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.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Race Report 14

Midget Race Weekend July 15 – 17, 2011

Friday I would see races in Madison – No, not Wisconsin but rather Indiana. I was off to southern Indiana for a stop at the Jefferson County 4-H Fair in Madison Indiana to see the Midwest TQ Racing League show at the fair. I arrived early and walked around during the livestock auction and then sampled one of the tenderloin sandwiches before some ice cream. I was on the wood bench seats of the 13-row covered grandstand at 6PM an hour before the start of the races. There were two sections of bleacher seats too but the shade of the roof was important on a hot evening although there were several posts to look around. The track is a short quarter mile clay oval with long straight-aways and tight pointed turns that are nearly flat. The outside walls are Jersey barriers with a few tires to mark the inside of the well lit track in the turns. Qualifying for the 20 TQ midgets got under way about 7:15PM (there were also 5 hornets (mini stocks) to race too). There were good speakers to hear the announcement after qualifying from the number one track chaser who was here tonight. Randy joined me in the stands and soon Allan and Nancy Brown were sitting with us too. Jason Willis set a new track record of 15.095 seconds in qualifying and racing started at 7:50PM with the dash for the 4 fastest qualifiers which Brett Hankins won from the pole. Rick Robinson, Nick Speidel and Willis won the heats. They watered the track heavily after the heats and it took a while to run in after which the hornets ran a 15-minute feature won by Tim Phelps. The track was in good shape for the 25-lap TQ midget feature that saw Speidel take the early lead from his third starting spot. Three early spins slowed the race and then on the lap 11 restart 4 cars tangled sending some fast runners to the rear. Tate Martz took over the lead and withstood two more yellows to capture the feature over Speidel and C J Leary who started 10th and restarted from the back at lap 11. Racing was done at 10:20PM and after some bench racing with Randy I headed north. Saturday night was an open wheel special at the Wilmot Raceway at the Kenosha County Fairgrounds in Wilmot Wisconsin. The Badger and POWRi co-sanctioned midget race drew 28 midgets with 19 mini sprints, 12 Illini sport midgets, 3 micros and 26 modifieds as support classes. The 1/3-mile slightly banked dirt track was too wet to race on and had to be graded before any warm ups and with the late hour qualifying was eliminated and the draw would determine starting positions. Racing started at 9PM with a good sized crowd in the long grandstands. Heats were run in all divisions with a semi needed for the Badger midgets and the modifieds. Brad Kuhn won the first Badger midget heat from 5th setting a new 10-lap track record while Scott Hatton, Bubba Altig and Davey Ray won the other heats from the front. Dalton Armstrong won the semi from the pole. Only two 600cc micros answered the call for the feature won by Mike Hess. The mini sprints had a first lap red flag for an engine fire then had 2 yellows as Todd Lehr shot out from the front row and never was caught. The 30-lap Badger Midget feature started with a 4 car tangle that eliminated Armstrong on the first lap giving him a 22nd finish. There were two stalls bringing out yellows in the first 10 laps as Davey Ray led from the pole using the outside groove. Brad Loyet started 8th and found speed on the bottom taking over from Ray after the restart and holding on after the last yellow on the 20th lap for a stalled car. Kuhn who started 6th switched to the top lane and caught and passed Loyet for the lead on the 24th lap. Kuhn picked up another win followed across the line by Loyet, Hatton and Mario Clouser from 16th. The modifieds had 4 yellows for spins as their 20-lap feature was cut by 5 laps as the hour grew late. Scott Kuxhouse started on the pole and won over front row starter Jimmy Morrison and Mike Conn from 11th. The Illini midgets rounded out the night with the Harry Turner Memorial feature. Tyler Deschaine flipped on the 7th lap and the distance was cut to 15 laps. There was one spin for a yellow as front row starter Eddie Sauer held on for the win. Racing was completed at 12:40AM and I made the drive home by 2:30AM to end the long day. Sunday afternoon was a reunion at Angell Park Speedway as the Badger midgets celebrate their 75th year of operations. Many of the past champions and some restored cars were here as bench racing took over the afternoon. Sunday night was a co-sanctioned show with POWRi and Badger putting on the midget races (28 cars) supported by 3 micros and 13 legend cars. The day was hot but the track was nice with Darren Hagen turning a 14.957 second lap around the 1/3-mile dirt track. Jim Fuerst, Mike Hess, Chet Gehrke and Brad Loyet won the midget heats and for the first time in a couple of years a semi was needed that was won by Brad Kuhn. The Micros ran a quick non-stop feature with Chad Bogar taking the win. The legends had a two car tangle slow down their race on the second lap then they ran straight through to the end. Joel Wyttenbach started 6th and drove the outside to get to the front and win over Joey Johnson. The midgets started 22 cars for 30 laps and the yellow was displayed on the second lap when Dalton Armstrong hit the wall. Davey Ray led from the pole until passed by Jerry Coons JR from 7th on the 12th lap but a stalled car reverted the scoring back a lap and Ray led the restart. Seven cars were involved in a big pile up after the restart and the red was put out to tow off the damaged cars. There was another spin on the next lap then Coons used the fast outside lane to pass Ray on the 17th lap and pull out into a big lead. Fuerst lost a wheel on the 27th lap for the final yellow but Coons held on to win over Kuhn who started 17th and Hagen who started 10th.

Indiana Fairs July 21-24, 2011

Thursday I drove south in the oppressing heat to Indiana for a visit to the Hendricks County 4-H Fair. The fairgrounds are fairly new (6th year) and are very nice with paved walkways new buildings concrete block restrooms and a huge air-conditioned community building for the 4-H exhibits. The grandstand area has had demos and rodeos but this week they constructed a small oval race track. They put up Jersey barriers and some fencing in front of the many sections of nice 15-row aluminum grandstands that are along the straightaway and in the first turn but had no inside markings. The track might have been less than an eighth mile and was set up almost in a circle. They had good lights and put in some stop lights for the races too. The clay was well watered and rolled in with a steam roller before the cars took to the track at 7PM. The speakers were off the two infield poles and were adequate but not too loud. The races were set up to be a Three Quarter Midget Racing League event but this morning they posted that it was too hot to race so they were canceling. So the promoter ran open competition TQ Midgets (6 cars) along with the non-wing 600cc micros (4 cars). The races started at 8PM with two heats then the two features. The 20-lap midget feature had 6 yellows for spins (all in the third turn where they were cutting the corner and had spit loose marbles all over the track from the infield). Braylon Fitzpatrick had led from the pole but spun on the 5th lap. Nick Speidel took over the lead from his third starting spot and was leading on the 20th lap when Fitzpatrick used the infield pass to take the lead and won much to the displeasure of Speidel. They set out two orange cones to mark the inside of the third turn for the 20-lap micro feature. There was only one early yellow in this feature and Nate McMillan looked like the winner until the 18th lap when Bryan Stanfill was able to execute the inside bump and run pass in the second turn. The races ended at 9PM and gave Roger, Dale and I a chance to walk the fair another time. Friday I continued my visits of fairs as I stopped just north of Fort Wayne at the Noble County Community Fair in Kendallville Indiana. A strong storm about 3PM had cooled the temperature somewhat and left some puddles around the fairgrounds. The fair is quite large and the older grounds have many shade trees. The grandstand activities were set for 7PM and I joined a big crowd in the 16-row covered grandstand of aluminum seats. They had a long rectangular area with concrete barriers around the perimeter set up between the grandstand and the stage. The show would consist of a combine demo, lawnmower demo and figure eight races. There were adequate lights and good speakers and the show started at 7:15PM with the first of three heats of demos for the 9 combines here tonight. Then they had the demo for the 3 mowers that showed. There was a consi for the combines to set the 4 that would be in the finals. At about 8:40PM the track was made for the figure eight by placing two big tires in the arena and filling them with dirt. The 5 V-8 cars took to the figure eight for a 15-lap feature that went non-stop. Lou Klein won from third over Darrell Muldoon as 4 of the 5 were still running at the end. The combine demo ended at 9:10PM and I was among the large crowd returning to the fair where some ice cream topped off the night. Saturday I followed Roger’s suggestion and stayed in the area for some more special events. Saturday at noon there was a special race at Sigma Phi Gamma Founders Park in Hartford City Indiana. The track is an asphalt street course that uses one street and then the road in the park to make an oval of about one fifth mile. Parts of the course are wide but others especially through the park entrance pillars are narrow. They had installed safer barriers by putting hay bales in front of the pillars and posts and benches wherever they were close to the track. There was some elevation change as the street was higher than the park road. There were some small asphalt curbs along the park road but the street had smooth runoff to the grass yards. They set up two 5-row aluminum bleachers at each end of the course and there were some picnic tables and a shelter at the south end too. The flagman was in an elevated stand and also had the microphone and did the announcing. Racing started at noon with two rounds of heats before the features for 5 Blue Plate Champs, 6 junior Naskarts, 7 senior champs, 3 flathead flat karts, 2 clone flat karts and 7 flathead senior champs. The Naskarts tested the safer barrier as one went sideways into the hay around a telephone pole with no injury. Luke Keller took the blue plate champ feature after a couple of spins. The Naskarts had a tangle that sent two karts over the curb and into the grass where Mitchell Shepherd flipped.
Devin Lane
was a last lap winner of the race that had one yellow and the red. The senior champ feature had a couple of yellows but the Miller #55 kept the lead from the pole and won. The senior champ flathead feature had an early yellow for a stall then front row starter Nick Keller held off the field for the win as the races were over by 3:30PM. Roger had another fair for me to visit and sent me up the road to the Allen County Fair in Fort Wayne Indiana. I caught up to Roger and Brenda as they were walking through the many barns and we paused for a while to see the dressed up lamas and their trainers as they were competing in a costume contest. At the rear of the fair was a grandstand of 20 rows with another 10 row section of bleachers beside and several smaller sections of seats on the back side of the rectangular arena. The arena was outlined with concrete blocks held in place with earth piled behind. The lights and speakers were adequate and the track was watered after two big tires were set in place to form a figure eight track. Races started about 10 minutes past the stated 7:30PM start time with a feature for the small cars (3). Well, actually two as the third car stalled before getting into the arena and never raced. Aaron Marquardt completed 10 laps first to win the small car feature over Dan Hoppe and then 5 big (V-8) cars were brought out for a 20-lap feature. Chris Averesch started 5th and won the non-stop race over Mike Miller to end the racing part of the program before 8PM. The tires that marked the figure eight course were removed for the small car demo which started 4 cars and was won by Storm Hayes. After this was an intermission before the big cars and vans ran about 4 more demo events. This was a good chance for Roger and Brenda and me to exit and head out to another track. My Saturday night track would be on my way home with a return visit to the New Paris Speedway quarter mile paved oval where they were having figure eight races too (maybe). Some storms had passed through northern Indiana during the afternoon and when I got to New Paris I found the parking lot with huge puddles and lots of mud to walk through to get to the bleachers. I arrived after 9PM and they were just starting 13 late models in the 77-lap Pat Riley Memorial Race. There was a yellow before I got seated then just 3 more yellows in the entire feature. Kenny Whitman had a big lead erased by the yellow then 11th starter Corey Ryman made the outside pass for the lead and held off Cory Pressler for the win. Scott Frost won the 30-lap street stock feature that started 16 cars and had only 3 yellows. Darrell Click started 7th and finished right on Frost’s bumper for second. The mini stocks ran 20 laps with 15 cars and again 3 yellows as Michael Landry started 11th and worked to the lead. Landry had to hold off 14th starter Jim Anglemeyer on the last laps to claim the win. They announced that no entries were received for the figure eight race so again no new track for me. I am not sure anything but a boat would have worked through the standing water on the figure eight track anyway. The semi for mini stocks and spectator drags rounded out the night and I headed home. Sunday night I was back at Angell Park Speedway the 1/3-mile dirt oval in Sun Prairie Wisconsin for a makeup race for the rain out on June 19th. The Badger midgets drew 17 cars with 6 600cc Micros and 13 legends to race tonight too. After a final watering at 5PM and packing in with some trucks the track was looking fast and smooth. The drivers meeting was just completed about 6PM when the one dark cloud that was hanging around let loose for about 20 minutes of steady rain. They brought out all the push trucks and wreckers and began to run in the track. After an hour of packing the midgets were brought out to finish the packing and smooth off the track. The hot laps were followed by heat racing as they drew for starting spots to save time and used finishing and passing points to line up the feature. The track was very tacky and fast on the bottom and developed a somewhat narrow groove so passing was difficult. Jerry Coons JR and Brandon Waelti won the midget heats from the pole. The legend 20-lap feature was first with 3 yellows one for front runner Joel Wyttenbach spinning on the 10th lap. Eric Barth started 3rd and took the lead after a long battle with pole sitter Brandon Schmitt. Schmitt got the lead back but drifted wide and Barth took the checkers ahead of Schmitt and Wyttenbach. The micros ran a very fast non-stop 15 lap feature with 4th starter Robbie Resch the winner. Cody Weisensel took off from the front and led 5 laps of the 30-lap midget feature before 3rd starter Matt Smith got by but a stall brought out the yellow and put Weisensel in front again. A red flag appeared on the 12th lap when Travis Berryhill got in the wet loose outside dirt and slid to the wall and tipped over. Weisensel held back Smith until the 16th lap when Smith took over. Brad Kuhn from 3rd and Coons from 8th had moved past Weisensel and started to pressure Smith. Coons moved to the lead on the 26th lap and then held off Smith through some lapped traffic on the last two laps to win. Kuhn was third, Waelti fourth and Taylor Ferns claimed 5th. We were lucky to get the whole show in before 10PM on a very damp night.

