Christman Collects Over $1,300 For 'Pure Excitement 25' Win At ABC
by Nick Gima
Ashland, WI, August 22 -- Ron Christman of Superior turned his first laps on the ABC Raceway's red-clay oval in many years into a payday of over $1,300 as the winner of the sixth annual "Pure Excitement 25" pure stock special, presented by Outlaw Sign & Graphics, on Saturday night.
In pursuit of the track-record payday and over $5,500 purse, 35 pure stockers were among the season-high 128 entries jammed into the pits on the next-to-last night of regular-season AmsOil Dirt Track Series racing at the northern Wisconsin three-eighth-mile track. But the chase for the big check in the pure stock feature was not the only drama at the track, as Christman and Shawn Rivord became first-time ABC feature winners, Dean Yrjanainen and Greg Kuklinski added to their all-time win records at Ashland, Nick Oreskovich won for the second time this summer here, and Dale Coddington picked up his second win in a row.
As a result, the points standings were jammed up and shuffled around in nearly every division.
After a two-car spin in the first turn ended the first effort to start the event, Christman took off from the pole and immediately began to separate himself from the field. Debris on lap 4 brought the pack back to his rear bumper, but he had no trouble re-establishing his claim on the top spot.
Nathan Dees slipped past Ashley Smith for second spot after the restart, and Dan Larsen, who came up from his row 4 start, repeated the move for third a lap later. Then on lap 8 Tim Carbon - who entered the night second in points behind Austin Blom - dropped out of the event with a sick car, officially finishing 22nd. Blom's car was even more ill on this night, however - he finished eighth in his heat, did not finish the semi-feature and dropped from the points lead to fourth.
On lap 9 Cody Kummer's car coughed and sputtered to a stop, bringing out the third yellow banner, and the restart was delayed by debris again. Back under green Larsen took a peek inside on Dees for second, but Kummer's car gave out again, stopping the pace.
The next seven laps were run under the green lights, and again Christman could not be caught, although once Larsen slipped past Dees for second at midrace he kept an even pace with the leader. In fact, the front five runners - 11th-starting Richard Dzelak, Jr, and 15th-starting Al Rapp ran fourth and fifth at this point - stayed in fairly close formation. Then came the next twist of points-battle drama, when third-in points Tim Carlson's car stalled on the front chute, and his night ended.
For the final seven laps Christman held a car-length or so lead on Larsen for the landmark win, collecting bonuses for leading every lap and at the halfway point to help boost his winnings. Larsen was a ways ahead of third-finishing Dees, while Dzelak was just behind in fourth, and Rapp's car expired after the checkers were thrown due to overheating.
Visiting Mark Korte claimed sixth, ahead of Jeff Christman, Pat Van Ert, Tony Ciurleo, and Chad Carlson. Carbon and Tim Carlson will enter next Saturday's season finale tied for the points lead, with Ken Tody, Jr, only four points back and Blom just five out and Dees only seven back.
The other first-time winner, South Range's Shawn Rivord, also led flag to flag, but his run was interrupted only at the very start of the WISSOTA Midwest modified 15-lap main event, when a combination of debris and Travis Swanson's badly damaged car brought about the only delay.
Once underway, Rivord ran a determined race, with several cars dogging him throughout. Jesse Ogston was first in line to test the young leader - Ogston worked the high side for a handful of laps until he bobbled on lap 7 and dropped back a few spots. Then it was Jimmy Latvala's turn to challenge for the lead, but he had more than enough to do worring about Mike Truscott's threats for second.
Rivord scooted away to a five-length lead over the four-car battle for second, until he caught up with slower traffic about three laps from the end. There he struggled to get by Chad Adamczak, allowing Latvala, Truscott and others to close the gap. Coming to the white flag Truscott used Rivord as a pick and edged ahead of Latvala or second, but Adamczak raced with the leaders over the final lap. The congestion became a near-disaster as the leaders took the checkered in a tight bunch, and when Adamczak got sideways in the middle of it all, four of the top five cars ended up badly damaged and stewn everywhere.
When the dust had settled Rivord was celebrating his win in Victory Lane, while Latvala had snuck ahead of Truscott at the line for second just before the havoc. Fourth-finishing Mickey Nosser was also caught up in the melee, while fifth-place Rick Przybylski somehow managed to avoid significant damage.
