Hudacks’ common bond lies on the race track
Mark Hudack wanted to start a family in the early 1990s, but his wife, Lou Ellen, had one simple, yet gut-wrenching, demand to ask of him.
Mark would have to give up his pride and joy, his dirt-track race car.
“It took that car to get sold for my sister to be born,” Tyler Hudack said, laughing.
It wasn’t long before the Hudacks returned to racing, and now more than 20 years later, the Ashland family is back on the track in full force.
Tyler Hudack, 20, and his sister, Tiffany, 22, are enjoying their best seasons, leading the point standings in the 6-cylinder division at ABC Raceway in Ashland. Tyler won the feature last week and has 315 points, with his sister nine points back with 306. Tyler now has 12 career feature wins, second most among active drivers in the class. Tiffany, who just finished a standout softball career at St. Scholastica, still is searching for her first win but has one second and three heat wins.
Tyler and Tiffany are going for their first track championships after finishing second and third, respectively, last season.
“I would like first, but whatever works,” Tiffany Hudack said. “As long as my car is in one piece, I’m fine with it. That’s the main thing.”
The Hudack siblings grew up in the country just outside of Ashland. They were active in sports, with Tyler going to state three years in a row in wrestling and Tiffany playing softball, volleyball and basketball.
But they also enjoyed motorsports. They raced snowmobiles and later tried out four-wheelers and motocross racing.
Tyler rode in his first stock car at age 16 and his sister at 19.
“And we’ve been racing ever since,” Tiffany said.
“We stayed in it longer than we expected,” Tyler added.
Saturdays at ABC Raceway are a family affair. Mark Hudack and their uncle, Gene Hudack, built their race car engines and serve as crew chiefs. They also have three cousins who race in the Modified class: Scott Hudack and his son, Dustin, in Modifieds and Steve Lavasseur.
“It’s a family thing,” Tiffany said.
Tyler was the first of the siblings to race in the 6-cylinder class. Ashland began the class in 1983 and is the only Northland track to have it. The class is made of cars with older Super Stock chassis using inline 6-cylinder motors, mostly Chevy 250s.While motors for the class are becoming fairly scarce, it made sense for the Hudacks to race the same cars, so Tyler purchased a 6-cylinder for his sister to race.
“Maybe one day we’ll move up to another class, but for right now, this is the perfect fit for us,” he said. “It’s great knowing we have two cars that we can set up the same way and go out there and compete. But I’m cautious. I don’t want to take my own car out. Or my sister.”
Their two No. 14 cars are nearly identical, and are dedicated to their late cousin Skyler Hudack, who grew up racing recreational vehicles with them.
“If you didn’t know any better, you thought he was our brother,” Tiffany said.
The siblings get by with sponsorships, including Ashland’s LakeShore Café, Northern Clearing Inc. and Al Zepczyk Construction.
“We don’t ask for a certain amount, just whatever they can help us with,” Tiffany said. “They like to see us succeed.”
The 6-cylinders are considered a beginner class, with the Hudacks figuring it only cost them about $5,000 for each car and tires lasting more than a season. Even so, the cars look and feel like race cars compared to the Pure Stock Tiffany used to race.
“To be honest, there’s no comparison,” she said. “I love the class. It took a lot of persuading to let us race in the same class. We had to get along. There would be no fighting, no arguing, or there goes the cars.”
While Tiffany said she received weird looks when she first started racing, she doesn’t any more. That reflects a trend in dirt-track racing. A quick scan of the area standings reveals about a half-dozen women racers, including Modified driver Nikki Wrazidlo of Duluth and Pure Stock drivers Rita Anderson of Superior, Shaina Rapp of Saginaw and Annika Hammitt of Cloquet.
Tiffany Hudack used up her softball eligibility this spring at St. Scholastica, where she was the team’s starting catcher and played every position but pitcher. She was named Upper Midwest Athletic Conference player of the year and was a second-team all-region selection. The health information major has one year of school remaining.
St. Scholastica coach Jen Walter didn’t have a problem with Tiffany pursuing her other passion each summer.
“As long as I didn’t get hurt,” Tiffany said, adding that she missed races one year because of a broken foot suffered playing softball.
It took a little longer to convince her softball friends.
“At first they didn’t take me seriously,” Tiffany said. “They thought I was joking. But then they got a chance to see what I actually do.”
Walter attended a race last summer and joined Saints student manager Paige Stalboerger and player Emily Schiro in Ashland for a race last weekend.
Racing is what the Hudacks do, and they do it well.
