Spacek, Oreskovich, Dunbar, Bernick, Truchon Reach ABC Raceway Victory Lane
Victory lane photos by Shooter Guy Photos below story
by Nick Gima
Ashland, WI, July 15 – Zar’s Bar & Banquet Hall of Ashland presented WISSOTA Dirt Track Series action at the ABC Raceway on Saturday, and after introducing seven new members to the ABC Raceway Hall of Fame, five drivers made return appearances in the track’s Victory Lane.
The seven inductees were honorary contributors Dennis Hendrickson (posthumously) and Red’s Auto of Ironwood, MI; retired drivers Ryan Adamzak (posthumously), Scott Hudack and Dale Olson; and long-time volunteers Tom Adamzak and Lee Johnson.
Cole Spacek of Phillips led every one of the 20 non-stop laps in the Outlaw Wraps & Apparel WISSOTA Modified feature, dominating early but hanging on late for his first win here since June 2021.
Spacek, who started outside on the first row, sped around polestarter Jack Rivord to set the pace. During laps 2 and 3 Rivord was displaced by Nick Oreskovich and Marcus Dunbar – each of whom had won features earlier in the program – while Spacek extended his lead to just over a second. The battle between the high-line-riding Oreskovich and the bottom-hugging Dunbar did not allow Spacek the chance to get away, though, and once Oreskovich cleared Dunbar for second, he was able to draw to within a half-second of the leader.
With six laps to go Oreskovich slid up the track coming out of turn 2 and scraped the back-straight guardrail, costing him valuable momentum and allowing Dunbar to pull even. But still Spacek couldn’t breathe easy – he said in Victory Lane later that he “made a ton of mistakes” – and the two pursuers, joined by Rivord and with divisional points leader Brandon Copp closing in, got to within a car-length or so of Spacek. Still, the second-generation driver held on for his eighth career feature win in Ashland, and fifth in a “big Mod,” by less than a quarter of a second.
Dunbar edged Oreskovich for second, and Rivord was close enough in fourth that the top four were within .8 seconds of each other. Copp finished fifth to maintain a slight edge in the points standings.
After a sloppy start, the Superior Floral WISSOTA Super Stocks ran off the last 19 of their 20 feature laps non-stop, with Oreskovich, of Mason, picking up his first feature win since opening night and the 26th of his career.
Even before the race began, the caution flag flew for Andrew Mackey’s spin into the infield grass. Then, under green, polestarter Dan Peterson’s car broke loose while battling to stay in the lead, with his spun car sustaining heavy damage after contact with Matt Deragon’s.
New leader Darin Meierotto and his first challenger, Don Livingston, raced fender to fender – literally – for a lap before debris from their cars littered the track, bringing about a final yellow. From there Meierotto – a three-time ABC Super Stock champ – grabbed the lead in a feature here for the first time in over a decade, and he seemed very determined not to let go.
Livingston and Randy Graham worked overtime to hold Oreskovich back as they raced for second, but on lap 9 they bumped, moving each other out of the way and allowing Oreskovich to scoot by, with Steve Stuart in tow. At this point Meierotto was out front by three-quarters of a second, but within four laps Oreskovich had reeled in the leader and, on lap 14, he passed Meierotto with a high-side move.
Oreskovich pulled away to a 1.65-second final margin of victory and moved into second in points behind Stuart, who got by Meierotto late in the run. Deragon, who had gone to the pit area after the incident with Peterson to change a tire and restarted at the tail of the field, charged back to fourth just ahead of Mackey.
Dunbar, the defending Harmony Wealth Management WISSOTA Midwest Modified track champion from Marenisco, MI, seemingly came out of nowhere to steal the win in that division’s main event. Dunbar started fifth, fell out of the top-ten for a brief time, then stormed back to put himself in position to take the lead very late in the 20-lap run.
Sophomore Canadian guest Kolby Reed was very impressive as he set the pace from the pole for nearly the entire run. He recovered from an early three-wide test from Jesse Polson and Jeremy Lindquist before Judd Skubal’s lap 2 spin quieted the show. Reed then fended off another Polson threat after the restart and ran off to a nearly full-second lead by mid-race.
