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Adams County Fairgrounds

Greetings from Othello, Washington

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From the travels and adventures of the 

“World’s #1 Trackchaser”

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Adams County Fairgrounds

Dirt oval

Lifetime Track #2,372

 

The EventVideo PlusPhotos

 

 

 

THE EVENT

I have had the opportunity to follow my trackchasing hobby all over the world. As this is written I have seen racing in 75 countries. My lifetime track total exceeds 2,300. Each and every year I will trackchase in 25-30 states.

 

 

At track #1,040 I moved into the “World’s #1 Trackchasing” spot. Here’s the funny thing about that. I was perfectly content to remain in about seventh place in the worldwide trackchasing standings. Then I had rotator cuff surgery, which knocked me out of golf for about six months. With no golf and time on my hands I turned up my trackchasing by a notch or two. I discovered I liked MORE trackchasing and LESS golf. It didn’t take all that long to move up to the top of the world trackchasing standings at that point.

 

 

It is nearly unheard of me to find a county fair racing during the week in the middle of September in the Far West. However, more and more fairs are “getting into racing” nowadays. No, this isn’t racing like the fairs had in the 50s and 60s. Much of what we do in today’s world is advanced compared to that era. That is not the case with county fair auto racing.

 

 

My hobby is not only about racing. Trackchasing for me centers around three things. The racing part is pretty obvious. However of equal importance is the logistics of trackchasing and the opportunity to see the world.

 

 

I live in Southern California. The vast majority of tracks are located in the Midwest and East. It takes a good deal of logistical planning to get from where I live to where the tracks are. For the past 15 years I have traveled about 175 nights each and every year. Surprisingly to some, more than half of those overnights were not part of trackchasing.

 

 

Then there’s the travel just for the fun of seeing new things. You won’t want to miss my “Trackchasing Tourist Attractions” page or my “Sports Spectating Resume” page on my website at www.randylewis.org. That will give you some understanding on how important seeing the world is with my hobby.

 

 

Today’s adventure was one more of the 2,000 trips that have taken me up, down and around the long and dusty trackchasing trail. If you would like to see where I’ve been and experience those adventures here’s the link:

 

 

Randy’s Complete Track List

 

 

If you’ve got a question, comment or whatever please leave it at the bottom of this report.  It’s very easy to do.  Or you can visit me on Facebook.  Thanks!

 

 

Randy on Facebook

 

 

 

 

FOREWORD

I can probably count on two fingers the number of times I have ever trackchased in the middle of the week in the Far West during September. Right now I can’t remember it ever happening but it probably has.

 

 

Tonight I was headed to the Adams County Fairgrounds in Othello, Washington. The event was advertised as a “demolition derby”. In point of fact most of the program was devoted to oval track racing on a dirt surface.  I figured I was lucky to see any car racing up here.  This is rodeo country.

 

 

You will likely see that tonight’s racing in Washington was followed up by a series of weekend events in the Eastern Time zone. That was never my plan.

 

 

I have had very few disappointments in my trackchasing hobby. I can just about count those on two fingers as well! This weekend was reserved for a very far away trackchasing escapade.

 

 

I won’t go into a lot of details. However, when the racing was canceled in this ultra remote location I had a choice to make. I could travel a very long distance for a very small return or I could simply stay in my home country and add several tracks to my lifetime resume.

 

 

I am most appreciative of my good buddy Boris Miljevic of Bosnia and Herzegovina for his understanding and commitment. We did all we could to make this trip work but I guess it was destined to fail. Not a problem. We will reschedule at the nearest opportunity!

 

 

As one opportunity closes another frequently opens up. That was the case today. I would have lunch with longtime friend of more than 40 years, Ron Asahara.

 

 

For several years Ron and I worked together at Richardson-Vicks Incorporated. Then as sometimes happens in business Ron’s career went in one direction and mine in another. We hadn’t seen each other in about 20 years.

