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Jefferson County Fairgrounds

Greetings from Brookville, Pennsylvania

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From the travels and adventures of the 

“World’s #1 Trackchaser”

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Jefferson County Fairgrounds

Dirt (really mud!) figure 8

Lifetime Track #2,350

 

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’ve met a lot of people across the long and dusty trackchasing trail. Today proves that point in two different directions. One of my trackchasing buddies, Paul Weisel (above lower right), was at the track. There were only about 100 fans watching the rain-soaked race today. Nevertheless, I didn’t know that Paul was there until after the fact. We never did see each other at the Jefferson County Fairgrounds.

 

 

Then a person, whom I had never met, recognized me from photos on my website! I’ve had that happen a time or two. It was my pleasure to meet up with trackchaser Dan Schultz for the very first time. We shared each other’s company during the two-hour racing performance today. Yep. I meet lots of different and interesting people over the long and dusty trackchasing trail.

 

 

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 was hoping to see a trackchasing double today. I had figure 8 racing planned for Brookville, Pennsylvania in the afternoon and some Pennsylvania oval track racing at the Naugle Speedway planned for the evening. However, the Pennsylvania weather forecast was not cooperating. I thought there might be a good chance of getting the figure 8 in but I doubted I would see any oval racing tonight.

 

 

I use the Weather Underground iPhone app for weather prognosticating. I think it gives me excellent information. I don’t know how I trackchased without data like this to help me make decisions on where to go when the weather threatens. I think you can view my long-term rained out record, which is extremely low, to substantiate this point.

 

 

I don’t only have to worry about the rain. I have to worry about how committed the promoter is to running the show with questionable weather. Some oval track promoters will cancel the racing simply on an advanced forecast. Others, like Eldora Speedway, will simply wait until it stops raining and run the show at 5 a.m. if they have to. Still other tracks run in the rain. That’s what I like about racing in the UK. They get a lot of rain but they will race in almost any condition.

 

 

Last night I put a couple of cold drinks in the refrigerator of my Extended Stay America hotel room. To make sure I wouldn’t forget those drinks I hung my car keys on the handle of the refrigerator.

 

 

This morning I checked out of the room went down to the parking lot to get in my car. That when I noticed I didn’t have any keys! My “system” insures two things. First, I won’t forget what I put in the refrigerator. Secondly, I won’t drive off with a couple of cold ones still in the fridge. Yep. My system had worked perfectly.

 

 

It was going to be a two-hour drive eastward over to the Jefferson County Fairgrounds in Brookville, Pennsylvania. Unofficial tallies told me that I would be seeing my 297th figure 8 track, if I could beat the weather.

 

 

Before I made that drive I wanted to call the fairgrounds just to make sure they hadn’t canceled yet. I had called the race promoter last night. He told me that if it were up to him they would be racing. He did tell me that the fairgrounds could overrule him.

 

 

I couldn’t get a live person at the fairgrounds this morning. However their phone message did tell me they would be racing “despite the rainy weather as long as they didn’t get a thunderstorm”. What the heck did that mean?

 

 

Can you imagine if the fairgrounds didn’t have a phone messaging system, especially during bad weather? People would call and if there were no live person to answer then potential customers would be most frustrated. I find it amazing in this day and age that some folks, very few, don’t have a phone with a voicemail option. Yep. Literally unbelievable.

 

 

In England they race rain or shine. Sometimes race promoters in the states will tell me that they will be running rain or shine unless it rains really hard! What the heck do they mean by that?

 

 

I was hoping that if tonight’s oval track races were canceled by weather that I would learn about that as early as possible. If I did I could possibly change my plans for getting over to Englishtown, New Jersey for tomorrow morning’s 10 a.m. go. I would have to play that by ear just a little bit longer.

 

 

My iPhone is critical for providing information under normal conditions. It is super critical when it comes to giving me information under more trying conditions.

 

 

I was able to confirm that tonight’s racing activity had been canceled by the wet weather. Of course the answering machine from that track told me about what was happening two weeks ago but that is not unusual in the short track auto racing industry. I was able to get a call back from the promoter. The race was canceled. He apologized for not having an updated phone message. The cancellation simplified some of my decision-making.

 

 

With that race canceled I might be able to see this afternoon’s racing and then get back to Pittsburgh and catch a late night flight to Newark. That was until I consulted my FlightAware app. I found out that the last two flights from Pittsburgh to Newark today were canceled. Those cancellations would in all likelihood totally screw up my plan to catch a 5:45 a.m. flight tomorrow morning. All of the people on the canceled flights tonight would now rebook for tomorrow morning’s flight leaving me homeless (flightless).

