Randall Returns to ABC Raceway Victory Lane; Grymala Grabs First Win Here
by Nick Gima
Ashland, WI, August 20 – Jim Randall of Rice Lake led his feature flag-to-flag and picked up the $1,500 winner’s check during the second visit to the ABC Raceway by the WISSOTA Street Stocks in the past three weeks on another cool, humid Saturday night.
The Ashland Area Chamber of Commerce presented the quick-moving program, which was completed in under three hours. A combination of high humidity and cool temperatures helped create another lightning-fast red-clay race surface, resulting in multiple fast-lap records falling for the third straight week. In addition, over two dozen backpacks were given away to young fans as they prepare to go back to school in the Chequamegon Bay area, and Steve Parsons of Wausau presented five-foot-tall trophies to the feature winners as part of his traveling program promoting organ and tissue donor awareness at Wisconsin tracks in honor of his late daughter, Kim.
It was somewhat difficult for several of the 15 Street Stock drivers to get used to the tacky-fast red-clay surface, and attrition played a role in the event despite the yellow flag only having to be waived twice. On the initial start of the 20-lap headliner a four-car tangle in the first turn delayed the proceedings, but Randall, who started on the pole, pulled away from Kolby Kiehl and the rest of the field and stayed a safe distance out front for most of the next 17 laps.
Former ABC Pure Stock champ Andrew Hanson stormed up from his row 3 start to slip past Joseph Ott for third on lap 3 and kept the pressure on Kiehl throughout the long green-flag run. By lap 7 Hunter VanGuilder, who had won here two weeks ago and started the feature 11th, had gained fourth and joined right in to the battle for second.
Kiehl had been cutting into Randall’s lead ever so slightly over the back half of the race and was within 1.2 seconds of the leader when the second caution stoppage occurred. In the midst of a battle for position among the second five, Kyle Genett – who seemed to be struggling more than most with set-up on the sticky surface – dug into the bottom of turn 4, causing his car to break loose and lift into the air, seemingly standing on its nose for a split-second before landing hard on all four tires.
Randall sped away in the three-lap sprint to the finish and scored his first win here since August 2007 and only the third of his career here, all coming in the Street Stocks. Kiehl was a half-second back for runner-up honors, and VanGuilder got third after the restart. Hanson’s car suffered significant front-end damage during the second half of the run but still managed to hold on to fourth ahead of Alex Myers.
The Arrowhead Auto Glass WISSOTA Super Stocks were not racing for track points on this night, as several ABC regulars were competing in the FastLane Motorsports Northland Super Stock Series event at Ogilvie, MN. So the smallest Super Stock feature field here in decades – just six cars – took to the track for a 15-lap feature.
And that was just fine with Superior’s Andy Grymala, who cut his racing teeth running Six-Cylinders here early in his 21-year racing career. Grymala came from the third row, gained the lead by lap 6, and sped to his first-ever feature win here.
Aaron Mashlan forged ahead of polestarter Rita Anderson for the early lead – the first time Mashlan had ever led a feature at Ashland – and he maintained a smooth, steady pace. Grymala needed until lap 2 to get by Myron Basina for second but exercised veteran patience until Mashlan offered the opening for the lead.
Grymala extended his advantage to 3.2 seconds before the race’s lone stoppage occurred, when Mashlan and Basina tangled with five laps left. The restart put Greg Kuklinski – driving the car he co-owns but which has been piloted for the past two seasons by Steve Stuart – on Grymala’s right flank, but the track’s all-time leading feature winner couldn’t keep up with Grymala, who blew the field away by 3.7 seconds at the checkers.
Mashlan held on for a career-best third, ahead of Basina and Anderson.
Last week Brandon Copp took advantage of another driver’s bad break to win the Outlaw Wraps & Apparel WISSOTA Modified feature and strengthen his grip on that division’s points lead. On this night it was Copp who suffered the heartbreak, but no one really could take advantage of it.
Instead it was visiting Mike Anderson of Jim Falls who paced the field start-to-finish for the win.
Anderson started on the pole and immediately pulled away from a great duel for second between rookie Hunter Anderson and veterans Bill Byholm and Jake Hiatt. Eventually Hunter took control of the position but found himself over two seconds behind the leader after just eight laps, while Hiatt and Byholm had Copp charging up behind them.
Unfortunately something broke on Copp’s racer that caused him to spin into the infield grass right at mid-race, ending his night in frustration and bringing the field back to Mike Anderson’s back push-bar for the restart. Then, on the first turn back under green, Hunter Anderson bumped one of the large infield marker tires, causing him to lose control for a moment and dropping him to the back of the running order.
