ABC Raceway’s 55th Season Starts Saturday
by Nick Gima
Ashland, WI, May 16 – A busy, star-studded summer is set to begin this Saturday, May 18, at the ABC Raceway.
The Northern State Bank of Ashland will host the 55th season opener of stock car racing action at the historic three-eighths-mile red-clay oval just south of Ashland, kicking off a schedule packed with 16 exciting race events and bringing nine different racing classes to entertain area fans, including six on a regular basis for the track’s traditional Saturday night fare.
The opener will introduce the addition of the entry-level WISSOTA-sanctioned Hornet division to the Raceway’s regular race program offering. Hornets are four-cylinder compact cars with minimal performance enhancements allowed. The emphasis for this class is on affordability, safety, and just plain fun.
“The intent of the Hornet class is to give folks who are interested in racing a chance to try it without a huge financial commitment,” Raceway president Eric Erickson said recently. “This type of car has really taken off in popularity because it is cheaper to build, cheaper to run, and cheaper to maintain compared to the other classes.
“We hope that this will be a fun way to bring new fans and drivers into the sport.”
The Hornets will join the Raceway’s other WISSOTA Promoters Association divisions – the Modifieds, Super Stocks, Midwest Modifieds and Pure Stocks – and the track’s own ABC Six-Cylinder class to make up the race-night menu during the majority of the season.
The award-winning speedplant will also play host to a first-time visit by one of the country’s most prestigious national touring groups, as well as several regional touring series. On Tuesday, July 9, the Morton Buildings World of Outlaws Late Models will invade the Chequamegon Bay area for the first time in their history, bringing racers and fans from all over the country for the “Red’s Badgerland 50 Outlaw Challenge,” to be presented by Red’s Auto of Ironwood, which will pay a track-record $10,000 to the winner of the 50-lap headline event.
The Advantage RV Modified Tour and FastLane Motorsports Northland Super Stock Series also return as featured events on the calendar, and the Interstate Racing Association’s winged 410 sprint cars will come back to the red clay after a one-year hiatus.
The 44th Red Clay Classic in late September will once again mark the climax of the racing season in the Upper Midwest, with an offered purse of over $100,000 drawing 200 or more entries frequently in recent seasons.
As the 2019 season starts, fans will notice some familiar drivers in unfamiliar positions, as champions and top contenders have switched to different divisions. Defending Mid-Mod champ Paul Suzik of Ironwood, MI, and runner-up Dan Kingsley of Superior have both moved up to compete with the “big Mods,” while Randy Graham of Trego, who won the Pure Stock title here last summer, has traded in his championship-challenging Six-Cylinder for a WISSOTA Street Stock, meaning his appearances at Ashland – as well as those of ’17 Pure Stock champ Andrew Hanson of Iron River, who also switched to a Streeter – may be minimal.
However, Ashland’s Kevin Eder, who earned his first-ever points title in the Modifieds last season, and three-time defending Super Stock champ Nick Oreskovich of Mason are expected back to defend their titles at ABC, as is Ashland’s Tiffany Hudack, who has collected three Six-Cylinder championship trophies over the past five seasons.
The younger race fans are invited to join the ABC Raceway Kids’ Club during the 2019 season, with a variety of special activities, gifts and prizes available each race night. Information will be available at the track prior to each racing program.
A “hot laps” practice session will lead off each night’s action at 6:15, while green-flag racing is scheduled for a 7 pm start time. For all regular-season race programs, adult tickets are just $11 each, and kids ages 12 and under are admitted free when accompanied by a paying adult.
“Race Night” returns for its 16th season as the region’s only pre-race radio program, but this year it will air in a new pre-recorded format, with up-to-date track news and weather updates every 15-20 minutes from 4:30-6 pm. Coverage begins on WBSZ, 93.3 FM, and will also stream live on www.wbszfm.com and on the free Heartland Communications Group 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 raceday information call (715) 682-4990, or log on to the track’s website, www.abcraceway.com .