Latvala's runner-up effort, combined with Steve Stuart's seventh-place run, puts Latvala only three points behind Stuart for the final night of racing next Saturday.
Yrjanainen dodged the early carnage in the 20-lap WISSOTA modified A-main, then dominated to park his brand-new racer in the winner's circle on its first full night of action. Rick Rivord looked to have the car to beat early, working his way by Destin Lorimor during the first couple of laps, with Yrjanainen hot on their tails. But after Scott Hudack's car stalled to bring out a lap 2 yellow, Yrjanainen got by Rivord for the lead just before contact sent Bill Byholm spinning and several other cars scrambling.
In the ordeal Rivord's car suffered right-front suspension damage, but he restarted from the pole. The car was too beaten to handle properly, and on the restart Rivord slipped up the track; Lorimor tried to pass on the outside, the two cars came together hard, and Lorimor's car got airborne for a split second before coming to rest in the turn 1 pit exit. Lorimor was shaken but otherwise uninjured, but the incident sent several other cars dodging and diving, and as a result at least three other cars were knocked from the race.
On the restart points leader Duane Dale made a wild move down low to take pass three cars and take over second place behind Yrjanainen, but Jad Carlson's slowing car stopped the show. Dale tried an outside move on Yrjanainen on the next attempt to go green, but his bobble allowed Jeff Spacek room to slip past for second. One turn later Dale was sent to the back for his involvement in Jerry Hartman's spin, which collected Byholm.
Dale's stopped car after contact with Kelly Checkalski and debris on the track caused two more stoppages, but each time Yrjanainen was able to hold off Spacek's threats. From the lap 5 restart on the race went non-stop - there were only nine cars running at that point, and the six-time track champ from Lake Nebagamon ran away to his 69th career ABC win, extending his string of seasons with at least one feature win in Ashland to 19. Spacek dropped out of the event just before the race's midpoint, giving second to Hartman for the remainder of the run, while Al Uotinen came home a distant third, Byholm fourth even further back, and Dale recovering for fifth, half a lap back of the leader.
Dale's points lead over Uotinen grew to 33 after the program, all but assuring that he can wrap up the crown during heat-race action next Saturday.
Yrjanainen is second only to Kuklinski in all-time feature wins at Ashland, so he had to follow suit when Kuklinski ran off to his 88th career ABC win in the WISSOTA street stock 15-lap headliner. Kuklinski's run was also of the lead-every-lap variety, as he started from the second row, blew past the front-row tandem of Bill Muhlig and Bruce Kalmon, and roared away to a half-straightaway advantage by the fifth of the scheduled ten laps.
Cory Casari moved into second and brought Dennis Groom along to third by this point, and the duo made a concerted effort to reel in the leader, but they got no closer than a half-dozen car-lengths, as Kuklinski cruised to his second win of the season. Points leader Larry Haderly was a distance back in fourth, and Kalmon held off Muhlig for fifth.
Oreskovich, the young hotshoe from Mason, took advantage of a green-white-checkered finish in the WISSOTA super stock feature for his win. In another race that was marred by caution slowdowns during the early laps, Ken Truscott edged ahead of polesitter Ron Hmielewski on the second attempt to start the show, and he restarted out front each time after the caution lights came on for debris on the opening lap, a two-car mess after one lap, and Kuklinski's spin on lap 2.
Over the next 16 laps, however, the green light stayed on, and Truscott ran the upper groove with Oreskovich, Randy Spacek and Scott Lawrence directly in tow. As the foursome pulled away from the field, Oreskovich had a couple opportunities to sneak under Truscott for the lead but couldn't make them stick, while Spacek and Lawrence dueled aggressively for third.
Just as the lead pack caught up with backmarker Roy Pumala with two laps to go, a caution flag for debris took Pumala out of the equation, and on the restart Oreskovich made his move, diving to the bottom, finding some bite and pulling by Truscott down the back straight. Oreskovich then pulled away to a five-car margin and the win, while Spacek finally won the heated dispute with Lawrence over third. Brian Mikkonen claimed fifth, and Eric Olson came home sixth, giving Lawrence a ten-point edge over Olson with one race night remaining.
After two years without a feature win, Coddington made it back-to-back checkers with his effort in the six-cylinder 15-lapper. Tyler Luger got past polestarter Dejay Mihalek on the opening lap, and a circuit later Coddington worked hard to get inside on Luger for the lead, but his pass was negated by Mihalek's spin under the flagstand.
