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 14

Midget Race Weekend July 15 – 17, 2011

Friday I would see races in Madison – No, not Wisconsin but rather Indiana. I was off to southern Indiana for a stop at the Jefferson County 4-H Fair in Madison Indiana to see the Midwest TQ Racing League show at the fair. I arrived early and walked around during the livestock auction and then sampled one of the tenderloin sandwiches before some ice cream. I was on the wood bench seats of the 13-row covered grandstand at 6PM an hour before the start of the races. There were two sections of bleacher seats too but the shade of the roof was important on a hot evening although there were several posts to look around. The track is a short quarter mile clay oval with long straight-aways and tight pointed turns that are nearly flat. The outside walls are Jersey barriers with a few tires to mark the inside of the well lit track in the turns. Qualifying for the 20 TQ midgets got under way about 7:15PM (there were also 5 hornets (mini stocks) to race too). There were good speakers to hear the announcement after qualifying from the number one track chaser who was here tonight. Randy joined me in the stands and soon Allan and Nancy Brown were sitting with us too. Jason Willis set a new track record of 15.095 seconds in qualifying and racing started at 7:50PM with the dash for the 4 fastest qualifiers which Brett Hankins won from the pole. Rick Robinson, Nick Speidel and Willis won the heats. They watered the track heavily after the heats and it took a while to run in after which the hornets ran a 15-minute feature won by Tim Phelps. The track was in good shape for the 25-lap TQ midget feature that saw Speidel take the early lead from his third starting spot. Three early spins slowed the race and then on the lap 11 restart 4 cars tangled sending some fast runners to the rear. Tate Martz took over the lead and withstood two more yellows to capture the feature over Speidel and C J Leary who started 10th and restarted from the back at lap 11. Racing was done at 10:20PM and after some bench racing with Randy I headed north. Saturday night was an open wheel special at the Wilmot Raceway at the Kenosha County Fairgrounds in Wilmot Wisconsin. The Badger and POWRi co-sanctioned midget race drew 28 midgets with 19 mini sprints, 12 Illini sport midgets, 3 micros and 26 modifieds as support classes. The 1/3-mile slightly banked dirt track was too wet to race on and had to be graded before any warm ups and with the late hour qualifying was eliminated and the draw would determine starting positions. Racing started at 9PM with a good sized crowd in the long grandstands. Heats were run in all divisions with a semi needed for the Badger midgets and the modifieds. Brad Kuhn won the first Badger midget heat from 5th setting a new 10-lap track record while Scott Hatton, Bubba Altig and Davey Ray won the other heats from the front. Dalton Armstrong won the semi from the pole. Only two 600cc micros answered the call for the feature won by Mike Hess. The mini sprints had a first lap red flag for an engine fire then had 2 yellows as Todd Lehr shot out from the front row and never was caught. The 30-lap Badger Midget feature started with a 4 car tangle that eliminated Armstrong on the first lap giving him a 22nd finish. There were two stalls bringing out yellows in the first 10 laps as Davey Ray led from the pole using the outside groove. Brad Loyet started 8th and found speed on the bottom taking over from Ray after the restart and holding on after the last yellow on the 20th lap for a stalled car. Kuhn who started 6th switched to the top lane and caught and passed Loyet for the lead on the 24th lap. Kuhn picked up another win followed across the line by Loyet, Hatton and Mario Clouser from 16th. The modifieds had 4 yellows for spins as their 20-lap feature was cut by 5 laps as the hour grew late. Scott Kuxhouse started on the pole and won over front row starter Jimmy Morrison and Mike Conn from 11th. The Illini midgets rounded out the night with the Harry Turner Memorial feature. Tyler Deschaine flipped on the 7th lap and the distance was cut to 15 laps. There was one spin for a yellow as front row starter Eddie Sauer held on for the win. Racing was completed at 12:40AM and I made the drive home by 2:30AM to end the long day. Sunday afternoon was a reunion at Angell Park Speedway as the Badger midgets celebrate their 75th year of operations. Many of the past champions and some restored cars were here as bench racing took over the afternoon. Sunday night was a co-sanctioned show with POWRi and Badger putting on the midget races (28 cars) supported by 3 micros and 13 legend cars. The day was hot but the track was nice with Darren Hagen turning a 14.957 second lap around the 1/3-mile dirt track. Jim Fuerst, Mike Hess, Chet Gehrke and Brad Loyet won the midget heats and for the first time in a couple of years a semi was needed that was won by Brad Kuhn. The Micros ran a quick non-stop feature with Chad Bogar taking the win. The legends had a two car tangle slow down their race on the second lap then they ran straight through to the end. Joel Wyttenbach started 6th and drove the outside to get to the front and win over Joey Johnson. The midgets started 22 cars for 30 laps and the yellow was displayed on the second lap when Dalton Armstrong hit the wall. Davey Ray led from the pole until passed by Jerry Coons JR from 7th on the 12th lap but a stalled car reverted the scoring back a lap and Ray led the restart. Seven cars were involved in a big pile up after the restart and the red was put out to tow off the damaged cars. There was another spin on the next lap then Coons used the fast outside lane to pass Ray on the 17th lap and pull out into a big lead. Fuerst lost a wheel on the 27th lap for the final yellow but Coons held on to win over Kuhn who started 17th and Hagen who started 10th.


