by Nick Gima
Ashland, WI, July 16 — Nick Oreskovich had things well in hand over the first ten laps of Saturday night’s WISSOTA Super Stock feature at the ABC Raceway, thanks to strong restarts after caution-flag slowdowns. But as the final 15 laps ran off non-stop, the “Flyin’ Farmer” from Mason had all he could do to hold on for the win.
Oreskovich claimed the second race of the three-race, three-track FastLane Motorsports Northland Super Stock Challenge Series one night after holding off Scott Lawrence for the first-round win at Superior. A win at Proctor (MN) Speedway on Sunday would give Oreskovich the Series sweep and a possible $3,550 payoff for the weekend.
“That would be awesome to do,” Oreskovich said about the possibility of a sweep after his Ashland win. “The pressure’s on.”
Oreskovich, who started from the outside on the front row, took the immediate lead of the 25-lap headline event and stayed there after a lap 1 Aaron Mashlan spin. By lap 4 Oreskovich had built up a 1.45-second lead over a great battle between Keith Kern and Pat Beeksma for second, while a short distance back Lawrence was in a tussle with Shane Kisling and Kevin Burdick for fourth.
Beeksma gained an advantage on Kern with an inside pass on lap 6, but moments later Dave Elliott looped his ride to bring out another yellow flag and wipe out Oreskovich’s lead, which had grown to over three seconds. Then, on the restart, Dave Flynn got turned around, and several cars were collected to cause another delay.
As Jeff Klopstein overtook Lawrence for fifth three laps after that restart, Oreskovich again had pulled away from Beeksma and Kern by over two seconds, but Cory Marincel spun to bring about the final stoppage of the night. From that point on Oreskovich couldn’t get away as comfortably as before, as Burdick made a charge up to third within three laps.
Beeksma was behind Oreskovich by 1.2 seconds at the halfway point, but Beeksma slowly chipped away at the difference, hugging the inside line of the three-eighth-mile red-clay oval while Oreskovich rode the rim. With three laps remaining Beeksma was within a half-second of Oreskovich, and as the lead pair took the white flag Beeksma slipped a fender to the inside in a bid for the win. But Oreskovich held on to win by .121 seconds, with Beeksma to his inside.
“Just to catch Nick is quite an accomplishment,” said Beeksma afterwards. Burdick was a strong but distant third despite scrambling to get ready for the event. “We blew up the motor (the night before) in Superior, so we replaced it with a ten-year-old motor,” he explained after the impressive run.
Klopstein and Kern completed the top five. Oreskovich posted the fastest lap of the run with a time of 17.285 seconds.
Paul Wrazidlo of Duluth, MN, who has not raced in several years, had put together a WISSOTA Modified for his daughter Nikki a couple of years back. But Nikki put her dad back in the car for the 2016 season, and by chance he took a ride over to Ashland to race here for the first time in many years. The trip paid off with Paul’s first feature win at ABC since August 1991.
Wrazidlo used the low line to get to the front, but it took him a few laps as Steve Lavasseur outran pole-starter Scott Hudack for the early lead, with Jeff Spacek hot on his tail. Wrazidlo worked low to get by Spacek and then Hudack on successive laps, and on lap 4 he used the same line to take the lead from Lavasseur.
Neil Balduc, who had started right behind Wrazidlo on the inside of row 4, picked his way through traffic to claim third from Spacek on lap 6, and one circuit later he overtook Lavasseur for second. At this point Wrazidlo had a nearly two-second lead on the field, but Balduc narrowed the gap with each tour around. Unfortunately for Balduc, the race stayed green for the entire 20 laps, and Wrazidlo was smooth on his line and hit his marks perfectly. The end result was a .97-second margin of victory and a bonus for the fastest lap of the race at 17.309 for the veteran racer.
Bill Byholm held down a solid third-place finish well ahead of Spacek and Al Uotinen.
Bloomer’s Nick Koehler lost a feature win earlier this summer due to a technical infraction, but he more than made up for it with a stout run and his third career ABC Raceway win in the WISSOTA Midwest Modified 15-lap A-main. After a five-car melee with one lap in the books, Koehler, who started on row 3, stole second place away from pole-starting rookie Tyler Hudack and set off to hunt down early leader Tanner Hicks.
