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 13

Western Trip June 29 – July 4, 2011

Wednesday night was a modified special at the 141 Speedway in Francis Creek Wisconsin and a chance to meet up with Jack Erdmann who rarely gets to a race these days. The special mid-week race drew a big crowd and we met up and went in just before the 7PM start. There was a good field of cars with 35 modifieds, 26 street stocks, 24 sport mods and 22 stock cars ready to race on the banked dirt track. The track was in good shape with no dust appearing until the final couple of heat races then it dried out with quite a bit of dust but a fast upper lane developing. The races moved along quickly and after 3 semis and a short break it was feature time. The street stocks had 4 yellows in a 20-lap feature and 6th starter Kraig Koehler was able to hold off Ed Anschutz who started 14th. The sport mods had 4 early yellows in their feature as front row starter Mark Joski never gave up the lead winning over Brandon Long. The IMCA Stock car feature went non-stop with pole sitter Rod Snellenberger claiming the win over Kyle Frederick from 8th. The 30-lap modified feature rounded out the night with one early yellow then some hard racing with 9th starting Benji LaCrosse taking the lead on the 8th lap. On the 24th lap a lapped car spun collecting LaCrosse handing the lead to Brian Mullen who started 11th and was closing on LaCrosse when the spin occurred. Mullen held the lead for the last 6 laps to win over Johnny Whitman who came from 16th and Mike Mashl. Thursday I decided to try and add a new state to my list and started a trip out west to Utah. I left late but still made it well into Nebraska before the nights driving ended. Friday after a long day of driving I pulled in to the Desert Thunder Raceway in Price Utah right at the 7PM starting time. The track was a wide high banked 3/8-mile dirt oval with the only wall being the one on the straightaway and just a dirt berm marking the inside. The races were starting on time with a dry surface that had to be watered lightly 5 times during the night. Seating was along the straightaway with a long section of 9 big concrete steps then sections of 5-row wooden bleachers behind. There were also some bleacher sections toward the first turn and an area of hillside parking off the backstretch. They have good lights but some point at the spectators and the speakers were fine if you are close enough to the poles. They also had a complimentary program that included the race results from the first weekend of the year. A fair crowd was on hand for the first day of the two-day weekend event that drew 21 IMCA modifieds, 12 southern sport mods, 5 sport compact stocks, 4 stock cars, 3 hobby stocks and 2 trucks. They ran the heats very quickly and then combined some classes for the features. The hobby stocks and compacts combined for the first feature race and went non-stop with pole sitter Kareem Hopkins’s stock finishing just a few feet ahead of the compact of Mitch Bolton. The sport mods had only 2 yellows in their 20-lap feature that was won by Hubert Wilson from the pole over Robert Gallegos from 7th. The stocks and trucks combined for another non-stop race with James Burman winning over Todd Oldham. The 30-lap modified feature closed out the night with 8 yellows slowing up the event. Zane DeVilbiss started 8th and took the lead early in the race and then withstood the challenges on the restarts hanging on to win over Michael Hale from 12th. Racing was done at 9:25PM and I ran by a rest area after a half -hour drive to close out my day. Saturday was a short drive through some very scenic country to Salt Lake City Utah. Just west of the Capitol in West Valley City is a modern 3/8-mile asphalt oval at Rocky Mountain Raceways. Qualifying was already under way when I arrived just after 5PM and picked up my complementary copy of the program that included the current point standings. You enter the facility by crossing the drag strip and climbing to the seats along the straightaway of the oval track. They have a long grandstand of 14 rows of wide concrete steps that have aluminum seats with the top rows having backs too. There are excellent lights, good speakers and a scoreboard and all the spectator area is paved. The track is banked with a concrete wall all around and big wheel fencing. The inside is marked with a yellow line and a flat area of asphalt before the infield grass. They also have a wide paved crossover “X” for some figure eight racing. Tonight is a train race special with fireworks and drew a very big crowd that nearly filled the entire paved parking lot. The car count is not too much here with 15 USAC sprints, 13 Focus Midgets, 9 super stocks, 10 figure eight stocks and 10 teams for the train race. Racing started at 6PM with some heats before the features. Jim Waters and Mike Daniels won the midget