Race Report 13

Western Trip June 29 – July 4, 2011

Wednesday night was a modified special at the 141 Speedway in Francis Creek Wisconsin and a chance to meet up with Jack Erdmann who rarely gets to a race these days. The special mid-week race drew a big crowd and we met up and went in just before the 7PM start. There was a good field of cars with 35 modifieds, 26 street stocks, 24 sport mods and 22 stock cars ready to race on the banked dirt track. The track was in good shape with no dust appearing until the final couple of heat races then it dried out with quite a bit of dust but a fast upper lane developing. The races moved along quickly and after 3 semis and a short break it was feature time. The street stocks had 4 yellows in a 20-lap feature and 6th starter Kraig Koehler was able to hold off Ed Anschutz who started 14th. The sport mods had 4 early yellows in their feature as front row starter Mark Joski never gave up the lead winning over Brandon Long. The IMCA Stock car feature went non-stop with pole sitter Rod Snellenberger claiming the win over Kyle Frederick from 8th. The 30-lap modified feature rounded out the night with one early yellow then some hard racing with 9th starting Benji LaCrosse taking the lead on the 8th lap. On the 24th lap a lapped car spun collecting LaCrosse handing the lead to Brian Mullen who started 11th and was closing on LaCrosse when the spin occurred. Mullen held the lead for the last 6 laps to win over Johnny Whitman who came from 16th and Mike Mashl. Thursday I decided to try and add a new state to my list and started a trip out west to Utah. I left late but still made it well into Nebraska before the nights driving ended. Friday after a long day of driving I pulled in to the Desert Thunder Raceway in Price Utah right at the 7PM starting time. The track was a wide high banked 3/8-mile dirt oval with the only wall being the one on the straightaway and just a dirt berm marking the inside. The races were starting on time with a dry surface that had to be watered lightly 5 times during the night. Seating was along the straightaway with a long section of 9 big concrete steps then sections of 5-row wooden bleachers behind. There were also some bleacher sections toward the first turn and an area of hillside parking off the backstretch. They have good lights but some point at the spectators and the speakers were fine if you are close enough to the poles. They also had a complimentary program that included the race results from the first weekend of the year. A fair crowd was on hand for the first day of the two-day weekend event that drew 21 IMCA modifieds, 12 southern sport mods, 5 sport compact stocks, 4 stock cars, 3 hobby stocks and 2 trucks. They ran the heats very quickly and then combined some classes for the features. The hobby stocks and compacts combined for the first feature race and went non-stop with pole sitter Kareem Hopkins’s stock finishing just a few feet ahead of the compact of Mitch Bolton. The sport mods had only 2 yellows in their 20-lap feature that was won by Hubert Wilson from the pole over Robert Gallegos from 7th. The stocks and trucks combined for another non-stop race with James Burman winning over Todd Oldham. The 30-lap modified feature closed out the night with 8 yellows slowing up the event. Zane DeVilbiss started 8th and took the lead early in the race and then withstood the challenges on the restarts hanging on to win over Michael Hale from 12th. Racing was done at 9:25PM and I ran by a rest area after a half -hour drive to close out my day. Saturday was a short drive through some very scenic country to Salt Lake City Utah. Just west of the Capitol in West Valley City is a modern 3/8-mile asphalt oval at Rocky Mountain Raceways. Qualifying was already under way when I arrived just after 5PM and picked up my complementary copy of the program that included the current point standings. You enter the facility by crossing the drag strip and climbing to the seats along the straightaway of the oval track. They have a long grandstand of 14 rows of wide concrete steps that have aluminum seats with the top rows having backs too. There are excellent lights, good speakers and a scoreboard and all the spectator area is paved. The track is banked with a concrete wall all around and big wheel fencing. The inside is marked with a yellow line and a flat area of asphalt before the infield grass. They also have a wide paved crossover “X” for some figure eight racing. Tonight is a train race special with fireworks and drew a very big crowd that nearly filled the entire paved parking lot. The car count is not too much here with 15 USAC sprints, 13 Focus Midgets, 9 super stocks, 10 figure eight stocks and 10 teams for the train race. Racing started at 6PM with some heats before the features. Jim Waters and Mike Daniels won the midget heats and Cody Gerhardt and Ryan Burdett won the sprint heats. There were very few yellows and one wrecker that said “Speedy Towing” but it was NOT. The super stocks had a yellow on the first lap of their 20-lap feature then ran straight through with front row starters Mike Wade holding off Greg Young. The midgets ran 30 laps with a mid race spin bringing out a yellow then front row starter Jim Waters built up his lead again until a 28th lap spin brought out the final yellow. Waters was passed after the restart by Chuck Groat who led the 29th lap but Waters got under him on the last lap and pulled off the win. The figure eight feature was not much with two yellows and only 5 cars finishing as Tracy Eaton won over Dave Fleishman. The sprints ran a 50-lap feature with early leader Tony Hunt getting spun on the 10th lap. Burdett led until Scott Pierovich took over but a part fell off while he was leading on the 38th lap and he lost some speed. Johnny Giesler took over the lead and looked like a winner until a 46th lap spin brought out the second yellow. Gerhardt took advantage of this restart and kept close to Giesler and pulled to the inside on the last lap and made the pass. Gerhardt and Giesler were followed across the line by Audra Sasselli and Tim Skogland. The train figure eight race was the last race of the night with 10 teams of three cars hooked together to do battle. The first car has the motor and powers each “train” while the second car is empty and the third car has a driver with the brake. There was one red flag when a middle car turned over and the crowd booed when they were sent to the pits. The Six Feet Under team was the winner with the appropriate hearse being the power unit of the train. Racing was done at 9:45PM. Sunday I headed north to see racing in Idaho and arrived about 5PM at the Atomic Motor Raceway in Atomic City Idaho. The afternoon program would be on the 1/8-mile inner oval for the Xtreme Outlaw Karts and drew a good field of 11 500cc, 8 125cc, 7 intermediate, 5 expert and 2 beginners. No flat karts would be racing and all but the beginners used wings on their caged karts. The track is a banked dirt oval completely within the big 1/3-mile dirt track and has no walls just some small tires and a dirt berm marking the inside. The heats got under way at 5:15PM and then were followed by the features. They had a good water truck that made passes on the track frequently to keep the dust down. The track has some lights but they were not needed. The viewing is from the stands for the big track and the speakers are good. The beginners ran the first feature with Lexi Alonzo picking up a win. The intermediate class had two yellows in the feature as last starter Donovan Barr came through the field to take the win. Bryan Alonzo started last in the expert class and won a non-stop feature. There were 4 yellows in the 125cc class as Trake Metz was first to the checkers but under weight so Trenton Brown got the trophy. The 500cc class had 5 yellows as they scooted around the oval and 5th starter Dave Cooper outlasted John Hershberger who came back from a 6th lap spin to finish second. The kart races were done at 7:15PM and the attention shifted to the big track. The second part of the program at Atomic Motor Raceway would be the racing on the 1/3-mile banked white clay oval for 12 IMCA modifieds, 6 street stocks, 4 mini stocks, 3 sport mods, one dwarf, one bomber and 9 sprints from the Big Sky Sprint Series. The track is banked and has a concrete wall and big wheel fence down the straightaway but no other walls. The inside is marked with a berm and orange traffic cones. There are three sections of 12-row wooden bleachers and some straightaway trackside parking along the side of the stands. They have adequate lights and the speakers are good and again the big track was very dry and the water truck made passes after every couple of races to keep the dust down. Racing started with heats at 7:30PM and then moved into the features. Lane Channholtz captured the non-stop mini stock feature from the back. The street stocks had two late race cautions as Tod Alonzo came from the back to take the win. Kelly Blixt started in front and won the non-stop sport mod feature. The modifieds had two early yellows then raced hard with 10th starter Zane DeVilbiss taking another win over Jerry Bailey who started 9th and came on strong at the end. The sprint cars rounded out the night with a non-stop feature won by pole sitter Phil Dietz over Trevor Kirkland. The races were done at 11:10PM and I was on the road back to Idaho Falls for the night. Monday I drove back across Wyoming and made a stop at Big Country Speedway in Cheyenne for what I thought was a July Fourth race but no one was there. I checked again when I got home and saw a note about schedule changes and see they mentioned the race with fireworks on July third. Oops!

