Ashland, WI — There is a strong possibility of a record car count when the ABC Raceway hosts its 35th annual Red Clay Classic season-ending stock car racing event on Friday & Saturday, October 1-2. A promising long-term weather forecast, a great
battle for a series championship, a total purse of over $70,000, and the addition of a fourth class could all add up to a huge turnout of both racers and fans for one of the most eagerly-awaited events of the season.
This year’s event will be of some historic significance in each of the divisions competing in the traditional event. The WISSOTA late models will be making their only appearance at the track for the 2010 season, marking only the second time since 1999 that WISSOTA’s premier division will only run this one scheduled event at the three-eighths-mile red-clay oval.
Because of the complete rain-out of the 2009 Classic, Harry Hanson of Eveleth, MN, is the defending champion of the late model event, having won the 2008 50-lap A-feature. It was only Hanson’s second ABC Raceway victory in an illustrious racing career spanning over 35 years.
The weekend could also mark the first Como Oil & Propane Modified Series championship for Joey Jensen of Forest Lake, MN. Heading into the Silver 1000 at the Proctor (MN) Speedway on Thursday, Jensen – who is also the defending RCC mod feature champ – was holding a stout 33-point lead on Rick Kobs of Deer Park, and he could have the title close to sewn up by the time he pulls into Ashland on Friday. Jensen is one of only a small handful of drivers to ever win the Red Clay Classic in two different divisions, having also visited Victory Lane after the 2005 late model main event. Ironically, Kobs’ lone RCC win came that same year, in the WISSOTA super stocks.
Speaking of the supers, this could be the year that a local driver breaks finally breaks through. Not since Greg Kuklinski’s win in 2002 has an ABC Raceway regular held up the biggest trophy after a RCC super stock feature. Track champ Scott Lawrence of Superior leads a strong contingent of local stars looking for the win, but defending champion Jeff Tardy of Hibbing, MN, who
collected points championships this past summer at three different race tracks, will certainly be among many visiting drivers looking to put up a good fight. The event will also mark the addition of a fourth racing division for the first time at the Red Clay Classic.
The popular WISSOTA Midwest modifieds, which were added as a regular weekly division at the track three summers ago, were slated to be included in last year’s edition of the Classic, but weather forced the event’s complete cancellation. As a result, with some help from Mother Nature and some skill and luck on the track, one driver will make history as the Raceway’s first-ever RCC Mid-mod champ.
There will be plenty on the line for all the drivers in attendance. This weekend is the next-to-last for WISSOTA points-paying races, and it is expected that many of the top drivers in the national standings will be looking for another opportunity to gain valuable points toward their respective national championship dreams. Then there’s the purse. The late model feature winner will take home a check worth $4,000, while just starting the event will pay $350. In the modifieds, first place pays $3,000, thanks to a $500 bonus from Como Oil & Propane, while the minimum payday for making the show is $275.
In addition, the top 20 in the final Como Mod Series standings will split up a total points fund of $54,000, with the Series champ taking home the biggest share, worth $10,000. And Ashland driver Steve Stuart could wrap up the Series’ first-ever Rookie of the Year award this weekend. The super stock A-main pays $1,500 to win and $200 to start, and the Mid-mod feature winner will get $600 to win and the final finisher gets $100, with Outlaw Sign & Graphics of Ashland enhancing the purse for this event.
Also, Northern Clearing of Ashland will pay a $150 bonus to the driver posting the fastest lap in each of the four features, using the AMB scoring and timing system implemented at the track. In the event of inclement weather, racers will run for a percentage of the gate receipts.
The grandstand parking area will be available for early-arriving campers during the late afternoon to evening hours on Thursday, September 30. On Friday the pit gates open at 1 pm for racers, while the grandstands will open for the fans at 3:30 pm. Hot laps will get underway at 5:30 that night, and the first heat race of the weekend is scheduled to start at 7 pm. Heat races for all four divisions will be run on Friday.
On Saturday, the annual Red Clay Classic golf scramble will begin at the Chequamegon Bay Golf Club at 9:30 am. At the track, the pit area will open at noon, while the grandstand gates will swing open at 2:30 pm. The rounds of last-chance qualifying for each division will kick off right away at 5 pm, and the weekend will be capped off by the four big features, running 25 laps for the Mid-mods, 30 laps for the supers, 35 laps for the modifieds, and finally 50 laps for the late models. Admission tickets for adults (ages 13 & older) are only $20 each day, or $35 for a two-day pass, Fans ages 6-12 will pay only $8 each day, or $15 for a two-day pass.Reserved seats will be available right up until raceday for the price of a two-day pass plus just $10 more. A very limited number of reserved seats are still available by calling (715) 682-2672 Monday-Thursday from 6-8 pm. Pit passes are available for just $30 each day, or for just $55 for a two-day pass. Entry fees for one race car-and-driver combination are $45 for late models, $30 for mods, $25 for super stocks, and $20 for Mid-mods. Prior to each night’s race program, “Race Night” will air live with up-to-date track news and weather information on WBSZ, 93.3 FM, as well as stream online at www.wbzsfm.com, starting at 3 pm.
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