Navigation 

77 Speedway & Arena

Down in front!

Greetings from Newkirk, Oklahoma

 

 

From the travels and adventures of the 

“World’s #1 Trackchaser”

 

77 speedway sign 2 

77 Speedway & Arena – Dirt Figure 8 

Lifetime Track #1,485

 

HighlightsPhotos

 

DAY 3 – “THIS WAS GOING TO BE A PROBLEMATIC” TRACKCHASING TOUR

 

newkirk ok

GREETINGS FROM NEWKIRK, OKLAHOMA

 

 

 

TODAY’S HEADLINES  

What does a trackchaser who sleeps in his vehicle do all day before the evening’s races?

 

Tonight I benefited from the 77 Speedway & Arena being rained out back in June. How was that?.

 

I know what it’s like not to have much “stuff”.

 

 

 

THE OBJECTIVE, THE TRIP, THE PEOPLE…AND A WHOLE LOT MORE

 

The Objective 

 

 

My trackchasing systems always point me toward the next track.  

When my flight on Friday to Dallas from Denver was canceled I diverted to Oklahoma City. That meant when it was time to leave on Sunday morning I would be leaving from OKC. Flying to Oklahoma City didn’t affect my Friday night trackchasing plan. However, it did change my Saturday schedule.

 

 

It would make more sense to trackchase in Oklahoma tonight rather than Texas, which is what my original plan called for. That was fine with me. I had not been to Oklahoma to trackchase this year. Oklahoma would allow me to rack up state #31 for the year.

 

14 ei 

I count 14 tracks in Oklahoma that I have not seen. Nine of those run on a weekly or every other week basis. The others run either indoors during the winter or a time or two during the summer. In all likelihood tonight’s track candidate would come from one of the weekly tracks.

 

 

I whipped open my Rand McNally electronic mapping system on my Lenovo laptop. I have an individual map for all 50 states. Each track location that I have not visited is noted within these 50 maps. When I opened the Oklahoma map I could easily see the locations of the tracks in the Sooner state that I have yet to see. I could see their relationship to where I was in OKC as well as their proximity to each other.

 

 

First, I concluded that none of the tracks was close enough to permit any kind of trackchasing double. With a double out of the question, I went to work trying to pick a location for tonight. The weather was good all over Oklahoma so that would not be a deciding factor.

 

This must be the place! 

I had always wanted to visit the 77 Speedway & Arena up in Newkirk, Oklahoma. Ed Esser was the only top ten Oklahoma trackchaser to have seen this place. That rascal is a tough competitor! The track sits about 100 miles north of OKC. This track is my “signature” track in Oklahoma. I have identified one track in each state that I would most like to visit. I won’t go too far out of my way to visit a “signature” track but it’s always fun to see one of them. My new Oklahoma signature track is the West Siloam Speedway in Siloam Springs, Oklahoma.

 

 

However, the 77 Speedway & Arena races just one time per month. Tonight was not their August race date. However, they were rained out in June. As luck would have it, they rescheduled their June race for tonight! I was going to the 77 Speedway & Arena.

 

 

The Trip

 

hyatt place room 

When do I get a hotel and when don’t I?  

This morning I awoke after a leisurely sleep in the Hyatt Place hotel in Oklahoma City. I get to sleep in so rarely that I took full advantage of the opportunity. However, I did have to control my “bed hair” in time to make the last breakfast call at 9 a.m. The Hyatt serves a wonderful fresh breakfast on a complimentary basis.

 

 

As you know I stay overnight, away from San Clemente, about 150 nights per year. Most of those stays are in hotels. Some are with friends along the trackchasing trail. I will sleep overnight 5-10 times per year on an airplane. I will even sleep 2-4 nights per year in my car. I really don’t like to do the latter. However, when there is not enough time (five hours or more) to spend in a hotel I will normally “nap it” for a couple of hours and be off on some early morning airplane ride to somewhere.

 

sleeping in car 2 

Some trackchasers sleep under the stars….sort of.  

We have several trackchasers who routinely sleep overnight in their vehicles. I would suspect that each of these people does this to keep their expenses down.   Maybe they just like to sleep with their own pillow. If I were going to go this route, I would have a van of some sort decked out with all of the creature comforts of home.

