Copp, Stuart, Simpson, Jorgensen, Basina, Jarecki Grab Wins on ABC HoF Night
by Nick Gima
Ashland, WI, July 9 – On a cool early July night in northern Wisconsin, the ABC Raceway inducted six new members into its Hall of Fame on Saturday, and five of the six feature winners were repeat visitors to the track’s Victory Lane in 2022.
The Hall of Fame ceremonies, presented by Zar’s Bar & Banquet Hall of Ashland and held during intermission of the evening’s program, honored track contributors Ashland Construction and Lake Nebagamon Redi-Mix; drivers Keane Laakson (posthumously), Brady Smith and Ken Truscott; and volunteer Lori Schmidt.
The lone first-night winner was David Simpson of Thunder Bay, ON, who captured the WISSOTA Midwest Modified A-main. Simpson started eighth on the 18-car grid but patiently worked his way forward and waited for the right opportunity to snag the lead.
James Vendela swept around polestarter Mitch Kieber at the drop of the green flag and took the initial lead, with Paul Suzik following to second. During lap 2 Jimmy Latvala copied Suzik’s move around Kieber to third, just before fifth-running Ross Fuhrman’s spin brought out the first of the race’s two yellow flags.
Latvala and Suzik swapped second spot behind Vendela for the next couple of green-flag laps before Suzik made a run on Vendela for the lead, with Latvala in his tire tracks. Suzik extended his advantage to nearly a second as the field clicked off 12 uninterrupted laps before another Fuhrman spin stopped the run for the second time, just as Suzik was catching the tail-end of the field.
Simpson, who had picked his way to third and restarted alongside Latvala, made a strong move on Suzik with five laps to go to take the lead away, and Latvala repeated the move for second a lap later. Simpson could not build much of a margin for the remaining laps but held on to a half-second edge over Latvala for his sixth career feature win at ABC and first since August 2019. Suzik, an impressive Jesse Polson, and 11th-starting Jesse Aho completed the top five.
Brandon Copp of Brule used a last-lap move in slower traffic to get by race-long leader Jack Rivord and win his second Outlaw Wraps & Apparel WISSOTA Modified A-feature of the season here.
After Todd Gehl’s spin in the very first turn of the 20-lap headliner, the rest of the race ran non-stop, with polestarter Rivord darting away from Tyler Luger and setting a blistering early pace on the sticky-fast three-eighths-mile red-clay oval. Rivord had already built a lead of over a second within the first three laps, and he was 1.94 seconds ahead when Copp dove inside on Luger – after a couple of turn 4 slide-jobs – to take over second on lap 5.
Copp trimmed the deficit to just seven-tenths of a second before the race’s mid-point, and as Rivord caught the tail of the field, Copp caught him. Over the next few circuits Rivord struggled to get by Todd Gehl and Bill Byholm, who were racing for position, allowing Copp to pull up to Rivord’s rear pushbar several times. Only a stumble by Copp within the final few laps kept him from getting by Rivord sooner.
Going into turn 2 on the final circuit, Copp slid up the track and edged past Rivord, who was stuck between the two veteran racers, and a strong bite off the turn gave Copp the slightest advantage down the back stretch. Copp held on for a half-second margin of victory over Rivord in traffic, with Luger enjoying his best run of the season by holding on to third ahead of Alex Van Natta and Rick Rivord.
Caution flags first hurt, then helped Ashland’s Steve Stuart, who eventually earned his third Arrowhead Auto Glass WISSOTA Super Stock feature win of the summer here.
Polestarter Cory Casari led a chaotic pack of cars during the first three laps, with rookie Chris Johnson holding his own for second, as the action was often three-wide in the mix. On lap 2 Stuart tried a move to get by Johnson in heavy traffic, but instead he looped his racer amidst the pack to bring out a caution flag, and was sent to the back of the 14-car field.