Michigan Fairs July 8-10, 2011

Friday was time to start my visits to some of the many Michigan fairs that offer motorsports competition at their events. The Montcalm County 4-H Fair was celebrating its 76th year but this year it is at a new location on highway 91 north of town. The entire grounds were powdered dust and very little if any grass has started so walking kicked up dust to say nothing of driving and parking. It was a warm day but there is not a single tree to be seen on the grounds. They have built a couple of horse arenas and a few barns and one concession stand but that was all for the first year. They have a long 10-row grandstand and some moveable small sections of 5-row aluminum seats at the main arena that has concrete walls on both sides but no walls on the ends. They constricted a banked peanut shaped “off-road” track that had one small jump and was about 1/10-mile around. They put concrete blocks on one end and left the other end open as that was the way to enter the track. A couple of big tires surrounded by dirt marked the inside of the turns and they had minimum lights and one speaker that was not too strong. The show was put on by Unique Motor Sports and started just after 7PM before a packed house with standing room only beside the stands. The show would consist of racing for 20 compact cars, 3 V-8 big cars, demo with 7 cars, demo for 3 mowers and about 10 vehicles in the burnout contest. The first race brought about a delay as on the first turn one car went off the turn on two wheels down the bank and into the concrete blocks that were in front of the temporary stands tipping the block right in front of the spectators. They stopped the race and bulldozed an extra dirt wall before racing any more. The track was very wet and had standing water on the inside and never got dusty as a big berm of loose mud built up on the outside. They ran 4 heats and a consi for the small cars with one red for a roll over in the consi. The big cars just ran a feature with Don Ricketts winning over Brian Brown who was in a demo car. The small car feature started 9 cars and was stopped on the 3rd lap for a big flip when Dennis Marsh rolled on his top and Andy Koop drove over the upside car and rolled off leaving two cars turned over in the first turn. Two laps later there was another roll then they completed the 12 laps with Chris Witigen out running Bryan Breuker for the win. Racing was done about 9:30PM and then Brian Brown took the win in the demo to close out the night. Saturday I found another small celebration as the city of Scottville had Summerfest with a race at Riverside Park. This appears to be another derby promoter operating in Michigan as the races were under the Todd Sorensen Promotions banner. The track has been constructed in a field in the Riverside Park resort and was a flat rectangular dirt arena with Jersey barriers outlining the racing area. The races were listed as “off road derby” and the track was an oval around 4 big tires set in a line in the center of the arena. The spectators were behind some caution tape back from the track and had 3 small 5-row aluminum bleachers and some picnic tables along with some standing area on the grass. There was also some “trackside” parking where some watched from the beds of their pickups. They had some strong temporary speakers but no lights. The show was set to start at 6PM with races for small cars (4) and big cars (8) and a demo derby for trucks (5) and big cars (5). Races started at 6:10PM with a small car feature for 15 laps. Dave Machler started 4th and won the non-stop event. The big cars ran two heats and two consies taking the winner from each for the feature. The big car feature wasn’t much when one winner failed to start and another dropped out with a lost wheel on the first lap. A slipping transmission slowed the other car and pole sitter Ward Stever won as he pushed the second place car around the last two laps. Racing was done at 7:15PM and the demos took almost another hour to complete the show before dark. Sunday I was back at Angell Park in Sun Prairie Wisconsin for another Badger Midget Auto Racing Association show. They drew 21 midgets and 4 micros for the races tonight and Brad Kuhn turned the fast time in midget qualifying with a 14.996 second lap around the 1/3-mile dirt track. Kurt Mayhew barrel rolled in qualifying but replaced the front axle and completed the 30-lap feature later in the night. The track was in good shape as it stayed tacky and dust free while being smooth. Robbie Ray (from 3rd), Davey Ray (from 7th) and Mike Hess (from 4th) won the fast midget heats. Billy Balog took time off the IRA Sprint tour and ran a micro as well as a midget tonight. Balog took off from the 3rd starting spot and won the micro feature to complete the sweep after he won the micro heat earlier. The midget feature had Hess and Brandon Waelti bring the 21 cars to the start with Waelti leading two laps and Hess the next four laps. Kuhn who started 5th then took over and pulled away from the pack. Scott Hatton started 10th and worked to second on the 8th lap using the outside line on the fast track. Hatton then slowly caught Kuhn and made an outside pass completing the 16th lap. However Hatton clipped the outside wall coming out of the 4th turn and rode along the wall and although credited with leading the 16th lap he fell back from Kuhn as he wrestled the car straight. The only yellow appeared one lap later as Daniel Robinson broke an axle and stopped along the wall. On the restart Hatton was slow to come up to speed and Hess took over second. Hatton dropped out as Kuhn continued to lead and won the feature over Hess, Bubba Altig and Davey Ray. The races were done at 8:40PM leaving lots of time for bench racing before heading home.

