Nelson, Ames, Bahr Top XR Northern Storm Series Runs at ABC
by Nick Gima
Ashland, WI, July 21 – A season-high 120 entries from seven states and two Canadian provinces came to the ABC Raceway on Thursday for the second annual “444 Memorial,” presented by Ashland Ford-Chrysler Center and Mid-States Hydraulics. The program doubled as night number four of the five-night XR Northern Storm Series, presented by Dr Troy Powers & Associates.
The huge crowd on hand saw Huron, SD’s Dale Ames win the WISSOTA Modified feature in his first-ever visit to the historic northern Wisconsin speedplant, while Darrell Nelson of Hermantown, MN, won for the tenth time at Ashland but first time in a WISSOTA Late Model, and Haugen’s Tony Bahr won a WISSOTA Midwest Modified feature win here for the second time in his career.
The event was held in honor of the late Tanner Byholm, a young third-generation WISSOTA Modified driver who raced regularly at ABC but tragically lost his life in an aircraft accident in February 2021. The evening’s purses and bonuses were themed by Byholm’s “444” number.
The 44-lap Structural Buildings WISSOTA Late Model Challenge Series headline event was paced by Nelson from start to finish, but he was under siege both early and late in the run. Nelson grabbed the lead coming out of the first turns by sweeping around polestarter and Late Model rookie Danny Vang, but for the first few laps Vang stayed close to Nelson as the lead pair separated from the battle for third between James Giossi and Travis Budisalovich.
Nelson eventually extended his lead to over a second by lap 7 and caught the tail-end of the field a lap later, pushing his advantage to over a second-and-a-half while negotiating slower traffic. But on lap 15 the yellow flag was thrown for debris on the racing surface, taking Nelson out of the heavy traffic but also bringing Vang, Giassi, Budisalovich and the rest of the field up to the leader’s rear bumper.
A couple of laps after the restart Pat Doar snuck inside on Derek Vesel to take over fifth behind Budisalovich, bringing Jimmy Mars and Jeff Massingill along to sixth and seventh. Five circuits later the field was slowed again as Jake Redetzke’s racer stalled on the front straightaway, and on the ensuing green flag Budisalovich spun, taking him from contention while Mars dropped into the pits.
Nelson sped away again to lead the final 23 laps, stretching his lead to as much as 2.5 seconds as drivers being lapped pulled out of the way and off the track. But Vang quickly reeled the leader in over the final ten laps as Nelson again worked his way by the tail-enders, drawing to Nelson’s back pushbar as the two were trapped behind the slower Max Nelson with four laps left.
Fortunately for Darrell Nelson, Vang could not gain enough momentum to get around the low-line-running leader, who won by just .35 seconds. Giossi claimed third at a distance, with Doar and Massingill directly behind.
“This is all for Tanner,” Nelson said of his special moment in Victory Lane afterwards as he paid tribute to the Byholm family and received winner’s trophies from both the family and the WLMCS, as well as the $2,444 first-place check.
Ames’ win in the Outlaw Wraps & Apparel WISSOTA Modified feature came courtesy of a lap 18 pass of Clayton Wagamon, who had won the first two of the XR Northern Storm Series’ Mod A-mains earlier in the week – in Ogilvie, MN, and Hibbing, MN. Wagamon, like Nelson in the Late Models, swept around polestarter Colin Chaschuk at the start and sped away to a 2.5-second lead over the first five laps.
Ames, who started the 30-lap main event behind Chaschuk, took over second on lap 5 and then chipped away at Wagamon’s buffer, trimming it to 1.2 seconds by lap 13, just before Cole Spacek slowed with a flat tire to bring about the race’s only caution slowdown.
Wagamon continued to pace the field after the restart, running the outermost lane of the three-eighths-mile oval, but Ames stayed within a car-length of the leader for several circuits. Behind them, Shane Sabraski moved by Chaschuk for third with 13 laps left.
On the next go-around, Ames made an inside pass stick coming out of Turn 4, and from there Ames led Wagamon and Sabraski in a three-car dogfight to the finish, eventually pulling away to a 1.1-second lead with five laps to go. Sabraski made things interesting by passing Wagamon and drawing to Ames’ back bumper, with the winning margin shrinking to just four-tenths of a second at the checkers. Wagamon fell back but still maintained third ahead of JT Johnson and Andy Jones.
“We pulled in (to the Raceway grounds) and instantly knew this would be a fun place,” Ames told the crowd as he received his $1,444 first-place check and winner’s trophy.
The WISSOTA Midwest Modified win on this night may have been the most special for Bahr, whose long career includes a strong bond with the Byholm family. Bahr started from the pole and led all 20 laps on his way to the $844 win.