 

 

However, my style of trackchasing will never allow me to routinely sleep in my car. First, the prospect of this sort, creeps me out. Remember Michael Jordan’s father who was murdered in a highway rest area? I just don’t think it’s that safe to sleep overnight in a public place in your car. Carol doesn’t think so either.

 

 

I have also wondered how trackchasers manage the temperature controls that Mother Nature throws their way. In the winter it gets downright freezing. Sometimes the summer is no bargain either with hot and humid nights.

  

peecup 

What about those middle of the night forays?  

No one has ever mentioned this but what about getting up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom? I can think of a couple of ways to solve this problem. However, I’m not sure I would want to do this on a regular basis.

  

 

What about this?  

Finally, how would a trackchaser who uses his vehicle for housing handle a trip like I had this weekend. I arrived into my Oklahoma City hotel on Friday night. I would be staying two nights and departing on Sunday morning. When I awoke this (Saturday) morning I was about 100 miles from tonight’s track. Their racing was set to begin at 7 p.m. I could leave as late as 5 p.m. and easily be there on time.

 

 

If I woke up at 7-8 a.m. in my car and didn’t need to leave for the track until five at night what would I do for ten hours. There wouldn’t be much sightseeing to do at seven in the morning. I don’t know the answers to the questions I’ve posed. Maybe a trackchaser who sleeps overnight in his/her car can provide some insight.

  

 

Today was a rare “kick back” day.  

As it was I just kicked back all day. It was going to be more than 90 degrees today. I didn’t fancy spending too much time outdoors in that type of heat. I had some computer trackchasing work to catch up on so I simply hung out in my mini-suite and enjoyed the time to unwind. I did make a quick foray down the street for some lunch. At about 5 p.m. I left for tonight’s track.

 

 

My rest period was not going to last long. Following tonight’s racing near the Oklahoma/Kansas border, I drove about 100 miles back to the hotel. I would be able to get about five hours sleep before my wakeup call came at 5 a.m. I was planning to trackchase in my fourth different state in four days. There was one interesting facet to this geographic diversity. I would not know until my first airplane of the day landed WHICH state would be my fourth state of the trip. I keep a very flexible “mind-set” when I travel.

  

 

 

The People

 

Some people just can't give it up. 

In trackchasing I see every demographic our country has.

I obviously trackchase all over the United States on a frequent basis. I seem individual demographics that are most unique everywhere I go. What did I notice tonight? I guess it would be how rural the clientele appeared to be. This was obviously a lower-income crowd. I guess I can notice that because I grew up in a town that mirrored this demographic. Most of the folks I knew had moved up to central Illinois from the south for a shot at a higher paying factory job. Even though I went to college and continued on that track, I worked my summers in a Caterpillar Tractor production factory side by side with folks who would spend 30-40 years of their lives doing this hot in the summer, cold in the winter backbreaking work.

  

 

I know what it’s like not to have much “stuff”.

Growing up we didn’t have any money. I didn’t have any “stuff”. I didn’t know anybody who had any “stuff”. I didn’t even want for any “stuff”. O.K. I seriously wanted some baby moon hubcaps for my $185 1955 Pontiac Chieftan. However, when someone stole my hubcaps I figured she needed them more than I did.

 

a&w root beer 3 

I don’t ever recall having an unhappy day in my entire childhood. I don’t ever recall feeling we were “doing without”. It was a major treat to have my mother take us to the A&W root beer stand (curb service thank you) for a 10-cent root beer and a 10-cent ice cream sandwich. I don’t ever recall feeling too badly about the horrendous climate that Illinois can present in the wintertime, and sometimes in the summertime too.

 

 

Now I have more material things that I could ever had dreamed of and live in the best climate in the world. I wouldn’t want to go back to that era or that location to live but I didn’t mind it at the time.

  

 

Tonight the folks were having a good time.  

Most of the folks tonight seemed to be having a very good time. They were small town rural folks who looked to be on the lower end of the pay scale. Nevertheless, the ones tailgating looked like they had all the food they would ever need. They laughed and played as if they didn’t have a care in the world. I was happy to see that.

 

 

 

RACE REVIEW

 

I was about ready to join these folks on the sunny side of the speedway.

77 SPEEDWAY & ARENA

 

  

This is a rare permanent figure 8 only track. 

