On The Road Again !!

Welcome to the blog site of 6 time super-fan Ed Esser. The question people ask me isn't when is the next race, it's when is the next time I'll be home. Over 68,000 miles were logged on the '04 Dodge Caravan in 2011 in search of over 130 auto races. My blog site helps race fans know where and when to go to some of the best auto races around the country. I've got schedules for series all around the U.S.and results from the tracks and races I've attended. I'll tell you where I've been, where I'm heading and as always what races and tracks are worth going back to. See you at the races!!!

2011 In Review

"The 6 time super-fan winner went to 120 tracks this year in 26 different states. The '04 Caravan logged over 68,000 miles in search of 130 races. Over $1,750.00 was spent on race admissions and 78"new" tracks were visited this year in search of great auto racing. To say Ed Esser is a dedicated fan is an understatement, he's a Super-Fan!"

Now first overall in the USA trackchaser standings, Ed has over 1,423 tracks that he has visited. Check out the reviews and schedules of where he has been and where he is heading.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Report 25

December 15, 2011

No races for a couple of weeks just granddaughter’s basketball and shopping.
Merry Christmas. The winter weather is holding off (no snow on the ground – only 1.5 inches so far this season and it melted the day after it fell) but it is time to send some updates for the year and wish you all happy holidays. I had my surgery last December and started to recover after 10 days of exceptional care from Nurse Haley and Nurse Sydney. I stayed at the Grossman’s and was fed very well before and after school. My quarterly follow-up blood tests have shown no PSA count so I have no more treatment scheduled. So as my year improved Aunt Mary’s (91) did not. She suffered a couple falls and spent a June week in the hospital before being sent to a nursing home. I made nearly daily visits but her health declined and after another fall she was back in the hospital for a week before hospice care started in October. Aunt Mary died October 29th and I have been busy with clearing out and cleaning at her apartment. Although the heirs are allowed to keep some personal property I have been gathering all her monetary assets to turn over to the State as she was under State care the last 3 months.
The Grossman’s generously provided me with some better Christmas lights so in November I took down the mostly burned out dusty ones and vacuumed the cob webs out of the windows then installed the new ones that all lighted! I have been busy attending Sidney and Haley’s volleyball and basketball games this fall but back in August I made a trip to Kansas to visit Lee and his family. A J is eating all the time so he can try and keep up to big sister Emma who is two and talking non-stop. Emma went upstairs to take her nap talking to her dolls most of the time about how they must lay down and be quiet. Soon a very loud crash came from her room and Lee went up to see what fell. He opened her door as she exclaimed “Its OK, everything is fine, it’s all right.” Lee discovered that she had stacked her chairs two high on the bed before they fell over. Who knows what kind of circus act she was rehearsing! Emma also got out to a race track with dad as they went to the races in Grain Valley Missouri and it was very therapeutic as she could talk all night and no one seemed to mind.
Siesta is my favorite hour or two of the day and I must have rested more than usual this year – if you can believe that is possible - but I may have rested too much on my glasses as the bow broke off and I had to find my tube of super glue to make the needed repair. The glue has held for six months now!
I am still busy in Stoughton as sec.–treas. for the Optimist Club and running the food stand during the Syttende Mai celebration and I am V-P of the Friends of the Stoughton Area Youth Center that operates the new center in Stoughton. The youth center found a new person to run the annual golf outing who didn’t even know what a golf ball was – ME! The rest of my routine remains constant and I managed to travel on a few big trips. I still made a February Florida trip and I made a July 4th trip to Utah to see races in a state that I had not seen a race in and enjoyed the beautiful countryside. I also made a late season trip to Pensacola Florida. On the local scene the racing was some what back to normal with Angell Park in Sun Prairie Wisconsin scheduling 10 races for the summer but that left some free weeks to make some bigger trips such as the one to Utah. This year I only spent 113 nights in the spacious Dodge Caravan and 10 nights with friends in addition to the 8 nights in motels. With the poor economy and my advanced math that’s 123 nights that I saved – let’s say - $42 for a total $5166 saved and I only spent $1755.50 in race admissions so I should be over $3400 ahead – at least that is what I tell myself! I made it my priority to see a new state and some tracks that I had not been to before and got to another 78 tracks bringing my lifetime total to 1423 tracks and keeping me in second place on the list as kept at the new website www.roamingtheraceways.com . I made it to only 130 races in 26 states this year and traveled 68,316 miles all by car.
The kids are really hard to chase down, the grandkids even harder. Jody J and Jody L are still in Cottage Grove with daughters Sydney (14) and Haley (11). Jody J is still with McDonalds and Jody L is part-time as a scientist with Semba Biosciences and part time at McDonalds too. Both Jody’s were coaching softball and Jody L is the assistant coach for freshmen girl’s basketball at Monona Grove High School where Sydney is playing as a freshmen. The granddaughters were both on softball teams this summer and Haley is now playing tri-county basketball. Sydney shot another deer in her third hunting season and has completed her freshmen volleyball season. Lori is settled in downtown Chicago and teaching at Freedom Junior High in Berwyn where she coaches the 7-8 grade girl’s basketball team. Freedom won a million dollar grant and Lori and two others are in charge of designing and outfitting a brand new fitness center for the school. She is also coaching the Windy City AAU basketball team in the summer. Lee and Carrie are living in Leavenworth Kansas for the year (before Lee’s next assignment) with daughter Emma (2) and son AJ (1). Lee is going to school full-time at Intermediate Level Education (ILE) with graduation in June while still taking masters courses at UW-Stout where he expects to finish his masters in Mech Engr. this June as well. Carrie is expecting their third child in December and is still in the reserves working for ROTC at Missouri Western State University in St Joseph Missouri and their 11 affiliates in Kansas and Missouri.

        Have a Healthy, Safe and Prosperous New Year!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Race Report 24

Florida Trip December 1 – 3, 2011

Wednesday I was right back on the road again as I headed south where the weather was predicted to be very good and the 44th annual Snowball Derby was under way in Pensacola Florida. I had nothing but clear roads the entire way down as I took my time. Thursday afternoon at 4:30PM I arrived at the Five Flags Speedway in Pensacola Florida to find the “Lot Full” sign already on the road as the spectator parking area was already filled up mostly with campers and reserved parking. There are a few spots along the boulevard shoulders that were going fast so I backed down the ditch carefully and parked. They also have parking at the fairgrounds just 2 miles down the road with a free shuttle bus back to the track. The race tonight was for the bombers (40 cars) and sportsmen (32 cars) with the top 20 qualifiers starting straight up in the feature and the other qualifiers racing 10 laps in a last chance race transferring the top 4 to the feature race. Practice was under way on the banked asphalt half-mile track when I arrived and found a seat in the top row of one of the new sections of aluminum seats. The track has concrete outside and inside walls and the pits were packed with haulers that partially blocked the view of the lower parts of the track in several areas. They have very good lights and fine speakers for the spectators and the crowd was very good for the first night at the 8PM race time. Kenny Williams started fourth and picked up the week’s first win in the bomber consi that was slowed by three yellows. Chris Nielson won the sportsmen consi. The bombers ran 10 laps into the 30-lap feature before a debris yellow slowed the race. Then it took 4 tries to complete another lap. One of the wrecks took out the front row cars of Jay Jay Day and Gary Goodwin who were leading. Curtis Faircloth started 16th and worked through the field to take the win over Jonathan Day from 9th and Kenny Bullard who started 14th as the race went green for 20 laps. The 50-lap sportsmen feature was the last race of the night and took a long time to complete. The evening was getting quite cold and the frequent multi car wrecks (7) plus a couple of yellows for debris and a red for a medical situation in the tower saw most of the crowd gone before the checkers flew at 12:10AM. Pole sitter Steve Buttrick won the race over Bubba Winslow from 3rd and Shanna Ard from 7th. Friday was another bright sunny day in Pensacola and after spending some time at the National Naval Aviation Museum and along the waterfront downtown I headed out to the track early. I got back to the track at 3PM but the lot was full already and I had to park several blocks away along the boulevard. Qualifying for the two classes that would race tonight (34 modifieds and 24 super stocks) started at 4PM and many people were in the stands early. The big hype for tonight was the qualifying for Sunday’s super late model race that started at 6PM for 53 cars. The announcing was not up to last night’s standards as duplicate numbers threw off the announcer and he was so busy reading off the driver’s many accomplishments the name didn’t come out until the car was going by at speed and you couldn’t hear the name. The top 30 in qualifying were locked into the Snowball feature on Sunday and the 47th car to qualify was Bubba Pollard who took fast time with a new track record of 16.290 seconds. The racing tonight again started at 8PM with just the two 50-lap features. The super stocks were first and went green for 10 laps until the yellow flew for an unknown reason. The visibility was poor because of the haulers in the infield (they would be removed for the big race on Sunday) and the announcer often just said he did not see why the yellow was out. There were only 4 yellows in the race although one turned into an extended red after a car caught fire under the yellow and then the ambulance was called to assist someone in the infield. There were several different leaders during the 50 laps but pole sitter Regan Baker (new track record at 18.733 seconds) charged back to the front during the last 10 laps and took the checkers holding off a charging Bubba Winslow and Paul Jean. The modifieds had 4 yellows but two big multi car wrecks that blocked the track with the red appearing on the 14th lap for a 6-car wreck and then the 15th lap when 12 cars were caught up together on the straightaway. Brian Nester started in front and led through all the restarts to score the win over Mark Chrudimsky from 16th and Augie Grill from 10th. The races were done at 10:30PM and I drove into Alabama before resting for the night. Saturday I continued west to Mississippi for a look at a new track in Poplarville. The Sandy Ridge Speedway opened this spring and was racing this afternoon with a special money race to wrap up the day. I arrived at the track at noon and practice was underway and I saw a couple of champ karts so I decided to stay and see what was going on. The track is a 1/5-mile red clay oval with long straight-aways and high banked turns surrounded by heavy chain link fencing on what looked like railroad ties. There is a dirt berm along the outside fence and a dirt berm also marks the inside of the track. There is one small 3-row wooden bleacher and some good viewing from the first turn on the banking and they have some good lights. The concessions are in an old race car trailer and the homemade chili was very good. There were also 5 old mini sprint chassis beside the concession trailer that are looking for a new owner! The track is a friendly family run facility and the racers seem to be an extended family. The fields were small with 6 steel body karts, 10 box stock and 3 senior champs. (There was a 4th champ but he ran in the steel body class as he told me he prefers the grooved tires that are allowed in that class.) The driver’s meeting was at 1:30PM with some late practice after that and racing in the 3 10-lap heats starting about 2:30PM. After a short intermission the 3 features were run with the big money race after the entire regular show. The metal body karts were bending some metal with one roll over in the heat and 3 yellows in the feature. James Barton was the name on the feature winning number 33 in this class that included the one champ kart. The box stock class got wild with several karts sliding into the outside berm hard (maybe with some assistance) and spinning back across the track. Brandon Heinrich won this feature from the second row. Jim Sterry won the 2-kart champ kart heat after one broke a chain coming on the track and earned the pole for the feature. The feature went non-stop (although there was one spin) with Sterry getting the win. They were getting ready to qualify for the money race and there were at least 2 karts that had not run in the regular races that may have run in the money race but it was after sunset by this time and I decided to start my long drive home satisfied in seeing another new track. The Causeyville Raceway about 100 miles north near Meridian was running today too so I headed that way to see what was going on. I arrived after the races were done but saw no senior champ karts so I was glad I had chosen the Sandy Ridge track for my stop today. (I later saw there were two junior champs at Causeyville no senior champ results were listed.) Happy with the outcome I drove north of Jackson before stopping. Sunday I got into rain before exiting Mississippi and it rained steady from Memphis to Saint Louis. The roads were wet but not slippery and I ran into dry pavement for the rest of the trip home quite a relief this time of the year.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Race Report 23

