ASHLAND: Yrjanainen wins No. 70, Lawrence takes third straight at ABC
By: By Nick Gima, For The Telegram, Superior Telegram
ASHLAND -- Veteran racers Dean Yrjanainen and Scott Lawrence padded their feature win totals at the ABC Raceway Saturday night, in a five-division program presented by Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College - Ashland Campus.
The spotlight event of the AMSOIL Dirt Track Series program was punctuated by a side-by-side duel between Yrjanainen and Jody Bellefeuille over the final six laps of the WISSOTA modified A-main. Bellefeuille captured the early lead and pulled to a near-straightaway advantage, while Yrjanainen battled with Rick Rivord for second.
Yrjanainen cleared Rivord on lap eight as Bellefeuille increased his advantage to a full straightaway, but the complexion changed on the next curcuit when the lone caution flag of the race was waived for a two-car spin. Yrjanainen lined up directly behind Bellefeuille for the restart, and after letting Bellefeuille scoot away by a few car-lengths he reeled in the leader, eventually pulling alongside on lap 14.
The lead duo ran away from the field, with Bellefeuille flying around the rim of the three-eighths-mile red clay oval and Yrjanainen hugging the bottom. The Lake Nebagamon veteran was officially scored as the leader for the first time with three laps to go and had two car-lengths on Bellefeuillethe next time around, but Bellefeuille made one last charge and beat Yrjanainen to the white flag. Yrjanainen recovered to edge ahead at the stripe by barely a fender for his 70th career win here - good for second all-time.
Superior's Al Uotinen slipped by Rivord after the restart to take third and held the position to the end of the 20-lapper, while Jeff Spacek followed in fifth.
“That was a really, really cool race with Jody,” a relieved Yrjanainen told the crowd from Victory Lane afterwards. “I really needed this win.”
Lawrence, meanwhile, stayed perfect in WISSOTA super stock feature action at Ashland, capturing his third of the season and 44th of his career here. The Superior star’s drive for his seventh-straight championship here continued in a time-limit-shortened race that was marred by several hard crashes.
Rookie polesitter CJ Polacek got sideways in front of the field in the first corner and collected six other cars to start the event. After over 15 minutes of clean-up, the field completed a single lap before Nick Oreskovich’s fender flew off on the back stretch, causing another stoppage.
Lawrence had just snuck past Randy Spacek for second on lap two when another spin brought about another delay. By now over 20 minutes had elapsed before a third lap was recorded, and Lawrence spent the next few go-arounds threatening Brian Mikkonen for the lead by digging deep on the bottom groove. After Dave Flynn and Roy Pumala spun and parked their rides, Lawrence went to work on Mikkonen for several laps before finally easing by and pulling away.
On lap 12 Lawrence’s lead was over 2.5 seconds, but that was erased by Polacek’s second spin of the run. With that the race was ended by officials for exceeding the half-hour time limit, and Lawrence was awarded the win. Mikkonen, Kevin Eder, Oreskovich and Spacek completed the top five.
Jeff Marshall of Thunder Bay, Ontario, also stayed perfect here in the WISSOTA Midwest modifieds by winning his second feature of the season in two visits. Bill Byholm, running the car formerly driven by John Frydrych, beat polesitter Roland Gordon through the first corner of the 15-lap main event and stayed in front of a closely-grouped field for the first half of the event, while George Dalbeck charged through the crowd to take second.
Marshall, who started ninth on the 23-car grid, restarted fourth after the race’s only slowdown, for a Neil Balduc spin on lap fie, but he dove inside on Dalbeck for third spot with the green flag and then used a similar move to cut under both Taylor Leuthner and Byholm for the lead a tour later. From there Marshall built his lead up to a full second on the field for his third career ABC Raceway win, while Leuthner got by Byholm for second with five laps remaining and stayed there for the duration of the run.
Dalbeck and Mickey Nosser finished fourth and fifth, respectively.
Neil Adamczak finally proved how fast his hot rod was by pulling away from an angry crowd of six-cylinders for his second career win here. The youngster from Ashland has been running stong but has not been able to put his dominant car in Victory Lane until this night.
Dale Coddington began the 15-lapper from the pole and held the early lead, but Adamczak moved quickly up into the first challenger’s spot and kept the heat on until making what turned out to be the winning pass on lap three. From there Adamczak simply drew away as all behind him jostled for position.
By lap nine Adamczak had caught the slower backmarkers and was deftly weaving his way through traffic. Then on lap 10 Shane Basina’s car slowed dramatically through the north turn, and Tyler Luger could not avoid heavy contact. After both badly-damaged cars made their way to the pits the final five laps clicked off non-stop, and with no other taffic to hinder him Adamczak cruised to a winning margin of over eight seconds.
Scott Ovaska muscled his way past several cars over that last green-flag run for runner-up honors, while Shawn McFadden, Jr, Greg Jaeger and Coddington led the balance of the tightly-packed field.
After two attempts at starting the pure stock 10-lap feature, Tim Carlson snared the early lead from his front-row starting spot. But Josh Loucks turned up the pressure, and the rare visitor from Carlton, Minn., took over the lead a lap after midrace and ran away with his first-ever feature win here.
The field was trimmed from ten scheduled starters to just six running at the end due to a variety of maladies, but Loucks’ car was on a rail as he built up a nearly full straightaway on Carlson. “I haven’t beaten the 18 (Carlson) yet all year,” the winner told the crowd from Victory Lane. “It feels pretty good.”
