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 06

Southern Weekend March 18 & 19, 2011

Friday I drove south to Springfield Missouri for another stop at the Ozark Empire Fairgrounds Arena. I had been here in 2007 for an outlaw sprint kart race on the dirt oval but tonight would add a figure eight track to the list. The arena is a long and narrow older building set up for rodeos with seating on 3 sides. There are two rows of folding chairs in front then a section of 8 rows of wooden bench seats behind that offer a good view of the entire arena. The black dirt on the arena floor was watered and gave off no dust tonight. The outside walls were made up of Jersey barriers and big tractor tires with piles of dirt between and around. The inside of the track was marked with two big tractor tires to designate the turns. The lights were fine and speakers were good if you were in the section where they pointed. I was joined in the stands by California’s Randy Lewis who was here to add to his world’s number one trackchasing totals. The entertainment tonight would be provided by Tuff Trucks, small cycles (pit bikes), lawnmowers and compact cars. They started off with an oval course that included two big jumps on one side and ran the 7 trucks and buggies one at a time in timed runs around the course. The longer wheelbase trucks often were unable to make the tight turn around the tires and had to back up to complete the turn. The jeep and buggies dominated in this event. Then they removed the jumps and piled the dirt outside the turns and the 13 small cars were divided into two heats with the top 3 advancing to the feature race. They raced in an oval around the two tires and Bob Arms won the feature from the pole. The raced 11 pit bikes and had a lawnmower demo for 4 mowers and the pit bikes played soccer before the cars came back out for two heats and a feature on the same track but racing on a figure eight course around the same two tires. Bob Arms started 5th and won this feature too. The night was to conclude with the same 13 cars in a demo derby but I had to get on the road for a long drive southeast. Saturday was a long drive over to Talladega Alabama where I would stop to check out the small kart track behind the dirt track that is across the street from the superspeedway. Talladega Raceway Park in a nice banked red clay 1/6-mile oval and was having race number one in the Maxxis Twin State Shootout series race this afternoon. The track is wide and has run off area before the Armco fence on the straightaway and protecting the pits in the first turn with Styrofoam and hay for soft walls in front of the Armco. The inside is marked by a dirt berm and the grass of the infield. There is a big 15 row bleacher for spectators and trackside parking room for a few cars along the straightaway fence. They had good lights and good speakers and the announcer was helpful with qualifying results and line ups. I arrived at 2PM just as qualifying was starting for the 219 entries in 22 classes of racers including 3 mini late models and 2 senior champ karts. The 15-lap feature races started at 4:30PM with a 15 minute time limit and single file starts straight up from qualifying results. The races went fast with no delay between races and most of the features going non-stop. Cody McCawley started the day off winning the stock super heavy from second over the field of 5 in an all green race.  Travis Cleckler won from the pole in a field of 17 stock lites as their feature was slowed by one yellow. The 10 junior champ flatheads had the most yellows with 4 as pole sitter Cole Daffron never relinquished the lead. Collin Stephenson was on the pole for the senior champs but drifted too high midway through the feature and Cody Hays slipped underneath and took the win. Most of the winners were from the pole and the highest kart count was the 27 senior pro flathead racers. Pole sitter Dylan Smith took the win in the 3 car mini late model feature. The races were done just about sunset and I headed a few miles west for an evening race. I arrived at the Shelby County Speedway in Wilsonville Alabama as they were finishing the heat races. The track is a banked 1/3-mile red clay oval with concrete wall on the straightaway and first turn and you just run down a big bank off the rest of the track. The infield is clear and a dirt berm marks the inside of the racing surface. The lights are all off 5 poles in the infield so they are pointed in your face. The track has some dark spots and the speakers were clear if you sat in front of one. A fair crowd filled the small aluminum bleacher sections and the tailgate area was filled but I found only a few people in the old wooden bleacher. The car counts for starting the 4 features were small with 3 thunder stocks, 5 super ponies, 9 street stocks and 10 buzz cars. The thunder stocks had 4 yellows and after Keith Joiner went off the banking and Tom Bolden was black flagged for his third yellow J R Steele ran a couple of laps before getting the checkers as the only car running. Don Moncreif jumped out from the pole and led the entire super pony feature to claim the win while Curtis Oaks came from 4th to claim second. Randy Wells took off from the outside first row and was first across the line in the street stock feature that was slowed by two yellows but in the results Chris Howell is shown as the winner. Howell was second but Wells must have been disqualified with David Griffith moved into second on the finish. The Buzz cars finished out the night with Terry Merritt taking the win from the pole over Brian Madison. It was just after 10PM when I was ready to head out and start the drive home!

