Hudack Tops Sixes in ABC ‘Sizzler’
by Nick Gima
Ashland, WI, August 11 — Tiffany Hudack of Ashland withstood several challenges and survived a caution-plagued race to win her fifth feature of the season in the 12th annual Six-Cylinder “Summer Sizzler” at the ABC Raceway on Saturday night.
The Safari Tavern of Ashland presented the five-division race program, which included qualifying features in the WISSOTA Modified, Super Stock and Midwest Modified divisions for the Afco Shocks Race of Champions, to be held as part of the WISSOTA 100 weekend on September 12-15 in Fergus Falls, MN.
Hudack, the Sixes points leader coming into the night’s action, probably solidified her chances for a third title in the past five years with the win. She now holds a 62-point advantage over Randy Graham, who suffered a DNF for the second straight show.
Hudack started outside on the front row alongside Graham and edged ahead for the first two-thirds of a lap, until Graham tagged the left-rear of Hudack’s car and spun, collecting Devin Dalbec and Bubba Anderson in a hard crash.
On the restart Hudack led Steve Stuart, while defending track champion Scott Ovaska, turning his first laps of the season, drove by DeJay Jarecki for third. The lead trio ran away from the field, with Stuart challenging on the high side while Hudack ran a steady middle-groove line. Ovaska found a way by Stuart on lap 5 and was just a half-second back of the leader when Jordan Pearce spun his car on lap 6 to stop the race.
On that restart, Hudack and Stuart bumped briefly, allowing Ovaska to sneak by around the outside. But Hudack battled back over the next lap to retake the lead, and she would stay there as her challengers faded or dropped out.
With five laps remaining Ovaska’s car began to leak oil, causing a Jake Nevala spin that brought about another yellow flag and forcing Ovaska to park his ride for the night. After another Pearce spin, Stuart gave the leader one last threat, but he got caught up in a battle for second which he eventually lost to Forest Schultz, and that allowed Hudack to run off to a 3.045-second margin of victory and her second “Summer Sizzler” win.
Jarecki and Josh Saunders rounded out the top five, as only seven of the 14 scheduled starters finished the race.
Forner Red Clay Classic champ Jody Bellefeuille made the most out of just his second appearance of the season, as he dominated the Modified 20-lap A-main. Bellefeuille, who stole a win away from Stuart the night before in Superior, left no doubt as to his intentions in this one.
Starting from the pole, Bellefeuille dove low in the first turn, then slid up in front of Pat Cook to take the initial lead. Cook dove low to take the point away within that first turn, but Bellefeuille fought back two laps later and took the lead away for good, cruising to a 1.37-second lead within just two more laps.
Bellefeuille extended his lead as Cook fought off challenges from Darrell Nelson, Stuart, and Neil Balduc. By mid-race the lead was over six seconds, as Balduc took fourth from Stuart and Kevin Eder joined in on the fight.
It took Nelson until lap 12 to finally clear Cook for second, but Bellefeuille was a half-lap up on him and working his way through slower traffic. It looked like a walk in the park for Bellefeuille until, with four laps left, Jake Hiatt and Rick Rivord got together and ground to a halt in turn 2. However, Bellefeuille still managed to scoot away to a 1.248-second lead with the white flag about to waive, as Nelson and Cook worked to fend off Eder.
Bellefeuille had one miscue in the final corner, as the car pushed too high and into the softer upper cushion, but he saved it and still beat Nelson to the checkers by .727 seconds for his seventh career win in Ashland and first here since August 2015. Eder, Cook and Cody Carlson weren’t far behind in the top five, and Eder extended his points lead over Stuart to 37 with two nights remaining.
Nick Oreskovich of Mason chased Jeff Klopstein for better than 19-and-three-quarters of the 20 non-stop laps of the Super Stock A-feature, but it took a last-corner pass to steal the win.The two shared the front row, with Oreskovich on the pole, but Klopstein snared the early advantage, while Shane Kisling held a solid third ahead of the dogfight for fourth between Shawn McFadden Jr and Scott Lawrence.
As most eyes watched Klopstein hold off Oreskovich’s constant pestering, perhaps the best race on the track for most of its first ten laps was for sixth, where DJ Keeler, Matt Deragon, Cory Casari, Aaron Mashlan and Andy Grymala raced three- and sometimes four-wide for the position, before Keeler finally wrestled the spot away by mid-race.
As the lead pair reached slower traffic, Klopstein worked the lower lanes to get by, while Oreskovich hustled around on the high side in his effort to keep up. But as they came up on Don Muzzy going through the final turn, Klopstein again stayed low, while Oreskovich found just enough room on the outside to slip between Muzzy and the front-straight wall and maintain his momentum to edge Klopstein for the thrilling win. Kisling held firm to third throughout the run, and Lawrence clung to fourth ahead of McFadden.
