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Caroline Pond Ice Track

It was going to be a cold Sunday afternoon.

It was going to be a cold Sunday afternoon.

Greetings from Caroline, Wisconsin

From the travels and adventures of the “World’s #1 Trackchaser”

ONE OF THE BETTER WEEKEND LOGISTICAL CHOICES

Track #1,821

HighlightsThe PlanThe TripThe ExperienceRace ReviewVideosPhotosQuick Facts

THE KEYS TO THE TRIP

 

I can get pretty lucky with the weather……………more in “Race Review”

I had a “logistical vacation” this weekend……………..more in “The Trip”

With this weekend’s track located just 16 miles apart very few drivers raced in both places. …..details in “The Experience”.

 

THINGS YOU MIGHT HAVE NOTICED HAD YOU BEEN PAYING MORE ATTENTION IN SCHOOL

 

THE BEST READERS IN RACING TAKE TIME TO CONTRIBUTE

I received lots of fun notes and congratulations about my actual ice racing adventure at yesterday’s track in Gresham, Wisconsin.  Thanks to everyone who took the time to write.

 

Wisconsin means cheese.

Wisconsin means cheese.

Just getting there is half the fun. 

I’m not sure if you’re aware of this or not but probably my biggest challenge in trackchasing is managing the logistics.  Just getting from point A to point B, C, D, etc. takes time and money.  My responsibility is to get from one place to another and spend as little time and money as possible doing it.

 

Oftentimes one track is a long way from the last one or the next one.  I’ve got a trip coming up soon where the racing will finish about 10 p.m.  I have a ten-hour (600-miles) drive to make before catching a 10:30 a.m. flight the next day.  Do the math and you will understand the logistical challenges I face.

 

No complaints from this corner.

Please don’t mistake my comments above as a complaint.  They are not.  I LOVE the logistical challenges my hobby throws my way.  However, today was going to be one of those “once a year” logistical vacations.

 

Yesterday’s track in Gresham, Wisconsin was just 16 miles from today’s ice track in Caroline, Wisconsin.  I’ve had lots of opportunities to “break” this duo up in the past.  I resisted.  Today I benefited from that will power to wait until just the right weekend when I could see each of these tracks consecutively on a Saturday and Sunday.

 

However, my “logistical vacation” would be short-lived.  I would be leaving the country for a race tomorrow (Monday).  Then I would return for a race on Tuesday back in the U.S.  Finally I would fly well over 10,000 miles for a race in a very foreign country before returning home.  Nevertheless, I would enjoy seeing two Wisconsin tracks so close together while I could.

 

Holiday Inn Express - Green Bay

Holiday Inn Express – Green Bay

At least this trip was under my control 

I woke up this morning in Green Bay, Wisconsin.  I went to bed in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada.  This is what today looked like.

 

One of the benefits of seeing two tracks in one weekend so close together was that I could spend some time in my hotel.  Priceline hooked me up with a very upscale Holiday Inn and Suites property.  My room was as nice as a Marriott or Hyatt.  I even had time to use the hotel’s health club facilities as I try to reach my exercise goal as it relates to trackchasing activity.  I may have bitten off more than I can chew with THAT goal.

 

Even with these tracks located just 16 miles from each other this weekend I still did a lot of driving.  To keep the trip “in my control” I elected to use Minneapolis as my trackchasing base.  That meant 606 miles of round-trip trackchasing driving.  Sometimes for “short” distances driving is better than the “start up” time of flying.

 

Good idea?

Good idea?

I was puzzled by this.

Yesterday’s ice track in Gresham, Wisconsin was just 16 miles from today’s ice track in Caroline, Wisconsin.  I figured most of the racers at each event would run both shows.  Wrong!

 

Each track had about 20-25 cars.  However, I would say only about five chose to race at both events.  Doesn’t that surprise you?  With the tracks that close, and there being only a handful of ice racing weekends each year why wouldn’t a driver race at both places.

 

Not a lot of crossover.

 

Another thing surprises me about ice racing.  Very few ice-racing cars are raced in the summer on the nearby dirt or asphalt ovals.  I believe that if I had a car or street stock or hobby stock quality I would want to race it as often as I could afford it.

 

The word “afford” may be the answer to the questions raised above.  There is little or no prize money in this type of racing.  However, there are lots of expenses (tires/gas/upkeep, etc.).  Most local racers probably don’t have the disposable income to race much more than they do…..or they would.

 

 

Station wagons make good ice racing machines.

Station wagons make good ice racing machines.

CAROLINE POND ICE TRACK – CAROLINE, WISCONSIN

 

625 days and counting.

Today was a beautiful clear winter day.  There was no wind and the temperature was in the upper teens.  That’s just about ideal for ice racing.  At the driver’s meeting they mentioned they had cancelled last Sunday due to rain I think.  Last Sunday I was trackchasing at the Buffalo Lake Ice Track in Packwaukee, Wisconsin (just 105 miles to the south) without a care in the world about the weather.  It’s been 625 days since my last weather related cancellation.  How much longer can this go on?

