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Dorchester Fairgrounds

 

Greetings from Dorchester, Ontario, Canada

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From the travels and adventures of the 

“World’s #1 Trackchaser”

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Dorchester Fairgrounds

Dirt figure 8

 Lifetime Track #2,381

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 is nearly 2,400.  Long ago I wrapped up seeing racing in every American state.

 

 

Some eleven years ago I moved into the “World’s #1 Trackchasing” spot.  Of course, that’s if that title is awarded to the person who has seen the most lifetime tracks.  Frankly, I don’t think it should be.   Maybe “Most Prolific Trackchaser” is a better description.

 

 

Anyway my trackchasing totals exceeded all others more than 1,300 tracks ago.  Different trackchasers including Rick Schneider, Ed Esser and now Guy Smith have held the second spot behind my trackchasing results.

 

 

The trackchasing leadership has always had a difficult time managing the “politics” of trackchasing.  Even the leaders have been toppled by trackchasing politics. When Mr. Schneider dropped out over a dispute Ed Esser became the #2 ranked trackchaser.  Sadly, just four days after Ed and I went trackchasing together in Canada he passed away.  This moved Guy Smith into the #2 spot.  Since the year 2000 I’ve seen nearly 900 tracks more than Mr. Smith.  Currently my advantage over trackchasing’s #2 exceeds 600 tracks.

 

 

I would lobby that the “World’s #1 Trackchaser” title should go to the person who has seen racing in the most countries.  For the longest time the real “World’s #1 Trackchaser” was Roland Vanden Eynde of Belgium.  He was closely followed by Will White of Pennsylvania.

 

 

I never had all that much interest in international trackchasing.  I was nearly 40 years old when I saw my first track outside of the U.S., in Canada.  I never thought international trackchasing was worth the expense or the hassle.

 

 

When I gained an airline sponsorship all of that changed.  Now I have seen racing in 75 countries and toured the world in more than 90 countries.  Long ago I passed up Mr. Vanden Eynde for the true “World’s #1 Trackchaser” title.

 

 

I’ve seen figure 8 racing all over the world.  This includes England, Australia, the U.S. and Canada.  Today I was returning to Ontario, Canada for figure 8 racing.  I’ve seen more figure 8 racetracks in Ontario than any other state or province.

 

 

My hobby is not only about racing.  Yes, that is one part of it.  However of equal importance are 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 and just “seeing stuff” 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

 

 

SATURDAY

 

 

I woke up to a rainy morning in Rochester, New York.  I wasn’t too concerned.  I was heading to Dorchester, Ontario, Canada.  The weather forecast was excellent up there.  Even if it wasn’t I knew that they would race rain or shine.

 

 

I was in my car and headed northward, sort of, in the National Car Rental Racing Chrysler 300.  For the first time ever I was using my Illinois Tollway electronic transponder.

 

 

My research told me that the Illinois Tollway pass did not charge any monthly fees.  It could also be used with the EZ-Pass toll system that runs all the way from New York back to Illinois.

 

 

My toll pass was registered to my personal vehicle.  Others told me that I could also use it in my rental cars as well.  I didn’t want to hassle with changing the license plate number in my electronic account every time I got into a new rental car.  I’m going to take the chance that really doesn’t matter.  So far the toll pass has been working flawlessly.  However, I don’t know how much I’ve been paying in tolls.

 

 

Breakfast would be on the fly.  I started with a blueberry muffin offered up by the Extended Stay America hotel where I stayed last night.  Then, once in the car I dined on Diet Cherry Pepsi and chocolate glazed doughnut holes.  Surprisingly, I’ve eaten like this my entire life and still appear to be fairly healthy.

 

 

Coming into today I’ve seen racing at 146 tracks in Canada.  Ontario is the province where I’ve seen the most.  Sixty-five of my tracks come from there.

 

 

Nearly half of my Ontario tracks have been on figure 8 configurations.  The Thrill Show Productions people promoted most of those shows.  The TSP racing group always comes through rain or shine.  In the past I’ve met up with Willie Williams and his uncle Walter who started the group more than 50 years ago with Willie‘s father.

 

 

Today I would be entering Canada via the Peace Bridge in Buffalo.  However I will be exiting Canada over by Detroit, Michigan.  As you might expect trackchasing strategy played into this geographical decision.

 

 

Crossing the border was easy.  I had less than a 10-minute wait.  When you do cross into Canada via the Peace Bridge a toll is charged.

 

 

The toll is three dollars U.S. or four dollars Canadian. However, using my tollway transponder the total was only $2.70 U.S.  I think I’m going to like having the electronic transponder!  I should have gotten one years ago.