 

 

Regardless of whether I got to see any racing this afternoon or not I now had a choice to make. I called the National Car Rental Company. I needed to see what they thought about my returning my car to Newark, New Jersey rather than Pittsburgh Pennsylvania. I had picked it up in Pittsburgh. They would have all the power. When people have all the power they take advantage of other people. That’s just how people work. That’s how it works in trackchasing.

 

 

The price for dropping off the car in New Jersey might be prohibitively expensive. If so, I could simply drive back to Pittsburgh and return my car. Then I could pick up a one-way car rental (that would be a “car hire” in Europe) and make the 5 ½-hour drive over to Newark from Pittsburgh. That would be just about the same, not really, as if I had flown over there tomorrow morning.

 

 

I’ve seen a few tracks in my time where they should have been rained out but they hung in there and made it work. I guess I’ve seen a few tracks where I thought they should have hung in there a little longer before they canceled as well. Today they hung in there.

 

 

There is one especially good thing about county fair racing and in this case county fair figure 8 racing. They race almost exclusively during the summer. In the summer it rains more than normal. Nevertheless, a county fair racing show has about a 99% plus chance of happening regardless of the weather. Why? One of the reasons is that normally there is not another date during the fair to run the show.

 

 

 

THE RACING

 

 

Jefferson County Fairgrounds – Brookville, Pennsylvania

It rained most of the way on my drive over to Brookville, Pennsylvania. When I pulled into the parking lot of the Jefferson County Fairgrounds the parking lot itself was rapidly becoming a swamp. That was especially concerning since my well-worn deck shoes have a hole in the soul of one of them. Yes, I am low-budget trackchaser no matter what anybody tries to tell you.

 

 

I had arrived right on the nose for today’s 2 p.m. starting time. I scrounged around and came up with eight bucks, the general admission fee to enter the fairgrounds. I was pleasantly surprised that eight dollars covered everything. There was no parking charge or extra expense to watch the racing from the large modern covered grandstand.

 

 

With it raining my only real choice was to grab a seat in the grandstand.  That was not difficult to do.  There was no one in the grandstands!  It would have been a most uncomfortable afternoon if the spectator seating area didn’t have a roof over it. I would say right now there’s about a 50-50 choice that a county fair grandstands will be covered.

 

 

I’m going to guess the grandstand had 40-50 rows to it. It was probably nearly 50 yards wide. This was a large grandstand by county fair standards.

 

 

I used the interior steps to walk up to a midway viewing position in the stands. As soon as I got in the clear I heard someone calling my name, “Randy, Randy”. I looked in the direction of the voice. There was a man whom I had never met calling my name. What was up with that?

 

 

Soon I was meeting up with a fellow by the name of Dan Schultz of Reading, Pennsylvania. Dan had recognized me after visiting my website. Dan is a trackchaser as well. I would end up spending the afternoon sitting next to Dan and chatting with him about all kinds of topics.

 

 

Just about every trackchaser I have ever met pretty much chases “in their own lane”. Dan is probably considered a local trackchaser although he has seen racing in “25 or 26 states”. Today Dan was seeing lifetime track #315. Dan’s main goal is to see 500 tracks in total. He seems motivated to do that and I expect that he will.

 

 

It was raining hard now. Temperatures were in the mid-70s or a bit higher. The few fans in the stands were being shielded by the grandstand roof from the wet stuff. With such comfortable temperatures it really wasn’t a bad situation given the deplorable rainy and cloudy conditions “outside”.

 

 

The pit area was situated beyond turns one and two if we had been watching an oval track. I saw a couple of guys walk over from the pits and sit in the grandstand. I figured they might have the latest information about what was going to happen with today’s program. They did.

 

 

This was a father/son combination. They were a demo derby family but were attracted to the figure 8 race today simply on a lark.

 

 

They told me that the promoters were planning to start the race at 4 p.m. two hours later than originally planned. It was good to confirm they WERE going to race. I don’t know why they couldn’t have started simply at 2 p.m. Yes it was raining and yes the track was very wet. However, it was nearly as wet at 4 p.m. as it was at 2 p.m. 

 

 

It was fun talking to the demo derby father and son. The father was 53 years of age and had been doing demo derby since he was seventeen. He told me that he had been knocked around a bit but that once demo derby gets in your blood it’s there forever. I gave him my trackchasing business card and bid them farewell and good luck. They were the drivers of car number 33 and number 43 so look for them in my racing video.