Race Report 12

Local Racing June 14 - 19, 2011

Tuesday I started the racing week early with a trip to Jefferson Speedway in Jefferson Wisconsin. The Big Eight Series had a special show at the quarter mile paved oval here so after granddaughter Haley’s softball game I headed to the track and found they were already racing. The track has 16-row bleachers all along the straightaway and hillside seating in the first and second turns but even with a good size crowd in attendance I found a spot on the top row in the last bleacher toward the first turn. The track is very well lit and has a nice scoreboard that has a lap counter and five positions. The track is a paved quarter mile that is unique in design with a banked third and fourth turn while the first two turns are nearly flat. There is also a smaller oval (1/5-mile) that uses the entire big track except the banked third and fourth turns but rather has a flat third and fourth turn that cuts through the infield of the big track. The big track has a concrete outside wall and has concrete rumble strips poured along the infield grass to mark the inside of the racing surface. The track was enlarged years ago when they banked the two turns but in leaving the first two turns flat it creates a very competitive two groove track. The inside is best around the flat turns but in the banked turns the outside lane allows you to carry more speed and is the preferred line. This set up allows for a lot of side by side racing and provides for passing opportunities. The sportsmen (17 cars) ran a 35-lap feature with Jay Kalbus running away in a non-stop race. The Big Eight Series late models (26 cars) started 24 in the 78-lap feature and outside front row starter John Reynolds JR took the early lead. There were two spins in the first 24 laps that sent the spun car and the one doing the pushing to the rear each time. Tim Sargent started 6th, took the lead on the 26th lap and was leading when 9th starter Steve Dobbratz tried to push through on the inside and Sargent spun sending both to the rear on the 48th lap. Reynolds then inherited the lead again but there were 5 more yellows in the next 20 laps as patience was running out as the laps were winding down. Jeremy Miller started 11th and worked around Reynolds to take the lead on the 60th lap and score the win over Bobby Wilberg and Dale Nottestad. The bandits (12 cars) got to race on the big track tonight (they normally run the inner oval) for a 15-lap feature that closed out the racing action. There was only one yellow for a car in the wall on the third lap then 4 cars battled for the lead with 6th starter Heather Stark getting the lead over Kyle Stark. Heather won with Kyle second and Nick Schmidt third as the races were done at 10:05PM. Wednesday was another race at Jefferson Speedway as the Lions Clubs take over the facility for one of their special events. The club members race (cars are painted the local school colors to indicate which club they belong to) for trophies only in three or four different classes. The admissions go to support the Lions activities and are sold in advance as well as at the gate; however the weather did not cooperate and tonight became the 11th rainout of the year for me. Friday was announced as the delayed opening of the new track at Tri-City Motor Speedway in Auburn Michigan. The facility opened in 1947 but closed the 5/8-mile paved track in 2004. Tonight I arrived at 6PM and found the banked 3/8-mile red clay oval built entirely inside the paved track that still exists. They have constructed two big roomy 25-row bleachers that face east and were still working on the new lights. The new track is a work in progress but lights were pretty good and the stands are very nice with good speakers. The big crowd continued to pour in and eventually filled all parking areas (still working on a new road and gravel parking) and nearly filled the new stands as 15 late models, 14 IMCA modifieds, 6 pro stocks and 11 street stocks gathered in the pits which are the straightaway and part of the pit area of the big paved track. The dirt track has no walls with run off area before going back on to the paved track and just orange traffic cones to mark the inside. The walls of the paved track are still there with an updated fence in front of the spectators and added Armco and a fence to separate the pits which are off the backstretch of the dirt track. The track had some rough spots especially in the second turn and was dusty and they watered again before time trials. Warm ups started at 7:10PM with a pretty car contest at 8, qualifying at 8:30 and racing at 9PM. Dave Hilliker set the record for late models at 14.87 seconds as only one class will time each week. The races went well except for the poor wrecker work and the quick yellows. The track may be a bit narrow on the straights but they can re-grade and reshape as necessary as there are no permanent walls or barriers. Roger Wing and Carl Ries won the late model heats. The 25-lap late model feature had two early spins then ran clean with 6th starter Kyle Borgman the winner over pole sitter Hilliker and Wing. The other features were 20 laps and the modifieds had only two yellows (one for a lost drive shaft (several of these tonight) and one for a stall) as 8th starter A J Ward found the outside groove to be fast. Ward won over Josh Borton from 3rd and Chad Wernette from 12th. The pro stocks had trouble with the track and had 5 yellows with pole sitter Chad Raby holding off Jake Headley in a close race. The street stocks closed out the night with 4 yellows and pole sitter Alan Markel getting the checkers at midnight. It is always good to see a new track open and I think tonight went pretty well. Saturday I was back to the Kalamazoo Speedway in Kalamazoo Michigan to see the Bump ‘N Run races put on by Unique Motor Sports as the big 3/8-mile asphalt oval was not in operation tonight. Instead they had built a temporary track in the pit area (infield) by placing big tires to outline a peanut shaped oval with more tires to mark the center of the track. I noticed right away this would be a mixed surface track as the second turn of the track went through the grass and dirt portion of the infield while the rest was asphalt. They then watered the asphalt portions of the track to slow down the cars and make bumping and spinning easier. There was a large crowd mostly centered in the many grandstands here to be closer to the action but some were sitting in the tall bleachers in the turns too. The speakers were loud and lights are good but only a couple aim directly at the infield where tonight’s races were held. The program included 31 four cylinder cars, 11 cars in the V-8 class and 4 quads to race along with 14 mowers for a demo, a burn out contest, spectator drags and fireworks. Racing started about 7:10PM with 5 heats for the compact class but after 3 heats so many cars were sinking to their axles in the dirt portion of the track and getting stuck and blocking the track they took a break to build a new track. They moved the tires that mark the track so that the first two turns were now all on the asphalt thus making an all asphalt temporary oval track that they completed the rest of the races on. The high powered V8 cars found the slippery track totally negating their power and some slower cars were winning. After 7 heats and 5 consies they were ready for the features. Chuck Witigen started 8th and pushed through to victory in the compact car feature that started 11 cars and was stopped once for driver safety when a stalled sideways car had the driver’s door facing oncoming traffic. Buzz Albertson beat Bryan Breuker to the finish to claim second. The big car feature had Jason Goff start last (9th) in one of the high powered cars and he used some well thought out pushes to move some of the competition as he came through the field to capture another trophy. The racing part of the show was done at 10PM and I made my exit happy to have a surprise extra track in the books. Sunday I was back at Angell Park in Sun Prairie Wisconsin for the Badger Midgets at 4PM when somebody walked by and said they heard the races were called off. It was overcast and a couple of drops of rain came down and sure enough the packing truck was stopped and soon the haulers were turning around and leaving. I headed back home and watched the end of the Indy Cars from Milwaukee on TV. Then I looked at the clock and it was 5PM so I checked the radar and headed off to the high banked quarter mile paved oval in Slinger Wisconsin. I arrived at the same time as Dale O’Brien (also on his way back from Sun Prairie) and soon spotted Guy Smith in the crowd. Every seat is a good seat at Slinger Speedway as you have to negotiate some steep walkways and hills and/or some steep bleachers on the mountain sides here. Racing starts at 6:30PM with a few dashes and semis if needed then they move into the features. There was a lot of fast and furious racing on the high banks tonight by 19 super late models, 9 late models, 9 sportsmen, 12 thunder stocks, 27 Slinger Bees and 9 figure eight cars in addition to the rent a racer cars and spectator drags. James Swan started 5th and won the non-stop sportsmen 30-lap feature. The late models ran 28 laps of their 30-lap feature when leader Alex Prunty spun and then 5 cars tangled in the next turn for the only yellow. Rob Braun picked up the win over Wayne Freimund. The thunder stocks had the pole sitter spin on the first lap then ran a clean 18-lap feature with 9th starter Brad Hetzel taking the win. The super late model 75-lap feature started 17 cars and had a first lap spin stop 5 cars but all were able to restart. There was a spin on the 11th lap for a yellow and Brad Mueller got by early leader Lowell Bennett for the lead on the restart. Bennett was eliminated with front end damage racing for second on the 33rd lap for another yellow. The only other incident was a red flag for a spin and fire on lap 43 that saw Conrad Morgan unhurt but out after an oil fire lit up the #92 car. Racing resumed with Brad Mueller out front but tracked down by Jeremy Lepak and the two waged a close duel for the lead for many laps. Lepak got by on the inside but Mueller got along side him on the last two laps and the two finished side by side with Lepak the winner. Dennis Prunty arrived late and started last for no points and finished third. The front wheel drive Bees started 17 cars for their 18-lap feature that went non-stop with Nick Wagner, from 6th a close winner over the fast closing Mark Johler who started 17th. The figure eight race closed out the night with Scott Goetzke starting 7th and taking the win in the race that had only one yellow. The races were done by 9:45PM and after a quick walkthrough the pits while the traffic cleared I was on my way home.