 

 

Today was the day to reunite. We sat down for lunch at an upscale on the water seafood restaurant in Seattle. For nearly the next two hours we recalled the stories and people from days gone by. It was a fantastic lunch. It was most fun getting to see Ron Asahara again. He’s a good guy and always has been. I can’t wait until the next time.

 

 

When our lunch was finished my attention turned to my trackchasing hobby. It would be a three-hour drive in the National Car Rental Racing Nissan Ultima over the Cascade Mountains to Eastern Washington and the Adams County Fairgrounds.

 

 

Just a few months ago I discovered a series of “special” Washington state county fairgrounds. They were all holding oval and/or figure 8 racing in the midst of what they called demolition derby programs. I’m not sure how I missed this racing during the past several years but I did.

 

 

The drive over to Othello took me through the Cascade Mountains on a winding, often under construction, Interstate 90. I just about got a speeding ticket, my first since 2003. The cop, in an unmarked pick-up truck tailgated me for a couple of miles. Then a civilian operated pick up truck passed me. He was going only about 5 miles an hour faster than me. The copper immediately pulled him over. I was safe to live another day speeding ticket free.

 

 

 

THE RACING

 

 

Adams County Fairgrounds – Othello, Washington

 

 

 

It was a little confusing when I entered the fairgrounds tonight. The grandstand and demolition derby ring were separated by 100 yards or more from where the actual county fair carnival was happening. That was a strange set up. I paid $10 to enter the grandstand to watch the racing. I don’t know if there was a separate admission charge or not for the carnival and whatever was part of that side of the entertainment. Yes, it was one of the stranger set ups that I’ve seen.

 

 

Tonight’s covered grandstand was old. It didn’t look like the old county fair covered grandstands that one finds in the Midwest and the East. This was “Northwest ” old. There were only about six or seven rows of seating. On top of that were some box seats. Tonight virtually every seat in the arena was occupied.

 

 

I often use these Trackchaser Reports to comment on the unusual. Tonight the demographic of the crowd was most unusual. I would estimate that more than 75% of the crowd, of more than 1,000 people, was Hispanic. I have never ever seen that at any track that I have visited in the United States. It was a lovely thing to see this culture being exposed to American racing. Nice folks.

 

 

The racing program started on time at 6:30 p.m. The first activity of the night would be time trials for the mostly V-8 powered American stock cars.

 

 

This is not an ordinary format for county fair low dollar stock car racing. It is the format for these types of races up in Washington state though. Tonight each of the competitors was able to run one lap of time trial qualifications. Most times were in the 11-15 second range. The first actual race started promptly at 8 p.m.

 

 

I grabbed a decent chilidog and a Diet Pepsi and then later on a six-dollar serving of kettle corn as my county fair supper. It was all good.

 

 

Tonight I first started watching the racing in the first turn. During the evening I would move around to all sorts of different viewing spots. I think that’s going to make for a great video of tonight’s race activity.

 

 

The track markers consisted of six huge tractor tires arranged to form a rectangle. The cars raced around these tires in an oval configuration. The dirt surface itself had a lot of loosely compacted dirt. The cars commonly created rooster tails. In fact, they sometimes threw the dirt all the way up into the grandstand.

 

 

There was a huge car count, especially for a Wednesday night. I would estimate they had 75 cars in the show tonight plus or minus.

 

 

Surprisingly, the oldish fairgrounds had a modern video Jumbotron type screen. Rodeo is big up here. I’m not sure how long demolition derby has been going in Othello.

 

 

Before the racing started they did a nice memorial to a fellow by the name of Bill Bagley. Bill along with his family and friends was responsible for organizing the very first demolition derby here. The announcer didn’t say when that began but it sounded like it was sometime ago.

 

 

I think the races were six laps long. I didn’t count them. I’m taking the announcer’s word for it. The heat races had six cars in most of the events. They also had some “Powder puff” Racing.

 

 

Tonight, for the first time ever, they were “bringing back the winners”. This was something that Mr. Bagley had recommended they do. It sounded as if they used to simply run off the heat races with no feature events whatsoever. That would change tonight.

