Spacek, Stuart, Vernon Take ABC RoC Qualifiers
Jorgensen, Hudack, Jarecki repeat
by Nick Gima
Ashland, WI, June 19 – The Ashland Area Chamber of Commerce presented Saturday’s stock car racing action at the ABC Raceway, and a lot of familiar folks took their places in Victory Lane.
On a cool, comfortable night, Cole Spacek of Phillips and Ashland’s Steve Stuart and Tyler Vernon punched their tickets to compete in the prestigious Afco Shocks Race of Champions event, to be held during the WISSOTA 100 weekend at I-94 Speedway in Fergus Falls, MN, on September 14-18. Also, Cory Jorgensen of Duluth, MN; and Ashland’s Tiffany Hudack and DeJay Jarecki repeated as feature winners.
Spacek’s win, coming in the 20-lap WISSOTA Modified A-feature, was his third over the first four weeks of the 2021 season at ABC, and his second in a row. He started inside on the second row, bided his time after an early caution, and flexed his car’s muscle when the opportunity presented itself to run off to a dominant win.
Paul Niznik edged out polestarter Brandon Copp for the initial lead, and after Vernon’s car slowed with problems at the end of the first lap to bring out the caution flag, Niznik pulled away to a nearly-full-second lead over the next five laps. Jake Hiatt took second as Copp bobbled just after the restart, and he gave Niznik a quick threat but fell back to race with Spacek.
Spacek had secured second by lap 6 and quickly chipped away at Niznik’s lead, trimming it down to a car-length in just two laps. On lap 9 Spacek used an inside pass for the lead, and from there he sped away, building up a two-second advantage over the next seven circuits.
As the race stayed under green to the finish, a thrilling battle for second ensued between Niznik, a resurgent Copp, and Cole’s dad, Jeff Spacek. The elder Spacek eventually won that dogfight and followed his son to the checkered flag – albeit at a 2.2-second distance – with Copp and Niznik close behind, and Hiatt a distant fifth.
Stuart broke in his brand-new WISSOTA Super Stock in style, putting it in Victory Lane after its maiden 20-lap feature voyage. And it wasn’t a close contest.
A multi-car scramble at the initial green flag brought about a complete restart, but from there the race ran non-stop to the checkers, which was great for Stuart and bad for everyone else. The former Modified and Midwest Mod track champ came from the third row and used a first-turn, four-wide sweep move on the restart to gain second, and within another lap he pulled past polestarter Shawn McFadden for the lead.
With Stuart two seconds ahead of everyone, Terran Spacek drove around McFadden to take second on lap 4. Positions swapped often behind Spacek, with Nick Oreskovich eventually nailing down third before mid-race, and Kyle Copp working the outside groove to take fourth soon thereafter.
Stuart had nearly a full straightaway advantage as he took the white flag, and he crossed under the checkers 5.4 seconds ahead of Spacek for his 36th career feature win at ABC, but first ever in a Super Stock. Oreskovich, Copp and Dave Flynn completed the top five.
Vernon wasn’t able to enjoy many long green-flag runs en route to his WISSOTA Midwest Modified feature win, nor did he have the huge margin of victory at the end. Vernon started inside on the third row and scrapped his way to the lead, then held on through multiple yellow-flag delays and a huge challenge in the final turn.
Polestarter Paul Suzik was impressive with a strong early run, holding off Jack Rivord and then Vernon over the six laps. Vernon grabbed second from Rivord on lap 3 and was .89 seconds back of the leader, but a caution for a bumped infield marker tire offered Vernon the opportunity to take the lead one lap after a second attempt at the restart, due to a three-car mess on the first try.
Vernon was up by 1.3 seconds by lap 9 when Marcus Dunbar took second away from Rivord, and a lap later Matt Jacobson’s spin brought the field back to the leader’s rear bumper. Suzik got a great run on the restart and pulled alongside Vernon, but Mitch Kieber’s stalled ride erased that move. After another lap under green Dunbar moved around Suzik and battled with Rivord, allowing Vernon to slip away to a 1.2-second margin. But that disappeared when Sean O’Brien spun with three laps left.
In the congestion on the restart, Dunbar’s car broke loose and spun, stacking up those directly behind him and sending him to the back as the cause. Vernon couldn’t get away from Rivord over the three-lap sprint to the finish, and on the final corner the 16-year-old made a bold dive to the bottom of turn 3, attempting a “slide job” in front of the leader. But he couldn’t hold the move, allowing Vernon to slip back by and edge Rivord at the stripe by .282 seconds.
Suzik finished a distant third, with George Truscott and an impressive Jesse Polson completing the top five.
The WISSOTA Pure Stocks lacked numbers on this night, but the 10-lap feature maintained more than its fair share of excitement, as three cars stayed within feet of each other in a great debate for the win.
Jorgensen started outside on the front row and beat polesitter Aaron Bernick to the initial lead. But Bernick never gave up the fight and dogged Jorgensen throughout the non-stop run, sticking to the leader’s left-rear fender practically from the green flag to the checkered.
Dylan Shelton started last on the five-car grid but quickly moved by RJ Holly to third, and within a lap or so became the third member of the lead formation. Jorgensen maintained a mid-groove line, Bernick stuck to the inside, and Shelton alternated following each of them throughout nearly every lap.
The trio maintained their close formation – and their positions – as they took the checkered flag, with Jorgensen claiming his second straight win here. Holly and Zene Anderson were well back in fourth and fifth, respectively.
For Hudack, it was business as usual in the ABC Six-Cylinders – start mid-pack, wait for openings on the bottom groove, take advantage and speed away to a fourth straight feature win to start the season.
