DAY 2 (MORNING/AFTERNOON) – HIGH PLAINS LATE SUMMER TRACKCHASING TOUR
Yesterday, I reported to you a list of successful brands at the Procter & Gamble Distributing Company. I listed some 22 different brands and told you they all exceeded one million dollars in sales. That was true. However, one of my
I have the opportunity to have my trackchasing story told in both racing and general interest newspapers as well as on radio and TV. Sometimes the reporter knows racing and sometimes they do not. The newspaper story below appeared in a recent issue of the Hawkeye Racing News.
This story is unique. I love the writer’s “take” on trackchasing. Actually, I think it’s one of the very best stories I’ve seen written about my hobby. I hope you like it as well.
WHAT’S YOUR STORY?
By Karl Haglund
So when I heard the term “trackchaser” recently, I called upon the same image. Only this time Paxton and Hunt were running across a cornfield being chased by a 3/8 mile dirt track that hovered in the sky menacingly; threatening to make them promoters in the middle of a gas crisis. Horrifying!
For me, the terms meaning was easy to decipher. I have long heard of people who try to go to as many tracks as they can each season. It’s a bit of a game. I just wasn’t aware it had a specific term. The fact is that there is a term. There is a web-site. There is a world champion.
You might ask, “Well Karl, what are the rules of this sport?”
The rules are simple. To even be considered a registered “trackchaser” you have to have been to at least 200 tracks. So, you must have gassed up the family “whip” and packed your lunch 200 times in order to even be considered a trackchaser. You might say “I don’t pack a lunch, Karl. I eat at the track.” That’s not important and I happen to pack my lunch. (I take a picnic basket to every race… along with a blanket to sit out on in the infield. That along with Kenny G on the IPOD makes for a great night of racing)
“Once I am considered a trackchaser, what races can I count towards my total number of races, Karl?” Well, mystery person referenced in first person narrative, that is simple. Basically you can count any oval, figure 8, and road course races. They do not count demolition derbies, motorcycle races or drag strips.
There are also a few fine-print rules that really break it down, like being able to count the same track twice if it switches from dirt to asphalt, or vice versa, and you have seen races on both surfaces.
“Karl, you made mention of a number one ranked trackchaser at the beginning of this column, I’d like to hear more about this guy.”
“Karl, I would like to dethrone Randy Clemente.”
Well, you have your work/money cut out for you. Each year the retired business man from Proctor and Gamble spends 150 nights in hotels, takes about 200 flights, and rents about 60 cars.
If you’re like me and you just set your check book on fire and jumped out a window, come back. Throw a glass of water on your remaining checks and stay with me for a second.
Is it possible? If you did this as cheaply as you could, I’m talking Motel 6 and rent a clunker, what would it cost? Motel 6 or something close would be 50 dollars a night. You could probably get rooms cheaper than that, but I tend to try to stay alive as long as possible. Maybe “Adventure” is your middle name, but mine is William.
So hotels would be $7,500 a year.
Flights - $200 a trip on average = $40,000 a year. (Buy a helmet and fire-suit at that rate.)
Rental cars - $30 a day = $1,800 a year. (You’ll need the fire-suit for this as well)
Grand total = $49,300 a year. Roughly $50,000.
If you consider that Randy has done this for five years since retiring, (not counting money spent while employed with P&G) the total comes to around $250,000. Add to that the cost of food on the road (wear and tear on the picnic basket for me) and the price goes higher. “Honey, I have a new hobby… Honey?!”
Why does Randy do it?
Randy’s love for racing was born on the dirt tracks surrounding Peoria, IL. His favorite type of racing to this day is still dirt oval racing. His favorite driver has always been Darrell Dake. In fact when he first moved to
Randy told me, “I would go to the
Randy is not alone in his quest for world domination. His son has recently taken a job as an airline pilot for Southwest Airlines and so Randy does get a break on the cost of flying courtesy of family ties. Randy joked, “I once asked Darrell Dake about his sponsorship with the ‘Lighthouse Inn.’ [Dake] laughed and said ‘my son owns the restaurant, he gives me free meals.’ So I guess I have sponsorship like Darrell Dake had.”
I would like to thank Randy for letting me know about trackchasing and giving me one of the most fun stories to write that I have done to date. It has been a pleasure learning about trackchasing and learning about Randy. If you see him at a track near you (a genuine possibility no matter where you call home) stop and say Hi to him and cheer him on in his quest. I imagine he will hold this title for at least a few more years.
You can check out Randy’s website at www.ranlayracing.com or check out the trackchasing web-site at www.trackchaser.net where you will see some famous racing names like Steve Kinser and Ken Schrader among the registered chasers.
Let me know what you think about this column at email@example.com.
