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.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Report 25

December 15, 2011

No races for a couple of weeks just granddaughter’s basketball and shopping.
Merry Christmas. The winter weather is holding off (no snow on the ground – only 1.5 inches so far this season and it melted the day after it fell) but it is time to send some updates for the year and wish you all happy holidays. I had my surgery last December and started to recover after 10 days of exceptional care from Nurse Haley and Nurse Sydney. I stayed at the Grossman’s and was fed very well before and after school. My quarterly follow-up blood tests have shown no PSA count so I have no more treatment scheduled. So as my year improved Aunt Mary’s (91) did not. She suffered a couple falls and spent a June week in the hospital before being sent to a nursing home. I made nearly daily visits but her health declined and after another fall she was back in the hospital for a week before hospice care started in October. Aunt Mary died October 29th and I have been busy with clearing out and cleaning at her apartment. Although the heirs are allowed to keep some personal property I have been gathering all her monetary assets to turn over to the State as she was under State care the last 3 months.
The Grossman’s generously provided me with some better Christmas lights so in November I took down the mostly burned out dusty ones and vacuumed the cob webs out of the windows then installed the new ones that all lighted! I have been busy attending Sidney and Haley’s volleyball and basketball games this fall but back in August I made a trip to Kansas to visit Lee and his family. A J is eating all the time so he can try and keep up to big sister Emma who is two and talking non-stop. Emma went upstairs to take her nap talking to her dolls most of the time about how they must lay down and be quiet. Soon a very loud crash came from her room and Lee went up to see what fell. He opened her door as she exclaimed “Its OK, everything is fine, it’s all right.” Lee discovered that she had stacked her chairs two high on the bed before they fell over. Who knows what kind of circus act she was rehearsing! Emma also got out to a race track with dad as they went to the races in Grain Valley Missouri and it was very therapeutic as she could talk all night and no one seemed to mind.
Siesta is my favorite hour or two of the day and I must have rested more than usual this year – if you can believe that is possible - but I may have rested too much on my glasses as the bow broke off and I had to find my tube of super glue to make the needed repair. The glue has held for six months now!
I am still busy in Stoughton as sec.–treas. for the Optimist Club and running the food stand during the Syttende Mai celebration and I am V-P of the Friends of the Stoughton Area Youth Center that operates the new center in Stoughton. The youth center found a new person to run the annual golf outing who didn’t even know what a golf ball was – ME! The rest of my routine remains constant and I managed to travel on a few big trips. I still made a February Florida trip and I made a July 4th trip to Utah to see races in a state that I had not seen a race in and enjoyed the beautiful countryside. I also made a late season trip to Pensacola Florida. On the local scene the racing was some what back to normal with Angell Park in Sun Prairie Wisconsin scheduling 10 races for the summer but that left some free weeks to make some bigger trips such as the one to Utah. This year I only spent 113 nights in the spacious Dodge Caravan and 10 nights with friends in addition to the 8 nights in motels. With the poor economy and my advanced math that’s 123 nights that I saved – let’s say - $42 for a total $5166 saved and I only spent $1755.50 in race admissions so I should be over $3400 ahead – at least that is what I tell myself! I made it my priority to see a new state and some tracks that I had not been to before and got to another 78 tracks bringing my lifetime total to 1423 tracks and keeping me in second place on the list as kept at the new website www.roamingtheraceways.com . I made it to only 130 races in 26 states this year and traveled 68,316 miles all by car.
The kids are really hard to chase down, the grandkids even harder. Jody J and Jody L are still in Cottage Grove with daughters Sydney (14) and Haley (11). Jody J is still with McDonalds and Jody L is part-time as a scientist with Semba Biosciences and part time at McDonalds too. Both Jody’s were coaching softball and Jody L is the assistant coach for freshmen girl’s basketball at Monona Grove High School where Sydney is playing as a freshmen. The granddaughters were both on softball teams this summer and Haley is now playing tri-county basketball. Sydney shot another deer in her third hunting season and has completed her freshmen volleyball season. Lori is settled in downtown Chicago and teaching at Freedom Junior High in Berwyn where she coaches the 7-8 grade girl’s basketball team. Freedom won a million dollar grant and Lori and two others are in charge of designing and outfitting a brand new fitness center for the school. She is also coaching the Windy City AAU basketball team in the summer. Lee and Carrie are living in Leavenworth Kansas for the year (before Lee’s next assignment) with daughter Emma (2) and son AJ (1). Lee is going to school full-time at Intermediate Level Education (ILE) with graduation in June while still taking masters courses at UW-Stout where he expects to finish his masters in Mech Engr. this June as well. Carrie is expecting their third child in December and is still in the reserves working for ROTC at Missouri Western State University in St Joseph Missouri and their 11 affiliates in Kansas and Missouri.

