Ashland, WI, July 15 — Ryan Savoy slipped past Justin Weinberger after a mid-race restart and held off steady challenges for the win in the 14th annual “Pure Excitement 25” feature, presented by the Ashland-Bayfield County Sportsman’s Club, at the ABC Raceway on Saturday night.
A season-high 111 cars – including 26 WISSOTA Pure Stocks – were entered for PolyDome Dirt Track Series action on the northern Wisconsin oval on a sunny, humid 85-degree night in front of a large crowd. The result was a 23-race program that included two make-up features from the rain-shortened July 8 show.
Savoy, of Foxboro, started on the outside of the second row of the 25-lap headliner and stayed right with front-row starters Weinberger and Michael Blevins through the first eight laps, which were interrupted frequently by caution flags. The lead trio consistently pulled away after each restart, with Blevins threatening often to take the lead on the outside.
The pace of the race was slowed on laps 5 through 8 due to a number of bumps and spins, including a half-rollover by rookie James Vendela after contact with another car on the front straight on lap 8; the rookie driver was unhurt. From then on, however, the race ran nonstop, and it was after that final restart that Savoy took advantage of a bobble by Weinberger to dive to the inside coming out of turn 4 and take the lead while completing lap 9. Blevins, the 2014 event winner, took the outside line around Weinberger to claim second, but the Raceway’s defending Pure Stock points champ charged back to retake that spot on lap 11.
The running order stayed fairly steady until late in the run, when lapped traffic came into play. Savoy expertly slipped past the slower Aaron Bernick, but Weinberger decided to pass the backmarker on the outside, opening up the bottom for Blevins to sneak by and take second for good. Chad Carlson had grabbed fourth after that lap 8 restart and never gave it away, and 19th-starting Dylan Shelton picked his way through the field over those final 17 laps to finish fifth and claim hard-charger honors for the race.
Savoy’s second career feature win at ABC paid him $1,252 – easily the biggest paycheck of his career. At least 17 of the 26 drivers who started the event took home paychecks larger than what a Pure Stock driver receives after a regular-night win here.
It helped that Jeff Spacek of Phillips started on the pole, and it also helped that the 20-lap WISSOTA Modified A-feature clicked off without a yellow flag. But had the race been any longer, Spacek may not have picked up his 58th career ABC Raceway feature win.
Spacek swapped the lead with Jake Hiatt over the first couple of laps before gaining the advantage with a low-groove pass on lap 2. As the six-time track champion pulled away for what looked to be a runaway win, Neil Balduc threatened to take second from Hiatt but was unsuccessful. However, Kevin Eder later completed a pass of Hiatt on lap 4.
Points leader Bill Byholm, who started on the fourth row, picked his way forward over the next few laps, overtaking Balduc on lap 6 and then Hiatt on lap 7 to move into third. Spacek’s lead was more than a full second as Byholm worked inside on Eder during the race’s middle stages, and once Byholm completed the pass with four laps to go he began to chip away at the difference.
Spacek’s lead had dwindled to two-thirds of a second when he saw the white flag waive, but he had just enough in his overheating race car to hold on for his first win in Ashland since August 2014. Byholm was within just a quarter-second at the checkers, while Eder held off a charging Paul Niznik for third. Pat Cook, who started dead last on the 14-car grid, came home in fifth.
The WISSOTA Super Stocks overcame a first-lap spin to run off 18 uninterrupted laps before a grinding crash brought about a green-white-checkered finish, with Shane Kisling of Park Falls picking up his first win here since opening night in dominant fashion.
After the Don Muzzy spin to open the 20-lapper, Cory Casari swept around polesitter Colten Vernon to lead lap 1, but Vernon charged by on the low side to retake the top spot. After Casari reclaimed the point on lap 3, Kisling, who started on the inside of row 3, followed him into second, while Shawn McFadden and Dave Flynn took turns displacing Vernon for third and fourth.
On lap 9 Casari held a half-second lead, but within three circuits Kisling completed an inside run on him and took the lead away. From there the two-time Red Clay Classic champ pulled to a lead of over 2.1 seconds before lap 18, when backmarker Aaron Mashlan turned in front of McFadden and Flynn while they were battling for third under the flagstand. The hard hit caused significant damage to McFadden’s machine, but Flynn was able to continue.
In the final two-lap sprint Kisling easily held off Casari for a winning margin of over a second, while Flynn came home a close third. Matt Deragon made a gutsy inside move on the final lap to pass three cars and come home fourth ahead of Randy Spacek.