Basketball November 18 – 20, 2011

Friday I stayed at home after a long week of cleaning at Aunt Mary’s apartment and went to granddaughter Haley’s basketball game. I am done at the apartment and will plan an outing for the Thanksgiving weekend. Saturday Haley had two basketball games so I was busy watching Monona Grove sixth graders learning basketball. Sunday Haley had another game so I finished out a basketball weekend and started planning an east coast trip for the holiday weekend.

Thanksgiving trip November 25 -27, 2011

Wednesday night I took off for the Thanksgiving weekend to see racing at some new tracks for me. Thursday was a day of driving as after some turkey and the trimmings (yes, pumpkin pie too) at Shoney’s I got into Georgia and stopped for some sleep – maybe not enough! As I awoke and hurried into the Flying J for a bathroom stop I locked my keys in the car. The night clerk directed me to the store isle that included tools to unlock a car and I paid $20 and started to read the directions. A young man working here saw me and said he had done this before and would do it for me (I don’t think he stole cars for a living). He tried the straight bar but it did not work so he pried on the door and used the coat hanger look alike and hooked the knob and unlocked the door. So after a short delay of half an hour I was back on the road. Friday I arrived at Carnesville Georgia for a return visit to the Georgia Karting Komplex (I was rained out here just before the champ kart feature in 2008). Today was the middle day of the 3-day 18th Annual Thanksgiving Thunder and would include features in 18 classes of karts including senior champs. The event draws well and today over 480 karts were entered including 26 senior champ lights racing for $1000 to win and 74 pro animals racing for $5000 to win. I arrived at 12:30 PM during the second round of practice. The qualifying started at 2PM and racing finally started at 5PM. Three classes were well over the 30-kart field for the features so those classes had a consi race to fill the last 5 spots. All races were started single file and the features were 15 laps except for the big money animal race contested at 30 laps. The track is a ¼-mile red clay oval that is not too wide and outlined with white chalk lines on the inside as well as the outside. The inside is further marked with orange traffic cones and then a 6 foot wide lane is watered heavily that remains muddy to prevent any short cutting of the turns. The outside is a very wide smooth run off area before some tires are placed before the chain link fencing. For spectators they have a big 9-row wooden bleacher and 3 smaller 5-row aluminum bleachers and several spots in the first turn where you are above the track and can see from your car. The lights were OK and supplemented by a set of temporary lights for the first turn. The speakers were fine if you are close to one and they had an excellent announcer who kept you well informed all day and described the action too. The races started straight up by time but only one of the features was a run away won by the pole sitter. Most features had several lead changes even though the pole sitter won 8 of the 18 features. The junior purple light was the only race with serious accidents twice needing the red as the drivers were checked out in the ambulance but all drivers eventually walked back to the pits. Josh Darnell won the non-stop stock medium from 6th and Daniel Armstrong won the animal medium from sixth also in a race with one yellow. Yellows were not thrown for spins off the course and 12 of the features went all green. Fast timer Mitchell Dowdy led the senior champs before second starter Darren Brown took over. Dowdy and Brown exchanged the lead again before third starter Brad Bracken took command. Dowdy got back in front and took the white flag leading but a slip in the fourth turn allowed Brown to get inside and inch ahead at the finish line to win over Dowdy and Greg Fields who started 10th in the non-stop race. Austin Yarbrough won the junior pro blue from a 15th place start and Tony Gaylord took the non-stop 30-lap finale from 4th to wrap up the night at 10PM. Saturday I headed north for a repeat stop at the Richmond Coliseum where I saw racing in January this year. Tonight was the second race of the winter Arena Racing USA series for the ½ scale stock cars. The Richmond Coliseum is downtown and there is a parking ramp right next door with event parking for $6. There was a very small crowd here tonight to watch 21 cars in the pro class and 4 in the youth division. The track is a high banked 1/10 mile aluminum oval that is set up in sections on the coliseum floor. The aluminum walls were tested several times as the drivers drove hard in the outside lane on the tacky rubber coated surface. I found the soft seats very comfortable and the lights were good but although the speakers were loud they were not clear. Racing got under way at 7PM with the 50-lap A-Main that started 11 cars and transferred the top 8 to the top dog race. Scott Prillaman and Travis Wall were fighting for the lead on the 30th lap when they tangled and collected two more cars for the first yellow. Jordan Wood started 6th and held on through two more yellows to win over Mike Weddell and Cody Carlton. The 50-lap B-Main started 10 cars (all rookies) and the first of 3 yellows was brought out on lap 5 as Michael Solaimni hit the wall and slid on his side ending his night early. The other yellows were for cars that hit the wall hard enough to stop but 3rd starter Austin Jefferson got by pole sitter Dan Thomas and ran clean to the checkers to take the win as this race transferred the first 6 to the top dog race. The youth division ran a 30-lap feature with a yellow on the first lap when Jordan Valdes bicycled into the wall and was eliminated. Pole sitter Savannah Cook led the entire race but was challenged by Tripp Thurston who spun on the last lap trying an inside pass for the lead. Cook held off Macy Causey on the green, white and checkered finish to take the trophy. The 50-lap top dog race started with a red flag as a second lap tangle sent Nathan Thomas on his roof in the second turn. Tommy Jackson JR spun on the 26th lap and on that restart the leaders all tangled with pole sitter Matt Midgett ending up spun out. Weddell pushed through the pack of cars and crossed the line first from his 8th place start but the celebration was short as he did not pass tech inspection and was disqualified. Travis Wall had started 6th and crossed the line second to be declared the winner over Carlton and Midgett. Sunday afternoon was my chance to visit a well known old speedway on the Jersey shore. I was unable to get here for the two day Turkey Derby at Wall Stadium Speedway in Wall New Jersey but this afternoon was the Gobbler hosted by NEETS (North East Enduro Tour Series). A small crowd was spread out in the big 22-row grandstand all along the straightaway of the 1/3-mile asphalt oval. You walk in above the track and walk down the concrete steps to your seats that are nicely painted wood planks. The track is a paper clip shape with long straights and high banked turns with two high Armco outer walls. The inside is marked with a yellow line and the asphalt flattens out and a slight reverse bank asphalt berm keeps the cars from cutting the corners. The infield is mostly paved and kept clear and there were good speakers off the sides of the announcing tower and a nice scoreboard outside the second turn. The lights look OK but were not used today. Four races were on the schedule with small cars (16), big cars (28), trux (none) and ladies (7) listed as the classes. Pete Verwys started 6th in the 150-lap small car enduro that went non-stop and took an early lead then maintained about a half-lap margin over Dan Birdsall to take the win. The big cars also raced 150 laps with 27 of the 28 answering the starting call and again racing non-stop. Vern McLaughlin started 12th and drove hard to the lead but blew a radiator hose exiting the fourth turn around the 110th lap. The Armco took a beating as all the cars slid through the water and bounced off the outside wall not just for that lap but for three laps afterward until the drivers slowed down or drove real low until the water dried. Rob Longo started with a lap penalty after a gas leak while lining up but charged back to the front however he spun twice in this water and gave the lead back to front row starter and early leader Scott Sipe. Sipe maintained a steady pace and never gave the lead up as he won over Longo and Richard Petey from 14th in the Petty blue #43. There was no trux race and only 6 ladies had cars that could run for their 25-lap finale of the afternoon. Shawna Ingraham started 3rd and got to the front but Brittany Tomaino was fastest and quickly caught the leader but tangled and then spun loosing a lap. Tomaino got by Ingraham but never could pull away to make up the lap and Ingraham came away with the final checkers of the day. The racing was done by 3:30PM and I got an early start on my long drive back home.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Race Report 22

