Spacek Tops Stout Advantage RV Mod Series Field at ABC
by Nick Gima
Ashland, WI, June 12 – For the second time in three weeks, Cole Spacek took home a $2,000 paycheck from the ABC Raceway.
That’s because the second-generation hotshoe from Phillips impressed a star-studded field of WISSOTA Modified drivers during Saturday’s visit by the Advantage RV Mod Tour to the northern Wisconsin track. Spacek has now also won each of the first two legs of the Raceway’s Ashland Ford-Chrysler Center Modified Series and is an advantageous position to claim that series’ inaugural crown during its finale in early August.
In a program presented by the NAPA Auto Parts stores of Ashland and Washburn, seventy-seven entries – including 31 Modifieds from five states – performed in front of another large crowd at ABC on a warm, breezy evening. The fans also witnessed a strong run by Marcus Dunbar, saw Tiffany Hudack and DeJay Jarecki continue their early-season dominance, and celebrated the first-ever win for RJ Holly.
Spacek started on the outside of the front row of the 25-car field for the 40-lap headline event and immediately challenged 2019 Mod Tour champ Shane Sabraski for early control, but that threat was delayed by a Jeremy Nelson-Ryan Gierke incident on the opening lap. After the first lap was officially completed, the yellow flag flew again for another get-together involving Don Eischens and Jeff Spacek.
The next 19 laps clicked off without delay but certainly contained a lot of action, including a great battle for the lead involving Sabraski, Cole Spacek and an impressive Rick Rivord, who edged out Sabraski for a slim lead one lap after the restart. Sabraski slipped back by on lap 4 and maintained his edge as Dave Cain, Brandon Copp, Mike Anderson and others began to surge forward on the leaderboard.
In fact, Cain worked a second outside lane to his advantage and climbed from his eighth-place starting spot to move past Rivord into second by lap 8, as Sabraski’s lead had grown to 1.9 seconds. Over the next eight circuits Cain had trimmed that difference down to less than a third of a second before an incident involving three frontrunners – Rivord, Copp and Anderson – brought the pace to a crawl. Rivord’s great run ended with significant damage, and Spacek restarted alongside Cain and directly on Sabraski’s rear bumper.
Anderson made it three-wide when he pulled up alongside Cain and Spacek at the drop of the green, but he could not maintain his line and fell back. A lap later Cain, still dueling with Spacek, spun in turn 4 to basically end his shot at the win, and on that ensuing restart Spacek pulled alongside Sabraski, raced him door-to-door for a lap, and finally cleared him for what would turn out to be the winning pass at the race’s midpoint.
As Spacek began to build a lead, the 13th-starting Eischens surged forward, gaining third by displacing Anderson and Copp. Eischens then caught Sabraski and Spacek with the help of a Jake Hiatt spin on lap 26, and after the second restart attempt from that stoppage Eischens worked his way around Sabraski. But by that time Spacek had checked out to a winning margin of just shy of two seconds.
Sabraski, who had won the Tour’s opener in Grand Rapids, MN, the previous Thursday night, maintained third, and Copp claimed a distant fourth, ahead of visitor Joseph Thomas.
Dunbar, the Raceway’s defending WISSOTA Midwest Modified points champion from Marenisco, MI, started his division’s main event from the pole and led all 20 laps, overcoming a couple of early challenges before running off to a dominant win.
After a two-car spin in the race’s initial turn, Dunbar held fellow front-row starter Ross Fuhrman and Jimmy Latvala at bay for the first three laps, until Diamond Bressette’s spin slowed the pace. The race was not delayed again, and Latvala got off to a strong restart to pull alongside Dunbar for a lap or so, but the champ held strong to his lead and, in fact, began to draw away.
By lap 8 Dunbar was putting rookie Neil Dees a lap in arrears, and within three more laps the leader had a full-second buffer over Fuhrman, who had fought back to retake the spot from Latvala.
Dunbar was cruising along in the closing laps and was coming up on Dees to put him down another lap with an inside pass with four circuits remaining. But Dees, apparently seeing the move-over flag and realizing he needed to pick a lane, did just that – he dropped down to the bottom lane of the racing groove just as Dunbar pulled alongside. The two made fairly heavy contact, but the leader avoided disaster and continued on to a 2.2-second final margin of victory.