The top eight or so stayed in very close formation for much of the run, giving Dunbar a chance to pick off positions in bunches. Tyler Vernon moved up to third by the halfway lap and ran alongside Polson as that pair closed on Reed, and when the leader bobbled on lap 13 they drew right up to his rear bumper.
But Reed’s great run ended when he and the other frontrunners caught the tail of the field; Reed struggled to find the right line to get by, and when Vernon dropped low to pass Reed for the lead late on lap 18, Dunbar somehow found an even lower opening and shot through with the white flag waiving. Dunbar beat Vernon by a half-second as he took the checkers for his first win of the season and eighth of his career here.
Polson finished an impressive third, ahead of Cody Carlson. Reed’s car was found to be in violation of rules during a post-race inspection, giving fifth to Lindquist.
When Patsy’s Bar & Grill WISSOTA Pure Stock points leader Brent Mindock was called for a jump on the initial start of that division’s A-feature, it marked the first time that the yellow flag was thrown in a Pure Stock feature at ABC in 2023 – a run of 55 laps. But the field started a new streak of uninterrupted laps, and Aaron Bernick of Duluth, MN, led all but one of the ten for his second win of the year and third of his career here.
Bernick, starting outside on the front row, and Travis Hazelton ganged up on rookie polestarter Katlin Pritzl to take first and second, respectively, on the first lap, and then Hazelton made a move on Bernick on lap 2 and looked to take charge. But heavy damage to the right-front suspension on Hazelton’s ride forced him off the track in a shower of sparks and gave the lead back to Bernick.
Mindock fought his way back and trimmed Bernick’s 1.1-second lead in half over the final five laps, but he could get no closer, while Bernick cut slightly into Mindock’s points lead with his win. Pritzl posted a career-best third-place finish, while former track champ RJ Holly claimed fourth and Kristy Rose finished a career-best fifth as a Pure Stock rookie.
With points leader Shane Basina needing a push to the pits before the feature began, the Lightning Storm Graphics ABC Six-Cylinders were left wide open for some major standings shuffling, and Dalton Truchon took full advantage with his third feature win of the season.
Austin Olby ran an outstanding race as he held his line for the run’s first 12 laps, holding off stiff challenges from Jakob Bond, Mathew Rohlfing and Truchon. In fact, at one point the top six runners were within a second of the leader, but Olby didn’t flinch. Only once did Bond get the better of Olby at the stripe – on lap 3, when he eked ahead by .039 seconds! – but Olby reclaimed the lead on the next go-around.
Truchon grabbed third from Rohlfing on lap 8 and teamed up with Bond for an inside-outside move on Olby to take the front two spots away on lap 12, with Truchon gaining the upper hand. From there he pulled away to a 1.1-second winning margin and, in doing so, took over the Sixes’ points lead.
Bond held on for second just in front of Rohlfing, while Olby nipped Dale Coddington for fourth.
Stuart bested his own ABC Raceway single-lap track record during his heat race earlier in the program, with a lap of 16.364 seconds (82.498 mph average), clipping 26 one-thousandths of a second off his old mark.
During the second Modified heat, Canadian visitor Colin Chaschuk lost the handle on his racer in turn 2; his completely-sideways car was clipped by Copp, who was dodging to avoid contact, and Chaschuk’s racer barrel-rolled once over before coming to rest on the driver’s-side door. Track crews responded quickly to his aid, and fortunately the driver was unharmed
Action returns to the ABC Raceway on Thursday, July 20, when the XR Northern Storm Series makes its fourth stop during its five-track, five-night run through the Northland during the week. The third annual 444 Memorial, presented by Ashland Ford-Chrysler Center, White River Ag Products and Lulich Implement, will feature the Structural Buildings WISSOTA Late Model Challenge Series as well as WISSOTA Modifieds and Midwest Mods.
The “444” will provide the biggest single-race payouts of the week-long series, with the Late Model feature winner taking home $3,444, while the Mod and Mid-Mod winners will cash checks of $2,444 and $1,444, respectively. The XR Northern Storm Series itself will award $2,000 to the five-race Late Model points champ, $1,500 to the Mod champ, and $1,000 to the Mid-Mod champ.