Indoor Racing November 5, 2011

Tuesday (11-1-11) was All Saints Day and very mild for this time of the year with a slight breeze and sunshine. Aunt Mary took her last ride from the Ryan Funeral Home on North Sherman Avenue to Resurrection Cemetery on Madison’s west side by coming in Sherman Avenue right by the family homestead and then following the route she walked to work for 25 years. The graveside service was conducted by Monsignor Hughes as the sun glistened off the copper casket during a small intimate ceremony. Tuesday night the weather cooled off quickly as a thunderstorm moved through overnight bringing us back to normal November weather for the rest of the week. Saturday I took a break from the cleaning at Aunt Mary’s apartment to check out the grand opening of a new track in Versailles Ohio called BMI Indoor Speedway. The speedway is on
Main Street
in town and is in a big metal frame building with no support poles to worry about. The track is a high banked 1/10-mile dirt oval with chain link fencing on the outside with a hard rubber or fiberglass type of material bolted to the fencing with steel cables running through the fencing too. This leaves a smooth surface for the karts to hit if they do get into the wall and several did just that. The inside of the track is marked with the inverted metal plates or discs stuck into the track. They have good lights and adequate speakers and ventilation fans along the north wall. The spectator area has three aluminum 5-row bleachers along the straightaway and a 3-row bleacher in the 4th turn. The show today was divided into two sessions with 7 classes racing in each. The 10AM show had no countable class for trackchasing so I chose to arrive at 4:30PM a half-hour before the second session started. The bleachers were already mostly full to watch the evening session of 7 blue plates, 9 clone lights, 10 clone heavies, 11 senior mediums, 4 senior champs and 6 quarter midgets. One junior champ was in the pits but did not run so 6 classes raced in two sets of heats and the features. Practice started at 5PM with racing at 5:30PM and the show was completed by 8:10PM. The Burris #99 won both heats for the senior champs to earn the pole of the feature. He led the entire non-stop 15-lap feature but was disqualified in tech giving the win to Jared Bennett who started from outside the first row. Jeremy Franz came from 4th to finish second with A J Maxson capturing third. Most of the features had several yellows as multi-kart tangles were common as the drivers made aggressive moves all over the track. Jacob Miner made a last lap pass to take the quarter midget feature win. A beautiful new building and some good racing should help the winter go by fast for these Ohio racers. 

Virginia & North Carolina November 11 & 12, 2011

Thursday night I was ready for a break from the cleaning at Aunt Mary’s apartment so I headed out for the weekend. Friday I drove out east with the first stop being at Providence Raceway in Henry Virginia. This is the second year for this kart track in rural Virginia near Martinsville. The track is a 1/5-mile clay oval that sits on the lowest elevation of the property so viewing is good from any side of the track. There is a lot of run off area (most all of it uphill) before any fences and hay bales are placed in front of any posts such as the flag stand and stop lights. Traffic cones and metal plates mark the inside and the infield is clear. The lights are good and the speakers are OK but used only for announcing the next class to grid. They have a tech building and an office as the only permanent buildings as the concessions were out of a trailer and the toilets were port-a-potties. Tonight was a preliminary show for the fall brawl on Saturday and had racing in 6 classes. I arrived just before 6PM for the 7PM start of practice and the track looked wet and smooth on a cool evening. There were two rounds of practice before the heats and then features. The heats started two abreast but the features started in single file. This made for very few cautions in the feature races. The kart counts were not too high with 4 senior champs, 5 junior sportsmen blue, 5 box stocks, 6 junior unrestricted clones, 12 animal medium and 15 animal heavy. Jared Fountain won the senior champ heat and led the entire 20 lap feature from the pole but was disqualified in tech. Brian Hutcherson started in 4th and drove hard to finish second and thus claim the winners prize. Noah Doss took a non stop junior sportsmen race from the front as did Jessica Connell in box stocks. Amber Burchette took the junior unrestricted clones in a race with one yellow. Donnie Nall made some good passes from a third starting spot to win the animal medium race that had one yellow. The animal heavy feature closed out the night and after two yellows (one for the early leader blowing) it was Nall and Jeremy Mullis trading the lead each lap toward the end. Mullis started 5th and held off Nall on the last lap to capture the win in a close hard fought feature that ended at 11:05PM. Saturday I took a short drive south to check out the North Iredell Emergency Training Grounds outside Harmony North Carolina where there was a demo derby scheduled with some figure eight races. I arrived about 1PM for the 2PM start of the event and after paying $8 as I drove onto the grounds I immediately saw Brian’s truck and Guy and Brian talking in the parking area. The figure eight cars were on the track for some solo practice laps. The track was set in a low part of the open field and surrounded with some temporary concrete slabs and some huge logs and then some temporary fencing to keep the crowd well back from the track. There was no seating but most brought lawn chairs and some backed up pick up trucks behind the chairs and watched from their vehicles. The track was slightly below the level of the spectators so visibility was good with the track being marked with two stacks of three tires that were dirt filled. They had good speakers and some generators if lights were needed and there were several tents and trailers of food vendors lined up behind the spectator area. I stood behind Guy and Pam as we waited over an hour for the start of racing. The racing finally started about 3:20PM for a small field of 5 4-cylinder cars and 6 V-8’s. The track had dried out during the wait so there was another delay to water before the second heat. They ran a single 10-lap heat for the small cars and then two heats for the V-8 cars.  Next up was the 25-lap feature for the small cars and that went non-stop with the #4 apparently the winner. I don’t think the announcer (they had a nice speaker system) ever gave any names for this class although he did state some names for the V-8 cars. The heat races were started from a standing start with the cars in one wide line but the feature was started single file. I don’t think the announcer had ever seen one of these events as he was unaware when the race was over and never did give any finishes or explanation of what was going on. After the first feature I thought it was getting late and I should catch up with Guy and Pam at another track so I took off with the V-8 feature lining up and the demos yet to come. Saturday evening my stop was at the Cleveland County Speedway in Lawndale North Carolina. The track is a 4/10-mile high banked red clay oval and tonight was the season finale with racing in 5 classes: pure stocks (9 cars), front wheel drive (11), renegades (14), stock 4 (17) and limited sportsmen (8) plus a figure eight race, long jump and demo to end out the afternoon/evening event. Viewing is from a long concrete step grandstand (very few people) or from cars and lawn chairs along the top of the banking above the straightaway and the first and second turns. I found an open spot in the first turn just two cars down from Guy and Pam as I entered during the renegade feature won by Chris Stowe. Next was the stock 4’s feature that had a couple of spins but Kevin Cooper moved from 8th to claim the checkers over front row starter Tim Bristol. The limited sportsmen eliminated half the field in three yellows as pole sitter John Reynolds won this one. The attention then turned to the figure eight track which is in the unlighted infield of the big oval. It was a good sized graded out figure eight pattern with a small dirt pile inside and outside so you were racing in a rather narrow lane around the pattern with four big tires to mark the intersection and compact the “X” into a small area. Five of the 6 cars entered started the 20-lap figure eight feature and soon disappeared in the dust from the unwatered track. As a few cars dropped out and the powder blew off the track the final two cars running came back into view and Tracy Tapley took the victory over Mike Miller. Two motorcycles and a quad took two passes over a jump on the straightaway infield and Jason Kayler was the winner of the long jump. Four cars came out for the demo and Brandon Pruitt was listed as the winner as the show ended at 7:30PM and I headed west to Wisconsin.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Race Report 21

Ohio and Indiana October 22 & 23, 2011

Friday after another week of helping Aunt Mary I got to see granddaughter Haley play in her 6th grade basketball game where she scored 2 points and Monona Grove beat Sun Prairie. Saturday I was on the road to visit a new location in Ohio at the Hocking County Fairgrounds. They have constructed a 1/5-mile dirt track in the infield of the old horse track at the fairgrounds and have some Jersey barriers for outer walls in the turns and plowed up some dirt walls for the remainder of the rectangular track. The track has two long straights and two short chutes with four 90 degree turns and each of the four straights have a small jump built across to make the autocross track. They did announce that this was the third race of the year. It is unusual that they race clockwise around the track. There is a nice 16-row concrete grandstand with aluminum bench seats and some good temporary speakers and they have added some lights to make adequate lighting on the oval. The grounds are nice with paved drives and a big new restroom building complete with several showers. I arrived at 4PM and was told there would be a lawnmower demo derby at 5PM before the races at 6PM.  The 13 mowers were divided into two heats with the last 4 running transferring to the feature. I saw a bob-tail semi enter the grounds and spotted Brian Hickey and we joined the small crowd in the grandstands. At about 6:15 they had a drivers meeting for the 8 big cars and 4 small cars that came out for the autocross races. Then at 6:30PM they qualified the 12 cars to set the lineups for the races. The big cars ran 20 laps with Dustin Hatfield winning from the pole but it was not easy as midway through the race a lapped car spun him dropping him to third. Hatfield worked back to the lead and won the race. Tom McDaniel won the small car 15-lap race from a 3rd starting spot. Then after a short intermission 7 of the 12 cars entered the mad dash for cash for 10 laps. McDaniel took off from 4th and stayed ahead of the big cars and won this race to close out the night at the Hocking County Fairgrounds. Sunday I took a drive across Indiana in some light rain as I headed toward Vincennes. The rain had ended as I arrived just north of Vincennes on Highway 41 at the Fast Track Raceway in rural Bruceville Indiana. The track is a banked 1/5-mile asphalt oval with long straight-aways and grass runoff areas before the hay and plastic barrels and some chain link fencing. The inside of the oval is not marked just a small drop from the asphalt to the grass. The bright lights are off several poles in the infield and there are several stop lights around the track as well as good speakers. They have a wooden 8-row bleacher in the first turn and viewing along the front straight-away fence. The facility was well maintained with the grass cut and paved driveways and paved pit roads. There is a big permanent building for a cafĂ© and restrooms. I arrived there just after noon but the qualifying did not start until 4:30PM and racing at 6:45PM in spite of some postings that said they would race earlier. They drew 61 karts over the 9 classes including 13 senior champs. The big race today was the 200 lap feature for the 360 clones. The racing started with the 100-lap feature for the ten 330 clones and Cody Johnson took off from the pole and built up a huge lead until a light sprinkle stopped the event past the half-way point. After about 15 minutes to let the track dry they completed the race with just one yellow for a spin and Johnson the winner over Kevin Phelps and Lisa Raines. The other classes all ran 25-lap features over the fast track with the (3) junior 2 flatheads, the (4) junior 2 sportsmen champs and the (4) junior 2 clone blue plate champs all completing non-stop features. The senior champs took to the track for the feature with a spin on the 4th lap and then a red on the 8th lap when Mike McGill tipped over in the 4th turn. There was one more spin on the 14th lap then they raced to the checkers. Jason Petelle started third but led most of the race and on the last lap pole sitter Brian Martin was in second and touched the leader enough to cause Petelle to spin but the checkers flew with Martin first over Cody Johnson and Chris Harder. However the results show Johnson the winner and Martin in last presumably being disqualified for rough driving. There were 4 more features including the 13 karts in the 200-lap feature but it was 9PM already and I was showing my age and ready to call it a night. I left for the trip home during the senior flathead feature very happy to have finally seen my 100th different track in Indiana.

