ABC Raceway Adds Hornets to Weekly Offering
by Nick Gima
Ashland, WI, March 27 — For its 55th stock car racing season, the ABC Raceway will add a sixth division as part of its regular weekly program – the strictly-stock, entry-level WISSOTA Hornets class.
Hornets are front-wheel-drive, four-cylinder cars that are restricted to an absolute minimum of modification – other than in the interest of safety – in order to compete. The intent is to keep the costs of building and racing as low as possible, to attract potential drivers who may want to get into the sport but don’t want to commit a major financial investment.
“Hornets allow for a perfect opportunity for people interested in the sport of stock car racing – especially younger fans – to get out onto the track and compete,” said ABC Raceway president Eric Erickson recently. “The cars don’t cost a lot of money, and that’s by design. If someone buys or builds a Hornet, they aren’t going to go broke. And if they discover that being a racer is not something they want to do, they shouldn’t be out thousands of dollars.
“But if they come to realize that they have what it takes to be a racer, then this class is an ideal first step in this sport’s learning curve.”
WISSOTA rules state that the minimum age a driver can be to compete in a sanctioned race division is 16, but there are provisions within the rules for “restricted” permits for even younger drivers. These “restricted” licenses are at the discretion of each WISSOTA sanctioned track, but regarding the Hornet division tracks have tended to allow drivers in their early to mid-teens to race in order to encourage their interest.
“Getting kids interested in racing at a young age helps them learn and understand what it takes to be successful in the sport,” said Erickson. “It can also help them in other aspects of their young lives, like developing responsibility and good sportsmanship.”
It’s the first time the ABC Raceway has offered a six-division weekly race program since the 2008-‘09 seasons, when WISSOTA Midwest Modifieds were added. The track adjusted its show back to five divisions when the WISSOTA Street Stocks were deleted due to very low car counts.
Though they have been a popular entry-level class in a variety of iterations throughout the country for a couple of decades, Hornets have been competing as a WISSOTA-sanctioned division since 2015. The Proctor (MN) Speedway has been the closest race facility to the Chequamegon Bay area to offer Hornets a place to race, adding them to their Sunday night weekly program that same year.
During its twice-delayed season opener last May 26, Hornets raced at the ABC Raceway for the first time, with three-wide battles for the checkered flag in both the division’s heat (won by Paul George of Princeton, MN) and feature (won by Dan Prissel of Mondovi).
The Raceway Board opted to require sanctioning of the Hornet class for several reasons. WISSOTA sanctioning offers a consistent set of rules for car builders and racers to follow, although with this class the rules are not complex and emphasize the “OEM stock” aspect of the division.
Also, by running the class under the sanction, drivers from other nearby tracks, such as Proctor, will be welcome to compete in Ashland, and drivers just getting into the sport at ABC will have opportunities to compete at other tracks, giving them more chances to learn and enjoy the sport.
The WISSOTA Hornets are slated to run 12 of the 15 regular-season events on the current ABC Raceway schedule. The division will compete in qualifying heats and a feature here each night, just as the other divisions do, and points will be awarded and purses will be paid out.
Race programs in 2019 at the award-winning three-eighths-mile red-clay oval will be held every Saturday night from May 18 through August 24, except for June 29 and July 6. The schedule also includes one Friday night show (June 28, all divisions) and one Tuesday night special (July 9, World of Outlaws Late Models plus WISSOTA Super Stocks and Midwest Mods).
For more details on the Hornets and other WISSOTA division rules and procedures, a copy of the WISSOTA Promoters Association rule book is available for download online at www.wissota.org. The ABC Raceway’s schedule and other track information is available on its website, www.abcraceway.com, and on its Facebook page.
The ABC Raceway is located 3-1/2 miles south of Ashland, WI.