Ashland, WI — For the drivers in contention for divisional points titles at the ABC Raceway, it all boils down to this Saturday night.
Pepsi, Northstar Beverage of Hurley, and WIMI, 99.7 FM, of Ironwood, MI, will be the presenting sponsors of Championship Saturday Night at the three-eighths-mile northern Wisconsin red-clay oval. Champions in all five regular weekly divisions will be crowned as the 2015 points season draws to a close.
As is usually the case at ABC, no one has their named etched on a championship trophy just yet, although all five points leaders heading into the final night helped their causes significantly last weekend. Keeping in mind that the Raceway uses WISSOTA’s points system, which offers a maximum 57 possible points during each race night, no fewer than 28 drivers are still mathematically in contention for the five championships.
In the WISSOTA Modified division, Superior’s Al Uotinen of Superior strengthened his case towards a sixth WISSOTA Modified track title, and first since 2013, after a second-place finish to visiting Jody Bellefeuille of Duluth, MN, in last Saturday night’s Mod feature. Uotinen holds a 17-point advantage on Jeff Spacek of Phillips, who already has six ABC track championships, including four in the “big Mod” class.
Defending champ Steve Stuart of Ashland sits third and will need a lot of luck go his way if he hopes to have any chance of repeating, as will fourth-place Brian Mikkonen of Iron River and fifth-place Kevin Eder of Ashland.
Jeff Klopstein of Tomahawk could turn out to be the surprise answer to this season’s biggest question posed back in May – can anyone other than Scott Lawrence win a WISSOTA Super Stock title in Ashland? Klopstein, who is in his first season in a Super after a brief but successful stint in WISSOTA’s Midwest Modified class, scored his first feature win in his new ride last Saturday night here and took over the points lead.
Shane Kisling, the 2011 Red Clay Classic champ from Sarona who has made ABC his regular Saturday night haunt this year after being a frequent visitor in seasons past, is only six points back of Klopstein, while Lawrence, the 11-time defending Super Stock champ from Superior, has made the best of a tough season and still sits third, just ahead of Mason’s Nick Oreskovich and Randy Spacek of Phillips.
The Mid-Mod points battle may provide the most drama before the night is done, as no fewer than six drivers are still in the hunt for the title. Leading the way is Paul Suzik of Ironwood, MI, who, despite only a fifth-place effort in last Saturday’s feature, still inched his slim lead on Ashland’s Ryan Adamzak up to just five points.
None of the top five in the standings, which also includes Ashland drivers Tyler Vernon in third, Eder in fourth and Tanner Hicks in fifth – has ever won a points title in any division, and only 24 points separate Suzik from Hicks. Ironwood’s George Dalbeck, the 2011 ABC Mid-Mod champ, is also still in contention in sixth.
The Six-Cylinder battle has been narrowed down to a two-car race, between current points leader and two-time track champ Dale Coddington of Hayward and Ashland’s Tiffany Hudack, who won the division title in 2014. The difference between the two is just nine points, after Coddington outran Hudack to the win in last Saturday’s “Summer Sizzler” special.
Tyler Hudack and Forrest Schultz, both of Ashland, are a ways back and would need a lot of ill to befall both of the frontrunners in order to have a chance at a first-ever title for either driver.
Ashland’s Matt Deragon is the only driver at ABC in a favorable position to successfully defend his 2014 crown, as he leads the Pure Stock standings by 22 over two-time Raceway champ Tim Carbon of Highbridge. Deragon, who ran off to his 14th career feature victory here last weekend, is one away from tying Cory Casari’s track-record career Pure Stock feature win total.
While Deragon may seem to have things well in hand, four drivers – Trego’s Randy Graham, Randy Conner of Hayward, Ashland’s Brandle Pupp, and Glenn Dammer of Duluth, MN – are within seven points of each other in the battle for third place in the Pure Stock standings.
The Raceway will honor the top ten in the final standings in each class, along with other accomplishments, at its awards banquet in January.
After Saturday night, the Raceway staff will spend a month preparing for its 40th annual Red Clay Classic on October 2-3, during which upwards of 200 racers are expected to compete for a share of over $86,000 in prize money to be offered.
Hot laps for the regular-season finale start at 6:15 pm, followed by racing at 7. Adult tickets are just $10, and kids ages 12 and under are admitted free when accompanied by a paying adult. “Z-93 Race Night” will air live Saturday on WBSZ, 93.3 FM, and stream online at www.wbszfm.com, 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 raceday information call (715) 682-4990.