Caution stoppages were frequent early on, although on lap 3 Andrew Mackey squeezed by Casari for the lead before debris brought about another slowdown. Casari charged back with an inside move after the restart, but Johnson’s car ground to a halt after heavy contact with the front-straight concrete to stop the pace again. On the ensuing restart Casari and Shawn McFadden made significant contact diving into the first turn, spinning Casari and delaying things once more.
Stuart had worked his way back to fifth by this point and, after getting by Randy Graham for fourth, he and Nick Oreskovich put on a show trading third place over the next few laps before one last slowdown – for a spin by visitor Wayne Dean – stopped the show at mid-race. On the final restart Stuart made a strong inside move to take the lead away from Mackey, with Oreskovich in tow to second, and the pair sped away over the remaining laps, with Stuart ahead by .688 seconds at the checkers.
Mackey followed at a distance in third, with McFadden and 14th-starting Matt Deragon completing the top five.
Duluth, MN’s Cory Jorgensen stayed hot at ABC, winning his third WISSOTA Pure Stock feature of the season to strengthen his grip on the points lead, but he had to overcome a rare error on his part to earn the win.
Tyler Kachinske set the early pace, ahead of a side-by-side battle between Aaron Bernick and Jorgensen, until Jorgensen captured second on lap 2. During the next time around, Jorgensen drove inside on Kachinske to take the lead, and it looked pretty certain that the division’s points leader had this race well in hand.
That is, until lap 6, when Jorgensen pushed a little too strong into turn 2, jumping the cushion and allowing Kachinske to take advantage of the opening and recapture the lead. Jorgensen quickly recovered, however, and within two more laps he was pulling alongside the leader. At the white flag Kachinske was just 13 one-thousandths of a second ahead – maybe two feet, at most – but by the time the lead pair exited turn 2 for the final time Jorgensen was back in control, and he held on for a half-second final margin of victory.
Bernick, visiting Jake Smith and Nate Rose filled out the final top five.
Bayfield’s Shane Basina, who claimed his first career feature win here just a month ago, didn’t wait long for his second checkered flag in tonight’s ABC Six-Cylinder feature.
At the drop of the initial green flag, contact caused fenders and the nose-piece of Jake Nevala’s car to fly off and scatter, forcing a re-do of the start. Polestarter Trenton Bond then led the field for the first seven of the race’s 15 laps, with Basina and a determined Bubba Anderson close behind.
On lap 7, Basina made an outside pass of Bond for the lead, and Anderson dropped low to slip by Bond for second. Basina was able to pull away to about a half-second advantage until lap 11, when Bond’s car slowed and finally came to a stop after its hood fell off.
Anderson threw every move on Basina that he could to shake the sophomore racer’s nerves, but with two laps to go Anderson himself got loose and lost several spots, allowing Dalton Truchon and Dennis Groom to close in. Basina held on for a close .3-second win over Truchon, with Groom not far behind; the lead trio were well ahead of fourth-finishing Mathew Rohlfing, who started last on the 11-car grid, and Bond.
DeJay Jarecki of Ashland continued to show his dominance of the Lightning Storm Graphics WISSOTA Hornets division by capturing his third win of the season here.
RJ Holly worked inside on Derek Dunbar to grab the lead after the first lap, but Jarecki – who started fifth in the six-car field – was already into second by the time lap 2 was scored. On the next go-around Jarecki powered his way by Holly on the back straight, and it was no contest from there.
The Raceway’s all-time Hornets feature win leader was nearly a full straightaway ahead of Holly at the final stripe, with Brandon Hummelmeier overtaking Dunbar late in the run for third. Polestarter Kristy Marken came home fifth.
The ABC Raceway will host its annual kids’ bike races on Saturday, July 16, presented by Chicago Iron & Supplies of Ashland. All six regular weekly divisions will be in action. The busy month then continues on Thursday, July 21, with The 444 Memorial – the fourth race of the five-race, five-night, five-track “XR Northern Storm” tour for the Structural Buildings WISSOTA Late Model Challenge Series, with the Late Models joined by Modifieds and Midwest Mods at each of the tour stops that week.
