The two-day program featured the first of two visits on the season for the WISSOTA late models, and the second of three visits during the season for the WISSOTA Midwest modifieds at ABC.
Friday’s program, presented by Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College and WIMI-FM, brought 36 late models out for the $2,000-to-win, 35-lap A-main during the second stop on the six-race, four-track AmsOil-sponsored tour. Hanson started from the pole and immedately streaked out to a huge lead, building it to a full
straightaway on Jeff Broking and Keane Laakson by lap 9. Before the event was one-third done Hanson was within range to put the tail-enders a lap down. Broking held off Laakson until the halfway point, when Laakson used an inside line to take second.
The fast pace was stalled only once, at lap 18, when Jeff Massengill slammed hard into the turn 1 guardrail. On the restart Hanson pulled away to another three car-length lead, but with seven laps to go Laakson and Nelson had reeled in the leader, who was in the process of putting Terry Lillo a lap in arrears.
Over the final five laps Nelson slipped past Laakson for second and showed Hanson his right-front fender on a couple of occasions, and their two cars were dead-even at the white flag. But Hanson had just enough coming out of the final corner to hold on for his first-ever win at Ashland. In Victory Lane Nelson complemented Hanson on the clean race for the win, while Laakson had 13th-starting Jake Redetzke on his tail for the final tour of the red-clay oval. Tom Nesbitt came home solidly in fifth, ahead of Steve Vesel, Kyle Peterlin, Series points leader Joel Cryderman, Rick Hanestad and Broking.
The Series continues on to the Superior Speedway on Friday, August 17. Late models return to the ABC Raceway on September 28-29 for the 32nd Red Clay Classic.
Scott Lawrence padded his points lead with a clean sweep of Friday’s WISSOTA super stock action, but the feature win didn’t come without its share of drama. Lawrence started 12th on the 24-car grid as Curt Myers pulled away from the pole to the early lead. Scattered yellow flags kept Myers from sprinting away from Joe Oliver and Brian Mikkonen, and Tyler Kintner edged around Mikkonen just one lap before a lap 6 caution for debris.
After two more laps Eric Olson was turned around by Mikkonen, who soon after retired from the event, and from there Myers began to extend his lead by riding the high line as the race stayed green for nine laps. During this stretch Lawrence clawed his way through the field, slipping past Kintner for third just before the yellow lights flashed on for a three-car incident three laps from the finish.
The fireworks started with two laps left, when Charlie Anderson spun in turn 4; at the same time Lawrence, who had worked the bottom groove to sneak under Myers for the lead coming to the white flag, slid up the track into Myers’ line on the front stretch, and Myers couldn’t help but tag the tail-end of Lawrence’s car. The contact continued into turn 2 as several front-runners attempted to slow for the caution lights; the resulting chaos took out several top-ten cars and set up a green-white-checkered finish.
On the final lap Lawrence, whose car was loose from rear-end damage, slipped up the track coming out of the last corner, pinning Myers’ car against the wall. Most of the top ten had to scramble across the front chute and into the infield to avoid the melee, but fifth-running Randy Spacek’s car climbed the front-straight concrete wall and scraped his way above Myers car and under the flag stand. When the smoke had cleared Lawrence had his third feature win of the season, just ahead of Oliver, Kintner, Olson and Spacek.
Greg Jaeger chalked up some valuable points on Friday by taking both the regularly-scheduled feature and the make-up feature from July 14 in the six-cylinder division, as well as his heat. After the first start was waived off in the make-up 15-lapper, Chuck Hawkinson kicked off a tough night by driving his car straight over the turn 1 guardrail, landing on all fours on the other side. From there Jaeger edged ahead of Dale Coddington for the lead just before a three-car mess on lap 2.
The race ran off two more laps before Dan Moncher spun, but from there the show ran off non-stop, and Jaeger gradually pulled away to a seven car-length win. Coddington held off determined youngsters Shawn McFadden, Jr, and Steve Stuart for second, and rookie Travis Swanson trailed in fifth.
Later, in the scheduled six-cylinder A-main, Coddington seemed to get his come-uppance, pulling away from Warren Beede as Jaeger had to work past Don Muzzy and Scott Ovaska into third. Caution-flag slowdowns on laps 7, 8 and 9 kept the field tight, but Coddington pulled away each time. Finally Jaeger got by Beede with four laps left with what later proved to be the winning pass, as Coddington took the checkered flag by a straightway but was later disqualified for refusing a post-race technical inspection.
Beede, Ovaska, Hawkinson and Swanson completed the top five. Jaeger pulled to within one point of leader Stuart in the division’s standings with his effort.
On Satruday the first-time winning continued with the Mid-mods, where Johnson outran polesitter Jimmy Latvala out of turn 2 to take the initial lead in the 15-lap feature. Nick Lavato worked for two laps before taking second away from Latvala, and then a two-car spin brought Johnson back to the field for a restart.
