(Ashland, WI) Don’t let the recent cold, wet weather get you down, race fans. The 2011 stock car racing season is just around the corner. The ABC Raceway has 16 regular-season AmsOil Dirt Track Series events slated for the upcoming summer months, as well as its annual Red Clay Classic, to make up an exciting schedule.
The highlight of the summer portion of the season will be the first-ever visit to the three-eighths-mile red clay oval by the Interstate Racing Association’s Outlaw Sprint Car Series. Based in southern Wisconsin and northern Illinois, the touring series features wild 800-plus horsepower, 1,400-pound winged sprints which are based on the popular World of Outlaws national series seen on TV. In fact, quite often drivers from both series compete together at tracks in the Midwest, and many current WoO stars got their starts with IRA. The tour expects to bring upwards of 25 cars to Ashland. The IRA has been a regular visitor in recent years to the nearby Superior (now AmsOil) Speedway, where drivers have been clocked at speeds well in excess of 100 miles per hour.
The local season starts this Saturday, with the annual Car Show and Swap Meet at FastLane Motorsports on East Highway 2 in Ashland. Several local racers will have their machines on display from 10 am until 2:30 pm, and some will be on hand for photos and autographs for the younger fans.
The track is also planning an open practice session on Saturday, May 7, from noon until approximately 3 pm, weather permitting.
The green-flag action officially begins with the season opener on May 14 and continues each Saturday night through June. Included during that stretch will be popular events such as Kids’ Meet the Drivers Night on June 4, a visit from the Northern Vintage Stockcar Racers Club on June 18, and the “Jam the Stands” night on June 25. That last program will include the third annual “Preacher Feature,” and fans will gain admission for half the regular price plus a non-perishable food donation.
The Como Oil & Propane Modified Series will bring over 50 of the region’s best open-wheel racers to the Ashland track on Tuesday, June 28. The third stop of the expanded ten-race Series will also include WISSOTA Midwest modifieds and the
The Raceway will make a break from tradition and take a Saturday night off, on July 2 for the Independence Day weekend, before rattling off action-packed race programs on each of the final eight Saturday nights of the summer. The AmsOil Qualifier for WISSOTA mods, Mid-mods and super stocks will take place on July 9, with that night’s WISSOTA feature winners earning starting spots in the prestigious Race of Champions during the WISSOTA 100 in Huron, SD, in mid-September. The Six-Cylinder Summer Sizzler will also be held that night. The kids get back on the track for bike races on July 16, and the IRA sprints will headline a huge July 30 program, which will include the Super Stock Challenge and sixes in action as well.
The battles for track championships continue through August and will include the popular “Pure Excitement 25″ pure stock special on August 13. The season concludes with the Fan Appreciation Night season finale on August 27. The 36th annual Red Clay Classic is the traditional season wrap-up in the Northland, with approximately 200 WISSOTA late models, modifieds, super stocks and Mid-mods competing for a total purse in excess of $75,000. During that event, the 2011 Como Mod Series championship will als be decided.
Many projects have been completed or are nearing completion to improve the facility itself for the upcoming season. Prior to last year’s Red Clay Classic a new, safer flagman’s stand was erected, and improved safety lighting was installed. An increase in the seating capacity of the grandstands was achieved by the addition of bleachers to the south end of the front straightaway, and new, more comfortable bench covers will be installed on the main grandstand seats before the season opener.
“Considering the higher gas prices and difficult economy, we’re going to do everything we can to offer an entertaining, affordable night of fun that every member of the family can enjoy,” Raceway president Kurt Beeksma stated recently.
Wagner’s Ashland Shell and Arby’s Restaurant join the ABC Raceway as a season-long sponsor for the first time. Returning sponsors include the Ashland Area Chamber of Commerce; the Ashland-Bayfield County Sportsman’s Club; the Ashland County Market; the Bad River Lodge, Casino & Convention Center; Baxter’s Speed Shop; Birchgrove Campground; Chicago Iron & Supplies; Como Oil & Propane; FastLane Motorsports & Custom Powdercoating; Heartland Communications; Little Caesar’s Pizza; NAPA Auto Parts; Northern Clearing; the Northern State Bank; North Star Beverage; Rivord Trucking; WIMI-FM; and WITC-Ashland Campus
The pit gates will open at 4:30 pm on every regular-season race night, while the grandstands will welcome fans at 5. Hot laps get started at 6:15, and the first green flag each night will be thrown at 7 pm. Admission tickets for adults (ages 13 & older) remain at only $10, while fans ages 12 and under are welcome for free when accompanied by a paying adult. There is also a ten-race grandstand punch-pass card available for only $90. Pit admission prices also hold fast at $25 per person. Prior to each race program, “Race Night” will air live with up-to-date track news and weather information on WBSZ, 93.3 FM, from 4:30-6 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, .