Oreskovich has a 63-point lead on McFadden with two shows remaining.
The Midwest Mods struggled through some early-race yellow flags, but a long green-flag run through the second half of the event, plus a green-white-checkered finish, made for a nailbiter of a win for Thunder Bay, ON’s David Simpson.
Polestarter and current points leader Paul Suzik grabbed the early lead ahead of Darren Dunbar. Jeremy Lindquist had just lost third to George Dalbeck when his car broke loose in turn 3 and collected several others, including second-in-points Dan Kingsley and Simpson. Then, after a stop for a stalled Dalton Mains, a major pile-up involving at least eight cars from the back half of the 20-car starting field held things up once again.
Simpson grabbed second from Dalbeck on lap 3 just before Dunbar spun his ride to stop the action, and two laps after the green flag came back out Dunbar’s car stopped on the track as he was trying to steer it into the pits with steering and suspension issues. For the next seven laps, however, the race ran without delay, with Suzik, Simpson and Kingsley pulling away and running in close formation.
Marcus Dunbar’s stalled ride on lap 12 slowed the pace, after which Simpson made his move for the lead. Also on the charge was Tanner Hicks, who started the race 16th but was in position to slip past Kingsley for third on the restart.
Suzik stayed right on Simpson’s bumper, while Kinglsey shadowed Hicks, as they raced under the white flag. However, Ross Fuhrman’s spun racer brought out the yellow flag to replace the white, and in the two-lap sprint to the finish Simpson pulled away slightly as Suzik found himself threatened by Hicks. Simpson’s win was his third in the last five shows here, while Suzik held off Hicks and Clay Passuello overtook Kingsley late for fourth.
Suzik extended his lead to 15 over Kingsley, with Hicks just 44 out of the top spot, with two nights remaining for the championship.
An early get-together with Don Livingston sent James Vendela to the pit area in the WISSOTA Pure Stock main event, but Vendela came back out with a vengeance and roared to his first career feature win at ABC, despite damage to his racer. Cory Jorgensen worked his way by polestarter Livingston for the early lead, and Graham followed him to second, but Jorgensen’s slip up the track on lap 2 opened the door for Graham to get by, bringing Kyle Copp, Livingston and Vendela along.
While passing Jorgenson, Vendela’s rear bumper panel was all but torn off of his car, and it hung from the back of the car for the rest of the race. Then Livingston and Vendela scraped coming off of turn 4 on lap 4 while fighting for third, sending Livingston to the pit with a flat tire and Vendela right behind him to check for damage. Vendela came back onto the track for the restart, but Livingston’s night was done despite a quick tire change.
Vendela picked his way to fifth within a lap of the restart, and on lap 6 he worked his way by Aaron Bernick for fourth. Vendela passed Jorgensen again for third two laps later, and he caught and passed Copp with a high-lane move with two laps to go.
Vendela pulled alongside Graham with the white flag waiving, slipped by on the outside, and pulled to a .67-second edge under the checkers, with Copp just behind in third. Jorgensen was a close fourth, and Bernick held on for fifth a ways back.
Graham moved into the points lead in the Pure Stock class with the absence of Andrew Hanson on this night, up on Hanson by 44 and on Livingston by 66.
Simpson set a new track record in the Mid-Mods with a lap of 16.742 seconds (80.635 mph avg) during his feature. Other fast-lap bonuses went to Bellefeuille in the Mods (16.115 seconds / 83.773 mph); Klopstein in the Supers (16.862 / 80.061); Hudack in the Sixes (18.431 / 73.246); and Vendela in the Pure Stocks (19.024 / 70.936).
Dozens of backpacks filled with school supplies and treats were donated as part of the evening’s ABC Raceway Kids’ Club giveaway. Those who contributed included All-Performance Dyno Services, Benoit Cheese House, Brandon Copp Racing, Brian Olby Logging, Chicago Iron & Supplies, Dark Side Racing, Dave Anderson Jr Trucking, Don Muzzy Racing, Eric & Betty Erickson, FastLane Motorsports, the FastLane Super Stock Series, Jake Hiatt Racing, Jake Nevala Racing, Jeff Klopstein Racing, Josh Saunders Racing, Justin Weinberger Racing, Kevin Eder Racing, the Kurt Beeksma family, Kwik-Trip Stores, Kyle Copp Racing, Luger Trucking, Nick Oreskovich Racing, Northern Clearing, Parker Lipske, Pete’s Mason Auto, Przybylski Trucking, Shane Kisling Racing, Traaholt Racing, and the ABC Raceway.