After the restart Coddington took second from Mihalek, and after Scott Ovaska's turn 2 spin and a stoppage for debris on consecutive green-flag attempts, Coddington used an outside route to go by Luger for the lead on lap 5.
Rookie Tyler Hudack dropped from a fifth-place run with a smoking car, and Justin Bretall brought out the yellow flag when his car ground to a halt against the front-straight concrete, but after that Coddington was able to hold off Neil Adamczak and charging Pat Beeksma, including after a lap 12 caution for debris, for his seventh career ABC win. Beeksma got by Adamczak on the final go-around for second-place money, while Greg Jaeger and Shawn McFadden, Jr, who started 21st out of 22 cars, completed the top five.
CJ Polacek, who entered the night with the points lead, left the feature during that final caution flag, dropping him to 18th in the final rundown and to third in points, as Coddington will carry a 14-point advantage over McFadden and 15 over Polacek and Chuck Hawkinson into the final race night of the summer for the sixes.
On Saturday night, WIMI-FM and Pepsi will present the Season Championships and Fan Appreciation Night at the ABC Raceway. All six divisions will be in action, and the 2009 track champions will be crowned in all classes. Adult admission tickets are just $10, while kids ages 12 and under get in free with a paid adult admission.
Hot laps are set for 6:15 pm, and racing will start at 7. "Racenight" will air live on WBSZ, 93.3 FM, from 4:30-6 pm 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; Jerry Hartman, Marenisco, MI; Al Uotinen, Superior; Bill Byholm, Glidden; Duane Dale, Aurora, MN; Kent Baxter, Elk Mound; Scott Hudack, Ashland; Jeff Spacek, Phillips; Wayne Stricker, Highbridge; Kelly Checkalski, Poplar; Jad Carlson, Duluth, MN; Destin Lorimor, Superior; John Frydrych, Butternut; Mark Baxter, Dorchester; Ross Lightner, Washburn; Rick Rivord, Superior.
Heat 1: Dale; Spacek; Byholm; Carlson; Hartman; Uotinen; K Baxter; Lightner; Stricker.
Heat 2: Yrjanainen; Hudack; Rivord; Lorimor; Frydrych; M Baxter; Checkalski.
WISSOTA Super Stocks
Feature: Nick Oreskovich, Mason; Ken Truscott, Greenland, MI; Randy Spacek, Phillips; Scott Lawrence, Superior; Brian Mikkonen, Iron River; Eric Olson, Ladysmith; Ron Hmielewski, Marengo; Kevin Eder, Ashland; Art Hyde, Washburn; Dave Flynn, Superior; Roy Pumala, Mason; Dave Elliott, Minocqua; Joe Oliver, Superior; Rick Simpson, Thunder Bay, ON; Greg Kuklinski, Ironwood, MI; Willie Johnsen, Superior; Don Koivisto, Saxon.
Heat 1: Truscott; Spacek; Oliver; Hmielewski; Johnsen; Pumala; Koivisto; Elliott.
Heat 2: Lawrence; Simpson; Oreskovich; Olson; Kuklinski; Eder; Mikkonen; Flynn.
WISSOTA Street Stocks
Feature: Greg Kuklinski, Ironwood, MI; Cory Casari, Montreal; Dennis Groom, Ashland; Larry Haderly, Marengo; Bruce Kalmon, Ashland; Bill Muhlig, Pelkie, MI; Kyle Weber, Drummond; Jordan Kurtti, Bruce Crossing, MI; Keith Troutman, Tomahawk.
Heat: Kuklinski; John Kallas, Hurley; Haderly; Muhlig; Kalmon; Weber; Kurtti; Casari; Troutman; Groom.
WISSOTA Midwest Modifieds
Feature: Shawn Rivord, South Range; Jimmy Latvala, Solon Springs; Mike Truscott, Chippewa Falls; Mickey Nosser, Phillips; Rick Przybylski, Ashland; Jesse Ogston, Duluth, MN; Steve Stuart, Ashland; Taylor Leuthner, Foxboro; Glenn Dammer, Duluth, MN; Dan Kingsley, Superior; Pat Cook, Washburn; Duane Dunbar, Marenisco, MI; Rob Weber, Ashland; Pete Paulus, Phillips; Roland Gordon, Bayfield; Cody Carlson, Superior; Steve Anderson, Ironwood, MI; Joe Eckland, Springbrook; Chad Adamczak, Ashland; Cody Schmidt, Rhinelander; Travis Swanson, Ashland.