Fuhrman maintained a solid second-place run well ahead of Latvala, while Ryan Barningham completed the best race night of his career with a fast-closing fourth (he had won his first-ever heat race earlier), just ahead of the equally-impressive Dalton Mains.
The WISSOTA Pure Stock A-main went ten non-stop laps, and, just like Dunbar, Holly led every one on his way to his first-ever win of any kind at ABC. The second-year driver from Marengo took advantage of a bobble by polestarter Aaron Bernick going through the first turns and drove into the lead, while Cory Jorgensen stayed in his tire tracks over the first half of the run.
Former ABC Pure Stock champ Randy Graham won a three-car battle for third in the early stages and quickly reeled in the lead pair, but his threats to take second from Jorgensen allowed Holly to add a few lengths to his advantage. In the waning laps Graham backed off, and he and Jorgensen again pulled up to Holly’s trunklid, but Holly maintained a smooth line over the final circuit for the landmark win.
Dylan Shelton and Bernick completed the top five.
Despite a rash of caution stoppages, Ashland’s Hudack continued to show championship form in the ABC Six-Cylinder feature, winning for the third time in as many weeks to start the 2021 season here.
Contact involving Dennis Groom and Mathew Rohlfing brought about the first of seven yellow-flag slowdowns in the 12-lap A-main, followed by another stop on the ensuing restart. A lap after Dalton Truchon slipped past front-row starters Jakob Bond and Austin Olby to take the lead, Dale Coddington’s spin brought about another delay.
Over the next two laps Truchon looked poised to dominate the run, while Hudack worked her way past Olby and Jake Nevala into third behind Bond. Contact from Bond spun Hudack’s ride on lap 4, and a lap after that restart she drove low to edge ahead of Truchon. Those two made contact and spun before the next lap was complete, putting Truchon to the back and Hudack at the point for the restart.
Hudack would build a one-second lead by lap 8 before Truchon was spun by Trenton Bond, and she nearly rebuilt that cushion before Shane Basina’s spin with three laps remaining. Hudack again pulled away over the final run to her 22nd career win at Ashland, well ahead of Groom, Nevala, a resurgent Truchon, and rookie Olby.
Jarecki, also of Ashland, stayed well enough ahead of an entertaining battle for second in the WISSOTA Hornet finale for his second straight win. Jarecki grabbed the initial lead from polestarter Derek Dunbar and stayed there throughout the non-stop eight-lap run.
What made the race enjoyable was the tense tussle for second, with Dunbar and Carson Gotelaere running side-by-side while Dan Moncher lurked just behind them. The threesome flew in tight formation until just after the field took the white flag, when Moncher made a bonsai move low into turn 1, muscled his way under the other two, and stole the runner-up spot away.
Jarecki was several car-lengths ahead of Moncher at the checkers, while Dunbar held off Gotalaere for third.
The fastest laps of the three electronically-scored features were posted by Cole Spacek in the Modifieds (18.148 seconds, 74.388 mph); Tyler Vernon in the Midwest Mods (18.940; 71.278); and Hudack in the Sixes (19.295; 69.966).
The Ashland Area Chamber of Commerce will present the track’s race program on Saturday, June 19, which will include the Afco Shocks Race of Champions qualifying features for the five WISSOTA-sanctioned divisions. Those feature winners will earn entries to the Race of Champions features for their respective divisions during the WISSOTA 100 weekend in Fergus Falls, MN, in mid-September.
The WISSOTA Super Stocks will return to join in on the action, with the gates and pits opening at 5 pm, followed by hot laps at 6:15 and the first green flag of the night scheduled for 7 pm. WSBZ, 93.3 FM, will air updates from 4:30-6 pm on Saturday, with simulcasts online via the station’s website, www.wbszfm.com.
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.
Feature: 1-10: Cole Spacek, Phillips; Don Eischens, Richmond, MN; Shane Sabraski, Rice, MN; Brandon Copp, Brule; Joseph Thomas, Glyndon, MN; Tyler Peterson, Hickson, ND; Johnny Broking, Grand Rapids, MN; Michael Truscott, Chippewa Falls; Paul Niznik, Medford; Zach Johnson, Lowry, MN.