Saturday October 29, 2011 – No Race – Aunt Mary Passes

Saturday I was all set to head out to meet Roger Ferrell in Indiana for another fair race but I got the call about 3AM that Aunt Mary had passed away. Mary Elizabeth Esser, age 91, a lifelong Madison resident died peacefully in her sleep early Saturday morning. Mary had not even attended her first race yet so she will not be on the list of track chasers but she had completed hundreds of crossword puzzles in her retirement years. She does have a record that is quite unusual in that she had never driven a car and walked to work all 50 years of her employment. She held each of her two jobs for 25 years apiece as a secretary for Gisholt Machine Corp. and then a secretary for Doctors Tormey and Benish. The family thanks Karmenta Center for the loving care over the last five months. While her passing was not a shock it came a little faster than expected and left the family with some loose ends to tie up in the next few weeks. She leaves us with lots of good memories and a wealth of funny stories to tell over and over in her memory. Rest in peace, Aunt Mary.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Race Report 20

Lincoln Trail Motorsports October 8, 2011

Thursday and Friday were beautiful fall days with near record highs and would have been great race trip days but I had to help Aunt Mary out with some nursing decisions at Saint Mary’s Hospital. The USAC midgets were running in Granite City Illinois or Oktoberfest was running at LaCrosse Wisconsin but time was not sufficient for me to make either of these on Thursday or Friday. Saturday morning I was on the road for a quick trip to southeastern Illinois and another stop at Lincoln Trail Motorsports in Casey Illinois. I had seen the enduro racing on the long 4 mile course in 2004 but today would be racing on the short course that is about ¾-mile long and has lots of elevation changes and Sunday would be the long course race. The race is put on by the Mid American Off Road Association (MAORA) and consists of three 10-lap races for each of the three classes. Today they drew good fields of 12 entries in the small buggy class, 5 trucks and 15 in the big buggy class. The short course is a dirt road course with some left and right hand turns and some natural jumps as they head down hill and a few smaller man-made jumps along the course. I arrived right at noon as the first of the 9 races was lining up and paid my $10 single day admission. I found a spot where they had a 5-row bleacher set up under the high power line that goes through the property and is the highest point on the premises. They start the races in a land rush start from behind the woods that lines the pit area so you don’t see the start. They run downhill from the starting area and after a sharp right hand turn they head into a high-banked left turn that is right below this viewing area. They run down a short straight with a small jump and head left with another jump as they start back uphill. There are some turns on the upper level by the starting area before they come back down and those turns were the only part of the track not visible from my first viewing spot. I moved to the other side of the short straight and from that hilltop you could see about 90 percent of the short course. This is where they have a nice new building that has restrooms and showers. There are no lights and no speaker system. The track was well watered with a big tractor pulling the water wagon and a water truck both in use. Terry Fitzgerald won all three races for the small buggy class and Timmy Shear with co-pilot Adam Shear won all three in the truck class. Dustin Pittman, Mike Geiser and John Frana won the big buggy races. There were two lost wheels in the buggy races and one roll over in the trucks but most of the day was good close racing. I had a good relaxing day of off road racing and they were done at 3:30PM and I headed home. No racing for me on Sunday as I was back with Aunt Mary.

Bryant Speedway Sunday October 16, 2011

Last week was spent caring for Aunt Mary and making some more plans as she was moved back to Karmenta Nursing Home. Then I needed some time to prepare the year end reports for the old fraternity that still has some assets but no longer an active chapter to serve. Saturday morning was the homecoming game at Wisconsin as they played Indiana and I stopped by the former fraternity house to see who might be around. Only about 6 of the old alumni were there and most told of how many old faces were at the last game against the nationally rated Nebraska Cornhuskers. I guess the Indiana game was not a big enough game to draw them back so we just talked informally and did not conduct any fraternity business although I had the report and did give out our profit numbers. Saturday afternoon was another visit to the nursing home and some yard care at home before I left for a racing trip. Saturday night I was going to stop at the Farmer City Raceway in Illinois but they had posted that the races were canceled. Rockford was having the heat races for the Bahama Brackets that would have the six features on Sunday but no feature and I needed to get part way to Indiana so I passed on that and headed south. Sunday Afternoon I pulled into the Bryant Speedway in Bryant Indiana at 1PM to see what the go-kart races would be like today. The track is a 1/10-mile banked dirt oval with some wooden walls on the outside as well as the inside and has just opened under new ownership. They had a couple of senior champs listed a couple of weeks ago but today they had about 50 flat karts and 3 junior champs racing in 8 classes. I met Roger Ferrell just as they started the first round of heats and we walked through the pits and saw 3 senior champ karts but two were on stands and not running today and one was still in the trailer. So we just spent the afternoon bench racing while they quickly went through the two sets of heats and moved into the features. It was a windy day but there were some clouds so the sun did not bake the track. There were some light sprinkles off and on during the day but never enough to stop the races. The last of the money features started 15 karts and had three tries to get a lap completed and then had several yellows but the rest of the day’s races went very fast. They are making improvements and have some lights and will have some speakers shortly. Roger and I took a last swing at each other and went on our separate way home vowing to continue our fighting another day. With no countable class for track chasing or race chasing it was just a nice day to practice driving another 400 miles as I headed home.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Race Report 19