Indiana Fairs July 21-24, 2011

Thursday I drove south in the oppressing heat to Indiana for a visit to the Hendricks County 4-H Fair. The fairgrounds are fairly new (6th year) and are very nice with paved walkways new buildings concrete block restrooms and a huge air-conditioned community building for the 4-H exhibits. The grandstand area has had demos and rodeos but this week they constructed a small oval race track. They put up Jersey barriers and some fencing in front of the many sections of nice 15-row aluminum grandstands that are along the straightaway and in the first turn but had no inside markings. The track might have been less than an eighth mile and was set up almost in a circle. They had good lights and put in some stop lights for the races too. The clay was well watered and rolled in with a steam roller before the cars took to the track at 7PM. The speakers were off the two infield poles and were adequate but not too loud. The races were set up to be a Three Quarter Midget Racing League event but this morning they posted that it was too hot to race so they were canceling. So the promoter ran open competition TQ Midgets (6 cars) along with the non-wing 600cc micros (4 cars). The races started at 8PM with two heats then the two features. The 20-lap midget feature had 6 yellows for spins (all in the third turn where they were cutting the corner and had spit loose marbles all over the track from the infield). Braylon Fitzpatrick had led from the pole but spun on the 5th lap. Nick Speidel took over the lead from his third starting spot and was leading on the 20th lap when Fitzpatrick used the infield pass to take the lead and won much to the displeasure of Speidel. They set out two orange cones to mark the inside of the third turn for the 20-lap micro feature. There was only one early yellow in this feature and Nate McMillan looked like the winner until the 18th lap when Bryan Stanfill was able to execute the inside bump and run pass in the second turn. The races ended at 9PM and gave Roger, Dale and I a chance to walk the fair another time. Friday I continued my visits of fairs as I stopped just north of Fort Wayne at the Noble County Community Fair in Kendallville Indiana. A strong storm about 3PM had cooled the temperature somewhat and left some puddles around the fairgrounds. The fair is quite large and the older grounds have many shade trees. The grandstand activities were set for 7PM and I joined a big crowd in the 16-row covered grandstand of aluminum seats. They had a long rectangular area with concrete barriers around the perimeter set up between the grandstand and the stage. The show would consist of a combine demo, lawnmower demo and figure eight races. There were adequate lights and good speakers and the show started at 7:15PM with the first of three heats of demos for the 9 combines here tonight. Then they had the demo for the 3 mowers that showed. There was a consi for the combines to set the 4 that would be in the finals. At about 8:40PM the track was made for the figure eight by placing two big tires in the arena and filling them with dirt. The 5 V-8 cars took to the figure eight for a 15-lap feature that went non-stop. Lou Klein won from third over Darrell Muldoon as 4 of the 5 were still running at the end. The combine demo ended at 9:10PM and I was among the large crowd returning to the fair where some ice cream topped off the night. Saturday I followed Roger’s suggestion and stayed in the area for some more special events. Saturday at noon there was a special race at Sigma Phi Gamma Founders Park in Hartford City Indiana. The track is an asphalt street course that uses one street and then the road in the park to make an oval of about one fifth mile. Parts of the course are wide but others especially through the park entrance pillars are narrow. They had installed safer barriers by putting hay bales in front of the pillars and posts and benches wherever they were close to the track. There was some elevation change as the street was higher than the park road. There were some small asphalt curbs along the park road but the street had smooth runoff to the grass yards. They set up two 5-row aluminum bleachers at each end of the course and there were some picnic tables and a shelter at the south end too. The flagman was in an elevated stand and also had the microphone and did the announcing. Racing started at noon with two rounds of heats before the features for 5 Blue Plate Champs, 6 junior Naskarts, 7 senior champs, 3 flathead flat karts, 2 clone flat karts and 7 flathead senior champs. The Naskarts tested the safer barrier as one went sideways into the hay around a telephone pole with no injury. Luke Keller took the blue plate champ feature after a couple of spins. The Naskarts had a tangle that sent two karts over the curb and into the grass where Mitchell Shepherd flipped.
Devin Lane