The race only suffered two slowdowns, with the first coming just two laps in when fourth-starting Kennedy Swan was penalized to the back of the field for bumping an infield marker tire onto the racing groove. The other happened just three laps later when Swan spun while trying to fight her way back through the field. In between the yellows, eighth-starting Justin Jones used a strong inside move to get by Austin Blom and defending race winner Tyler Vernon for second.
Bahr used the long green-flag run from there to safely extend his lead to as much as 2.26 seconds just past mid-race. Vernon challenged Jones on a couple of occasions but could not quite get by for second, but the hard-charging Cody Carlson was able to slip by Jones, albeit momentarily, on lap 8.
Jones regained the runner-up spot with eight laps left and used the long run under green to close in on Bahr, who was maneuvering through lapped traffic. But Bahr held on for a 1.1-second winning margin, while Zach Benson came on strong in the final laps to overtake Carlson for third. Later, during the post-race technical inspection, Jones’ car was disqualified due to a rules infraction, passing second place on to Benson, with Carlson, Vernon and 12th-starting Cole Chernosky completing the top five.
An emotional Bahr stated that this was “the biggest race of my career,” based on his strong ties with the Byholms. Bahr’s only other win at Ashland came during the Mid-Mod feature at the 2018 Red Clay Classic.
The ABC Raceway will host the scheduled sixth event of the seven-race FastLane Motorsports Northland Super Stock Series on Saturday, July 30, presented by the NAPA Auto Parts stores of Ashland and Washburn. All six regular weekly divisions will be in action, with the WISSOTA Super Stocks racing for a $600 feature winner’s check as well as a share of the Series’ overall $40,000 purse.
The grandstand gates and pits will open at 5 pm on July 30, with hot laps to be run at 6:15 followed by heat-race action at 7 pm. WSBZ, 93.3 FM, will air race and weather updates from 4:30-6 pm on Saturday.
The ABC Raceway is located 3-1/2 miles south of Ashland on State Highway 13 and one mile west on Butterworth Road. For raceday information call (715) 682-4990, or log on to the track’s website, www.abcraceway.com.
WISSOTA Late Models
Feature: 1-10: Darrell Nelson, Hermantown, MN; Danny Vang, Deerwood, MN; James Giossi, Hudson; Pat Doar, New Richmond; Jeff Massingill, Keewatin, MN; Derek Vesel, Hibbing, MN; Buddy Hanestad, Boyceville; Harry Hanson, Eveleth, MN; Ryan Mikkelson, Alexandria, MN; Shane Edginton, East St Paul, MB.
11-20: Rick Niemi, Eveleth, MN; Cole Searing, Huron, SD; Bryce Sward, Nelson, MN; Jon Tollakson, Montevideo, MN; Jordan Tollakson, Montevideo, MN; Max Nelson, Milaca, MN; Kevin Eder, Ashland; Travis Budisalovich, Minneapolis, MN; Dave Flynn, Superior; AJ Diemel, Elk Mound.
21-25: Jimmy Mars, Menomonie; Sam Mars, Menomonie; John Kaanta, Elk Mound; Jake Redetzke, Menomonie; Dave Mass, East Bethel, MN.
Heat 1: Giossi; Diemel; Vesel; Mikkelson; Niemi; Searing; Rick Hanestad, Boyceville; Gunner Frank, Montrose, IA; M Nelson.
Heat 2: B Hanestad; Redetzke; J Mars; Kaanta; Edginton; Dan Ebert, Lake Shore, MN; Jon Tollakson; Paul Niznik, Medford; Kevin Carlson, Hermantown, MN.
Heat 3: Budisalovich; Hanson; Massingill; S Mars; Mass; Jordan Tollakson; Deven VanHouse, Silver Bay, MN; Hank Berry, Sidney, MT; Larry Fitzsimmons, East Bethel, MN.
Heat 4: Doar; D Nelson; Vang; Flynn; Eder; Jayme Lautigar, Gilbert, MN; TJ Adams, Springbrook; Sward; Todd Frank; Montrose, IA.
Semi-Feature 1: Jordan Tollakson; Eder; Ebert; R Hanestad; G Frank; Berry; Adams; M Nelson; Carlson.
Semi-Feature 2: Searing; Mass; VanHouse; Sward; Lautigar; Jon Tollakson; Niznik; Fitzsimmons; T Frank.
Feature: 1-10: Dale Ames, Huron, SD; Shane Sabraski, Rice, MN; Clayton Wagamon, Blaine, MN; JT Johnson, Milaca, MN; Andy Jones, Princeton, MN; Ashley Anderson, Elk Mound; Colin Chaschuk, Neebing, ON; Steve Lavasseur, River Falls; Michael Truscott, Chippewa Falls; Shane Kisling, Butternut.
