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.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Race Report 01

Wisconsin Ice Races January 8 & 9, 2011

Saturday was my first chance to get out since November and I made the most of the clear but cold day. First I took in the morning basketball game of granddaughter Haley then I took off for a short 40 mile drive to Fox Lake Wisconsin to see if the ice races were starting for the year. I was pleased to see there were 10 full size rear wheel drive cars and 12 compact front wheel drive cars already on the ice ready to start the racing day just as I arrived. The races consist of two heats and a feature for each class then the competitors retire to the Fish and Fun for a break and pay to race in day two on the ice which is the same program again with two heats and a feature for each class. With the warm weather last weekend the ice was smooth and less than an inch of new loose snow was on the surface so there were no walls made around the track. The inside of the 1/3-mile oval was lined with several old Christmas trees standing in some holes that were drilled to mark the inside of the racing surface. I watched from my car parked on the ice many feet behind the straightaway just beyond the pits and could see the entire track. The club has constructed a scoring tower that is on a trailer and towed to the inside of the starting line and also is the flagging stand for the races. The racing was very clean today with several spins and some contact but no yellows were necessary during the whole day’s racing events. Dan Riedel and Kelly Brown won heats and earned last row starts for the feature in the big cars. Chris Neuman started 4th and got by early leader Mike Held for the win with Joel Posthuma taking second in the feature. The number 90 won a heat and then won the small car feature from 8th. In the second day feature Held started from the pole and exchanged the lead with Riedel who started 4th but Riedel slipped up in the closing laps and Held got by for the win. In the small car feature the number 90 built up a lead after starting 8th but Stuart White closed the gap on the final laps and got around the leader on the last lap to take the win of the day’s final feature. I was very happy to feel well enough to get back to the track and start the 2011 season! Sunday I took a drive north to find my first “new” track of the season. Lake Chetek in Chetek Wisconsin raced years ago and returned to having weekly ice races last season so this was on my hit list for 2011. I arrived to find a nice quarter mile oval plowed out on the lake on a beautiful Sunday afternoon but no cars in sight and the races were set to start in 15 minutes. I found a car on a trailer in the parking lot at Red’s bar and restaurant overlooking the track and the driver said he was just told the races were canceled late last night after he already confirmed that the were racing in the afternoon. So no racing and the first cancellation of the season and a very poor start for an old cripple like me. Randy will be in town for next weeks race so I am sure he will pay enough to get the cars out and get the season started but old Number 2 just doesn’t rate a show!