The grandstand gates and pits will open at 5 pm on Thursday, with hot laps starting at 6:15 followed by the first green flag of the night at 7 pm. There will be no racing at ABC on Saturday, July 22, but action will resume on Saturday, July 29, with the “Six-Cylinder Slam” special presented by the Safari Tavern of Ashland.
The ABC Raceway is located 3-1/2 miles south of Ashland on State Highway 13, then one mile west on Butterworth Road. For raceday information call (715) 682-4990, log on to the track’s website, www.abcraceway.com, or check out the Raceway’s FaceBook page.
Outlaw Wraps & Apparel WISSOTA Modifieds
Feature: 1-10: Cole Spacek, Phillips; Marcus Dunbar, Marenisco, MI; Nick Oreskovich, Mason; Jack Rivord, Superior; Brandon Copp, Brule; Jake Hiatt, Mason; Rick Rivord, Superior; Jeff Spacek, Phillips; Pat Cook, Washburn; Marcus Simonson, Milltown.
11-14: Tyler Vernon, Mason; Hunter Anderson, Phillips; Taylor Olson, Colby; John Kallas, Hurley.
Heat 1: J Rivord; Oreskovich; C Spacek; J Spacek; R Rivord; Simonson; Olson; Kallas.
Heat 2: Cook; Anderson; Hiatt; Dunbar; Vernon; Copp; Bill Byholm, Glidden; Colin Chaschuk, Thunder Bay, ON.
Superior Floral WISSOTA Super Stocks
Feature: 1-10: Nick Oreskovich, Mason; Steve Stuart, Ashland; Darin Meierotto, Superior; Matt Deragon, Ashland; Andrew Mackey, Duluth, MN; Randy Graham, Trego; Shawn McFadden, Ashland; Don Livingston, Washburn; Myron Basina, Bayfield; Aaron Mashlan, Ashland.
11-15: Scott Geiger, Dorchester; Rita Anderson, South Range; Sean Geiger, Dorchester; Jake Nevala, Ashland; Dan Peterson, Foxboro.
Heat 1: Stuart; Deragon; McFadden; Oreskovich; Mackey; Basina; Nevala; Anderson.
Heat 2: Meierotto; Livingston; Peterson; Graham; Scott Geiger; Mashlan; Sean Geiger.
Harmony Wealth Management WISSOTA Midwest Modifieds
Feature: 1-10: Marcus Dunbar, Marenisco, MI; Tyler Vernon, Mason; Jesse Polson, Superior; Cody Carlson, Superior; Jeremy Lindquist, Ashland; Paul Suzik, Ironwood, MI; Tanner Hicks, Ashland; Cory Jorgensen, Duluth, MN; Matt Jacobson, Bessemer, MI; Ryan Barningham, Bayfield.
11-13: Judd Skubal, Rhinelander; Jesse Young, Stone Lake; Codii Young, Hayward.
Heat 1: Hicks; Vernon; Kolby Reed, Kakabeka Falls, ON; Dunbar; Jorgensen; Skubal; C Young; Mitch Kieber, Rhinelander.
Heat 2: Suzik; Carlson; Lindquist; Polson; Jacobson; Barningham; J Young.
Patsy’s Bar & Grill WISSOTA Pure Stocks
Feature: 1-8: Aaron Bernick, Duluth, MN; Brent Mindock, Prentice; Katlin Pritzl, Park Falls; RJ Holly, Marengo; Kristy Rose, Duluth, MN; Zene Anderson, Superior; Travis Hazelton, Chippewa Falls; Tyler Kachinske, Duluth, MN.
Heat: Hazelton; Mindock; Bernick; Pritzl; Holly; Rose; Anderson.
Lightning Storm Graphics ABC Six-Cylinders
Feature: 1-10: Dalton Truchon, Ashland; Jakob Bond, Mason; Mathew Rohlfing, Cable; Austin Olby, Ashland; Dale Coddington, Hayward; Brad Hanson, Glidden; Chris Bretting, Washburn; Alex Bond, Iron River; Travis Swanson, Washburn; Shane Basina, Bayfield.
Heat 1: J Bond; Rohlfing; Coddington; Olby; Bretting; Trenton Bond, Mason; Jimmy Stearns, Superior.
Heat 2: Basina; Swanson; Truchon; Cameron Bond, Mason; A Bond; Hanson.