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 03

Minnesota Ice Races February 5 & 6, 2011

Friday night I drove up to Elk Mound Wisconsin for a quick overnight stop at my Webmaster’s house and another chance to make sure granddaughter Emma remembered that she was now two years old. Saturday my destination was Crosslake Minnesota for a look at the Crosslake Ice Car Races. I was here a few years ago when they raced on Cross Lake but now the races take place just south of town on Big Pine Lake. I arrived just after noon during the first heat race and found a big crowd out on the ice for the 8th annual Winterfest and all the front row parking spots taken so I had to park away from the track and walk over to the snow bank to watch. The track was about a quarter mile oval with big snow banks plowed on the inside as well as the outside. The flagman was on the snow bank but the scorers were inside a small camper at the finish line. In a unique twist they use a solid blue flag to signify one lap remaining as a white flag is nearly impossible to see. They had a good concession area and a port-a-potty was also there for the spectators. They drew 10 rubber tire racers and 9 studded racers in the all front wheel drive compact car show. They had two sets of heats (8 races) before the two features. The final heat got wild with Shawn Pratt running on the snow bank just past the flagman and rolling one complete time. After removing some snow he was restarted and kept the second position from which he charged into the lead and won the heat. The features started the top point earners in front so the studded feature quickly became a 3 car race and Isaac Wannebo came from 3rd to capture the win in a race slowed by two yellows for a spin and a 3 car tangle. The rubber tire feature took a different look as dad Scott Nelson took over the 25 car from Dylan “Dylster” Nelson and started last. The race was slowed by one yellow as Nelson worked through the pack and caught leader Superman Shawn Pratt and the two exchanged the lead with Nelson coming out the winner. Sunday I stayed in the same area of Minnesota and took a look at the Hardwater Ice-Racing Association as they are now racing on Gull Lake just north of Brainerd. I arrived early for the scheduled noon start on the ice oval that is plowed just down from Ernie’s on Gull. The track is about a quarter mile with the large snow walls all around outside and inside. They have several red flags in the snow banks to help the drivers judge the turns. Today’s program for front wheel drive compact cars would include two sets of heats before the 4 features. The four classes and the number of cars in each were: 5 studded cars, 5 hard rubber cars, 12 soft rubber entries and 8 entries in the navigator class that includes a rider. All of the cars in the navigator class also ran in one of the other rubber classes but this is a chance for potential new ice racer to see what it feels like or get instructions from a parent, etc. Heats went quite fast with a minimum of yellows for stalled or stuck cars. After the two sets of heats they drew a pill for the inversion of the feature lineup. The hard rubber feature had Taylor Pratt come from 5th to take the win in a non-stop race. The navigator class had a first lap spin then went non-stop with Matt Borden from 3rd taking the win. The studded feature had Travis Malloy get stuck on the inside wall of the first turn for a restart then they went all green as David Murray won. The soft rubber feature had a lap 2 caution but no one could get around pole sitter Keith Borg who won over Kyle Hall from 5th and Chad Erlandson from 6th. The races were done by 3:30PM and I headed south with the radio tuned to the Super Bowl.

Off to Florida Speedweeks February 10 - 13, 2011

Thursday afternoon I put some food in the car and headed out for a stop at the oldest granddaughter’s basketball game in McFarland. After the game I headed south for a couple days of driving as I put together a last minute Florida trip now that I was feeling better. The weather was cold but the roads were clear and I made it to Indianapolis before morning. Friday was a day of driving and again I encountered clear roads and by the time I got into Tennessee I was done seeing snow on the ground and the weather was starting to warm. The day was clear and the night was cold in the mountains of North Carolina as I caught some sleep before my scheduled kart race on Saturday. Saturday morning I pulled into St. Matthews South Carolina and found the pits full at the Sunshine Kartway where the Maxxis Dirty Dozen series was having a rescheduled race from last week. Practice was under way for 228 karts in 19 classes on the slightly banked 1/5-mile red clay oval. The track has a small runoff area all around and then some chain link fencing with tires in front for a softer hit and some barrels along the backstretch. The inside of the track is a small dirt berm with a few traffic cones to help the drivers spot the inside of the track. Lights were old but supplemented by some new bulbs and quite adequate. The speakers were around the track but used only for announcing the next class to be ready. There were three nice bleachers around the track and spectator parking was across the street in a field. There were at least 80 spectator cars in the lot for the long day as the drivers meeting was called at 1PM and they announced another round of practice would be next. Qualifying got under way at 3PM followed by a second round of qualifying for the dirty dozen race and finally the first race was on the track at 7:10PM. The pro box stock clones were the largest class at 37 and this was the big money race with the top 20 qualifiers making the show and the next 12 running the dirty dozen race for $300 or a chance to draw for a starting spot in the feature. Jerry Mullis won the dirty dozen race and drew 11th for a starting spot in the feature. There were 13 pro senior champs and they would race 18th with 10 of these champs running in the senior champ animal class that raced 12th of the 19 classes as the only countable races for track chasing purposes. The races were 15-lap features for each class and started single file by qualifying order. Most races ran quickly with no cautions and were won from the front but a couple had multiple yellows. Justin McDonald started a good night in the third feature with the animal feature win from the pole in a non-stop race for 16 karts. Twelve senior stock clones ran non-stop with Lindy Mariucci the winner from the pole but Brad Gerrells was second from 5th. McDonald came back and won pro animal from the pole and Gerrells won the box stock clone from 3rd in a non-stop race (11th feature). The 10 senior champ animal karts ran non-stop with Eric Griffin starting second and working around Chris Atkinson to take the win over Atkinson and Spencer Davis from 5th. The 13 pro senior champs were the 18th feature and were restarted after a first lap tangle sent Jay Kates into the fence. Two karts spun on the second lap and then pole sitter Griffin took off to lead the entire race and win over Atkinson and Jessica Connell. The pro box stocks were on their second restart for the big money 25-lap feature but it was almost 11PM so I took off for the night. Sunday was my first day in Florida for 2011 and after an afternoon visit to historic Saint Augustine I was off to New Smyrna Speedway. The Sunday night was cool and damp as races started at 7:30PM with 3 heats for the 28 ACT Late Models on the paved half-mile oval then we were ready for features. First up was the super late model feature sending 14 cars for 30 laps. Ryan Moore started 5th and captured the win over Rebecca Kasten and David Russell in a race slowed by 3 yellows. The Florida/IMCA modifieds ran 25 laps for their 16 cars and had two slow downs as 8th starter Tim Moore took the checkers but didn’t pass tech and the win went to Tank Tucker who started 7th and crossed behind Moore. Jerry Symons came from 9th to take second. The ACT late models ran a 100 lap feature with only 3 yellows as Joey Polewarczyk from second and Patrick Laperle from 8th were out front battling and exchanged the lead on each restart. Polewarczyk got a close win over Laperle while Alex Labbe came from 13th to claim third. The 14 limited late models rounded out the night with a 25-lap feature that took 4 tries to get underway but then Joe Winchell who started 6th came through to hold off Anthony Sergi for the win.  

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