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Sunday, March 4 - This blog is written with a heavy heart and I find the words hard to come by. We received a phone call around 9 AM from Guy Smith of AARN who shocked us with the news that Wisconsin’s Ed Esser had passed away Thursday, March 1st at his home of a heart attack at the age of 65.
Ed was the ultimate race fan. He traveled to the vast majority of his entire 1430 different tracks that he attended by car. Last year he drove his 2004 Dodge Caravan a total of 68,000 miles attending 130 races with 78 of them being new tracks for him. His previous vehicle was a 1998 Chevy Blazer he bought used with 55,000 miles on it and traded it in 2009 with 616,000 miles on the odometer. If that is not amazing enough try this one! From 1988 until 2003 Ed drove a new Chevy S-10 Blazer to the races and rolled up a truly amazing total of 848,500 miles before the Blazer could take no more.
Ed won National Speedsports News’ Super Fan contest six times before turning his attention from racechasing to trackchasing. As of 2/26/12 Ed had tallied 1430 different race tracks visited with 1429 of them attended in the United States. His last track was his first venture into Canada attending an ice race at Mission Bay, Ontario which is close to Thunder Bay, Ontario. That left him #2 on the all-time trackchasing list before his death.
But even with all his racing travels he still found time to be a server to people and this is what really impressed me about Ed. He was a member of the Delta Sigma Phi fraternity at Wisconsin-Madison and still served as their treasurer to this day. The Stoughton Optimist Club and the Big Brothers, Big Sisters organization also were activites that were fortunate to have Ed donate his time to. His elderly aunt was also lucky to have Ed care for her until her recent passing. He was proud of all his children, Jody, Lori and Lee, and talked with great pride of all their acomplishments. His five grandchildren, Sydney, Haley, Emma, A.J. and Wesley were also sources of great joy and pride and he spent many days watching basketball and soccer games and the such.
Pat and I had the pleasure of spending time with Ed in February as he traveled east to stay with us for a night after attending the indoor races at Atlantic City. The drive down and back didn’t seem as long as it could have as we exchanged stories, laughed and enjoyed each other’s company. It is difficult to comprehend that we will never see Ed again strolling into some racetrack and sitting with him discussing racing, his children and his grandchildren and other issues of the day.
On his last visit Ed brought along a vintage book published in 1883 and titled “Sunshine At Home” which he had found at his aunt’s house and knew Pat would appreciate it as she collects vintage books of all kinds. The gift will now hold even more cherished memories of the server and great race fan who left us too soon. RIP our good friend and Godspeed. It was a pleasure spenting time with you and we will sorely miss you.
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