Greetings from San Clemente, California
And the travels and adventures of the “World’s #1 Trackchaser”
2003 Trackchasing Annual Report
Trackchasers and friends,
Even though the first month of the New Year is nearly over, this is the first chance I have had to review my 2003-racing season. Yes, retirement can keep one as busy or more busy than working for a living. I finished up with 60 new tracks. This increased by grand total to 682 venues. That is good for a 9th place world ranking. Check out www.trackchaser.com for a list of the world rankings and many other comparisons. Also, checkout, http://uk.geocities.com/trackchaser2001/, a Scottish site run by Graham Alexander. He carries a complete listing of all my individual track reports as well as photos. Maybe he will even publish a Muddy Acres picture or two.
My 60 new tracks were spread across a meager 16 different states (Alabama, Virginia, North Carolina, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Maine, New York, New Jersey, North Dakota, Iowa, Nevada, California, Indiana, Missouri and West Virginia) and one Canadian province (Saskatchewan). Additionally, I made it to 14 tracks I had seen before in the states of Alabama, New Mexico, Arizona, Ohio, California, Illinois and Florida.
Probably the highlight of my season was meeting up with many of my friends and fellow trackchasers. Of course, the littlest trackchaser, my wife Carol, always ranks as a personal favorite. Carol was able to get in 18 new tracks increasing her total to 148. Here’s a list in chronological order of folks I sat with during the year:
I also got to meet Dale O’Brien and Don McAuley along the way. I hope I have not forgotten anyone.
Of my 60 new tracks, I saw racing on 32 dirt ovals, 15 asphalt ovals, 9 figure 8 tracks and 4 road courses. With all that racing, I had only two days of rainouts. The Weather Channel has certainly improved my ability to “beat the rain”. I have one handicap that most others don’t have regarding the weather. I flew to eight of my 10 racing trips. Since I have to make reservations weeks in advance, I’m locked into my location regardless of how the weather looks. Therefore, I consider myself very lucky with the weather as some other trackchasers had 15-20 rainouts during their season.
My best race of the year was the United States Modified Touring Series at Dodge County Speedway in Kasson, Minnesota. Will, Roger and Brenda joined me to watch the A feature run all 50 laps without a caution AND without one car being lapped. I might go several more seasons before I see that again. I also saw my first ever school bus race at a track in Minnesota.
Of course, I would be remiss if I did not mention the “R” rated show at the Muddy Acres Raceway in Mecklenburg, New York. Suffice it to say that Muddy Acres is a long way, both geographically and culturally, from the Pacific Golf Club where I hang out in the winter. Nevertheless, each activity does have its merits. Although Carol, Will and I were at the track for 7 hours waiting for the one countable race they would have (and it lasted only five minutes) there were other redeeming qualities. First, to see Will in the midst of a junkyard with old racecars stacked three high and getting acclimated, if you will, to Carol’s margaritas was entertaining in itself. Secondly, the “R” rated portion of the show featuring some of upstate New York’s most voluptuous “party girls” made the 7 hour wait worthwhile. Will has the pictures, but will he post them to prove it?
Another highlight of the season came during the Maine race trip with Carol. While cruising Kennebunkport we, and only a few other tourists, got to watch President George W. Bush and his father fishing in a 20 foot boat just about 100 yards off shore. I have the President on video waving to the littlest trackchaser and Bush supporter through and through, Carol.
Lowlights of the season included the terribly dusty conditions at the long dreamed about and awaited Canandaigua Speedway in New York. Of course, the trackchaser rip-off at the Chenango County Fair has been documented in detail elsewhere. Going into this season, the dirt Glad Rag racetrack ranked as my worst ever. I was able to make it to the new version of the Glad Rag Speedway, now asphalt; and although it is better, it ain’t much better. Glad Rag’s redeeming grace is that it is located in Saratoga Springs, New York home of the Saratoga horseracing track made famous in the Carly Simon song. I didn’t cash a winning ticket for any of my bets at the beautiful horse track, but it was a season highlight. Finally, I made it through the season without seeing any of the dreaded “Champ Karts” although I do not suspect I will be able to keep that string in place during 2004.
Speaking of 2004, I’m currently in my 33rd day of the Atkins Diet in preparation for the large number of county fairs (foodfests!) I plan to attend during the season. Speaking of county fairs, I hope the folks who know where these fairs are share the dates with everyone in advance.
I am not sure I’ll make 60 new tracks this year. I do plan to go over the 700 mark sometime during the summer. My plan is to make a minimum of one race trip per month from March through October. I will begin the season with a trip to Austin, Texas in March in the hopes of catching a few Lone Star new tracks. I am busy collecting track schedules and using my logistics skills to see new places as efficiently as my Rand McNally software will let me.
I hope to run into many of you “somewhere down the road” this season.
#1 Trackchaser living west of the Mississippi as well as #1 trackchaser while being married