I work hard to have the latest information gathering capabilities in all of trackchasing. That capability added a new track to the itinerary today...................more in “The Objective”.
Why would a small town American Legion group get involved in figure 8 racing? …………..details in “The People”.
Click on this link or paste it in your browser to take you to today’s Trackchaser Report via my website at www.ranlayracing.com
I WOKE UP IN
When I arrived into the
By some stroke of luck I found a figure 8 track racing on Saturday in
As luck would have it, the American Legion sponsored figure 8 race in Edgar was just 35 miles from the road course I was planning to see in Hastings, Nebraska. Amazing!
I don’t know how many extra tracks I add to my season long total because of the special trackchasing electronics and information-gathering capabilities I have. I do know that these capabilities are state of the art. I don’t think any fellow trackchasing competitor comes anywhere close to the information I can generate as a single individual.
Friday night’s race at the KAM Raceway was located in Hastings,
It did take me a couple of calls to find a room. Seems the local college students were coming back to school this weekend. Couple that with softball tournaments and such and even my motel, the Midland Lodge was sold out by the time I actually reached the place at nearly midnight.
Today I met Jeremy Bush the race organizer for the Edgar American Legion. The legion has sponsored demolition derbies in the past, but this was their very first effort at running a figure 8 race. When I first learned about this race yesterday I phoned Jeremy. The Edgar area had received a good deal of rain over the past couple of days. When I talked to Jeremy his group had just held a vote on whether or not to race. They voted to run. They figured they already had a number of fixed costs with advertising and site preparation, so they might as well go ahead and race. I’m certainly glad they did.
Jeremy bears a striking resemblance to NASCAR’s Tony Stewart only Jeremy is a nice guy. We spent about 30 minutes talking about the challenges of racetrack promotion. The American Legion is a non-profit group. They’re trying to raise funds for a new American Legion building to replace the one they currently have that has seen better days. There are only about 35 Legion members, so there are not a lot of people to take on all the work to be done.
Although I have most of the internal financials I will only share the numbers that have already been made public. Today’s purse for about 15 demo cars and 19 figure 8 cars was $4,100. I thought that compared to some small oval track purses this was a huge payout. Jeremy was a bit disappointed in the size of the crowd considering he was paying a guaranteed purse.
I was reminded that the various expenses of race track promotion at any level can be substantial. Items like track insurance, officials and advertising in addition to the purse can add up quick.
Jeremy and I talked about the challenge of satisfying the racing competitor and the race spectator. It seems to me that the means to please these two groups might run in opposite directions.
I asked Jeremy who the most valuable track employee might be. Jeremy wasn’t sure where I was going with that question. I told him I thought the track announcer was the most important person that the spectator would come in contact with. A good announcer can inform and entertain the crowd and make them want to come back for more.
These were my 24th and 25th lifetime tracks to see in the Cornhusker state. This gives me a second place ranking here just three tracks behind Ed Esser’s state leading 28 tracks. Forty-two trackchasers have seen at least one track in
RACE REVIEW – MOTORSPORT PARK HASTINGS,
There are a few new permanent road courses being built in the
Today’s racing was being sanctioned by the NASA (National Auto Sport Association) group. I find these guys are not nearly as well organized nor do they bring the car counts that their fellow sanctioning competitors, the Sports Car Club of
Today there were 17 entries spread across six divisions of racers who would compete in wheel to wheel racing. There were several other cars in attendance. They were here for the high performance driving experience (HPDE) schools.
There were just two wheel to wheel races on today’s schedule. The first was scheduled to start at 11 a.m. and the final race of the day would go off at 2:40 p.m.
This road course is totally flat as is most of
The biggest classes of wheel to wheel racing brought just 5-6 cars. These were the Porsche 944 group and the
The race I was seeing was scheduled for 20 minutes. I didn’t time it, but it seemed barely more than 10 minutes, even though it started 15 minutes behind the printed schedule. It didn’t make much sense to stay for the second race of the day since it would be more than three hours before it would take the green flag. Luckily, I had discovered an afternoon race nearby to go with this day/night trackchasing double.
Of course today’s morning/afternoon trackchasing double did not meet the clock requirements of a day/night double but it more closely resembled a day/nighter than anything else so that’s what I called it.
There wasn’t much real action at the MPH. I was more than fortunate to be able to tie this into last night’s location at the KAM Raceway, also in
RACE REVIEW –
Considering this was a first ever figure 8 promotion at the
The overall air of the event reminded me of a laid back festival of sorts. Local groups like the Lion’s Club along with a high school fund raising group provided cooked on the grill burgers and ice cream root beer floats. I enjoyed my $3 float!
The weather was perfect. It was only 77 degrees with sunny skies. The forecast for tomorrow was more than 90 degrees so today was the day to hold the event.