In the make-up feature from the July 8 show, Flynn held the lead for another green-white-checkered finish, but Nick Oreskovich swept around to nip Flynn at the line by 75 one-thousandths of a second for his fourth win at ABC this year.
A massive eight-car pile-up after a lap 2 restart badly damaged some very strong contenders, but Vernon – who also started on the pole for this race – worked hard to hold off McFadden and Flynn before they ganged up on him and took over first and second, respectively. After a lap 10 restart Flynn used an inside move to overtake McFadden, and with three laps remaining Oreskovich went up a lane to get by McFadden for second.
Mashlan and Myron Basina made contact on the front straight with the white flag in the air, causing Mashlan to spin and forcing the two-lap shootout. Oreskovich took advantage of his outside second-row restart position and pulled alongside Flynn under the white flag, then edged Flynn by that slimmest of margins under the checkers. McFadden, Jeff Klopstein and Kisling completed the top five.
The WISSOTA Midwest Modified feature had more than its share of drama – much of it coming after the race was over. Brandon Copp got by polestarter Brady Jokinen to take the initial lead, but Ryan Adamzak made his way around Copp to become the new leader on lap 2. Adamzak was flying around the top lane of the smooth, wide race surface and quickly built up a lead of over a second-and-a-quarter by lap 5.
By that time Wayne Stricker had moved into second place, and after the restart for Jokinen’s stalled car on lap 6, the divisional points leader stayed right in the race leader’s tire tracks. Delays on laps 9 and 11 kept the field close to Adamzak’s rear bumper – especially a surging Dan Kingsley, who found the bottom groove to his liking.
Kingsley drove under Stricker to second with seven laps to go, and he continued to work the low side to reel in and pass Adamzak on lap 14. Kingsley pulled to a full-second lead on the field by lap 18 and crossed under the finish line by nearly twice that much two laps later, while Tyler Vernon managed to slip past Adamzak for second with less than two laps left.
That pass ended up being very crucial for Vernon, of Ashland, as it later resulted in his second Mid-Mod victory of the season after Kingsley’s car was deemed to be guilty of a technical infraction after a post-race inspection. Adamzak and Stricker were awarded second and third, Jesse Aho scored fourth-place money, and Paul Niznik, in his season debut in a Mid-Mod at Ashland, claimed fifth.
Each of the two ABC Six-Cylinder features involved some interesting subplots regarding that division’s points chases. In the regularly-scheduled 15-lapper DeJay Jarecki grabbed the early advantage from polestarter Bella Bretting, while rookie John Darwin followed into second. After a couple laps Scott Ovaska, who led the points coming into the night, and Tiffany Hudack, who trailed Ovaska by a slim margin, claimed third and fourth.
On lap 5 Hudack’s car suffered a rare engine failure and crept to a stop, knocking her from the event. Then, after a spin by Bretting, Randy Graham, who restarted fourth, drove under Ovaska and Darwin into second, and within a lap he slipped by Jarecki for the lead.
Darwin’s stopped car on lap 7 allowed Ovaska to grab second from Jarecki on that restart, and Vernon recovered from his spin with six to go to get by his brother Cole Vernon and Jarecki over the closing laps to take third. But there was no catching Graham, of Trego, as he scored his third win of the season by nearly two-and-a-half-seconds on Ovaska. Forrest Schultz, who restarted at the tail of the field after a cause-of-restart penalty on lap 7, stormed home to fifth.
In the earlier make-up feature, Ovaska was involved in a three-car crash on the opening lap that knocked him from the event. Ironically, he would be scored as the 13th-place finisher – just as Hudack would be later after her engine failure in the regularly-slated race.
Darwin, who was also involved in the melee, led the field through two restarts, during which Vernon and Bubba Anderson passed polestarter Dalton Truchon for second and third, respectively. But Anderson’s car broke loose and he fell back and out of the race, moving Jarecki to third.
The lead trio pulled away from the balance of the field, and on lap 8 Vernon used and inside pass to take the lead away from Darwin. Hudack led a second pack of three and caught the leaders with four to go, and as the white flag was waiving Jarecki made a move to pass Darwin but slipped, causing both he and fifth-running Graham to spin.
Vernon led the field through the green-white-checkered sprint for the first of his two feature wins on this night, with Hudack a second back as runner-up – just as Ovaska would finish in second later. Graham, Darwin and Schultz completed the top five.
Hudack held the points lead for little more than about four hours but did gain one point on Ovaska in the standings by virtue of a better finish (her second-place run versus Ovaska’s third) in heat race action on this night.