        Have a Healthy, Safe and Prosperous New Year!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Race Report 24

Florida Trip December 1 – 3, 2011

Wednesday I was right back on the road again as I headed south where the weather was predicted to be very good and the 44th annual Snowball Derby was under way in Pensacola Florida. I had nothing but clear roads the entire way down as I took my time. Thursday afternoon at 4:30PM I arrived at the Five Flags Speedway in Pensacola Florida to find the “Lot Full” sign already on the road as the spectator parking area was already filled up mostly with campers and reserved parking. There are a few spots along the boulevard shoulders that were going fast so I backed down the ditch carefully and parked. They also have parking at the fairgrounds just 2 miles down the road with a free shuttle bus back to the track. The race tonight was for the bombers (40 cars) and sportsmen (32 cars) with the top 20 qualifiers starting straight up in the feature and the other qualifiers racing 10 laps in a last chance race transferring the top 4 to the feature race. Practice was under way on the banked asphalt half-mile track when I arrived and found a seat in the top row of one of the new sections of aluminum seats. The track has concrete outside and inside walls and the pits were packed with haulers that partially blocked the view of the lower parts of the track in several areas. They have very good lights and fine speakers for the spectators and the crowd was very good for the first night at the 8PM race time. Kenny Williams started fourth and picked up the week’s first win in the bomber consi that was slowed by three yellows. Chris Nielson won the sportsmen consi. The bombers ran 10 laps into the 30-lap feature before a debris yellow slowed the race. Then it took 4 tries to complete another lap. One of the wrecks took out the front row cars of Jay Jay Day and Gary Goodwin who were leading. Curtis Faircloth started 16th and worked through the field to take the win over Jonathan Day from 9th and Kenny Bullard who started 14th as the race went green for 20 laps. The 50-lap sportsmen feature was the last race of the night and took a long time to complete. The evening was getting quite cold and the frequent multi car wrecks (7) plus a couple of yellows for debris and a red for a medical situation in the tower saw most of the crowd gone before the checkers flew at 12:10AM. Pole sitter Steve Buttrick won the race over Bubba Winslow from 3rd and Shanna Ard from 7th. Friday was another bright sunny day in Pensacola and after spending some time at the National Naval Aviation Museum and along the waterfront downtown I headed out to the track early. I got back to the track at 3PM but the lot was full already and I had to park several blocks away along the boulevard. Qualifying for the two classes that would race tonight (34 modifieds and 24 super stocks) started at 4PM and many people were in the stands early. The big hype for tonight was the qualifying for Sunday’s super late model race that started at 6PM for 53 cars. The announcing was not up to last night’s standards as duplicate numbers threw off the announcer and he was so busy reading off the driver’s many accomplishments the name didn’t come out until the car was going by at speed and you couldn’t hear the name. The top 30 in qualifying were locked into the Snowball feature on Sunday and the 47th car to qualify was Bubba Pollard who took fast time with a new track record of 16.290 seconds. The racing tonight again started at 8PM with just the two 50-lap features. The super stocks were first and went green for 10 laps until the yellow flew for an unknown reason. The visibility was poor because of the haulers in the infield (they would be removed for the big race on Sunday) and the announcer often just said he did not see why the yellow was out. There were only 4 yellows in the race although one turned into an extended red after a car caught fire under the yellow and then the ambulance was called to assist someone in the infield. There were several different leaders during the 50 laps but pole sitter Regan Baker (new track record at 18.733 seconds) charged back to the front during the last 10 laps and took the checkers holding off a charging Bubba Winslow and Paul Jean. The modifieds had 4 yellows but two big multi car wrecks that blocked the track with the red appearing on the 14th lap for a 6-car wreck and then the 15th lap when 12 cars were caught up together on the straightaway. Brian Nester started in front and led through all the restarts to score the win over Mark Chrudimsky from 16th and Augie Grill from 10th. The races were done at 10:30PM and I drove into Alabama before resting for the night. Saturday I continued west to Mississippi for a look at a new track in Poplarville. The Sandy Ridge Speedway opened this spring and was racing this afternoon with a special money race to wrap up the day. I arrived at the track at noon and practice was underway and I saw a couple of champ karts so I decided to stay and see what was going on. The track is a 1/5-mile red clay oval with long straight-aways and high banked turns surrounded by heavy chain link fencing on what looked like railroad ties. There is a dirt berm along the outside fence and a dirt berm also marks the inside of the track. There is one small 3-row wooden bleacher and some good viewing from the first turn on the banking and they have some good lights. The concessions are in an old race car trailer and the homemade chili was very good. There were also 5 old mini sprint chassis beside the concession trailer that are looking for a new owner! The track is a friendly family run facility and the racers seem to be an extended family. The fields were small with 6 steel body karts, 10 box stock and 3 senior champs. (There was a 4th champ but he ran in the steel body class as he told me he prefers the grooved tires that are allowed in that class.) The driver’s meeting was at 1:30PM with some late practice after that and racing in the 3 10-lap heats starting about 2:30PM. After a short intermission the 3 features were run with the big money race after the entire regular show. The metal body karts were bending some metal with one roll over in the heat and 3 yellows in the feature. James Barton was the name on the feature winning number 33 in this class that included the one champ kart. The box stock class got wild with several karts sliding into the outside berm hard (maybe with some assistance) and spinning back across the track. Brandon Heinrich won this feature from the second row. Jim Sterry won the 2-kart champ kart heat after one broke a chain coming on the track and earned the pole for the feature. The feature went non-stop (although there was one spin) with Sterry getting the win. They were getting ready to qualify for the money race and there were at least 2 karts that had not run in the regular races that may have run in the money race but it was after sunset by this time and I decided to start my long drive home satisfied in seeing another new track. The Causeyville Raceway about 100 miles north near Meridian was running today too so I headed that way to see what was going on. I arrived after the races were done but saw no senior champ karts so I was glad I had chosen the Sandy Ridge track for my stop today. (I later saw there were two junior champs at Causeyville no senior champ results were listed.) Happy with the outcome I drove north of Jackson before stopping. Sunday I got into rain before exiting Mississippi and it rained steady from Memphis to Saint Louis. The roads were wet but not slippery and I ran into dry pavement for the rest of the trip home quite a relief this time of the year.