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 12

Local Racing June 14 - 19, 2011

Tuesday I started the racing week early with a trip to Jefferson Speedway in Jefferson Wisconsin. The Big Eight Series had a special show at the quarter mile paved oval here so after granddaughter Haley’s softball game I headed to the track and found they were already racing. The track has 16-row bleachers all along the straightaway and hillside seating in the first and second turns but even with a good size crowd in attendance I found a spot on the top row in the last bleacher toward the first turn. The track is very well lit and has a nice scoreboard that has a lap counter and five positions. The track is a paved quarter mile that is unique in design with a banked third and fourth turn while the first two turns are nearly flat. There is also a smaller oval (1/5-mile) that uses the entire big track except the banked third and fourth turns but rather has a flat third and fourth turn that cuts through the infield of the big track. The big track has a concrete outside wall and has concrete rumble strips poured along the infield grass to mark the inside of the racing surface. The track was enlarged years ago when they banked the two turns but in leaving the first two turns flat it creates a very competitive two groove track. The inside is best around the flat turns but in the banked turns the outside lane allows you to carry more speed and is the preferred line. This set up allows for a lot of side by side racing and provides for passing opportunities. The sportsmen (17 cars) ran a 35-lap feature with Jay Kalbus running away in a non-stop race. The Big Eight Series late models (26 cars) started 24 in the 78-lap feature and outside front row starter John Reynolds JR took the early lead. There were two spins in the first 24 laps that sent the spun car and the one doing the pushing to the rear each time. Tim Sargent started 6th, took the lead on the 26th lap and was leading when 9th starter Steve Dobbratz tried to push through on the inside and Sargent spun sending both to the rear on the 48th lap. Reynolds then inherited the lead again but there were 5 more yellows in the next 20 laps as patience was running out as the laps were winding down. Jeremy Miller started 11th and worked around Reynolds to take the lead on the 60th lap and score the win over Bobby Wilberg and Dale Nottestad. The bandits (12 cars) got to race on the big track tonight (they normally run the inner oval) for a 15-lap feature that closed out the racing action. There was only one yellow for a car in the wall on the third lap then 4 cars battled for the lead with 6th starter Heather Stark getting the lead over Kyle Stark. Heather won with Kyle second and Nick Schmidt third as the races were done at 10:05PM. Wednesday was another race at Jefferson Speedway as the Lions Clubs take over the facility for one of their special events. The club members race (cars are painted the local school colors to indicate which club they belong to) for trophies only in three or four different classes. The admissions go to support the Lions activities and are sold in advance as well as at the gate; however the weather did not cooperate and tonight became the 11th rainout of the year for me. Friday was announced as the delayed opening of the new track at Tri-City Motor Speedway in Auburn Michigan. The facility opened in 1947 but closed the 5/8-mile paved track in 2004. Tonight I arrived at 6PM and found the banked 3/8-mile red clay oval built entirely inside the paved track that still exists. They have constructed two big roomy 25-row bleachers that face east and were still working on the new lights. The new track is a work in progress but lights were pretty good and the stands are very nice with good speakers. The big crowd continued to pour in and eventually filled all parking areas (still working on a new road and gravel parking) and nearly filled the new stands as 15 late models, 14 IMCA modifieds, 6 pro stocks and 11 street stocks gathered in the pits which are the straightaway and part of the pit area of the big paved track. The dirt track has no walls with run off area before going back on to the paved track and just orange traffic cones to mark the inside. The walls of the paved track are still there with an updated fence in front of the spectators and added Armco and a fence to separate the pits which are off the backstretch of the dirt track. The track had some rough spots especially in the second turn and was dusty and they watered again before time trials. Warm ups started at 7:10PM with a pretty car contest at 8, qualifying at 8:30 and racing at 9PM. Dave Hilliker set the record for late models at 14.87 seconds as only one class will time each week. The races went well except for the poor wrecker work and the quick yellows. The track may be a bit narrow on the straights but they can re-grade and reshape as necessary as there are no permanent walls or barriers. Roger Wing and Carl Ries won the late model heats. The 25-lap late model feature had two early spins then ran clean with 6th starter Kyle Borgman the winner over pole sitter Hilliker and Wing. The other features were 20 laps and the modifieds had only two yellows (one for a lost drive shaft (several of these tonight) and one for a stall) as 8th starter A J Ward found the outside groove to be fast. Ward won over Josh Borton from 3rd and Chad Wernette from 12th. The pro stocks had trouble