Heat 1: Latvala; Gordon; Ogston; Dammer; Paulus; Adamczak; Bill Brouse, Proctor, MN; George Dalbeck, Wakefield, MI.
Heat 2: Przybylski; Rivord; Stuart; Cook; Leuthner; Carlson; Eckland; Travis Nye, Ashland; Shane Roy, Duluth, MN.
Heat 3: Truscott; Kingsley; Nosser; Dunbar; Swanson; Schmidt; Anderson; Andrew Inman, Hermantown, MN.
Semi-Feature: Weber; Anderson; Eckland; Inman; Nye; Brouse; Roy; Dalbeck.
Feature: Dale Coddington, Hayward; Pat Beeksma, Ironwood, MI; Neil Adamczak, Ashland; Greg Jaeger, Mellen; Shawn McFadden, Jr, Ashland; Scott Ovaska, Marengo; Tyler Luger, Iron River; Chuck Hawkinson, Mellen; DeJay Mihalek, Ashland; Don Muzzy, Ironwood, MI; Warren Beede, Iron River; Ken Tyykila, Iron River; Ron Lillie, Wakefield, MI; Aaron Mashlan, Ashland; Forrest Schultz, Ashland; Adam Traaholt, Ashland; Bobby Durand, Mason; CJ Polacek, Phillips; Justin Bretall, Grandview; Tyler Hudack, Ashland; Zack Pagels, Marengo; Jim Anderson, Mason.
Heat 1: Jaeger; Beeksma; Coddington; Anderson; Bretall; Lillie; Durand; McFadden.
Heat 2: Polacek; Muzzy; Adamczak; Hudack; Tyykila; Beede; Schultz; Mashlan.
Heat 3: Ovaska; Luger; Mihalek; Pagels; Hawkinson; Traaholt.
Feature: Rob Christman, Superior; Dan Larsen, Hermantown, MN; Nathan Dees, Hurley; Richard Dzelak, Jr, Superior; Al Rapp, Saginaw, MN; Mark Korte, Duluth, MN; Jeff Christman, Superior; Pat Van Ert, Foxboro; Tony Ciurleo, Proctor, MN; Chad Carlson, Superior; Jeff Engelmeier, Saginaw, MN; Matt Deragon, Ashland; Heidi Karshbaum, Chetek; Andy Udeen, Superior; Zene Anderson, Superior; Ken Tody, Jr, Ashland; Tim Carlson, Superior; Corey Lonetto, Duluth, MN; Wayne Nylund, Rhinelander; Ashley Smith, South Range; Cody Kummer, Medford; Tim Carbon, Highbridge; Matt Hammitt, Cloquet, MN; Billy Brouse, Duluth, MN.
Heat 1: R Christman; Dees; Engelmeier; Kummer; T Carlson; Ciurleo; Randy Lonetto, Iron River; Tim Ayers, Foxboro; Hammitt.
Heat 2: Smith; Korte; Karshbaum; C Lonetto; Nylund; Brouse; Dustin Gay, Ashland; Joe Wolfe, Montreal.
Heat 3: Carbon; Larsen; Dzelak; Rapp; Chad Carlson; Tody; Travis Zembo, Superior; Jim Eliason, Ashland; Travis Friske, Tomahawk.
Heat 4: Brian Mikkonen, Iron River; J Christman; Van Ert; Deragon; Anderson; Jim Cooper, Superior; Caitlyn Carlson, Superior; Austin Blom, Saginaw, MN.
Semi-Feature: Tody; Ciurleo; Hammitt; Brouse; Udeen; Eliason; Ayers; gay; Caitlyn Carlson; R Lonetto; Wolfe; Blom; Cooper.
Ron Christman had a payday of over $1,300 as the winner of the sixth annual "Pure Excitement 25" pure stock special, pictured are the top 5. [Skip Hunter Photography]
Dale Coddington. [Skip Hunter Photography]
Greg Kuklinski. [Skip Hunter Photography]
Shawn Rivord. [Skip Hunter Photography]
Dean Yrjanainen. [Skip Hunter Photography]
Nick Oreskovich. [Skip Hunter Photography]
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