 

Don’t miss my YouTube film regarding ‘mirror driving’ at Caroline.  It’s classic.

Today I arrived just in time for the driver’s meeting.  As you approach the track from an elevated position you get a wonderful view of both the ice track and all of the brightly painted cars in the pit area.  It really is quite the sight.

 

At the driver’s meeting one of the track officials was admonishing the drivers for “mirror driving”.  In case you don’t know that happens when the driver looks in his rearview mirror to see where other racers are and then tries to block them from passing.  The official was MOST animated in telling the drivers that action was going to stop.  Don’t miss the video.

 

The coldest job in ice racing.

At the driver’s meeting I ran into track photographer and PR guy, Randy Van Hoof.  We talked briefly until he assumed his position in the oval track’s infield.  Being an ice track photographer is fraught with difficulties.  First, standing in the infield in not the safest position at the track.  Secondly, standing out in the open on a zero-degree (or worse) wind chill day is not for the faint-hearted.  Standing out in the wind on a sub-zero weather day has got to be the coldest job in auto racing.  I feel sorry for the flagman.

 

Today general admission was three dollars for spectators.  It was just five dollars for a pit pass.  I bought a pit pass so I could get a close up photo of every car at the track for your viewing pleasure.

 

I would be flying internationally tonight.  That being the case I didn’t want to be “all bundled up” with long underwear, heaving waterproof winter boots, etc.  I dispensed with all of that heavy-duty winter gear and went with my “winter lite” wardrobe.  That wasn’t a problem today.  I could watch from my car and just pop out when I wanted to take action racing photos and videos.

 

While I was in the pit area I ran into Sarah.  She’s the woman who loaned me here racecar yesterday at the Upper Red Lake Ice Track.  Today she was driving a different car.  I hope I didn’t harm yesterday’s racer!

 

These folks do the job right.

The Caroline Valley Racing Association is very squared away.  They started on time.  The group provides a track announcer that can be heard on the local FM (90.5) radio station.  They even give each paying customer a one-page handout with the driver’s number, name and current point total.  How much trouble would it be for EVERY race promoter to give this type of information to their fans?

 

Today’s oval ice track was about a quarter-mile in length.  Four classes of racecars participated.  These included front wheel drive (FWD) and rear wheel drive (RWD) cars in both studded and non-studded versions.  I think some of the cars raced in BOTH studded and non-studded divisions simply by changing tires between races.  There were a couple of ATV racing classes as well.  The ATVs, a non-countable trackchasing form, are fast and exciting.  Don’t miss the RLR Film.

 

Overall, this has been a very productive ice track racing weekend so far.  I am rapidly running out of ice tracks in this part of the world.  Before I gained my airline sponsorships I rarely went ice racing.  Ice racing dates are “flimsy”.  They can be cancelled on a moment’s notice with lack of ice, snow, rain or a few other things.  It’s good that I’ve gotten most ice tracks “out of my system” by now.  If my airline sponsorship ever changes I won’t be trackchasing much at ice races.

 

Where did you put that ‘thinking cap’?

Wisconsin is done for now.  It’s on to Canada, Florida and then “Trackchasing Country #64”.  Start getting your “thinking caps” on for the upcoming naming contest.  I want you to be a winner.

 

STATE COMPARISONS

Wisconsin

 

The Badger State

This afternoon I saw my 75th lifetime track in the Badger state, yes the Badger state.  I still have about twenty tracks to see up here.  That includes a base of ice and kart tracks and the, up to now, illusive Plymouth Dirt Track and the equally difficult to get to St. Croix River Speedway.  Oh yes, there’s one more weekly oval.  I just learned about it from the racers at yesterday’s ice track.  I’ll have more on that after my visit to this brand new track later this year.  I’ll be back to Wisconsin probably sooner than later.

 

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

 

Wisconsin sayings:  Come cut the cheese in Wisconsin

 

 

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TRAVEL DETAILS

 

AIRPLANE

Los Angeles, CA (LAX) – Minneapolis, MN (MSP) –1,535 miles

 

RENTAL CAR #1

Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota International Airport – trip begins

Gresham, WI

Caroline, WI

 

TRACK ADMISSION PRICES: 

Upper Red Lake Ice Track – No charge

Caroline Pond Ice Track – $5 (included admission to pit area)

 

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 300 tracks of my lifetime total.  Don’t blame me.

1.  Randy Lewis, San Clemente, California – 1,821

 

Total Trackchasing Countries

There are no trackchasers currently within 10 countries of my lifetime total.

1.  Randy Lewis, San Clemente, California – 63

 

Current lifetime National Geographic Diversity results

1.  Randy Lewis, San Clemente, California – 5.08

 

 

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

 


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