round. Don Livingston shot to the initial lead from the front row, but Graham worked to the inside during the next circuit and took the point away. Contact between Livingston and Graham on the next lap brought out the race’s lone caution stop, after which Andrew Hanson swept around two cars to claim third.
Copp worked the inside line, and within another lap had edged ahead of Graham. Copp pushed his lead out to several lengths over the middle portion of the event, while with four laps to go Graham could not fend off Hanson any longer and gave up second. During the final laps Hanson, the defending track champ who had won on opening night, closed to within a car-length, but he ran out of time as Copp took home his second feature win in as many nights, after a victory in Superior the night before.
Graham was back a bit in third, but visiting Tucker Quinn lost his fourth-place run after a technical infraction post-race. Livingston and Chad Nikstad completed the top five.
The fast track resulted in several quick-lap times that threatened the Raceway’s record books. Ebert’s fast time of 16.120 seconds (83.747 mph average) was less than 15 one-hundredths of a second shy of the track’s best-ever mark for a Mod, while Myers’s lap of 16.587 seconds (81.389) was a mere tenth of a second slower than the Super Stock record.
Truscott (17.124; 78.837) came within a quarter-second of breaking the Mid-Mod mark, and Hudack’s fast lap in the Sixes’ A-main (18.312; 73.222) was less than a half-second slower than her brother Tyler’s track-record tour.
The ABC Raceway, in cooperation with Northern Clearing Inc of Ashland, will offer a night of free general grandstand admission to all in attendance on Saturday, June 16. The intent of the event is to help raise proceeds for two very worthwhile charities in the Chequamegon Bay area – the Ashland-Bayfield County chapter of the American Cancer Society’s “Relay for Life” program, and The Brick Ministries food bank. Fans are asked to donate money, non-perishable food items, or both at the main grandstand gate as part of the fundraising event.
In addition, the track will host its rescheduled Kids’ Meet the Drivers Night, presented by Little Caesar’s Pizza of Ashland. Fans will be welcomed onto the track to see the race cars up close and meet their favorite drivers, plus get autographs and other souvenirs.
The meet-and-greet session will start at 6:30, with the first race of the night set for 7 pm. There will be no hot laps prior to the race program.
“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. Fans can also listen by downloading the free HCG Radio app onto their smart phone, tablet or other mobile device.
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 log onto the track’s website, www.abcraceway.com. or on race days call (715) 682-4990.
Feature: 1-10: Dan Ebert, Lake Shore, MN; Shane Sabraski, Rice, MN; Jody Bellefeuille, Duluth, MN; Dave Cain, Corcoran, MN; Mike Anderson, Jim Falls; Kevin Eder, Ashland; Andy Jones, Princeton, MN; Jeremy Nelson, Alexandria, MN; Steve Stuart, Ashland; Steve Lavasseur, River Falls.
11-20: Bill Byholm, Glidden; Neil Balduc, Bessemer, MI; Donnie Lofdahl, Duluth, MN; Pat Cook, Washburn; Rick Rivord, Superior; Cory Bruggeman, Stillwater, MN; Mike Stearns, Hecla, SD; Tanner Byholm, Glidden; Ken Hron, Grand Rapids, MN; Brady Jokinen, Mellen.
21-23: Jake Hiatt, Mason; Al Uotinen, Superior; Jerome Guyot, Fannystelle, MB
Heat 1: Ebert; Anderson; Sabraski; Eder; Hiatt; Hron; Jokinen.
Heat 2: Jones; B Byholm; Cain; Bruggeman; Guyot; T Byholm.
Heat 3: Jeff Spacek, Phillips; Rivord; Lofdahl; Uotinen; Cook; Cody Carlson, Superior.
Heat 4: Nelson; Bellefeuille; Lavasseur; Balduc; Stuart; Stearns.
WISSOTA Super Stocks
Feature: 1-10: Nick Oreskovich, Mason; Curt Myers, Cameron; Terran Spacek, Phillips; Andy Grymala, Superior; Shawn McFadden Jr, Ashland; Randy Spacek, Phillips; Don Muzzy, Ironwood, MI; Scott Lawrence, Superior; Cory Casari, Montreal; DJ Keeler, Superior.
11-15: Patrick Beeksma, Ironwood, MI; David Elliott, Minocqua; Aaron Mashlan, Ashland; Greg Kuklinski, Ironwood, MI; Matt Deragon, Ashland.
Heat 1: T Spacek; Myers; McFadden; Grymala; Deragon; Kuklinski; Beeksma; Casari.
Heat 2: Oreskovich; Lawrence; R Spacek; Keeler; Mashlan; Elliott; Muzzy.
WISSOTA Midwest Modifieds
Feature: 1-10: Michael Truscott, Chippewa Falls; Paul Suzik, Ironwood, MI; Tyler Hudack, Ashland; Ross Fuhrman, Ashland; Colin Chaschuk, Neebing, ON; Dan Kingsley, Superior; George Truscott, Greenland, MI; Justin Weinberger, Park Falls; Craig Lofdahl, Duluth, MN; Craig Elliott, Hillsdale.
11-20: Jeremy Lindquist, Ashland; Ryan Barningham, Bayfield; Jared Stricker, Highbridge; Jordan Barningham, Bayfield; Wayne Stricker, Highbridge; David Simpson, Thunder Bay, ON; Pete Paulus, Phillips; Cy Hoaglan, Ashland; Gunner Peterson, Mason; Brandon Copp, Brule.
21-24: Diamond Bressette, Spooner; Tanner Hicks, Ashland; Clay Passuello, Ironwood, MI; George Dalbeck, Wakefield, MI.
Heat 1: Fuhrman; Simpson; Hicks; Chaschuk; Kingsley; Lofdahl; Weinberger; Dalton Mains, Foxboro.
Heat 2: Suzik; Passuello; Peterson; Hoaglan; J Stricker; Elliott; Wayne Jacques, Thunder Bay, ON; Jake Kruzan, Mellen.
Heat 3: W Stricker; Copp; Lindquist; Dalbeck; Paulus; Jack Rivord, Superior; J Barningham.
Heat 4: M Truscott; Hudack; R Barningham; G Truscott; Bressette; Billy Milne, Thunder Bay, ON; James Kannegiesser, Hayward.
Semi-Feature: Lofdahl; Elliott; Weinberger; J Barningham; Mains; Kannegiesser; Milne; Jacques; Rivord.
Feature: 1-10: Tiffany Hudack, Ashland; DeJay Jarecki, Ashland; Randy Graham, Trego; Bubba Anderson, Trego; Aaron Mashlan, Ashland; Joshua Saunders, Spooner; Jacob Nevala, Ashland; Jonathan Popp, Iron River; Derek Dunbar, Iron River; Jordan Pearce, Ashland.
11-13: Travis Swanson, Washburn; Devin Dalbec, Ashland; Adam Traaholt, Ashland.
Heat 1: Hudack; Jarecki; Anderson; Traaholt; Swanson; Pearce; Mashlan.
Heat 2: Graham; Nevala; Forrest Schultz, Ashland; Saunders; Dunbar; Popp; Dalbec.
WISSOTA Pure Stocks
Feature: 1-9: Kyle Copp, Brule; Andrew Hanson, Iron River; Randy Graham, Trego; Don Livingston, Washburn; Chad Nikstad, Superior; Jeff Christman, South Range; Brock Beilke, Hayward; Austin Gibson, Springbrook; Darren Dudley, Ashland.
Heat 1: Copp; Beilke; Tucker Quinn, Ladysmith; Gibson; Dudley.
Heat 2: Hanson; Graham; Livingston; Christman; Nikstad.