 

 

At 3 p.m. I decided it was time for a late lunch. With my low-carb eating plan there aren’t that many food choices available at a county fair. I decided on one of the local food booths as opposed to one of the county fair trailer vendors.

 

 

The local food concession with selling something that you will only see called this in upstate New York or in the rural regions of Pennsylvania like where I was today. What in the world could that be? They were offering up “cheeseburgs and hamburgs”. Nobody else in the country uses this description.

 

 

Their hot dogs were only a buck and a half each. I figured that for less than five bucks I could throw away the buns and still have enough meat to keep me going until dinner tonight.

 

 

I built a quick rapport with the older gentleman handling my order. When I told him he could just hold onto the bonds he ended up reducing my hotdog charge from $4.50 to just three dollars. I was soon out the door with a bottle of Diet Pepsi for the princely sum of just $5 U.S.

 

 

The rain had turned to a very minor misting at this stage. That was my key to take a brief walking tour along the asphalt path of the soggy fairgrounds. I pretty much only got to be up close and personal with the food vendors.

 

 

I did stop for a few minutes and talk to a fellow who was selling screen covers for roof gutters. He was wearing a “Sun Devils” sweatshirt. It turned out that he was a former Phoenix, Arizona resident as I am. In point of fact I was also an MBA student at Arizona State University in Tempe, Arizona home of the Sun Devils! We had an enjoyable conversation.

 

 

True to their word they started racing at about 4 p.m. Dan Schultz and I enjoyed our time together as we watched first the double figure 8 racing and then some reasonably lame tuff trucks. Don’t miss my photos and video from today’s outing.

 

 

The entire show for the sixteen figure 8 cars and about 8-10 tough trucks was finished by 6 p.m. That was good timing because the fair’s demolition derby program was to begin at 7 p.m. Even though I like demo derby it was time to get on Interstate 80 and head toward the Atlantic Ocean.

 

 

 

AFTER THE RACES

 

 

That’s right. The National Car Rental Company came through for me. You would expect that they would. I rent about 50 cars a year from them and have been doing that for many many years. The extra charge for dropping off my Pittsburgh originated car in Newark was less than driving back to Pittsburgh and renting a second car to drive to New Jersey.

 

 

To get the very MOST out of trackchasing one has to manage the logistics. I think I’ve got to be the most flexible trackchaser ever. Why do I make such a strong statement? Because it’s true! I’ve seen trackchasers cancel big trips because their luggage wouldn’t make their flight? Oh my goodness. The more flexible a person can be the more options exist. The more options the more results. Others have canceled their big trips when others canceled their trip. Oh my goodness.

 

 

I would have loved to see some local stock car racing in the area tonight. However I’m pretty sure that the wet and soggy conditions wiped out all of the racing in the immediate area.

 

 

I was both surprised and pleased that my AT&T cell phone connection was strong at the fairgrounds and in the parking lot. This would allow me to take a few moments and get a decent hotel over by Newark, New Jersey tonight.

 

 

I checked Priceline.com so that I could find a hotel somewhere on the route from Brookville, Pennsylvania over toward Newark, New Jersey. Obviously the closer I could get to Newark this evening the better. However hotels in the Northeast and even more specifically the New Jersey/New York area are tremendously expensive.

 

 

I went on Hotels.com. They have a broader selection of “off-the-wall/mom and pop” hotels. In an expensive area they might be of value to me tonight. I soon found a room at the Holiday Motel in Andover, New Jersey. That would be a good location for returning the car tomorrow morning in Newark. I negotiated the price over the phone with a tough young eastern-based woman. She gave me only a two-dollar savings off of what Hotels.com was offering. However, I wouldn’t have to pay sales tax, which was an additional $10 savings or so. That seemed good enough and the best deal that I could cut tonight.

 

 

On the way over to New Jersey I stopped at an Arby’s just off of Interstate 80. As you may know Arby’s charges an arm and a leg for one of their sandwiches. However, when you’re doing low-carb a half pounder of beef and cheddar can be very satisfying.

 

 

I’ve started asking for senior discounts at virtually every place where I spend money nowadays. No, I don’t think seniors should get these discounts. However, if they do and I’m a senior I’m going to get one. I say give the money to the people who really need it and generally seniors are not those people. Give these discounts to the younger people who still have to work for a living. They’re working because they need the money right. Most seniors don’t work because they don’t need the money! How simple is this thought process? However, they didn’t ask me for input on the senior discount rule so I’m going to take advantage of the opportunity. It’s the American way.