After a first-lap spin by rookie Austin Olby, Hudack worked her way through heavy traffic from her outside-fourth-row starting spot, eventually disposing of Dalton Truchon, then Dennis Groom, and finally Bubba Anderson to take second spot behind polestarter Shane Basina with five laps remaining. It helped Hudack’s cause that the pack was kept tightly-bunched due to spins by Trenton Bond on lap 2 and Julian Root on lap 6 as well.
On lap 8 of the 12 scheduled, Hudack caught and passed Basina for the lead, and from there the three-time champ sped away to a 2.4-second cushion. Basina finished his solid run by holding off Groom for second, with Truchon and Anderson close behind to round out the top five.
Jarecki made it three straight in the WISSOTA Hornets, running away from a small feature field. He moved quickly past a pair of first-nighters on the front row – Brandon Hummelmeier and Joe Pajtash – and was not to be challenged again as the 10-lapper ran off non-stop.
Derek Dunbar followed Jarecki into second, but Hummelmeier eventually chased him down and regained the position late in the run, when Dunbar experienced handling issues. Pajtash came home fourth, and Adam Young was awarded fifth even though he pulled off the track early with mechanical woes.
Brandon Copp (Modifieds, 16.539 seconds, 81.625 mph), Stuart (Supers, 16.570 secs, 81.473 mph), Vernon (Mid-Mods, 17.030 secs, 79.272), and Hudack (Sixes, 18.462 secs, 73.123 mph) posted the fastest timed laps in their respective features on a sticky, smooth red-clay race surface.
On Saturday, June 26, the ABC Raceway will host a visit by the Northern Renegades traditional (wingless) sprints, in a program presented by Heartland Communications Group of Ashland. All six regular weekly divisions will also all be in action, and there will be a bike giveaway for the younger fans. There will be no increase in grandstand admission prices for this night of racing, making this one of the best “bang for the buck” nights of entertainment on the 2021 schedule.
The grandstand gates and pits will open at 5 pm, followed by hot laps at 6:15 and the first green flag of the night scheduled for 7 pm. WSBZ, 93.3 FM, will air updates from 4:30-6 pm on Saturday, with simulcasts online via the station’s website, www.wbszfm.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: Cole Spacek, Phillips; Jeff Spacek, Phillips; Brandon Copp, Brule; Paul Niznik, Medford; Jake Hiatt, Mason; Rick Rivord, Superior; Shane Kisling, Butternut; Pat Cook, Washburn; Neil Balduc, Bessemer, MI; Tyler Luger, Oxford.
11: Tyler Vernon, Mason.
Heat 1: Niznik; Copp; C Spacek; Balduc; Rivord; Al Uotinen, Superior.
Heat 2: Vernon; Kisling; J Spacek; Hiatt; Cook; Luger.
WISSOTA Super Stocks
Feature: 1-10: Steve Stuart, Ashland; Terran Spacek, Phillips; Nick Oreskovich, Mason; Kyle Copp, Brule; Dave Flynn, Superior; Cory Casari, Montreal; Shawn McFadden, Ashland; Matt Deragon, Ashland; Patrick Beeksma, Ironwood, MI; Justin Weinberger, Butternut.
11-14: DJ Keeler, Superior; Jeffrey Frey, Ogilvie, MN; Aaron Mashlan, Ashland; Rita Anderson, South Range
Heat 1: Stuart; Oreskovich; Flynn; Spacek; Keeler; Weinberger; Mashlan.
Heat 2: Copp; Casari; Beeksma; McFadden; Deragon; Anderson; Frey.
WISSOTA Midwest Modifieds
Feature: 1-10: Tyler Vernon, Mason; Jack Rivord, Superior; Paul Suzik, Ironwood, MI; George Truscott, Greenland, MI; Jesse Polson, Superior; Jimmy Latvala, Solon Springs; Tyler Hudack, Ashland; Tanner Hicks, Ashland; Dalton Mains, Foxboro; Ross Fuhrman, Ashland.
11-20: Bryan Lund, Ashland; Ryan Barningham, Bayfield; Sean O’Brien, Manitowish Waters; John Darwin, Iron River; Neil Dees, Hurley; Matt Jacobson, Bessemer, MI; Marcus Dunbar, Marenisco, MI; Chris Bretting, Washburn; Mitch Kieber, Ironwood, MI; Tanner Gehl, Solon Springs.
Heat 1: Mains; Vernon; Latvala; Hudack; Darwin; Barningham; Gehl.
Heat 2: Dunbar; Rivord; Suzik; Hicks; Lund; Kieber; Dees.
Heat 3: Fuhrman; Polson; Truscott; Bretting; O’Brien; Jacobson.
WISSOTA Pure Stocks
Feature: 1-5: Cory Jorgensen, Duluth, MN; Aaron Bernick, Duluth, MN; Dylan Shelton, Wrenshall, MN; RJ Holly, Marengo; Zene Anderson, Superior.
Heat: Jorgensen; Bernick; Shelton; Holly; Anderson.
Feature: 1-10: Tiffany Hudack, Ashland; Shane Basina, Bayfield; Dennis Groom, Ashland; Dalton Truchon, Ashland; Bubba Anderson, Trego; Jakob Bond, Mason; Jake Nevala, Ashland; Trenton Bond, Mason; Mathew Rohlfing, Cable; Austin Olby, Marengo.
11-12: Julian Root, Ashland; Dale Coddington, Hayward.
Heat 1: Groom; Coddington; Basina; J Bond; Nevala; Rohlfing.
Heat 2: Hudack; Anderson; Olby; Truchon; T Bond; Root.
Feature: 1-5: DeJay Jarecki, Ashland; Brandon Hummelmeier, Maple; Derek Dunbar, Iron River; Joe Pajtash, Lake Nebagamon; Adam Young, Hayward.
Heat: Jarecki; Hummelmeier; Dunbar; Pajtash; Young.