Johnson and Lavato pulled away for their own leader’s duel, while Mark Kangas grabbed third from Latvala on lap 6. Randy Vezina’s spin at mid-race negated a lead-changing pass by Lavato, and a series of spins and get-togethers slowed the pace for a bit until lap 10, when Lavato, coming off a restart, spun by himself in front of everyone but Johnson in turn 2. From there Johnson ran off to the $400 win, a distance away from Kangas, Latvala, Frank Soucek and Wayne Dean. In Victory Lane Johnson revealed that his car was formerly owned by big-mod driver Jerry Hartman and actually had a handful of wins previously at
The Mid-mods will return one more time to the Ashland track, on August 11.
Donnie Lofdahl has had more than his fair share of hard luck over the past few years, but his luck was nothing but good as he stormed away with the lead, then held on to survive Saturday’s wreck-filled WISSOTA super stock feature. Lofdahl beat Alan Hartell through the first two corners and had begun to draw away from the close-knit field as the first 12 laps of the 20 provided plenty of action but no delays. Kevin Eder worked past Hartell into second just a lap before Brian Lund’s car slowed to a stop on the back chute, and that brought about a series of issues that kept the race from getting back in rhythm.
The worst of these issues came with the second attempt to restart the event, as a couple of cars that checked up caused an eight-car pile-up directly under the flagstand that took out fourth-place Todd Bonney and completely destroyed rookie Nick Oreskovich’s strong-running machine.
Despite about of third of the field removed, it still took a couple more efforts to get the race on pace, but under green Lofdahl hugged the inside line to keep a determined Eder at bay for his first-ever WISSOTA-sanctioned win. Duane Dunbar completed a solid night with a third-place run, followed by points-leader Lawrence – who started 21st of the 22 on the grid – and Mikkonen.
Dalbeck had been running well recently at Three Lakes for a few weeks, but he came back to Ashland in a big way with his first ABC WISSOTA-sanctioned win and second ever here. Dalbeck was off and running right from the get-go as he built up a near-straightaway lead after a lap 2 restart for a Butch Kummer spin. Points leader Rob Weber moved past Cory Casari for second about four laps in but had nothing for Dalbeck, who took advantage of the lack of yellow flags the rest of the way for his first win here since a pure stock victory on July 8, 2006.
Former track champ Larry Haderly climbed back behind the wheel of a streeter for the first time in over a year and a half to earn a third-place run, ahead of Greg Kuklinski. John Kallas crossed the line fifth but was disqualified for the use of illegal suspension parts, and Casari was awarded the position at the pay window.
Jeff Spacek was saved by a late caution flag and collected his first WISSOTA modified feature win of the season at ABC and 42nd overall here. The polestarter first survived a five-lap side-by-side battle with Hartman but restarted ahead of Hartman after a two-car spin. After another quick caution flag five more laps clicked off under green, during which a number of different cars came up to challenge for top-five runs.
Divisional points leader Dean Yrjanainen gained second on lap 9, with Scott Hudack hot on his heels before a Kelly Checkalski spin. Then Bill Byholm made his move for third but got into Hudack and spun Scott on lap 14, giving both cars flat tires.
Spacek had nearly lost the lead just prior to that stop, but he learned from the lesson well by holding his car to the bottom to keep the faster Yrjanainen from making a winning pass over the final six laps. Tenth-starting Rick Rivord continued his strong recent surge by passing three cars in the last laps for third, and an impressive Duane Dale came from 14th at the drop of the first green flag to steal fourth away from Robby Bunkelman at the line.
“Thank God for the yellows,” Spacek said after the race, “or else Dean was going right by me.”
Glenn Dammer took advantage of the early race leader spinning another car and drove to the front for his track-best sixth pure stock feature win of the season here. Dammer was eighth on the grid when the 12-lapper started, as six-cylinder points leader Stuart dominated the early laps in Bruce Kalmon’s car. Zene Anderson was running third when he tagged Darren Dudley’s second-place car two laps in, bringing about the first of the two caution flags in the race.
Ann Erickson got past Dudley after the restart and stayed with Stuart, while Dammer used an inside dive to drive past several cars into third. Then Dammer’s break came when Stuart, while trying to hold off the challenges of Erickson, made contact with Erickson’s car and caused a spin. This sent Stuart to the back and put Dammer on Erickson’s trunk lid for the last restart of the race, and when Erickson slipped up the track through turn 4 with three laps left Dammer drove through the open door and ran off to his seventh career win here, padding his points lead.
A lap later Erickson repeated her move through turn 4, and Nathan Dees drove underneath for second, while Chad Carlson and Jeff Christman followed Erickson to the final flag.
Action at the 3/8th-mile red clay oval continues on Saturday, August 4, with the third and final round of the Bad River Lodge & Casino Modified Triple Header Series, presented by Rivord Trucking and FastLane Motorsports. The top seven points-earners from the three-race Series will be crowned at the end of the evening, and the top driver will be presented a check for $500 from the championship purse of $2,000. Hot laps will begin at 6:15 pm and the first green flag will drop at 7.
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, . “Racenight” will air Saturday on WJJH, 96.7 & 102.3 FM, from 4:30-6 pm with up-to-date track news and weather information.