Ashland, WI — Never mind that it’s already mid-June and the ABC Raceway has completed only one race program. It’s already time to host one of the biggest shows on its 2015 stock car racing schedule.
For the fifth straight season, the Interstate Racing Association’s winged sprint cars will roar around the award-winning three-eighths-mile red-clay oval, in a program presented by the NAPA Auto Parts stores of Ashland and Washburn.
If that’s not enough, big money will be on the line for the WISSOTA Super Stocks when they compete in race number two of the three-night, three-track FastLane Motorsports Northland Super Stock Series.
The IRA, which is based in northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin but travels throughout the Midwest, hopes to bring as many as 20 of the 900-horsepower, 1,400-lb winged monsters up north. These machines have easily posted average lap times of 14 seconds or less around Ashland’s red-clay oval, equating to 90-100 mph.
“(ABC) is a great place for our guys to race,” said IRA Series president Steve Sinclair recently. “It’s not a horsepower track – it’s a finesse track. It’s a chance for our guys to show just how talented they really are with a sprint car.”
Bill Balog of Brookfield, WI, holds the ABC Raceway record for a single lap with a time of 12.382 seconds, or 109.029 mph. By comparison, Curt Myers of Cameron posted a new track single-lap time for Super Stocks during last Saturday’s feature win at 16.817 seconds, or 80.276 mph.
Having won features in all three of the IRA’s previous shows at ABC (rains washed out the 2013 show), Balog is the seven-time defending champion of the Series and the IRA’s all-time feature wins leader. However, Balog has cut back on his schedule with the tour – although one would hardly know it. Balog has raced in only five of the Series’ seven completed shows to date this season – and won features in the first four. He currently sits eighth in Series points.
The IRA points leader is Bill Rose of Plainfield, IN, by a scant two points over Ben Schmidt of Howards Grove, WI. Schmidt is one of three drivers on the tour with one A-Main win each, along with Jeremy Schultz of Beaver Dam and Blake Nimee of Oswego, IL. Nimee won in the Series’ most recent stop, at Wilmot, WI, on June 6.
These two very different types of racing cars sharing the spotlight on Ashland’s oval is nothing new. But for the Super Stocks, this weekend’s series presents a great opportunity for this highly competitive class to race for some pretty significant money.
After the opening round of the FastLane Northland Series on Friday night at the AmsOil Speedway in Superior, the 25-lap feature on Saturday night at ABC will pay $600 to the winner, and a minimum of $80 to each qualifying starter, out of a feature purse of nearly $4,200. In addition, points will be tallied after the final round, to be held on Sunday at Proctor (MN) Speedway, to determine the Series champion, who will be in line for a check of over $1,400.
Every driver that competes in all three events over the weekend will receive a $100 bonus. And if a single driver happens to capture all three feature race wins, he or she will receive an additional $1,200 bonus. That adds up to a total possible windfall of over $3,500 for the weekend, out of a combined $23,000 in purse and points fund.
WISSOTA Midwest Modifieds and the Raceway’s own Six-Cylinders will also compete in a full program of qualifying heats and feature races.
Hot laps begin at 6:15 pm, followed by timed qualifying for the IRA sprints. The first green flag of the night is scheduled to be thrown at about 7. Adult tickets are $20 each, kids ages 6-12 get in for $5, and little fans ages 5 and under will be admitted free when accompanied by a paying adult. “Z-93 Race Night” will air Saturday on WBSZ, 93.3 FM, from 4:30-6 pm with up-to-date track news and weather information.
The ABC Raceway is located 3-1/2 miles south of Ashland on State Highway 13 and one mile west on Butterworth Road. For race day information call (715) 682-4990.