ABC ‘Pure Excitement’ Win to Hanson
Simpson repeats; Lavasseur, Graham earn checkers
by Nick Gima
Ashland, WI, July 14 — Andrew Hanson of Iron River took the lead after a late-race restart, then held on for the final five laps to become the 13th different winner of the “Pure Excitement” WISSOTA Pure Stock feature at the ABC Raceway on Saturday.
Sixteen Pure Stocks came to compete for an enhanced purse during the 15th annual running of the special event for the entry-level division, presented by the Ashland-Bayfield County Sportsmen’s Club. They were joined by 52 WISSOTA Modifieds and Midwest Modifieds and ABC Six-Cylinders for a full night of racing action in hot, humid conditions on a fast, racy track.
Hanson, the Raceway’s 2017 Pure Stock points champ, came into the night as the division’s points leader and started the 20-lap headline event on the inside of row 3, but the battle early on was between pole starter Randy Graham and 2013 “Pure Excitement” winner Al Rapp. The front-row pair pulled away early and entertained the crowd with almost two full laps of door-to-door racing before Rapp worked his way by for the lead.
The race was stopped five laps in for debris on the track, and Hanson, who had worked his way into third, moved by Graham to claim second on the restart. A lap later, Graham looped his ride coming off of turn 2, and all but Aaron Bernick managed to avoid the stopped car. James Vendela took advantage of his outside-second-row restart position and swept around Hanson for second, then repeated the move to grab the lead from Rapp. Vendela built a nice margin as Hanson and Brandon Hakala worked by Rapp as well, but the cushion disappeared with Austin Gibson’s stalled ride on the front straight with eight laps remaining.
Hanson stayed with Vendela for two laps after the restart and completed an inside move for what would be the winning pass, just before Graham’s car spun again to stop the action on lap 15. Over the final laps Hanson pulled to a 1.374-second margin of victory, while Hakala went around Vendela for second, only to see Vendela go by again with two laps remaining.
Kyle Copp cruised in the top-five for most of the race and came home a distant fourth. Visiting CJ Wagner, who lost a heat win earlier in the night due to a minor technical infraction and had to start last on the 16-car grid, was tagged for a different penalty during the post-feature inspection and lost his fifth-place finish, which was awarded to Cory Jorgensen.
Steve Lavasseur, who travels from River Falls each week to race at Ashland, dominated the 20-lap WISSOTA Modified feature to claim his first A-main win here since August 2015. Lavasseur started on the outside of row 1 and won the race with polesitter Cody Carlson out of turn 2 to claim a lead which he never surrendered.
As Lavasseur flew away from the field, Carlson slipped back behind Paul Niznik to third, while Darrell Nelson sped around Neil Balduc to fourth. The first 11 laps clicked off without delay, during which Lavasseur had opened up a lead of over 3.99 seconds, or roughly the length of a straightaway, on Niznik.
Jacob Hiatt’s spun car slowed the fast pace, and on the ensuing restart contact from Nelson set off a wild series of spins on the front straight for several cars, including Nelson’s.
The final nine laps ran off without any further delay, allowing Lavasseur to extend his lead to a final winning margin of 2.2 seconds. Behind him, Carlson used an inside pass of Niznik to take over second for the balance of the run, and on the final lap Pat Cook slipped past Niznik for third. Tenth-starting Todd Gehl completed the top five.
David Simpson of Thunder Bay, ON, took advantage of several restarts during the first half of the 20-lap run to climb through the 26-car WISSOTA Midwest Mod feature field. He then grabbed the lead with ten laps to go and held on for his second-straight win at ABC.
Despite a lap 1 spin by Brady Jokinen, youngster Jared Stricker drove like a seasoned veteran for the first ten laps, beating polestarter Clay Passuello out of the first turn and setting the initial pace. Stricker ran a smooth middle-groove line as he held off repeated attacks, first from former track champ George Dalbeck, and then from another impressive Canadian, Colin Chaschuk, who took the runner-up spot from Dalbeck on lap 6.
