Dalbeck delivers in Mid-Mods; Oreskovich holds on in Supers at ABC
By: By Nick Gima, For The Telegram, Superior Telegram
ASHLAND -- After two weeks of rainouts and despite overcast skies again Saturday, the ABC Raceway finally got back to AMSOIL Dirt Track Series action with a special program presented by Baxter’s Speed Shop & Custom Machining of Dorchester.
During the show, George Dalbeck of Wakefield, Mich., was dominant in collecting his first-ever WISSOTA Midwest modified feature win at Ashland, while Mason’s Nick Oreskovich snapped Scott Lawrence’s three-race WISSOTA super stock feature win streak here. Also earning main-event wins were Dale Coddington of Hayward in the six-cylinders and Al Rapp of Saginaw, Minn., in the pure stocks.
Dalbeck, in his third season in the Mid-mods, had last visited ABC’s victory lane in Aug., 2007 while racing WISSOTA street stocks. In Saturday’s 15-lap A-feature he waited through two first-lap restarts -- one for a Cody Carlson spin and the other for debris -- before using the inside lane in a three-wide pass for the lead at the conclusion of the first scored lap.
But Dalbeck was overtaken by surprising rookie Neil Balduc a lap later, and it took him another five laps of digging on the inside groove before he slipped back by Balduc for good. From there Dalbeck extended his lead with every non-stop lap before finally ending his personal victory drought nearly four full seconds ahead of the nail-biter battle for second, in which the impressive Balduc nipped veteran Mickey Nosser at the line.
Shawn McFadden and Ryan Adamczak completed the top five.
“I never would’ve believed I’d be here tonight,” an obviously enthusiastic Dalbeck stated in the winner’s circle afterwards.
If it hadn’t been for some untimely caution flags, Oreskovich might have had just as dominant a victory as Dalbeck’s. Instead, his win in the 20-lap super stock main was a cliffhanger to the end. He started on the pole and outran Brian Mikkonen and Randy Spacek out of turn two, and over the first 12 uninterrupted laps he steadily built up a one-second advantage and looked to be uncatchable.
Behind him was a four-car battle between Mikkonen, Spacek, Kevin Eder and Lawrence that never seemed to let up in intensity. Lawrence, who started in row four on the 17-car starting grid, was looking for his fourth straight feature win to start the season here, and he made his way into the top five less than two laps in to the run.
Just as Oreskovich was about to put Don Koivisto a lap down, the caution lights blinked on for Tom Treviranus’s spin, and this was nearly the leader’s undoing. At the restart Eder began an all-out assault, working the bottom groove to slip past both Spacek and Mikkonen for second and pulling alongside the high-side-flying Oreskovich. With just three laps left Cory Casari and Tad Schoonover looped together, and Eder took one last shot at the win when the green lights came back on.
But Oreskovich kept his cool and ran the high line to perfection, holding on for a car-length win at the final stripe -- his first of the summer here and third overall. Mikkonen held on for third, while Spacek swapped fourth place with Lawrence several times over the final laps before claiming it for himself.
Mikkonen’s car brought many cheers from the crowd when it appeared, as his traditional No. 11x was replaced by car No. 12B and painted and lettered in honor of the late Darryl Kovach, a popular Ashland racer who passed away several years ago. Mikkonen had the tribute car completed in time to display at the American Cancer Society “Walk for Life” fundraiser in Ashland last weekend.
Coddington’s win in the 15-lap six-cylinder A-main was an interesting combination of what Oreskovich and Dalbeck each did - he led every lap and was dominant under green, but cautions kept stout challengers close to his rear bumper. From the pole, the defending track champ dueled with Tyler Luger through the first corner before edging ahead to stay, and although the field was realigned close behind him after a lap two Travis Swanson spin, it was only three quick tours later that Coddington’s lead was up to nearly half a straighaway.