Wyoming Trip September 23-25, 2011

Thursday after watching granddaughter Sidney’s second volleyball match of the week I was ready to turn my attention to some races. My first thought was to stay in the Midwest but the weather looked like showers and there was only one new track to visit so I thought about a longer trip. Texas could have given me three tracks but I was already behind schedule for that long of a trip. I found two tracks in Wyoming and a stop on the way so I planned an early morning start for Friday. Friday I drove to Nebraska and stopped at the I-80 Speedway in Greenwood for the first night of the three day Cornhusker Classic with late models co-sanctioned from MLRA and CBC (Corn Belt Clash). There were quite a few campers in the lot and some people in the stands already at 6PM and the pits were overflowing. The track is a high banked half-mile dirt oval and they use the infield for most of the pits. They put the big enclosed haulers in the center section so even if you were up only 8 rows in the grandstand you could see the entire track. The grandstand is raised so the first row is already 10 feet over the paved walkways and it has 32 rows of seating with fiberglass seats that have a small back. There are also bleachers on each side of the big grandstand. The track has a Jersey barrier outside concrete wall and the inside is mostly Armco. The lights were very good and the speakers were loud but kept cutting out. They also had a scoreboard outside the first turn. The overflow pits were outside the backstretch and were needed tonight with a field of 48 late models, 30 crate late models, 26 B-mods, 22 modifieds, 16 hornets, 17 pro-am stocks and 12 hobby stocks. The late models ran a complete show with 5 heats and 2 semis before the feature. The other classes ran heats and then the top 10 in points ran a 10-lap dash to set the starting lineup for the inside row of the feature on Sunday. The late model heats were good with Charlie McKenna and Kelly Boen winning from the third row of their heats. The fifth heat had to be stopped when Jason O’Brien hit the first turn wall nearly head on and flipped back down the track. He was uninjured but needed a double wrecker tow back to the pits. Kyle Berck beat John Saathoff in the modified dash and Brad Derry got a close win in the Pro-am dash before the late model feature. Boen was on the front row of the 25-lap late model feature but spun on the first lap. That moved McKenna up to a front row start with Al Humphrey based on points earned in the heats. There was only one more spin in the feature as the 26 cars were using the wide track with multiple grooves and slide jobs for the entire race. Kyle Berck started 5th and took command on the outside with Denny Eckrich from 8th following in the same groove. Berck won over Eckrich and John Anderson from 10th.  The 4 other dashes followed the feature and then the Pro-am stocks had a king of the hill race where they raced one on one until a winner was determined. The show was done at 11:15PM and I headed west. Saturday I drove through the desolate Sand Hills of Nebraska and through the Black Hills of South Dakota before arriving in Newcastle Wyoming. The Black Hills Mini-Sprints were the headline class at the Newcastle Raceway which is located at the Weston County Fairgrounds in Newcastle. The fairgrounds has a big rodeo arena and a huge covered grandstand but just next to that is a nice 1/5 mile semi-banked dirt oval with a small 10-row bleacher and a set of shorter bleachers next to it. I arrived at 6PM and there were already pickup trucks backed into the trackside parking stalls and a few people in the stands for the 7PM races that drew 15 mini sprints, 2 slingshots, 3 mini-quads, 3 125cc motorcycles and 8 50cc mini cycles. The track was well watered and had an Armco fence along the front straightaway but the rest of the track had a run-off area before any fencing. The inside was marked with some tires and they had adequate lights. The speakers were good for the nice size crowd that filled the small stands and all the trackside parking. They warmed up at 7PM and then had an autograph session before the racing started at 8PM with heats for all classes. Larry Reub won the first mini sprint heat from the front and then Anthony Farnsworth and Robert Bandy took the next two heats from the back (5th starting spot). The heats went fast and were followed quickly by the features as long as they already had intermission for the autograph session. Troy Colter beat dad Dale in a close slingshot feature. The mini sprints started with a big crash on the first lap with 5 cars leaving the track on the backstretch and Dallas McCormack and Farnsworth flipping. After a short delay to clear the runoff area the race went green for 10 laps until Troy Corneliuson hit the wall. John Garrigan started 7th and was leading over pole sitter Jim Paisley when third running Reub went up in smoke on the 16th lap causing another yellow. There was one more yellow with two laps to go when Logan Hershey who was now up to third from 13th ran over the wheel of the second place car and went over the bank into the runoff area. Garrigan held on to win over Paisley and the races were done at 9:30PM giving me a chance to catch up on my much needed sleep. Sunday was another beautiful fall day in Wyoming with bright sun and temperatures in the 80’s as I drove to Cheyenne for another stop at Big Country Speedway. This time I stopped on a race day as it was the first annual Showdown in Cheyenne and Miss Frontier was even here handing out some door prizes. (She had a ride but it was a 1HP mount and better suited for a dirt track.) The track is a banked quarter mile asphalt oval with concrete outside walls and the inside marked with a yellow line and a concrete strip before a width of flat asphalt drops down to the sandy infield. There are some newer buildings for the concessions (where I had a very good race track spud and they offered a wide selection of toppings for the baked potato) and the cement block bathrooms were clean and modern. They have paved walkways and a big 14-row wooden grandstand (facing east) all along the straightaway. The grandstand is showing its age and it looked like minimal lighting (not used today) but there is a nice scoreboard on the backstretch. The speakers were weak and cut out some. I arrived at 1:45PM and a small crowd was waiting for a few final qualifiers to time in. Racing started a half hour late at 2:30PM for a slim field of 6 late models, 6 modifieds, 5 warriors, 5 mod four’s and 14 super stocks. They ran dashes, heats and then features for each class. The features got under way after 5PM with the modifieds running 19 of their 25 laps before a spin. Mark Sopr started 4th and claimed the win. The junkyard warriors (mini stocks) ran a non-stop 25-lap feature with Tyler Drew taking a close win over Breann Adkison. Nick Tabor hit the wall on the start of the mod 4 feature then they ran all green with Dino Charron coming from 5th to take the win. The late model 30-lap feature went all green with 6th starter Gary Hobbs picking up the win over Lance Lewis. The big money race of the day was the $1000 to win super stocks that rounded out the racing day. The 40-lap feature was restarted when Mark Kelly spun in the first turn. There were two early spins then the race went to lap 18 when leader Kelly spun again after contact with Kent Stubbe. Kelly restarted first and Stubbe was sent to the rear. This scenario happened two more times with Kelly spinning on the 22nd lap and the 34th lap with contact from the second place car. Stubbe made it back to second place and tried an outside pass that fell half a car length short on the last lap and Kelly won the feature. It was 7PM and time for me to start the long trip home.    

Illinois Weekend September 30 – October 2, 2011

Friday I finished up my hospital visits with Aunt Mary and still had time to make it to a race. This weekend could help me get closer to the 100 mark for different tracks seen in Illinois and still give me an opportunity to see some good racing in between. I started the weekend with a visit to the familiar confines of the Rockford Speedway in Rockford Illinois where the 46th Annual National Short Track Championships were being held. The cool night would have racing in six divisions on the high banked quarter-mile asphalt oval. I arrived just before the 7:07PM starting time and ran into Bob Schafer so we sat together for some good conversation between the races tonight. They had already qualified and would run some dashes and qualifying heats before the feature races. The only class that needed a semi was the Road Runners as they had 36 entries tonight. There were also 26 late models, 26 short trackers, 21 sportsmen, 12 figure eight cars and 22 entries in the bandit vs. hornet challenge. The track has good lights and excellent speakers for the light crowd spread out in the large aluminum grandstand along the straightaway and a few more spectators in the old bleachers along the backstretch. The high banks have a concrete wall around the outside and just a white line to mark the inside where the pavement flattens off before the grass infield. There was not a full moon tonight but it was one of those nights where everything crazy and wrong just happened.  There were also more than the usual numbers of yellows in the preliminary races tonight. The features started with the 40-lap All-American Sportsmen race that was stopped on the 4th lap with a fire after Bob Wilberg had an oil leak in the old ‘Cuda. On the 29th lap Josh Thiering blew and oiled the track and caught fire. There was a spin on the attempted restart then the second and third place cars of Matt Lundberg and Matt Berger got into the wall. Rich Hinerichsen started 4th and won the race over Chris Gantz from 9th. The short trackers were on their third restart when a car went off the end of the backstretch and down the pit entrance road at full speed. He apparently crashed into the pits and that brought out an immediate red flag as someone was injured and needed an ambulance transport. After this delay they announced that they would only race for 30 laps not the 40 scheduled. There were only two more yellows as George Sparkman came from 11th to win the race over Scotty Hoeft from 4th and Kyle Stark from 10th. The late model feature was cut from 46 laps to 36 (a number made famous here by Joe Shear) but it took three tries to complete a lap without a spin. They raced for 4 laps and had another spin. Then the late models settled into a good race with no more cautions as Bobby Wilberg led from the front to take the win but had to hold off repeated attempts to pass by John Reynolds JR who started 8th. Ryan Carlson was third from 10th and Jerry Gille from 11th was fourth at the finish. The Road Runners were next and on the 8th lap of their 30-lap feature the red was displayed when Howie Ware got upside down. Ware and Alex Papini were moving toward the front when they ran out of patience and drove one another into the second turn wall. They continued pushing each other to the third turn where Ware rolled on his top. He exited the car and had to be restrained as he went to the Papini car for a talk and eventually the sheriff came out on the track to settle things down. After the restart they ran well with 7th starter Bob Frisch the apparent winner over Dana Czach from 14th. However both were disqualified and Kris Nilson from 10th got the trophy. The bandit vs. hornet challenge had only one yellow as Bryce Bailey came from 11th to claim the win over Tyler Whalen from 7th. The figure eight race was last with most of the cars coming from the road runner class and after 1 yellow for a stall they raced to the checkers with Dennis Smith JR a close winner over Josh Thiering and Tom Schneider. There was a spin by Dan Carlson at the “X” as the checkers were waiving and Thiering racing for the win drove into the rear of the nearly stopped car as the race ended with a big crash. The races were done just before midnight and I headed south. Saturday afternoon I headed to the southern part of Illinois for a look at the Perry County Fairgrounds in Pinckneyville Illinois. I arrived about 4PM two hours before the start of the demo program for tonight. There were a few cars here already and several more arrived as they were packing and watering the small track for tonight. It appears the arena is set up for tractor pulls with a long narrow dirt area with tall concrete walls on both sides that is in front of a covered wood grandstand of 13 rows with several bleacher sections on the other side of the arena that the pit personnel could use. They have good lights and the speakers were adequate. After the 5:45PM drivers meeting they took concrete slabs and placed them between the concrete walls to form a small square in front of the grandstand that was well watered. Then they placed two of the concrete slabs toward each end of the area within the temporary walls as if they were preparing to run a figure eight but instead they started the program with an autocross. This was an oval race around the two concrete barriers. Four cars came out for the 25-lap race on a very wet surface and there was very little contact as they ran non-stop with Ben Eisenhower taking the checkers in front of Randy Lawhorn. It was only 6:40PM so I skipped the demo and headed out to catch the midgets at Belleville just about an hour away. Saturday night was a race at the Belle-Clair Speedway for the POWRi midgets (45 cars) and the micros (49 cars). I arrived at 7:30PM and they were already on the third heat race for the midgets in front of a big crowd. The program was set up with 6 heats for each class then two semis for each and the two feature races. The track is a high banked 1/5-mile dirt oval with concrete outside walls and concrete Jersey barriers on the inside. I started by sitting in the first turn and was pelted with soft dirt during the heats. I moved to the 4th turn for the rest of the races while they did some “farming” of the track. They dug up the inside and then dug up the cushion and repacked it. This made for some dust but left a loose track and the cars ran three wide with dirt reaching the 10th row of the old wooden 12-row grandstands during the midget semis and the feature. The track is well lit and the speakers are very good. After all the preliminaries the micro feature took to the track with 23 starters for 20 laps. Dereck King started from the front and looked like a winner until the third yellow of the race appeared with only two laps left. Joe B Miller took the high line on the restart and blasted around King for the win with Jacob Patton in third. The midgets started 23 cars in the 30-lap Charlene Meents Memorial feature and had trouble getting the race going with 4 yellows in the first 10 laps. After the 10th lap restart the 3 leaders (pole sitter Brett Anderson, Mario Clouser from 6th and Brad Kuhn from 11th) started trading big slide jobs on the little track. On each turn they would slide and bang more often than not as the third place car tried for a shot at the lead. On the 12th lap Kuhn tried to move way low and slide in the third turn but hit the Jersey inside barrier and did a big wheelie and spun. There were two more yellows on the 19th lap and Anderson and Clouser were still fighting for the lead. Clouser was in the lead with two laps to go but Anderson made the slider work to grab the lead with Bubba Altig now up to third from 9th and Donnie Lehman holding fourth using the very inside of the track. On the last turn of the race Anderson moved down to the middle to slow the slide job that was coming and Clouser lost momentum as the two touched. Altig got underneath both but climbed the wheels of Clouser as they came out of the fourth turn. Anderson won with Altig bouncing over Clouser for second at the line and no one flipped! It was only 10:20PM when the show was complete so I had time to drive a few miles north before getting some shut eye. Sunday morning I continued north to the Autobahn Country Club in Elwood Illinois arriving just before noon to see the North Suburban Sports Car Club races this afternoon. They drew good car counts with 110 cars among the six groups that were racing today. There were 24 big production cars, 22 improved touring cars, 12 big formula cars, 21 vintage cars, 8 small formula cars and 23 small production cars. Each group ran a half-hour race with the first race starting at 1:20PM. The facility is very new with 3 major race circuits for the sports cars and today they would race on the south course (2.061 miles in length) while club members were using the north course. They also have the ability to combine the north and south courses in to a big course. I saw racing on the south course last year but before the track chasing rule changes this year only one course was countable. The facility is immaculate and the viewing is better on the south course so I just settled down for a relaxing race day on a bright cool autumn day. The big production cars ran first with Ron Rashinski in a Porsche pulling away from the pole to a big lead and lapping up to 6th place as he completed 19 laps in the half hour. There was a good battle for second with 3 cars swapping the spot during the race but Bryan Duncan taking second at the finish with Jeff Cheleis in third and John Jung fourth. Jack Murphy started on the pole and completed 18 laps as he won the improved touring group race over Michael Brinati as the first 7 finishers came across in the same order as they started. The big formula start produced a local yellow when the pole car did not come up to speed and stopped on the course on the first lap. The scramble at the start saw John Gyann come from the 9th grid spot to the lead in one lap. John completed 20 laps and won over Greg Gyann and Frank Riemann. Pole sitter Geoff Pile won the vintage race by a big margin in his Ford Escort over the Datsun of Mark Atkinson. The small formula race was on the track when I decided to start home and listen to the end of the NASCAR race and then the Packer game as I fought the Chicago area traffic.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Race Report 18