The Raceway will host its “Summer Blast” fan appreciation night on Saturday, August 18, to be presented by Northern Wisconsin Fence of Phillips and Outlaw Graphics of Ashland. The gathering will include prize giveaways and music after the show, and the race program will include the rescheduled 12th annual “Mid-Mod Madness” special, to be presented by the Lake Shore Cafe of Ashland. The Midwest Mods’ A-main will pay $1,000 to win, thanks to a generous contribution by GA Dalbeck Logging. All five regular weekly divisions will be in action, with hot laps at 6:15 pm and racing to start at 7. “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 via the free HCG Radio app.
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: Jody Bellefeuille, Duluth, MN; Darrell Nelson, Hermantown, MN; Kevin Eder, Ashland; Pat Cook, Washburn; Cody Carlson, Superior; Neil Balduc, Bessemer, MI; Steve Stuart, Ashland; Bill Byholm, Glidden; Steve Lavasseur, River Falls; Rick Rivord, Superior.
11-15: Jake Hiatt, Mason; Jeff Spacek, Phillips; Al Uotinen, Superior; Todd Gehl, Solon Springs; Paul Niznik, Medford.
Heat 1: Stuart; Eder; Carlson; Balduc; Hiatt; Byholm; Gehl; Lavasseur.
Heat 2: Bellefeuille; Cook; Nelson; Rivord; Spacek; Uotinen; Niznik.
WISSOTA Super Stocks
Feature: 1-10: Nick Oreskovich, Mason; Jeff Klopstein, Tomahawk; Shane Kisling, Park Falls; Scott Lawrence, Superior; Shawn McFadden, Ashland; DJ Keeler, Superior; Matt Deragon, Ashland; Cory Casari, Montreal; Andy Grymala, Superior; Don Muzzy, Ironwood, MI.
11-12: Aaron Mashlan, Ashland; David Elliott, Minocqua.
Heat 1: Kisling; Deragon; Lawrence; McFadden; Casari; Keeler; Muzzy.
Heat 2: Oreskovich; Klopstein; Grymala; Mashlan; Elliott; Kuklinski.
WISSOTA Midwest Modifieds
Feature: 1-10: David Simpson, Thunder Bay, ON; Paul Suzik, Ironwood, MI; Tanner Hicks, Ashland; Clay Passuello, Ironwood, MI; Dan Kingsley, Superior; Brandon Copp, Brule; Colin Chaschuk, Neebing, ON; Jack Rivord, Superior; Ryan Barningham, Bayfield; Steve Altman, Mercer.
11-20: Jake Kruzan, Mellen; Ross Fuhrman, Ashland; George Dalbeck, Wakefield, MI; Jimmy Latvala, Solon Springs; Marcus Dunbar, Wakefield, MI; Darren Dunbar, Marenisco, MI; Justin Weinberger, Park Falls; Jeremy Lindquist, Ashland; Tyler Hudack, Ashland; Dalton Mains, Foxboro.
Heat 1: Suzik; Altman; Dalbeck; Latvala; M Dunbar; Hicks; Fuhrman.
Heat 2: Chaschuk; Simpson; Lindquist; Hudack; Copp; Rivord; Kruzan.
Heat 3: Passuello; Kingsley; D Dunbar; Barningham; Weinberger; Mains; Karl Kolek, Menomonie.
Feature: 1-10: Tiffany Hudack, Ashland; Forrest Schultz, Ashland; Steve Stuart, Ashland; DeJay Jarecki, Ashland; Joshua Saunders, Spooner; Jordan Pearce, Ashland; Aaron Mashlan, Ashland; Jake Nevala, Ashland; Scott Ovaska, Marengo; Randy Graham, Trego.
11-13: Bubba Anderson, Trego; Devin Dalbec, Ashland; Adam Traaholt, Ashland.
Heat 1: Stuart; Hudack; Graham; Schultz; Dalbec; Nevala; Mashlan.
Heat 2: Ovaska; Anderson; Jarecki; Johnathan Popp, Iron River; Pearce; Traaholt; Saunders.
WISSOTA Pure Stocks
Feature: 1-8: James Vendela, South Range; Randy Graham, Trego; Kyle Copp, Brule; Cory Jorgensen, Hermantown, MN; Aaron Bernick, Duluth, MN; Brock Beilke, Hayward; Darren Dudley, Ashland; Don Livingston, Washburn.
Heat: Graham; Vendela; Livingston; Jorgensen; Copp; Bernick; Beilke; Dudley; Justin Weinberger, Park Falls.