Ashland, WI — The ABC Raceway completed the celebration of a very historic 2014 stock car racing season with a well-attended annual awards banquet on Saturday night at the AmericInn in Ashland.
After over 300 racers, crew members, sponsors, track workers and fans enjoyed a social hour and a buffet meal catered by Lake Shore Cafe of Ashland, trophies were presented to the top ten points finishers in each of the track’s five regular weekly divisions, while special awards were presented to both drivers and other individuals. Divisional champions were also presented with jackets commemorating their accomplishments, and all drivers participating in the Raceway’s points fund during the past summer’s campaign at the three-eighths-mile red-clay Northern Wisconsin oval were awarded their checks.
Prior to the awards ceremonies, Wisconsin State Senator Janet Bewley and State Representative Beth Meyers presented the Ashland-Bayfield County Racing Association a formal citation honoring the club for its 50 years of continuous successful operation. Outgoing Raceway Board president Kurt Beeksma then followed by acknowledging the 2014 track champions and expressing his appreciation toward the many generous sponsors who supported the track during the past season.
Beeksma also recognized the hard work of the track’s Board of Directors and its all-volunteer staff in making 2014 a highly successful season. Beeksma, who is stepping down as president of the club after serving in this capacity for the past 11 years, was then presented a plaque from vice-president Weaver Wherritt on behalf of the Raceway staff, expressing appreciation for his tireless and, as Wherritt stated, “passionate” efforts towards the unprecedented success that the Raceway has achieved during his tenure.
Steve Stuart of Ashland was presented his second championship jacket and trophy as ABC Raceway WISSOTA Modified champion. Stuart, who was lightning fast throughout the 2014 season, scored three feature victories, a division-best six heat wins, and established a new single-lap speed record for the mods on his way to his second title in the class and fifth ABC championship overall.
The highlight of Stuart’s campaign was not a win, however, but rather an outstanding runner-up finish in the Modified A-main during the track’s 39th Red Clay Classic weekend – his career-best finish in the prestigious event. Six-time track champ Jeff Spacek of Phillips was closest to Stuart in the final “big mod” rundown, while Kevin Eder and Scott Hudack, both of Ashland, and Superior’s Rick Rivord completed the top five in points. Paul Niznik of Medford, Washburn’s Pat Cook, divisional Rookie of the Year Travis Nye of Ashland, 2013 Mod champ Al Uotinen of Superior, and Iron River’s Brian Mikkonen completed the top ten.
Scott Lawrence of Superior extended his track records for championsips with his eleventh consecutive ABC Raceway WISSOTA Super Stock crown and 14th championship overall at the Ashland track. Lawrence only scored one feature win here in 2014, but that brought his career total to 54 – good for fifth-place on the track’s all-time win list. That, combined with six heat wins and seven other top-five feature finishes kept him in contention for the championship all season.
Lawrence’s advantage over second-finishing Cory Casari of Montreal – just 12 points – was the narrowest winning margin of any of the five divsional champs. Nick Oreskovich of Mason, 1993 Super Stock champ Randy Spacek of Phillips, and Shawn McFadden Jr of Ashland filled out the top five in points, while Ken Truscott of Greenland, MI, Superior’s Dave Flynn and DJ Keeler, Ironwood, MI’s Don Muzzy, and Dave Elliott of Minocqua garnered sixth- through tenth-place trophies.
Washburn’s Myron Basina, who finished just two points out of the top-ten, was named the Rookie of the Year in the Super Stocks at Ashland for 2014.
Mike Truscott of Chippewa Falls, who originally considered running only a part-time campaign at ABC this past season, made his long weekly trips north pay off by earning his first WISSOTA Midwest Modified title here in dominant fashion. His season started with feature wins during five of the first six nights of racing here this past summer and ended with a thrilling victory in the Red Clay Classic Mid-Mod headliner.
Truscott’s efforts in Ashland also helped him to a career-best third-place finish in WISSOTA’s national Mid-Mod points standings and were part of his 21 total feature wins on the season.
Also registering career-best finishes in points at ABC were Paul Suzik of Ironwood, MI, and Jeff Klopstein of Tomahawk, who wound up the season in second and third, respectively, while Ryan Adamzak of Ashland finished fourth for the third straight season, just ahead of youngster Cole Spacek of Phillips. Landing in positions six through ten were Niznik, Tanner Hicks of Ashland, top Mid-Mod rookie Tad Bretting of Ashland, three-time ABC champ Duane Dunbar of Marenisco, MI, and Cody Carlson of Superior.
As seemed appropriate for such an historic season at the Raceway, Tiffany Hudack of Ashland made history herself by becoming the Raceway’s first-ever female points champion, in the Six-Cylinder division. A highly successful high school and collegiate athlete, Hudack added to her impressive sports resume in 2014 while being the most consistent of the division’s runners, with ten top-five feature finishes and her first career feature win in the 12 shows run by the class during
the past summer.
Tiffany’s brother Tyler Hudack of Ashland, who led the division with five feature wins in 2014, finished second in the Sixes for the third straight season, while Ashland’s Forrest Schultz scored a caareer-best third-place points trophy. Ethan Beeksma of Ironwood, MI, the top-finishing rookie in the Sixes, finished fourth, just ahead of Zach Pagels of Marengo. Sixth through tenth included Ken Tyykila of Iron River, two-time champ Dale Coddington of Hayward, and Ashland pilots Aaron Mashlan, Adam Traaholt, and rookie Colton Vernon.
Matt Deragon of Ashland collected his second ABC Raceway Pure Stock championship trophy and jacket after a dominant 2014 campaign. Deragon’s 52-point final margin was the largest of any of the divisional champs, and he tied Pure Stock division records with eight total feature wins on the season and a run of five straight A-main checkered flags from July 12-August 9.
Terran Spacek of Phillips was closest in the final standings to Deragon, while Jeff Christman of South Range, two-time ABC champ Tim Carbon of Highbridge and Pure Stock Rookie of the Year Andrew Hanson of Iron River completed the top five.
Ashland’s Brandle Pupp, Chris Johnson of South Range, 2007 ABC Pure Stock champ Glenn Dammer of Duluth, MN, Randy Graham of Trego, and Superior’s Steve Udeen fell into the final points in order, sixth through tenth.
Each of the track champions was gracious in their acceptance speeches and appreciative of the help and suppport they received from their families, crew members, sponsors and fans.
Casari was named as Most Improved Driver for 2014, while the track’s Sportsman of the Year honor was presented to Niznik. Kurt Beeksma presented the prestigious President’s Award for outstanding service to the Raceway to George Bowers, and he also presented Nick Gima with the Raceway’s Award of Excellence, for his long-time involvement and efforts as announcer and publicist.
Following the awards presentation was a drawing for pit passes and pit spots for the drivers, as well as door prizes for the guests. Attendees then enjoyed music by BB King.
The ABC Raceway’s 2015 stock car racing season is slated to kick off in mid-May. 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 call (715) 682-4990, or log on to the track’s website, www.abcraceway.com.