Fast Lane Motorsports Super Stock Series July 31st

Action returns to the ABC Raceway on Saturday, July 31, when the FastLane Motorsports Northland Super Stock Series comes to town for the sixth race of its seven-race series. The first four races of the Series have seen WISSOTA Super Stock car counts average over 40, and the Ashland track – which has hosted the Series in each of its previous six seasons – has traditionally drawn some of the largest fields of the tour.

Five of the track’s six regular weekly divisions will be in action, with Mods getting the night off, and adult fans who present their admission wrist bands from Thursday’s “444 Memorial” will be offered a special discounted entry price on Saturday. Younger fans who dress as their favorite “super-hero” will be allowed free admission.

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,

444 Memorial Results

‘444 Memorial’ Features Go to Glenz, Anderson, Vernon at ABC

Huge crowd, star drivers pay tribute to young Byholm

by Nick Gima

                Ashland, WI, July 29 – Emotions ran high – in a good way – on a warm late July night at the ABC Raceway, as the track hosted its first-ever “444 Memorial” special on Thursday.

The event was organized to pay tribute to Tanner Byholm, a popular up-and-coming Modified and Midwest Modified star racer who was killed in a tragic airplane crash in southern Wisconsin this past February. Byholm raced primarily at ABC during his short career and was the son of 2017 ABC Raceway WISSOTA Modified champion Bill Byholm.

The younger Byholm had sported the number “444” on his car, as a third-generation tribute to his father and grandfather, who raced with the number “4” on their cars. Hence, there were a lot of “444”-themed aspects to the evening.

A star-studded field of 84 WISSOTA drivers from four states – including 19 with a combined 38 Red Clay Classic feature wins – registered to perform in front of a near-sellout crowd, and by evening’s end the winner’s checks went to Jesse Glenz of Chippewa Falls, Ashley Anderson of Elk Mound, and Tyler Vernon of Mason. The 99 scheduled feature laps clicked off with only one caution-flag slowdown despite three-wide and sometimes four-wide action on the fast, wide, smooth red-clay race surface.

Glenz, who won the last Red Clay Classic Late Model title here in the Fall of 2019, started on the pole of the Structural Buildings WISSOTA Late Model Challenge Series spotlight event and led every one of the race’s 44 laps on his way to his third career feature win at the northern Wisconsin speedplant and a $3,444 first-place paycheck.

Glenz beat fellow front-row starter Pat Doar through the first turns and pulled away almost immediately, while Doar had his hands full fending off a determined Derek Vesel. Behind them, Steve Laursen tried to stay close, while John Kaanta held tight to fifth.

By lap 9 Glenz had closed on the tail-end of the field, while Laursen had become a factor in the battle for second. But Laursen looped his ride in turn 2 to bring out the only yellow flag of the three features. Laursen decided to retire for the event, and although this put Doar and Vesel directly behind Glenz for the restart, it also took the leader out of slower traffic, and Glenz took advantage of the favorable situation.

Within five laps of the restart Glenz had reconstructed his lead, building it back up to just over two seconds, while Doar gained some breathing room over Vesel, Kaanta and 14th-starting AJ Diemel. Glenz caught the backmarkers again by lap 20 and weaved his way through the first few tail-enders with relative ease, while for the most part maintaining his cushion over Doar. But when Glenz caught Buddy Hanestad and Jeff Provinzino, who were battling for 14th at the time, the leader struggled to get by, allowing Doar to close the gap.

Over a ten-lap stretch Doar slowly reeled in Glenz, getting to within a few car-lengths at times, but the heavy traffic also allowed Vesel to catch and challenge Doar, which in turn gave Glenz a chance to get away. With five laps remaining Glenz, who had bypassed Provinzino but could not get around Hanestad, saw his lead shrink to less than a second, but Doar could not draw any closer, and Glenz’s final margin of victory was just over a second-and-a-quarter.

Vesel’s late push for second fell short, and Kaanta held on for fourth as Jimmy Mars got into the top-five late in the go. The second five included Diemel, Challenge Series points leader Darrell Nelson, Travis Budisalovich, Jimmy’s son Sam Mars, and Iowa visitor Todd Frank.

Glenz got understandably choked up in Victory Lane after his win, saying about the young Byholm, “You can see by the (huge) crowd on hand that he touched a lot of hearts. This win means a lot.”

The 30-lap WISSOTA Modified feature was also led flag to flag, with Anderson collecting his fifth ABC Raceway A-main win and first since the 2016 Red Clay Classic. Anderson overcame a first-lap challenge from Jody Bellefeuille and pulled away to a dominant win.

With the lead pair well ahead of the pack, the early battles included a great side-by-side race for third between Jimmy Mars and Mike Anderson, and an equally compelling fight for fifth between Michael Truscott and Dave Cain. Adam Hensel clawed his way into the top five by lap 6 as he displaced both Truscott and Cain.

By lap 10 the leader began to contend with the slower cars at the back of the running order, and Anderson’s lead shrunk from 1.74 seconds on lap 11 to .89 seconds on lap 14. Still, Bellefeuille could not close the gap any further as Anderson deftly weaved his way through traffic.

Over the final stages of the non-stop run Anderson found a gap in the field where he did not have to contend with slower cars, and he extended his lead to nearly 6.5 seconds by the time he reached the checkered flag for the $2,444 win. Bellefeuille was challenged briefly by Mars but prevailed for second, while Mike Anderson threatened Mars for third for a time before fading back to fifth, behind a resurgent Truscott.

Dan Ebert came home in sixth, as Hensel fell back to seventh and Cain did likewise to eighth, just ahead of Brandon Copp and Nelson. The fast-paced 30-lap run spun off in less than nine minutes.

While Glenz and Anderson staked their respective feature claims early, the WISSOTA Midwest Modified win was hotly contested throughout and in doubt nearly to the end, thanks to a thrilling battle between front-row starters Vernon and Brady Uotinen that lasted better than 21 of the 25 caution-free laps.

Vernon, who started on the pole, edged ahead of Uotinen coming off of the first corner of the race, but Uotinen fought back until he was finally scored as the leader – by a mere 39 one-thousandths of a second – at the end of lap 3. As the lead pair literally raced door-to-door, Jesse Aho followed in third at a distance until he was overtaken by eighth-starting Joey Jensen on lap 7.

Just as the leaders began to slice their way through slower traffic on lap 12, Jensen lost control of his racer and nearly spun, costing him a couple of spots as Aho and Paul Suzik slipped by. Suzik continued his strong showings as of late by catching and eventually passing Aho for third on lap 14, while Uotinen and Vernon put on a show up front, weaving through thick backmarkers while racing practically side by side.

The deciding moment came with less than four laps remaining, when Vernon took advantage of Uotinen’s struggles to get by a slower car to take the lead for good, and he pulled away over the final circuits to a 1.3-second advantage for his third feature win of the season and 13th of his career here, this one worth $1,444. A closing Suzik claimed third-place money, while Aho finished a solid fourth ahead of Jensen.

Finishing sixth through tenth were young visitor Kennedy Swan, George Dalbeck, Marcus Dunbar, Jack Rivord and Tanner Hicks.

Jimmy Mars and Cole Spacek each paid tribute to Tanner Byholm with special decorative themes and the number “444” on their Modifieds for this night, with Mars’ car sporting a vinyl-decal livery to exactly match Byholm’s last Mod. The door- and quarter-panels from Mars’ car were given away to winners of a raffle in which all proceeds were used to establish a scholarship in Tanner’s name.

Spacek also provided a heartfelt message to his long-time friend which was read to the crowd during pre-race ceremonies.

Also included in the preliminary activities were a flyover saluting Byholm’s military career and the National Anthem performed by Mark Donner, a retired choir director who taught at Tanner’s alma mater, Chequamegon High School. The top three in each feature were awarded very unique commemorative trophies.

Over 45 different race teams, businesses and individuals contributed to a total purse estimated at over $37,000 for this very special night of racing. Bonuses of $444 awarded to the drivers posting the fastest laps in their respective features went to Glenz in the Late Models (15.922 seconds; 84.788 mph), Ashley Anderson in the Modifieds (16.081; 83.950), and Uotinen in the Mid-Mods (16.957; 79.613). Hard-charger bonuses were awarded to Diemel in the Late Models (up eight positions, based on higher finish), Clayton Wagemon in the Mods (up eight positions), and John Darwin in the Mid-Mods (up six positions).

Action returns to the ABC Raceway on Saturday, July 31, when the FastLane Motorsports Northland Super Stock Series comes to town for the sixth race of its seven-race series. The first four races of the Series have seen WISSOTA Super Stock car counts average over 40, and the Ashland track – which has hosted the Series in each of its previous six seasons – has traditionally drawn some of the largest fields of the tour.

Five of the track’s six regular weekly divisions will be in action, with Mods getting the night off, and adult fans who present their admission wrist bands from Thursday’s “444 Memorial” will be offered a special discounted entry price on Saturday. Younger fans who dress as their favorite “super-hero” will be allowed free admission.

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.

Results

WISSOTA Late Models

Feature: 1-10: Jesse Glenz, Chippewa Falls; Pat Doar, New Richmond; Derek Vesel, Hibbing, MN; John Kaanta, Elk Mound; Jimmy Mars, Menomonie; AJ Diemel, Elk Mound; Darrell Nelson, Hermantown, MN; Travis Budisalovich, Minneapolis, MN; Sam Mars, Menomonie; Todd Frank, Montrose, IA.

11-20: Jeff Massingill, Keewatin, MN; Rick Hanestad, Boyceville; James Giossi, Hudson; Buddy Hanestad, Boyceville; Rick Niemi, Eveleth, MN; Jeff Provinzino, Hibbing, MN; Gunner Frank, Montrose, IA; Terry Lillo, Duluth, MN; Kevin Eder, Ashland; Harry Hanson, Eveleth, MN.

21-24: Robbie Cooper, South Range; Steve Laursen, Cumberland; Tim Lillo, Superior; Tim McMann, Duluth, MN.

Heat 1: Kaanta; Doar; Laursen; Nelson; R Hanestad; Massingill; Niemi; McMann.

Heat 2: J Mars; T Frank; Budisalovich; G Frank; T Lillo; Giossi; B Hanestad; T Lillo.

Heat 3: Glenz; Vesel; S Mars; Hanson; Diemel; Eder; Provinzino; Cooper.

