ABC Raceway Set for 56th Season Opener
by Nick Gima
Ashland, WI, May 26 — The Board of Directors of the Ashland-Bayfield County Racing Association and its all-volunteer staff are ready to kick off the 2020 stock car racing season at the ABC Raceway this coming Saturday night.
The Northern State Bank of Ashland will present the 56th season opener at the historic three-eighths-mile northwestern Wisconsin red-clay oval on May 30, with a full night of heat and feature races for WISSOTA-sanctioned Modifieds, Super Stocks, Midwest Modifieds, Pure Stocks and Hornets, and the Raceway’s own ABC Six-Cylinders.
The start of the season was delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic, wiping out the first two originally-scheduled shows, but the Raceway’s staff has been busy over the past two months putting together a plan to help racers and fans feel safe and welcome at the venerable speedplant. By incorporating many recommendations and ideas from public health organizations, municipalities and other tracks, Raceway Board president Eric Erickson hopes that the precautionary measures taken will help assure those in attendance at the track this Saturday that the spread of the virus will be minimized as much as possible in the open-air public setting.
“We hope that fans will see that the ABC Raceway has their health, safety and well-being as its first priority,” Erickson recently said. “We are preparing our facility to be very fan-friendly by implementing a number of safeguards to protect our fans and our track workers from the possible spread of this highly-contagious virus.”
Fans coming into the ABC Raceway on Saturday will immediately notice many of the changes designed to help minimize possible health hazards. Plexiglass shields have been installed at all service windows where customers would typically make casual contact with track workers, such as at the ticket booths and concession areas.
Hand-sanitizing stations will be placed throughout the Raceway grounds for fan and track worker use, and the food and beverage concession area accesses will be rearranged to better promote safety through minimal food handling and social distancing. More self-service vending machines will be available at the track for various purchases. There will also be frequent scheduling of the cleaning of commonly-contacted surfaces throughout the Raceway grounds, and Raceway staff will be required to wash their hands frequently during the course of the race program.
Fans will be encouraged to practice safe distancing while sitting in the grandstands, and race teams will be asked to maintain a minimum of one full parking space between their trailers in the pit area in an effort to help minimize contact.
For fans wishing to use them, protective masks will be available for purchase at the Raceway.
In order to minimize the possible transfer of the virus by passing currency, fans are strongly encouraged to go online to www.myracepass.com, enter “ABC Raceway” in the Search box at the top of the web page, and follow the links to purchase advance grandstand tickets for this Saturday’s show. Racers are also asked to purchase their pit passes via the My Race Pass web page so as to help keep the potential for spreading the disease to a minimum.
In addition to all of that, the ABC Raceway staff still intends to host the best possible stock car racing program in the region. After all, exciting side-by-side dirt-track racing is what the facility is well known for.
Many interesting storylines should develop as the Summer goes along. Several drivers have moved their programs from one division to another, a couple of popular drivers have hung up their helmets, and a slew of new names will grace the line-up sheets at ABC in 2020.
In the Modified division, Ashland’s Steve Stuart has sold off his race equipment and will not be competing in 2020, leaving that division’s crown open for the taking. On the other hand, Nick Oreskovich of Mason will be back to defend his fourth straight Super Stock track championship at ABC last summer.
Midwest Mods should once again bring out the largest numbers of weekly visitors to the Ashland track – all with their sights set on defending champ George Dalbeck of Wakefield, MI. And Trego’s Randy Graham enjoyed a dream season in 2019, becoming the only driver in ABC Raceway history to win points titles in two classes in one season as he ran away with both the Pure Stocks and the Six-Cylinders.
The entry-level Hornets ran as a regular offering at ABC for the first time in 2019, and Paul George of Princeton, MN, who spent his weekends last summer in the Iron River area, made Raceway history by becoming its first-ever Hornet points champ.
The pit and grandstand gates will open at 5 pm on Saturday, while hot laps will lead off the on-track action at 6:15 before the green-flag racing gets going at 7 pm. Adult grandstand admission tickets are just $11 per person, either at the gate or online via www.myracepass.com, and kids ages 12 and under are admitted free when accompanied by a paying adult. Ten-race punch passes are also available at the Raceway’s ticket window on race nights.
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.
May 30 Tagged for ABC Raceway’s 56th Season Opener
by Nick Gima
Ashland, WI, May 20 — Taking into account the effects of the current COVID-19 viral pandemic, the Board of Directors of the Ashland-Bayfield County Racing Association have decided that Saturday, May 30, will be the opening-night date for the 2020 stock car racing season at the ABC Raceway.
To be presented by the Northern State Bank of Ashland, a full night of heat and feature race action for the track’s regular weekly divisions – WISSOTA-sanctioned Modifieds, Super Stocks, Midwest Modifieds, Pure Stocks and Hornets, and the Raceway’s own ABC Six-Cylinders – will be held on the historic three-eighths-mile red-clay oval in northwestern Wisconsin on that night.
Preparations for the 56th season opener at the venerable speedplant have been far different than those for any race season before, according to Raceway Board president Eric Erickson. Along with the usual pre-season sprucing, prepping and fixing, members of the Board have implemented many carefully-planned precautions to help assure that the facility will be clean and safe for race fans, drivers and their crews, and the track’s race-night staff.
“We will put the safety and well-being of our fans as our first priority,” Erickson said regarding the Board’s decision to open the season. “We are preparing our facility to be very fan-friendly, while emphasizing the protection of the health and safety of our fans. But we also intend to do the best job possible in holding a good race program that fans can enjoy.”
With the recent decisions by State and local governments to relax the various “stay-at-home” restrictions around the region, fans have become eager to enjoy racing and other sporting events. However, racetrack promoters – and people in general – realize that a genuine and unprecedented health hazard still exists, forcing them to take unique steps to minimize the possibility of transmission of the coronavirus at their facilities.
Fans coming to the ABC Raceway will have access to many hand-sanitizing stations throughout the facility and will experience changes in the way food and beverages are served – all in the interests of their safety. Fans will also be encouraged to practice safe distancing in the grandstands, and race teams will be parked in the pits with a minimum of one parking space between haulers, in an effort to help minimize contact.
“We will continue to monitor guidelines set by the State, our local municipalities, and the Federal government as they pertain to the pandemic regarding social gatherings for facilities such as ours,” said Erickson. “If any further recommendations are made or mandates are passed along, we will do what is needed to protect the people that come to our track from possible contact with this dangerous virus.”
Erickson advised that a more extensive explanation of the track’s precautionary measures will be posted on the ABC Raceway FaceBook page. An updated 2020 season schedule will also be announced soon and will be posted on the Raceway’s FaceBook page and other social media sources as well as made available via newspapers and other mass media.
The ABC Raceway is located 3-1/2 miles south of Ashland, WI. More information is available on the track’s website, www.abcraceway.com.