Chili Bowl Week January 11 - 15, 2011

Tuesday after a drive through heavy snow in Iowa we arrived in Tulsa Oklahoma for the 25th annual Chili Bowl race for midgets in the Tulsa Expo Building. The nearly quarter mile dirt oval is set up on the lower level of the big Expo floor with some slight banking and Jersey barrier outside walls with a hard packed big dirt berm to mark the inside. The racing program will be the same for the 4 preliminary nights with 8 heats earning you points after which the top 40 are divided up in the 4 qualifying races and the remainder split into two “C” mains. Following the qualifiers the top 16 point earners go to the feature and the others are positioned in 2 “B” mains that transfer 4 more each to the “A” feature which sends the first 3 finishers to Saturday’s “A”. Everyone else earns positions in the “alphabet soup” of daylong preliminary races on Saturday when all cars race. There were 65 cars to race Tuesday night and they had one extra event that would be a money race called the race of champions. The 8 heats went quickly with most winners from the front two rows. Michael Pickens won the 6th heat from 5th accumulating passing points and then in the 8th heat Jon Stanbrough won from the last starting position earning the maximum points so that he would start 6th in the invert for the first qualifier. Kyle Larson was leading the 8th heat when he hit the wall and flipped ending his night early. Chris Coker and J T Imperial won the “C” features. Jonathan Beason, Bryan Clauson, Caleb Armstrong and Andy Shouse won the qualifiers. Sean Dodenhoff took a hard flip into the back wall during the first qualifier and brought out the only red of the night as the wall needed some fixing but Dodenhoff walked away. The program included a race of champions which was inserted here with Sammy Swindell on the pole and Dave Darland outside and that was the finishing order as passing was at a premium. The track had slicked off and was somewhat dusty as Swindell made a good move to lap some cars and make the win look easier. Chad Boat and Josh Wise won the “B” mains. Clauson started 4th in the feature and caught Pickens for the lead on the 4th lap to pull away for a big win. Pickens held on for second and Stanbrough locked in a spot for Saturday’s feature with a third place finish. Some dust and a smoking car running the entire feature really filled the building with some heavy air by the end. Wednesday night 64 different cars took to the track for the second night of action and an attempt to be the 3 that earn spots in the Saturday night feature. Again most heats were won from the front two rows but Damion Gardner won the 4th heat from 7th to gain the most points in the heats and then finished second behind Bobby East in his qualifier to earn the pole for the feature tonight. Cole Whitt won the 7th heat and his qualifier to earn second high points and share the front row of the feature with Gardner. Billy Lawhead and Jimmy Sills won the “C” mains with Robby Josett and J J Yeley winning the other qualifiers. Brad Sweet from 8th and T J Smith from the pole captured the “B” mains. The track was much better tonight and the dust and smoke was not a problem as the feature rolled out early. Eric Sandage flipped down the straightaway on the second lap for the first of 4 yellows. Whitt took an early lead with Gardner keeping close and Thomas Meseraull and Yeley trading slide jobs while fighting for transfer spots just behind. The action was intense with Donnie Ray Crawford who had faded early now moving on the inside berm as he worked back up with Kevin Ramey also running low while they chased Whitt and Gardner who were out front with East and Meseraull still in the hunt. Gardner got by Whitt on a restart with three laps left but another yellow set up a two lap dash and Whitt tried the same move with no luck. On the final turn of the race the leaders touched as Whitt tried to slide in front of Gardner and Crawford held the low line. The three came toward the finish with Gardner riding the middle and flipping over the line as Whitt stopped and Crawford captured the victory on the inside with Gardner given credit for second and Meseraull third as the checkers waived with the yellow now out too. Thursday night 62 cars made up the field for another night of preliminary action with the same format. The track was drier again and the heats were fast with all winners from the front except for Jason Leffler who won from 4th to be high point earner with Danny Sheridan taking second from 6th the second highest earner in the heats. Brian Carter and Casey Shuman won the “C” mains that included lots of spins, crashes and flips. The first qualifier race started out the same with half the field removed on the hook during the race. Wayne Johnson, Sammy Swindell (from 5th ), Tyler Courtney and Shane Cockrum won the qualifiers with Swindell now high point earner and Nick Knepper second highest after finishing second from 5th in the first race. Tracy Hines pulled away and won the first “B” with Seth Motsinger winning the second “B” over Kevin Olson. Shuman finished 4th in the second “B” from the back and did it in a spectacular finish as he bounced off another car and rode the wall and fencing across the line and was hauled off the track to replace the front axle before the feature. Swindell took off from the pole to lead the feature that went 18 laps before the first yellow. Knepper kept up the chase as he and Swindell shot through lapped cars but Jerry Coons JR got by Knepper for second and after the 4 late race yellows it was Swindell, Coons and Knepper crossing the finish line to earn the feature spots for Saturday. Friday was a chance for another 66 cars to try and race their way into the Saturday finals. The track was fast from the start and although most heats were won from the front some winners came from the second row. The top point earners were last row starters that worked through the field to finish second in a heat. Brad Mosen had engine trouble in the caution plagued first heat and held out for a second place finish but the engine problems ended his night anyway. Dave Darland took second in the 5th heat behind Troy Decaire. The third heat produced the only red flag of the night when Kevin Michnowicz rolled hard and escaped uninjured after he landed upside down and burst into flames. Andrew Felker and Danny Jennings won the “C” mains. Tim Crawley, Brad Loyet, Danny Stratton and Dakoda Armstrong won the qualifiers but Darland still had the highest points with Chris Windom second highest. Brian Brown took the first “B” that had two multi-car wrecks take out some cars and Christopher Bell won the second “B”. Shane Cottle shot from the inside of the second row to grab the lead of the feature from Darland and Windom as Loyet and Kevin Swindell trailed. Cottle continued to lead but Darland faded 4 spots until a 4th yellow slowed the field with 5 laps left. Loyet hit the cushion hard and Darland moved to the top and worked back up to second as the checkers flew with Cottle a close winner over Darland and Swindell to set the last automatic spots in the Saturday “A” main. Saturday was a long day of racing for the 266 cars with the show set to start at 11:30AM with the “K” feature and then working back through the alphabet with two “J” mains , 2 “I” mains, etc. down to the one “A” feature for 24 cars. The shortened “K” feature was won by Donovan Peterson after a flip involving Troy Rutherford as there were just 5 cars running and 8 transfer spots. Rutherford repaired and started 16th in the first 10-lap “J” main and won. Wisconsin’s Courtney Erfurth won the second “J” over Kellen Conover.  Rutherford continued his afternoon with a 4th place finish in the first “I” from his 11th place starting spot sending him to a 16th starting spot in the “H” where his day ended with an 8th place finish.  Conover continued his racing with a win from 14th in the second “I” the failed to transfer with a 5th in the second “H”. Wisconsin had another winner when Brandon Waelti won a “G” feature over Josh Most who had transferred from an “H” and started in the last row. Waelti finished third in an “F” main before his night ended in the “E”. Dave Camfield JR was third in his “E” then took the 6th and final transfer in the “D” before his night ended with a 12th in the “C”.  Scott Weir and Casey Shuman won the “C” mains and Brad Loyet and Brad Kuhn captured the “B” mains. The track was dry and smooth so as the air got dusty the slide jobs were on the way as the 50-lap “A” feature unfolded. There were lots of spins and yellows with six cautions in the last 15 laps. Bryan Clauson started from the pole and led 12 laps before Sammy Swindell who started second took command. Michael Pickens started 8th but was stopped in a mid-race tangle and took up the chase from the back of the 24 cars. Kevin Swindell started 10 and ran a steady race then found some speed and was able to make a pass with slide jobs in almost every restart. Soon Kevin Swindell was second behind dad Sammy and Kevin got by his dad on a lap 40 restart to take the top spot. Sammy stayed right behind Kevin and then Pickens appeared in third also on the move through the field. A lap 49 yellow set up a two lap dash to the checkers and Kevin got a good jump but went wide on the final turn giving Sammy the lead. Kevin shot back by his dad a few feet from the line to win by inches as Pickens held on for third and Jonathan Beason from 17th came home in fourth and Clauson finished fifth. Another great Chili Bowl with unbelievable finishes and a chance to see so many people will have us all returning next year!

No comments:

Post a Comment