ABC Raceway Planning ‘444 Memorial’ to be Very Special
by Nick Gima
Ashland, WI, July 11 – Just prior to the start of the 2021 stock car racing season, the ABC Raceway added an extra event to its schedule. That event, named the “444 Memorial,” has developed into what could be one of the biggest nights of racing in the Upper Midwest.
The event, slated for Thursday, July 29, will be held in honor of Tanner Byholm, a third-generation up-and-coming WISSOTA Modified and Midwest Mod racer and the son of 2017 ABC Raceway Modified champion Bill Byholm and his wife Michelle, who tragically lost his life in an aviation accident on February 16 near Janesville.
The ‘444 Memorial” will include a WISSOTA Late Model Challenge Series program as well as full heat and feature action in the Mods and Mid-Mods. The event designation comes from Tanner’s car number, which stems from his father’s car number, 4, and his third-generation standing.
Due to the ongoing efforts of both the Byholm family and the Raceway, a huge purse has been created that, as of press time, is set to pay the Late Model feature winner $3,444, while the Modified winner will receive $2,444, and the Mid-Mod winner will take home $944. Special trophies have also been designed for the top finishers in each of the features, and “444”-themed bonuses will be available to the competitors.
“Contributions have been pouring in for this event,” according to a statement by Raceway Board president Eric Erickson on Saturday. “The purse is changing almost daily. We should have something set very shortly, but it’s easy to say that this will be one of the better-paying events of the season, and certainly one of the best for the Challenge Series.”
Many top racers from throughout WISSOTA, as well as drivers from other regional sanctioning bodies, have made verbal commitments to compete in the July 29 program. Many are racers who got to know Tanner during his time attaining his flight instructor certification at Fox Valley Technical College, studying aeronautics at UW-Oshkosh, and serving our country, first as a Marine Reservist for six years and later as an Air Force Reservist. Tanner was also a graduate of Chequamegon High School in nearby Park Falls.
Prior to his passing, Tanner had been selected to become a pilot with the 190th Fighter Squadron, based in Boise, ID, from a field of 175 applicants. Tanner also had recently become involved in competitive shooting, and he was an avid snowmobiler and snowboarder.
Tanner raced in the WISSOTA Modified division at ABC from 2017-’20, finishing ninth and claiming Rookie of the Year honors in ’17. Prior to that he competed in the WISSOTA Midwest Mods from 2011-‘16, finishing in the top ten in points in 2012 and ’13. Tanner’s final race came at ABC on August 15 of last year, one of two nights that he competed here in 2020. On both of those nights, like so many others before, he raced with his father.
Adults 13 and older $25.00, Kids 6 to 12 $10.00
Pit Admission $35.00
More details on the “444 Memorial” will be released soon, through various media and social media outlets and on the Raceway’s website, www.abcraceway.com, as they are finalized.