VanGuilder, Jarecki Capture ABC Specials
by Nick Gima
Ashland, WI, August 21 – Two special features helped draw the season’s largest car count to date to the ABC Raceway on Saturday night, and one of those features produced a first-time winner here.
Of the 106 racers registered for the seven-division offering presented by the Ashland-Bayfield County Sportsmen’s Club, twenty-one WISSOTA Street Stocks came out for the Anderson Auto Body “Battle by the Bay,” while another 15 competed in the Safari Tavern “Hornet’s Nest 20.” Both features – along with much of the remainder of the night’s action – provided great racing and more than a little drama on a cool, breezy late August evening in northern Wisconsin.
Hunter VanGuilder of Rice Lake was the first-time winner in the second-annual running of the “Battle” for the Street Stocks, as he came from the third row, took the lead early, and held off some serious challenges for the historic win. VanGuilder moved up quickly to join polestarter Kyle Genett and Dustin Doughty in a three-car dogfight for the early lead that separated itself from the next tightly-grouped pack of cars, led by outside front-row starter Colten Klueckman and former ABC Pure Stock champ Andrew Hanson.
Three laps into the 20-lap main event, a huge pile-up collected several cars, including Klueckman, who looked to be a contender early. On the ensuing restart VanGuilder took a look to the inside on Genett, and after a couple of laps VanGuilder took the lead, with Hanson taking third from Doughty and defending event champ Parker Anderson moving to fifth.
Jay Kesan, who was outside of the top-ten on the lap 3 restart, had just moved by William Fisher for sixth on lap 8, but a circuit later his car broke loose and spun into the infield in turn 4, ending his potentially great charge to the front. Moments later, Genett spun in the same spot to bring out the race’s only other caution flag, and he pulled his ride into the pits.
After VanGuilder led the field back to green, two drivers that were enjoying incredible runs – 19th-starting Ty Agen and 14th-starting Jordan Kurtti – sped around Fisher to take fifth and sixth, respectively. In the closing laps each got past Doughty for fourth and fifth as Doughty nursed his car to the finish with broken rear-gears.
VanGuilder protected the bottom for the remainder of the run, with first Hanson and then Anderson glued to his trunklid, as he held on for his first-ever feature win at ABC, worth $1,000 of the over $6,000 total purse. Anderson, WISSOTA’s national points leader in the Streeters coming into the weekend, was less than a half-second behind, while Hanson wasn’t much further back in third. VanGuilder’s fastest lap of the event was run in 18.664 seconds, for an average speed of 72.332 mph.
Much of the drama came in the Hornets’ special feature, where track points leader DeJay Jarecki of Ashland had a nine-race win streak on the line, and there were plenty of strong contenders in the house capable of ending that streak.
One of those contenders was Shane Basina, who has been driving Jarecki’s spare car for much of the season. Basina started the 20-lap evening finale by quickly overtaking polestarter Brandon Hummelmeier to set the early pace, while Jarecki, who started inside on row 4, needed a couple of laps to get past Hummelmeier for second. Basina gave Jarecki a true test up front until lap 4, when the caution flag waived for Gavyn Moncher’s stalled ride.
On the subsequent restart, visitor Mark Schoone, who was fifth, sped past Hummelmeier and Derek Dunbar and joined the fight for the lead. On lap 7 Schoone took an inside line to get by both teammates and began to pull away.
Visiting Sammy Tingley’s spin set up a five-lap shoot-out, and in the first turn after the restart Basina got caught up in the heavy traffic challenging for the lead and slipped back, giving up second to Jarecki. The pace was stopped once more for Basina’s get-together with Dan Moncher on lap 16, but Schoone held off Jarecki’s threats from there to reach the checkers first.
The finish wasn’t decided, however, until a post-race inspection revealed that Schoone’s wheels were not considered technically acceptable, giving Jarecki his tenth straight win here and essentially sewing up his first-ever points title with one race night remaining. Dunbar, Hummelmeier, Dan Moncher and Reid Johnson also moved up to complete the top five, and Jarecki was also crowned as the champ of the two-race mini-series after combining his win here with his fourth-place finish in Superior the night before.
Six-time ABC Raceway WISSOTA Modified champ Al Uotinen of Superior picked up his 27th career feature win on Saturday – his first in a year and only his second here since 2014 – by winning a thrilling battle with one of the top young drivers in the region in Brandon Copp.
