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 07

Oklahoma Midget Trip April 8 & 9, 2011

Thursday morning I was sure that I would be taking the weekend off from travels due to the high prices of gas and the fact I only had Saturday race that would be at new tracks so I would wait for another week. I sat down to read up on the midget racing news on-line and discovered a line that read see the Open Wheel Series National Midgets (SOWS) race on the “new” quarter mile track in Muskogee Oklahoma. Now this really caught my attention as I could see a new track on Friday night and then go to another track on Saturday. I did some research and found the races were to be held at the old Muskogee Fairgrounds that has a quarter mile oval inside the half-mile that I saw back in 2003. I was on the road by 5PM on Thursday night. Friday I pulled into the Thunderbird Speedway at 6PM for the 8PM start of racing on both ovals at the old Muskogee Fairgrounds. The stock cars run weekly on the half-mile slightly banked clay oval but tonight the flat quarter mile clay oval in the infield was also in use for the SOWS midgets. The big track has concrete walls and big tires to mark the inside of the turns while the infield track has no walls and some small tires on a dirt berm to mark the inside. There is also a motocross course inside the quarter mile. The old lights seemed adequate for the half-mile and they have brought in portable generators for lights on the small track. The speakers were fine for the big crowd that had gathered in the 10-row steel bleachers and the huge 24-row concrete covered grandstand. The car counts were not too high with 12 midgets, 11 street stocks, 9 sport mods, 8 strictly stocks, 7 modifieds, 6 360 mods and 6 super stocks. The heats went quickly with few yellows and after a short intermission the features were called to the track. Most features were 12 laps except the modifieds went 15 and the midgets went 20 laps. Jeffrey Daniels started 4th and won in a close finish over Dustin Boston in the non-stop strictly stock feature. The 360 mods had 2 yellows as Shannon Reheard came from 4th to win this one too. Dillon Rupe took off from the front and won the non-stop super stock feature. Matt Sherrell took off from the pole of the midget feature and led through a series of 4 yellows in the first half of the midget feature then Christopher Bell who started second but dropped back to 4th at the start began passing cars. Bell got under Sherrell and took the win with Sherrell second and Will Pierce third on the flat track that had dried out and took on some rubber. Action moved back to the big track with a non stop sport mod feature that had the first 5 cars receive the white flag as they raced in a tight pack. Kyle Slader pulled out the close win over Carl Conley and Dillon Rupe. The street stocks had 4 yellows in the feature won by front row starter Kyle Stevens over Matt Burnett from 10th. The modifieds rounded out the night with a wild feature as George Martin and Terry Beckham battled for the lead. The two cars touched on the 10th lap and Beckham stopped with a flat. He rejoined the restart at the rear and hit the wall two laps later when he drove in the 3rd turn too hard but no yellow came out. However on the next lap Martin had a tire go down and needed a wrecker after hitting the first turn wall. Jason Teague inherited the lead and took the win as the races were done at 11:45PM. Saturday I drove across Arkansas and then 8 miles north into Missouri for a look at the Thunder City Speedway in Doniphan Missouri. This track completed its first full season last year and was running the second race of this year tonight. This is a small facility that was nearly filled to capacity when I arrived during track packing at 7PM on a warm spring evening. The track has been expanded to a quarter mile slightly banked oval with concrete and Armco walls and a couple of tires to mark the inside of the tight racing confines. The all dirt infield is kept clear but track lights were spotty and there was a speaker for only one of the two 7 row bleachers for the spectators. The races started at 8PM for the 16 four cylinder cars, 6 bombers, 8 modifieds and 8 hobby stocks. The heats went fast with only 3 to 5 cars in each. The 4 cylinder feature was first and had some good racing action but there was lots of banging and spinning on the tight track and it claimed the leaders as Rick Joiner and James Hinkle battled for the lead both spun for the second of the 9 yellows that would eventually be displayed. Both worked their way through the field and Hinkle pulled a slide job to take the lead from Joiner but spun again. Joiner took the win over Tim Pierce. Jerry Emmons won the bomber feature from the pole in a race slowed by 3 yellows. The hobby stocks had only 2 yellows and pole sitter Kevin Holman took the win. The modifieds had trouble with the tight track and had 6 yellows as 4th starter Brayton Anders took the win over Walter Dunn to complete the races at 11PM.