11-20: Jeremy Nelson, Alexandria, MN; Mike Anderson, Jim Fall; Jayson Good, Watertown, SD; Tyler Vernon, Mason; Shane Halopka, Greenwood; Pat Cook, Washburn; Jake Hiatt, Mason; Dave Cain, Corcoran, MN; Andy Jones, Princeton, MN; Todd Gehl, Solon Springs.
21-25: Ryan Gierke, Villard, MN; Bob Broking, Grand Rapids, MN; Rick Rivord, Superior; Jeff Spacek, Phillips; Al Uotinen, Superior.
Heat 1: Anderson; C Spacek; J Spacek; Eischens; Halopka; Vernon; Truscott; Shane Kisling, Butternut.
Heat 2: Nelson; Rivord; B Broking; Good; Cook; Uotinen; Neil Balduc, Bessemer, MI; Johnson.
Heat 3: Sabraski; Thomas; Gehl; Niznik; Hiatt; Mike Boston, Wyoming, MN; Tyler Luger, Oxford; Craig Lofdahl, Wilmar, MN.
Heat 4: Cain; Copp; Gierke; Jones; Peterson; Donnie Lofdahl, Duluth, MN; J Broking.
Semi-Feature 1: Eischens; Niznik; Halopka; Truscott; Vernon; Hiatt; C Lofdahl; Boston; Kisling; Luger.
Semi-Feature 2: Good; Jones; Peterson; Cook; J Broking; Uotinen; Johnson; Balduc; D Lofdahl.
WISSOTA Midwest Modifieds
Feature: 1-10: Marcus Dunbar, Marenisco, MI; Ross Fuhrman, Ashland; Jimmy Latvala, Solon Springs; Ryan Barningham, Bayfield; Dalton Mains, Foxboro; Tyler Vernon, Mason; Jack Rivord, Superior; Tanner Hicks, Ashland; Tyler Hudack, Ashland; Jesse Aho, Toivola, MI.
11-20: Sean O’Brien, Manitowish Waters; Paul Niznik, Medford; Bryan Lund, Ashland; Kennedy Swan, Chippewa Falls; John Darwin, Iron River; Paul Suzik, Ironwood, MI; Cole Boston, Wyoming, MN; Matt Jacobson, Bessemer, MI; Mitch Kieber, Ironwood, MI; Diamond Bressette, Spooner.
21-23: Neil Dees, Hurley; Tanner Gehl, Solon Springs; Chris Bretting, Washburn.
Heat 1: Vernon; Dunbar; Niznik; Hudack; Darwin; Swan; Gehl; Bretting.
Heat 2: Latvala; Aho; Fuhrman; O’Brien; Lund; Jacobson; Bressette; Dees.
Heat 3: Barningham; Hicks; Mains; Rivord; Boston; Suzik; Kieber.
WISSOTA Pure Stocks
Feature: 1-6: RJ Holly, Marengo; Cory Jorgensen, Duluth, MN; Randy Graham, Trego; Dylan Shelton, Wrenshall, MN; Aaron Bernick, Duluth, MN; Zene Anderson, Superior.
Heat: Jorgensen; Holly; Graham; Shelton; Bernick; Anderson; Jared Akervik, Superior.
Feature: 1-10: Tiffany Hudack, Ashland; Dennis Groom, Ashland; Jake Nevala, Ashland; Dalton Truchon, Ashland; Austin Olby, Marengo; Mathew Rohlfing, Cable; Jakob Bond, Mason; Trenton Bond, Mason; Shane Basina, Bayfield; Julian Root, Ashland.
11: Dale Coddington, Hayward.
Heat 1: Coddington; Truchon; Groom; Rohlfing; Basina; Root.
Heat 2: J Bond; Hudack; Nevala; Olby; T Bond.
Feature: 1-4: DeJay Jarecki, Ashland; Dan Moncher, Saxon; Derek Dunbar, Iron River; Carson Gotelaere, Superior.
Heat: Gotelaere; Jarecki; D Moncher; Dunbar; Gavyn Moncher, Saxon.