WISSOTA Modifieds

Feature: 1-10: Ashley Anderson, Elk Mound; Jody Bellefeuille, Carlton, MN; Jimmy Mars, Menomonie; Michael Truscott, Chippewa Falls; Mike Anderson, Jim Falls; Dan Ebert, Lake Shore, MN; Adam Hensel, Baldwin; Dave Cain, Corcoran, MN; Brandon Copp, Brule; Darrell Nelson, Hermantown, MN.

11-20: Pat Cook, Washburn; Steve Lavasseur, River Falls; AJ Diemel, Elk Mound; Robby Bunkelman, Abbotsford; Daniel Bargender, Menomonie; Cole Spacek, Phillips; Clayton Wagamon, Ramsey, MN; Al Uotinen, Superior; Paul Niznik, Medford; Shane Kisling, Butternut.

21-25: Alex Van Natta, Minocqua; Jake Hiatt, Mason; Mark Hanson, Chippewa Falls; Jeff Spacek, Phillips; Dan Kingsley, Superior.

Heat 1: A Anderson; M Anderson; Nelson; Diemel; Lavasseur; Kingsley; Mike Klippenstein, Proctor, MN; Steve Hallquist, Fall Creek.

Heat 2: Hensel; Bellefeuille; Ebert; Copp; Kisling; Uotinen; Niznik; Wagamon.

Heat 3: Mars; Cain; Cook; Van Natta; J Spacek; Jon Frolik, Ramsey, MN; John Kallas, Hurley.

Heat 4: Truscott; Hanson; Bunkelman; C Spacek; Bargender; Hiatt; Neil Balduc, Bessemer, MI.

Semi-Feature: Uotinen; Hiatt; Niznik; Kingsley; Balduc; Wagamon; Klippenstein; Kallas; Hallquist; Frolik.

Pole Dash: Bellefeuille; A Anderson; Mars; M Anderson; Cain; Truscott; Hanson; Hensel.

WISSOTA Midwest Modifieds

Feature: 1-10: Tyler Vernon, Mason; Brady Uotinen, Superior; Paul Suzik, Ironwood, MI; Jesse Aho, Toivola, MI; Joey Jensen, Forest Lake, MN; Kennedy Swan, Chippewa Falls; George Dalbeck, Wakefield, MI; Marcus Dunbar, Marenisco, MI; Jack Rivord, Superior; Tanner Hicks, Ashland.

11-20: Ross Fuhrman, Ashland; Eric Gadach, New Richmond; Tad Schoonover, Eagle River; Duane Dunbar, Marenisco, MI; Dalton Mains, Foxboro; John Darwin, Iron River; Jesse Polson, Superior; Zach Slayton, Springbrook; James Vendela, South Range; Sean O’Brien, Manitowish Waters.

21-24: Matt Jacobson, Bessemer, MI; Tyler Hudack, Ashland; Jimmy Latvala, Solon Springs; Kenny Rogers, Unity.

Heat 1: Jensen; Suzik; M Dunbar; Fuhrman; Polson; Hudack; Darwin; Taylor Madrinich, Duluth, MN.

Heat 2: Swan; Aho; Dalbeck; Latvala; D Dunbar; Chris Bretting, Washburn; Mitch Kieber, Ironwood, MI.

Heat 3: Rivord; Schoonover; Slayton; Mains; Rogers; Paul Niznik, Medford; Jacobson.

Heat 4: Uotinen; Vernon; Hicks; Gadach; O’Brien; Vendela.

Semi-Feature: Hudack; Darwin; Vendela; Jacobson; Bretting; Kieber; Madrinich.

Racing July 29 & 31st

The ABC Raceway will host two more very special nights of racing over the upcoming week. On Thursday, July 29, the track will host “The 444 Memorial,” to be held in honor of Tanner Byholm, a popular young local Modified driver who tragically lost his life in an aircraft accident in February. The WISSOTA Late Model Challenge Series will compete here for a feature paying $3,444 to win and at least $344 to start, while the WISSOTA Modifieds will run for $2,444 to win, and the WISSOTA Midwest Mod feature will pay $1,044 to win.

Then, on Saturday, July 31, the Raceway will be the site of the sixth race of the seven-race FastLane Motorsports Northland Super Stock Series, to be presented by the Bad River Lodge, Casino & Convention Center of Odanah. Over 30 Super Stock stars from throughout the area are expected to compete for a share of the Series’ over $30,000 in purse and prizes. The Modifieds will be off on Saturday, but the Raceway’s other five weekly divisions will be in action.

For both nights, the pits will open at 4:30 pm, the grandstand gates will open at 5 pm, hot laps will start at 6:15, and the first green flag of each night will fly at 7 pm. WSBZ, 93.3 FM, will air updates from 4:30-6 pm each night, 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,

July 24th Results

First-Time Winners Shine on ABC Raceway Fundraiser Night

by Nick Gima

                Ashland, WI, July 24 – Paul Schultz of Grand Rapids, MN, led flag-to-flag to score his first-ever Northern Renegades Traditional Sprints feature win at the ABC Raceway to cap off a very special Saturday night race program.

The “Racing for a Reason” event, presented by Northern Clearing Inc of Ashland with help from Beard Oil Distributing of Mt Pleasant, MI; White River Ag Products of Mason; Country Corner Equipment of Ashland; and Windy Acre Farms of Ashland, provided the capacity crowd on hand many opportunities to contribute to fundraising efforts through button and pin sales, favorite driver votes, candy sales and more, with proceeds to be presented to the local American Cancer Society programs as well as The Brick Ministries, the Chequamegon Bay area’s charitable food pantry.

Fans also got to meet up-and-coming NASCAR star Noah Gragson, who drives for Dale Earnhardt Jr’s Xfinity Series race team. Gragson’s Beard Oil-sponsored NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series race car was on display, Gragson signed autographs and visited with the crowd, and later he ran his first-ever laps in a sprint car, courtesy of Northern Renegades Series owner Caley Emerson.

Also part of the fundraising fun was a grudge match between WISSOTA Modified driver Brandon Copp and Joe Burch, who drives a non-sanctioned Mod sponsored by Beard Oil and competed here on this night. Northern Clearing CEO Richard Vernon and Beard Oil vice-president Karl Schwartz staged a friendly “wager” of $1,000, each betting on their sponsored driver, with the funds donated toward the Cancer Society collection.

Schultz benefitted from an outside-front-row start, replacing Tyler Wass after his car failed during the parade laps, and he shot around polestarter Corey Olson to set the pace, a task he did not relinquish throughout the 15-lapper. Chris Lewis, who won here in the Renegades’ last visit in late June, followed Schultz around Olson to second, and Ken Hron copied the move to claim third before the end of the first lap.

Schultz and Lewis drew away from the field over the course of the non-stop run, while Hron battled with Lance Solem and Emerson, eventually losing third to Solem. Lewis stayed within a half-second of the leader until the waning laps, when Schultz used slower traffic to pull away to a full-second final margin of victory – his first at ABC since an August 2002 win here in a WISSOTA Super Stock.

Solem, Hron and Emerson completed the top five in close formation. In heat race action earlier in the program, Solem’s car got loose and made contact with Hron’s, causing Solem’s car to roll over. Both drivers were okay, and after all six other Renegades race teams pitched in to help make repairs, Solem was able to start the feature and enjoy a strong run.

Two other drivers captured their first-ever feature wins on Ashland’s red-clay oval. In the WISSOTA Pure Stocks, Dylan Shelton of Wrenshall, MN, started from the pole and led from green to checkered to finally score what had been an elusive first win here.

After a scary three-car spin on the back straight on the opening lap, Shelton and Cory Jorgensen slipped past RJ Holly to grab the top two spots, with Aaron Bernick diving low to get by Holly and first-nighter Steve Pohl a lap later for third. The field settled into a steady running order and, without another yellow flag to slow the pace, ran the last seven of the ten scheduled laps without change.

Shelton pulled away from Jorgensen to take the checkers here by several lengths, with Bernick and Pohl a distant third and fourth. Holly’s night ended early with mechanical woes but he still received credit for fifth and maintains the divisional points lead.

Also getting that long-awaited first-ever win was Ashland’s Jake Nevala, who took advantage of another driver’s misfortune for the ABC Six-Cylinders feature checkers. In what turned into another non-stop A-main, Nevala started on the pole but was overtaken by Shane Basina and Dennis Groom at the drop of the green. Nevala fought back and eventually retook second on lap 3, then set out to catch the leader.

Basina maintained about a two-length buffer as the laps clicked off, while Groom battled with Dalton Truchon for third a good distance back. With three laps to go Truchon finally won that fight, but Basina and Nevala were too far ahead to challenge.

However, Basina suffered the worst heartbreak of the night when, coming through turn 4 with the white flag in the air, he lost control and spun, giving up the lead to Nevala, who led the final lap for the first feature win of his seven-year career. Truchon also saw a great run ruined by a flat tire on the final lap, giving up second to Groom, who took over the division’s points lead, while Mathew Rohlfing, rookie Austin Olby and Trenton Bond also sped by to complete the top five.

Copp, who had won his heat race and the “grudge match,” scored the rare trifecta at ABC with his second WISSOTA Modified feature win of the season. With scheduled polestarter Anthony Forfa III opting to start the 20-lap A-main at the tail of the field, Copp took full advantage in replacing him at the pole and ran away from the field.

It took a couple of laps for points leader Cole Spacek to clear a determined Rick Rivord for second, but by the time he did on lap 3, Copp already had built a commanding 1.8-second advantage. Spacek gave up second to Rivord on lap 4 but earned it back on lap 5 and stayed there throughout the balance of the caution-free run. Rivord pulled off the track with mechanical issued just before mid-race, giving way to a great three-car battle between Jeff Spacek, Paul Niznik and Pat Cook for third.

Copp maintained his dominance through to the checkers, ending up with a 6.9-second margin at the stripe – more than a full straightaway. Cole Spacek finished well ahead of his father Jeff in second, as the six-time track champ edged Niznik for third, and Cook finished a close fifth.

The WISSOTA Midwest Modifieds saw one caution stop at the very beginning of their 20-lap feature, and another one with two laps to go, but in between Marcus Dunbar of Marenisco, MI, dominated the event for his second win of the season.