Fast-timers on the night were Eder in the Mods (16.423 seconds), Casari (17.076) and Flynn (16.696, make-up) in the Supers, Adamzak in the Mid-Mods (18.003), and Graham in both Sixes mains (18.574, and 18.363 in the make-up).
A huge number of racers, teams, businesses and fans contributed to a total purse of $5,887 – just three dollars short of the event’s all-time record payout set in 2013. The Raceway sends out its sincere thanks to Al Rapp, Auto Value Auto Parts of Ashland, Battle Axe Saloon, Bob’s South End Towing of Superior, Brandon Copp, Breakwater Restaurant of Superior, Chicago Iron & Supply, Dirt Track Racing in the Northland Facebook Page, FastLane Motorsports, Greg’s Towing & Repair, Grymala Racing, Janet Chmielak, Jokinen Racing, Ken & Cheri Deragon, Lake Shore Sales & Service, NAPA Auto Parts, Cheryl & Nick Gima, Oliver’s Service of Superior, Pizza Parlor of Iron River, Security State Bank of Iron River, Steve Stuart, Trail’s End Pub & Grill of Sanborn, Upper Cut Salon, Zar’s Bar, 4Q2 Performance, and especially the many fans who donated, for their generosity in making the event such a huge success.
On Saturday, July 22, the ABC Raceway will host the second stop of the third annual FastLane Motorsports Northland Super Stock Series. The three-day, three-track series is expected to draw over 50 drivers from as far away as Montana, the Dakotas and Canada, as well as Minnesota and Michigan, to compete for well over $12,000 in purse monies and contingencies.
The Series will kick off on Friday night, July 21, at AmsOil Speedway in Superior before Saturday’s show in Ashland, which will culminate in a 33-lap WISSOTA Super Stock feature to honor former driver and car owner Don Koivisto, who passed away this Spring. The Series concludes on Sunday, July 23, at the Proctor (MN) Speedway.
Hot laps on Saturday start at 6:15 pm, followed by a full five-division race program, including heats, semi-features and A-features, at 7. “Z-93 Race Night” will air live on WBSZ, 93.3 FM, and stream online at www.wbszfm.com, from 4:30-6 pm with at-the-track news and weather updates.
The ABC Raceway is located 3-1/2 miles south of Ashland on State Highway 13 and one mile west on Butterworth Road. For more information log onto the track’s website, www.abcraceway.com. or on race days call (715) 682-4990.
Feature: Jeff Spacek, Phillips; Bill Byholm, Glidden; Kevin Eder, Ashland; Paul Niznik, Medford; Pat Cook, Washburn; Neil Balduc, Bessemer; Steve Stuart, Ashland; Jacob Hiatt, Mason; Greg Chesley, Duluth, MN; Steve Lavasseur, River Falls; Todd Gehl, Solon Springs; Rick Rivord, Superior; Brian Mikkonen, Iron River; Kelly Checkalski, Poplar.
Heat 1: Rivord; Eder; Hiatt; Byholm; Chesley; Niznik; Gehl.
Heat 2: Balduc; Lavasseur; Spacek; Stuart; Mikkonen; Checkalski; Cook.
WISSOTA SUPER STOCKS
Feature: Shane Kisling, Park Falls; Cory Casari, Montreal; Dave Flynn, Superior; Matt Deragon, Ashland; Randy Spacek, Phillips; Nick Oreskovich, Mason; David Simpson, Thunder Bay, ON; DJ Keeler, Superior; Patrick Beeksma, Ironwood, MI; Scott Lawrence, Superior; Colten Vernon, Ashland; Don Muzzy, Ironwood, MI; Greg Kuklinski, Ironwood, MI; Myron Basina, Washburn; Aaron Mashlan, Ashland; Shawn McFadden, Ashland; Terran Spacek, Phillips; Jeff Klopstein, Tomahawk; Charlie Anderson, Ironwood, MI.
Heat 1: Flynn; Vernon; Klopstein; Simpson; Lawrence; Deragon; Kuklinski; Muzzy; Mashlan; Anderson.
Heat 2: Kisling; Casari; R Spacek; McFadden; Oreskovich; Keeler; Beeksma; T Spacek; Basina.
Make-Up Feature from 7/8: Oreskovich; Flynn; McFadden; Klopstein; Kisling; Lawrence; Beeksma; Deragon; T Spacek; Vernon; R Spacek; Muzzy; Basina; Mashlan; Casari; Keeler; Anderson; Kuklinski.
