Redetzke, Sabraski, Jensen are ‘444 Memorial’ Winners at ABC Raceway
by Nick Gima
Ashland, WI, July 20 – To honor one of the Chequamegon Bay area’s fine young drivers and proud military members, the ABC Raceway hosted its third annual “444 Memorial,” presented by Ashland Ford-Chrysler Center, White River Ag Products, and Lulich Implement on Thursday night.
Tanner Byholm, a former WISSOTA Modified and Midwest Modified racer from Glidden and the son of 2017 ABC Raceway Mod champ Bill Byholm and his wife Michelle, was killed in an aircraft accident in southern Wisconsin in February 2021. Tanner’s car was numbered “444.”
A near-capacity crowd and 101 entries came out to honor the Byholm family and enjoy a night of racing at the northern Wisconsin speedplant, where overcast skies cleared by mid-afternoon and temperatures zoomed to 80 degrees by race time.
The event was the fourth scheduled stop of the five-night, five-track XR “Northern Storm” Series for WISSOTA Late Models, Modifieds and Midwest Mods, which had previously stopped in Ogilvie, MN, and Hibbing, MN, on Monday and Tuesday. Significant storms forced cancellation of Wednesday’s Series program at Proctor, MN.
This was also the 12th event of 22 slated for the Structural Buildings WISSOTA Late Model Challenge Series, and the first to be held at a Wisconsin track in 2023.
All three feature winners have been familiar with Ashland’s award-winning three-eighths-mile red-clay oval. In taking the Late Model feature, Jake Redetzke of Menomonie grabbed his sixth career feature win here but first since the track’s 2016 Red Clay Classic, while Rice, MN’s Shane Sabraski and Joey Jensen of Forest Lake, MN, each won here for the second time this summer.
All three feature winners also won their respective races from the pole, although each had to work to varying degrees for their spoils.
Redetzke and John Kaanta shared the front row of the 44-lap Late Model main event and pulled away from the rest of the 26-car field, with Kaanta gaining the early edge. Redetzke stayed within a half-second of the leader and attempted more than a few inside challenges, but Kaanta remained steadfast as the leaders caught the tail-enders within just 14 laps.
It was while working through slower traffic that Redetzke drove low to slip past Kaanta for the lead, but Kaanta stole the point back within a lap or so. While they were debating first, Dustin Sorenson and Ryan Mikkelson were closing while third and fourth, respectively, while the 12th-starting Pat Doar had climbed to fifth by lap 20.
Sorenson began to threaten Kaanta on lap 23, allowing Redetzke to build up seven-tenths of a second’s worth of breathing room. But once he cleared the first brief wave of backmarkers, Redetzke grew his lead to nearly 1.8 seconds before Darrell Nelson’s car failed him on lap 28, causing the first of a series of yellow-flag slowdowns.
Both Doar and Sorenson overwhelmed Kaanta on the restart and, along with Mikkelson a couple laps later, began a thrilling battle for second. This allowed Redetzke to rebuild his lead to over 1.5 seconds on the field, but Kyle Peterlin’s racer ground to a halt against the front-straight wall on lap 32 to again slow the action. Then Mike Anderson and Danny Vang tangled in turn 1 a lap after that restart to hold things up again.
The final 11 laps saw Redetzke hang on in front of Doar and Sorenson, who were nearly both overtaken by a charging Derek Vesel. That three-car skirmish allowed Redetzke to sprint away to a final 1.7-second margin of victory and a $4,444 payday. Vesel stole second momentarily in the waning laps, only to give it back to Doar in the final turns, and Mikkelson drove inside to steal third from Vesel coming out of turn 4 for the final time. Sorenson settled back to a distant fifth.
Sabraski was not to be denied his 12th career feature win at ABC in the Outlaw Wraps & Apparel WISSOTA Modified A-main. But it took a full third of the 30-lap race to finally establish his dominance and claim the $2,944 winner’s check.
Kennedy Swan’s spin in turn 3 on the inaugural lap was the only delay in the proceedings, after which Sabraski dueled with fellow front-row starter Michael Truscott, a former ABC Mid-Mod points champ and Red Clay Classic winner. Truscott worked the higher line to a .58-second advantage by the end of the first four laps, but during the next four circuits Sabraski reeled him back in and took over the pacesetting chores on lap 9.
Young Brady Uotinen was impressive in hanging within a car-length of the lead pair, but as Sabraski began to pull away after lap 10, Uotinen settled back to race with Truscott for second, with Jake Hartung joining them. Uotinen and Hartung left Truscott behind and enjoyed their own bout for position, with Darrell Nelson eventually replacing Truscott.
