Navigation 

Hernando County Fairgrounds – Figure 8 & Oval

Greetings from Brooksville, Florida

.

.

From the travels and adventures of the 

“World’s #1 Trackchaser”

.

.

Hernando County Fairgrounds

Dirt figure 8

Lifetime Track #2,313

.

.

Hernando County Fairgrounds

Dirt oval

Lifetime Track #2,314

 

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 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.

 

 

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

 

In the middle of the week I started my home baseball season by going to an Angels game with good buddy George Robertson. The Lewis clan has been long-time Angels’ fans. All the way back in 1979 we were season-ticket holders (81 games!).

 

 

Angels Stadium, where the Angels play, was also home to the NFL’s Los Angeles Rams back in the 80s and early 90s. We had nine season tickets to the Rams games! We’ve been sports fan forever and we go to the games to support our teams.

 

 

I was looking forward to this trackchasing weekend. I was going to have a daunting travel schedule. My original plan called for beginning in Los Angeles then flying to Portland, Oregon and onto Orlando. I would drive to Tampa to fly from there to Memphis. I would drive to Nashville and then fly to Washington D.C. From D.C., I would end up flying back home to Los Angeles. I would do all of this, and drive more than 600, in just 70 hours.

 

 

Trackchasing rules limit chasers to seeing racing on ovals, figure 8 courses and road courses. I’ve seen racing at nearly 300 figure 8 tracks. There’s a reasonable chance I might make the 300 milestone for figure 8 events this year.

 

 

The lion’s share of my figure 8 tracks have been in the midwest and the east. Fairgrounds locations are probably the most popular place to hold a figure 8 race.

 

 

That’s why I found it so unusual to find a county fair figure 8 race happening in Florida. I’ve seen a few figure 8 races in the Sunshine State but virtually all of those have been at permanent oval tracks.

 

 

The Randy Lewis Racing Research Department had been on top of their game. Earlier in the week I had gotten in touch with the Hernando County Fair superintendent, Richard. We had a nice conversation. Richard invited me to be the guest of the fairgrounds at tonight’s figure 8 races.

 

 

Now all I had to do was get from Los Angeles to about one hour north of Tampa, Florida. I needed to do that in an efficient and cost-effective manner. I seem to be pretty good at that. Off I went.

 

 

 

 

ON THE WAY TO THE RACES

 

 

I always have a pretty tight logistical plan in place for these trips. However, things happen. When things happen I sometimes, O.K. a lot of time, change the plan.

 

 

When the flight from Los Angeles to Portland began to fill up quicker than I expected I made a very last-minute switch to fly to Seattle. That meant I had to kiss Carol good-bye right after dinner.

 

 

The Seattle flight was no piece of cake for getting on either. I got the very last seat on the plane! That’s happened before and will likely happen again. The way I fly you need to be both patient and flexible.

 

 

Once in Seattle I slept overnight in the airport for about five hours. Yes, I sleep overnight in airports. Who doesn’t? It’s all part of the “efficient and cost-effective” plan. I have never had the big trackchasing budgets of the “Dreaded East Coast Trackchasers”. People have a hard time believing that but actions are stronger than words. On Friday morning I hopped on a jet plane headed for Tampa.

 

 

My original destination had me going to Orlando. But when I changed from going to Portland to going to Seattle that also changed my destination. That meant that I had to cancel my Orlando rental car reservation and make a new one for Tampa. I had not committed any hotels yet. I normally don’t do that until I’m on the ground and the plan is 100% firm. Yep. I could have been a travel agent or a long-distance trucker!

 

 

Once in Tampa I grabbed the car of my choice from my long-time sponsor, National Car Rental. They give me a little financial edge on each and every rental.

 

 

It was an easy drive up to the fairgrounds from Tampa. Just as Richard had promised all I had to do was let the ticket office know that I had arrived. They graciously put me to the head of the line, waived the eight-dollar fair admission fee, the seven-dollar figure 8 admission and whatever extra amount was being charged to get into the pits.

 

 

The weather was hot! My car’s outside thermometer read 102 degrees. It was only late April for gosh sakes.

 

 

 

 

THE RACING

 

 

Hernando County Fairgrounds – Brooksville, Florida

 

 

I quickly tracked down Richard the race promoter. It was nice to meet him. He had been a real gentleman on the telephone. Richard told me they had been doing primarily demo derby but wanted to get their feet wet with figure 8 racing. If things went well they were hoping to expand the figure 8 idea to other fairgrounds.

 

 

We talked about that for sometime. Then I began to take a tour of my own of the figure 8 pit area. There were 10 figure 8 racers here tonight. That’s not a lot but it’s enough to get the show done properly.

 

 

The fair itself was small. I would take time to explore everything when the races were finished. It was nice knowing that I only had a 50-mile drive afterwards.

 

 

Like I said, I haven’t been to all that many county fairs in Florida. If Richard comes through with his figure 8 expansion plans I may be seeing more of those races down here.

 

 

Considering that they had never ever had a figure 8 race at the Hernando County Fairgrounds the crowd wasn’t bad. There were probably a couple hundred people in the permanent grandstands.

 

 

The announcer told us there would be “big” car and “little” cars racing on the figure 8 track. Of course, small cars are the 4-cylinders. Big cars are six and eight cylinder powered cars. They ran a series of heat races mixing and matching the competitors with 3–6 cars in each race.

 

 

The figure 8 racing was about as traditional as I’ve seen. Like I say I’ve seen nearly 300 figure 8 race locations in my time.

 

 

Richard did have an intriguing idea. He told me about it over the phone last week and in person tonight. When he told me his plan I thought to myself that I had never ever seen anything like this. Here’s what I understood was going to happen.