The rookie’s miscue gave Mike Anderson all the breathing room he needed, as he flew to a 2.4-second final advantage for his third career win here. Hiatt held off Jack Rivord for second, and long-distance visitor Billy Kendall scored fourth-place money ahead of Byholm.
Rick Rivord’s sixth-place run, combined with Copp’s 11th-place DNF, means that Copp would need to finish in the top-five in order to claim his first points title here if Rivord scores the feature win in next Saturday’s finale.
Ironwood, MI’s Paul Suzik is on a late-season mission to chase down WISSOTA Midwest Modified points leader Marcus Dunbar for that division’s crown, as Suzik won that division’s feature for the third time this season and second week in a row.
Suzik and Dunbar started side-by-side on the fourth row of the 20-lap A-main, but after Neil Dees’ spin on the initial start it was visitor Tad Schoonover who set the early pace. Suzik was having much more luck than Dunbar in weaving his way through traffic, slipping by Ryan Barningham into fourth by lap 2 and then taking second on a gutsy three-wide inside move two laps later. On lap 6 Suzik worked another inside move on Schoonover to take the lead, and from there, with no caution flags to help the field, Suzik was untouchable.
James Vendela and Dunbar each made moves to get by Schoonover during mid-race, and the pair staged their own entertaining battle for several laps, with Vendela holding on for runner-up honors a full 5.2 seconds – or over a straightaway – behind the winner. Schoonover was impressive in nailing down fourth ahead of Ross Fuhrman.
Dunbar still holds enough of a points cushion heading into the final night next Saturday that a top-20 finish in the feature will secure his second career championship here, even if Suzik scores a third straight win.
Certainly one of the most entertaining races of the night was the WISSOTA Pure Stock feature, where championship points leader Cory Jorgensen of Duluth, MN, held off a determined Travis Hazelton for his fourth win of the season.
Jorgensen, who did not make the call for last week’s Pure Stock headliner and saw his lead all but vanish in the standings, started the non-stop ten-lapper behind polestarter Aaron Bernick and made a low-lane three-wide pass for the lead work on the first lap. Hazelton nearly duplicated the move to take second a circuit later, and the lead pair ran off to decide the win, running practically nose-to-tail.
On more than one occasion Hazelton leaned on Jorgensen’s back bumper, to see if he could shake the leader loose, but the veteran and current national WISSOTA points leader maintained both his composure and the lead. Hazelton could not find a way by as Jorgensen held on for a winning edge of about a third of a second, and further back Tyler Kachinske won a four-car dogfight for third ahead of a charging RJ Holly and Bernick.
Jorgensen will need one more top-five finish, should Bernick win next weekend’s feature here, to claim his first-ever ABC championship.
Shane Basina of Bayfield also led from green to checkered to claim his third ABC Six-Cylinder feature of the season. Basina didn’t know it at the time, but at the checkers no one was within 5.4 seconds of him – just shy of the length of a straightaway.
Basina started on the pole and fended off Trenton Bond for a couple of laps until Bond’s car slowed in a shower of sparks and smoke. Running mid-pack, divisional points leader Dennis Groom got caught behind Bond’s slowing car and lost valuable ground to most of the field.
Basina had built a lead of over 2.5 seconds by mid-race and extended it to over 3.6 seconds by lap 9, with Bubba Anderson fending off strong challenges by youngsters Austin Olby and Jakob Bond right to the finish. Basina cruised to the huge win and moved into third place in the standings, while Groom recovered for a fifth-place performance, helping him add to his healthy cushion over Dalton Truchon in the points.
Ashland’s DeJay Jarecki continued his dominance of the Lightning Storm Graphics WISSOTA Hornets, collecting his seventh win of the season and fifth in a row here.
Jarecki started last on the three-car feature grid but was unable to get by Brandon Hummelmeier and Holly until lap 3. But once he squeezed by, he continued on to win the non-stop eight-lapper. Hummelmeier was several car-lengths back as runner-up, and Holly was an equal distance back for third.
With the win, Jarecki has clinched his second straight Hornets title here with one full night of racing remaining. He also nailed down the same division’s title at Superior the night before, with two features remaining to be run there in the regular season.