heats and Cody Gerhardt and Ryan Burdett won the sprint heats. There were very few yellows and one wrecker that said “Speedy Towing” but it was NOT. The super stocks had a yellow on the first lap of their 20-lap feature then ran straight through with front row starters Mike Wade holding off Greg Young. The midgets ran 30 laps with a mid race spin bringing out a yellow then front row starter Jim Waters built up his lead again until a 28th lap spin brought out the final yellow. Waters was passed after the restart by Chuck Groat who led the 29th lap but Waters got under him on the last lap and pulled off the win. The figure eight feature was not much with two yellows and only 5 cars finishing as Tracy Eaton won over Dave Fleishman. The sprints ran a 50-lap feature with early leader Tony Hunt getting spun on the 10th lap. Burdett led until Scott Pierovich took over but a part fell off while he was leading on the 38th lap and he lost some speed. Johnny Giesler took over the lead and looked like a winner until a 46th lap spin brought out the second yellow. Gerhardt took advantage of this restart and kept close to Giesler and pulled to the inside on the last lap and made the pass. Gerhardt and Giesler were followed across the line by Audra Sasselli and Tim Skogland. The train figure eight race was the last race of the night with 10 teams of three cars hooked together to do battle. The first car has the motor and powers each “train” while the second car is empty and the third car has a driver with the brake. There was one red flag when a middle car turned over and the crowd booed when they were sent to the pits. The Six Feet Under team was the winner with the appropriate hearse being the power unit of the train. Racing was done at 9:45PM. Sunday I headed north to see racing in Idaho and arrived about 5PM at the Atomic Motor Raceway in Atomic City Idaho. The afternoon program would be on the 1/8-mile inner oval for the Xtreme Outlaw Karts and drew a good field of 11 500cc, 8 125cc, 7 intermediate, 5 expert and 2 beginners. No flat karts would be racing and all but the beginners used wings on their caged karts. The track is a banked dirt oval completely within the big 1/3-mile dirt track and has no walls just some small tires and a dirt berm marking the inside. The heats got under way at 5:15PM and then were followed by the features. They had a good water truck that made passes on the track frequently to keep the dust down. The track has some lights but they were not needed. The viewing is from the stands for the big track and the speakers are good. The beginners ran the first feature with Lexi Alonzo picking up a win. The intermediate class had two yellows in the feature as last starter Donovan Barr came through the field to take the win. Bryan Alonzo started last in the expert class and won a non-stop feature. There were 4 yellows in the 125cc class as Trake Metz was first to the checkers but under weight so Trenton Brown got the trophy. The 500cc class had 5 yellows as they scooted around the oval and 5th starter Dave Cooper outlasted John Hershberger who came back from a 6th lap spin to finish second. The kart races were done at 7:15PM and the attention shifted to the big track. The second part of the program at Atomic Motor Raceway would be the racing on the 1/3-mile banked white clay oval for 12 IMCA modifieds, 6 street stocks, 4 mini stocks, 3 sport mods, one dwarf, one bomber and 9 sprints from the Big Sky Sprint Series. The track is banked and has a concrete wall and big wheel fence down the straightaway but no other walls. The inside is marked with a berm and orange traffic cones. There are three sections of 12-row wooden bleachers and some straightaway trackside parking along the side of the stands. They have adequate lights and the speakers are good and again the big track was very dry and the water truck made passes after every couple of races to keep the dust down. Racing started with heats at 7:30PM and then moved into the features. Lane Channholtz captured the non-stop mini stock feature from the back. The street stocks had two late race cautions as Tod Alonzo came from the back to take the win. Kelly Blixt started in front and won the non-stop sport mod feature. The modifieds had two early yellows then raced hard with 10th starter Zane DeVilbiss taking another win over Jerry Bailey who started 9th and came on strong at the end. The sprint cars rounded out the night with a non-stop feature won by pole sitter Phil Dietz over Trevor Kirkland. The races were done at 11:10PM and I was on the road back to Idaho Falls for the night. Monday I drove back across Wyoming and made a stop at Big Country Speedway in Cheyenne for what I thought was a July Fourth race but no one was there. I checked again when I got home and saw a note about schedule changes and see they mentioned the race with fireworks on July third. Oops!