 

 

Today’s Arby’s discount was worth nearly a dollar. I probably use fast food drive-through restaurants 300 times a year or more. I could be saving some real money with the senior discounts couldn’t I?

 

 

I continued my drive along Interstate 80 through the Pennsylvania Pocono Mountains. It seems like every time I drive through here it’s raining. Why is that? I guess it’s because it rains a lot here. Maybe that’s why they have Amazon type green forests.

 

 

 

As I drove through the night I decided to give my old trackchasing buddy Paul Weisel a phone call. He answered his phone with the greeting, “Hello sunshine”. I didn’t know if he was referring to my California heritage or simply my upbeat and positive personality. I can go with either.

 

 

During the course of our conversation it was revealed that Paul Weisel himself had been at the Jefferson County Fairgrounds today. He was there to see the very same figure 8 racing I had. I scanned my panoramic view of the grandstands photo I took today. There was no Paul Weisel.

 

 

You should know that Paul keeps a “low profile” at these events. Paul had stationed himself under the grandstands for his viewing spot. Paul, not wanting to let grass grow under his feet, has been known to “condense” his trackchasing viewing experience. I would like to tell you more but I probably told you more than I should at this point. If Paul chooses to recap his experience at the Jefferson County Fairgrounds he will certainly be able to speak for himself and tell you all about his experience.

 

 

Tonight the track that I had planned to see after this afternoon’s a figure 8 racing had been canceled due to wet weather. It just turned out that Paul Weisel was planning to go to that very same track. Surely I would have seen him there.

 

 

Paul and I continued our conversation about the state of trackchasing and its participants. I would like to tell you about the insider details of these conversations. I really would. Again, I fear I’ve already said too much so I won’t say anything more on that topic.

 

 

Paul didn’t exactly know where I was calling from. He told me he had a big trackchasing plan for tomorrow morning, Sunday morning. I pretty much knew where that would be. At exactly the same time we both said, “Englishtown!”.

 

 

I had already incorrectly assumed that Paul had previously been to both the Jefferson County Fairgrounds and the Naugle Speedway, the track I was planning to see tonight before the rains came. Paul lives in Pennsylvania. He’s seen well over 100 tracks in Pennsylvania and ranks in the top 10 trackchasers in the Keystone state. Yes, I would have thought he had seen those two tracks.

 

 

The Englishtown racing plan was relatively new on most people’s radar screen. It was being produced by the NEATV racing group. Some folks might be surprised, but they shouldn’t be, but I was the first trackchaser to discover the ANY ATV sanctioning body.

 

 

Paul and I agreed to meet at 10 a.m. in the morning to renew our acquaintances. With that we said our goodbyes. I still owe Paul a couple of cheesesteaks for various reasons that I have long ago since forgotten. Maybe if the racing we need to see in Englishtown, New Jersey comes off early enough I’ll have time to treat Paul to one of those steaks.

 

 

With that I continued on to the Holiday Motel in Jersey. I had negotiated a cash price with the women when I made my reservation. If I paid for my room in cash I would once again run into a cash shortage. That being the case when I checked in I asked if I could use my American Express card. I never leave home without it. She agreed and I got the cash price using my credit card. You can’t beat that.

 

 

I don’t get to stay in any of these single level old 1950s style motels much anymore. Priceline.com doesn’t include those in their offerings very often. However, last night’s hotel was initially discovered on Hotels.com. Yes it was from the 1950s, but it was clean and comfortable and quiet and that’s all you can really ask for in a motel room.

 

 

I have now completed three full days on the long and dusty, and sometimes wet, trackchasing trail. I’ve driven just over 1,800 miles during this time. Yes I am the “flying” trackchaser. However, I also drive more miles nowadays than any other trackchaser does.

 

 

Good afternoon from Brookville, Pennsylvania

 

 

 

Pennsylvania

 

 

The Keystone state

This afternoon I saw my 102nd lifetime track in the Keystone state, yes the Keystone state. I’ve seen 102 or more tracks in six separate states.

 

 

 

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

Pennsylvania sayings: Shoo Fly

 

What it means everywhere else: The phrase said in attempt to get rid of flies 
 

What it means in Pennsylvania: A traditional Pennsylvanian Dutch pie made with molasses.

 

 

 

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 – 2,350

 

 

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.

 

 

 

A very rainy day at the fair in rural Pennsylvania

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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