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Brown County Fairgrounds

Greetings from Nashville, Indiana

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From the travels and adventures of the 

“World’s #1 Trackchaser”

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Brown County Fairgrounds

Dirt oval

Lifetime Track #2,358

 

The EventVideo PlusPhotos

 

 

More than 2,300 Lifetime Tracks Visited

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 74 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.

 

 

One of the more rewarding aspects of my trackchasing hobby is being able to be the first chaser to see racing at a particular track. There are lots of “unconventional” tracks popping up all time. Tonight was an example of that. No trackchaser had ever seen racing at the Brown County Fairgrounds.

 

 

It takes some time and effort to find out about these race dates. That’s where the folks at the Randy Lewis Racing Research Department come into play. They are supported by hundreds of people from across the world. These people send me clues, ideas and action plans to attend tracks all over our planet. Without them I couldn’t be the first to see racing at so many places. I have easily identified more tracks that were racing for the “first time” from a trackchasing point of view than anyone else. What do I do with that information? I share it with my fellow competitors and the world!

 

 

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

 

 

Wednesday

I woke up this morning in Collinsville, Illinois. Collinsville holds a special place in my heart. Growing up in Illinois I was a huge fan of Illinois high school basketball. I’ve seen all of the big-name sporting events in the United States. Nevertheless, some of the Illinois high school basketball games I’ve watched have been the most entertaining contests of all.

 

 

 

The elite eight games of the Illinois state tournament were all broadcast on state wide TV. Collinsville had a player named Bogey Redmond.

 

 

At the time Bogey was either 17 or 18 years old. He looked like he was 35 or 40! He had a receding hairline and just that rough look made him look much older than his actual age. The Collinsville Kahoks went 32-0 winning the 1961 Illinois state basketball title. My memories of the Collinsville high school bball team made my staying at the La Quinta inn in Collinsville such a memorable event. Granted that game was played more than 50 years ago but it sticks in my mind as an outstanding boyhood memory.

 

 

I made the time to take a one-hour power walk this morning. The hotel is located in a great area for that. There were lots of paved streets nearby with little or no traffic. I’m not recording the same times for my power walking speed as I do on the dirt paths at the Pacific Ocean in San Clemente. I think the heat, humidity and lack of breeze in general are all contributing factors. Nevertheless, it was good to get out on the road. I’ve been spending a lot of time in the rental car lately.

 

 

I’m headed over to Indiana for some county fair racing tonight. Most county fairs hold only one race a year that would count toward my trackchasing totals. That certainly adds to the challenge of being at the county fair when they’re actually having a race.

 

 

Today’s four-hour drive over to the Brown County Fairgrounds in Nashville, Indiana would have me losing an hour to time zone changes. In my line of work I cross time zones about as frequently as most people cross-town.

 

 

I could see that I would be passing through Terre Haute, Indiana as well as Bloomington, Indiana. I did a search on things to do in Terre Haute. The number one rated TripAdvisor touring attraction is the “Clabber Girl” museum.  Clabber Girl sponsored the “Grey Ghost” sprint car.

 

 

Clabber Girl is a baking products company. I knew them from their sponsorship in auto racing as well as their sponsorship of the grand old Opry in Nashville, Tennessee. I added the Clabber Girl museum to my planned activities for the day.

 

 

I also gave the Indiana State penitentiary, a maximum-security facility in Terre Haute, Indiana a phone call. No, I wasn’t checking in on any of those Dreaded East Coast Trackchasers. I was inquiring to see if they did any public tours. Back in our college days Carol and I were taking a criminology course. We got the chance to tour the Joliet state prison in Illinois. That was an eye-opener.

 

 

However the fellow who answered the call at the penitentiary didn’t know if they did tours. He put me on hold to get more information. Then he never got back to me. I took that to be a no!

 

 

I might also take a tour of Indiana State University. I would love to see the basketball court where Larry Bird put their program on the map. Carol and I did venture over to Indiana State see our school, Northern Illinois University, play the Sycamores back in our college days. Yes, even back then we were taking sports road trips as we could find them and afford them.

 

 

If I have the chance I will stop by the Assembly Hall on the campus of Indiana University. I’d like to see what their basketball arena looks like. I’m a huge fan of seeing college basketball and football stadiums. I never have been a big fan of Bobby Knight but I would love to see the spot where he was part of the famous “chair-throwing” incident.

