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Drayton Valley Speedway

Greetings from Drayton Valley, Alberta, Canada

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From the travels and adventures of the 

“World’s #1 Trackchaser”

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Drayton Valley Speedway

Outer dirt oval

Lifetime Track #2,355

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Drayton Valley Speedway

Inner dirt oval

Lifetime Track #2,356

 

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.

 

 

I put a lot of time and effort into planning these trips. It is a labor of love. Most of the time the plan comes off well. Even when unexpected/unwanted things pop up I only look at it as making the story more interesting. The cool thing about life is that everyone gets to choose their reaction to the circumstances they encounter.

 

 

Today something unexpected happened. I drove some 10 hours up to this remote spot in Canada to add just one track to my lifetime totals. Then, when I wasn’t looking, I ended up seeing a BONUS track. Wow! Ya, wow! I’ll tell you more about that as we go along.

 

 

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 woke up this morning in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. It felt really good to be able to sleep in a bed for the first night in the last three. That shower and shave felt great as well.

 

 

One of the things I take great pride in is being able to see racetracks before any other trackchasers do. It’s a benefit and a reward for doing the research to find these places.

 

 

Today I would be trackchasing at the Drayton Valley Speedway in Drayton Valley, Alberta, Canada. My sources tell me the facility opened in 2000. The track went by the name of Rapid Fire Motorsports Park.

 

 

I was looking at a three-hour drive from Calgary up to Drayton Valley. I had four hours to make it. I didn’t expect any traffic to speak of it at all. I could just relax on a Sunday morning and enjoy the beautiful golden canola fields of Alberta.

 

 

Along the way I discovered a shiny silver old-fashioned diner called the “Starlight Diner Car”. Normally I don’t take the time nor do I have the time to stop in sit down restaurants when I’m traveling by myself. However, I had a few minutes today so I would stop.

 

 

Soon I was enjoying the “alien omelets” with two pieces of rye bread. The bread was the first I have had in 3 1/2 months. I Googled rye bread nutritional information. I determined that two slices would only cost me 22 g of carbohydrates. I could work with that. The bread was generously lathered in butter. By the time I added a healthy dose of salt it tasted pretty good.

 

 

Despite the currency advantage that the U.S. dollar has compared to the Canadian dollar Canadian prices always seem high. Today my bill for the omelets, without hash browns, and a Diet Pepsi plus tip was about $18 Canadian. That’s around $14 U.S.

 

 

That was a little pricey but it was nice to sit down in a local atmosphere and enjoy some good food. I won’t be able to do that for at least another couple of days.

 

 

I drove on through the farmlands of Alberta. They raise a lot of beef cattle up here. I also saw a couple of very long oil tanker trains moving through the countryside. However, the highlight of the entire drive was the beautiful bright golden canola fields. They’re in full bloom right now. My photos never do justice to this natural beauty.

 

 

I’m seeing some deer road kill along the side of the highway. I always wonder how many dead deer are lying 25 feet off the road that I don’t see compared to the ones I do see lying just 6 feet off the major roadways.

 

 

My Waze GPS program was doing an excellent job as it always does. I normally have the ETA in the back of my mind when I make these trips. That info lets me know how long I can stop to explore something if I choose to go that route.  It even tells me where the remote gas stations are located.  What if your local convenience store forgot to build the building around the store and gas pumps?  What would it look like?

 

 

 

THE RACING

 

 

Drayton Valley Speedway – Drayton Valley, Alberta, Canada

 

 

I pulled into the Drayton Valley Speedway parking lot exactly at 1 p.m. I was perfectly on time. I saw the water truck slowly circling the dirt oval. It was putting down some moisture. At that point I knew I had a few minutes before racing would begin.

 

 

Today’s admission price for adults was $10 Canadian. That’s about eight bucks U.S. However for “seniors”, with an unknown age requirement, admission was only five Canadian dollars. That seemed like a good value to me.

 

 

Since I had never heard of the Drayton Valley Speedway until a few days ago I asked the woman selling tickets how long they had been racing. She told me two years. As I looked around it was obvious this track had been in existence for much longer than two years. It turned out that the current race promotion team has had the track for two years. It had run in the past for many years before that.  I would come to learn the track first started racing in 2000.

 

 

I picked out a spot in the top row of one of the small multiple grandstands. Throughout the day another 50 or 60 people joined me. Yes, this was a local program.

 

 

I had read an online news story about the Drayton Valley Speedway. Rains had affected the track heavily earlier this year. They had only gotten in one or two programs prior to today. Today the weather was clear and sunny with temperatures of about 23-24°C. There was a healthy wind at our backs.

 

 

I would be watching racing on a mildly banked quarter-mile dirt oval track. I could see there was also a dirt inner oval inside the bigger track. However, it hadn’t been watered and wasn’t likely to be used today.