Polestarter Matt Jacobson looped his ride in front of the entire field in the first corner to bring about the first stoppage, but Dunbar, the track’s defending Mid-Mods champ, used the fast, smooth red-clay surface to pull away from Paul Suzik by a significant margin. Behind Suzik, an exciting dogfight ensued as Dalton Mains worked to fend off challenges from Marcus’ father Duane Dunbar, divisional points leader Tyler Vernon, and Tanner Hicks, among others.

By lap 7 the younger Dunbar had built his lead to nearly two full seconds, and at mid-race he was contending with drivers at the tail-end of the field, but he weaved his way through with ease and continued to increase his advantage. Dunbar was a full 2.5 seconds up on Suzik when Diamond Bressette spun after the leader took the white flag. The field was reset for a green-white-checkered finish with Suzik and Vernon restarting on Dunbar’s rear bumper, but Dunbar was up to the task and held on by three-quarters of a second.

Suzik edged Vernon for second, and Mains finished fourth just ahead of a charging Hicks.

DeJay Jarecki extended his winning streak in the WISSOTA Hornets to seven straight feature wins, although some friendly “bounties” posted made his job a bit tougher on this night. Jarecki started inside on the second row of the eight-lap run and followed his “spare” car, once again driven by Sixes pilot Basina to second place in the early stages.

After following for a couple of laps, Jarecki moved by Basina for the lead but didn’t pull away as much as he had in recent weeks. Eventually Jarecki gained a half-dozen lengths as he claimed his 11th career feature win – all coming within the past season-and-a-half since moving into the division from the Sixes – while Basina stayed as close as he could as runner-up. Brandon Hummelmeier made a strong late charge but came up short in third, ahead of Derek Dunbar and long-haul traveler Deacon Pratt.

Despite an overnight thunderstorm that dropped heavy rains in the area early Saturday morning, the track prep crews were able to provide a smooth, slick track that produced lots of side-by-side and often three-wide racing. Fast lap times in the features were posted by Lewis in the Renegades (18.115 seconds; 74.524 mph), Copp in the Modifieds (17.138; 78.772), and Marcus Dunbar in the Mid-Mods (17.643; 76.518).

The ABC Raceway will host two more very special nights of racing over the upcoming week. On Thursday, July 29, the track will host “The 444 Memorial,” to be held in honor of Tanner Byholm, a popular young local Modified driver who tragically lost his life in an aircraft accident in February. The WISSOTA Late Model Challenge Series will compete here for a feature paying $3,444 to win and at least $344 to start, while the WISSOTA Modifieds will run for $2,444 to win, and the WISSOTA Midwest Mod feature will pay $1,044 to win.

Then, on Saturday, July 31, the Raceway will be the site of the sixth race of the seven-race FastLane Motorsports Northland Super Stock Series, to be presented by the Bad River Lodge, Casino & Convention Center of Odanah. Over 30 Super Stock stars from throughout the area are expected to compete for a share of the Series’ over $30,000 in purse and prizes. The Modifieds will be off on Saturday, but the Raceway’s other five weekly divisions will be in action.

For both nights, the pits will open at 4:30 pm, the grandstand gates will open at 5 pm, hot laps will start at 6:15, and the first green flag of each night will fly at 7 pm. WSBZ, 93.3 FM, will air updates from 4:30-6 pm each night, 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.

Results

Northern Renegades Traditional Sprints

Feature: 1-7: Paul Schultz, Grand Rapids, MN; Chris Lewis, Grand Rapids, MN; Lance Solem, Duluth, MN; Ken Hron, Grand Rapids, MN; Caley Emerson, Grand Rapids, MN; Corey Olson, Duluth, MN; Tyler Wass, Big Fork, MN.

Heat: Emerson; Lewis; Schultz; Hron; Wass; Olson; Solem.

WISSOTA Modifieds

Feature: 1-9: Brandon Copp, Brule; Cole Spacek, Phillips; Jeff Spacek, Phillips; Paul Niznik, Medford; Pat Cook, Washburn; Jake Hiatt, Mason; Anthony Forfa III, Blythe, CA; Rick Rivord, Superior; Shane Kisling, Butternut.

Heat 1: Copp; C Spacek; Niznik; Cook; Joe Burch, Mt Pleasant, MI; Hiatt.

Heat 2: J Spacek; Rivord; Kisling; Forfa.

WISSOTA Midwest Modifieds

Feature: 1-10: Marcus Dunbar, Marenisco, MI; Paul Suzik, Ironwood, MI; Tyler Vernon, Mason; Tanner Hicks, Ashland; Dalton Mains, Foxboro; Paul Niznik, Medford; Duane Dunbar, Marenisco, MI; Jack Rivord, Superior; James Vendela, South Range; Jesse Aho, Toivola, MI.

11-17: Tanner Gehl, Solon Springs; Ryan Barningham, Bayfield; Mitch Kieber, Ironwood, MI; Neil Dees, Hurley; Diamond Bressette, Spooner; Anthony Forfa Jr, Phillips; Matt Jacobson, Bessemer, MI.

Heat 1: Suzik; Mains; Rivord; Barningham; Gehl; Bressette.

Heat 2: M Dunbar; Vernon; D Dunbar; Vendela; Kieber; Dees.

Heat 3: Jacobson; Aho; Hicks; Niznik; Forfa.

WISSOTA Pure Stocks

Feature: 1-6: Dylan Shelton, Wrenshall, MN; Cory Jorgensen, Duluth, MN; Aaron Bernick, Duluth, MN; Steve Pohl, Manitowish Waters; RJ Holly, Marengo; Zene Anderson, Superior.

Heat: Jorgensen; Shelton; Holly; Bernick; Pohl; Anderson.

ABC Six-Cylinders

Feature: 1-8: Jake Nevala, Ashland; Dennis Groom, Ashland; Mathew Rohlfing, Cable; Austin Olby, Marengo; Trenton Bond, Mason; Shane Basina, Bayfield; Dalton Truchon, Ashland; Dale Coddington, Hayward.

Heat: Coddington; Truchon; Groom; Nevala; Basina; Rohlfing; T Bond; Olby; J Bond, Mason.

WISSOTA Hornets

Feature: 1-5: DeJay Jarecki, Ashland; Shane Basina, Bayfield; Brandon Hummelmeier, Ashland; Derek Dunbar, Iron River; Deacon Pratt, Aurora, MN.

Heat: Jarecki; Basina; Dunbar; Pratt; Hummelmeier.

2021 Hall Of Fame

ABC Raceway Inducts Hall of Fame Class of ‘21

by Nick Gima

                Ashland, WI, July 18 – During intermission of its race program on Saturday night, the Ashland-Bayfield County Racing Association formally inducted its latest members of its ABC Raceway Hall of Fame in a ceremony on the front straightaway in front of the fans in attendance.

Inductees were selected in one of three different categories: Contributors (chosen specifically by the Hall of Fame Selection Committee for their contributions to the ABC Raceway), Drivers (chosen from those retired from active competition for minimum of five years and recognized for outstanding accomplishments, their loyalty to the Raceway as competitors, and their efforts as ambassadors to area stock car racing), and Volunteers (chosen from those who have provided a minimum of ten years of service to the Raceway and recognized for their significant positive contributions and dedication to the success of the Raceway).

In the Contributors category, the Raceway honored Bill & Lydia Carroll (posthumously) and their daughter, Sue Mashlan, long-time former owners of the Airport Inn, a popular tavern located near the Raceway. It was a favored stop after the races for generations of racers and fans, and the owners were genuine race fans who welcomed the racing community, proudly posting the weekly points standings and their treasured driver photos on the tavern walls and presenting bottles of champaign to feature winners after every race night. The Carrolls also sponsored at least one racer in every division every year during their ownership of the “Port.” ABC Raceway Board treasurer Cheryl Klobucher accepted the honor on behalf of the Carrols and Mrs Mashlan.

Also honored in the Contributor category was Gary LaPean, one of the ABC Raceway’s earliest announcers, who was noted for adding genuine excitement and an infectious enthusiasm to his calls. Gary’s patented call of “Here they come – and there they go!” was very popular with fans during his six years as the voice of the Raceway during the 1970s, and later, as owner of the local radio station, he also aired live broadcasts of the races for a few summers, helping to further promote the track.

In the Drivers category, Steve Anderson of Ironwood, MI, known as “Budman” to his friends, fans and fellow drivers, was honored for his 33 years of competing in the Six-Cylinders, WISSOTA Street Stocks, WISSOTA Midwest Modifieds and WISSOTA Super Stocks. He enjoyed particular success in the Street Stocks, where he won ten of his 12 career features and finished second in points three straight seasons, 2005-’07. He drew many fans from Michigan’s western Upper Peninsula, who loyally followed him to Ashland to cheer for him.

Tim Carbon was a popular driver from nearby Highbridge who toiled in entry-level divisions here for 26 years as a loyal competitor, racing on the very definition of a shoestring budget. Carbon began his racing career in Hobby Stocks in 1990 and finished eighth in points in 1992 and ’93, then moved into the WISSOTA Street Stocks, finishing top-ten in points in ten straight of his 12 years there. Racing in the WISSOTA Pure Stocks from 2006-’16, he tallied all 13 of his career feature wins, and he tied for one points title in 2009 and earned one outright in 2011.

Jon Lumberg of Ashland began his career in the Hobby Stocks and won points championships there in 1990 and ‘91 while collecting four feature wins. He then moved into the WISSOTA Super Stocks in 1992 and became a top-flight contender every week for the next eight seasons, collecting five more feature wins, finishing top-10 in points every season, and winning another points championship in 1996. For a brief time during his on-track career, Jon also served on the Raceway Board. Being a huge Dale Earnhardt Sr fan, he ran black cars carrying the “Intimidator’s” familiar number 3.

Bob Peltonen, formerly of Ashland, began his racing career in the mid-1950s and eventually became one of the more successful competitors at the ABC Raceway, winning an impressive 11 career features from 1967 to ’69, mostly in the Late Model Modifieds class. Bob, who was nicknamed “Polecat,” also has the honor of being awarded the first trophy ever presented to a feature winner at the track, dating back to sometime during the late ‘60s. During his successful run, he raced a car built from a mid-‘60s Corvette, using an image of a lady’s pair of legs in fishnet stockings to create the number 77 on the doors. Not only was Bob a popular driver, but he and his brothers Jim and Bill were also very active and instrumental in the success of this track during its formative years.