 

 

I did stop at the Clabber Girl museum in downtown Terre Haute, Indiana. I would say it this way. If the Clabber Girl museum is the number one attraction in all of Terre Haute there isn’t much going on in Terre Haute! I cruised through there in about 15 minutes on my self-guided tour. Honestly, it’s not much.

 

 

However, the museum is located less than 100 yards from the Hulman Center. This is where the Indiana State Sycamores have been playing basketball since the early 70s. This facility is not where I saw my Northern Illinois University Huskies play in about 1970.

 

 

I asked around and soon found out that gym is still in existence but no longer used for their big games. I made my way over there with the help of a very friendly receptionist. Of course I’d seen that NIU-ISU game nearly 50 years ago. After I saw the interior of the gym today I didn’t really remember it at all. I did try to get into the Hulman Center but it was locked up tight.

 

 

By now there was no time to get over to Bloomington, Indiana to tour Indiana University’s sports facilities and campus. No problem. I’ll do that tomorrow.

 

 

I was now off to Nashville, Indiana home of the Brown County Fairgrounds. The Rouse Promotions group was holding an autocross racing event as well as a demolition derby tonight.

 

 

I was surprised at how “artsy” Nashville, Indiana was. There is a similar town in Indiana, Madison that reminded me of Nashville. Both of these smaller towns have a large number of independent hotels that advertise the hot tub experience among other things! There are lots of little boutique stores. It’s definitely an upscale little artsy community.

 

 

This is what made my visit to the Brown County Fairgrounds so unusual. The small town of Nashville looks like Laguna Beach without the Pacific Ocean. At the same time the Brown County Fairgrounds itself is one of the most rural fairgrounds I’ve ever seen.

 

 

It looks as if it situated down in a “holler”. Yep. I think they saw a clearing in the woods or made one and plopped the fairgrounds right in an open spot. There was also a very rural crowd on hand.

 

 

Like most county fairs the place was packed. It looked as if there might be 2,000 people on the fairgrounds but 3,000 cars. I can never figure out why it looks like there are more cars than people. I know that cannot be true….right?

 

 

 

THE RACING

 

Brown County Fairgrounds – Nashville, Indiana

 

 

 

When I first drove onto the fairgrounds I pulled into the wrong entrance. This put me on eye level with the racetrack ambulance and turns number one and two of tonight’s dirt oval. I could have simply driven the National Car Rental Racing Toyota Camry right onto the track from that spot. That told me I wasn’t at Daytona.

 

 

I thought better of using this entrance and pulled into an area where they were charging two bucks to park. I was a LONG way from the fair and the racetrack itself at that point in time. As a matter fact I was within a few feet of a large cemetery.

 

 

I soon found my way to the ticket booth. There was no charge to enter the fair. They were charging $10 to get into the grandstand to watch tonight’s motor sports activity. I paid my 10 U.S. dollars and went to sit in the grandstand. However, my view from there wasn’t good. I returned to the ticket window.

 

 

I asked if I could upgrade my grandstand ticket to a pit pass. They were selling those for $15. I was told that wouldn’t be a problem. The ticket seller, an older man, asked me if I “had a knife” to cut off my grandstand wristband? I don’t carry a knife but his comment did tell me about something about the ticket seller.

 

 

I simply pulled hard on the wristband and it popped off. For an additional fiver I was given a pit pass wristband.

 

 

It was at this point that I did something that I never ever do. I’m going to repeat this. I never ever do what I did tonight. When I told Carol the story in my midnight phone call she also said, “You never ever do that! I can’t believe you did that.” What did I do?

 

 

I stood next to the ticket seller and put the pit wristband around my wrist. I’m sure I’ve done that kind of things hundred of times. There’s a small piece of paper that needs to be pulled off so that the pit pass can be affixed to your wrist.

 

 

I’m guessing that small piece of paper, a tab if you will, is maybe the size of a United States postage stamp. I looked around and didn’t see any garbage cans. That being the case and because I was in a bit of a hurry I simply took that small piece of paper and tossed it on the ground.

 

 

I walked about 20 yards over to where folks for entering the pits. I flashed my wristband. The man said to me in a pretty stern voice, “Before you come into the pits would you go over and pick up that piece of paper you threw on the ground and put it in the trash?” I was a little surprised by that question. I replied that that would not be a problem and did as instructed.

