Season Champs, ‘Pure Excitement’ Part of Crowded ABC Finale
by Nick Gima
Ashland, WI — The 48th summer of stock car racing at the ABC Raceway will conclude on Saturday night. There are just a few little details that need tending to.
Such as running a $1,000-to-win pure stock special, giving away dozens of great door prizes, settling three fierce points battles, and crowning five track champions. And then anxiously waiting a month before the biggest racing event of the season rolls around.
Championship Saturday and Fan Appreciation Night, to be presented by Pepsi, Northstar Beverage of Hurley, and WIMI-FM of Ironwood, MI, will be full of action and excitement. And if the huge number of traveling drivers that crowded the pit area for last weekend’s washed-out “Pure Excitement 25” pure stock special is any indication, there could be enough action to tide fans over until the 37th Red Clay Classic at the end of September.
The ninth annual Pure Excitement 25 for the entry-level division is punctuated by a donation-enhanced purse that, at last count, was in excess of $5,000. The 25-lap finale is expected to pay out upwards of $1,000 or possibly more to its winner.
Fans can contribute to the
overall purse as they choose – by finishing position, first flat tire, hard charger, etc – right up until Saturday night’s intermission. In addition, fans can also purchase tickets at the track for a chance to win the use of a VIP booth during this year’s Red Clay Classic, with those proceeds also going toward the overall PE25 purse.
The Pure Excitement 25 will only add to the regularly-scheduled program, after which the Raceway’s 2012 points champions will be determined. In fact, the pure stock division itself has thrilled fans all summer with an intense points battle, and the many visiting drivers expected to be here for the big-money show could play a key factor in the championship outcome.
Ashland’s Matt Deragon will bring the track’s thinnest points-leader advantage into the finale – just six up on defending Pure Excitement 25 champ Ken Tody, Jr, also of Ashland. Tied for third, a mere three points behind Tody, are fellow Ashland racers Nick Nye and the team effort of Jim Eliason and Paul Tutor.
The next closest battle is in the WISSOTA modified division, where Jeff Spacek of Phillips has used consistent efforts to maintain a seven-point lead on Jared Loos of Loyal. Kevin Eder of Ashland and Washburn’s Ross Lightner are both well within striking distance of the title but will need the lead pair to stumble significantly.
In the WISSOTA super stocks, what seems like the same old story has been anything but, as Superior’s Scott Lawrence holds a slim eight-point edge on Dave Flynn, also of Superior. Flynn has put up a fierce season-long challenge for the eight-time defending ABC champ, but Lawrence is coming off a second straight championship at Proctor, MN, and hopes to hold off his rival Flynn for the title in Superior as well.
Ashland’s Travis Nye (WISSOTA Midwest mods) and Pat Beeksma of Ironwood, MI (six-cylinders) have their respective division titles all but nailed down. Each merely needs to complete one green-flag lap in their heats and features to mathematically clinch their crowns.
Nye holds a 31-point lead on Alex Van Natta of Minoqua as he shoots for his first career track title, while Beeksma, also with a 31-point cushion over Tyler Hudack of Ashland, can claim his fourth ABC championship and become the first to repeat in the sixes since Jule Wilcox won three straight in 1991-’93.
A number of drivers from surrounding-area tracks are expected to give the 3/8th-mile red-clay oval a try before returning here for the Red Clay Classic, and to top things off there will be many door prizes given out as the Raceway and its race teams say thanks for the support of the many loyal fans of area racing.
grandstand and pit gates will open at 5 pm on Saturday, with hot laps starting at 6:15. The first race of the evening is set for 7 pm. Admission tickets for adults (ages 13 & older) are just $10, while fans ages 12 and under get in for free when accompanied by a paying adult.
Prior to Saturday’s race program, “Race Night” will provide up-to-date track news and weather information live on WBSZ, 93.3 FM, and online at www.wbszfm.com, from 4:30-6 pm. 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