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 8

Easter in New Mexico April 22 & 23, 2011

Thursday the weather was bad in the south as well as here in the Midwest and the prediction was not good for the weekend. I looked over the weather maps and decided to avoid the storms and try a quick trip out west. I looked over the tracks that were running and found a Friday and some Saturday shows. I was in the car before noon for the long drive. Friday at 4PM I pulled into Aztec New Mexico to find the Aztec Speedway where they were racing the first night of the two day Wild West Tour for IMCA modifieds. The track sits behind some commercial buildings just south of town and is a wide high banked 1/3-mile dirt oval with concrete outside walls and imbedded tires all through the turns to mark the inside. They have a big roomy 15- row grandstand with some smaller bleachers in the first turn and room for about 8 cars for trackside parking. The track has tall light poles with good lights for the track and stands, good speakers and a full field scoreboard in the infield. Tonight drew a good field of cars with 46 IMCA modifieds, 22 sport mods, 18 IMCA Stock cars and 11 hobby stocks. The track was very wet to start the night delaying the 7PM start by half an hour but the track dried out and took on rubber while a big cushion built up on the outside. They ran six modified heats transferring only the top two to the feature then 3 semis that took 4 more from each. There was a rule that any single car causing a yellow was eliminated from the race and very few yellows were needed! By feature time the smooth slick part of the track was 4 lanes wide and the outside lane was still fresh wet dirt. The 15-lap hobby feature was first with only one yellow as Jerrett Guilory came from 4th to win over 6th starter Jeremy Bradley. There were only 3 yellows in the 25-lap sport mod feature that saw 9th starter Zach Rouse score the win over Zach Hamilton from 10th. The IMCA stocks were scheduled for 25 laps but after a couple of early yellows and a multi car wreck then a car in the wall requiring the wrecker they shortened the race to 20 laps. Rex Higgins started 10th and drove to the win over Stephen Carey from 7th and Alan Bradley from 13th. The 30-lap feature for 24 modifieds got off to an ominous start when a car lost a wheel on the parade lap. A two car tangle on the second lap slowed the race then 4 spins during the event brought out yellows. Ricky Alvarado was in 4th after starting 13th when he jumped the cushion and hit the wall on the 28th lap for the final yellow. Porter Smith started in third and took the lead on the 4th lap and held back repeated challenges from Zane Devilbiss to take the trophy. Danny Bradford came home third from 14th and Justin Yaeger was fourth from 19th. The races were done just past midnight and I was ready for some sleep. Saturday I drove down to Albuquerque to check out the new dirt track at Sandia Speedway where they had a practice day for sprints, mini sprints, modifieds and stock cars. The track is high banked with only a short wall in front of the stands. They hope to have lights up in two weeks. With some clouds rolling in from the north I decided to leave early and head down to Tularosa New Mexico for a visit to White Sands Speedway. I arrived at White Sands at 6PM for the 7:45 start of racing. The track is a banked 3/8-mile dirt oval with a concrete and Armco wall for the front straightaway and the first turn where the pits are. The remainder of the oval has no walls and there are just a few tires to mark the inside of the racing surface. They have a lap counter in the infield and good track lights and good speakers. They drew small fields tonight with 10 modifieds, 11 super trucks, 13 bombers and 9 street stocks. Track packing and warm-ups started for the trucks but the dust was so bad they decided to water the track. At this time the electricity for the whole property went out as a fuse blew and as we waited for repairs the sun set and the track and stands descended into darkness. The fuse was replaced and racing started at 8:50PM. The heats went fast and we were ready for the 20-lap features. The bombers went all 20 laps non-stop with front row starter John McDaniel taking the win over Cheyenne Arone. The street stocks had two yellows as Danny Efird started last and passed the entire field to take the win. Christie George started on the pole of the modified feature and never looked back as she won over Sherman Barnett in a race slowed by only one yellow. Pole sitter Dennis McMasters spun on the first lap for the only yellow in the truck feature. Sherman Barnett started 4th and won the race over Crystal Sampson from 6th. The races were over at 11:15PM and I was ready for some sleep before the 2 day drive home.