was a last lap winner of the race that had one yellow and the red. The senior champ feature had a couple of yellows but the Miller #55 kept the lead from the pole and won. The senior champ flathead feature had an early yellow for a stall then front row starter Nick Keller held off the field for the win as the races were over by 3:30PM. Roger had another fair for me to visit and sent me up the road to the Allen County Fair in Fort Wayne Indiana. I caught up to Roger and Brenda as they were walking through the many barns and we paused for a while to see the dressed up lamas and their trainers as they were competing in a costume contest. At the rear of the fair was a grandstand of 20 rows with another 10 row section of bleachers beside and several smaller sections of seats on the back side of the rectangular arena. The arena was outlined with concrete blocks held in place with earth piled behind. The lights and speakers were adequate and the track was watered after two big tires were set in place to form a figure eight track. Races started about 10 minutes past the stated 7:30PM start time with a feature for the small cars (3). Well, actually two as the third car stalled before getting into the arena and never raced. Aaron Marquardt completed 10 laps first to win the small car feature over Dan Hoppe and then 5 big (V-8) cars were brought out for a 20-lap feature. Chris Averesch started 5th and won the non-stop race over Mike Miller to end the racing part of the program before 8PM. The tires that marked the figure eight course were removed for the small car demo which started 4 cars and was won by Storm Hayes. After this was an intermission before the big cars and vans ran about 4 more demo events. This was a good chance for Roger and Brenda and me to exit and head out to another track. My Saturday night track would be on my way home with a return visit to the New Paris Speedway quarter mile paved oval where they were having figure eight races too (maybe). Some storms had passed through northern Indiana during the afternoon and when I got to New Paris I found the parking lot with huge puddles and lots of mud to walk through to get to the bleachers. I arrived after 9PM and they were just starting 13 late models in the 77-lap Pat Riley Memorial Race. There was a yellow before I got seated then just 3 more yellows in the entire feature. Kenny Whitman had a big lead erased by the yellow then 11th starter Corey Ryman made the outside pass for the lead and held off Cory Pressler for the win. Scott Frost won the 30-lap street stock feature that started 16 cars and had only 3 yellows. Darrell Click started 7th and finished right on Frost’s bumper for second. The mini stocks ran 20 laps with 15 cars and again 3 yellows as Michael Landry started 11th and worked to the lead. Landry had to hold off 14th starter Jim Anglemeyer on the last laps to claim the win. They announced that no entries were received for the figure eight race so again no new track for me. I am not sure anything but a boat would have worked through the standing water on the figure eight track anyway. The semi for mini stocks and spectator drags rounded out the night and I headed home. Sunday night I was back at Angell Park Speedway the 1/3-mile dirt oval in Sun Prairie Wisconsin for a makeup race for the rain out on June 19th. The Badger midgets drew 17 cars with 6 600cc Micros and 13 legends to race tonight too. After a final watering at 5PM and packing in with some trucks the track was looking fast and smooth. The drivers meeting was just completed about 6PM when the one dark cloud that was hanging around let loose for about 20 minutes of steady rain. They brought out all the push trucks and wreckers and began to run in the track. After an hour of packing the midgets were brought out to finish the packing and smooth off the track. The hot laps were followed by heat racing as they drew for starting spots to save time and used finishing and passing points to line up the feature. The track was very tacky and fast on the bottom and developed a somewhat narrow groove so passing was difficult. Jerry Coons JR and Brandon Waelti won the midget heats from the pole. The legend 20-lap feature was first with 3 yellows one for front runner Joel Wyttenbach spinning on the 10th lap. Eric Barth started 3rd and took the lead after a long battle with pole sitter Brandon Schmitt. Schmitt got the lead back but drifted wide and Barth took the checkers ahead of Schmitt and Wyttenbach. The micros ran a very fast non-stop 15 lap feature with 4th starter Robbie Resch the winner. Cody Weisensel took off from the front and led 5 laps of the 30-lap midget feature before 3rd starter Matt Smith got by but a stall brought out the yellow and put Weisensel in front again. A red flag appeared on the 12th lap when Travis Berryhill got in the wet loose outside dirt and slid to the wall and tipped over. Weisensel held back Smith until the 16th lap when Smith took over. Brad Kuhn from 3rd and Coons from 8th had moved past Weisensel and started to pressure Smith. Coons moved to the lead on the 26th lap and then held off Smith through some lapped traffic on the last two laps to win. Kuhn was third, Waelti fourth and Taylor Ferns claimed 5th. We were lucky to get the whole show in before 10PM on a very damp night.

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