 

 

Getting over to the Dorchester fairgrounds was pretty easy from the Canadian border.  It was a 208-kilometer drive once I entered Canada.  It was a beautiful Saturday morning.  The fall foliage is nearly out in full force.

 

 

There are 50 American states and 10 Canadian provinces.  I provide that data for my non-North American readers.  I’ve seen figure 8 racing 35 American states and two Canadian provinces.

 

 

It is Ontario where I have seen the greatest number of figure 8 tracks relative to the total tracks seen in a particular state or province.  After today I have seen 66 tracks in Ontario. Some thirty-one of those racing facilities hosted figure 8 racing.  Yes, Ontario’s percentage of F8 tracks to total tracks ranks number one out of 60 potential states and provinces where I’ve seen figure 8 racing.

 

 

I have some fairly detailed proprietary racetrack databases.  You would be surprised!  One of the things I have to make sure of is that I’m not unknowingly coming back to a track that I have already visited.  I’ve actually done that a time or two. Everyone makes mistakes right?

 

 

 

THE RACING

 

 

Dorchester Fairgrounds – Dorchester, Ontario, Canada

 

 

 

The Dorchester Fairgrounds sits just a mile or two off of the main highway.  Today it was easy to find.  I pulled in behind a pick up truck pulling a figure 8 racer.

 

 

This was going to be a small fair.  I was a little surprised at the lack of a clearly identified entrance.  When I followed the racing team we parked in the center of a large crushed rock oval racing track.  I’m pretty sure they would use that or have used that for horse racing up here.

 

 

There were a large number of cars, maybe as many as 30-40, parked in the infield ready for today’s race action.  The schedule called for demolition derby today as well as figure 8 racing.

 

 

Today’s event was being promoted by Thrill Show Productions.  I’ve seen more of their figure 8 shows that any other demolition derby/figure 8 promotion company anywhere in the world.  However, there was something just a little bit strange about their event today.

 

 

I didn’t recognize any of the key players.  I didn’t see Chris who normally runs the show or Walter Williams who started the company with his brother many years ago.  I didn’t recognize the announcer.  This was all very unusual.  I wondered if anything had changed with TSP?

 

 

I parked the National Car Rental Racing Chrysler 300 just a few feet from the demolition ring itself.  I had not paid anything to get to this spot.  I didn’t see anyone collecting money in any fashion whatsoever.  However, I did see a few people wearing pit wristbands.

 

 

I arrived at a little before 2 p.m.  Racing was not scheduled to begin until 2:30 p.m.  That being the case I walked out of the large track’s infield parking area over to where the fair itself was happening.

 

 

I’m a big fan of poutine a Canadian delicacy.  I like to point out that I was the first trackchaser to ever mention eating poutine on one of these international trackchasing trips.  I’ve enjoyed poutine many many times.

 

 

I hadn’t had breakfast yet.  The first poutine vendor was going to be the recipient of the Canadian funds provided to me by wife Carol.  It didn’t take long to find someone willing to participate in this exchange.

 

 

The vendor advertised his offering as “Montreal poutine”.  Of course Montreal is in the Quebec province.  I was in Ontario today.  Nevertheless, the ambience of “Montreal poutine” was all I needed to see.

 

 

Poutine is essentially French fries, brown gravy and cheese curds.  Today I had a choice between a small and a large serving.  You know what I picked.

 

 

Then I asked for extra cheese.  I ended up getting 2 cups of this dairy product added to my fries and brown gravy.  That serving and a bottle of water came to $14 Canadian or about 12 bucks U.S. in total.  It was a little pricey but it was good.

 

 

Then I checked out the fair.  There were several small buildings with typical county fair competitions on floral arrangements, baking and the like.  There was a small carnival area.  There was also a beer garden.  It was well attended today.

 

 

I decided to watch the racing from inside the big track today.  The people at the fair had to watch from nearly 100 meters away from the demolition ring.  That didn’t look like a very good viewing situation to me.

 

 

I would be able to watch the action from about 30 feet away from the ring itself with the sun at my back.  That was perfect.  They started a little bit late and overall seemed a tad bit unorganized.  I really wondered where all over TSP were?

 

 

The demo ring was probably 60-75 yards long and maybe 40-50 yards wide.  It was pretty good sized.  The dirt in the devil ring was another thing.  It looked to be primarily sand.  It was also dry.

 

 

The first event of the day would be demolition derby for about a dozen cars.  They put on a really good show except it looked like it was a demo derby coming from Iraq!  At times the V-8 power cars turned up dust plumes that totally liberated at least half of the action.