Michigan Fairs July 8-10, 2011

Friday was time to start my visits to some of the many Michigan fairs that offer motorsports competition at their events. The Montcalm County 4-H Fair was celebrating its 76th year but this year it is at a new location on highway 91 north of town. The entire grounds were powdered dust and very little if any grass has started so walking kicked up dust to say nothing of driving and parking. It was a warm day but there is not a single tree to be seen on the grounds. They have built a couple of horse arenas and a few barns and one concession stand but that was all for the first year. They have a long 10-row grandstand and some moveable small sections of 5-row aluminum seats at the main arena that has concrete walls on both sides but no walls on the ends. They constricted a banked peanut shaped “off-road” track that had one small jump and was about 1/10-mile around. They put concrete blocks on one end and left the other end open as that was the way to enter the track. A couple of big tires surrounded by dirt marked the inside of the turns and they had minimum lights and one speaker that was not too strong. The show was put on by Unique Motor Sports and started just after 7PM before a packed house with standing room only beside the stands. The show would consist of racing for 20 compact cars, 3 V-8 big cars, demo with 7 cars, demo for 3 mowers and about 10 vehicles in the burnout contest. The first race brought about a delay as on the first turn one car went off the turn on two wheels down the bank and into the concrete blocks that were in front of the temporary stands tipping the block right in front of the spectators. They stopped the race and bulldozed an extra dirt wall before racing any more. The track was very wet and had standing water on the inside and never got dusty as a big berm of loose mud built up on the outside. They ran 4 heats and a consi for the small cars with one red for a roll over in the consi. The big cars just ran a feature with Don Ricketts winning over Brian Brown who was in a demo car. The small car feature started 9 cars and was stopped on the 3rd lap for a big flip when Dennis Marsh rolled on his top and Andy Koop drove over the upside car and rolled off leaving two cars turned over in the first turn. Two laps later there was another roll then they completed the 12 laps with Chris Witigen out running Bryan Breuker for the win. Racing was done about 9:30PM and then Brian Brown took the win in the demo to close out the night. Saturday I found another small celebration as the city of Scottville had Summerfest with a race at Riverside Park. This appears to be another derby promoter operating in Michigan as the races were under the Todd Sorensen Promotions banner. The track has been constructed in a field in the Riverside Park resort and was a flat rectangular dirt arena with Jersey barriers outlining the racing area. The races were listed as “off road derby” and the track was an oval around 4 big tires set in a line in the center of the arena. The spectators were behind some caution tape back from the track and had 3 small 5-row aluminum bleachers and some picnic tables along with some standing area on the grass. There was also some “trackside” parking where some watched from the beds of their pickups. They had some strong temporary speakers but no lights. The show was set to start at 6PM with races for small cars (4) and big cars (8) and a demo derby for trucks (5) and big cars (5). Races started at 6:10PM with a small car feature for 15 laps. Dave Machler started 4th and won the non-stop event. The big cars ran two heats and two consies taking the winner from each for the feature. The big car feature wasn’t much when one winner failed to start and another dropped out with a lost wheel on the first lap. A slipping transmission slowed the other car and pole sitter Ward Stever won as he pushed the second place car around the last two laps. Racing was done at 7:15PM and the demos took almost another hour to complete the show before dark. Sunday I was back at Angell Park in Sun Prairie Wisconsin for another Badger Midget Auto Racing Association show. They drew 21 midgets and 4 micros for the races tonight and Brad Kuhn turned the fast time in midget qualifying with a 14.996 second lap around the 1/3-mile dirt track. Kurt Mayhew barrel rolled in qualifying but replaced the front axle and completed the 30-lap feature later in the night. The track was in good shape as it stayed tacky and dust free while being smooth. Robbie Ray (from 3rd), Davey Ray (from 7th) and Mike Hess (from 4th) won the fast midget heats. Billy Balog took time off the IRA Sprint tour and ran a micro as well as a midget tonight. Balog took off from the 3rd starting spot and won the micro feature to complete the sweep after he won the micro heat earlier. The midget feature had Hess and Brandon Waelti bring the 21 cars to the start with Waelti leading two laps and Hess the next four laps. Kuhn who started 5th then took over and pulled away from the pack. Scott Hatton started 10th and worked to second on the 8th lap using the outside line on the fast track. Hatton then slowly caught Kuhn and made an outside pass completing the 16th lap. However Hatton clipped the outside wall coming out of the 4th turn and rode along the wall and although credited with leading the 16th lap he fell back from Kuhn as he wrestled the car straight. The only yellow appeared one lap later as Daniel Robinson broke an axle and stopped along the wall. On the restart Hatton was slow to come up to speed and Hess took over second. Hatton dropped out as Kuhn continued to lead and won the feature over Hess, Bubba Altig and Davey Ray. The races were done at 8:40PM leaving lots of time for bench racing before heading home.

No comments:

Post a Comment