WISSOTA MIDWEST MODIFIEDS
Feature: Tyler Vernon, Ashland; Ryan Adamzak, Marengo; Wayne Stricker, Highbridge; Jesse Aho, Toivola, MI; Paul Niznik, Medford; Duane Dunbar, Marenisco, MI; Cody Carlson, Superior; Jeremy Lindquist, Ashland; Tanner Hicks, Ashland; David Simpson, Thunder Bay, ON; Justin Weinberger, Park Falls; Marcus Dunbar, Wakefield, MI; Don Craig, Thunder Bay, ON; Paul Suzik, Ironwood, MI; Ryan Barningham, Bayfield; James Kannegiesser, Hayward; Colin Chaschuk, Neebing, ON; Jared Stricker, Highbridge; Tyler Hudack, Ashland; Brandon Copp, Brule; Brady Jokinen, Mellen.
Heat 1: Vernon; Dan Kingsley, Superior; Duane Dunbar; Lindquist; Gunner Peterson, Mason; R Barningham; Jordan Barningham, Bayfield; Anthony Forfa Jr, Phillips; Diamond Bressette, Spooner; Chaschuk.
Heat 2: Niznik; Adamzak; M Dunbar; Carlson; J Stricker; Simpson; Darren Dunbar, Marenisco, MI; Chris Bretting, Washburn; Dalton Mains, Foxboro.
Heat 3: W Stricker; Jokinen; Hudack; Hicks; Alex Smith, Lake Nebagamon; Steve Altman, Mercer; Jake Kruzan, Marengo; Jeff Hanninen, Marengo.
Heat 4: Aho; Copp; Craig; Weinberger; Carter Nelson, Hermantown, MN; Bill Muhlig, Bessemer, MI; Cole Chernosky, Thunder Bay, ON; Ross Fuhrman, Ashland; Suzik.
Semi-Feature 1: R Barningham; Suzik; James Kannegiesser, Hayward; Bretting; Peterson; Smith; Darren Dunbar; Mains; Hanninen; Muhlig.
Semi-Feature 2: Simpson; J Stricker; Chaschuk; J Barningham; Bressette; Nelson; Chernosky.
Feature: Randy Graham, Trego; Scott Ovaska, Marengo; Tyler Vernon, Ashland; DeJay Jarecki, Ashland; Forrest Schultz, Ashland; Cole Vernon, Ashland; Dalton Truchon, Ashland; Jonathan Popp, Iron River; John Darwin, Iron River; Devin Dalbec, Ashland; Bella Bretting, Washburn; Joshua Saunders, Spooner; Tiffany Hudack, Ashland.
Heat 1: Graham; Jarecki; Ovaska; Bretting; C Vernon; Bubba Anderson, Trego; Truchon.
Heat 2: T Vernon; Hudack; Schultz; Darwin; Popp; Saunders; Dalbec.
Make-Up Feature from 7/8: T Vernon; Hudack; Graham; Darwin; Schultz; Jarecki; Popp; Truchon; Saunders; Traaholt; Dalbec; Anderson; Ovaska
WISSOTA PURE STOCKS
Feature: Ryan Savoy, Superior; Michael Blevins, Hibbing, MN; Justin Weinberger, Park Falls; Chad Carlson, Superior; Dylan Shelton, Wrenshall, MN; Justin Madsen, Foxboro; Kyle Copp, Brule; Randy Graham, Trego; Michael Brennan, Ashland; Allen Rapp, Saginaw, MN; Don Livingston, Ashland; Cory Jorgensen, Hermantown, MN; Andy Poll, Two Harbors, MN; Aaron Bernick, Duluth, MN; Matt Deragon, Ashland; James Vendela, South Range; Chad Nikstad, Superior; Tyler Keup, Superior; Jake Nevala, Ashland; Austin Gibson, Trego; Matt Olson, Ashland; Brock Beilke, Hayward; Annika Hammitt, Cloquet, MN; Dustin Doughty, Oakdale, MN.
Heat 1: Copp; Carlson; Livingston; Joshua Kallas, Hurley; Beilke; Doughty; Gibson.
Heat 2: Blevins; Vendela; Hammitt; Poll; Nikstad; Bernick; Nevala.
Heat 3: Savoy; Deragon; Brennan; Graham; Shelton; Andrew Hanson, Iron River.
Heat 4: Weinberger; Rapp; Madsen; Jorgensen; Keup; Olson