Just after Chaschuk’s pass, Justin Weinberger’s car slowed on the back chute, collecting visitor Dave DeVente. On the ensuing restart a large portion of the field gathered in a melee in turn 1 to immediately stop the show again. Dalbeck retook second on the next green flag, and Simpson – who had started 11th – climbed into the top five with a pass of Brandon Copp, but another four-car collection a lap later brought about another yellow flag.
During this caution stop, Chaschuk pulled his ride into the pit area for some minor repairs, leaving Stricker with Dalbeck and Simpson behind him for the restart. The first try was waived off due to debris on the track, but on the next attempt Simpson drove strong below Dalbeck and Stricker, and as the crossed flags indicating mid-race were shown to the field, Simpson was leading the way.
A Passuello spin on lap 12 stopped the race for the final time, and from there Simpson drew away to a second-and-a-half advantage at the checkers. Tanner Hicks had captured second just before the last yellow flag, but he lost it on the restart to Paul Suzik, who, like Simpson, had started deep in the field but used the restarts to claw his way forward. The 18th-starting Suzik held on for second, and Copp fought back to take third from Hicks with five laps left. Dan Kingsley never fell far from the top five and wound up fifth.
Graham used a late restart to get by Jake Nevala and took honors in the ABC Six-Cylinder main event. Nevala sped around the front-row starting pair of Devin Dalbec and rookie Jordan Pearce to take the initial lead, bringing Adam Traaholt along to second. Nevala was impressive in running a smooth, fast middle-groove line to put some distance on Traaholt, who had his hands full with a large pack of cars trying to get by him.
With Traaholt taking to the high side, Steve Stuart slipped down a lane and pulled into second, but that also opened the bottom groove for the seventh-starting Graham, who followed into third. Then Traaholt got bumped and spun on lap 5, collecting DeJay Jarecki and bringing out the caution flag.
On the next lap Graham worked past Stuart, and then Pearce got loose and collected several of his racing mates to bring the race to a stop again. From there the final nine laps ran clean, and after Graham worked his way around Nevala for the lead on the restart he was gone, building a 1.4-second lead within a lap, while Nevala contended with divisional points leader Tiffany Hudack.
Graham eventually ran off to a 2.55-second buffer at the checkers, while Nevala did a fine job fending off Hudack for second. Stuart faded back to a distant fourth, and Pearce fought back for fifth-place money.
Three of the four fast-lap bonuses went to feature winners – Lavasseur in the Mods (16.570 seconds / 81.472 mph); Graham in the Sixes (18.412 / 73.322); and Hanson in the Pure Stocks (19.320 / 69.876). Only Kingsley in the Mid-Mods (17.435 / 77.430) did not tack on his fast-lap bonus to a feature winner’s paycheck. The WISSOTA Super Stocks were off on this night.
The fourth race of the five-night, five-track FastLane Motorsports Northland Super Stock Series will hit the ABC Raceway on Saturday, July 21. The program is expected to draw upwards of 50 Super Stocks from across the region, racing for a shot at a $700 first-place check as well as the $1,300 Series championship payoff and other points fund and contingency awards.
As an added bonus, fans will be admitted to the grandstand free of charge, complements of Northern Clearing Inc of Ashland, provided they make a contribution to at least one of the two fundraisers as part of the night’s activities – either a cash donation to the Ashland and Bayfield County chapters of the American Cancer Society’s “Relay for Life” program, or a donation of non-perishable food items to be presented to The Brick Ministries of Ashland.
WISSOTA Midwest Mods and Pure Stocks, plus the ABC Six-Cylinders, will also be on hand; “big Mods” will have the night off.
Hot laps will begin at 6:15 pm, with racing set to start at 7. “Z-93 Race Night” will air live on WBSZ, 93.3 FM, and stream online at www.wbszfm.com, from 4:30-6 pm with at-the-track news and weather updates; fans can also listen by downloading the free HCG Radio app onto their smart phone, tablet or other mobile device.
