Due to concerns over the recent spike in positive COVID-19 cases in Ashland and Bayfield counties and the surrounding area, the ABC Raceway’s Board of Directors voted on Friday evening to cancel Saturday’s race program, including the opening round of the Ashland Ford-Chrysler Center Summer Series for the WISSOTA Midwest Modifieds.
“The local county health departments have announced advisories on limiting the number of people attending large social gatherings this week, in light of the recent increases in local residents being potentially exposed to the (COVID-19) virus,” according to Raceway Board president Eric Erickson, who has been in near-daily contact with Ashland County Health & Human Services personnel for the past several weeks.
“For this particular Saturday, our Board feel that it is in the best interests of our fans, track workers, racers and crews, and members of their respective communities to follow the recommendations as set by the local municipalities for large-scale gatherings.”
According to a post placed Friday on the Ashland County Health & Human Services’ Facebook page, both Ashland and Bayfield counties had issued “an emergency advisory strongly discouraging any large events or gatherings” within those counties, “especially gatherings of 250 people or more.” The advisory was directed at both indoor and outdoor events and listed sporting events among the types of gatherings specified.
The counties’ reasoning behind the advisory was twofold: to minimize the spread of the highly contagious virus in crowds of people from various geographical locations; and the difficulty in implementing sufficient public health safety measures for such large gatherings.
“We will re-evaluate the operation of our facility as affected by the current status of the pandemic and make decisions on future events going forward,” Erickson advised.
Those decisions will include a possible rescheduling of the first race of the three-night Summer Series. The special for the Midwest Mods, which was to be presented by the Safari Tavern of Ashland and was to pay $1,500 to that division’s feature winner thanks to a generous purse contribution by Zeilie’s Tree Service, has now been postponed for the second time this season. The other cancellation was on June 20, due to rain.
The current plan for the ABC Raceway staff is to prepare for the championship round of the sixth annual FastLane Motorsports Northland Super Stock Series on Saturday, July 25. The final race of the five-night, five-track Series will pay $700 to the winner of the WISSOTA Super Stock feature, while the overall Series champion will also be crowned.
The pit gates are scheduled to open at 4:30 p.m. and the grandstands at 5, with hot laps set for 6:15 and green-flag racing scheduled for 7 p.m. Adult grandstand admission tickets are just $11 per person, either at the gate or online via www.myracepass.com, and kids ages 12 and under are admitted free when accompanied by a paying adult. Ten-race punch passes are also available at the Raceway’s ticket window on race nights, and advance pit passes are also available online.
“Race Night” will air on WBSZ, 93.3 FM, as well as online at www.wbszfm.com, from 4:30 until 6 p.m. with the latest news and weather information from the track.
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, log on to the track's website, www.abcraceway.com, or check out the track’s Facebook page.