High-Speed Winged Sprints Set to Invade ABC Raceway on Saturday

by Nick Gima

                Ashland, WI, July 25 — After a one-year hiatus, the Interstate Racing Association’s 410 “outlaw” sprint cars are set to return to the ABC Raceway on Saturday night.

In a program to be presented by the NAPA Auto Parts stores of Ashland and Washburn, the 1,200-pound, 800-plus-horsepower “winged warriors” will once again fly around the award-winning three-eighths-mile red-clay oval located just south of Ashland at what are expected to be triple-digit speeds.

The popular, entertaining Midwestern-based traveling sprint car series will be at the midpoint of its 33-race season when its crews pull in to Ashland for Saturday’s show, although the early portion of their schedule has been plagued by rain-outs. The teams will also be in the middle of a very busy four-night, four-track race weekend, which will have started in Plymouth on Thursday (where Australian driver James McFadden took the win) and continued in Antigo on Friday before arriving here.

The weekend will conclude with a program at the historic Angell Park Speedway in Sun Prairie on Sunday.

“Because of the number of shows they are running during this particular weekend, we could see as many as 20 to 25 of the IRA’s touring regulars at our track on Saturday,” noted ABC Raceway president Eric Erickson earlier this week. “It should be a special program, considering the importance of the weekend for their series as well as the fact that we haven’t seen the IRA here in a while.”

The series first performed at Ashland in 2011, with Mike Reinke of Howards Grove posting a then-track-record single-lap time in IRA qualifying of 12.540 seconds – or 107.656 mph. Billy Balog of Hartland was the first driver to break 109 mph with a qualifying lap time of 12.382 seconds (109.029 mph) in 2012. In 2017 Scott Thiel of Sheboygan set the current track record during IRA qualifying at 12.373 seconds, or 109.109 mph.

By comparison, during the World of Outlaws Late Model Series’ visit here earlier this month, Menomonie’s Jimmy Mars set the Raceway’s all-time single-lap record time for a stock-bodied car at 14.388 seconds, or 93.828 mph. Ashland’s Steve Stuart owns the current track record for WISSOTA Modifieds – which regularly run at ABC – with a lap time of 15.979 seconds (84.486 mph) back in 2015.

Balog has won every IRA feature run at ABC – in 2011, ‘12, ‘14, and ‘17, while Mother Nature was victorious due to cancellations of the scheduled visits in 2013 and ‘15. The Raceway was unable to make scheduling arrangements work with the IRA in 2016 and ‘18, but according to Erickson it’s has been a priority of the IRA to try to set up a stop in Ashland every year since that inaugural 2011 visit.

“Their drivers love our track,” Erickson explained. “It’s a track that favors dependence on the driver’s ability rather than high horsepower to make it around this place. And the red-clay surface is sticky and fast, so the action is always very intense.”

Balog won an unprecedented seven straight IRA titles from 2008-’14 and is the series’ current points leader, thanks to three A-main wins over the series’ first ten races. Thiel sits second in the standings heading into the weekend, followed by Beaver Dam campaigners Jeremy Schultz and Scott Nietzel. Defending IRA champ Jake Blackhurst of Hanna City, IL, is ninth in points.

The WISSOTA-sanctioned Modifieds, Super Stocks, Midwest Mods and Pure Stocks will also partake in the program, while WISSOTA Hornets are also welcome to run a non-points-paying program due to their late addition to the menu. The track’s Six-Cylinders will have the night off. Hot laps will start at 6:15, while the heat races are slated to start at 7 pm.

Grandstand admission prices are set at $20 for adults and $10 for kids ages 5-12.

“Race Night” will air on WBSZ, 93.3 FM, with up-to-date track news and weather updates every 15-20 minutes from 4:30-6 pm; coverage will also stream on and on the free Heartland Communications Group radio app.

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,

The ABC Raceway will close out the July portion of its 2019 schedule on a fast-paced note, as the high-powered Interstate Racing Association’s 410 winged outlaw sprints will take to the red-clay oval on July 27. The program, to be presented by the NAPA Auto Parts Stores of Ashland and Washburn, will spotlight these 800-horsepower machines as they reach triple-digit speeds on the three-eighths-mile oval.

The show will also include the WISSOTA Modifieds, Super Stocks and Midwest Mods, Pure stocks and Hornets. ABC Six-Cylinders are off.

Hot laps will start at 6:15, and the first green flag of the night is set to fly at 7 pm. WBSZ, 93.3 FM, will air “Race Night” from 4:30 until 6 pm with pre-race coverage.

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.

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