After spins by Mike Klippenstein and Tyler Luger negated the initial attempts to start, Uotinen sped around polestarter Shane Kisling for the early lead, while Copp, who came from row 4, quickly used the outermost line on the track to sweep by several cars and take third. Copp got by Kisling for second within a couple more laps and then reeled in Uotinen, setting up an epic side-by-side battle as the lead pair pulled away from the rest of the field.
Copp eventually edged ahead by mid-race, relying on the higher line to provide momentum, but over time the low groove became the faster route, and Uotinen chipped away at what little deficit there was. Eventually Uotinen regained the lead, and over the final five laps he slowly drew away to a 1.1-second margin of victory.
Copp, whose father Don has had many epic battles of his own with Uotinen in the past in scoring eight championships here, gained some valuable ground on divisional points leader Cole Spacek with his runner-up finish and Spacek’s 11th-place run, while Paul Niznik ended up solidly in third, well back of the leaders but safely ahead of Jeff Spacek, who nipped Neil Balduc at the line for fourth.
Terran Spacek of Phillips came from deep in the field to score his second feature win of the year here in the WISSOTA Super Stocks, and his first since late May. Spacek worked his way up from the fourth row without the help of yellow-flag slowdowns, as the first 15 of the 20 laps went caution-free.
Front-row starters DJ Keeler and Scott Lawrence raced door-to-door for the first few circuits before Lawrence eventually nosed ahead on lap 3. Keeler didn’t make it easy on the 14-time track champ and often stuck a nose to the inside threatening to retake the lead, but Lawrence prevailed as the 13-car field stayed relatively close-knit.
By lap 7 Spacek became a factor by getting by Patrick Beeksma for third. On the next tour Keeler finally nosed past Lawrence for the lead, with Spacek following on the low groove to second, and a lap later Spacek changed lanes to work his way around Keeler. From there Spacek charged away to a significant 2.7-second lead over the next six laps.
A Nick Oreskovich-Steve Stuart get-together with five laps left brought the field back to Spacek’s rear bumper, but the leader re-established his advantage in short order, eventually winning in impressive fashion by 2.342 seconds. Beeksma finished a strong run by edging Keeler at the stripe for second, and second-in-points Shawn McFadden claimed fourth ahead of Lawrence over the final laps, although Stuart’s ninth-place finish should be enough for him to nail down his seventh career track title in a fourth different division.
Caution flags flew early and often in the WISSOTA Midwest Modified A-main, but they didn’t stop Jack Rivord of Superior from claiming his second feature win of the season here. The teenager, who withstood challenges from several different drivers, remained as calm and steady as any veteran.
After beating fellow front-row starter Marcus Dunbar to the early advantage, the yellow lights blinked on for Sean O’Brien’s stalled ride on lap 2, a Diamond Bressette spin on lap 3, and a multi-car mess on the very next restart, all of which kept the traffic tight. Rivord was able to draw away from Dunbar while the lights stayed green, but Bryan Lund’s racer broke just past the race’s mid-point to slow the pace once more.
Divisional points leader Tyler Vernon, who had spent the first half of the 20-lapper mired in mid-pack traffic, broke free with a split-the-difference pass of Duane Dunbar and Niznik just after the last restart to take fourth. Jesse Aho took advantage of the restart as well, working his way by Marcus Dunbar on the low side to steal second, and Aho pulled alongside Rivord a couple of times over the final laps but just couldn’t complete the pass, as Rivord held on for a half-second win. Behind Marcus Dunbar, Vernon’s fourth-place run should give him enough for his second points crown here, while Dalton Mains came through the pack late for an impressive fifth-place run.
Cory Jorgensen of Duluth, MN, continued his recent hot streak with his sixth WISSOTA Pure Stock feature win at ABC this year and his fifth in his last six race nights over the past two weeks. In the 12-lap non-stop A-main Jorgensen, who started outside on row 2, joined front-row starters Nate Rose and Steve Pohl for a great battle for the lead before prevailing on lap 2.
Moving up to second within a lap was visiting second-generation racer Mitchell Kesan, and the impressive youngster stayed right on the back bumper of Jorgensen’s car, taking occasional peeks to either side while looking for an opening to get by. On lap 5 they bumped coming through turn 2, upsetting both cars, but each driver recovered to maintain their running order, well ahead of the battle for third between Rose and division points leader RJ Holly.