The Weber family of Bayfield also became popular racers during the earliest years of the ABC Raceway. Brothers Arden and Bill were eventually joined by their father Bud, known for racing in the Hobby Stock and Street Stock classes from the late ‘60s into the mid ‘70s using early 1960s Chevys sporting numbers that started with zero, such as 02, 03, 08, etc, and all sponsored by their popular and successful family apple orchard business. As one of the earliest “multi-car teams,” they would arrive at the track with a car-transport trailer and used a logging pulp truck to pick up the cars to unload them from and load them back onto the trailer. Bud won the Hobby Stock points title in 1971. Younger son Don, or “Ducky” as he was called, later competed in the Sixes, and several other members of the extended Weber family raced here, including Rob, who won the 2007 WISSOTA Street Stock title, and Russ, who raced in the Sixes. The family also was very active in the organization, serving at various times on its Board, including Bud’s time as Vice-President.

Dean Yrjanainen was actually inducted as part of the Class of 2019 but was unable to attend that year’s ceremony, so he was included in this presentation. His 70 total feature wins is second on the ABC Raceway’s all-time victory list; his 54 feature wins in the WISSOTA Modifieds leads all drivers in that division; and he had a run of at least one feature win at Ashland every year for 20 straight seasons, from 1991 to 2010 – the longest such streak in Raceway history. In addition, Dean won the first three ABC Raceway Six-Cylinder point titles, in 1983- ’85; and he earned three more championships in the Mods, in 1997, 2000, and ‘07. He also won three Red Clay Classic titles in the Mods, in 1991, ’93 and ’96, as well as several other notable major races throughout the region. His racing style and success made the “the Flyin’ Finn from Lake Nebagamon” and his number 84 a fan favorite.

In the Volunteers category, the Raceway honored Zeke & Lois Johnson (posthumously) and their family, including their children AJ, Douglas and Maleia. Zeke was involved in the group that eventually opened the ABC Raceway at its present site in the 1960s, and he served for six years on its Board. Lois ran the concession stand for many years and also worked as a ticket-taker. Zeke and Lois were presented with the “Outstanding Service Award” by the Raceway in 1981. AJ got involved at the track in 1970 and has worked on many significant facility and promotional projects here over the years, and he served on the Raceway Board, including terms as the club’s President and Vice-President. AJ also began racing in 1972 and competed here for 13 years before becoming a successful race car owner. Doug also served in a number of capacities at the track and competed in the Bomber class, and Maleia earned the title of Raceway Queen in 1975 and ’76 by selling tickets to the races. Maleia’s sons Ross Fuhrman and Ray Fuhrman Jr have also contributed to the organization, with Ray Jr serving on the Board and Ross being a loyal weekly competitor in the WISSOTA Midwest Mods. Ross’ business, Outlaw Wraps & Apparel, has been a long-time track sponsor. During the ceremony, the Johnson children lofted a luminary in honor of their parents.

Each inductee received a plaque commemorating their addition to the Hall of Fame. A buffet meal was served at Zar’s Bar & Banquet Hall just west of Ashland late Saturday afternoon for the inductees and their guests, as well as for past inductees, giving those on hand the chance to visit, reunite and share stories.

 

July 17th Results

Anderson, Aho Return to ABC Raceway Victory Lane on Hall of Fame Night

by Nick Gima

(Photos at end of story)

                Ashland, WI, July 17 – On a near-perfect summer evening in northern Wisconsin, Mike Anderson and Jesse Aho scored feature wins at the ABC Raceway for the first time in several years, while eight more inductees were added to the track’s Hall of Fame, in a program presented by Zar’s Bar & Banquet Hall of Ashland on Saturday.

In the other features, Steve Stuart, Dale Coddington and DeJay Jarecki continued their winning ways, and Jared Akervik bagged his first win here since the Raceway’s May 29 opener.

Anderson, of Jim Falls, took full advantage of his pole-position start in the WISSOTA Modified headliner and led every circuit, as the 20-lapper was interrupted only once by a yellow flag. Positions were swapped frequently behind Anderson, however, as first Brandon Copp, then Alex Van Natta, and finally Pat Cook filled the runner-up role over the first five laps.

Copp fell back unexpectedly into the second five early on but worked his way past Cook for second again on lap 6, with Van Natta in tow, only to lose the ground he had gained with a spin on lap 7 to bring about the race’s only stop. On the restart Van Natta pushed up the track in turn 4, allowing Cook to retake second, with Cole Spacek following into third.

Anderson’s lead was insurmountable, winning by nearly a full straightway for his first victory here since August 2017. Spacek stole second from Cook in the closing laps to solidify his points lead, and Van Natta held down fourth well ahead of Jake Hiatt.

Aho grabbed the lead midway through the caution-filled WISSOTA Midwest Modified main event and held on for his first win at ABC since August 2018. The veteran racer from Toivola MI started on the inside of row 3 and was a constant threat to early leader Paul Suzik by sticking to the low groove while Suzik ran around the track’s perimeter, creating a great battle for the lead that was spoiled by nine caution slowdowns.

Brian Lund’s spin on lap 5 started the “yellow fever,” as it took five more attempts to reach the halfway point from there. After Mitch Kieber’s loop on lap 7, Lund was spun on the restart. Then first-nighter Jesse Raffaelli’s stalled ride was followed by another Lund spin, but on that re-do Aho made an inside move on Suzik work to take the lead, with Vernon following into second. A two-car get-together on lap 9 slowed things up again, and on that restart Tanner Hicks and Jack Rivord appeared in the top five just before another two-car mess occurred.

After Rivord stole fourth by driving around Hicks on lap 10, Raffaelli’s car failed him again a lap later. Aho led another four laps before the final yellow – this one for a spin by rookie Neil Dees – forced a green-white-checkered finish as the race’s time limit was exceeded. Aho again withstood the pressures for a hard-earned win, while Vernon strengthened his grip on the points lead as runner-up, with Suzik, Rivord and Hicks close behind.

Stuart is now four-for-four in feature action since breaking out his new WISSOTA Super Stock just over a month ago, and the win on this night gave the six-time track champion from Ashland the 39th of his career, moving him into 10th place alone on the ABC Raceway’s all-time feature win list.

In a 15-lap run that was stopped only once, Stuart started fifth on a seven-car feature grid and didn’t wait long for an opportunity to present itself, slipping past Aaron Mashlan for fourth on the initial drop of the green, then using lower-lane passes of Cory Casari on lap 2 and Justin Weinberger on lap 3 to move into second. Stuart then reeled in Matt Deragon, who had led from the start, and moved up to the outer groove of the smooth, slick red-clay surface to edge ahead on lap 8, just before Weinberger’s spin presented the lone break in the pace.

As Stuart led the way again after the restart, Shawn McFadden shot through an opening on the low line, while Weinberger took the upper lane, and the pair completed a three-wide pass for second and third. Deragon managed to reclaim third with three laps to go, and McFadden was closing the gap on the leader in the final lap, but Stuart held on for the win. Casari recovered from the back-of-the-pack penalty for the lap 8 caution to earn fourth, just ahead of Weinberger.

This week’s ABC Six-Cylinders’ feature was a non-stop affair, with second-row-starting Dale Coddington working hard to get by early leader Jake Nevala by lap 3. But from there, the three-time track champion from Hayward was uncatchable in capturing his second straight win and the 27th of his career at ABC.

Before the midpoint of the 15-lapper, divisional points leader Tiffany Hudack, who started eighth on the 12-car grid, began a charge to the front, working her way around Dalton Truchon for third on lap 6 and copying the move to snag second from Nevala later in the same circuit. But unlike in previous weeks, Hudack could not close the distance on Coddington, who pulled away to a half-straightaway margin of victory. Truchon, Nevala and Mathew Rohlfing completed a well-spaced top five.

Jarecki’s feature win streak in the WISSOTA Hornets was extended to a track-best six after running away from Derek Dunbar in the two-car, five-lap A-main. Jarecki, of Ashland, outran Dunbar to the corner and simply drove away to a winning margin that was not much less than a straightaway.

It looked for a while as if Dylan Shelton’s return to the ABC Raceway was going to be a huge success, as he started the WISSOTA Pure Stock feature on the pole and led the first couple of laps. But Akervik, of Superior, dove inside on Shelton on lap 2 and took the lead, just before RJ Holly and Aaron Bernick got together to bring about the eight-lap race’s only caution flag.

For the remaining laps Akervik fended off Shelton’s every threat, with Cory Jorgensen just a couple of car-lengths back, waiting for an opening. Akervik protected the bottom groove and scored his second feature win on the season, with Shelton right on his back bumper at the checkers. Jorgensen was not far back, while Holly held off Bernick for fourth.

During the program’s intermission, the ABC Raceway introduced its Hall of Fame Class of 2021, which included the late Bill and Lydia Carroll and their daughter Sue Mashlan, and former announcer Gary LaPean, in the Contributors category, and the family of the late Zeke and Lois Johnson in the Volunteers category. Inducted in the Drivers category were Steve “Budman” Anderson, Tim Carbon, Jon Lumberg, Bob “Polecat” Peltonen, and the Weber family of racers.

Also receiving his recognition as a member of the Class of 2019 was retired racer Dean Yrjanainen, who was unable to attend the ceremonies that year.

On Saturday, July 24, the ABC Raceway will host its annual fundraiser night for the local chapter of the American Cancer Society as well as the Chequamegon Bay area’s The Brick Ministries food shelf with its “Racing for a Reason” night, to be presented by Northern Clearing Inc of Ashland. Joining the WISSOTA Modifieds, Midwest Mods, Pure Stocks and Hornets and the ABC Sixes will be the Northern Renegades traditional sprint cars, and all fans who come to enjoy the show in the main grandstands will be admitted free of charge.

During the night there will be a number of ongoing fundraising activities to help raise money for these two very special causes.

The grandstand gates and pits will open at 5 pm, hot laps at will start at 6:15, and the first green flag of the night is scheduled to fly at 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.

Results

WISSOTA Modifieds

Feature: 1-10: Mike Anderson, Jim Falls; Cole Spacek, Phillips; Pat Cook, Washburn; Paul Niznik, Medford; Jake Hiatt, Mason; Alex Van Natta, Minocqua; Sam Fankhauser, Rice Lake; Neil Balduc, Bessemer, MI; Brandon Copp, Brule; Shane Kisling, Butternut.

Heat 1: Balduc; Copp; Anderson; Niznik; Kisling.

Heat 2: Spacek; Hiatt; Cook; Van Natta; Fankhauser.