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 log onto the track’s website, www.abcraceway.com. or on race days call (715) 682-4990.
Feature: 1-10: Steve Lavasseur, River Falls; Cody Carlson, Superior; Pat Cook, Washburn; Paul Niznik, Medford; Todd Gehl, Solon Springs; Kevin Eder, Ashland; Neil Balduc, Bessemer, MI; Steve Stuart, Ashland; Darrell Nelson, Hermantown, MN; Jake Hiatt, Mason.
11-14: Jeff Spacek, Phillips; Rick Rivord, Superior; Ryan Garson, Wrenshall, MN; Al Uotinen, Superior.
Heat 1: Lavasseur; Balduc; Uotinen; Stuart; Cook; Hiatt; Spacek.
Heat 2: Niznik; Nelson; Eder; Carlson; Gehl; Rivord; Garson.
WISSOTA Midwest Modifieds
Feature: 1-10: David Simpson, Thunder Bay, ON; Paul Suzik, Ironwood, MI; Brandon Copp, Brule; Tanner Hicks, Ashland; Dan Kingsley, Superior; George Dalbeck, Wakefield, MI; Kevin Monteith, Thunder Bay, ON; Marcus Dunbar, Wakefield, MI; Tyler Vernon, Ashland; Tyler Hudack, Ashland.
11-20: Duane Dunbar, Marenisco, MI; Jared Stricker, Highbridge; Jack Rivord, Superior; Colin Chaschuk, Neebing, ON; Wayne Stricker, Highbridge; Ryan Barningham, Bayfield; Dalton Mains, Foxboro; Ross Fuhrman, Ashland; Brady Jokinen, Mellen; Jordan Barningham, Bayfield.
21-26: Diamond Bressette, Spooner; Clay Passuello, Ironwood, MI; Tom Smart, Kakabeka Falls, ON; Gunner Peterson, Mason; Dave DeVente, Neebing, ON; Justin Weinberger, Park Falls.
Heat 1: Passuello; Kingsley; Chaschuk; Hicks; Jokinen; Weinberger; Mains; J Barningham; Bressette.
Heat 2: Copp; M Dunbar; Dalbeck; Simpson; Monteith; W Stricker; Smart; R Barningham; DeVente.
Heat 3: Hudack; Vernon; J Stricker; D Dunbar; Rivord; Suzik; Peterson; Fuhrman.
Feature: 1-10: Randy Graham, Trego; Jake Nevala, Ashland; Tiffany Hudack, Ashland; Steve Stuart, Ashland; Jordan Pearce, Ashland; Jonathan Popp, Iron River; Devin Dalbec, Ashland; DeJay Jarecki, Ashland; Joshua Saunders, Spooner; Forrest Schultz, Ashland.
11-12: Adam Traaholt, Ashland; Aaron Mashlan, Ashland.
Heat 1: Hudack; Graham; Pearce; Dalbec; Schultz; Popp; Saunders.
Heat 2: Stuart; Traaholt; Nevala; Jarecki; Mashlan; Bubba Anderson, Trego.
WISSOTA Pure Stocks
Feature: 1-10: Andrew Hanson, Iron River; James Vendela, South Range; Brandon Hakala, Tomahawk; Kyle Copp, Brule; Cory Jorgensen, Hermantown, MN; Allen Rapp, Saginaw, MN; Don Livingston, Washburn; Jeremy Cash, Duluth, MN; Jason Simonson, Poplar; Austin Gibson, Springbrook.
11-14: Brock Beilke, Hayward; Darren Dudley, Ashland; Randy Graham, Trego; Aaron Bernick, Duluth, MN.
Heat 1: Rapp; Hanson; Livingston; Cash; Jorgensen; Hakala; Simonson; Tyler Keup, Superior.
Heat 2: Vendela; Graham; Dudley; Copp; Bernick; Gibson; Beilke.
ABC 7/7/18 kids’ meet drivers & bike race results