Neighbor helping Neighbor

ABC Raceway Helps Halvor Lines Speedway Get ’21 Season Underway

by Nick Gima

                Ashland WI, June 12 – In the competitive world of short-track stock car racing, a gesture of neighbor helping neighbor is rare among track promoters. But in this particular case, the gesture was both genuine and generous.

On May 30, representatives of the Ashland-Bayfield County Racing Association, which owns and operates the ABC Raceway in Ashland, WI, presented a check for $1,200 to the Board of Directors of the Halvor Lines Speedway in Proctor, MN, in a ceremony prior to the Proctor track’s 2021 season opener. The proceeds came from the “Prelude to the Clay” race special held at the ABC Raceway on September 3, 2020.

The Halvor Lines Speedway had its 48th annual Silver 1000 invitational race event scheduled for that date, but restrictions from local health departments and the State of Minnesota due to the COVID-19 pandemic forced HLS to cancel the entirety of its 2020 race schedule, including the track’s crown-jewel event.

The idea behind both hosting the “Prelude” event in Ashland and donating a portion of the race’s revenue came from the ABC Raceway’s Board of Directors, led by its president, Eric Erickson. The two tracks, which are situated about 75 miles apart, share many of the same drivers and fans during the stock car racing season, and when the Proctor track announced that it would not be able to host its premier end-of-season event, Erickson and his Board took quick action to plan and schedule a replacement race for that date.

“We could not allow a race season to go without one of our sport’s most important races being held in some fashion,” ABC Raceway announcer and Board member Nick Gima said at the check presentation, in reference to the Silver 1000. “This was just our way of helping our neighbors and friends at Proctor get through a difficult time.”

Erickson emphasized at the time of the “Prelude” race that the date of the race – traditionally the Thursday before Labor Day weekend – belonged to the Proctor track, and that the ABC Raceway Board respected that and had no intention of stealing the date away. But it wasn’t until a couple of weeks prior to the race date that Halvor Lines Speedway confirmed that it could not hold the event, leaving the date open to ABC to run its event.

The Silver 1000 is the long-standing traditional kick-off to the six-week special-event portion of the stock car racing schedule in the Upper Midwest. It is known to be one of the longest-running invitationals in the country, begun in 1973 with the presentation of one thousand silver dollars to the winner of its Late Model feature.

At ABC last September, the “Prelude to the Clay” – a reference to that track’s long-running Red Clay Classic invitational event – drew a good crowd and 89 participants in three racing divisions to the northern Wisconsin track for what was generally considered a successful event. Ironically, the Red Clay Classic would itself be cancelled due to similar restrictions set upon the Ashland track by its local health officials, as well as the threat of cold, wet conditions, for its scheduled weekend of October 2-3, 2020.

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