The 77 Speedway & Arena is what I would call a permanent figure 8 only racetrack. I like that. There are very few tracks of this type. I’m going to say there are less than 25 permanent figure 8 only tracks in the country. Anyone who has better data can dispute that but I don’t think I’m too far off.

 

it was! 

In some ways, this facility looks like other figure 8 tracks that would be considered temporary. The outer retaining wall is a series of “Jersey” barriers. The cars race around some large tractor tires in order to complete their “figure 8” (called “figure of eight” in England). As far as I know there is no other recurring or major entertainment that takes place here.

 

 

The Jersey barriers make the track look like it might be an oval. The cars could easily complete an oval race by simply racing around the two sets of tractor tires. Fans tailgate from their cars around what would be turns one and two as well as the backstretch if you think of this as an oval track. There are 3-4 large wooden bleacher grandstand areas around the turn three and four area as well as the front stretch.

 

I liked the log cabin “motif” of the track concession stand. 

The track sells t-shirts with their “77 Speedway & Arena” logo. The concession stand offered numerous treats. I went with a large cup of chili and some popcorn. Both were above average.

 

 

Just to keep it real, the track started racing 45 minutes after the scheduled start time. The track’s racing surface is a sticky muddy black dirt. Tonight there were about thirty V-8 big iron American made figure 8 racers. Before the show began all of the cars left the pit area (located beyond turns three and four) and rolled into the arena. Each was introduced to the fan’s applause. The extravaganza was followed by the track prayer and national anthem. The track also played some great country music over a stout P.A. system whenever there was a break. I look Toby Keith country music and with him being an Oklahoma boy he was featured often.

 

 

The racing was good. I like figure 8 racing when it’s of the high-speed full-contact variety. I don’t care much for the slow speed, let’s all get stuck in the first turn, figure 8 racing sometimes presented at our nation’s county fairs. I can’t believe I have seen more figure 8 shows than any other trackchaser considering I’m not a big fan of figure 8. However, at freestanding tracks like tonight, I might rather see a good well-run figure 8 program than many oval shows.

 

 Yes, I would be bailing about now too.

The thirty racers were divided into five heat races. From there they ran some consis and then the feature. When each race starts six cars or so, there isn’t much that differentiates a heat race from a feature. Nevertheless, the racing and especially the contact was ferocious.

 

77 speedway dash 

A highlight was the foot race!  

A highlight following the heats was a series of foot races. I would love to see a foot race between all of the listed trackchasers. Heck, I would pay to see that!

 

 

Tonight the 75 kids or so that entered were divided into “six and under” and “more than six”. As you might expect, one guy some five feet ten inches tall tried to compete in the “six and under” group. Maybe he misunderstood what “six and under” meant! Anyway, he was summarily booted from the group much to the crowd’s delight.

 

 

Capitalism is fantastic.  

The contestants all lined up at one end of the arena. At the other end, one of the track workers spread dollar bills in the muddy racing surface. When the green flag dropped the kids ran full speed some 100 yards to try to get a dollar bill. Hey, this is America. This was a form of capitalism that I fully support. Some folks think that capitalism is “too competitive”. What do I say to them? Keep collecting your unemployment checks and don’t bother me.

 

 

I had one problem with tonight’s foot races. We had just completed five of the most slam-banging figure 8 heat races I had ever seen. The entire muddy track was a “debris” field. Many (most?) of these kids in the foot race were running barefooted. I would not have run all over this arena barefooted for ANY amount of money no matter how many teeth fillings Carol needed to have done.

 

77 speedway lawnmowers 

Anyway, it was a pleasant Oklahoma evening of figure 8 racing at the 77 Speedway & Arena.  By the way they were racing lawnmowers too.  I guess I was lucky that it had rained in June and my flight to Dallas on Friday night had been canceled. It seemed that the sun and the moon had aligned to get me to this track.

 

 

 

STATE COMPARISONS

 

Oklahoma

Oklahoma

Oklahoma  

Tonight I saw my 18th lifetime track in Oklahoma. This helps me maintain my second place ranking here over Jack Erdmann who has seen 16 tracks. Of special note, this was my first visit to the Sooner state in 2009. Oklahoma is my 31st state where I have trackchased this year. Couple that with trackchasing, so far, in 13 different countries for 2009 and I’ve had a busy trackchasing travel year. Ed Esser leads Oklahoma with 29 tracks.