Carlson was followed at a distance by his brother Chad, who started last on the grid. Tim Carbon came home fourth, and rookie racer Tiffany Hudack highlighted her high-school graduation weekend with a career-best fifth-place run.
In all, 89 cars competed on another gorgeous night for racing in northern Wisconsin.
Next Saturday the ABC Raceway will invite fans young and old alike onto the race track to meet their favorite drivers and collect photos, autographs and souvenirs when Little Caesar’s Pizza presents the annual Kids’ Meet the Drivers Night. Hot laps will start at 6:15 p.m., with the “meet-and-greet” session beginning shortly thereafter and racing starting just after 7. “Race Night” will air live on WBSZ, 93.3 FM, from 4:30 to 6 p.m. with at-the-track news and weather updates.
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, www.abcraceway.com.
Feature: Dean Yrjanainen, Lake Nebagamon; Jody Bellefeuille, Duluth; Al Uotinen, Superior; Rick Rivord, Superior; Jeff Spacek, Phillips; Robby Bunkelman, Abbotsford; Steve Stuart, Ashland; Bill Byholm, Glidden; Wayne Stricker, Highbridge; Michael Truscott, Chippewa Falls; Scott Hudack, Ashland; Steve Lavasseur, River Falls; Kent Baxter, Elk Mound; Jerry Hartman, Marenisco, Mich.; David Baxter, Eau Claire; Kelly Checkalski, Poplar; Ross Lightner, Washburn.
Heat 1: Uotinen; Bunkelman; Yrjanainen; Rivord; Hartman; D Baxter; Lightner; Byholm; Checkalski.
Heat 2: Bellefeuille; Truscott; Spacek; Hudack; Stuart; Lavasseur; K Baxter; Stricker.
WISSOTA Super Stocks
Feature: Scott Lawrence, Superior; Brian Mikkonen, Iron River; Kevin Eder, Ashland; Nick Oreskovich, Mason; Randy Spacek, Phillips; Willie Johnsen, Superior; Cory Casari, Montreal; Tad Schoonover, Eagle River; Roy Pumala, Mason; CJ Polacek, Phillips; Dave Elliott, Minocqua; Dave Flynn, Superior; Ken Truscott, Greenland, MI; Don Koivisto, Saxon; Nathan Dees, Hurley.
Heat 1: Lawrence; Eder; Spacek; Mikkonen; Johnsen; Dees; Schoonover; Eric Olson, Ladysmith.
Heat 2: Flynn; Casari; Truscott; Polacek; Elliott; Koivisto; Oreskovich; Pumala.
WISSOTA Midwest modifieds
Feature: Jeff Marshall, Thunder Bay, Ontario; Taylor Leuthner, Foxboro; Bill Byholm, Glidden; George Dalbeck, Wakefield, Mich.; Mickey Nosser, Phillips; Shawn McFadden, Ashland; Kevin Monteith, Thunder Bay, Ontario; Ryan Adamczak, Ashland; Jimmy Latvala, Solon Springs; Cody Carlson, Superior; Rick Przybylski, Ashland; Pat Cook, Washburn; Duane Dunbar, Marenisco, Mich.; George Truscott, Greenland, MI; Rob Weber, Ashland; Steve Anderson, Ironwood, Mich.; Roland Gordon, Bayfield; Jake Gondik, Foxboro; Shawn Rivord, Superior; Neil Balduc, Bessemer, Mich; Dan Sellung, Mason; Travis Nye, Ashland; Joe Ecklund, Springbrook.
Heat 1: Leuthner; Gordon; Dalbeck; Balduc; McFadden; Eckland; Weber; Gondik.
Heat 2: Nosser; Byholm; Marshall; Adamczak; Przybylski; Latvala; Rivord; Sellung.
Heat 3: Monteith; Nye; Carlson; Cook; Dunbar; Truscott; Anderson.
Feature: Neil Adamczak, Ashland; Scott Ovaska, Marengo; Shawn McFadden, Jr, Ashland; Greg Jaeger, Mellen; Dale Coddington, Hayward; Tyler Hudack, Ashland; Chuck Hawkinson, Mellen; Don Muzzy, Ironwood, Mich.; Pat Beeksma, Ironwood, Mich.; Ken Tyykila, Iron River; Tad Bretting, Ashland; Jim Anderson, Mason; DeJay Mihalek, Ashland; Adam Traaholt, Ashland; Ron Lillie, Wakefield, Mich.; Cory Marincel, Ashland; Forrest Schultz, Ashland; Tyler Luger, Iron River; Shane Basina, Bayfield; Tyler Vernon, Ashland.
Heat 1: McFadden; Jaeger; Ovaska; Hudack; Hawkinson; Anderson; Schultz; Aaron Mashlan, Ashland.
Heat 2: Adamczak; Muzzy; Tyykila; Bretting; Basina; Jim Pelto, Ashland; Vernon; Mihalek.
Heat 3: Coddington; Luger; Beeksma; Lillie; Marincel.
Feature: Josh Loucks, Carlson, Minn.; Tim Carlson, Superior; Chad Carlson, Superior; Tim Carbon, Highbridge; Tiffany Hudack, Ashland; Dustin Gay, Ashland; Dustin Follett, Cloquet; Matt Deragon, Ashland; Al Rapp, Saginaw, Minn.
Heat: Rapp; T. Carlson; Loucks; Ken Tody Jr., Ashland; Deragon; Carbon; Hudack; Gay; Follett; C. Carlson.