11-20: Darrell Nelson, Hermantown, MN; Al Uotinen, Superior; Rick Rivord, Superior; Dan Ebert, Lake Shore, MN; Brandon Copp, Brule; Parker Anderson, Phillips; Pat Cook, Washburn; Jack Rivord, Superior; Ryan Gierke, Villard, MN; Bill Byholm, Glidden.
21-24: Daniel Bargender, Menomonie; Eric Lamm, Milaca, MN; Cole Spacek, Phillips; Jeff Spacek, Phillips.
Heat 1: Wagamon; Gierke; A Anderson; Uotinen; Mike Anderson, Jim Falls; Tyler Kaeter, St Cloud, MN; Todd Gehl, Solon Springs; Jon Frolik, Ramsey, MN; Rene Poluyko, Tyndall, MB.
Heat 2: Ames; Jones; C Spacek; Nelson; Jody Bellefeuille, Duluth, MN; Dan Kingsley, Superior; Jake Hartung, Elmwood; Tyler Luger, Oxford; Hunter Anderson, Phillips.
Heat 3: Sabraski; Johnson; Truscott; R Rivord; J Spacek; Alex Van Natta, Minocqua; Matt DePiero, Fort Frances, ON; John Kallas, Hurley.
Heat 4: Kisling; Byholm; P Anderson; J Rivord; Copp; Kyle Helling, Rice Lake; Jake Hiatt, Mason; Mike Klippenstein, Proctor, MN.
Heat 5: Chaschuk; Lavasseur; Cook; Lamm; Dave Cain, Corcoran, MN; Bargender; Ebert; Michael Procopio, Grand Rapids, MN.
Semi-Feature 1: Ebert; J Spacek; Kingsley; M Anderson; Gehl; Cain; Luger; H Anderson; Helling; DePiero; Procopio.
Semi-Feature 2: Bargender; Copp; Bellefeuille; Kaeter; Van Natta; Hartung; Hiatt; Klippenstein; Frolik; Poluyko; Kallas.
WISSOTA Midwest Modifieds
Feature: 1-10: Tony Bahr, Haugen; Zach Benson, Princeton, MN; Cody Carlson, Superior; Tyler Vernon, Mason; Cole Chernosky, Thunder Bay, ON; Marcus Dunbar, Marenisco, MI; Ryan Savoy, Superior; Brady Uotinen, Superior; Austin Blom, Saginaw, MN; Shane Howell, Buffalo, MN.
11-20: Chad Switzenberg, Sheridan, WY; Duane Dunbar, Marenisco, MI; Jimmy Latvala, Solon Springs; Tad Schoonover, Eagle River; Paul Suzik, Ironwood, MI; Jesse Aho, Twin Lakes, MI; Dalton Mains, Foxboro; Mitch Weiss, Scandia; Jesse Polson, Superior; Ross Fuhrman, Ashland.
21-23: David Simpson, Thunder Bay, ON; Kennedy Swan, Chippewa Falls; Tanner Gehl, Solon Springs.
Heat 1: Vernon; Savoy; M Dunbar; Simpson; Sean O’Brien, Manitowish Waters; Gehl; Shane Kisling, Butternut; Bryan Lund, Ashland; Zach Slayton, Springbrook.
Heat 2: Blom; Carlson; Chernosky; Mains; D Dunbar; Dylan Miller, Hibbing, MN; Aaron Olson, Kelly Lake, MN; William Moelter, Elk Mound.
Heat 3: Swan; Justin Jones, Bemidji, MN; Polson; Aho; Darrin Lawler, Grand Rapids, MN; Ryan Barningham, Bayfield; Fuhrman; Bob Hammond, Fort Frances, ON.
Heat 4: Benson; Switzenberg; Latvala; Weiss; Garrett Paull, Fort Frances, ON; James Vendela, South Range; Mitch Kieber, Ironwood, MI; Diamond Bressette, Spooner.
Heat 5: Bahr; Schoonover; Uotinen; Suzik; Matt Jacobson, Bessemer, MI; George Dalbeck, Wakefield, MI; Taylor Madrinich, Duluth, MN; Neil Dees, Hurley.
Semi-Feature 1: Howell; Fuhrman; Vendela; Kisling; Lawler; Slayton; Jacobson; O’Brien; Madrinich; Olson; Bressette.
Semi-Feature 2: D Dunbar; Gehl; Dalbeck; Paull; Lund; Moelter; Dees; Kieber; Barningham; Miller; Hammond.
ABC 7/21/22 XR Northern Storm Series results