Race Report 11

Minnesota Trip June 3 - 5, 2011

Friday the plan was to leave early to get to some new Saturday Minnesota tracks for me. I consulted the National Speedway Directory and looked for tracks in Central Minnesota that run on Friday night and came upon Princeton Speedway in Princeton Minnesota and they were even having a special appearance by the Upper Midwest Sprint Series. There were 15 sprints ready to race in addition to the regular program of 16 modifieds, 20 Midwest modifieds, 14 super stocks, 18 street stocks, 9 hornets and 13 mod fours. The track is a high banked quarter mile clay oval and was very wet when I arrived at 5:30PM. They started packing the track with several trucks at 6PM and were ready for sprint warm ups at 6:45. Racing got started at 7:05 with no other class getting hot laps. There is a big grandstand of 27 rows in the middle with 15-row sections on the ends. The track has concrete walls on the straightaway but the turns just have grass run off areas down the banking to some cement and tire barriers. The track has excellent lights but you do face the setting sun in the grandstands. Racing was going well until the sprints took to the track that was still very tacky with a heavy cushion. Jared Goerges bicycled at the start of the first heat and went over the banking into the wall. The third heat had Andy Jones getting pushed high and bouncing off the track and rolling two or three times down the banking. The hornets ran a feature only with Sam Tabor coming from 6th to win the race that was slowed by only one yellow. The mod four feature had only one yellow too as Kyle Thell used the outside to pass from his 9th place start and steal the win from Brandon Kellen. The Midwest modifieds had 6 yellows in their 20-lap feature. Justin Oestreich started 5th and captured the win over Jason Hall from 7th.  The street stocks needed 4 yellows as pole sitter Ryan Kostreba held off Cory Rosen from 8th. The sprints had two early reds as Tony Norem spun collecting Brandon Allen who rolled over once then Goerges hit an inside tire and flipped for the second red. Jerry Richert JR started third and got by early leader Brad Barickman after just 6 laps of the 20-lap feature. Richert held the lead and took the Billy Anderson Memorial Trophy over Chris Graf and Barickman. The super stocks had only one yellow and 5th starter Dan Gullikson made a move on the restart to gain the lead and then held off Mike Loomis for the win. The modifieds ran the last feature with Dave Cain coming from 5th in a race slowed by 3 yellows to claim the win over J B Stortz. The races were done at 11:20PM and I headed north. Saturday morning I pulled into Brainerd International Raceway at 7AM to take a look at the Chump Car World Series that would start today at 9AM for a 7 hour race dubbed the “Brain-Nerd 7”. The $10 admission also included access to the drag strip where the bracket races were going on all day too. There were 22 cars on hand to tackle the 2.5-mile asphalt road course today. The track is very flat and has 10 turns. There is a crossover auto and pedestrian bridge that leads to the “infield” of the road course and being the highest point on the property offers a view of about 80 percent of the track. Several small bleachers set up around the track offer good views of a particular turn and maybe a quarter of the entire track. I drove around the “infield” section of the course but there were some roads that were closed due to water over the road. I also noticed a bumper crop of the state bird as the mosquitoes were very hungry. There was no announcer but I was early enough to attend the driver’s meeting and found out the 7-hour race would start at 9AM in random order as after the cars took to the track they picked a number to throw the green at to start the scoring. They posted the standings after two hours and then updated them each hour in the paddock. The speed doctors team was the early leader and kept the top spot until the 5th hour when the chump races and chump faces team took over. By the 5 hour mark 7 cars were out with various mechanical problems but the only contact I saw was a three wide attempt at the 90 degree turn that bent the fenders on two cars as all three continued. There were a few excursions off the pavement through the grass but all continued on. The chump races and chump faces team completed 203 laps and won by two laps over the Speed Doctors and the Shake N Bake team. Saturday night my stop would be the Arlington Raceway at the Sibley County Fairgrounds in Arlington Minnesota. I had seen racing here but I don’t remember there being any figure eight races so when I saw tonight had figure eight listed for the only time this year I made this the focal point of my trip. The main track is a semi-banked half-mile black dirt oval that is wide and has no walls. There is a concrete wall well off of the racing track all around the facility but there is sufficient run off area that I would doubt it ever gets hit by a car. Warm ups were already under way when I arrived at 6PM and a big crowd was filling the old 16-row covered grandstand and the bleacher sections too. The lights are very old and are just barely adequate while the speakers were good when the announcer stayed in the booth not when he went on track. The car counts were 18 IMCA modifieds, 11 IMCA stocks, 15 IMCA sport compacts, 12 IMCA hobby stocks, 13 outlaw hobby stocks, 8 IMCA sportmods, and 9 IMCA sprints. They also had a 1/10-mile inner oval that was slightly banked and ran flat go-karts as the first part of the show. They ran the kart heats before I got here and then ran 3 features for the karts at 6:30PM on the small track. They then put about 10 tires on the big track and formed turns with 3 tires each and a narrow crossover area as they set up a temporary figure eight track that ran from the fourth turn all the way to the start finish line. They split the 9 cars into two heats for the figure eight races that started at 7PM. Then they moved the tires to the infield and immediately went to oval races on the big track. The heats went fast with few cautions and then they brought out the tires and ran the figure eight feature with Joe Voss coming from 6th to win the 10-lap race that was stopped by one red when a car lost the drive shaft. There was no delay as they moved the tires back and went to features on the half mile with the sport compacts running a non-stop 10 laps as the 9th starter Nate Coopman tracked down early leader Alan Lahr for the win. The IMCA hobbies went 12 laps with a lost wheel the cause of a caution and Chris Isaacson came from 10th to win over Rod Manthey from 6th. The outlaw hobbies raced 15 laps non-stop as 4th starter Charlie Oestreich got the win over Tony Winters. The sportmods had one yellow in their 12-lap feature and 4th starter Scott Clobes was the winner over Adam Voss. The sprints ran 15 laps and Bill Johnson started 6th and passed Brandon Allen on the last lap to take the close win of another non-stop race. The stocks also ran caution free and 9th starter Matt Speckman scored a close win over Dan Mackenthun. The modifieds concluded the fast features with only one yellow as pole sitter Brandon Beckendorf held off 14th starter Jeff Coon to take the final checkers at 10:20PM. Sunday I went further west as I saw that the track in Doyon North Dakota had reopened and I had missed seeing races here years ago so I made a trip out here early this year a priority. I arrived just about at the 5PM starting time and found several hundred people here for the races. The $20 admission was higher than what several in line expected but they had the NOSA sprints on the schedule today. There were several sections of bleachers that had 9 rows of wooden backed seats but I opted for the top of the 16-row bleacher that seemed to have more leg room. The track is a high banked quarter mile dirt track with Armco fence along the front straightaway and the rest of the track has the dirt embankment to run down before any fences that are way back. Tires mark the inside and they have good speakers and good lights but with the early start lights were not needed tonight. It was an overcast day and that made the well watered track stay very tacky even in the wind. The pits were dusty but the wind was from our back. The track seemed somewhat narrow but the cars got around good. The car counts were not too good with a good field of 24 sprints but only 6 street stocks and 3 Midwest modifieds. Warm ups started at 5PM followed by the heats and then the features. Kohlan Fedyk, Wade Nygaard, and Shane Roemeling won sprint heats from the front and Chris Ranten won the 4th heat from the fourth starting spot. Jim Gehringer started third and won the non-stop street stock 15-lap feature. Shawn Nostdahl spun on the first lap of the 15-lap modified feature but restarted from the pole and won the all green race. By the time the sprints lined up the 22 cars that started the feature the track had dried out and was getting rubber laid down and some dust was flying. There were 6 yellows in the first 3 laps for spins or cars that went off the banking then they ran 5 good laps. Donnie Schatz was the cause of the 4th yellow when he drove wide to pass and went off the backstretch and restarted in 21st. Schatz then figured the middle was the place to pass and made quick progress up through the field. Two cars tangled on the 8th lap and they messed the track up when they pushed a couple of the tires in further allowing the freight train of inside groove users to spray the track with dry marbles from the infield and spoil the middle and top of the track. Schatz still got around the cars on the outside but looked like he ran out of time when leader Casey Mack got through the lapped traffic on the inside and Schatz lost ground. However a yellow for a spin into the wall by Zach Wilde allowed Schatz one more chance with two laps left in the 25-lap feature. Schatz got around the outside and led the 24th lap but drifted high and Mack got the lead out of turn two and moved up the track to take Schatz’ line away. Mack scored the close win over Schatz with 10th started Nick Shirek taking third. The races were done at 7:45PM and I got an early start home.

Beaver Dam Wisconsin June 11, 2011

Friday I sat down to review what the week could have been. I had planned for a long trip somewhere to get to a new state for my trackchasing. Plan “A” was for a western trip that would add Utah to my states that I have seen racing in and plan “B” was a New England trip that could have added as many as 4 states to my totals. However, as luck would have it Aunt Mary fell last Sunday and was in the hospital until I took her to a nursing home on Friday. That meant I would just go to a local race Friday night so I came home and checked the computer to see what this wet weather was doing to the schedules. Madison, Oshkosh and Plover had all canceled before 3PM but Columbus 151 Speedway was still running. I called the track after 7PM but got no answer and should have assumed that meant no races but I wasn’t that smart. I drove the 20 miles up to Columbus and found the gates locked and drove back home through some very light mist and fog and recorded my 10th rainout of the year. Saturday my choices for local racing included Jefferson and Beaver Dam. I found Jefferson had races both Tuesday and Wednesday next week so I decided to visit Beaver Dam Raceway where I was a regular last year when the midgets were part of the show. I arrived right at starting time of 6:30PM and found a new ticket procedure as the track has two ticket booths on the entry road as there is a new pricing of $15 per carload. I got in for the $10 individual price but did notice some overfilled cars in line! The crowd did not seem any bigger than last year but was decent for a cool evening. The track is the same as before with a 1/3-mile high banked dirt oval with concrete walls and some tires to mark the inside. They had some rain during the week and it appears they may have tried to plant some new infield grass and that area had standing water to greet anyone pulling or spinning off the track and there were many that had to be pulled out by the wrecker throughout the night. Car counts were good with 33 modifieds, 20 Grand National late models, 10 sportmods, 12 street stocks and 14 legends. The track was dry slick and racing started with the 4 modified heats that turned into a crash fest and it took over an hour to run 4 races. The track uses a point invert for starting lineups and that does usually provide good racing. The Grand Nationals were the first of the 20-lap features and after 6 yellows in the first 10 laps the pink flag was thrown. The pink means that the next yellow will end the race but somehow the drivers managed to race 10 laps clean and the race was ended with the traditional checkered flag at the full distance. Kenny Richards won over a closing Jeff Steenbergen and Roger Lee all three of which started in the 4th and 5th rows. The street stocks ran the only race without a caution as Brandon Reidner won from the pole with 5th starter Jeff Jungwirth crossing in second place. The legends had 3 yellows as Joe Johnson came from 9th to win over Brandon Schmitt from 5th.  The sportmods had 4 yellows and the last one flew after the white flag had been displayed so the yellow and checkers came out ending the race with 4th starter Zeke Bishofberger enjoying a lead over Matt Bedker. The modifieds finished out the races with only 2 yellows in the feature. Don Scheffler started 7th and raced in the outside groove to claim the win over Dave Schoenberger from 8th and Jeremy Christians from 13th. The races were done at 10:20PM and I was on my way home. Sunday was a birthday party for granddaughter Haley and I did not make an attempt to get to a race Sunday night.

