by Nick Gima
Ashland, WI, August 19 — The action on the track at the ABC Raceway will only be a part of the fun planned for this Saturday night.
The annual “Summer Blast,” presented by Northern Wisconsin Fence of Phillips and Outlaw Wraps & Apparel, will be the Raceway’s way of showing its appreciation to its fans, drivers and crews in attendance, with food and drink specials, giveaways, and music and dancing slated throughout the race program.
“We have many very loyal fans and dedicated drivers who make our race program a success every year,” explained Raceway president Eric Erickson earlier this week. “This is just a small way for us to say ‘thank you’ to them for helping make 2017 a great season.”
In addition to those festivities, the Raceway will hold its kids’ bike races, presented by Chicago Iron & Supply of Ashland, which were washed out during the shortened July 8 race program.
With only two scheduled nights of racing remaining in the regular season, the action on-track should be very intense, as drivers battle for their best possible efforts in the final divisional points standings. No driver has a stronghold on a championship in any of the track’s five regular divisions, so every position in every race at this point is especially valuable.
In four of the five divisions, the current points leader is in search of his first ABC Raceway points title. The closest margin is at the top of the unique-to-ABC Six-Cylinder class, where Marengo’s Scott Ovaska is clinging to a two-point advantage over defending track champ Tiffany Hudack of Ashland. The difference at the top of the WISSOTA Pure Stock standings is also in the single digits, as Iron River’s Andrew Hanson leads Kyle Copp of Brule by just five points in a battle of two talented young drivers.
Veteran WISSOTA Modified star Bill Byholm of Glidden is also in search of his first-ever title as he leads Washburn’s Pat Cook by only 11 points in that division’s standings, while Ashland’s Tyler Vernon has built up a 23-point lead on the tie for second in the WISSOTA Midwest Modified standings between Ryan Adamzak of Ashland and two-time defending division champ Paul Suzik of Ironwood, MI.
Only Nick Oreskovich of Mason, who holds a 25-point lead on Randy Spacek of Phillips in the WISSOTA Super Stocks, is in the most favorable position to successfully defend his 2016 track title here.
Last Saturday’s race program saw several drivers claim their first wins at the track in quite some time. Paul Niznik of Medford returned to ABC’s Victory Lane for the first time in a “big Mod” since 2006, while Jesse Aho of Toivola, MI, claimed only his second Mid-Mod feature win here and first in over two years.
Trego’s Randy Graham hasn’t been a stranger to the winner’s circle at Ashland this summer, having won a track-best five features here in the Six-Cylinder class. But his win Saturday in his Pure Stock was his first of the season in that division.
The headline event of the night, the 40-lap, $2,000-to-win WISSOTA Shaw Trucking Late Model Challenge Series feature, was won by Series points leader John Kaanta of Elk Mound, who last won a feature in Ashland during the 2006 Red Clay Classic.
Hot laps will start Saturday night at 6:15 pm, followed by heat races at approximately 7 pm. A deejay will provide music after the race program at the track. Adult grandstand admission tickets are just $11, and young fans are admitted free when accompanied by a paying adult. Due to programming issues “Z-93 Race Night” this week, will air on WJJH 96.7 FM, and stream live on wjjhfm.com from 4:30-6 pm with up-to-date track news and weather information.
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 on race days call (715) 682-4990.