With 13 laps left Sabraski began to deal with slower traffic – something he seems to do better than anyone in the business – while holding a 1.7-second lead. Over the final ten laps Hartung, after finally clearing Uotinen for second, chipped away as much as he could at the leader’s advantage, yet Sabraski still managed a 1.18-second winning margin for his second win at ABC this season and his astonishing 853rd career feature win.
Nelson took third from Uotinen in the closing stages, and Jody Bellefeuille came him a distant fifth.
The Harmony Wealth Management WISSOTA Midwest Modifieds clicked off their 20-lap headliner in a lightning-quick eight minutes and six seconds – and that included a caution flag two laps in for Mike Schneider’s spin. Jensen wrestled the lead from front-row mate William Moelter for those opening laps, then held him at bay immediately after the lap 2 restart, with Tony Bahr leading a tight-knit pack of challengers behind the lead pair.
Jensen wasn’t about to hang around to see how things shook out behind him, shooting away to a .86-second lead by lap 5 and extending that to over two-and-a-quarter seconds before the halfway point. Moelter and Barr were soon joined by Tanner Gehl, and that trio duked it out for four laps before Bahr laid claim to second.
Jensen’s lead was nearly three-and-a-half seconds when he caught slower traffic with five laps left, and while the traffic did slow Jensen a bit, Bahr could not trim more than six-tenths of a second off the margin. Jensen was up by a full three seconds on Bahr at the stripe for his 11th feature win at ABC, worth $1,844, while a couple more seconds back Moelter fought off Gehl’s threats for third.
In a post-race inspection, Gehl’s car was found to be guilty of a technical infraction, moving tenth-starting George Dalbeck to fourth and Paul Suzik to fifth.
A huge number of businesses and groups donated generously to the already significant purse, helping the winners’ shares grow to the largest single-race payouts for each division during the entire “Northern Storm” tour, as well as boosting each feature’s purse from top to bottom. Those donors included the Bad River Lodge, Casino & Convention Center; the Huotari and Yankovich families; Joe Provo Racewear; Kully’s Truck Accessories; and Mid-States Hydraulics.
After the race program, fans were treated to live music, complements of the organizers of the upcoming “Concert in the Corn” country music festival coming to nearby Mason on August 25-26.
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, along with the rescheduled kids’ “meet the drivers” night.
The Raceway’s Six-Cylinder class will run two full features and, along with their heat race action, will collect points for a chance at one of the top three cash awards, along with their race purses.
The track’s regular weekly offerings, including the WISSOTA sanctioned Modifieds, Super Stocks, Midwest Mods and Pure Stocks, will join the Sixes for a full program. The “meet-and-greet” session will take place prior to the race program.
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.
Structural Buildings WISSOTA Late Model Challenge Series
Feature: 1-10: Jake Redetzke, Menomonie; Pat Doar, New Richmond; Ryan Mikkelson, Alexandria, MN; Derek Vesel, Hibbing, MN; Dustin Sorensen, Rochester, MN; John Kaanta, Elk Mound; Jeff Massingill, Keewatin, MN; Kevin Eder, Cameron; Sam Mars, Menomonie; Travis Budisalovich, Minneapolis, MN.
11-20: Rick Niemi, Eveleth, MN; Kevin Burdick, Proctor, MN; Dave Flynn, Superior; Brett Shafer, Menomonie; Todd Frank, Montrose, IA; Jayme Lautigar, Gilbert, MN; Paul Niznik, Medford; Andy Jones, Princeton, MN; Danny Vang, Deerwood, MN; Harry Hanson, Eveleth, MN.
21-26: Dan Bargender, Menomonie; Mike Anderson, Jim Falls; Kyle Peterlin, Hibbing, MN; Max Nelson, Milaca, MN; Darrell Nelson, Hermantown, MN; Gunner Frank, Montrose, IA.
Heat 1: Redetzke; D Nelson; Mikkelson; Shafer; Mars; Aaron Lillo, Proctor, MN; Todd Frank, Montrose, IA; M Nelson.
Heat 2: Kaanta; Burdick; Bargender; Budisalovich; Jones; Eder; G Frank; Hank Berry, Sidney, MT.
Heat 3: Sorensen; Peterlin; Massingill; Niemi; Flynn; Anderson; Kevin Carlson, Hermantown, MN.
Heat 4: Lautigar; Doar; Vesel; Niznik; Vang; Hanson; Robbie Cooper, South Range.