Race Report 10

Ohio Weekend May 20 – 22, 2011

Friday the weather cleared in the Ohio Valley for a change and I took off to visit the Kil-Kare Raceway in Xenia Ohio. They have a 3/8-mile paved oval that is used for the weekly racing but there is also an inner ¼-mile oval that has a figure eight crossover paved too. Tonight the International Outlaw Figure Eight Series racers would make their annual visit to the track and I could see racing on the figure eight configuration. The big track has concrete walls around the outside and the inside is just marked with a white line as the pavement flattens out and then there is a drop off to the grass infield. The quarter mile has no walls and is inside the big track using the first turn of the large oval. The program would be features only for the 11 figure eight cars, l7 late models, 15 modifieds, 15 sport stocks and 18 compacts. All races except the figure 8 were on the big oval. They have a good scoreboard and good lights although none of them are aimed directly for the inner oval area and the speakers were fine for the many sections of 10 to 12-row bleachers that were partially filled with a good crowd for the Friday night races. I arrived about 6:15PM and ran into Rick Schneider and later saw Randy Lewis. Qualifying got under way about 6:30PM with the races not starting until 8:50PM. The compacts needed three tries to complete the first lap then raced clean through the 20-lap feature non-stop with Jim McElfresh making a last lap pass of Matt Stone to take the win. The modifieds had two yellows in the 30-lap feature as pole sitter Jason Mahaffey held off Ross Kinglehofer for a close win. The figure eight feature was 50 laps with 3 yellows and only 6 cars running at the end. Charlie Hargraves started 5th and was the winner by a lap over Rod Phipps and Chuckie Hargraves. The late models ran 30 laps with Donnie Mahaffey making an outside pass from his 4th place start and then holding off Travis Braden through 5 restarts to get the win. The sport stocks were on their 4th yellow when an electrical fire on one of the poles behind the grandstands resulted in the race being checkered at 17 laps with Mike South JR in the lead from his 4th place start. The racing was done at 11:25PM. Saturday morning it was a short drive over to the Fayette County Fairgrounds in Washington Court House Ohio to see the AARA vintage races. The small field of cars was gathered at the fairgrounds before they towed on to the track for the afternoon racing. The track is an old slightly banked dirt (sand and fine gravel) oval with wooden walls outside and just grass to mark the infield. There were four big trees and a large judge’s stand in the infield that blocks some visibility and there are also posts for the roof of the old covered grandstand of 18 rows that you have to look around. There were some old lights that would not be used today and no announcer was on hand. The warm ups started at 1PM and races started at 1:45PM. They ran two sets of heats before the features for today’s slim field of 3 TQ midgets, 4 midgets, and 4 big cars. They use a water truck that all tracks should have as it puts out a nice fine mist on the complete track with two passes and also had pressure hoses that can shoot out either side for additional watering. The sun and wind dried out the track but a quick watering after each set of races squelched the dust. To me there is nothing prettier than those midgets driving half way up the banked turns and throwing the rooster tail of dirt while those offy engines growl. Mike Doran took the TQ feature from the pole while Jim Witzler started third and ran some very quick laps to capture the midget feature. Ivan Segal was the big car winner from the pole. The racing was over at 3:20PM and I headed over to an evening show. Saturday evening at 6PM I pulled into the Muskingum County Speedway in Zanesville Ohio for a look at the high banked 3/8-mile dirt oval. A good crowd was already gathering in the huge 20-row bleacher stand. The only wall on the high banks is the front straightaway concrete wall and wheel fence as you just run down the banking everywhere else. The inside is marked with some big tires and the lights and speakers seemed fine. Qualifying was about 6:45PM with racing starting at 7:30PM on the dry track that was already dusty. They drew good fields of cars with 23 late models, 26 modifieds, 16 pure stocks, 20 four cylinders and 6 winged wedges for the kids. There were a lot of yellows in the heats and many cars driving over the first turn bank but after a short intermission the features were ready. Shelby Watson continued her winning ways taking the mini wedge feature over Levi Bowen. Donnie Moran took off from the pole in the 25-lap late model feature and kept the top spot through the 3 yellows as he won over Larry Holbrook. Bart Hartman won the 20-lap modified feature over Bobby Kitchens in a race slowed once by a spin. The pure stocks had two yellows in their 20-lap feature as pole sitter Jesse Wisecarver had the field covered and won over Kyle Dickenson. The 15-lap four cylinder feature rounded out the night with only 2 yellows as John Schooler picked up the win with Bradley Gebhart in second. The races were done at 11PM and I drove for an hour before calling it a night. Sunday morning I headed into Pennsylvania to find the BeaveRun Motorsports Complex in Wampum. I arrived at 11AM just as the 5 cars in the open wheel class were set to pull on to the course for a 25 minute race. The course is a 1.53 mile paved road course (12 turns) that features some good elevation changes on the scenic landscape. I found the balcony of the event center to be the best viewing as almost two thirds of the course is visible from here. There was a slight mist falling during half of the race but then it cleared up for the balance of the day. Dominick Vitale was the winner by a big margin after Dave Wollman fell back with overheating after he was closing on the leader. The second 25 minute race was for the EMRA sports cars (10 cars) and the 6 Entropy cars. This field of 16 started at 11:30AM and ran straight through to Noon with only one incident and no yellows needed. Rich Cox and Todd Rogers exchanged the lead over the first few laps but then Cox pulled away to score the win over Rogers and William Hallinan. The remainder of the day was for time trials and driving schools so I toured the grounds and watched some kart practice then consulted the National Speedway Directory for a Sunday night track in the area. I found two Pennsylvania tracks running tonight and headed out to find one. After a short drive I arrived at Sportsman’s Speedway in Elk City at about 4PM and the races were set for 5PM so I took my time getting my lawn chair set on the big grassy hill. This is a perfect natural setting for the 1/3-mile dirt track that sits below the natural hill so that the spectators face east and get the shade of the concession and scoring tower for most of the 28 rows of bench seating on the hillside. They also have some track view parking above the grassy hill full of blankets and lawn chairs. The slightly banked track has tight turns and old Armco walls along the front straightaway and through the third and fourth turns. The infield is kept clear and marked by a dirt berm with some orange traffic cones. They have good speakers off the scoring tower but some very old lights that were never turned on tonight. They did not have warm ups and went directly to heat races right at 5PM. The track got dusty so they watered before the modified heats and again at intermission and this produced dust free features on a very good track. They drew somewhat small fields of 12 micro sprints, 12 mini stocks, 7 pure stocks, 8 outlaw stocks and 13 of the 358 modifieds. The micros had two yellows for stalls and third starter George Hobaugh got around Dave Hawkins on the last restart to claim the win in the 15-lap feature. The pure stocks had 3 yellows with Josh Seippel coming from 5th to win the 15-lap feature over Jace Ferringer. The mini stocks had two yellows and Josh Frantz got around William Bloom to take the win on the final restart of the 15-lap feature. Fourth starter Dave Ferringer won the 15-lap outlaw stock feature that was slowed by 2 yellows. The modifieds had two yellows in the 20-lap finale and it was third starter Kyle Fink who pulled away for the big win over Tom Holden to end the show at 8:40PM and get me on the road early for the long drive home. 

Holiday Weekend May 27 – 30, 2011

Friday night I was looking for a race on my way to Michigan and thought of the Grundy County Speedway in Morris Illinois. This would be on the way and a chance to return to a site where I have been to many midget races over the years but tonight is their regular stock car night and will feature twin 25 lap features for the late models. The weather will again be an issue with rain showing on the western half of Illinois as I drove down the center of the state into some darker clouds. When I arrived it was cool and windy but a nice crowd was gathering looking for some dry land to park on as the rains have left most of the grass parking lot underwater. I found some dry grass along the barns and parked then went in and climbed about half way up the huge bleacher grandstand for a spot right on the finish line. The 1/3-mile slightly banked asphalt oval is showing its age with lots of wrinkles and some rust on the boiler plate wall but the old lights with some supplement from a few newer ones give adequate light and it was needed as the skies were dark. A good field of 26 late models, 14 Mid-American sportsmen, 17 street stocks and 9 pure mini stocks were ready to race. Qualifying started at 6:45 with racing underway at 8PM. Preliminary races went fast with a few sprinkles during the show but not enough to stop the racing. The late models ran a dash and a 10-car qualifier to slim the field to 24 starters for the first 25-lap feature. The fastest 10 cars were inverted with Eddie Hoffman and Boris Jurkovic tied for fast time and sharing the 5th row. Tracy Schuler started from the front and built up a good lead while Hoffman worked a series of inside passes to pick off 7 cars as he came through to second. Hoffman closed on Schuler and passed him on the inside to claim the win in a non-stop race. Hoffman rolled an 11-car invert on the dice for the second twin 25. The Mid-American cars ran their 25-lap feature non-stop with John Ventrello looking like the winner until he pulled out with engine trouble and pole sitter Ron Willems took the win over Ray Brackett. The street stocks also ran a non-stop 25-lap feature with third starter Chris Sanda holding off 7th starter John Senerchia for the victory. The light rain returned during the pace laps for the second twin 25-lap late model feature but after many laps circling the track the rain stopped and the green was thrown. Scott Dunning and BJ Weltmeyer exchanged the lead before a lap 8 tangle between Dunning and Dave Gentile brought out the yellow. Hoffman moved through the field and took the lead on the 12th lap only to see the second yellow displayed and have to restart second. It took Hoffman only two laps to reclaim the lead and he held on through one more yellow to complete the sweep of the features. Jeff Cannon was second. The pure stocks started their 12 lap feature as the rain started again and it got too heavy so the checkered was thrown on the 6th lap with Zach Mitchell the winner at about 10:30PM to end the night. Saturday morning I arrived at the Red Bud MX facility in Buchanan Michigan. The large facility is home to many motocross, ATV and open riding events and has several courses on the hillsides but today the trucks and buggies of the TORC off road series would use a one mile road course to conduct day one of their two day national event. The course featured big elevation changes as the racers would run up and down the big hills in front of the 10-row wooden bleachers and the big hillside seating area. The overcast cool day probably held the crowd down but over 4000 people were still on the grounds to see racing in 9 divisions today. There were a few places that offered a view of the full track but from the bleachers there was a bit of the course that was out of sight but they had a big videotron screen to watch the action on so you could keep up with the whole race. There were some real loud speakers way behind the bleachers but hearing was a little difficult from the stands. The track was very heavy and yesterday’s practice was canceled because of the rain. The races started about an hour behind schedule but by noon the trucks were trying to find enough traction up the big hills to complete their first race. Each race was about 12 or 15 laps and had a competition full course yellow at the half way point to close up the field for the final laps. I did not get good records of the first two classes that ran but Bob Birkholz was the winner from 6th in the 7 truck field of stock trucks. The 1600 light buggy class had 17 entries and Greg Stingle was the winner over Billy Buth. The 1600 buggy class had 13 starters and John Fitzgerald held the upper hand winning over Brad Erickson. The super stock trucks (16) had some trouble with the small jumps and tipped over two trucks during the feature that was won by Brent Smith over Don Demeny. For the pro trucks they made a modification in the course allowing the trucks to use a large jump uphill in the middle of the course or use the option to circle around the jump although that route was slightly longer. Watching for a jumping truck while the two lanes merged was also exciting. The pro light trucks sent 16 starters out with Sam Hubinette starting last. Brad Lovell got the early lead but after the half-way caution it was Hubinette making some quick moves to get past the front runners then holding off the field to score a win in his first race. At this time the rain started in and it rained quite hard for about half an hour making the course so slippery they couldn’t continue racing so the pro 2 trucks and pro 4 trucks will run twice tomorrow and they called it a day with the evening activities being canceled. It was great to see Allan and Nancy Brown at the track on Saturday afternoon and Allan is looking quite fit I might add. Saturday night I headed toward New Paris Indiana for the Saturday night show there but they had to cancel so I drove further to Akron Indiana for a look at the Akron Speedway. This is a kart track and had full pits when I arrived but they had a small shower go through the area and were grading and packing the track. I drove around the town once (not much here) before heading back at which time I heard thunder. There were some big drops then it let loose with a hard shower and they turned the track lights out and the haulers were leaving so I chalked up rainout number 8 for the year and made the long drive home. Sunday noon I heard thunder at home and noticed it was raining. Around 2PM they posted that the midget races at Angell Park were postponed and they were working on Monday as a rain date. I think other Wisconsin tracks may have gotten the Sunday night shows in but I watched the races on TV and chalked up rainout number nine for the season. Monday was a bright day but very humid although the wind did start drying off the pavement by mid morning. The Badger Midgets were rescheduled for an early start at Angell Park in Sun Prairie Wisconsin with qualifying at 5PM. I arrived just after 3PM and found a good field of 21 midgets and 4 of the new micro class. The midgets qualified with New Zealand’s Michael Pickens the fast timer at 14.784 seconds around the fast 1/3-mile clay oval. The track had a soft spot or just some super traction in the second turn and Troy DeCaire lifted both front wheels off the ground before the car twisted and then did several end over end flips ending his night early. He was able to walk away. Jason Dull came out and did the same wheel stand but let off and only slid on his side before bouncing upright. He was able to race the rest of the night. Pennsylvania’s Chad Borgar won the micro heat and later took the feature too over Preston Benisch. Brandon Waelti, Matt Smith and Robbie Ray were the midget heat winners. Mike Hess started from the pole in the 30-lap midget feature and led three laps until Bubba Altig who started 8th got around the outside and took command. Scott Hatton stalled for a yellow after 16 laps but Altig kept the lead although Smith and Pickens had got around Hess. On the 28th lap Smith hit the cushion in the second turn and bounced once then was hit by Hess and flipped for a red flag. Altig got a good restart and pulled away from Pickens who had started 10th. Altig got the win over Pickens, Davey Ray and David Budres from 14th. The races were done by 8PM and we had over two hours of bench racing to complete before the short drive home.