 

 

Richard and the crew were going to have a figure 8 race but the drivers were going to compete by driving in reverse. No, I have never seen that. That sounded like it might be difficult to do.

 

 

True to Richard’s word three junk car competitors came out for the “reverse “race. It would be a five lapper. However as soon as they started it looked as if something wasn’t right. I thought it would be more than difficult to drive a car backwards as fast as possible AND do it over a figure 8 configuration.

 

 

The drivers got the green flag and off they went. However, during the first lap it seemed as if the drivers were missing their marks. They were not backing around the tires properly.

 

 

By lap two it dawned on me. I might not be the sharpest tool in the shed. Maybe it was because I had slept in an airport last night…or maybe it was the heat.

 

 

The drivers were driving in reverse. Check. It was a five-lap race. Check. However they were not racing around a figure 8 configuration. They were driving in reverse over an OVAL configuration!

 

 

Folks do you know what that means? It meant that I had already seen racing at the Hernando County Fairgrounds figure 8 track. Now I was seeing racing on oval track. I had no choice. I had to count the oval in addition to the figure 8 layout. Do NOT miss the video.

 

 

Let me provide some historical background on the hobby of trackchasing. It will give you an idea on why I absolutely had to count tonight’s “oval” racing.

 

 

For the longest time Will White was the commissioner of trackchasing. Will is the person who first invited me to be a member of the trackchasing group.

 

 

I had applied for admission many years earlier. However, trackchaser organizer Guy Smith had rejected my application. That’s right. Maybe Mr. Smith was clairvoyant. Maybe he knew that I would someday pick up my interest in trackchasing. Maybe he wanted to stifle competition. All I know is that I mailed my trackchasing list to the address he required. I never heard back from him. I should have taken that as a sign.

 

 

Will White kept track of everyone’s list of trackchasing accomplishments. He interpreted and enforced the trackchasing rules. Will White ruled with a stern fist that was always supported by his own logic. I know this. He always wanted to do the right thing. Often times his idea of “right” was not mine. Sometimes I feared the “movers and shakers” of trackchasing tried to influence the commissioner. That was just a feeling I had.

 

 

One of Will’s personal rules was that if he knew you had seen a track he counted it for you whether you submitted it or not. That’s just the way it was.

 

 

Of course you know that the hobby of trackchasing has rules. Nevertheless, some chasers who join the hobby still want their track list to reflect THEIR rules and not the rules of trackchasing. Frankly, I think that is ridiculous.

 

 

If you come to the birthday party you don’t try to tell the host how to run the party. If they ask you to sit in chair #8 you sit in chair #8. It’s what a good guest does.

 

 

Will White is long gone from the role of trackchasing commissioner. He faced the same rejection and humiliation that Andy Ritter did. At different times, when both Will and Andy made their rulings, other people attacked them for making that decision. Ultimately the result was the same. Both Will and Andy resigned in frustration.

 

 

Today the person in the role of trackchasing commissioner is Guy Smith. Guy is so concerned about potentially alienating anyone who shows interest in the hobby that he will accept just about any track submission whatsoever. I’ve seen trackchasers send in results that probably needed to be questioned a little further. If you’re a friend of Guy’s then there are no questions asked.

 

 

So about two hours after I arrived tonight, seeking the addition of one figure 8 track, I had added both a figure 8 and an oval track to my lifetime list. No this was not the World 100 or the Daytona 500. Most of the tracks I visit are not. However I don’t make the rules. I have never made any of the trackchasing rules. I simply try to abide by them.

 

 

 

 

 

AFTER THE RACES

 

 

When all of the racing was over I took some time to explore the fair. I sat in on some live country music. That was fun. I attended the cattle show in one of the animal barns. Boy, was it hot in there. Since I am currently in “food rehab” I didn’t try any of the fair food offerings.

 

 

Once I knew that I had made it to the fairgrounds tonight I took some time in the parking lot before going into the fair. There I used my technological capabilities to connect my iPhone to my laptop for an internet connection. That’s called “tethering”. I quickly made a hotel reservation using Priceline.com.

 

 

The Extended Stay America hotel in Tampa Florida was charging $100 a night plus tax. On Priceline I got that very same hotel room for half that price. This seemed like a fair deal to me even though I would only be in my room for about eight hours.

 

 

By the time I made it back to the hotel I was pretty tired puppy. With not very much good sleep in the airport last night and the extreme heat and humidity of Central Florida I was beat.

 

 

Tonight I had seen my 65th and 66th lifetime tracks in the state of Florida. My good buddy Ed Esser, now deceased, left this world with 67 Florida tracks.

 

 

I did not establish a goal this year of trying to become the #1 trackchaser in Florida. I didn’t to that because I didn’t think I could do it. There’s no need to set goals for achievements that you think are virtually undoable. However sometimes what you think is not possible or even likely…is. Now I am only one track short of Ed’s total. That means I’ll probably be back down this way another time this year. That might happen real quick. We will see.

 

 

 

Good night from Brooksville, Florida

 

 

 

 

Florida

 

 

The Sunshine state

This evening I saw my 65th and 66th lifetime tracks in the Sunshine state, yes the Sunshine state. I hold the #2 trackchasing spot in Florida…but I’m looking. I’ve seen 66 or more tracks in 12 separate states. No trackchaser can match that.

 

 

 

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

Florida definitions: Highway wildlife signs…..

 

What it usually means: Deer.

 

What it means in Florida: Gators.

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

  1. Randy Lewis, San Clemente, California – 2,314

 

 

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.

 

 

First ever figure 8 racing from the Hernando County Fairgrounds and a big surprise

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Leave a Reply