 

 

As the day progressed I would see there would be three classes of cars and trucks racing on the quarter-mile track. The first group, the super stocks, brought four competitors. A lower-level stock car group featured seven racers. Finally, four full-sized pick up trucks made up their racing class. Yes, these were small car counts but that’s what I’ve come to expect in remotely populated areas.

 

 

I walked around to see what kinds of concessions were being offered. There were actually three separate sellers all operating with their own temporary facilities. One place was selling mini donuts. Another was offering up soft drinks and ice cream. The third and final group was selling sandwiches, French fries and the like. I probably would have eaten at the track but the eight-dollar Canadian price for a cheeseburger scared me off. I passed on everything today.

 

 

After the first set of heat races, for the three classes of stock cars, were finished on the quarter mile track I was in for a surprise. The female announcer told the crowd that the “little guys” would now be coming out to race on the inner dirt oval.

 

 

The little guys would be driving “box sprints”. The announcer continued to tell us that this was the only kart track of its kind in the entire province of Alberta.

 

 

The next news coming from the announcer’s mouth was bad news for me. By “little guys” she meant drivers that were in her words “under 10”. As you know in trackchasing a class must be open to drivers at least 18 years of age. If it is then that class will count. If the class is limited to racers less than 18 years of age racing with that class on any track does not count. I was responsible for getting the “18 year old” rule confirmed in the trackchasing hobby. By the way I didn’t make the rules I just try to play by them.

 

 

The box sprints looked like winged outlaw karts to me. There were six of them. It’s not all that entertaining at times to watch a class racing on the track that you would love to count but you know you can’t count. Trackchasing is a “counting” hobby. Most of the time a trackchaser wouldn’t walk across the street to watch racing at a new track if it doesn’t “count”. This particular class was not going to count because of the age restriction.

 

 

However, new news was coming my way. That’s when I nearly fell off the back of my top row grandstand seat. The announcer continued to tell the crowd that “a couple of moms” raced in this division to provide some competition for the youngsters. Wow! Double wow! All of a sudden I was in line for two countable tracks during one visit to the Drayton Valley Speedway. 

 

 

From a standing start the six competitors took the green flag for their first heat race. The two moms started in fifth and sixth positions. They finished up in third and fourth. The announcer told us that this was a “non-points” racing class. Not awarding points is common in beginner racing divisions.

 

 

Racing on an inner oval track had never been mentioned in communiqués with two different Drayton Valley race contacts. The racecars competing on the inner oval were certainly countable.

 

 

I was not privy to the birth certificates of the two mothers who were racing. However, any reasonable person would have to assume they were at least 18 years of age. They did have sons competing in the box sprint class. Unless they were very very young at the time of their pregnancy one would have to conclude they were at least 18 years of age. The inner oval at the Drayton Valley Speedway will now forever be known as lifetime track #2,356.

 

 

I mentioned to you earlier that the Drayton Valley Speedway had been racing for two years according to my ticket seller. However on the backstretch was a huge sign that read, “Race City Motorsports Park”.

 

 

I have been keeping a track with that track name for years in my proprietary “not yet seen” database. The latest information I had was that particular track was closed. Now, it seemed it was reopened under the banner of “Drayton Valley Speedway”. 

 

 

I spent much my afternoon in the grandstands talking to a local resident. That always adds to the enjoyment of the event especially in a foreign country. He had lots of stories to tell. He routinely went into the woods, with a permit, and cut ten cords of wood. That was a two-year supply for heating his home with a woodstove.

 

 

The man was a carpenter by trade. He was building homes for people that measured 12′ x 22′. The funny thing about our conversation is the man never did ask a single question about me. To this day he doesn’t know where I’m from or anything about me. I thought that was a bit unusual. I just wanted to see he would ever ask me a question and he didn’t. Nevertheless, he was a nice enough guy. I very much enjoyed talking with him.

 

 

I have probably attended well over 1,000 business cocktail parties. At these events people hold a drink in their hand and converse with their friends and business associates.

 

 

Do you know who the best conversationalists are? It’s the people who ask you questions. It’s not the people who do all the talking or who patiently wait (sometimes not so patiently) for you to stop talking so they can totally ignore the point you were making and then begin talking about what THEY want to talk about.

 

 

I like playing a conversational game with people. I keep asking them questions to see if they will ever ask ME a question or inquire about my interests. Sometimes they never do. Most of the time I don’t look forward to talking to these people any more.

 

 

The car counts today were definitely skinny some might call them anemic. That’s what you get when you come to many Far West tracks. Nevertheless, they kept the show moving with one race after another. There was a 20-minute intermission. Each class ran two heat races and a feature event.