with the track and had 5 yellows with pole sitter Chad Raby holding off Jake Headley in a close race. The street stocks closed out the night with 4 yellows and pole sitter Alan Markel getting the checkers at midnight. It is always good to see a new track open and I think tonight went pretty well. Saturday I was back to the Kalamazoo Speedway in Kalamazoo Michigan to see the Bump ‘N Run races put on by Unique Motor Sports as the big 3/8-mile asphalt oval was not in operation tonight. Instead they had built a temporary track in the pit area (infield) by placing big tires to outline a peanut shaped oval with more tires to mark the center of the track. I noticed right away this would be a mixed surface track as the second turn of the track went through the grass and dirt portion of the infield while the rest was asphalt. They then watered the asphalt portions of the track to slow down the cars and make bumping and spinning easier. There was a large crowd mostly centered in the many grandstands here to be closer to the action but some were sitting in the tall bleachers in the turns too. The speakers were loud and lights are good but only a couple aim directly at the infield where tonight’s races were held. The program included 31 four cylinder cars, 11 cars in the V-8 class and 4 quads to race along with 14 mowers for a demo, a burn out contest, spectator drags and fireworks. Racing started about 7:10PM with 5 heats for the compact class but after 3 heats so many cars were sinking to their axles in the dirt portion of the track and getting stuck and blocking the track they took a break to build a new track. They moved the tires that mark the track so that the first two turns were now all on the asphalt thus making an all asphalt temporary oval track that they completed the rest of the races on. The high powered V8 cars found the slippery track totally negating their power and some slower cars were winning. After 7 heats and 5 consies they were ready for the features. Chuck Witigen started 8th and pushed through to victory in the compact car feature that started 11 cars and was stopped once for driver safety when a stalled sideways car had the driver’s door facing oncoming traffic. Buzz Albertson beat Bryan Breuker to the finish to claim second. The big car feature had Jason Goff start last (9th) in one of the high powered cars and he used some well thought out pushes to move some of the competition as he came through the field to capture another trophy. The racing part of the show was done at 10PM and I made my exit happy to have a surprise extra track in the books. Sunday I was back at Angell Park in Sun Prairie Wisconsin for the Badger Midgets at 4PM when somebody walked by and said they heard the races were called off. It was overcast and a couple of drops of rain came down and sure enough the packing truck was stopped and soon the haulers were turning around and leaving. I headed back home and watched the end of the Indy Cars from Milwaukee on TV. Then I looked at the clock and it was 5PM so I checked the radar and headed off to the high banked quarter mile paved oval in Slinger Wisconsin. I arrived at the same time as Dale O’Brien (also on his way back from Sun Prairie) and soon spotted Guy Smith in the crowd. Every seat is a good seat at Slinger Speedway as you have to negotiate some steep walkways and hills and/or some steep bleachers on the mountain sides here. Racing starts at 6:30PM with a few dashes and semis if needed then they move into the features. There was a lot of fast and furious racing on the high banks tonight by 19 super late models, 9 late models, 9 sportsmen, 12 thunder stocks, 27 Slinger Bees and 9 figure eight cars in addition to the rent a racer cars and spectator drags. James Swan started 5th and won the non-stop sportsmen 30-lap feature. The late models ran 28 laps of their 30-lap feature when leader Alex Prunty spun and then 5 cars tangled in the next turn for the only yellow. Rob Braun picked up the win over Wayne Freimund. The thunder stocks had the pole sitter spin on the first lap then ran a clean 18-lap feature with 9th starter Brad Hetzel taking the win. The super late model 75-lap feature started 17 cars and had a first lap spin stop 5 cars but all were able to restart. There was a spin on the 11th lap for a yellow and Brad Mueller got by early leader Lowell Bennett for the lead on the restart. Bennett was eliminated with front end damage racing for second on the 33rd lap for another yellow. The only other incident was a red flag for a spin and fire on lap 43 that saw Conrad Morgan unhurt but out after an oil fire lit up the #92 car. Racing resumed with Brad Mueller out front but tracked down by Jeremy Lepak and the two waged a close duel for the lead for many laps. Lepak got by on the inside but Mueller got along side him on the last two laps and the two finished side by side with Lepak the winner. Dennis Prunty arrived late and started last for no points and finished third. The front wheel drive Bees started 17 cars for their 18-lap feature that went non-stop with Nick Wagner, from 6th a close winner over the fast closing Mark Johler who started 17th. The figure eight race closed out the night with Scott Goetzke starting 7th and taking the win in the race that had only one yellow. The races were done by 9:45PM and after a quick walkthrough the pits while the traffic cleared I was on my way home.

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