On lap 3 Koehler used an inside move to take the lead, and over the next seven laps he extended his advantage to 1.8 seconds, while behind him drivers changed positions with frequency. One driver on a mission to the front was Ryan Adamzak, who took over third just before Koehler took the lead, while Wayne Stricker and Paul Suzik also made strong advances through the field.
Adamzak caught and eventually passed Hicks on lap 11, just before Brandon Copp’s spin brought the field back to Koehler’s rear push-bar. But on that restart Suzik and Hicks tried inside passes on Adamzak to regain their spots, and contact broke Adamzak loose, causing several cars to dodge and dive and eventually collect in a grinding crash on the back straightaway.
Koehler held strong over the final five laps on his way to the win, pulling away to a final advantage of 1.5 seconds while setting the fast circuit of the race in the process at 17.442 seconds. Hicks came home second ahead of Suzik, but the defending champ was penalized two positions in the final rundown for a jump of a restart. That gave third spot to Stricker and fourth to Tyler Vernon.
Ashland’s Tiffany Hudack strengthened her command of the ABC Six-Cylinder points standings after a sweep of her heat and the division’s 15-lap feature on Saturday. However, Hudack took advantage of others’ bad luck rather than her fast race car for her fourth A-main win of the season and third in a row.
The 17-car field clicked off its first nine laps of the feature non-stop, with Tyler Vernon pulling away to a strong early lead. Bubba Anderson used a three-wide move to take second after a couple of laps, and some close-quarters racing resulted in a couple of drivers checking up, allowing Scott Ovaksa to steal third on lap 3.
Anderson reeled in Vernon over the course of the next six laps, while Hudack was stuck in traffic just outside of the top five. On lap 9 Anderson was just about to pull alongside Vernon in a challenge for the lead, but the yellow lights came on for the first time in the race when Brendon Ottman and DeJay Jarecki got together in turn 2.
Hudack used a strong inside move to get by Ovaska for fourth on the restart, with Neil Adamzak following her to fifth, and then two laps later Anderson was spun by third-running Forrest Schultz. When Anderson spun again Hudack was assigned second for that re-do, and then Joe Newago spun to stop the pace again; this time Vernon pulled to the infield with a badly-smoking engine, giving Hudack the point for the final restart with three laps to go. She wasn’t about to let the opportunity get away, as she set sail to a 2.4-second margin of victory.
Jeremy Lindquist also took advantage of the shifting of fortunes to claim a career-best runner-up finish, while Ovaska was right with him at the stripe for third. Anderson recovered for fourth-place money and the bonus for posting the fastest lap at 18.489 seconds, while Jarecki completed the top five.
A caution-filled WISSOTA Pure Stock 15-lapper kicked off the feature portion of the program, with Randy Graham of Trego inheriting the lead and holding on for his third win of the season. Defending track champ Matt Deragon, back in a Pure Stock after a frustrating stint in the Mid-Mods, grabbed the early lead from the pole and retained that lead after several restarts, including one on lap 3 just before Graham took second from Randy Conner. A lap later visitor Justin Madsen moved by Conner to third.
After a couple more delays the field completed three clean circuits, but on lap 7 Deragon looped his ride in front of the field, giving the lead to Graham. Justin Weinberger, who had claimed second, challenged Graham on several occasions, but despite two more yellow-flag slowdowns keeping the field close Graham held on and eventually pulled away for the win. After Weinberger came Andrew Hanson, Conner and visitor Al Rapp in the top five.
The ABC Raceway will hold its qualifying features for the Afco Race of Champions for its WISSOTA divisions next Saturday, to be presented by the Safari Tavern of Ashland. The feature winners will be invited to represent the Raceway in the Race of Champions at the Dakota State Fair Speedway in Huron, SD, on September 14-17, as part of the WISSOTA 100 race weekend.
In addition, the track will hold its previously rained-out “Summer Sizzler” event for the Six-Cylinders, to be presented by the Lake Shore Cafe, and the Northern Vintage Stockcar Racers club will bring several old-time race cars to town for their annual visit. Fans are invited to get to the track early for a chance to see some of the vintage racers up close in the grandstand parking area prior to the race program.