Jorgensen and Kesan stayed nose-to-tail right through to the checkered flag, while Rose held on to third ahead of Holly. Pohl claimed fifth, ahead of second-in-points Aaron Bernick, which helped give Holly a little bit of breathing room with a 20-point lead heading into the final night of the regular season.
The ABC Six-Cylinders have provided the most entertaining of the points battles coming down to the wire, as six drivers were within 80 points of leader Dennis Groom of Ashland coming into this past weekend. Groom, however, made things a little tougher on the others as he took advantage of an opening in the field and held on for his second feature win of the season.
After rookie Austin Olby’s car stalled on the initial start, Bubba Anderson took the lead from polestarter Jakob Bond and retained it through a lap 2 restart for Bond’s spin. Anderson and Mathew Rohlfing then raced side-by-side for a couple of laps until the two nudged each other, sending both up the banking in turn 4 and opening the door for Groom and others.
Groom pedaled hard to stay ahead of a charging Tiffany Hudack and Jake Nevala, with Hudack looking to make a pass on the outside late in the run. Nevala stayed low to slip past Hudack and drew up right behind Groom on lap 10 of the 12 scheduled, and on the next corner Hudack dropped low and bumped an infield marker tire, causing her to turn into the infield and fall back.
Groom held off Nevala’s determined challenges to win by just less than four-tenths of a second, but in a post-race inspection Nevala’s car was found to not meet specifications, giving Rohlfing a career-best second-place finish. Dalton Truchon, Olby and Hudack completed the top five, and Groom’s points lead grew to 37 over Hudack with one night remaining.
Other fast-lap times in the features were set by Uotinen in the Mods (17.884 secs; 75.486 mph), Terran Spacek in the Supers (18.337; 73.622), Rivord in Mid-Mods (18.117; 74.516), Mitchell Kesan in the Pure Stocks (19.869; 71.546), and Nevala in the Sixes (19.251; 70.126).
Steve Parsons, representing the Kim Parsons Memorial Trophy Tour, presented huge trophies to the top three finishers in each feature. Parsons uses the tour, w his late daughter, to encourage awareness of and participation in organ and tissue donations.
Next Saturday, August 28, will be the final regular-season race night at ABC. “Mountain Dew Championship Saturday Night” will be presented by North Star Beverage of Hurley and will culminate in the crowning of the 2021 track champions in all six weekly divisions.
Regular grandstand admission ticket prices will apply, and advance tickets and pit passes are available via the My Race Pass website and mobile app. The grandstands will open at 5 pm, hot laps start at 6:15, and the first green flag of the night is scheduled for 7 pm. WSBZ, 93.3 FM, will air updates from 4:30-6 pm on Saturday, with simulcasts aired online via the station’s website, www.wbszfm.com.
Fans are reminded that tickets and reserved seating are still available for the 46th annual Red Clay Classic, to be held October 1-2. Ticket information is available by calling (715) 682-2672 Monday through Friday (evenings only) or by sending an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. For info on reserved pit sites, racers can call (715) 746-2390 (evenings) or e-mail to email@example.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: Al Uotinen, Superior; Brandon Copp, Brule; Paul Niznik, Medford; Jeff Spacek, Phillips; Neil Balduc, Bessemer, MI; Rick Rivord, Superior; Alex Van Natta, Minocqua; Tyler Luger, Oxford; Shane Kisling, Butternut; Jake Hiatt, Mason.
11-14: Cole Spacek, Phillips; Mike Klippenstein, Proctor, MN; Pat Cook, Washburn; Robby Bunkelman, Abbotsford.
Heat 1: Copp; Klippenstein; Balduc; Uotinen; Niznik; Hiatt; Rivord.
Heat 2: Kisling; C Spacek; J Spacek; Van Natta; Cook; Luger; Bunkelman.
WISSOTA Super Stocks
Feature: 1-10: Terran Spacek, Phillips; Patrick Beeksma, Ironwood, MI; DJ Keeler, Superior; Shawn McFadden, Ashland; Scott Lawrence, Superior; Cory Casari, Montreal; Nick Oreskovich, Mason; Matt Deragon, Ashland; Steve Stuart, Ashland; Justin Weinberger, Butternut.
11-13: Rita Anderson, South Range; Myron Basina, Bayfield; Aaron Mashlan, Ashland.
Heat 1: Lawrence; Beeksma; Stuart; Keeler; McFadden; Deragon; Mashlan.