WISSOTA Super Stocks

Feature: 1-7: Steve Stuart, Ashland; Shawn McFadden, Ashland; Matt Deragon, Ashland; Cory Casari, Montreal; Justin Weinberger, Butternut; Rita Anderson, South Range; Aaron Mashlan, Ashland.

Heat: Stuart; Deragon; Casari; McFadden; Weinberger; Mashlan; Anderson.

WISSOTA Midwest Modifieds

Feature: 1-10: Jesse Aho, Toivola, MI; Tyler Vernon, Mason; Paul Suzik, Ironwood, MI; Jack Rivord, Superior; Tanner Hicks, Ashland; Paul Niznik, Medford; Ross Fuhrman, Ashland; George Truscott, Greenland, MI; James Vendela, South Range; Tyler Hudack, Ashland.

11-20: Ryan Barningham, Bayfield; John Darwin, Iron River; Sean O’Brien, Manitowish Waters; Mitch Kieber, Ironwood, MI; Diamond Bressette, Spooner; Neil Dees, Hurley; Jesse Raffaelli, Toivola, MI; Matt Jacobson, Bessemer, MI; Chris Bretting, Washburn; Kenny Kincaid, Shell Lake.

21: Bryan Lund, Ashland.

Heat 1: Truscott; Suzik; Aho; Fuhrman; Jacobson; O’Brien; Bressette.

Heat 2: Vernon; Rivord; Niznik; Kincaid; Darwin; Barningham.

Heat 3: Hicks; Hudack; Vendela; Bretting; Kieber; Dees; Raffaelli.

WISSOTA Pure Stocks

Feature: 1-5: Jared Akervik, Superior; Dylan Shelton, Wrenshall, MN; Cory Jorgensen, Duluth, MN; RJ Holly, Marengo; Aaron Bernick, Duluth, MN.

Heat: Shelton; Jorgensen; Akervik; Holly; Bernick.

ABC Six-Cylinders

Feature: 1-10: Dale Coddington, Hayward; Tiffany Hudack, Ashland; Dalton Truchon, Ashland; Jake Nevala, Ashland; Mathew Rohlfing, Cable; Dennis Groom, Ashland; Shane Basina, Bayfield; Jakob Bond, Mason; Austin Olby, Marengo; Trenton Bond, Mason.

11-12: Bubba Anderson, Trego; Julian Root, Ashland.

Heat 1: Truchon; J Bond; Coddington; Groom; Root; Basina.

Heat 2: Nevala; Anderson; Hudack; Rohlfing; Olby; T Bond.

WISSOTA Hornets

Feature: 1-2: DeJay Jarecki, Ashland; Derek Dunbar, Iron River.

Heat: Jarecki; Dunbar.

Racing For A Reason July 24th

NASCAR Xfinity Series star Noah Gragson, who drives for Dale Earnhardt Jr, will be at the ABC Raceway in Ashland on Saturday, July 24, with his JR Racing Beard Oil Distributing-sponsored car to sign autographs as part of the track’s “Racing for a Reason” program. (NASCAR file photo)

Northern Clearing, ABC Raceway to Host ‘Racing for a Reason’ this Saturday NASCAR star Gragson, sprint cars to highlight free grandstand admission show by Nick Gima

            Ashland, WI, July 22 – Of all the special nights of stock car racing at the ABC Raceway on the 2021 season schedule, few aim to be more so than the program planned for this coming Saturday, when Northern Clearing Inc of Ashland will present its annual “Racing for a Reason” fundraiser event.

            The program will feature the second visit of the season to the northern Wisconsin speedplant by the Northern Renegades traditional sprint car series, along with five of the Raceway’s six regular weekly divisions in action.

           The event is geared as a fundraiser for two very special causes – the American Cancer Society, and The Brick Ministries local food shelf. In addition to the action on track, there will be several events, raffles, and other ways for fans to contribute to these two great causes going on throughout the evening at the track. Including button sales with proceeds’ going to the local cancer center.

            “We are so proud to be associated with the Vernon family and Northern Clearing when it comes to this night,” Raceway president Eric Erickson stated earlier this week. “This is an incredible opportunity for the racing family to contribute to two important causes in the Chequamegon Bay area, and the generosity of Northern Clearing helps make this possible.”

            Also in support of this program are Beard Oil, White River Ag Products, Country Corner Equipment and Windy Acres Farms.

            In addition, NASCAR Xfinity Series star Noah Gragson, who drives for Dale Earnhardt Jr, will be on hand with his JR Racing Beard Oil Distributing-sponsored car to sign autographs.

            Add to that the fact that the ABC Raceway is offering free admission to all fans who wish to watch the show from the main grandstands, and you have the makings of what will be a memorable night of fun and action for the whole family.

            Chris Lewis of Grand Rapids, MN, held off multiple challenges to win a thrilling Renegades traditional (or wingless) sprint car feature during the series’ June 26 visit to ABC. All of the 15 Renegades racers that were here on that night, plus perhaps several others, have voiced their intent to travel from Minnesota’s Iron Range to compete on the three-eighths-mile Ashland oval.

            “The drivers in our series have been talking about getting back to the ABC Raceway since we were there last month,” said Renegades tour director Randy Murray recently, in reference to the tour’s June 26 visit to the award-winning red-clay oval. “They had a great time and put on a heck of a show for the fans, and it should be even better this time around.”

            Saturday’s race program will also include the track’s WISSOTA Modifieds, WISSOTA Midwest Mods, WISSOTA Pure Stocks, WISSOTA Hornets, and ABC Raceway Six-Cylinder.

            There will be no admission price to get into the main grandstand for this special show, and fans are encouraged to arrive early for the festivities. The grandstands will open at 4:30 pm, hot laps start at 6:15, and the first green flag of the night is scheduled for 7 pm. WSBZ, 93.3 FM, will air live updates from 4-6 pm on Saturday, with simulcasts aired 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

On Saturday, July 24, the ABC Raceway will host its annual fundraiser night for the local chapter of the American Cancer Society as well as the Chequamegon Bay area’s The Brick Ministries food shelf with its “Racing for a Reason” night, to be presented by Northern Clearing Inc of Ashland. Joining the WISSOTA Modifieds, Midwest Mods, Pure Stocks and Hornets and the ABC Sixes will be the Northern Renegades traditional sprint cars, and all fans who come to enjoy the show in the main grandstands will be admitted free of charge.

During the night there will be a number of ongoing fundraising activities to help raise money for these two very special causes.

The grandstand gates and pits will open at 5 pm, hot laps at will start at 6:15, and the first green flag of the night is scheduled to fly at 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,

Hall of Fame Ceremony July 17

On Saturday, July 17, the ABC Raceway will formally induct the members of its Class of 2021 into its Hall of Fame in a ceremony during intermission of its six-division race program. Zar’s Bar & Banquet Hall will be the presenting sponsor of the evening’s festivities. 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

444 Memorial Race July 29th

ABC Raceway Planning ‘444 Memorial’ to be Very Special

by Nick Gima

                Ashland, WI, July 11 – Just prior to the start of the 2021 stock car racing season, the ABC Raceway added an extra event to its schedule. That event, named the “444 Memorial,” has developed into what could be one of the biggest nights of racing in the Upper Midwest.

The event, slated for Thursday, July 29, will be held in honor of Tanner Byholm, a third-generation up-and-coming WISSOTA Modified and Midwest Mod racer and the son of 2017 ABC Raceway Modified champion Bill Byholm and his wife Michelle, who tragically lost his life in an aviation accident on February 16 near Janesville.

The ‘444 Memorial” will include a WISSOTA Late Model Challenge Series program as well as full heat and feature action in the Mods and Mid-Mods. The event designation comes from Tanner’s car number, which stems from his father’s car number, 4, and his third-generation standing.

Due to the ongoing efforts of both the Byholm family and the Raceway, a huge purse has been created that, as of press time, is set to pay the Late Model feature winner $3,444, while the Modified winner will receive $2,444, and the Mid-Mod winner will take home $944. Special trophies have also been designed for the top finishers in each of the features, and “444”-themed bonuses will be available to the competitors.

“Contributions have been pouring in for this event,” according to a statement by Raceway Board president Eric Erickson on Saturday. “The purse is changing almost daily. We should have something set very shortly, but it’s easy to say that this will be one of the better-paying events of the season, and certainly one of the best for the Challenge Series.”

Many top racers from throughout WISSOTA, as well as drivers from other regional sanctioning bodies, have made verbal commitments to compete in the July 29 program. Many are racers who got to know Tanner during his time attaining his flight instructor certification at Fox Valley Technical College, studying aeronautics at UW-Oshkosh, and serving our country, first as a Marine Reservist for six years and later as an Air Force Reservist. Tanner was also a graduate of Chequamegon High School in nearby Park Falls.

Prior to his passing, Tanner had been selected to become a pilot with the 190th Fighter Squadron, based in Boise, ID, from a field of 175 applicants. Tanner also had recently become involved in competitive shooting, and he was an avid snowmobiler and snowboarder.

Tanner raced in the WISSOTA Modified division at ABC from 2017-’20, finishing ninth and claiming Rookie of the Year honors in ’17. Prior to that he competed in the WISSOTA Midwest Mods from 2011-‘16, finishing in the top ten in points in 2012 and ’13. Tanner’s final race came at ABC on August 15 of last year, one of two nights that he competed here in 2020. On both of those nights, like so many others before, he raced with his father.

Admission
Grandstands
Adults 13 and older $25.00, Kids 6 to 12 $10.00
Pit Admission $35.00

More details on the “444 Memorial” will be released soon, through various media and social media outlets and on the Raceway’s website, www.abcraceway.com, as they are finalized.

July 10th Results

Balduc, Stuart, Jarecki Stay Hot on ABC Bike Race Night

by Nick Gima

                Ashland, WI, July 10 – The ABC Raceway hosted one of its long-time favorite nights – the annual kids’ bike races – and saw three of its drivers continue their winning ways in feature action on Saturday.

In a program presented by Chicago Iron & Supplies of Ashland on a warm, comfortable night, Neil Balduc of Bessemer, MI, and Ashland drivers Steve Stuart and DeJay Jarecki kept winning streaks alive. Four of the six features were marred by multiple caution flags, as drivers struggled to master a sticky-fast race track.

In the 20-lap WISSOTA Modified headliner, front-row starters Jeff Spacek and Rick Rivord swapped the lead for a couple of laps until Balduc, who started behind Spacek in row 2, used outside-line moves to get around Rivord for second and then Spacek for the lead on consecutive laps.