Midwest Racing April 16 & 17, 2011

Thursday and Friday were not good weather as storms went through the central part of the country and I decided not to chance a trip south. Weekend races in Missouri were already called off due to the rain and cold forecast so it looked like a week to stay at home. There were some races further west but the timing was not good to get home in time for my Monday night meeting so I just decided to save some gas money and read on the computer. I found a mention of Columbus 151 Speedway running an enduro on Saturday. Saturday morning was foggy and wet from overnight rains but the Impact Survival Series enduro scheduled for this afternoon at Columbus 151 Speedway was advertised to run rain or shine. I put some snacks in the car and headed up to Columbus just as the snow started. With temperatures in the mid 30’s and a strong north wind blowing the snow it was a cold afternoon. I waited until just before the 2PM start of the 300-lap feature before going out in the cold. The track was very wet but there were 62 compact cars lined up to start on the slightly banked asphalt oval with concrete walls all around and a clear but very wet infield of grass. The first third of the race was contested in snow and speeds were down with the first of 9 reds coming for a wheel rolling down the track. There were some spins but a driver’s door hit brought out the second red and then just before the half-way break a serious accident injured Gerald Bowers when he stalled and was hit from behind and needed the med flight to take him in for evaluation. After a long delay the race resumed and then there was a 15 minute break at the 150 lap mark when the cars were stopped on the track and crews were allowed to come out and work on the cars. Gary Stark was leading at the break and he held the lead until Chris Fifarek took over near the end of the race. Stark raced well through traffic and retook command with about 14 laps left and went on to score the close win over Fifarek and Mike Loberger. The race had 5 reds in the last half to allow drivers to escape their stalled cars on the track but no further serious crashes as the track dried out in the end after the snow stopped. It was 5:45PM and time to set the heat on high in the car for the 20 mile ride back home. Sunday was another cold spring day around home but the sun was out and I headed down to Rockford Illinois for a visit to Rockford Speedway. This high banked quarter mile oval was presenting the 34th annual Spring Classic. This track is very good about starting on time and today was no exception as at 1PM sharp the first race was brought trackside. There were two classes racing this afternoon with 31 late models in the Big 8 field and 24 late models in the Mid-American field. They ran through the heats, qualifiers, dashes and last chance races for both classes in an hour and took a very short break before the features. The Mid-American 50-lap feature was first with 20 cars starting and running 26 laps before the first of 3 yellows in the feature. Bill Prietzel took the lead from the outside front row and stayed in the preferred upper groove as he held back repeated attempts by James Swan to make a pass on the inside. The two ran side by side or bumper to bumper the entire race but Prietzel never made a mistake and never gave up the faster outside line as he held off Swan for the trophy with fast timer Travis Rodewald finishing third from 8th. The Big 8 late models took to the track with 24 cars for the 108-lap feature but never made it through the first turn before a spin involved 6 cars. The second try saw Bobby Wilberg spin with a flat tire but the third attempt was the charm as they raced 11 laps until fast timer Steve Rubeck spun. There were only 2 more yellows with a multi car spin on the 15th lap and debris on the 33rd lap then the race ran green for 75 laps. Dale Nottestadt started 4th and took command finally pulling to a straightaway lead over Ryan Carlson as Rubeck and Wilberg came through the traffic. As the last 10 laps approached Carlson developed a miss in the engine and Rubeck got by to claim the second place finish behind Nottestadt. Carlson held on for third and Wilberg was back up to fourth at the finish with Kyle Shear taking fifth. The races were done by 4PM just as the clouds were rolling back into northern Illinois and I was on my way home satisfied with another visit to the high banks of Rockford.

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