 

 

By definition the winner of a demolition derby is the last car that’s running.  That means when the event is finished there are going to be as many as 11 of the 12 cars that started that are now totally disabled.  There were two tractors removing the cars but it took a while.

 

 

Next up was the figure 8 racing.  That’s what I came here for.  I’m going to guess there were about twenty figure 8 cars in the racing pits.  Today each figure 8 race would consist of six cars.

 

 

The fire department did use their hoses to put some water on the track.  However, it was kind of the equivalent of my spraying a garden hose over a children’s sandbox for about 15 seconds.  Only the very thin top layer of sand/dirt was dampened by the moisture.  However, the 5-6 inches of sand underneath was as dry as a bone.

 

 

I did see a first today for figure 8 racing.  Of course I think it’s a first.  I have long since forgotten lots of other firsts that I have seen so maybe this wasn’t a first but it seemed like it was.

 

 

In one of the turns the sand was so deep that two cars got crosswise blocking the track.  Soon all six cars were stuck in this quicksand and nobody could move an inch.  The race was red flagged.  The two tractors were summoned remove two or three of the figure 8 stock car competitors.

 

 

One pit crewmember became irate when the track officials would not move their car out of the sand. They seemed to have a pretty good point.  If all six cars were stuck, despite who got stuck first, wouldn’t it make sense to try to remove everybody that was still capable of running if they were in the sand?

 

 

I had a really good eye-level view of the race action. You won’t want to miss my video.  Today’s race program was just a little bit “off“.

 

 

I didn’t know why that was.  I hadn’t paid a Canadian penny for admission.  The fair was small not very entertaining.  The poutine was probably the highlight of the day.  For whatever reason this just didn’t seem like a “normal“ Canadian fair like I’ve seen so many times.

 

 

 

AFTER THE RACES

 

 

In a couple of hours it was time to go.  I was headed to the Detroit Metro Airport in Detroit, Michigan.  The border crossing at the Ambassador Bridge was quick and easy.

 

 

My original plan called for me to sleep overnight at the Detroit airport.  I would try to catch a Sunday morning flight from Detroit to Dallas, Texas.  However when the Sunday morning flights started to fill up faster than I expected a new plan needed to be implemented.

 

 

What if I could catch a flight tonight?  Airlines cut back their schedules dramatically on Saturday nights.  I guess not too many people want to fly then.  People are in the middle of their flying weekend.  They left on Friday and won’t return until Sunday.

 

 

Tonight’s flight from Detroit to Dallas tonight was overbooked.  However, a flight to San Antonio, Texas was wide open.  There was a problem with flying to San Antonio.  I would have a five-hour drive to tomorrow afternoon‘s racetrack in Texas.  If I could fly to Dallas that drive would only be one hour long.  Of course getting to San Antonio, even with a five-hour drive, was better than not getting to Texas on Sunday morning at all.

 

 

I am nothing if not creative and, of course, flexible when it comes to my travel planning.  I try to go with the very best idea that’s available at the moment. However, as soon as a new “best“ idea comes along the former best idea is put on the back burner.

 

 

My flight to San Antonio was leaving 20 minutes after the Dallas flight.  That meant I could attempt to fly standby to Dallas.  If I didn’t make it I could move down a couple of gates and hop on the airplane to San Antonio.

 

 

At the worst point in the waiting process there were 10 standby passengers for five available seats.  I was last on the standby list.  However I can always count on people to essentially underperform.  I watched this phenomenon all my life!

 

 

Underperforming in this circumstance means not showing up for an airplane ride that they’ve already paid for.  As it would turn out some people didn’t show up tonight.  I got the very last seat.

 

 

 

Wouldn’t you know it?  The very last available seat on the entire plane was a first class seat.  I was going to be forced to accept a first class seat.  I didn’t have a major problem with that as you might expect.  After a couple of Bailey’s served on the house I relaxed and enjoyed my flight down to Dallas Texas.  If you tune in to my next Trackchaser Report you’ll find out exactly happened on my trip to the Lone Star State.

 

 

 

Good afternoon from Dorchester, Ontario, Canada.

 

 

 

Ontario

 

 

The Heartland Province

This afternoon I saw my 66th lifetime track in the Heartland Province yes, the Heartland Province. That seems like a lot, doesn’t it?

 

 

 

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

Ontario sayings:   Slovakia, just take off ya hoseheads….this is our sport.

 

 

 

 

 

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 – 2,381

 

 

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.

 

 

A day of figure 8 racing adventure up in Canada

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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