Jake Hiatt’s spin on lap 5 triggered a series of five slowdowns over the next five laps, including one by Rivord that sent him to the tail of the field. Despite the closeness of the rest of the field behind him, Balduc kept his composure and held off a determined Spacek on every restart as the field shuffled frequently behind them.

After the final stoppage, for debris on lap 10, the race settled into a much smoother tempo, with Balduc eventually pulling away from Spacek for his second straight win and tenth of his career here. Robby Bunkelman, the Raceway’s 2010 Modified champ, made his first visit of the year pay off with an impressive third-place run after starting 11th, finishing just ahead of 12th-starting Pat Cook and Shane Kisling.

Stuart won the WISSOTA Super Stock feature for the third straight time, but this one wasn’t nearly as easy as the previous two. He started the run from the fourth row in his month-old car and fought through heavy traffic and stubborn opposition to get to the front late in the 20-lap run.

Polestarter Justin Weinberger held the early lead through the first two attempts to start the race, both of which were stopped by melees due to congested traffic. After one lap was finally scored a third yellow flag flew, for Patrick Beeksma’s spin, but for the next five laps the fans were treated to some incredible close-quarters racing at the front, as Shawn McFadden slipped around Weinberger to take over the lead on lap 3, and Nick Oreskovich worked inside to take third from Matt Deragon on lap 4.

Weinberger’s great run ended with a slowdown on lap 6, but what followed were ten laps of tense battles throughout the field. Stuart had worked his way to third by this point and joined McFadden and Oreskovich in a thrilling dogfight at the front, while Deragon had his hands full trying to hold onto fourth ahead of Cory Casari and Beeksma. Oreskovich and Stuart swapped the runner-up spot while tapping on McFadden’s rear bumper until lap 15, when Oreskovich slipped up high in turn 4, opening the door for Stuart. Oreskovich then spun on the next lap, setting up an intense battle for the win.

On that restart Deragon spun, collecting several others, and on the next try Casari got a strong run to pull alongside McFadden. But Stuart squeezed between both of them and shot through for the lead, although McFadden momentarily clawed back by. Finally, on lap 17, Stuart cleared McFadden and set off to his 38th career feature win, tying him with Late Model great Tim McMann for tenth on the track’s all-time list. McFadden held on to second ahead of Casari, while Oreskovich recovered to steal fourth from Beeksma in the final corner.

Jarecki ran his feature win streak to a track-leading five straight as he dominated the WISSOTA Hornets’ eight-lap A-main. After the initial start of the race was waived off, Jarecki bolted around the front-row pair of Brandon Hummelmeier and Derek Dunbar and ran off to his ninth career win.

Dunbar followed Jarecki into second, but Hummelmeier took the spot a lap later. Then, on lap 4, Shane Basina – in a Hornet for the first time driving Jarecki’s spare car – went around both Hummelmeier and Dunbar and went on to finish a distant second. Dunbar regained third late in the run.

Tanner Hicks of Ashland survived a WISSOTA Midwest Modified feature that was slowed eight times by caution flags, so he was as much relieved as he was overjoyed in Victory Lane. Polestarter Diamond Bressette spun in front of the field on the initial corner of the 20-lap event, and the realignment moved Hicks into the front row for the restart, which he immediately took advantage of.

James Vendela’s spin after a fourth-place restart forced a second attempt to begin the race, and another jam-up of cars delayed the start again. Then, after one lap was finally scored, Dalton Mains went high-side to get around Matt Jacobson for second before John Darwin looped his ride. The field did get in five good laps from there, during which Jack Rivord, who originally started eighth, worked the lower lane to get by Jacobson to third, with Tyler Vernon following into fourth. Hicks had established a healthy lead margin by lap 6, but that disappeared when a three-car mess deep in the field stopped the pace.

Jacobson spun on the ensuing restart, after which Rivord drove low to edge ahead of Hicks prior to another stop, this one for debris on lap 8. Hicks got a measure of revenge by sticking to the higher line and, on lap 10, reclaimed the lead. Rookie Neil Dees’ stalled ride on lap 14 was the last of the yellow-flag slowdowns, and over the final laps a great battle involving Hicks, Rivord, Vernon and Jesse Aho ensued.

Vernon slipped ahead of Rivord with three to go, and when Rivord bobbled coming to the white flag, Aho dove low to pull alongside Vernon. Hicks held on for the final circuit for his first win here since 2018, while Vernon edged out Aho for second within a few feet of the winner’s rear bumper. Rivord held on for fourth ahead of Mains.

With only three WISSOTA Pure Stocks in the house, both the heat and feature for that division ran off non-stop. In the feature, Aaron Bernick of Duluth, MN, scored a long-awaited first feature win at Ashland.

Bernick, who had taken both races in a double-header the weekend before in Superior for his first-ever career wins, started Saturday’s run here on the outside of the front row, beat Zene Anderson to the first turn, and led every one of the feature’s eight laps. RJ Holly also got by Anderson and put up a valiant chase, staying within three to four car-lengths of the leader, but he could not close the gap. Anderson finished a distant third.

The ABC Six-Cylinders’ feature win looked to be well in hand for Dale Coddington, as the three-time track champion from Hayward started on the pole and led every lap, despite numerous caution stoppages. However, each of those stops brought Coddington’s primary challengers – Tiffany Hudack, Dennis Groom and Dalton Truchon – closer to the front.

Coddington immediately ran away from his front-row starting mate, rookie Julian Root, but Root spun on lap 2 to bring about the first of the 12-lapper’s half-dozen yellow flags. The next seven laps clicked off without concern, with Coddington building a significant buffer ahead of Truchon, who had gotten the better of Bubba Anderson for second.

It was after Root’s second spin that things got both nerve-wracking for Coddington and testy for the rest of the field. The lap 9 restart resulted in a mess on the front straight which gave Anderson a flat tire, knocking him from competition. On the next try, both Truchon, to the inside, and Jake Nevala, to the outside, tried to overtake Coddington, squeezing him in a three-wide move that ended in Coddington’s car breaking loose, causing a chain reaction of cars scattering behind the leaders.

On the next attempt, Truchon’s car ground to a stop with damage in the first turn, knocking him out of the event. This put Nevala, Groom, and Hudack directly behind the leader for the next lap, which was completed before Jakob Bond and Mathew Rohlfing tangled while racing for seventh.

Nevala lost the handle on his racer on the first of the green-white-checkered attempts to finish the race, causing a pile-up that forced Groom to hustle to the pits to change a flat tire. Coddington fended off a determined Hudack for the final two laps to finally reach the checkers, with Basina, Rohlfing and Groom completing the top five. Only six of the 13 cars that started the event made it to the finish.

On Saturday, July 17, the ABC Raceway will formally induct the members of its Class of 2021 into its Hall of Fame in a ceremony during intermission of its six-division race program. Zar’s Bar & Banquet Hall will be the presenting sponsor of the evening’s festivities. 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.

Results

WISSOTA Modifieds

Feature: 1-10: Neil Balduc, Bessemer, MI; Jeff Spacek, Phillips; Robby Bunkelman, Abbotsford; Pat Cook, Washburn; Shane Kisling, Butternut; Jake Hiatt, Mason; Paul Niznik, Medford; Cole Spacek, Phillips; Alex Van Natta, Minocqua; Mike Klippenstein, Proctor, MN.

11-12: Rick Rivord, Superior; Brandon Copp, Brule.

Heat 1: J Spacek; Hiatt; Balduc; Copp; C Spacek; Cook.

Heat 2: Rivord; Niznik; Kisling; Klippenstein; Van Natta; Bunkelman.

WISSOTA Super Stocks

Feature: 1-10: Steve Stuart, Ashland; Shawn McFadden, Ashland; Cory Casari, Montreal; Nick Oreskovich, Mason; Patrick Beeksma, Ironwood, MI; Justin Weinberger, Butternut; Matt Deragon, Ashland; Aaron Mashlan, Ashland; Rita Anderson, South Range; Leslie Leu, Medford.

11: Scott Lawrence, Superior.

Heat 1: McFadden; Oreskovich; Weinberger; Mashlan; Leu; Jase Lien, Mora, MN.

Heat 2: Stuart; Deragon; Beeksma; Lawrence; Casari; Anderson.

WISSOTA Midwest Modifieds

Feature: 1-10: Tanner Hicks, Ashland; Tyler Vernon, Mason; Jesse Aho, Toivola, MI; Jack Rivord, Superior; Dalton Mains, Foxboro; James Vendela, South Range; Sean O’Brien, Manitowish Waters; Ryan Barningham, Bayfield; Chris Bretting, Washburn; John Darwin, Iron River.

11-19: Ross Fuhrman, Ashland; Mitch Kieber, Ironwood, MI; Neil Dees, Hurley; Diamond Bressette, Spooner; Tiffany Hudack, Ashland; Matt Jacobson, Bessemer, MI; Paul Suzik, Ironwood, MI; Marcus Dunbar, Marenisco, MI; Jesse Polson, Superior.

Heat 1: Vernon; Hicks; Jacobson; Hudack; Polson; Kieber; Bryan Lund, Ashland.

Heat 2: Rivord; Aho; Suzik; Dunbar; Bretting; Dees; Fuhrman.

Heat 3: Vendela; Bressette; Mains; O’Brien; Darwin; Barningham.

WISSOTA Pure Stocks

Feature: 1-3: Aaron Bernick, Duluth, MN; RJ Holly, Marengo; Zene Anderson, Superior.

Heat: Holly; Bernick; Anderson.

ABC Six-Cylinders

Feature: 1-10: Dale Coddington, Hayward; Tiffany Hudack, Ashland; Shane Basina, Bayfield; Mathew Rohlfing, Cable; Dennis Groom, Ashland; Adam Traaholt, Ashland; Jake Nevala, Ashland; Jakob Bond, Mason; Dalton Truchon, Ashland; Trenton Bond, Mason.

11-13: Bubba Anderson, Trego; Austin Olby, Marengo; Julian Root, Ashland.

Heat 1: Groom; Hudack; Coddington; Truchon; Basina; J Bond; Olby.

Heat 2: Anderson; Rohlfing; Root; Nevala; Traaholt.

WISSOTA Hornets

Feature: 1-4: DeJay Jarecki, Ashland; Shane Basina, Bayfield; Derek Dunbar, Iron River; Brandon Hummelmeier, Ashland.