 

 

My favorite type of racetrack is the quarter-mile dirt oval. Even with only 4-7 cars racing in each race today the racing was good. You can have a four-car race and if the top three cars are all within a few feet of each other battling for the lead it can be fun to watch. That was the case today.

 

 

When the final checkered flag flew today, about two hours after the start of the program, I headed into the pit area. There I was able to get up close and personal photographs of several of the cars that race today.

 

 

 

AFTER THE RACES

 

 

Yesterday I saw racing in Lewiston, Montana. Had I just left Lewiston and returned to Salt Lake City I would have saved miles of driving. That’s not really how I roll.

 

 

I was headed to Alberta, Canada from Montana. By going to the Drayton Valley Speedway the logistics of the entire idea required that I return my rental car to Seattle, Washington. I guess the trackchasing gods rewarded me with an extra track today. Why? Maybe it was because of the commitment I had made to get here with an original plan of seeing only ONE track.

 

 

If my day had ended right there after having seen two new tracks at the Drayton Valley Speedway I would have considered the effort a 100% success. However, the experiences I would encounter on the long and dusty trackchasing trail would not end at the speedway.

 

 

Carol and I often joke, “People have no idea”. My fellow trackchasers and competitors have never done the volume of chasing that I do. They have never done the diversity of activities that I do. That’s right. Even people who “trackchase” have no real idea. Honestly, Carol has no real idea.

 

 

The most extreme trips are most often done when I’m on my own. I must be a poor storyteller. Even though I try to provide all the details of each trip “people still have no idea”.

 

 

The weather in Drayton Valley, Alberta had been just perfect this afternoon. The racing was done under blue skies with temperatures in the low 70s and a nice breeze of 10 M.P.H. or so.

 

 

That’s why what I am about to tell you was so surprising. Some 75 miles out of Drayton Valley, on my way to Seattle, I noticed a thunderstorm was approaching. It looked as if it might cross the highway I was traveling on a few minutes before I got there.

 

 

Now you have to imagine that you’re driving on a Canadian highway in July with temperatures in the 70s and not a cloud in the sky. Then almost as if by magic you are driving in the slush and snow of a wet recent snowfall. Folks, that’s exactly what happened.

 

 

The pavement changed instantly from dry on a summer July late afternoon to snow! The situation lasted for about a mile and a half. There wasn’t a lot of snow but it was definitely the white stuff

 

 

The storm couldn’t have come through more than 15-20 minutes before I got there. There was even a state police officer pulled over on the side of the road. He looked as if he might be monitoring the situation. The elevation where I was traveling was only 2,800 feet. That wasn’t all that much for such a weather phenomenon.

 

 

I motored on. In a very short distance the landscape was back to being dry as a bone. It was really one of the most unusual things I can ever recall seeing.

 

 

This was just the start of what was going to be a very challenging drive “back to the barn”. I told you previously that the rental car companies would not allow me to pick up a car in Salt Lake, City Utah and return it in Canada. That surprised me. However, I have to work with their rules even when they are not convenient for me. They have the cars!

 

 

I got out of the races in the greater Drayton Valley area at about 4 p.m. Alberta time. Since they are in the Mountain time zone I would gain an hour driving over towards Seattle. The bottom line was that I would have 23 hours to make the thirteen-hour drive.

 

 

This was not going to be your “normal” thirteen-hour drive.  It would be challenging enough if all I had to do was drive 13 hours across Interstate 80 in the middle of the country in twenty-three hours.

 

 

As it was most of my drive would take me through the mountainous region of the Canadian Rockies first Alberta and then British Columbia. My gasoline strategy was to fill up one time in Canada with enough fuel to get me back across the Canadian border on Monday morning.

 

 

Little did I know my Waze GPS program found the most direct route to be taking me through the Jasper National Park in Alberta. When I approached the park’s entrance gate the park ranger woman asked me if I was driving through or staying in the park. “Driving through” was my answer. She waved me on at no charge.

 

 

I had just bypassed getting gas before I entered the park. I still had about an eighth of a tank. At that point I had no idea how much driving I would need to do just to get to the other side of the Jasper National Park. I didn’t know when I crossed into British Columbia that I was immediately thrown into Mount Robson national Park.

 

 

This is beautiful country up here. It’s rugged and gorgeous. The mountains are snowcapped even in July. This looks to be pretty much a copycat version of Yellowstone Park.

 

 

It wasn’t long after I entered Jasper National Park that my orange low fuel light became illuminated. I figured I would soon be leaving the park and gas would be available. That was wrong headed figuring on my part.

 

 

As I drove on there was no gas. There was also no end to the Jasper National Park. I was getting nervous. I was getting very nervous.

 

 

Finally, I found a gas station at the Mount Robson National Park. However by 8 p.m. it was now closed. I ended up driving 51 miles with my orange low fuel light illuminated. I don’t think I’ve ever gone farther in that situation. I had finally found a gas station….and it was closed.