Race Report 09

Texas Trip May 6-8, 2011

Thursday the weather predictions had me nervous about the Ohio Valley and further south is dealing with floods and tornado cleanup so the other option was to head to a drought area. I checked for some races and found Amarillo racing and the track that Dale visited last month racing again in Oklahoma so I changed plans and headed out. I got a call from the webmaster who was heading down to his new home in Leavenworth Kansas and found we were driving the same route from Des Moines on. A call from Lee after dinner found us 6 miles apart on I-35 heading into Missouri so we met at the first McDonalds after that and I followed him until he turned off the interstate. Friday afternoon I arrived at Amarillo before 6PM and headed over to the Tri-State Speedway on the south side of Amarillo. There were already a couple of people in the small 9-row bleacher and most of the 30 or so trackside parking spots were taken. The only drawback of the bleacher is the top 2 rows have the huge platform that extends out across the runoff area for the flagman to stand on that blocks the view of the fourth turn. The pits were full of midgets and karts as 11 classes would race tonight. They had 15 karts in 6 classes including 3 senior champs, 13 minis in 2 classes for the kids (look like quarter midgets), 3 restricted midgets (winged), 10 A-class (600 winged) and 16 B class (non wing 250’s). The track is wide slightly banked 1/7-mile dirt oval with some new black clay that they would open the season on tonight. There is plenty of run-off area before getting to the Armco and chain link fencing and the inside has steel saucers outlining the racing area. There were good lights and good speakers and they have Street Toyota Scion sponsoring the grandstand this year so the admission is free. I opted for the $10 pit pass so I could get a better idea of the classes and talk with some of the participants. Racing got underway at about 8:30PM and the track stayed smooth and took on some rubber after the two sets of heats. Joe Young took off from the pole and led the entire B class feature to take the win over Trey Hale and Austin Hartranft in a race slowed by two yellows. The restricted feature went to Logan Reynolds and ended with the only yellow of the race. Chub Smith won the senior champs over Zach Perry and daughter Oakley Smith. Jeremy Lovelady got the jump from the pole and held on through the one yellow then fought off a challenge from Jerd Vinson to claim the win in the A Class that closed out the night just before midnight. Saturday I was going to stay in Amarillo for a visit to Route 66 Speedway but the chance for two tracks at Albuquerque had me back on the road for a visit to Sandia Speedway this time to see the oval asphalt ovals. I arrived at 5:15 PM an hour before the scheduled starting time and stood in line with 6 other people while the line moved ever so slow to enter the grandstands. They did hand out a nice program at the entry gate. The track is a banked half-mile asphalt oval with a quarter mile inner oval that is nearly flat and shares a common straightaway. The only wall is the big concrete wall and catch fencing along the front straightaway. The inside of both tracks were marked by some rough concrete area before the sand infield however the inside oval is somewhat narrow. The lights are excellent, the speakers very good and there is also a big scoreboard in the infield for the spectators in the large 15-row aluminum grandstand. The track was being blown clear of a layer of sand when I arrived as the wind was strong enough to be a problem today. Concession lines were long at 16 people and again too slow for me to wait to try any of the food choices. Opening ceremonies got started at 6:15 with racing shortly after for 12 ultimate modifieds, 7 extreme modifieds, 19 legends, 6 cruisers, 8 factory fours and 4 Bandoleros. The races seemed to move slowly with lots of false starts, pace laps and long cleanup delays. Only two classes used the small oval as the Bandoleros ran their races on the quarter mile and the factory four cars ran what I call a double “O” where they alternate laps between the big track and the inside oval. After the heats, an autograph session and some rides in the cruiser cars the features were ready and used a point invert to make some good racing. Joshua Jackson started 4th and won the non-stop Bandolero feature in a close race over Dustin Tilbury. The X-mods ran 20 laps non-stop with 5th starter Tim Hooper the winner over Ed Chernow. The legends had the nationally ranked Irwin brothers with no point average starting in the 9th row and after two yellows it was Justin leading brother Jason down the backstretch when the engine in Jason’s car went up in a ball of flames. He was uninjured and after some oil cleanup Justin Irwin endured one more yellow and held off Zachary Powell from 10th and Keith Schmidt from 11th for the win in the 25 lap feature. The ultimate mods went 30 laps but had a tough time. Sean Guthrie went off the track twice with the second excursion putting oil around the entire oval. After a lengthily delay they only ran a handful of laps before the dust from the oil dry was too much and the red was displayed. The factory fours ran their 15 lap feature next and after 2 yellows Patricia Gallegos got around Andrew Fowner for the win. The cruisers had their 10 lap feature reduced to 6 after 3 cars went out on the first lap yellow. Gerald Haste got around Gary Smith for the win. The Ultimate mods returned to the track and finished the 30-lap feature with one more yellow and 9th starter Ross Harvey the winner over Vanessa Robinson as the night came to an end at 11:35PM. Sunday I headed back to the Oklahoma Panhandle to stop at the Beaver County Fairgrounds where I had tried to get to a race several years ago but never got there. The Beaver County Raceway is a high banked 3/8-mile red clay oval with a concrete wall and catch fencing on the straightaway and just a ride down the dark banking awaiting you any where else. They have an inside Jersey barrier wall on the straightaway to protect the rodeo grounds that are inside the oval. The big 14-row concrete grandstand has a metal roof and there are many posts, braces, cables and wires to look through to see the races. I did see the concrete had a 1940 stamp in it so this is an old grandstand. Tonight was the debut of a new speaker system and was excellent. The lights were adequate and they handed out a paper program at the ticket booth. Racing got under way over an hour after the stated 6PM start for the 21 URSS Sprints, 15 Modifieds, 12 hobby stocks, 11 IMCA stocks and 8 sport mods. It was a hot and windy day and the track was dry although they did another coating of water at intermission that helped until the sprints got to running. The 12 lap hobby stock feature was slowed for a lap 1 spin then went all green with pole sitter Zach McLemore a winner over Doug Shultz from 5th. The stocks had two early yellows then 6th starter Mike Wadel came to the front and won over Cole Wilson from 4th in the 15-lap feature. The sport mods went non-stop 15 laps and pole sitter Cole Traugott won over 4th starter Ross McCartney. The modifieds had a first lap spin then piled up 6 cars for a long delay. There was only one more yellow but they shortened the race to 12 laps and pole sitter Jeremy Gossett was the winner over Ryan Heger from 8th. The sprints started 20 of the 21 cars after one failed to fire and went non-stop in the 25 lap finale. Pole sitter Keefe Hemel got away to a big lead in the huge dust cloud but the visibility got better as the cars spread out and the track took on more rubber. Jason Martin started 7th and dove to the inside and pulled off some slide jobs then caught Hemel in traffic on the 17th lap and motored by to take a big win. Hemel was second with Brian Herbert third from 6th and Ty Williams capturing fourth. The races were done at 11PM and I made it back to Dodge City before I slept for the night.

Weekend at Home May 13 – 15, 2011

Friday was the start of the busy Syttende Mai weekend events in Stoughton Wisconsin as we celebrate the Norwegian Independence Day. The plans were for all day work at the food stand for the Optimist Club of Stoughton then with some luck I could get done early and still make the features at Columbus 151 Speedway. I should have looked at the calendar first as today was Friday and it was the 13th! Luck – bad luck was all that would actually happen. The steady rain came in by mid-afternoon and I see the races were called off at Columbus by 4PM. That’s nothing – due to the rain we already had this week and prediction for more rain Saturday and cold temperatures the two day (Saturday and Sunday) USAC midget show at Angell Park in Sun Prairie was already canceled by noon today too! So I continued to work at the stand in the rain until after dark and then after we closed the rain finally let up. After some dish washing I headed home and then made what was supposed to be a quick trip to the post office. Wrong! As I was backing out of the garage I must have bumped the door opener and the door came down on the moving car and pulled the rollers out of the track. It was now 11:30PM and I was out in the dark prying and banging on the door to get it to work. I got it in the track again and it worked so I made the mail run and headed in the house to complete my treasurer work for the first day of food sales. “It’s a new Food Stand record” the lowest Friday sales since 2000. Saturday started off early with the cooking under way before 9AM and I now would work all day again as long as the midgets at Sun Prairie were canceled. The rain came in at 4PM just as I had started to get some brats cooked ahead for the dinner rush. NO rush – more rain and dropping temperatures had the streets empty and very few customers came by before dark. We closed early and were done with dishes before 9PM. The treasurer’s report will show another new record low for a Saturday sales total. Sunday the sun actually broke out for most of the day but cold winds kept the parade crowd down although sales were almost up to last year. So after a long wet weekend I have three more rainouts to add to the year’s total that now reaches seven.