Iowa weekend September 9-11, 2011

Friday was a chance to stay close to home for another visit to Columbus 151 Speedway in Columbus Wisconsin before a short trip to see some new tracks in Iowa. I arrived early during the qualifying but a large crowd was already on hand and the pits were full to the brim. With the season done at Madison International and not much going on in southern Wisconsin the people were out on a nice night even though it is a high school football night. The nearly flat quarter mile paved oval drew good car counts of 29 late models, 14 street stocks, 22 hobby stocks, 19 bandits, 16 legends and 8 back up cars. With lots of cars to qualify and some oil spilled during the timed runs they were about 20 minutes behind making the 8PM start for racing. Steven Sauer did set a new track record in the Hobby stock qualifying with a 14.812 second lap. The racing started with a benefit race in the legend division and Aaron Moyer took the honors in the 15-lap event. After the heats and a couple of semis they took a short break before the features. The bandits were up first with an 18-lap feature and it was Seth Reamer who took advantage of the three cautions while he came from a 14th starting spot to take the win over Ken Ring from 8th. The street stocks ran 25 laps with three late race cautions and a good 4-car battle for the win. Phil Denikas started 9th and just held off Randy Breunig who started 11th as the crossed ahead of Kevin Anderson who got third from his 10th starting spot. The legends ran a 25-lap feature that had 4 cautions but again it was 8th starter Moyer who was fastest and won over Cory Talaska from 9th. Kale Peterman started 7th and won the 30-lap hobby stock feature over Steven Sauer from 9th in a race slowed by only 2 yellows. The late models had a 50-lap feature and although there were 4 yellows in the first half they ran clean the last half with pole sitter Scott Patrick making no mistake and holding off the tight field. Nick Nolden from the front row was second with third going to Luke Hoffman from 9th. The back-up cars ran 8 laps in reverse with John Von Allmen taking the win. Then they ran another 15-lap special winner take all race with some sponsors putting up the money and Matt Wachuta was the winner with a last lap pass of Dustin Von Allmen. The races ran late with the final checkers at 12:50AM but it was only a short trip home tonight. Saturday I left at noon for a trip to Charles City Iowa and a look at a new track they built at the Floyd County Fairgrounds. The fairgrounds are way out of town and are being renovated with some new buildings and there is now a high-banked dirt track carved into the land. They cut down the earth to make the track and it looks like a big rectangular bowl with big tires that line the top of the turns and some Armco fencing in front of the pits. There is a wide flat area (used for tractor pulls) between the long 10-row aluminum bleachers and the track so you view from a long way back. The infield at each end of the track that forms the figure eight is the dirt that was not cut down when they made the track. Thus there is about a 6 foot high dirt berm that has a flagman, a generator and lights and about a dozen big tires lining the perimeter at each end of the track. I arrived almost 2 hours before the 7:30PM starting time and the people were already arriving. They drew a big crowd and good car counts of 11 open, 9 pro stocks, 23 stocks, 15 compact stocks and 4 cruisers. As I have noticed at these Iowa figure eight tracks they have been including some oval races and that was the case here with the cruisers running the track in a regular oval pattern. All classes ran heats with Jason McDonald rolling on his side in the small cars for the only roll in the preliminary action that included two semis. Also during the warm ups there was one accident at the very wide “X” that eliminated two cars for the night. Ten cars earned their way into the small car feature and Derek DeZarn won that 12-lap race from the third starting spot. The cruisers ran a 12-lap feature with Luke Lott and Jeff Wedeking taking the non-stop win. The stock cars went 15 laps for 9 starters and Levi Chipp came from 4th to claim the trophy. The pro stocks had a red flag on the third of their 15 laps when leader Lance Bergmann hit the berm hard and rolled. Pat Zimmerman started 4th and was the winner over Jesse Brown. The fast open class ran the final 15-lap feature of the night and Ty Mennenga came from 3rd to capture the checkers ahead of Ken Boge from 4th. The races were done at 9:50PM and I was off to catch some rest. Sunday was another beautiful fall day in Iowa and I decided to visit Barnes City with the hope that the Barnes City Figure Eight Track would race the cruisers on the oval. Barnes City is a small town with the track right in town and entry by way of going through the Ruriton building. You sit high above the track on several small bleachers or on the grass in chairs or on blankets. There are several shade trees which were useful today. The track is banked black clay with big Armco fencing in front of the stands and some tires at the “X” but no walls close to the track. Again the eight shape is made by having a large area of raised dirt and grass at each end but here the raised “infields” are clear. They have big lights off the pit side but they were not used today. The speakers were good. I arrived right at the 1PM starting time but racing actually got under way at 1:30PM for the 9 open stocks, 11 pro stocks, 16 stock cars and 5 cruisers. The track was well watered and they ran through all the heats without touching the track and there was very little dust even thought it was a bright sunny day. After a short break they ran the consies then another break was short before the features were posted. The 15-lap stock feature was first and it took three starts before the field completed the first turn and got the race underway. Then they ran 11 laps before a red for a crash at the “X”. Jerrod Gann was the winner when they finished the last 4 laps. The pro stocks went non-stop for their 15 laps as third starter Wayne Wiebert took the trophy. They watered the track and the cruiser feature was held around the track in an oval race. The pole car of A J Helms and Brad Craig spun on the first try at a start then they ran smooth for the 12 laps and won the feature. The open feature offered a special challenge for any of the first four starters as $500 was offered if you won from the back. After both cars on the front row declined Nathan Watts took the challenge and moved to the back to start 9th in the 15 lap race. The race went non-stop as one by one Watts moved up through the field. Just past the half-way point Watts took over from pole sitter Joe Icenbice and Watts ran hard but carefully to claim the win and bonus money. The races were done at 4:30PM and I made a quick exit to the highways to try for an evening race too. Sunday night was my third week in a row to be in Iowa and stop at the Dubuque Fairgrounds Speedway. Tonight was not a points race but rather a special “Race for the Lights” event put on by the Fair Association to raise money for some new lights for the track. I arrived at 7:30PM and found the parking lots jammed with a big crowd out on a beautiful night. The high banked 3/8-mile dirt track was quite dry with some rubber appearing on the lower grooves and some light dust. The B-mods were already on the track starting their feature when I sat down. There were 3 early yellows then Josh Sherbon took off and won the 12-lap feature. The hobby stocks started 10 cars for a 12-lap feature and after 2 early yellows Brannon Bechen pulled away to an apparent win. He did not pass tech so the second finisher Jeremy Campbell got the win. The stock cars started 15 cars for 15 laps and had 6 spins as they had a hard time with the slick track. Tim Current started 8th and took the win over Terry Ritmer. Matt Crist started 6th in the 20-lap modified feature that was slowed by only 2 yellows for the 15 cars and Crist won over J D Auringer from the back. The sport compact cars had a special memorial race and an increased purse as they raced for $1000 to win. The 18-lap feature started 19 cars and ran 10 laps before the first of 5 yellows appeared. Jacob Ellithorpe started on the pole and came home with the big prize. The late models rounded out the night with a 35-lap feature on this successful night. There were 4 early yellow then they ran 20 green laps as Tyler Breuning came from 8th to pick up the win over Luke Goedert, Dan Shelliam and Greg Kastli. The races were done before 10PM and I was able to get home before I needed some shut eye.