 

 

A local fellow came by and saw me standing by my car at the gas pumps of the now closed gas station. “You need gas?” he asked. It pained me to hear such an obvious question. I told him that I did. He told me the nearest “open gas station” was twenty miles down the road. That was both good and bad news.

 

 

I might make it twenty miles and I might not. I got back in the car and drove without the air-conditioning. That might save me a mile or two. I drove just 55 M.P.H. That might save me enough to get through those last twenty miles.

 

 

I made it! Gasoline at this somewhat remote station was $1.12 Canadian per liter. That’s about 90.7 cent U.S. That’s about $3.45 U.S. per gallon.

 

 

I was able to put 73.4 liters of fuel in the tank. What does 73.4 liters of fuel equate to in U.S. gallons? The answer: 19.3 gallons. What is the official fuel capacity for a 2017 Hyundai Sonata? According to CarFax.com it’s 18.5 gallons. I truly was driving BEYOND fumes when I pulled into this gas station.

 

 

The trip was not all bad though. While in the Jasper National Park I came across a huge moose (my Maine friend John Sullivan says it was an elk.  Since he’s from Maine and we don’t have any moose OR elk in San Clemente I’m agreeing with John!) with antlers that must have been five or six feet tall. He was just grazing on the other side of an Armco steel highway safety barrier. I pulled my car up beside him and took a little video. Unfortunately the better of the two videos that I took were screwed up by me. I was bummed about that.

 

 

A little while later, after I had gotten fuel, I was driving along in this rural mountainous landscape. That’s when I noticed what could either be a huge black plastic bag or possibly a black bear. I made a U-turn to investigate.

 

 

This WAS a black bear. I lowered my window and used my iPhone 7 video camera to share my experience with my new black bear friend. It wasn’t long before he stood up and ran off into the woods.

 

 

I’m suspecting there is a TON of wildlife up here. If in a relatively short drive I can see a huge moose….er elk and an equally huge black bear lounging along the side of the road I can only imagine if we were to go on some form of a Canadian safari up here. That reminds me that we might just want to do something like that.

 

 

I knew that I had 23 hours to make the thirteen-hour drive.  Of course there would be convenience stops and another stop for gasoline and the like. I figured I would be able to get a good 6-7 hours of highway rest area sleep. That’s exactly what I did.

 

 

I don’t know what the elevation was where I slept overnight. I do know this.  At about 6:15 a.m. the cold 46° temperature woke me up. I’m guessing that in the middle of the night it was even colder. I figured it was time to get up and get going.

 

 

I’ve just spent three of my last four overnights sleeping in an airport or highway rest area. That is not my normal plan but it is part of the plan when necessary and prudent.

 

 

From my overnight sleeping area it was a straight downhill drive for what seemed like about an hour. I don’t think I’ve ever driven that fast that far downhill for that long ever.

 

 

 

MONDAY

 

 

As noted I woke up at about 6:15 a.m. Mountain daylight time somewhere in the Canadian Rockies in British Columbia. It was 46°. It was time to move on down the road.

 

 

A couple of hours later I was crossing back into the United States at the Sumas, Washington border crossing. I cleared that entry point in less than a minute.

 

 

As soon as I could I made a quick stop at McDonald’s using my McDonald’s app to get nine dollars worth of breakfast food for five. McDonald’s food is already inexpensive and when you’re getting it at nearly 50% off it’s quite the value.

 

 

I was going to make my return time of 1 p.m. in Seattle. I was even early for my flight. I would need to hang out in the brand new Alaska Airlines lounge at the SeaTac airport for a few hours. That would be a nice place to relax.

 

 

I think I keep a pretty busy lifestyle for a senior citizen… or for anybody for that matter. I’ll be hopping on an airplane bound for Kansas City, Missouri tonight. Nope. There will be no stopping at our modest seaside cottage. In KC I will have lunch with a friend and get ready for an entirely new geographical trackchasing experience.

 

 

 

Good afternoon from Drayton Valley, Alberta, Canada.

 

 

 

Alberta

 

 

The “Texas of Canada” province

This afternoon I saw my 11th and 12th lifetime tracks in the unofficially nicknamed “Texas of Canada” province, yes the “Texas of Canada” province. I hold the #1 trackchasing spot in Alberta as I do in British Columbia and Prince Edward Island.

 

 

 

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

Alberta sayings: ‘Berta

 

Definition: A slightly more annoying and supposedly easier way of saying “Alberta.”

 

Contracting (to shorten a word/phrase) because pronouncing those two extra letters would just take way too long. You gotta say this one with a lil’ country twang for you to really feel it.

 

 

 

 

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 – 2,356

 

 

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.

 

 

 

 

Alberta a very scenic place after a surprising trackchasing result at the Drayton Valley Speedway

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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