Hornets to Visit, Veterans to be Honored for ABC Raceway Season Opener

 

by Nick Gima

                Ashland, WI, May 26 — The Ashland-Bayfield County Racing Association’s Board of Directors and staff are hoping that the third time is a charm, so that they can finally get the 54th season of stock car racing at the ABC Raceway underway.

The Ashland Area Chamber of Commerce will present the rescheduled season opener this Saturday night, with a special “Salute to the Military” race program as well as the first-ever visit to the three-eighths-mile red-clay oval by the Hornets class of race cars.

Each of the first two previous attempts to kick off the 2018 season were thwarted by cold, wet weather. The Raceway’s all-volunteer staff is pulling for a change of heart by Mother Nature, as they have worked diligently over the shortened Spring season to prepare the facility.

“The track has been ready,” Raceway president Eric Erickson said recently, “The grounds are ready, our crew is ready, and our fans and drivers are ready. We just need some favorable weather so we can get this season going.

“Memorial Day weekend is always a perfect weekend for race fans. It’s the beginning of Summer. Our fans and drivers want to get this season started. Hopefully the weather will cooperate.”

The Raceway will pay tribute to those who have served or are currently serving in the five divisions of this country’s Armed Forces by offering free grandstand admission to all active and retired Military personnel for Saturday’s show just by showing their Military ID at the front gate.

“It’s because of the efforts and sacrifices of these people that we get to enjoy the freedom this nation offers,” Erickson said.

The Hornet class is as entry-level as it gets in full-sized stock car racing. The cars are four-cylinder, mostly front-drive cars that are, by rule, designed to be very inexpensive to build and compete with, allowing first-time racers to get a feel for the sport without breaking the bank to do so.

Locally, Hornets run at tracks like Proctor (MN) Speedway and Red Cedar Speedway in Menomonie on a regular basis. Drivers from at least six tracks in the region have been invited to race here on Saturday, and car count estimates have ranged from at least a dozen to over 20.

The Raceway’s 2017 division champions – Glidden’s Bill Byholm (WISSOTA Modifieds), Mason’s Nick Oreskovich (WISSOTA Super Stocks), Tyler Vernon of Ashland (WISSOTA Midwest Mods), and Andrew Hanson of Iron River (WISSOTA Pure Stocks) – are expected to return to defend their titles, but with Marengo’s Scott Ovaska, last year’s Six-Cylinder champ, possibly not competing in 2018, a new titlist may well be crowned in that division come August.

Regular weekly WISSOTA Promoters’ Association-sanctioned programs are set to run every Saturday but one through August 25, with several special events sprinkled throughout the schedule.

The Raceway will again offer a Kids’ Club during this season, with a variety of special activities, gifts and prizes for the younger fans on race nights. Information will be available at the track.

Hot laps will start at 6:15, and racing is set for 7 pm. Adult admission tickets are just $11 each for the grandstands, and kids ages 12 and under are admitted free when accompanied by a paying adult.

“Z-93 Race Night,” in its 15th season as the region’s only live pre-race radio program, will provide updates on WBSZ, 93.3 FM, and will also stream live on www.wbszfm.com, from 4:30-6 pm with current track news and weather information. 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 raceday information call (715) 682-4990, or log on to the track’s website, www.abcraceway.com.

 

 

 

by Nick Gima

                Ashland, WI, May 19 — The ABC Raceway’s Board of Directors made the difficult and frustrating decision to cancel Saturday night’s rescheduled season opener after a steady misting rain that lasted all afternoon and a forecast for brisk conditions forced its hand.

The track’s all-volunteer staff worked diligently throughout the entire week prior to prepare the facility for its five-division stock car racing program, to be presented by Heartland Communications Group radio stations, but the uncooperative weather moved in Saturday afternoon and spoiled their efforts.

The 2018 season opener has once again been delayed, this time until Saturday, May 26, when the Ashland Area Chamber of Commerce will present a “Salute to the Military” Memorial Day weekend special night of racing. All military personnel, retired or active, will receive free admission with their valid military identification, and Hornet racers from around the region have been invited to compete along with the track’s WISSOTA Modifieds, Super Stocks, Midwest Modifieds and Pure Stocks, and the ABC Six-Cylinders.

Hornets are small, front-drive four-cylinder cars with all the safety modifications for racing. The small-budget division is perfectly suited for younger and entry-level drivers wanting to get a feel for racing for the first time without the larger cash investments that other divisions require. Locally Hornets can be seen competing weekly at tracks like Proctor (MN) Speedway; Red Cedar Speedway in Menomonie; and Eagle Valley Speedway in Jim Falls.

The grandstands will open at 5 pm, hot laps will start at 6:15, and the first green flag of the season should drop at 7 pm. Admission for adults is $11 in the grandstands, and children ages 12 and under are admitted free when accompanied by a paying adult. The pit gate admission price is $25.

“Z-93 Race Night” will air on WBSZ, 93.3 FM, and stream on www.wbszfm.com, from 4:30-6 pm with live at-the-track pre-race information and weather updates. Fans can also download the free HCG Radio app and listen on 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 raceday information call (715) 682-4990, or log on to the track’s website, www.abcraceway.com.

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