Illinois and Indiana September 16 – 18, 2011

Friday I took a drive south to visit the Jacksonville Speedway in Jacksonville Illinois where a good open wheel special drew 41 POWRi midgets, 23 micros and 19 MOWA winged sprints. I arrived at 5:45PM and they were packing down the banked quarter mile dirt oval that is surrounded by cement block walls that are held in place with earth behind. The inside used to be marked with a row of buried tires but now they just use the big tires laying on the infield to keep the cars on the track. I found a spot in the top row of the 20-row covered grandstand at the Morgan County Fairgrounds and hot laps started at 6:40PM. The track has good lighting and a good speaker system. There was no qualifying and the racing got underway at 7:20PM.The micros ran three quick heats then the midgets ran 5 heats to earn points for the feature placement. Chris Bell spun and tipped on his cage during the first heat but was able to restart. Tyler Thomas, Derek King, Austin Brown, Bryan Clauson and Brad Kuhn won the midget heats. After the two sprint heats they came back with two midget semis and a dash for the sprints then moved to the feature races. Daniel Robinson and Daniel Adler won the semis and John Campbell rolled over in the second semi. Jimmy Hurley won the sprint dash to take pole position in the feature. The micro feature was restarted after Paul Nienhiser hit the wall and turned over on the first lap. A spin slowed the race on the third lap then a red was displayed after a bad crash on the 4th lap. The crash apparently unfolded as Andrew Felker lost a wheel and Jeremy Camp hit the wall and rolled and as Ryan Guyett who was passing cars on the outside came up on the scene he spun into the wall bounced off and rolled. Guyett flipped onto Camp as he was still rolling and both cars tumbled a couple of more times on top of one another. Both drivers walked away from the wild crash. There were two more spins in the 20-lap feature but Joe B Miller kept the lead. Miller was in front as he approached lapped traffic with just 2 laps left in the race and Aaron Andruskevitch took the opportunity to move low and lap a couple of cars and sneak by Miller for the lead and the win. The 30-lap feature for the midgets was next with a red on the first lap as three cars tangled with Bell again upside down but the front axle torn apart this time. Clauson took off from the front row and kept the lead through 6 cautions as Brad Loyet worked up from a 13th starting spot to take second. Loyet showed his nose to Clauson but could not get by and Clauson captured another feature. The sprints ran over half of their feature before a yellow and then on the restart Jordan Goldesberry rolled one time off the backstretch wall for a red flag. There was one more yellow for a spin but J C Bland led all 25 laps from the front row to take the close win over Robbie Standridge and Hurley. Saturday I drove east to Indiana for a visit to the Grant County Fairgrounds in Marion where the evening program of demo derby included an “autocross” race. The area in front of the long 15-row bleachers was set up with a demo rectangle that was outlined with concrete slabs. The auto cross would race around this area and had 4 small dirt jumps in place with concrete slabs and telephone poles on the ground to make the outside walls. I met Roger Ferrell and we went in early as the bleachers were filling up fast for the 6PM start. There were good speakers and the lights looked fine. The autocross would be first with racing actually getting under way at 6:45PM for the 3 youth drivers racing 10 laps around the off road oval. John Shrout JR was the only one to be still running at the end. The adult autocross was next with 6 cars starting and Gerald Owens coming from 5th to take the 10-lap feature over Storm Hays. It was 7:10PM and the racing appeared to be done as they took a short break to move a couple of the poles to close the end of the demo area and start the different demo categories. There was a big car count for the demo and the stands were packed as Roger and I exited to take in a Saturday night race. Roger headed to Montpelier while I headed up to Akron to see some kart races. I drove by the speedway and the lights were out and no sign of any racing so I continued west to US 24 Speedway in Logansport Indiana. There was a pit full of micros when I arrived at US 24 Speedway and a feature race was being completed. It was a big night of racing as some rained out features were first then the complete night of racing as this was the Tom Corcoran Memorial. The track is a slightly banked 1/8-mile clay oval with good lights and an Armco outside wall with some tires to mark the inside. By this time of the night the track was dried out and had rubber on the inside and middle and the pole was the fast way around. The spectator parking lot was nearly full but I saw seats in the nice raised 10-row bleacher section as well as in the smaller bleachers. The restrictor feature had 17 cars running and they went non-stop to the end with Justin Weir taking the win. The 600cc winged feature started 15 cars and had two early spins then another around lap 11 of the 30-lap feature. Trent Wilson won from the pole but Justin Peck was right behind and Collin Erwin took third. Sunday morning I was further west in Indiana for a visit to the Badlands Off Road Park in Attica Indiana. The Mid-America Off Road Association (MAORA) was here for the weekend with the short course races set for 11AM today. The facility has sand dunes and off road courses for cycles, quads and trucks and today they set up a road course for the buggies of MAORA. The course had great elevation changes with a big down hill run leading to some sweeping switch back curves. Then the run up hill to the part of the track visible for the spectators that had a nice wide turn leading to the table top jump and a small curve under the scoring tower before going back down the hill. This made about 20 percent of the course (which could be just over a mile long) visible from high spots around the pit area or from the cycle trail above the pit area. The day started slowly with inspections and then a parade lap around the track to learn the turns and then two practice laps for the 13 buggies that were here today. Racing got underway at 1PM with the first of 6 10-lap races. The buggies raced in two groups with 7 in group one and 5 in group two and one buggy not making the start. The starts were land rush starts from a gravel area of the pits to the turn before the table top where they entered the course. Mike Lucas made a fast start and led the entire first race to take the checkers. The second group had a red flag on the 3rd lap when Buddy Richardson rolled. Pat Welsh held the lead in this group and won the race. The second round of races saw a couple of disabled vehicles from round one unable to start. Again Lucas was fastest to the course and was leading when the axle broke ending his day. Kevin Hall won this race for group one and Welsh won the second group again. The third round of races saw even fewer vehicles able to run with 4 in group one and 3 in group two. Hall won the third round too and Brandon Souder got by Welsh to win the final race of the day. 

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Race Report 17

Iowa weekend August 26 – 28, 2011

Friday after a week of preparation for the Stoughton Area Youth Center Golf Outing the event was completed and I was looking to relax at a race. Cleanup was done by 7PM so I had time for a short drive up to Columbus 151 Speedway in Columbus Wisconsin where they again started racing on time at 8PM. The track is a very slightly banked quarter mile paved oval with concrete walls on the outside and just the drop off to the grass infield to mark the inside. The preferred line is around the bottom but a fast car can make passes around the outside and two wide racing is very common. The crowd was a little light as high school football has started and the Green Bay Packers were playing tonight too. Seating is on the grass hillsides with benches set across posts all up the hill. There are a few bleachers way down the hill next to the track well below your sight lines and two sections of bleachers behind the hillside benches too. They drew car counts of 16 late models, 12 street stocks, 14 hobby stocks, 21 bandits, 8 back up cars and 8 misfits. Following a couple of dashes, heats for all cars and a semi for the bandits they took a very short intermission and moved into the features. The misfits are a mixture of rascal outlaw (rear engine) and mini-mods and Vern Brown captured the feature from the pole over Jason Dull in a non-stop run. The bandits had a second lap spin then completed their 18-lap feature with David Schmidt coming from 5th to win over Bob Kohn. The hobby stocks ran 25 laps non-stop as Andy Raley came from 7th to score a close win over Dustin Ward from 9th and Steven Sauer from 11th. The street stocks had two yellows during their 25-lap feature but pole sitter Jason Clapper held off 10th starter Phil Denikas. Nick Wendt spun into the wall on the second lap for the only yellow in the 35-lap late model feature. Pole sitter Al Weishoff made no mistakes and held on for a win over Ron Bishofberger and Jerry Eckhardt. The Wild and Crazy back up race closes out the night and 8 cars took to the track for 8 laps in reverse gear. Matt Wachuta kept it straight and held off Ryan Oetzel from 6th to take the final checkered flag of the night at about 10:20PM. I made a quick exit for home to unload my car of all the golf outing supplies and replace them with my sleeping bag to be ready for more travels. Saturday I took a drive to west central Iowa for a look at the Carroll County Fairgrounds in Coon Rapids and the last figure eight race of their season. I arrived at 6PM for the 7PM start of racing and found some people already in the big 25-row aluminum grandstand. The small pits were overflowing with 29 rear wheel drive cars and 51 of the front wheel drive variety. The track is a nearly flat 1/8-mile dirt oval that is surrounded by Armco walls. The figure eight shape is made by having a tire stack toward both ends of the long oval and those tires are held in place for good by having a telephone pole sunk down through them. The big grandstands and some bright lights offer a good view of the track and they have good speakers. The races appear to be very popular with the stands nearly full by the 7PM start of the stand alone racing event. The track was well watered and they started out with a bonus as there were makeup features from the last event that got rained out and those were run first. Charlie Asbury won the FWD from the pole and Brian Brauckman won the RWD class from the 7th starting position. Then they started the 11 heats for tonight’s program followed by second chance heats and a consi before the “B” and “A” mains. The races are kept short but only one or two advance so each one is meaningful. There was some hard driving on the rough turns that produced five rolls during the preliminary races in the FWD division but no accidents at the “X”. Nick Dammon won the FWD feature from the second row over Andrew Hugeback from 8th. A red flag stopped the RWD feature when Brian Rickers lost a wheel and rolled on the third lap. Brian Brauckman started from the pole and was passed a couple of times but he regained the top spot and won another feature to claim the point championship. Racing was done by 10:30PM which I thought was very good considering the number of race run tonight. Sunday some severe weather followed me back across Iowa but the rain stopped before I got near Dubuque so I stopped for another look at the Dubuque Fairgrounds Speedway. I parked next to Reta and Bob Litton and they filled me in on Iowa racing as I have not been out this way much this summer. The track is a high banked wide 3/8-mile dirt oval with concrete walls around the outside and Armco inside fencing. They have some pits in the infield for any rigs that are not enclosed trailers and the rest pit outside the second turn. They have a huge seating area with 32 rows of aluminum seats on concrete steps under the roof of the main grandstand. There are also 25 rows of hillside benches on either side of the grandstand and some bleachers behind the hillside seats in the first turn. They have a good scoreboard and good lights but you are set back quite far from the track. After a few minutes wait for the ambulance warm ups were completed and racing started with two heats for the 14 sport mods. During the second heat the light rain got harder and the caution flag was displayed. They called out all cars to pack the track back in and then it rained again this time too much to continue. The races were canceled for my 12th rainout of the year but I got an early start home.