Race Report 8

Easter in New Mexico April 22 & 23, 2011

Thursday the weather was bad in the south as well as here in the Midwest and the prediction was not good for the weekend. I looked over the weather maps and decided to avoid the storms and try a quick trip out west. I looked over the tracks that were running and found a Friday and some Saturday shows. I was in the car before noon for the long drive. Friday at 4PM I pulled into Aztec New Mexico to find the Aztec Speedway where they were racing the first night of the two day Wild West Tour for IMCA modifieds. The track sits behind some commercial buildings just south of town and is a wide high banked 1/3-mile dirt oval with concrete outside walls and imbedded tires all through the turns to mark the inside. They have a big roomy 15- row grandstand with some smaller bleachers in the first turn and room for about 8 cars for trackside parking. The track has tall light poles with good lights for the track and stands, good speakers and a full field scoreboard in the infield. Tonight drew a good field of cars with 46 IMCA modifieds, 22 sport mods, 18 IMCA Stock cars and 11 hobby stocks. The track was very wet to start the night delaying the 7PM start by half an hour but the track dried out and took on rubber while a big cushion built up on the outside. They ran six modified heats transferring only the top two to the feature then 3 semis that took 4 more from each. There was a rule that any single car causing a yellow was eliminated from the race and very few yellows were needed! By feature time the smooth slick part of the track was 4 lanes wide and the outside lane was still fresh wet dirt. The 15-lap hobby feature was first with only one yellow as Jerrett Guilory came from 4th to win over 6th starter Jeremy Bradley. There were only 3 yellows in the 25-lap sport mod feature that saw 9th starter Zach Rouse score the win over Zach Hamilton from 10th. The IMCA stocks were scheduled for 25 laps but after a couple of early yellows and a multi car wreck then a car in the wall requiring the wrecker they shortened the race to 20 laps. Rex Higgins started 10th and drove to the win over Stephen Carey from 7th and Alan Bradley from 13th. The 30-lap feature for 24 modifieds got off to an ominous start when a car lost a wheel on the parade lap. A two car tangle on the second lap slowed the race then 4 spins during the event brought out yellows. Ricky Alvarado was in 4th after starting 13th when he jumped the cushion and hit the wall on the 28th lap for the final yellow. Porter Smith started in third and took the lead on the 4th lap and held back repeated challenges from Zane Devilbiss to take the trophy. Danny Bradford came home third from 14th and Justin Yaeger was fourth from 19th. The races were done just past midnight and I was ready for some sleep. Saturday I drove down to Albuquerque to check out the new dirt track at Sandia Speedway where they had a practice day for sprints, mini sprints, modifieds and stock cars. The track is high banked with only a short wall in front of the stands. They hope to have lights up in two weeks. With some clouds rolling in from the north I decided to leave early and head down to Tularosa New Mexico for a visit to White Sands Speedway. I arrived at White Sands at 6PM for the 7:45 start of racing. The track is a banked 3/8-mile dirt oval with a concrete and Armco wall for the front straightaway and the first turn where the pits are. The remainder of the oval has no walls and there are just a few tires to mark the inside of the racing surface. They have a lap counter in the infield and good track lights and good speakers. They drew small fields tonight with 10 modifieds, 11 super trucks, 13 bombers and 9 street stocks. Track packing and warm-ups started for the trucks but the dust was so bad they decided to water the track. At this time the electricity for the whole property went out as a fuse blew and as we waited for repairs the sun set and the track and stands descended into darkness. The fuse was replaced and racing started at 8:50PM. The heats went fast and we were ready for the 20-lap features. The bombers went all 20 laps non-stop with front row starter John McDaniel taking the win over Cheyenne Arone. The street stocks had two yellows as Danny Efird started last and passed the entire field to take the win. Christie George started on the pole of the modified feature and never looked back as she won over Sherman Barnett in a race slowed by only one yellow. Pole sitter Dennis McMasters spun on the first lap for the only yellow in the truck feature. Sherman Barnett started 4th and won the race over Crystal Sampson from 6th. The races were over at 11:15PM and I was ready for some sleep before the 2 day drive home.

Midwest weekend April 29 & 30, 2011

Thursday the plan called for an eastern trip to see Richmond Virginia but with severe storms moving through the south and east and flooding too I decided to look elsewhere. I found some Colorado races but the forecast there was for snow showers so I decided to stay closer to home. Friday I drove south through some very wet farmland and saw lots of standing water in the Illinois fields but as I arrived at the DeWitt County Fairgrounds in Farmer City Illinois I found the Farmer City Raceway open for business. There were some mud holes in the parking lot and some standing water to be avoided just off the raceway but a large crowd was on hand and the pits were full. This was a $2000 to win Northern All Star tour race for the late models (45 cars) with support classes of 37 street stocks, 27 modifieds, 21 sportsmen, 21 hornets and 21 mini-sprints. The track is a high banked black dirt quarter mile oval with a concrete wall through the third and fourth turns to protect the pits and big runoff areas down the banking and out to some Armco fencing to protect the spectator areas around the rest of the track. They have the old grandstand and three big bleachers on the straightaway then trackside parking all along the fences from the first turn through the middle of the backstretch where there is another bleacher. The track started out wet but soon turned black with rubber but with a good wet cushion along the concrete wall. The late models qualified at 7:15PM and racing got underway about 8PM. They quickly ran through many heats with the only delay a rollover in the last hornet heat when Jeremy Reed spun off the bank sideways and rolled three times escaping injury. They needed 5 semis before the features were set. Pole sitter Jeremy Nichols captured the street stock feature over David Billingsley in a race slowed by 3 yellows for spins. The modifieds had a lap 2 spin then ran off 23 green flag laps as Jeff Leka captured another win. The late models ran off the first 25 laps of their 30 lap feature before the drive shaft came out of Brett Sievert’s car for the only caution. Pole sitter Wes Steidinger was out front using the fast outside groove in 3 and 4 but hugging the bottom in the first and second turns. Derek Chandler kept the pressure on the leader showing his nose alongside several times. Behind them was a constant fight for the next 4 spots as cars ran side by side for the entire race. Steidinger won over Chandler with Ryan Unzicker in third and Brandon Sheppard fourth. The sportsmen ran another good race with a lap 3 spin the only yellow as Nick Macklin worked around Dustin Mounce for the win. The mini sprints had two yellows (the first one took out second place Jeremy Camp when he hit a spinning lapped car) with pole sitter Jason Harms the winner over Ryne Welch. Jake Newman from 10th was third just inches ahead of Shelby Bosie from 15th. The hornets rounded out the night with a feature that had only one yellow and was concluded at 12:05AM when 5th starter Kenny Butterfield made a last lap pass of Derrick Deford to win. Saturday morning was cloudy and cool when I left Farmer City to drive south to Casey Illinois to check out the MAORA off road races at Lincoln Trail MX Park. It was sunny and windy as I pulled in around 11AM but found only one buggy practicing. I inquired at the pit shack as to when the races were scheduled and the lady told me the MAORA had called off the weekend’s events. As long as I had time and the weather was better further east I headed to Ohio. Saturday evening about 6PM I arrived at the Cridersville Speedway in Cridersville Ohio for a look at the 1/7-mile dirt go kart track. They have two big spectator bleachers but I opted for the pit pass and went in the pits where they have three smaller bleachers off the first and second turns. The facility also has a nice cement block building that houses the concessions and some big and clean restrooms. The track is a long and narrow flat oval that has a lake in the infield that is used for watering as I saw the hoses that went to each turn. They use some boards about 8 inches tall to form the straightaway outside walls with tires behind for support and they use the same wooden wall set up for the inside of the track. The track was dry and sent up some dust most of the night. They have good lights from the inside of the track and the speakers were loud but only used for pit announcements. Racing got underway about 20 minutes late at 6:20PM and consisted of two sets of heats and then features for the 15 classes of which the senior champs were 14th.  There were 131 entries in the 15 classes with 19 flathead mediums, 17 senior champs and 12 flathead lites the only classes with double digit counts. The senior champs were divided into two groups for the heats and Brett Bothast won the first heat from the pole and took third (from last) in the second round to earn the pole for the feature. Dustin Ingle won the second heat from 3rd and finished 4th in the last heat to start outside the first row of the feature. The feature had 5 yellows in the first 3 laps then the raced well with Bothast holding the good low line for the entire race and winning over Jake Shelley with Ingle in third. Most of the features were won from the pole and had no yellows but David Sawmiller did win from third in the junior race that had 3 leaders but was slowed by 2 yellows. Joey Pendergrass was a double winner with a victory in junior sportsmen champs and rookie 2. Matt Hodges won the outlaw feature from the pole to conclude the night at 11:30PM and I was ready for some rest. Sunday I headed back to Indiana for a stop at the Kokomo Speedway and some USAC sprint racing. The weather in Ohio was dreary and damp but it cleared in Indiana. I called the track about 1PM to make sure they were running and the recording was on saying grounds were too wet and the races were canceled. I headed home but it was too late to try for the late model special at Oregon Wisconsin this afternoon.