The grandstand gates and pits will open at 5 pm this coming Saturday night, with hot laps to be run at 6:15, followed by heat-race action at 7 pm. The bike races will be held during the program’s intermission. WSBZ, 93.3 FM, will air race and weather updates from 4:30-6 pm on Saturday.
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: Brandon Copp, Brule; Jack Rivord, Superior; Tyler Luger, Oxford; Alex Van Natta, Minocqua; Rick Rivord, Superior; Jake Hiatt, Mason; Al Uotinen, Superior; Pat Cook, Washburn; Bill Byholm, Glidden; Todd Gehl, Solon Springs.
11-12: John Toppozini, Thunder Bay, ON; Cole Spacek, Phillips.
Heat 1: Copp; Van Natta; Toppozini; Uotinen; Hiatt; Byholm; Cook.
Heat 2: R Rivord; Spacek; J Rivord; Luger; Gehl.
WISSOTA Super Stocks
Feature: 1-10: Steve Stuart, Ashland; Nick Oreskovich, Mason; Andrew Mackey, Duluth, MN; Shawn McFadden, Ashland; Matt Deragon, Ashland; Randy Graham, Trego; Wayne Dean, Strum; Don Livingston, Washburn; Rita Anderson, South Range; Cory Casari, Montreal.
11-12: Chris Johnson, Superior; Aaron Mashlan, Ashland.
Heat 1: Stuart; Patrick Beeksma, Ironwood, MI; Johnson; Graham; Mashlan; Myron Basina, Bayfield; Dean.
Heat 2: McFadden; Casari; Oreskovich; Mackey; Livingston; Anderson; Deragon.
WISSOTA Midwest Modifieds
Feature: 1-10: David Simpson, Thunder Bay, ON; Jimmy Latvala, Solon Springs; Paul Suzik, Ironwood, MI; Jesse Polson, Superior; Jesse Aho, Twin Lakes, MI; James Vendela, South Range; Marcus Dunbar, Marenisco, MI; Brady Uotinen, Superior; Sean O’Brien, Manitowish Waters; Duane Dunbar, Marenisco, MI.
11-18: Mitch Kieber, Ironwood, MI; Matt Jacobson, Bessemer, MI; Bryan Lund, Ashland; Neil Dees, Hurley; Austin Blom, Saginaw, MN; Ryan Barningham, Bayfield; Ross Fuhrman, Ashland; Tanner Gehl, Solon Springs.
Heat 1: M Dunbar; Gehl; Vendela; Polson; Blom; Lund; Diamond Bressette, Spooner.
Heat 2: Simpson; Fuhrman; Latvala; Aho; O’Brien; Uotinen.
Heat 3: Suzik; D Dunbar; Kieber; Barningham; Jacobson; Dees.
WISSOTA Pure Stocks
Feature: 1-10: Cory Jorgensen, Duluth, MN; Tyler Kachinske, Duluth, MN; Aaron Bernick, Duluth, MN; Jake Smith, Cohasset, MN; Nate Rose, Duluth, MN; RJ Holly, Marengo; Steve Pohl, Manitowish Waters.
Heat: Jorgensen; Kachinske; Smith; Bernick; Holly; Pohl; Rose; Travis Hazelton, Chippewa Falls.
Feature: 1-10: Shane Basina, Bayfield; Dalton Truchon, Ashland; Dennis Groom, Ashland; Mathew Rohlfing, Cable; Trenton Bond, Mason; Jakob Bond, Mason; Austin Olby, Marengo; Jacob Johnson, Cable; Julian Root, Ashland; Bubba Anderson, Trego.
11: Jake Nevala, Ashland.
Heat 1: Truchon; Groom; Basina; T Bond; Nevala; Rohlfing.
Heat 2: Olby; Anderson; Johnson; J Bond; Root.
Feature: 1-6: DeJay Jarecki, Ashland; RJ Holly, Marengo; Brandon Hummelmeier, Ashland; Derek Dunbar, Iron River; Kristy Marken, Duluth, MN; Noah Rose, Duluth, MN;.
Heat: Jarecki; Hummelmeier; Holly; Dunbar; Marken; Rose.