Midwest weekend April 29 & 30, 2011

Thursday the plan called for an eastern trip to see Richmond Virginia but with severe storms moving through the south and east and flooding too I decided to look elsewhere. I found some Colorado races but the forecast there was for snow showers so I decided to stay closer to home. Friday I drove south through some very wet farmland and saw lots of standing water in the Illinois fields but as I arrived at the DeWitt County Fairgrounds in Farmer City Illinois I found the Farmer City Raceway open for business. There were some mud holes in the parking lot and some standing water to be avoided just off the raceway but a large crowd was on hand and the pits were full. This was a $2000 to win Northern All Star tour race for the late models (45 cars) with support classes of 37 street stocks, 27 modifieds, 21 sportsmen, 21 hornets and 21 mini-sprints. The track is a high banked black dirt quarter mile oval with a concrete wall through the third and fourth turns to protect the pits and big runoff areas down the banking and out to some Armco fencing to protect the spectator areas around the rest of the track. They have the old grandstand and three big bleachers on the straightaway then trackside parking all along the fences from the first turn through the middle of the backstretch where there is another bleacher. The track started out wet but soon turned black with rubber but with a good wet cushion along the concrete wall. The late models qualified at 7:15PM and racing got underway about 8PM. They quickly ran through many heats with the only delay a rollover in the last hornet heat when Jeremy Reed spun off the bank sideways and rolled three times escaping injury. They needed 5 semis before the features were set. Pole sitter Jeremy Nichols captured the street stock feature over David Billingsley in a race slowed by 3 yellows for spins. The modifieds had a lap 2 spin then ran off 23 green flag laps as Jeff Leka captured another win. The late models ran off the first 25 laps of their 30 lap feature before the drive shaft came out of Brett Sievert’s car for the only caution. Pole sitter Wes Steidinger was out front using the fast outside groove in 3 and 4 but hugging the bottom in the first and second turns. Derek Chandler kept the pressure on the leader showing his nose alongside several times. Behind them was a constant fight for the next 4 spots as cars ran side by side for the entire race. Steidinger won over Chandler with Ryan Unzicker in third and Brandon Sheppard fourth. The sportsmen ran another good race with a lap 3 spin the only yellow as Nick Macklin worked around Dustin Mounce for the win. The mini sprints had two yellows (the first one took out second place Jeremy Camp when he hit a spinning lapped car) with pole sitter Jason Harms the winner over Ryne Welch. Jake Newman from 10th was third just inches ahead of Shelby Bosie from 15th. The hornets rounded out the night with a feature that had only one yellow and was concluded at 12:05AM when 5th starter Kenny Butterfield made a last lap pass of Derrick Deford to win. Saturday morning was cloudy and cool when I left Farmer City to drive south to Casey Illinois to check out the MAORA off road races at Lincoln Trail MX Park. It was sunny and windy as I pulled in around 11AM but found only one buggy practicing. I inquired at the pit shack as to when the races were scheduled and the lady told me the MAORA had called off the weekend’s events. As long as I had time and the weather was better further east I headed to Ohio. Saturday evening about 6PM I arrived at the Cridersville Speedway in Cridersville Ohio for a look at the 1/7-mile dirt go kart track. They have two big spectator bleachers but I opted for the pit pass and went in the pits where they have three smaller bleachers off the first and second turns. The facility also has a nice cement block building that houses the concessions and some big and clean restrooms. The track is a long and narrow flat oval that has a lake in the infield that is used for watering as I saw the hoses that went to each turn. They use some boards about 8 inches tall to form the straightaway outside walls with tires behind for support and they use the same wooden wall set up for the inside of the track. The track was dry and sent up some dust most of the night. They have good lights from the inside of the track and the speakers were loud but only used for pit announcements. Racing got underway about 20 minutes late at 6:20PM and consisted of two sets of heats and then features for the 15 classes of which the senior champs were 14th.  There were 131 entries in the 15 classes with 19 flathead mediums, 17 senior champs and 12 flathead lites the only classes with double digit counts. The senior champs were divided into two groups for the heats and Brett Bothast won the first heat from the pole and took third (from last) in the second round to earn the pole for the feature. Dustin Ingle won the second heat from 3rd and finished 4th in the last heat to start outside the first row of the feature. The feature had 5 yellows in the first 3 laps then the raced well with Bothast holding the good low line for the entire race and winning over Jake Shelley with Ingle in third. Most of the features were won from the pole and had no yellows but David Sawmiller did win from third in the junior race that had 3 leaders but was slowed by 2 yellows. Joey Pendergrass was a double winner with a victory in junior sportsmen champs and rookie 2. Matt Hodges won the outlaw feature from the pole to conclude the night at 11:30PM and I was ready for some rest. Sunday I headed back to Indiana for a stop at the Kokomo Speedway and some USAC sprint racing. The weather in Ohio was dreary and damp but it cleared in Indiana. I called the track about 1PM to make sure they were running and the recording was on saying grounds were too wet and the races were canceled. I headed home but it was too late to try for the late model special at Oregon Wisconsin this afternoon.

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