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 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.

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