 

 

Trackchasing in a large number of states is important for the ANNUAL National Geographic Diversity rankings. The annual NGD contest differs in one important respect compared to the lifetime NGD contest. The 2009 annual NGD contest counts a trackchaser’s state visits in 2009 only. If you would like to see how often a specific trackchaser has visited a particular state in 2009 those stats are now kept at www.autoracingrecordsc.com. To view them just click on the “National and Regional Standings” tab.

 

 

There will be several states where only a few trackchasers visited the track. Each trackchaser who garners a top 10 ranking in one of our states will get an amount of points equal to his/her ranking. Trackchasers who did not make a visit to a particular state or who has a ranking outside of the top ten (in those states where more than 10 trackchasers showed up) will get an annual NGD score of 15. Trackchasers who get to see racing in a large number of states have a major advantage in the annual NGD contest.

 

 

After tonight I have just 14 active tracks to see in Oklahoma. A rather large number of nine of those tracks race on a regular basis. That means I have a few more weekends to enjoy the “Boomer Sooner” lifestyle.

 

  

 

Coming Soon – RANLAY Racing Exclusive Features!   

Why I fear Ed Esser. (Delayed again! Come on Ed I can’t wait forever…..my readers can’t either. They’re beginning to bug me about this).

 

 

What is Randy’s (speaking in the third person) trackchasing future? (Coming in Trackchaser Report #1,486 – that’s the NEXT one!)

 

 

Who have been Randy’s three toughest trackchasing competitors? (September, 2009)

 

 

 

 

Thanks for reading about my trackchasing,

 

Randy Lewis

Alberta’s #1 Trackchaser

4 out of 5 voices in my head say go for it.

 

 

 

 

TRAVEL DETAILS

 

AIRPLANE

 

Orange County, CA – Salt Lake City, UT – 588 miles

Salt Lake City, UT – Bismarck, ND – 696 miles

 

 

RENTAL CAR #1

 

Bismarck National Airport – trip begins

Wishek, ND – 90 miles

Bismarck National Airport – 192 miles – trip ends

 

 

AIRPLANE

 

Bismarck, ND – Denver, CO – 517 miles

Denver, CO – Oklahoma City, OK – 495 miles

 

 

RENTAL CAR #2

 

Will Rogers World Airport – trip begins

Wichita Falls, TX – 147 miles

Newkirk, OK – 412 miles

 

 

 

 

 

TRACK ADMSSION PRICES: 

Wishek Tri-County Speedway – Guest of WISSOTA

Texoma Motor Speedway – $6

77 Speedway & Arena – $10

 

 

 

COMPARISONS

 

 

 

LIFETIME NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC DIVERSITY UPDATE

 

Randy Lewis – current score = 4.92 (tracks posted thru August 9)

 

2009 NGD point changes 

Connecticut -7

Iowa -1

Maine -10

Massachusetts -6

New Hampshire -11

North Dakota -1

Rhode Island -8

South Dakota -1

Wisconsin -1

Texas +1

Vermont -8

Wisconsin -1

 

Net changes -53

  

 

Gordon Killian – current score = 5.82 (tracks posted thru July 25)

 

2009 NGD point changes 

Connecticut +1

Georgia -6

Kansas +1

Kentucky +1

New Jersey +1

New Mexico -4

North Dakota -1

Ohio -1

Rhode Island -1

South Carolina +2

South Dakota +1

 

 

Net changes -6

 

 

 

LIFETIME TRACKCHASER COMPARISONS  

 

There are no trackchasers currently within 200 tracks of my lifetime total.

 

  1. Randy Lewis, San Clemente, California – 1,485

 

 

Do you have any experience with auto racing at the 77 Speedway & Arena? 

By the way you might have remembrances about this track.  If so, please feel free to share them in the comments section below.  If you have any photos from back in the day, send them to me at Ranlay@yahoo.com.  I’ll try to include them here.

 

 

 

Official end of RANLAY Racing Trackchaser Report

 

Yes, I would be bailing about now too.

Click on the link below to see a Picasa photo album from today’s trackchasing day: 

Don’t miss the photos from my day of Oklahoma figure 8 racing!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Leave a Reply