Back to the South April 1 & 2, 2011

Last weekend my plans were thwarted by weather after I had planned a Jackson Mississippi stop on Friday, a Dothan Alabama stop for Saturday and Needmore Speedway in Georgia for Sunday. Before I left I found Dothan had changed their schedule so the trip was not so attractive and then later I really felt better about staying home when I saw wet weather eventually canceled the Sunday show. So, after a week off I was back on the road Thursday night as I headed south. Friday night I arrived in Hattiesburg Mississippi for the opening of weekly races at The Hattiesburg Motorsports Park. I pulled in at 6PM for the scheduled 8PM start so I rested for a while in the car before entering the track and finding a seat in the large 12-row wooden bleacher. The track is a banked quarter mile red clay oval with concrete block walls outside and some tires to mark the inside of the track. The track sits slightly lower than the spectator area and the pits are behind the backstretch and third turns so visibility is good from all seats. Track packing was done before 7PM and after a driver’s meeting they had some practice with late model qualifying starting just past 8PM and real racing on the track at 8:40PM. They could use a few more lights and a couple of extra speakers but they drew a good crowd on a beautiful spring night in the south. The car counts were 9 crate late models, 7 UMP modifieds, 17 street stocks, 6 pure stocks and 8 stingers. After some good heats the features would start straight up for the late models and as finished in the heats for the other classes so there was less passing in the features. The street stocks had 3 yellows in the feature with pole sitter Mike Ladner holding off the charge of Roger Flynn to take the win. Terri Woods captured the street stock win from the pole in an all green race. Kevin Cumbie then did the same as the open wheel cars went all green with Cumbie winning from the pole over Ricky Idom. The late models had trouble with spins and got 6 yellows in the feature. Cliff Williams got around pole sitter Michael Arnold and held off the challenges of Randy Walters who started 4th and finished second. The stingers finished out the night with James Barton winning from the pole and I was back on the road by 11PM. Saturday I drove over to Pensacola Florida and stopped at the Pensacola Raceway for the afternoon kart races. I did not see any senior champs in the pits (only three junior champs were visible) so I asked at the pit sign in if any senior champs were here and none were listed so I headed out to the shoreline and watched some sail boats and walked before my drive to Haleburg Alabama for tonight’s race. For years I had the Chattahootchee Valley Speedway on my list to see but the track closed several years ago and I removed it from my list of target tracks. Last year the track appeared in the Speedway Directory reopened under the name of Smokey Harris Speedway. Their schedule calls for racing the first three Saturday’s each month and tonight was a special for a $1000 to win in the late models (based on 10 cars). I arrived before 7PM and found the driver’s meeting underway and a slow moving line of about 15 spectator cars waiting to pay and enter the grounds. You pay in your car then drive behind the pit area that is off the 3rd and 4th turns around to the back side of the property where they have the grandstands. The stands are a long set of 5 levels of steep wooden seating and extend the length of the straightaway of the high banked 3/8 red clay oval track. There is outside walls of Armco and some cement slabs around the track except for the first and second turns that have no walls just fall off the high banks to the woods below. The inside is marked with a reverse dirt bank that leads up to a slightly elevated infield. The lights could be better and come from 4 infield poles with two new poles outside turn four and one. The microphone was not working until half way through the heats then was fair. They run 7 weekly classes with moderate car counts of 5 crate late models, 11 bombers, 9 vintage cars, 9 modifieds, 5 hobby stocks, 13 stocker class and 7 four cylinder stocks. Heat racing started at about 7:30PM and went quickly. The vintage cars started the features and ran well until 4 cautions at the mid point of the race. The announcer got all fire up when one driver exited his car and tossed his helmet into a competitors car yelling now that’s what we come to see on Saturday nights! Brian Collier won from the front row over Johnny Gibson who had to start last because he won the last race. The modifieds went non-stop with Todd Neiheiser a winner from the front over Russ Welch from 4th.  Ryan Redmon looked like a winner in bombers but he broke while leading for one of the 4 yellows and Brian Hansford from 5th was the winner over Skeeter Redmon from 9th. Pole sitter Dewayne Knight was the winner of the hobby stock feature that had only one yellow. Pole sitter Dustin Hughes held off 9th starter Brad Cleveland for the stocker win in a race slowed by 8 yellows. Dad James Ussery got the jump on pole sitter son Dillon Ussery and won the late model feature that had only one yellow. Terry Knowles won from the pole in the four cylinder cars to finish out the night at about 10:45PM and I was headed back north.

No comments:

Post a Comment