Labor Day Weekend September 2 – 5, 2011

Friday I started the long weekend with a trip to LaSalle Illinois and a stop at LaSalle Speedway a ¼-mile high-banked dirt oval. The track has concrete walls on the outside and some big tires to mark the inside of the track. They have good lights and the speakers were loud but too far apart for some areas. The track was well watered and being packed when I arrived at 6PM. The long 25-row wooden seat grandstand was quite full by 7:30PM for the races tonight featuring the USAC midgets (16 cars) with support classes of 9 super UMP late models, 13 street stocks and 7 hornets. The track was very fast and smooth to start and Zach Daum turned the fastest lap in midget qualifying with a time of 13.230 seconds. The late models and street stocks also qualified. Scott Hatton and Kyle Larson won the midget heats from outside front row starts as the track was fast with a tacky groove in the middle of the banking. They rolled the track very smooth and the hornets went non-stop in a 15-lap feature won by Jon Provenzano from the front row. The midget feature started with a 4 car spin on the second lap and that was a sign of what was about to transpire. Kody Swanson led 2 laps and then Brad Kuhn took over and led throughout was an unbelievable number of 15 caution flags. Some were slide jobs on the now slick track that went bad with every one that felt wronged by any driving mistake retaliating and spinning out the offender. This was the real “boys have at it” night as cars were very expertly spun a couple of laps after any contact to even the score. At one time during the 30-lap feature they did run 10 laps of consecutive green flag laps but most of the race was one or two laps and another caution. Jerry Coons JR slid by Bryan Clauson for second but never could keep up with Kuhn on the restarts so Kuhn took the victory over Coons, Clauson and Tracy Hines. The late models ran better with only 2 cautions in a 25-lap feature won by Ryan Dunbar from the pole. The street stocks finished out the night with a 20-lap feature that had 2 cautions as Mike Hughes won from a 3rd place start. Saturday morning about 4AM some heavy storms came through Wisconsin and hit Sun Prairie. About 11AM I was thinking I would check to see what comments were written on the internet about last night’s spin fest and see what the speculation for car count for tonight was all about. I saw a comment that they just posted the cancellation of the Pepsi Nationals at Angell Park on the website as they had rain this morning and more was predicted for Saturday afternoon. I immediately checked for other races I could still make. I went into a hurry up frenzy and took a shower, got dressed, filled the cooler, got gas in the car, cut the one rose bloom that was open and delivered it to Aunt Mary in the nursing home. I was now ready to try and make a bonsai run to one of the northern most counties of Wisconsin. The Ashland County Fair listed dirt dash on the fair schedule for 4PM. I knew I could not get there by that time but I could see what was still going on after 5PM. The odometer read 288 miles when I saw the entry to the Ashland County Fair in Marengo Wisconsin. There were some very dark clouds to the east and I saw that there was standing water in the parking lot as I headed to the gate. My feet were wet and shoes covered in mud before I even got into the fair. After paying the $5 senior admission to the fair the grandstand events were no additional charge. I walked in the old 13-row covered wooden grandstand and found a good crowd watching two full sized bulldozers pushing the mud off the track. The track is a 12-turn dirt road course that has 5 foot dirt piles lining the course to keep the cars on the track however the heavy downpour has turned the track to a course better suited to boats. By 6PM they were ready to restart the first heat race that was stopped by the cloudburst. The track was still very wet but I was glad they were racing at all. The speakers were very good but the lights were not very good. They drew their largest field of cars for this years show with 46 front wheel drive cars divided into 26 amateurs and 20 pros. They ran three series of heat races (four in each class), that is a total of 24 heats that concluded at 9:15PM. The races were short (3 laps) but with cars stuck in the mud and on the walls it took longer than usual. There was only one roll and in that heat Scott Pittsley was tipped back over and went on to win that heat. After the heats they totaled the points earned and started the top 8 point earners in each of the 5-lap features. The amateur feature went non-stop with pole sitter Justin Puff keeping in front the whole distance and winning over Dave Anderson. The pro feature was stopped on the first lap and restarted after Archie Henderson rolled on his top. Dustin Engen started 6th and drove his way through to the front to take the win over Pittsley to conclude a long day. Sunday I drove down to the Keokuk County Expo Raceway in Sigourney Iowa. This is a banked dirt figure eight track surrounded by Armco fencing. The spectators have the south hillside for use where they have 8 rows of hillside wooden benches and a couple of 5-row aluminum bleachers behind. There is also lots of area for lawn chairs or blankets and even some shade trees. The track is wide with the figure eight made by the Armco walls around the light post at each end and then 6 big tires spaced out around the inside Armco to make a large “infield” area at each end. They have some good new lights and good speakers. The races were scheduled for 1PM but the sign at the roadside said 3PM for today and that is when they started the warm ups. They drew a good sized crowd and car counts were 23 stocks, 16 pro stocks, 11 open class, 5 trucks and 5 cruisers. I had been here for the figure eight before but today the program would include a race for the cruiser class that run around the track in an oval pattern not crossing over at the “X”. It appears that several more Iowa tracks are doing oval racing at their figure eight events so this may have me back in Iowa for some more races soon. The racing started with heat races for the 3 main classes. Next was the 8-lap figure eight race for the trucks that was stopped on the 5th lap when Brian Sterling hit an inside tire marker and rolled on his roof. Ken Kruger started on the pole and won the truck race. The two-man cruisers ran their race next with Aaron and Craig Reese taking the win in a non-stop event. The “C” main for the stocks and semis for stocks and pros were after a short intermission and watering of the track. The 15-lap stock feature started 10 cars and Joe Roller had the lead when he blew a rear tire and then the red came out two laps later when the wheel came off in the first turn sending Roller into the air but not rolling just as another car got stuck on the Armco in the third turn. Aaron Osweiler won the semi and started in the back of the feature was now leading but he too blew a rear tire just as the race stopped. There were 5 cars to restart but with one over heating and another pulling off to the pits and the car on wall towed off only Osweiler and Justin Bringman lined up for restart with 3 laps left. Osweiler had a full lap lead on Bringman but would have to run 3 laps on the rim however it was a moot point when the green waived and the clutch or transmission failed for Bringman and Osweiler got the checkered. I wanted to get to Dubuque and use my rain check from last week so I left at this point with two features left and then the championship point features for the top 10 in points for the three main classes. I arrived at the Dubuque Fairgrounds Speedway at 8:45PM and the hobby stock feature was on the track. I took a different vantage point tonight as I sat in the 4th turn but I was too high and had the outside of the 4th turn blocked from view. As nice of a track as this is you have visibility problems from most of the seats as too high of a wall and buildings offer obstructions. The scoring tower is quite large in the infield too and they pit in the infield although do not allow enclosed haulers down there. The lights need improvement and in fact they are having a special event to raise money for the lights this month. The sport compacts were next on the high banked 3/8-mile dirt track with Pat Quinn coming from 5th to win a race slowed twice by cautions. The modifieds started 23 cars and had lots of trouble completing laps with 8 cautions and one red flag in the 20-lap feature. John Campbell brought out the red when he turned over in the part of the 4th turn I couldn’t see. The 9th starter J D Auringer held the lead on the final couple of restarts but many time champ Ron Barker started 11th and was right on Auringer’s tail over the last few laps. The final yellow flew after the white was given the leaders so Auringer got the win over Barker and Matt Gansen. The stock cars started 20 cars for a 15-lap feature and after 3 yellows it was 10th starter Wayne Hora in victory lane with Terry Ritmer from 8th finishing second. The late models closed out the night with a 40-lap feature for 24 cars. Front row starter Ron Klein spun collecting several other cars on the first lap and there were two more yellows before they raced 3 laps. There were three more yellows before the red flag on lap 35 when three cars tangled and Andy Nezworski was upside down in the third turn. Joel Callahan started 5th and had a big lead erased then had to withstand two more restarts as cars spun on the attempted restarts. Callahan switched from the middle of the track to run the last 5 laps along the outside wall and keep his momentum while holding off Danny Shelliam and Jimmy Brokus. Callahan was in victory circle and I was headed back to the car about 11PM to wind up another long day. Monday for the Labor Day holiday I thought some of the local track would hold events but apparently not as I found no tracks close to home running on the holiday so I took a day to rest and recap the weekend and plan for some September new track visits.