 

 

From what I could tell a racer would get one time trial lap and then be entered in one heat race only. If the driver didn’t win his or her heat he or she was done racing for the evening. Of course they could enter their car in the demolition derby, which capped off the evening.

 

 

I had only three hours of sleep last night that culminated in a 3 a.m. wake up call to begin today. Then my afternoon included a three-hour drive to the races. All of this being the case I didn’t stay for the demolition derby. Maybe if my hotel was all lined up and just five miles down the road I would have stayed to see the crashing and banging of the demo derby.

 

 

I was very impressed with the organization and simplicity of tonight’s program. The cars were all lined up in advance. When one race finished the next race was coming out of the track. They raced about as hard as I’ve seen anybody race in a long time. Again, don’t miss the video.

 

 

 

AFTER THE RACES

 

 

I’ve now seen 42 tracks in Washington state. That’s more than twice the number of my nearest fellow competitor up here. There are only three states in the country, Washington, Oregon and Montana where a single trackchaser has seen twice as many or more tracks than the second-place chaser that particular state.

 

 

My plan for this trip had always been to sleep overnight in a highway rest area tonight. Even when my original, very far away location canceled, it still made the most sense to sleep in the car tonight. If I drove straight through I couldn’t get to Seattle until 1 a.m. in the morning or later.  I’ve got a great website that tells me when and where rest areas are located on our interstate highway system.

 

 

I was planning for a 7:53 a.m. flight. This would require me to be in the airport terminal an hour or so ahead of time. That just didn’t leave enough time for a hotel. It was what it was. I’ve learned to accept it.

 

 

The highlight of my day was having lunch with Ron Asahara. I was pleased with the quality of the racing entertainment tonight as well.

 

 

Nevertheless, I had a deep sense of disappointment on how this weekend was turning out. Nevertheless, it was onward and upward. I’m so far ahead of the game on “lucky breaks” that I will never get behind on that side of the ledger…..ever.

 

 

Good evening from Othello, Washington.

 

 

 

Washington

 

 

The Evergreen state

This evening I saw my 42nd lifetime track in the Evergreen state yes the Evergreen state. I hold a #1 trackchasing ranking in 24 states.

 

 

 

Thanks for reading about my trackchasing,

 

Randy Lewis

World’s #1 Trackchaser

Peoria Old Timers Racing Club (P.O.R.C.) Hall of Fame Member

Washington sayings: That it’s Grand Salami Time

 

 

Washingtonians all know and love sportscaster Dave Niehaus. He is most famous for saying “Get out the rye bread and mustard, Grandma, it is a grand salami time!” every time a Mariners made a grand slam homerun, but he also coined a few other gems in his era. Among them, “Swung on and belted!” which he used to announce long fly balls that might go over the wall. And he is credited for bestowing “A-Rod” upon Alex Rodriguez. Niehaus passed away in 2010 but Washingtonians (including Mackelmore) remember him fondly.

 

 

 

 

 

 

QUICK FACTS

 

 

LIFETIME TRACKCHASER COMPARISONS 

The three most important trackchasing comparisons to me are:

 

Total lifetime tracks seen

Total “trackchasing countries” seen

Lifetime National Geographic Diversity results

 

 

Total Lifetime Tracks

There are no trackchasers currently within 600 tracks of my lifetime total. Don’t blame me.

 

 

  1. Randy Lewis, San Clemente, California – 2,372

 

 

Total Trackchasing Countries

There are no trackchasers currently within 20 countries of my lifetime total.

 

  1. Randy Lewis, San Clemente, California – 75

 

 

 

Current lifetime National Geographic Diversity results

 

  1. Randy Lewis, San Clemente, California – 4.37

 

 

 

That’s all folks! Official end of the RLR – Randy Lewis Racing Trackchaser Report

 

 

Click on the link below to see the video production from the racing action today.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Click on the link below for a photo album from today’s trackchasing day.  You can view the album slide by slide or click on the “slide show” icon for a self-guided tour of today’s trackchasing adventure.

 

 

 

Wednesday night big car junk car county fair racing from Washington. Fun!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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