The record book was re-written again several times, including Suzik’s new Midwest Mod fast lap of 16.406 seconds (82.287 mph average), Randall’s Street Stock circuit of 17.674 seconds (76.383 mph), and Hazelton’s Pure Stock single-lap standard of 18.767 seconds (71.935 mph), all set during heat race action.
The 2022 regular racing season at the ABC Raceway concludes on Saturday, August 27, when Mountain Dew and North Star Beverage of Hurley present “Championship Saturday Night.” Each of the track’s six weekly divisional champions will be determined by the conclusion of the night’s heat and feature race action.
The grandstand gates and pits will open at 5 pm, with hot laps starting at 6:15 followed by heat-race action at 7 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, or log on to the track’s website, www.abcraceway.com.
Feature: 1-10: Mike Anderson, Jim Falls; Jake Hiatt, Mason; Jack Rivord, Superior; Billy Kendall III, Walker, MN; Bill Byholm, Glidden; Rick Rivord, Superior; Pat Cook, Washburn; Shane Kisling, Butternut; Tyler Luger, Oxford; Hunter Anderson, Phillips.
11-12: Brandon Copp, Brule; Jeff Spacek, Phillips.
Heat 1: J Rivord; Byholm; Hiatt; H Anderson; Luger; Cook.
Heat 2: M Anderson; Kendall; Copp; Kisling; R Rivord; Spacek.
WISSOTA Super Stocks
Feature: 1-6: Andy Grymala, Superior; Greg Kuklinski, Ironwood, MI; Aaron Mashlan, Ashland; Myron Basina, Bayfield; Rita Anderson, South Range; David Elliott, Minocqua.
Heat: Grymala; Kuklinski; Basina; Mashlan; Anderson; Elliott.
WISSOTA Midwest Modifieds
Feature: 1-10: Paul Suzik, Ironwood, MI; James Vendela, South Range; Marcus Dunbar, Marenisco, MI; Tad Schoonover, Eagle River; Ross Fuhrman, Ashland; Matt Jacobson, Bessemer, MI; Ryan Barningham, Bayfield; Duane Dunbar, Marenisco, MI; Neil Dees, Hurley; Jeff Hanninen, Marengo.
11: Diamond Bressette, Spooner.
Heat 1: Suzik; M Dunbar; D Dunbar; Barningham; Dees; Bressette.
Heat 2: Vendela; Fuhrman; Schoonover; Jacobson; Hanninen.
WISSOTA Street Stocks
Feature: 1-10: Jim Randall, Rice Lake; Kolby Kiehl, Barron; Hunter VanGilder, Rice Lake; Andrew Hanson, Iron River; Alex Myers, Cameron; Warren Bartelt, Medford; Adam Soltis, Ladysmith; Danny Richards, Mondovi; Jordan Kurtti, Bruce Crossing, MI; Joseph Ott, Spooner.
11-14: Eric Haupt, Trego; Dylan Baskin, Arkansaw; Kyle Genett, Auburndale; Michael Tuma, Weyerhaeuser.
Heat 1: Bartelt; Soltis; Tuma; Ott; Myers; VanGilder; Tom O’Brien, Webster; Genett.
Heat 2: Randall; Kiehl; Kurtti; Hanson; Haupt; Baskin; Richards.
WISSOTA Pure Stocks
Feature: 1-9: Cory Jorgensen, Duluth, MN; Travis Hazelton, Chippewa Falls; Tyler Kachinske, Duluth, MN; RJ Holly, Marengo; Aaron Bernick, Duluth, MN; Rob Grabon, Rice Lake; Justin Judnic, Rib Lake; Zene Anderson; Superior; Steve Pohl; Manitowish Waters.
Heat: Grabon; Jorgensen; Hazelton; Kachinske; Bernick; Judnic; Anderson; Holly; Pohl.
Feature: 1-10: Shane Basina, Bayfield; Bubba Anderson, Trego; Austin Olby, Marengo; Jakob Bond, Mason; Dennis Groom, Ashland; Jacob Johnson, Cable; Dalton Truchon, Ashland; Mathew Rohlfing, Cable; Forrest Schultz, Ashland; Julian Root, Ashland.
11-12: Brad Hanson, Glidden; Trenton Bond, Mason.
Heat 1: Anderson; Olby; Basina; J Bond; Rohlfing; Hanson.
Heat 2: Groom; Schultz; Truchon; T Bond; Johnson; Root.
Feature: 1-3: DeJay Jarecki, Ashland; Brandon Hummelmeier, Ashland; RJ Holly, Marengo.
Heat: Jarecki; Hummelmeier; Holly.