Heat: Jarecki; Basina; Hummelmeier; Dunbar.

Kids Bike Races July 10th

The ABC Raceway will sit idle over the Independence Day weekend but will be back in action on Saturday, July 10, for a full six-division race program presented by Chicago Iron & Supplies of Ashland. Included in that night’s program will be bike races for the kids.

Admission will be free for all students that attend, with the pits opening at 4:30 pm, and the grandstand gates opening at 5 pm. Hot laps will start at 6:15, and the first green flag of the night will fly at 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

June 26th Results

Lewis Hangs On for First ABC Raceway Renegades A-Main Win

by Nick Gima

            Ashland, WI, June 26 – Chris Lewis of Grand Rapids, MN, fended off persistent race-long challenges to win his first-ever Northern Renegades traditional sprint car feature at the ABC Raceway on Saturday night.

Lewis, who has collected a number of runner-up finishes so far in the regional wingless sprint car tour’s 2021 campaign, led nearly every lap to collect his first win of the season. The seven-division program, presented by Heartland Communications Group of Ashland, saw a combination of other first-time as well as repeat winners on a cool, cloudy night that saw light sprinkles dampen the track throughout the features.

Lewis started outside on the front row of the very quick, non-stop 20-lap A-feature and beat Brad Larson to the initial lead. Paul Schultz slipped past Larson into second and pestered Lewis throughout the run, using daring moves to grab the lead on a couple of occasions, only to give it back to Lewis shortly thereafter.

Lance Solem, who started alongside Schultz on row 3, fought through early traffic and soon caught the lead pair, creating a thrilling three-car battle for the win that lasted the final 14 laps. Lewis held his line, while Solem and Schultz swapped second place just a few feet behind him. On the closing lap Solem took one last shot at a pass for the win, but Lewis held on for a half-second margin of victory, with Schultz close behind in the third.

Caley Emerson and Zach Olson completed the top five. Solem posted a lap time of 16.160 seconds, or 83.540 mph, during the A-main run, obliterating the previous Renegades feature-lap track record of 16.928 seconds (79.750 mph) set by Jimmy Kouba last August. Earlier Solem ran a lap in 15.889 seconds (84.964 mph) to establish a record for Renegades in heat-race action.

After a pair of caution flags over the first scored lap, the WISSOTA Modified feature ran off its remaining 19 laps caution-free, allowing Neil Balduc of Bessemer, MI, to get out front and run away with his first feature win here since last August.

After a spin by Jeff Spacek to start the run, polestarter Tyler Luger made things difficult for Balduc in the early stages, holding the lead as the caution came out after one lap for another Spacek spin, this time caused by Brandon Copp. A lap after that restart, however, Balduc overcame the determined Luger to take the lead, and within three laps his advantage was a full second.

Shane Kisling got by Al Uotinen for third on lap 7 and passed Luger for second a lap later, but by then Balduc was better than two seconds up on Kisling and lapping slower traffic. As the laps wound down Uotinen caught and passed Luger for third, bringing Steve Lavasseur along to fourth, and late in the run Paul Niznik edged Lavasseur to steal fourth, as Balduc scored the win by nearly 3.4 seconds.

In a WISSOTA Super Stock feature that had more than its fair share of carnage, Ashland’s Steve Stuart turned in another dominant performance in his brand-new racer.

Multi-car incidents marred the first couple of attempts to score the opening circuit of the 20-lap A-main before Keith Kern established himself as the leader. Another stoppage on lap 3 gave Stuart, who restarted third, the chance to use a three-wide sweep around Kern and Scott Lawrence to take the lead, but Kern stubbornly fought back.

It took a couple more circuits before Stuart seized control, just prior to a caution stop for debris on lap 6. Then Lawrence’s car, which restarted third, ground to a stop on the front straight, knocking him from his strong run.

The final 13 laps clicked off without further delay, allowing Stuart to cruise to a 2.1-second winning margin – his second in as many nights in the week-old car. Dave Flynn fought his way through heavy traffic to take second from Kern after the final restart, and Shawn McFadden stayed in the top five throughout the run to claim fourth, ahead of Kyle Copp.

The WISSOTA Midwest Modifieds also struggled to get through their 20-lap feature, but eventually Tyler Vernon of Ashland became the division’s first repeat winner over the first five races of the season.

After a messy first lap slowed by two yellow flags for spins and crashes, Tyler Hudack took the lead away from Matt Jacobson and began to build up a strong cushion, with Diamond Bressette following into second. Over the next six laps Jesse Aho and Jack Rivord overtook Jacobson and Bressette in tandem to claim second and third, three-quarters of a second back of Hudack.

A caution flag for a three-car incident on lap 6 brought the field back to Hudack’s rear bumper, and on the ensuing restart Aho snared the lead, with the eighth-starting Vernon in tow to second. Vernon worked on an outside pass for a couple of laps, but then dove low to work his way past Aho for the lead with seven laps remaining.

Bressette’s spin on the front straight with three laps left, followed by Chris Bretting’s spun ride on the restart, briefly delayed Vernon’s sprint to his second straight feature win. Rivord got by Aho on the final restart and was two-thirds of a second back of Vernon at the checkers, with Hudack and Paul Suzik close behind.

Close-quarters racing and a chaotic finish marked another wild WISSOTA Pure Stock 10-lap headliner, which was won by Cory Jorgensen of Duluth, MN, for the second straight week and third time this season.

RJ Holly grabbed the early lead and built up some breathing room on the dogfight for second, in which Aaron Bernick tried to fend off threats from Jorgensen and Jared Akervik. On lap 2 Jorgensen moved low to edge into the runner-up spot, and a lap later Akervik went outside to take third. It took another four laps before Jorgensen caught the leader, just as first-nighter Tim Carlson lost a tire and spun to bring about the race’s only stoppage.

On the restart Jorgensen went low to try to work past Holly, and Akervik went high, and the three-wide battle went to Jorgensen by inches at the white flag. However, heavy contact between Akervik and Bernick sent both cars spinning into turn 2 on the final lap, and since all cars had crossed under the white flag before the incident, the race was ruled complete, giving Jorgensen the win.

Holly was awarded second and Bernick third, with Akervik penalized to the tail of the field as the cause of the incident. First-nighters Jason Simonson and Anthony Woodhull completed the top five.

Tiffany Hudack’s bid for a fifth-straight ABC Six-Cylinders feature win to start the season fell just 47 one-thousandths of a second short, as Ashland’s Dennis Groom held on for a photo-finish feature win.

Front-row starter Trenton Bond enjoyed a strong initial run, leading the first four of the race’s 12 laps and surviving two early restarts before Groom, who started alongside Hudack on the fourth row, worked his way alongside Bond on lap 5 to take over. Groom was about to pull away when Hudack, who is masterful in running the bottom groove in this class, found room low and worked past Bond into second, just a half-lap before Bond’s car broke and spun on lap 7.

Groom held off Hudack for three laps before Mathew Rohlfing’s spin set up a green-white-checkered finish, and an inside pass by Hudack after the restart was spoiled by a Jake Nevala spin. Groom took advantage of the reprieve and adjusted his line, forcing Hudack to dive just a bit lower coming off the final corner, but he slipped up from his own line just a bit and Hudack pulled alongside, coming up a foot or so short of the win at the final stripe.

Dalton Truchon, Jakob Bond and Shane Basina came home third through fifth, respectively.

DeJay Jarecki kept his winning streak alive in taking home his fourth-straight WISSOTA Hornets feature win in decisive fashion. Jarecki started outside on the second row of the 10-lap program finale and immediately drove around front-row mates Derek Dunbar and Carson Gotelaere for a lead that he would not relinquish.

Dunbar pulled away from Gotelaere to maintain second throughout the run, and Gotelaere held off Brandon Hummelmeier during the middle stages of the run to hold on to third, as Jarecki cruised to his eighth career feature win in the Hornets, extending his track record for wins in that division. Visiting Justin Barsness came home a distant fifth.

The sticky-fast conditions generated lap times that challenged the track records in the other electronically-timed divisions. Besides Solem’s record-setting laps in the Renegades, Spacek set a fast pace of 16.445 seconds (82.092 mph) in the Mod A-main, coming within three-tenths of a second of Todd Gehl’s feature-lap record set in 2018. Stuart’s 16.643-second (81.115 mph) lap in the Super Stock main event was less than two-tenths slower than Nick Oreskovich’s 2017 record lap. Vernon posted a 17.072-second (79.077 mph) circuit that was within a half-second of Brandon Copp’s Midwest Mod fast time back in 2018. And Tiffany Hudack’s best lap in the Sixes (18.667; 72.320) was within a second of her own 2015 track record.

Thirty bikes, four scooters and 16 youth bike helmets were given away to lucky young fans at the track on this night, thanks to the efforts of the Raceway’s Kids’ Club and contributions from 22RVR Racing; Anderson Well Drilling & Repair; Arctic Ice; Brandon Copp Racing; Cole & Ashley Spacek; Copp’s Tire & Auto and Kyle Copp Racing; Diamond Bressette Racing; FastLane Motorsports; Groom Racing and Patti’s Family Daycare; Hiatt & Son Trucking; Holly Racing; Iron River Ambulance Service and John Darwin; Jarecki Racing; Jimmy & Renee Baross; Lightning Storm Graphics; Mashlan Business Services and Mashlan Racing; Mathew Rohlfing Racing; Matt Deragon Racing; Nevala Racing; Oreskovich Racing; Robert & Sandy Lowndes; Spacek Racing; Vendela Racing; Zene Anderson; and the ABC Raceway.

The ABC Raceway will sit idle over the Independence Day weekend but will be back in action on Saturday, July 10, for a full six-division race program presented by Chicago Iron & Supplies of Ashland. Included in that night’s program will be bike races for the kids.

Admission will be free for all students that attend, with the pits opening at 4:30 pm, and the grandstand gates opening at 5 pm. Hot laps will start at 6:15, and the first green flag of the night will fly at 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.

Results

Northern Renegades Traditional Sprints

Feature: 1-10: Chris Lewis, Grand Rapids, MN; Lance Solem, Duluth, MN; Paul Schultz, Grand Rapids, MN; Caley Emerson, Grand Rapids, MN; Zach Olson, Grand Rapids, MN; Brad Larson, Ely, MN; Casey Lang, Linwood, MN; Jake Barsness, Grand Rapids, MN; Jesse Grife, Grand Rapids, MN; Danny Wait Jr, Cohasset, MN.