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: Paul Wrazidlo, Duluth, MN; Neil Balduc, Bessemer, MI; Bill Byholm, Glidden; Jeff Spacek, Phillips; Al Uotinen, Superior; Steve Lavasseur, River Falls; Pat Cook, Washburn; Rick Rivord, Superior; Brian Mikkonen, Iron River; Scott Hudack, Ashland; Steve Stuart, Ashland.
Heat 1: Lavasseur; Wrazidlo; Stuart; Uotinen; Cook; Rivord.
Heat 2: Balduc; Spacek; Hudack; Byholm; Mikkonen.
WISSOTA Super Stocks
Feature: Nick Oreskovich, Mason; Pat Beeksma, Ironwood, MI; Kevin Burdick, Proctor, MN; Jeff Klopstein, Tomahawk; Keith Kern, Superior; Dave Flynn, Superior; Shane Kisling, Park Falls; Shawn McFadden Jr; Ashland; Scott Lawrence, Superior; Cory Casari, Montreal; Willie Johnsen Jr, Superior; Terran Spacek, Phillips; Randy Spacek, Phillips; Andy Grymala, Superior; Jared Zimpel, Isle, MN; Jim Campbell, Two Harbors, MN; Myron Basina, Washburn; Josh Zimpel, Isle, MN; Colton Vernon, Ashland; Brian Carl, Duluth, MN; Aaron Mashlan, Ashland; Cory Marincel, Ashland; Dave Elliott, Minocqua; Jim Urseth, Winter Springs, FL.
Heat 1: Oreskovich; Lawrence; Kern; Jared Zimpel; Johnsen; R Spacek; Carl; Elliott.
Heat 2: Kisling; Beeksma; Urseth; Flynn; McFadden; Josh Zimpel; Basina; Mashlan.
Heat 3: Klopstein; Burdick; Casari; Grymala; T Spacek; Campbell; Vernon; Marincel.
WISSOTA Midwest Modifieds
Feature: Nick Koehler, Bloomer; Tanner Hicks, Ashland; Wayne Stricker, Highbridge; Tyler Vernon, Ashland; Paul Suzik, Ironwood, MI; Tyler Hudack, Ashland; Jeremy Lindquist, Ashland; Ryan Adamzak, Ashland; Ryan Barningham, Bayfield; Brady Mesko-Jokinen, Mellen; Robert Hyde, Ashland; Ross Fuhrman, Ashland; Jared Stricker, Highbridge; Brandon Copp, Eau Claire; Tad Bretting, Ashland; Jordan Barningham, Bayfield; Gunner Peterson, Drummond.
Heat 1: Koehler; Adamzak; Suzik; W Stricker; R Barningham; J Stricker; Peterson; Bretting; Hyde.
Heat 2: Vernon; Hicks; Hudack; Mesko-Jokinen; Lindquist; Fuhrman; Copp; J Barningham.
Feature: Tiffany Hudack, Ashland; Jeremy Lindquist, Ashland; Scott Ovaska, Marengo; Bubba Anderson, Trego; DeJay Jarecki, Ashland; Adam Traaholt, Ashland; Dalton Truchon, Ashland; Joe Newago, Bayfield; Chase Turner, Iron River; Forrest Schultz, Ashland; Tyler Vernon, Ashland; Joshua Saunders, Spooner; Neil Adamzak, Ashland; Brendon Ottman, Ashland.
Heat 1: Hudack; Schultz; Vernon; Ovaska; Dale Coddington, Hayward; Lindquist; Truchon; Ottman.
Heat 2: Adamzak; Anderson; Jarecki; Saunders; Traaholt; Newago; Cole Vernon, Ashland; Turner.
WISSOTA Pure Stocks
Feature: Randy Graham, Trego; Justin Weinberger, Park Falls; Andrew Hanson, Iron River; Randy Conner, Hayward; Al Rapp, Saginaw, MN; Brandle Pupp, Ashland; Jeff Christman, South Range; Carter Nelson, Hermantown, MN; Andy Poll, Two Harbors, MN; Cory Jorgensen, Duluth, MN; Justin Madsen, Foxboro; Matt Deragon, Ashland; Brock Beilke, Hayward; Don Livingston, Bayfield; Jake Nevala, Ashland.
Heat 1: Weinberger; Deragon; Hanson; Pupp; Christman; Beilke; Poll; Nevala.
Heat 2: Rapp; Madsen; Conner; Graham; Livingston; Jorgensen; Nelson.