The racing surface was perfectly prepared. It wasn’t too wet where cars couldn’t get any traction or too dry where the fans would have to eat dust on a sunny afternoon. When the cars came spinning out of the turns they had enough rear wheeled power to throw mud balls into the dodging crowd.
The event started off with a few races for lawnmowers on a make shift oval track. As you know, racing lawnmowers don’t count in trackchasing, so I tried not to watch. Following the figure 8 races, the demo started. Although demo is big back here, I’m not a big demo fan. However, if the trackchasers ever vote to include demo derbies, I guess I will become a fan of them!
Overall, my day was perfect. I had only learned of this track less than 24 hours ago. I looked around for other trackchasers but didn’t see any. I’m not sure what the future of figure 8 racing is here. I hope it’s a bright one so my fellow trackchasing competitors can experience
RENTAL CAR UPDATE
The rain from this week forced the parking lot location to change at the
Thanks for reading about my trackchasing,
That’s all the news that’s fit to print from
Los Angeles, CA – Kansas City, KS – 1,361 miles
RENTAL CAR –
TRACK ADMSSION PRICES:
KAM Raceway - $5
American Legion Figure 8 Course - Free
LIFETIME TRACKCHASER STANDINGS UPDATE:
There are no trackchasers currently within 100 tracks of my lifetime total.
1. Randy Lewis,
These worldwide trackchasers are within 10 tracks (plus or minus) of Carol’s current trackchaser total.
29. Carol Lewis,
30. Tom Schmeh,
31. Dwight Bucks,
2007 TRACKCHASER STANDINGS
1. Randy Lewis,
2. Roland Vanden Eynde,
3. Ed Esser,
4. Mike Knappenberger,
5. Pam Smith, Effort,
5. Paul Weisel,
7. Guy Smith, Effort,
8. Carol Lewis,
9. Gordon Killian, Sinking Springs,
10. Roger Ferrell,
Some of the data in this report comes from www.trackchaser.net
and my Garmin GPS
By 1 p.m. today, I had seen three countable tracks in the past 17 hours. As luck and maybe some good planning would have it, I would end up seeing five countable
1,139. Meremere Dirt Track Club,
1,140. Meeanee Speedway,
1,141. Top of the South Speedway,
1,142. Woodford Glen Speedway,
1,143. Robertson Holden International
1,146. Angels Stadium of
1,147. Angels Stadium of
1,150. Grand Prix De Lanaudiere,
1,151. Ste-Eulalie Ice Track,
1,152. St Guillaume, St
1,155. Northeast Pond Ice Track,
1,156. Lee Pond Ice Track,
1,157. New Hendry Country
1,159. Honeoye Lake Ice Track – Road Course,
1,162. Dawgwood Speedway,
1,163. Toccoa Speedway,
1,164. Tazewell Speedway,
1,166. Dacosa Speedway,
1,167. Swinging Bridge Raceway,
1,169. Foothills Raceway,
1,170. Mileback Speedway,
1,171. Grand Prix of
1,172. Vegas Grand Prix,
1,174. Low Country Kartway,
1,175. Dillon Motor
1,176. Valley Dirt Riders,
1,178. Sertoma Speedway,
1,181. Hollywood Hills
1,184. Rocky Mountain Raceways (oval),
1,185. Rocky Mountain Raceways (figure 8),
1,189. Fairplex at the
1,190. Lowes Motor
1,191. Lowes Motor
1,193. Thunderbird Stadium (figure 8),
1,194. Thunderbird Stadium (oval),
1,200. Castrol Raceway,
1,203. Fayette County Fairgrounds,
1,206. Vinton Speedway,
1,209. L A Raceway, La Monte,
1,214. Kart Kanyon Raceway, Aztec,
1,216. Sunvalley Speedway,
1,219. Hunterstown Speedway,
1,220. Shippensburg Speedway,
1,221. Blanket Hill
1,228. Lycoming County Fairgrounds (figure 8),
1,231. Van Buren County Youth Fairgrounds (road course),
1,232. High Banks
1,233. High Banks
1,234. SOIL MX, Bone Gap,
** Windy Hollow
1,236. Windy Hollow
1,240. Sweetwater County Fairgrounds (figure 8),
1,242. Maxville Fire Department Figure 8 Course,
1,245. Sarpy County Fair & Rodeo Arena (figure 8),
1,246. Newaygo County Fairgrounds (figure 8),
1,247. Newaygo County Fairgrounds (road course),
1,248. Shiawassee County Fairgrounds (figure 8),
1,249. Tioga County Fairgrounds (figure 8),
1,250. Coopersville Festival Grounds (road course),
1,251. Winston Motor
1,252. Jackson Speedway (dirt oval),
1,253. Springport Motor
1,254. Double X
** Thunderhill Speedway,
1,256. KAM Raceway,