Class of 2023 Hall of Fame

Members of the ABC Raceway’s Class of 2023 were inducted into the track’s Hall of Fame on Saturday, including (l-r) Tom Adamzak (inducted along with his late son Ryan), Lee Johnson, Dale Olson, and members of Dennis Hendrickson’s family. Those inductees not present included Scott Hudack and Bob D’Antonio of Red’s Auto Sales.

ABC Raceway Welcomes Seven More to its Hall of Fame

by Nick Gima

               Ashland, WI, July 15 – The Ashland-Bayfield County Racing Association proudly introduced its ninth group of inductees into its ABC Raceway Hall of Fame during a special ceremony held during intermission of its WISSOTA Dirt Track Series race program on Saturday night.

The seven inductees were honorary contributors Dennis Hendrickson (posthumously) and Red’s Auto of Ironwood, MI; retired drivers Ryan Adamzak (posthumously), Scott Hudack and Dale Olson; and long-time volunteers Tom Adamzak and Lee Johnson.

Dennis Hendrickson, nicknamed “Pusky” by his father, was considered the Raceway’s first “super-fan,” as he came to the track early every race night to talk racing with anyone and everyone he could. He was a racer himself for a short time in the 1960s, then bought a car for his brother-in-law, 2018 HoF inductee Ray Gregor, to race. Hendrickson also owned a store on the avenue leading to the track, and he was a great supporter of the track and a “walking encyclopedia” of its earliest days. Hendrickson’s children and other family members accepted his plaque.

Red’s Auto is an Ironwood, MI, used car dealership whose owners – first Eugene “Red” D’Antonio and later Red’s son Bob – contributed generously both as drivers and as a sponsor for several decades. Red’s Auto is believed to be the first true “sponsor” of the ABC Raceway, supporting nightly shows in the 1960s and ‘70s and contributing toward the purchase of red racing jackets for the Raceway’s officials and staff. The business continues to be a generous contributor, sponsoring many cars as well as several major events at ABC, such as the World of Outlaws Late Model Series event held here in 2019 and recent Red Clay Classics.

Ryan Adamzak started his racing career here in the 1990s and collected his first three feature wins and finished third in WISSOTA Street Stock points in 1995, then added a pair of wins in ’96 and became that year’s Street Stock champ. After a few years away, he ran a part-time effort in the Six-Cylinders in 2006-’07, then in 2010 became one of ABC’s best WISSOTA Midwest Modified runners, scoring five of his career ten feature wins in his familiar number 97 before stepping away from driving in 2017. Ryan passed away in May 2022 at the young age of 44. His father Tom accepted his induction plaque.

Scott Hudack, who was not able to attend the ceremonies, is a member of a family which has been active at this facility; his parents Don & Alice were inducted into the track’s Hall of Fame in 2016, and his sister Mary and her family were added in ’17. Scott began racing in 1990 in the Hobby Stock division but moved into the Sixes in 1991, where he finished in the top-five in points in both ’91 and ’92. In 1993 he moved into the WISSOTA Modifieds, where he raced for 25 years, finished in the top-ten in points 19 times – including a career-best third in 2006 – and scored all of his six career feature wins. Scott was also blessing to have raced with his late son Dustin for four years before retiring from active competition in 2017.

Dale Olson originally hailed from the Ironwood-Hurley area and was along-time ABC Raceway favorite. His career started in the late 1970s driving Six-Cylinders for car owner AJ Johnson, and in 1987 he scored a pair of feature wins on the same night to spark a run of 20 career victories – 19 of them in the Sixes, and the last coming in August 1991 in a WISSOTA Super Stock. He also earned two track championships, both in the Sixes – in 1987, and in 1990 as part of a team effort with Greg Kuklinski. He is remembered by fans and track officials alike as a likeable, classy guy and a great competitor.

Tom Adamzak has long held the important – and often thankless – position of head of technical inspections for the Raceway, but he has developed a reputation for helping young racers learn and improve their programs. Tom is also known to be a fair and impartial judge when difficult rules decisions need to be made, and he and his staff are held in high standing with regard to rules interpretation and enforcement.

Lee Johnson is a direct descendant of ABC Raceway royalty, as he is the grandson of the facility’s “founding father,” Frank Brevak. Lee has been at the track since he was a youngster, riding with his grandfather on the grader, and as he grew older he would often help Frank with projects at the track. He admits he practically grew up here, and as he put it, “When you’re Frank Brevak’s grandson, you don’t have much choice.” Lee continues to help the track to this day, generously donating time and equipment for projects.

The seven inductees and their guests were treated to a luncheon in their honor at Zar’s Bar & Banquet Hall in Ashland prior to arriving at the track for the race program. They were nominated and selected based on their dedication, commitment, accomplishments and contributions to the overall success of the Racing Association and to the Raceway, as well as to short-track stock car racing throughout the Northland.

The Class of 2023 brings the total number of honorees to 80.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email