Semi-Feature: Mars; Jones; Vang; Flynn; Eder; Anderson; T Frank; Berry; Lillo; M Nelson; G Frank; Carlson; Cooper; Hanson.
Fast qualifier: Mikkelson, 15.657 secs (86.233 mph).
Outlaw Wraps & Apparel WISSOTA Modifieds
Feature: 1-10: Shane Sabraski, Rice, MN; Jake Hartung, Elmwood; Darrell Nelson, Hermantown, MN; Brady Uotinen, Superior; Jody Bellefeuille, Carlton, MN; Mike Anderson, Jim Falls; Parker Anderson, Phillips; Dave Cain, Corcoran, MN; Jake Hiatt, Mason; Nick Oreskovich, Mason.
11-20: Michael Truscott, Chippewa Falls; Jeff Spacek, Phillips; Kennedy Swan, Chippewa Falls; Pat Cook, Washburn; Cole Spacek, Phillips; Todd Gehl, Solon Springs; Justin Weinberger, Elk Mound; Clayton Wagamon, Ramsey, MN; Adam Hensel, Baldwin; Brandon Copp, Brule.
21-25: Rick Rivord, Superior; Hunter Anderson, Phillips; Jack Rivord, Superior; AJ Diemel, Elk Mound; Marcus Dunbar, Marenisco, MI.
Heat 1: Truscott; Nelson; P Anderson; Gehl; Tyler Vernon, Mason; Hiatt; Kaden Blaeser, Chippewa Falls; Alex Van Natta, Minocqua; Leo Schweiss, Hibbing, MN.
Heat 2: Hartung; Bellefeuille; R Rivord; Copp; H Anderson; Hensel; J Rivord; Donnie Lofdahl, Duluth, MN; Duane Dale, Hibbing, MN.
Heat 3: Uotinen; M Anderson; Weinberger; Oreskovich; Dunbar; C Spacek; Wagamon; Travis Anderson, Colfax.
Heat 4: Sabraski; Cain; J Spacek; Swan; Cook; Diemel; Shaun Kreyer, Hayward; John Kallas, Hurley.
Semi-Feature 1: Cook; H Anderson; Wagamon; J Rivord; Diemel; Van Natta; T Anderson; Schweiss; John Carpenter, Hibbing, MN; Vernon.
Semi-Feature 2: Hiatt; Dunbar; Hensel; C Spacek; Blaeser; Lofdahl; Kallas; Kreyer.
Harmony Wealth Management WISSOTA Midwest Modifieds
Feature: 1-10: Joey Jensen, Forest Lake, MN; Tony Bahr, Haugen; William Moelter, Elk Mound; George Dalbeck, Wakefield, MI; Paul Suzik, Ironwood, MI; Zach Benson, Princeton, MN; Tanner Hicks, Ashland; Ryan Savoy, Superior; Gary James Nelson, Ponemah, MN; Tyler Vernon, Mason.
11-20: Marcus Dunbar, Marenisco, MI; Dalton Mains, Foxboro; Paul Ripley, Duluth, MN; Mark Thomas, Menomonie; Jesse Polson, Superior; Sean O’Brien, Manitowish Waters; Jimmy Latvala, Solon Springs; Ryan Barningham, Bayfield; Evan Checkalski, Duluth, MN; Deven VanHouse, Silver Bay, MN.
21-23: Mike Schnider, Cameron; Cory Jorgensen, Duluth, MN; Travis Anderson, Colfax.
Heat 1: Tanner Gehl, Solon Springs; Savoy; Dalbeck; VanHouse; Polson; Thomas; Ross Fuhrman, Ashland; Checkalski; Jeremy Lindquist, Ashland.
Heat 2: Bahr; Suzik; Vernon; Dunbar; Jorgensen; Barningham; Matt Jacobson, Bessemer, MI; Taylor Madrinich, Duluth, MN; Codii Young, Hayward.
Heat 3: Nelson; Moelter; Benson; Mains; Zach Slayton, Hayward; Cory Peterson, Red Lake, MN; Jesse Young, Stone Lake; Anderson; Schnider.
Heat 4: Jensen; Hicks; Ripley; Latvala; Tad Schoonover, Eagle River; Bryan Lund, Ashland; Glen Brown, Rosslyn, ON; Patrick Davis, Sioux Lookout, ON; O’Brien.
Semi-Feature 1: Schnider; Latvala; Barningham; Checkalski; Lindquist; Madrinich; Jacobson; Fuhrman; Peterson; Schoonover.
Semi-Feature 2: Thomas; Jorgensen; O’Brien; Anderson; Brown; Davis; Slayton; C Young; Lund; J Young.