11-15: Allen Stettner, Hastings, MN; Brian Trembath, Hastings, MN; Teal Arnason, Balsam, MN; Zach Widdes, Rice Lake; Ken Hron, Grand Rapids, MN.

Heat 1: Hron; Barsness; Larson; Arnason; Olson; Wait; Grife; Lucas Logue, Rush City, MN.

Heat 2: Solem; Emerson; Lewis; Schultz; Lang; Trembath; Widdes; Stettner.

WISSOTA Modifieds

Feature: 1-10: Neil Balduc, Bessemer, MI; Shane Kisling, Butternut; Al Uotinen, Superior; Paul Niznik, Medford; Steve Lavasseur, River Falls; Tyler Luger, Oxford; Jake Hiatt, Mason; Cole Spacek, Phillips; Brandon Copp, Brule; Pat Cook, Washburn.

11-13: Jeff Spacek, Phillips; Anthony Forfa III, Blythe, CA; Rick Rivord, Superior.

Heat 1: Hiatt; Rivord; Kisling; Luger; Copp; Niznik; Forfa.

Heat 2: Balduc; Uotinen; Lavasseur; J Spacek; C Spacek; Cook.

WISSOTA Super Stocks

Feature: 1-10: Steve Stuart, Ashland; Dave Flynn, Superior; Keith Kern, Superior; Shawn McFadden, Ashland; Kyle Copp, Brule; Darin Meierotto, Superior; Jeffery Eisner Jr, Merrill; Aaron Mashlan, Ashland; Matthew Hammitt, Cloquet, MN; Rita Anderson, South Range.

11-16: Scott Lawrence, Superior; Don Muzzy, Ironwood, MI; Patrick Beeksma, Ironwood, MI; Nick Oreskovich, Mason; Matt Deragon, Ashland; Justin Weinberger, Butternut.

Heat 1: Lawrence; Mashlan; Stuart; Eisner; Beeksma; Weinberger; Muzzy; Hammitt.

Heat 2: Kern; Flynn; Oreskovich; Deragon; McFadden; Copp; Anderson; Meierotto.

WISSOTA Midwest Modifieds

Feature: 1-10: Tyler Vernon, Mason; Jack Rivord, Superior; Jesse Aho, Toivola, MI; Tyler Hudack, Ashland; Paul Suzik, Ironwood, MI; Tanner Hicks, Ashland; James Vendela, South Range; Ryan Barningham, Bayfield; Matt Jacobson, Bessemer, MI; Mitch Kieber, Ironwood, MI.

11-15: Anthony Forfa Jr, Phillips; Chris Bretting, Washburn; Jesse Polson, Superior; Tanner Gehl, Solon Springs; Brady Uotinen, Superior.

Heat 1: Hicks; Aho; Jacobson; Diamond Bressette, Spooner; Vendela; Gehl; Bretting; Neil Dees, Hurley; Jesse Polson, Superior.

Heat 2: Vernon; Suzik; Hudack; Barningham; Rivord; Kieber; Uotinen; Forfa.

WISSOTA Pure Stocks

Feature: 1-8: Cory Jorgensen, Duluth, MN; RJ Holly, Marengo; Aaron Bernick, Duluth, MN; Jason Simonson, Poplar; Anthony Woodhull, Superior; Jared Akervik, Superior; Tim Carlson, Superior; Zene Anderson, Superior.

Heat: Jorgensen; Akervik; Carlson; Holly; Bernick; Anderson; Woodhull; Simonson.

ABC Six-Cylinders

Feature: 1-10: Dennis Groom, Ashland; Tiffany Hudack, Ashland; Dalton Truchon, Ashland; Jakob Bond, Mason; Shane Basina, Bayfield; Jake Nevala, Ashland; Mathew Rohlfing, Cable; Austin Olby, Marengo; Julian Root, Ashland; Trenton Bond, Mason.

11: Dale Coddington, Hayward.

Heat 1: T Bond; Hudack; J Bond; Coddington; Nevala.

Heat 2: Groom; Truchon; Basina; Root; Olby.

WISSOTA Hornets

Feature: 1-7: DeJay Jarecki, Ashland; Derek Dunbar, Iron River; Carson Gotelaere, Superior; Brandon Hummelmeier, Ashland; Justin Barsness, Grand Rapids, MN; Gavyn Moncher, Saxon; Joe Pajtash, Lake Nebagamon.

Heat: Jarecki; Gotelaere; Hummelmeier; Dunbar; Barsness; Adam Young, Hayward; Moncher.

June 26th Bike Giveaway

ABC Raceway Bringing Renegade Sprints to Town on Saturday

by Nick Gima

                Ashland, WI, June 24 – Hoping that the second time is a charm, the ABC Raceway will once again attempt to host a visit by the Northern Renegades sprint cars this coming Saturday night.

The Heartland Communications Group of radio stations will be the presenting sponsor, as the regional touring series – based primarily out of Minnesota’s Iron Range – will join the Raceway’s six weekly divisions for what should be an action-filled night of stock car racing.

“We’re excited to be coming back to the Ashland area and the legendary speedplant that is the ABC Raceway,” stated Renegades tour director Randy Murray recently. “There are some very hungry, talented drivers in the group. They’re all ready to take the checkers at the ‘clay by the bay’.”

The Renegades’ traditional (or wingless) sprint car teams will be coming off of shows at Grand Rapids, MN, and Superior over the two nights prior to their Ashland visit. The group includes several drivers who are known for their racing successes in other stock-bodied divisions around this region.

As is the case with just about any sprint car, the Renegades can be a handful to drive – especially without the significant downforce that the huge air foils that are on top of a “winged” sprint car provides. The Renegades have posted average laps in the 75-85 mph neighborhood in the past at ABC and can get close to 100 mph on the straightaways.

Drivers who have enjoyed wins in the early part of the Renegades’ 2021 season include sophomore pilot Zach Olson of Grand Rapids, MN, and Teal Arnason of Balsam, MN, who have each won twice on tour. Others who are perhaps more familiar to local fans include Caley Emerson, Ken Hron and Paul Schultz of Grand Rapids; and Jori Hughes of Tower, MN. Hughes and Emerson have each won at ABC in the Renegade sprints, in 2000.

Last Saturday’s feature winners at Ashland include Cole Spacek of Phillips in the WISSOTA Modifieds; Steve Stuart of Ashland in the WISSOTA Super Stocks; Tyler Vernon of Ashland in the WISSOTA Midwest Mods; Cory Jorgensen of Hermantown, MN, in the WISSOTA Pure Stocks; Tiffany Hudack of Ashland in the ABC Six-Cylinders; and DeJay Jarecki of Ashland in the WISSOTA Hornets.

On Saturday from 2-4 pm, several Renegade sprint drivers will have their cars on display at the NAPA Auto Parts store on the corner of Ellis Ave (State Hwy 13) and Third Street West in Ashland. More sprinters will be on display at the track prior to hot laps, and there will be a bike giveaway for the youngsters during the race program.

Admission into the main grandstand for this seven-division special will be the same as for a regular six-division show – $12 for adults, $3 for kids ages 6-12, and young fans ages 5 and under will be admitted free when accompanied by a paying adult.

The grandstands will open at 5 pm, hot laps start at 6:15, and the first green flag of the night is scheduled for 7 pm. WSBZ, 93.3 FM, will air updates from 4:30-6 pm on Saturday, with simulcasts aired 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

June 19th Results

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.

Results

WISSOTA Modifieds

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.

ABC Six-Cylinders

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.

WISSOTA Hornets

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.

444 Memorial Race for Tanner Byholm

ABC Raceway Planning ‘444 Memorial’ to be Very Special

by Nick Gima

                Ashland, WI, July 11 – Just prior to the start of the 2021 stock car racing season, the ABC Raceway added an extra event to its schedule. That event, named the “444 Memorial,” has developed into what could be one of the biggest nights of racing in the Upper Midwest.

The event, slated for Thursday, July 29, will be held in honor of Tanner Byholm, a third-generation up-and-coming WISSOTA Modified and Midwest Mod racer and the son of 2017 ABC Raceway Modified champion Bill Byholm and his wife Michelle, who tragically lost his life in an aviation accident on February 16 near Janesville.

The ‘444 Memorial” will include a WISSOTA Late Model Challenge Series program as well as full heat and feature action in the Mods and Mid-Mods. The event designation comes from Tanner’s car number, which stems from his father’s car number, 4, and his third-generation standing.

Due to the ongoing efforts of both the Byholm family and the Raceway, a huge purse has been created that, as of press time, is set to pay the Late Model feature winner $3,444, while the Modified winner will receive $2,444, and the Mid-Mod winner will take home $944. Special trophies have also been designed for the top finishers in each of the features, and “444”-themed bonuses will be available to the competitors.

“Contributions have been pouring in for this event,” according to a statement by Raceway Board president Eric Erickson on Saturday. “The purse is changing almost daily. We should have something set very shortly, but it’s easy to say that this will be one of the better-paying events of the season, and certainly one of the best for the Challenge Series.”

Many top racers from throughout WISSOTA, as well as drivers from other regional sanctioning bodies, have made verbal commitments to compete in the July 29 program. Many are racers who got to know Tanner during his time attaining his flight instructor certification at Fox Valley Technical College, studying aeronautics at UW-Oshkosh, and serving our country, first as a Marine Reservist for six years and later as an Air Force Reservist. Tanner was also a graduate of Chequamegon High School in nearby Park Falls.

Prior to his passing, Tanner had been selected to become a pilot with the 190th Fighter Squadron, based in Boise, ID, from a field of 175 applicants. Tanner also had recently become involved in competitive shooting, and he was an avid snowmobiler and snowboarder.

Tanner raced in the WISSOTA Modified division at ABC from 2017-’20, finishing ninth and claiming Rookie of the Year honors in ’17. Prior to that he competed in the WISSOTA Midwest Mods from 2011-‘16, finishing in the top ten in points in 2012 and ’13. Tanner’s final race came at ABC on August 15 of last year, one of two nights that he competed here in 2020. On both of those nights, like so many others before, he raced with his father.

Admission
Grandstands
Adults 13 and older $25.00, Kids 6 to 12 $10.00
Pit Admission $35.00

More details on the “444 Memorial” will be released soon, through various media and social media outlets and on the Raceway’s website, www.abcraceway.com, as they are finalized.