Heat 2: Spacek; Oreskovich; Weinberger; Anderson; Basina; Casari.
WISSOTA Midwest Modifieds
Feature: 1-10: Jack Rivord, Superior; Jesse Aho, Toivola, MI; Marcus Dunbar, Marenisco, MI; Tyler Vernon, Mason; Dalton Mains, Foxboro; Paul Niznik, Medford; Ross Fuhrman, Ashland; Paul Suzik, Ironwood, MI; Duane Dunbar, Marenisco, MI; Tanner Hicks, Ashland.
11-20: Ryan Barningham, Bayfield; James Vendela, South Range; Tyler Hudack, Ashland; Diamond Bressette, Spooner; Neil Dees, Hurley; Chris Bretting, Washburn; Hunter Tingley, Green Bay; Bryan Lund, Ashland; Mitch Kieber, Ironwood, MI; John Darwin, Iron River.
21-22: Sean O’Brien, Manitowish Waters; Tanner Gehl, Solon Springs.
Heat 1: Aho; Fuhrman; Barningham; Suzik; Hudack; Bretting; Dees; Tingley.
Heat 2: D Dunbar; M Dunbar; Hicks; Vendela; Darwin; Bressette; Gehl.
Heat 3: Rivord; Vernon; Niznik; Mains; O’Brien; Lund; Kieber.
WISSOTA Street Stocks
Feature: 1-10: Hunter VanGilder, Rice Lake; Parker Anderson, Phillips; Andrew Hanson, Iron River; Ty Agen, Chippewa Falls; Jordan Kurtti, Bruce Crossing, MI; William Fisher, Shell Lake; Dustin Doughty, Oakdale, MN; Travis Hazelton, Chippewa Falls; Ron Hanestad, Glenwood City; Brandon Hakala, Tomahawk.
11-20: Daniel Boissy, Trego; Michael Brown, Tomahawk; Jeff Nowak, Wausau; David Blackberg, Eagle River; Ethan Hommerding, Merrill; Michael Tuma, Weyerhaeuser; Kyle Genett, Auburndale; Jay Kesan, Weyerhaeuser; Colten Klueckman, Wausau; Adam Soltis, Ladysmith.
Heat 1: Anderson; Hanson; VanGilder; Soltis; Kesan; Nowak.
Heat 2: Genett; Hakala; Brown; Hanestad; Kurtti; Tuma.
Heat 3: Doughty; Klueckman; Fisher; Hazelton; Hommerding; Blackberg.
WISSOTA Pure Stocks
Feature: 1-8: Cory Jorgensen, Duluth, MN; Mitchell Kesan, Medford; Nate Rose, Duluth, MN; RJ Holly, Marengo; Aaron Bernick, Duluth, MN; Steve Pohl, Manitowish Waters; Zene Anderson, Superior; David Pederson, Duluth, MN.
Heat: Jorgensen; Kesan; Holly; Rose; Pohl; Bernick; Anderson; Pederson.
Feature: 1-10: Dennis Groom, Ashland; Mathew Rohlfing, Cable; Dalton Truchon, Ashland; Austin Olby, Marengo; Tiffany Hudack, Ashland; Jakob Bond, Mason; Shane Basina, Bayfield; Julian Root, Ashland; Adam Traaholt, Ashland; Jacob Johnson, Cable.
11: Bubba Anderson, Trego.
Heat 1: Hudack; Rohlfing; Groom; Basina; Traaholt; Root; Johnson.
Heat 2: Anderson; Truchon; J Bond; Trenton Bond, Mason; Olby; Jake Nevala, Ashland.
Feature: 1-10: DeJay Jarecki, Ashland; Derek Dunbar, Iron River; Brandon Hummelmeier, Ashland; Dan Moncher, Saxon; Reid Johnson, Duluth, MN; Shane Basina, Bayfield; Kristy Marken, Duluth, MN; Paul George, Princeton, MN; Alex Reilly, Belleville; Sammy Tingley, Lake Tomahawk.
11-14: Deacon Pratt, Aurora, MN; Gavyn Moncher, Saxon; Jase Wiarda, Proctor, MN; Jacob Aarhus, Canby, MN
Heat 1: Mark Schoone, Gleason; Dunbar; Johnson; Hummelmeier; Marken; Reilly; Tingley; Jase Wiarda, Proctor, MN.
Heat 2: Jarecki; Basina; Aarhus; George; Pratt; D Moncher.