“My softball friends thought I was crazy at first. They couldn’t understand why I wanted to get in a car and race around in a circle, but they enjoyed it once they came,” she said. “As long as we can afford it, I want to keep racing. I just love the thrill of being able to get out there and do something, especially when people tell you that you can’t do it. You don’t see a lot of girls racing, but just set a goal and go try it.”Local Auto Racing StandingsPROCTOR SPEEDWAY
Sunday: Meet the Driver Night, 5:30 p.m. Late Models1. (tie) Harry Hanson249Tim McMann2493. Kyle Peterlin2424. Aaron Lillo2355. Terry Lillo2256. Darrell Nelson2117. Zach Wohlers1948. Kevin Carlson1889. Scott Herrick17110. Cory Jorgensen122
Modifieds1. (tie) Deven VanHouse292E.J. Hietala2923. Brian Mikkonen2734. Cory Jorgensen2635. Jeff Broking2536. Scott Heikkinen2477. Jody Bellefeuille2468. Darrell Nelson2099. Kelly Estey19810. Nikki Wrazidlo192
Super Stocks1. Scott Lawrence2652. Shawn McFadden2643. Kevin Burdick2544. Pat Heikkinen2265. Ronnie Malecki2196. Brian Carl2137. Dan Yrjanson1898. Kevin Salin1389. Willie Johnsen10210. D.J. Keeler87
Midwest Modifieds1. Deven VanHouse3032. Cody Carlson2943. Dan Kingsley2894. Danny Vang2845. Andrew Inman2696. Justin Bassa2617. Jake Gondik2398. Josh Overn2209. Chris Bretting20710. Mack Estey200
Pure Stocks1. Josh Loucks2632. Michael Blevins2583. Glenn Dammer2504. Dustin Follett2465. (tie) Matt Deragon239Lucas Carlson2397. Shaina Rapp2028. Mike Sirois1909. Matt Hammitt17710. Jeremy Theisen174AMSOIL SPEEDWAY
Superior Friday: Amsoil Qualifier, 7 p.m. Late Models1. Harry Hanson2092. Tim McMann2013. Kyle Peterlin1934. Aaron Lillo1805. Trevor Wilson1726. Darrell Nelson1607. Zach Wohlers1418. Terry Lillo1319. Chris Olson9910. Scott Herrick89
Modifieds1. Kelly Estey2062. Deven VanHouse1993. Jeff Broking1984. Jody Bellefeuille1955. Rick Rivord1816. Al Uotinen1807. Matt Leer1798. Kevin Eder1619. Darrell Nelson16010. Brian Mikkonen155
Super Stocks1. Tyler Kintner2032. Nick Oreskovich2023. Andy Davey1984. Kevin Burdick1915. Scott Lawrence1906. Dave Flynn1867. Jim Campbell1848. Pat Heikkinen1759. D.J. Keeler17010. Andy Grymala161
Midwest Modifieds1. Skeeter Estey2202. Mack Estey2173. Deven VanHouse2034. Dan Kingsley1955. Jake Gondik1946. Cody Carlson1847. Tyler Luger1828. Andrew Inman1639. David Simpson16110. Chris Bretting156
Pure Stocks1. Dustin Follett2202. Lucas Carlson2093. (tie) Glenn Dammer192Matthew Hammitt1925. Ryan Savoy1906. Ryan Madsen1727. Shaina Rapp1678. Jim Cooper1559. Josh Johnson14410. Annika Hammitt141HIBBING RACEWAY
Saturday: American Cancer Society Pack the Stands Night (with Kids Races), 6 p.m. Late Models1. Harry Hanson1612. Jay Kintner1513. Kyle Peterlin1494. Terry Lillo1475. Jeff Massingill140
Modifieds1. Kelly Estey2182. Jeff Tardy2043. Jeff Wood2034. Deven VanHouse1975. Cory Sersha192
Super Stocks1. Derek Vesel1582. Tyler Kintner1573. Kevin Burdick1544. Tristan LaBarge1505. Andy Davey147
Midwest Modifieds1. Deven VanHouse2602. Brad Hanson2543. Bill Matzdorf2274. Willy Thompson2175. Mack Estey215
Pure Stocks1. Vic Westerlund2182. Jeremy Theisen1993. Gene Schultze1934. Margo Butcher1815. Dave White179GRAND RAPIDS SPEEDWAY
Today: Regular Racing, 6:30 p.m. Friday: Enduro Late Models1. (tie) Harry Hanson103Zach Wohlers1033. Jeff Provinzino1024. Roger Paolo865. Jeff Massingill50
Modifieds1. Jeff Tardy1032. (tie) Cory Sersha100Johnny Broking1004. (tie) Dustin Nelson97Paul Schultz97
Super Stocks1. Andy LaBarge1052. Tyler Kintner1033. Kevin Salin994. Derek Vesel985. Trevor Arens91
Midwest Modifieds1. Bill Matzdorf1042. Don Smith1033. Brian Bourquin994. Brad Hanson985. Nathan Rice94
Pure Stocks1. Jerry Ramey1092. Kevin Baumgarner1083. Jake Barsness1074. Peter Travica995. Todd Heinle95ABC RACEWAY
Ashland Saturday: Modified Mayhem/Hall of Fame Night, 7 p.m. Modifieds1. Steve Stuart3242. Jeff Spacek3213. Steve Lavasseur2814. Scott Hudack2775. Kevin Eder274
Super Stocks1. Scott Lawrence3032. Wayne Stricker3013. Nick Oreskovich2954. (tie) Randy Spacek294Cory Casari294
Midwest Modifieds1. Mike Truscott3392. Paul Suzik2963. John Kallas2944. Cole Spacek2895. Paul Niznik286
Six Cylinders1. Tyler Hudack3152. Tiffany Hudack3063. Zack Pagels2914. Forrest Schultz2845. Aaron Mashlan272
Pure Stocks1. Matt Deragon3132. Terran Spacek3033. Jeff Christman2674. Andrew Hanson2545. Tim Carbon252