by Nick Gima
 Ashland, WI
— The Interstate Racing Association’s winged 410 sprints and the WISSOTA super stocks will share the spotlight at the ABC Raceway on Saturday night, in a show that promises plenty of excitement.
The traveling sprint car series will visit the three-eighths-mile red-clay oval just south of Ashland for the second straight summer, and they will share the stage with the FastLane Motorsports Super Stock Challenge. Wagner’s Ashland Shell and Arby’s Restaurant will team up with FastLane Motorsports & Custom Powdercoating for one of the most anticipated stock-car racing programs in the region. The Raceway’s own six-cylinder class will be on hand as well, adding to the fun.
The IRA sprint series, which is based in northern Illinois and competes in several Midwestern states, provided the ultimate in high-speed excitement when they made their initial appearance at the northern Wisconsin speedplant on July 30, 2011. Twenty-two of the 800-plus-horsepower, 1,400-pound winged fire-breathers sped around the venerable track at incredible speeds, putting on a breath-taking show for the near-capacity crowd on hand that braved incoming storms to see the travelers in action.
In fact, long-time series regular Mike Reinke shattered the all-time track single-lap record during time trials with a tour of just 12.540 seconds. By comparison, the fastest lap recorded at ABC since the track began using its electronic timing system is 15.969 seconds, set by Mike Prochnow in a WISSOTA late model during the 2008 Red Clay Classic.
IRA series president Steve Sinclair expects at least 20 drivers will again make the trip up north for the two-day weekend on their schedule, which included an appearance in St Croix Falls on Friday. Of those planning to make the trip, Sinclair includes defending series champ and current points leader Billy Balog of Brookfield, who also won the historic first-ever IRA A-main here last July. Balog has chalked up nine feature wins over the first 16 scheduled shows on the series’ tour in 2012, but inconsistency has also haunted him, keeping the battle for this season’s championship close.
Reinke, of Howards Grove, and Scott Nietzel of Beaver Dam sit second and third, respectively, in the IRA standings. With the points chase tight, Sinclair believes that at least all of the top ten in the standings will make the long haul north as part of the touring contingent.
As for the supers, Chris Bretting at FastLane Motorsports & Custom Powdercoating has put together an impressive set of incentives valued at over $3,000 to lure racers in for the popular mid-summer Super Stock Challenge, in addition to the already healthy purse that the track is offering, which includes a $600 feature winner’s check.
The top five finishers from the Super Stock Challenge feature will draw after the race for a chance to win a $1,500 certificate towards the purchase of a new super stock or modified chassis from FastLane Motorsports, with powdercoating ($400 value) included. FastLane will also present the top ten in the feature finish with product certificates, from $50 for sixth-tenth up to $200 for the winner.
In addition, FastLane will present a $200 product certificate to the driver in the super stock feature who advances the farthest from his original starting spot.
With all that on the line plus a $600 first-place check, the feature winnner could conceivably take home a possible $2,700 in cash and contingencies.
Last Saturday night Superior’s Scott Lawrence pulled to within one point of super stock leader Dave Flynn, also of Superior, with his historic 50th career feature win here. Lawrence becomes just the fifth driver in track history to score 50 or more feature wins.
Meanwhile, Shawn McFadden of Ashland edged Ironwood, MI’s Pat Beeksma at the stripe by less than four one-thousandths of a second to earn his first six-cylinder feature win of the season.
The WISSOTA modifieds and Midwest mods and the track’s pure stock class will have the night off but are scheduled to return for the summer’s stretch run of four straight Saturday night shows in August.
The grandstand and pit gates will open at 5 pm on Saturday, with hot laps starting at 6:15, followed by time-trial qualifying for the sprints. The first race of the evening is set for around 7 pm. Admission tickets for adults (ages 13 & older) are $18, while fans ages 6-12 will pay just $5 to come and watch the fun. Youngsters ages 5 and under are welcome 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,