Don Muzzy had just snuck under Luger to take second on lap five when Ken Tyykila’s spin negated the pass and slowed the pace. On the restart, Tyler Hudack’s motor popped, and on the next try Luger spun and took himself out of contention, giving Neil Adamczak the runner-up spot. Again, a few laps under green allowed Coddington to build up some distance on the field, but another untimely caution slowdown came just as he was about to take the white flag, as Cory Marincel’s ride broke and slowed.
Greg Jaeger and Chuck Hawkinson hooked their cars together to bring out another stoppage before lap 14 could be scored, but Coddington survived the green-white-checkered finish to record his first win of the season and eighth of his career here. Adamczak was charging hard but could not take the win away, while Muzzy, Scott Ovaska and Jaeger followed closely in the top five.
A little drama in front of him helped Rapp during the ten-lap pure stock main event, and he took advantage for his second win of the season here. Visiting Dustin Follett ran off early from the pole, while Jim Eliason, Tim Carbon and Ken Tody Jr., were log-jammed together in front of Rapp in a battle for second.
Tody snuck inside to take second on lap two, and two laps later Tim Carlson and Mark Korte got together to bring out a caution flag. On the restart the cars of Tody and Follett jammed together and ground to a halt on the front stretch, collecting Carbon and Chad Carlson in the process. Tody was sent to the back of the line-up for his involvement in the altercation, and Follett was sent to the pits for some unsportsmanlike actions after the cars were separated. Eliason drove to the pits with only three tires on his car, and Carbon’s car was also badly damaged.
This put Rapp at the point for the restart, and although he tried to pull away at the green, Chad Carlson stayed glued to his trucklid and tried every trick he could to get by. Rapp survivied Carlson’s one last dive to the inside on the final corner and collected his tenth career feature win at Ashland, while Chad’s brother Tim Carlson recovered nicely for a third-place run.
Keith Troutman and Korte came across the line a distant fourth and fifth, but both of their cars were found be illegal in post-race technical inspections. This gave fourth to Eliason, who rejoined the race after a visit to the pits to replace the missing tire, and Josh Loucks.
The annual visit by the Northern Vintage Stockcar Racers club brought 15 cars for action, and in the full-bodied car feature Sonny VanWilgen of Hollondale, Minn., drove his 1931 DeSoto touring sedan to the win, while Mike Bjorklund of Sandstone, Minn., took top honors in the super-mod main event.
The Reverend Joe Musso drove Todd Vernon’s six-cylinder to a runaway win in the track’s second-annual “Preacher Feature,” held to collect contributions for The Brick Ministries local food pantry. Six area clergy persons competed in the event, with the Reverend Nancy Hanson acting as honorary starter.
The WISSOTA modifieds had the night off, but they’ll rejoin the show next Saturday, as the ABC Raceway will present its “Jam the Stands” night program, sponsored by WBSZ, 93.3 FM, with hot laps set for 6:15 p.m. and racing starting at 7 p.m. All adult admission tickets will be $5, while kids ages 12-and-under will be admitted free with a paid adult.
“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 Web site, www.abcraceway.com.
WISSOTA Super Stocks
Feature: Nick Oreskovich, Mason; Kevin Eder, Ashland; Brian Mikkonen, Iron River; Randy Spacek, Phillips; Scott Lawrence, Superior; Ken Truscott, Greenland, Mich.; Greg Kuklinski, Ironwood, Mich,; Rich Bishop, New Richmond; Andy Grymala, Superior; Willie Johnsen, Superior; Tom Treviranus, Hawthorne; Cory Casari, Montreal; Tad Schoonover, Eagle River; Roy Pumala, Mason; Don Koivisto, Saxon; CJ Polacek, Phillips; Dave Elliott, Minocqua.
Heat 1: Lawrence; Mikkonen; Eder; Bishop; Johnsen; Elliott; Koivisto; Polacek; Truscott.
Heat 2: Oreskovich; Kuklinski; Spacek; Grymala; Casari; Treviranus; Pumala; Schoonover.