 

 

I walked over, bent down and picked up the postage stamp sized piece of paper and put it into a large trashcan. I was pretty surprised the man asked me to do such a thing for such a small violation.

 

 

The situation was most unusual. As I mentioned I never litter at any time or any place. On the other hand, I thought the guy had a “pretty big sack” to make a point of the fact that I had dropped a 1” x 1″ square piece of paper on the ground. Life never stops surprising me.

 

 

So….what are the things I like about being in the pit area? First, I love being able to get up close and personal with the cars and drivers. There were some pretty rough looking machines in the pit area tonight. You won’t want to miss the photographs of these racers. Secondly, a pit pass lets you listen in on the driver’s meeting. I missed that tonight because I chose to watch the first event from the grandstand. Finally, a pit pass allows the user to watch things from the pit side OR the spectator side. Yes, having a pit pass is a pit like flying first class.

 

 

There were two classes of autocross cars competing tonight. These were four-cylinder and eight-cylinder “junk cars”. They raced around an oval track with a dirt surface and no banking. There was grandstand seating along the main straight. The pits were located beyond turns three and four.

 

 

Lots of shows like this have the demolition derby as the primary activity with the actual racing being secondary situation. That wasn’t the case tonight.

 

 

The smaller autocross cars had 10-12 entries. The larger autocross cars had about 10 entries as well. They ran two demolition derby heats. One was for small cars with just three entries. The second demo was for big cars with four entries. This looked to me like autocross was getting a lot more interest from the racers than demolition derby.

 

 

The program started on time at 7 p.m. It wrapped up by about 9 p.m. I did have a few moments to talk with race promoter J.R. Rouse. J.R. was a nice guy and appreciated having a California trackchaser show up tonight. I’ve seen a few of his shows and enjoy the unique locations he races at.

 

 

I took a brief walk around the fairgrounds. They had a carnival and several commercial displays. They also offered most of the food that one might expect at a county fair. I really could have gone for the cobbler and ice cream being sponsored by the local police department. However that would have dealt my low-carb situation is serious blow.

 

 

 

AFTER THE RACES

 

 

Once back at the car I used a very light Wi-Fi connection to secure a hotel back in Bloomington, Indiana. Bloomington was just 18 miles from tonight’s fairgrounds location in Nashville, Indiana. Being in Bloomington would give me a perfect opportunity to do the touring of Indiana University that I wanted to do…..tomorrow.

 

 

I booked a reservation on Priceline at the Hampton Inn. The Hampton Inn is an improving chain especially for their economic segment of the overnight stay market. Tonight the best online price for the Hampton Inn in Bloomington was $124 plus tax. With Priceline I paid the princely sum of just $53 plus tax. Although I’m spending a lot of money on these trips I guess I’m saving money compared to what the normal traveler might pay.

 

 

It had been a good day. I don’t believe anyone associated with the trackchasing hobby has ever seen a racing event at the Brown County Fairgrounds in Nashville, Indiana. That’s really my specialty.

 

 

The Randy Lewis Racing research department comes up with all kinds of venues that no one has ever visited for the purpose of trackchasing. Then when I share the information broadly, as I always do, others have the benefit of my department’s extensive research. If every trackchaser shared as completely as I do wouldn’t it be a perfect world? We can dream can’t we?

 

 

 

 

 

 

That’s it. Good day from Nashville, Indiana.

 

 

 

Indiana

 

 

The Hoosier state

This evening I saw my 111th lifetime track in the Hoosier state, yes the Hoosier state. I hold the #2 trackchasing spot in Indiana. At the current rate that I’m going I would expect to move into the #1 Indiana spot in a few more seasons.

 

 

 

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

Indiana sayings: “Different seasons”

 

 

In Indiana, the idea of there being different seasons is hilarious. We consider the weather to be more of an exciting game of chance. It can snow, rain, and creep to 100 degrees all in the same week. And you know what? We like it that way!

 

 

 

 

 

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 – 2,358

 

 

Total Trackchasing Countries

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

 

  1. Randy Lewis, San Clemente, California – 74

 

 

 

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.

 

 

 

Some small county fair racing PLUS a major tour of Indiana University PLUS a stop at Clabber Girl

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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