WISSOTA Midwest Modifieds
Feature: George Dalbeck, Wakefield, Mich.; Neil Balduc, Bessemer, Mich.; Mickey Nosser, Phillips; Shawn McFadden, Ashland; Ryan Adamczak, Ashland; Taylor Leuthner, Foxboro; Shawn Rivord, Superior; Pat Cook, Washburn; Rick Przybylski, Ashland; Rob Weber, Ashland; Steve Anderson, Ironwood, Mich.; Travis Nye, Ashland; Cody Carlson, Superior; Roland Gordon, Bayfield; Dan Sellung, Mason; Chris Bretting, Ashland; Duane Dunbar, Marenisco, Mich..
Heat 1: Nosser; McFadden; Dalbeck; Cook; Carlson; Bretting; Nye; Sellung; Przybylski.
Heat 2: Rivord; Dunbar; Adamczak; Balduc; Leuthner; Anderson; Gordon; Weber.
Feature: Dale Coddington, Hayward; Neil Adamczak, Ashland; Don Muzzy, Ironwood, Mich.; Scott Ovaska, Marengo; Greg Jaeger, Mellen; Shawn McFadden Jr., Ashland; Chuck Hawkinson, Mellen; Tyler Vernon, Ashland; Warren Beede, Iron River; Shane Basina, Bayfield; Adam Traaholt, Ashland; Ron Lillie, Wakefield, Mich.; DeJay Mihalek, Ashland; Travis Swanson, Washburn; Forrest Schultz, Ashland; Jim Anderson, Mason; Cory Marincel, Ashland; Tyler Luger, Iron River; Ken Tyykila, Iron River; Tyler Hudack, Ashland; Tad Bretting, Ashland; Aaron Mashlan, Ashland.
Heat 1: Luger; Hawkinson; Adamczak; Beede; Schultz; Basina; Mashlan; Vernon.
Heat 2: Jaeger; Swanson; Ovaska; Bretting; Traaholt; Marincel.
Heat 3: Coddington; McFadden; Muzzy; Tyykila; Mihalek; Lillie; Anderson.
Feature: Al Rapp, Saginaw, Minn.; Chad Carlson, Superior; Tim Carlson, Superior; Jim Eliason, Ashland; Josh Loucks, Carlton, Minn.; Dustin Gay, Ashland; Ken Tody Jr., Ashland; Tim Carbon, Highbridge; Matt Deragon, Ashland; Joe Wolfe, Ironwood, Mich.
Heat 1: C. Carlson; Carbon; Tody; Dustin Follett, Cloquet; Keith Troutman, Tomahawk; Loucks; Wolfe.
Heat 2: T. Carlson; Rapp; Mark Korte, Duluth; Eliason; Gay; Deragon.
Northern Vintage Stockcar Racers
Full-Body Feature: Sonny VanWilgen, Hollondale, Minn.; Gary Whipple, Crosby, Minn.; Ray Sandgren, Deer Park; Ken Hering, Chippewa Falls; Mike Nogle, Welch, Minn.; Roger Hiltunen, Marengo.
Full-Body Heat: Sandgren; Whipple; VanWilgen; Hering; Nogle; Hiltunen.
Super Mod Feature: Mike Bjorklund, Sandstone, Minn.; Butch Bethke, Oakdale, Minn.; Dennis Olson, Braham, Minn.; Kevin Lipsky, New Richmond; Dave Lepper, Cohasset, Minn.; Walt Stoltzman, Hugo, Min.; Mark Peine, White Bear Lake, Minn.; George Shields, Cameron.
Super Mod Heat: Olson; Bethke; Bjorklund; Ken Sabby, River Falls; Lipsky; Peine; Shields; Lepper; Stoltzman.
Preacher Feature: Joe Musso; Todd Iverson; Merle Kerr; Paul Simmons; Tom Walmsley.