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Media coverage of my trackchasing hobby

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

 

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MEDIA REPORTS AND INTERVIEWS FROM AROUND THE WORLD

richard petty signing autographs

In a way, I’m sort of like the Richard Petty of trackchasing.  Petty was one of the first to notice that his sport could benefit from him being “accessible”.  He signed autographs, did radio and TV interviews and simply promoted both himself and the sport.  All the while many of his fellow competitors were wearing overalls, had lots of grease underneath their fingernails and couldn’t look a reporter in the eye.  I’ll bet they were envious of Richard Petty doing those early interviews.  Sometimes I think members of the trackchasing “founding group” have missed the opportunity to really promote the hobby of “Trackchasing”.  See how well NASCAR has done when its participants took the time to work with the press?  Look at how much interest I can generate when I travel to a new international track, or even many in the U.S.  I feel that several trackchasers have either missed the boat or are holding back the development of our hobby.

Morris, the track announcer, wraps up his trackchasing interview with me.

Many times as I travel the United States and the world, the people I meet at very interested in my trackchasing activity.  Often I am interviewed over the public address system at the tracks I visit.  From time to time the local print media gets involved as well.  I am more than willing to share the “Trackchasing story” with anyone who is interested. 

 

TV interview with Channel 11 in Twin Falls, Idaho.

TV interview with Channel 11 in Twin Falls, Idaho.

I have found that my at the track interviews as well as my print, radio and TV pieces put me in touch with both old friends and soon to be new ones.  I’ve compiled a few of the many stories that have been written over time for your enjoyment.  I’ll add more to this group as they become available.    

 




Alaska

Alaska

‘Trackchasing’ brings man to Beluga Lake

• Randy Lewis has an interesting hobby a person would be hard pressed to top
By Naomi Klouda
Homer Tribune

Randy Lewis

Randy Lewis

Just a few weeks ago, Randy Lewis heard about Homer’s Winter Carnival auto race on Beluga Lake and decided he needed to see it.

Lewis holds the rare and little-understood title of No. 1 Trackchaser in the country. This means he has visited the highest number of racing tracks in the world, more than anyone else in a small but earnest league.
How many? About 1,600 race tracks at this sitting.

“I spend a lot of time on my computer to find race tracks. There are about 1,000 in North America that I haven’t seen, and I didn’t know until 6 weeks ago about the one in Homer,” he said. “Despite all the research I do, that one didn’t make my radar screen.”

No problem to remedy that. He makes the trip to Alaska from San Clemente, Calif., this week to check on a car race at Big Lake, one at Kasilof and our own Beluga Lake in Homer.
Alaskans might not know as much about the state’s race track resources as Lewis. So far, he has visited seven of them including ones at Kenai, North Pole, Willow, and Anchorage’s Fur Rondy Grand Prix. He attends any size race from the Daytona 500 to the small country dirt tracks.

“The cars are less expensive and fewer but the racing is still very good. Most small race tracks are like what we see in Alaska – the quarter-mile oval dirt tracks that attract 100 people,” he said. Daytona attracts 250,000.

Since he’s retired after a 30-year career as a sales manager at Procter and Gamble, he has devoted a million miles to chasing down tracks, about 800 since 2002. He used to attend work meetings all over the country and found it was a great opportunity to blend in his hobby by visiting race tracks. About half the time, his wife goes with him. The other half the time, he’s off by himself, making friends with strangers. In preparation for his Homer trip, he touched base with a few locals, including Ray Kranich who could tell him about the first Beluga car race ever held in 1956. Ray was a teenager who pled with Police Chief Ed Martin to let him race after he had been caught driving without a license. One major perk to the traveling is all the new friends Lewis makes.

“My hobby really isn’t so much about racing as it is travel, logistical planning and just trying to see what’s on the other side of the mountain. Often times, people don’t understand that point,” he said.

Last year was a big year. Lewis saw racing in 32 states and 17 countries. A lot of his travels involve tricky timing. Consider this schedule: He flies to Minnesota for ice racing over the weekend. He gets back Monday then leaves for Alaska on Thursday. He will stay here until Tuesday, then on Friday of the same week heads back to Minnesota after being home in California a mere two days.

Traveling opens lots of opportunities for friendship, and discovery. On a trip to Romania, a race enthusiast, he had contacted prior to his trip met him in Bucharest and drove him 100 miles away, a trip that took five hours, just so he could see the race. The friend’s patience and driving him all the way back, another five hours, formed an unforgettable gift.

“I have to try to be a good judge of character because I am meeting people for the first time. The place where I met with him looked like a Soviet hotel with mafia people around. But I’ll never forget this man’s driving 10 hours just so I could see a race,” Lewis said.

“As people grow older, they tend to become more conservative in what they are thinking, or eating and what they are willing to do. I think that is a mistake. I’m always learning more stuff. I’ve learned that from my hobby,” he said.

Fortunately, Lewis said, his wife is very supportive of his jaunts away from home. He saves some of his best trips for her to accompany him.
“We’ve been married since we were in our early twenties, and she grew used to me traveling for work. It made her more independent. She isn’t one of those women who say, ‘gee, you have to be with me every second,” he reasoned.

It helps that the couple’s son is a pilot because they get complimentary plane rides. But they have to fly only when seats are available.
When the Lewises come to Homer, they plan on taking a dog sled ride and touring the town as much as time allows. And of course, they want to see the old car races on Beluga. It interests Randy to learn they’ve been racing there for 55 years, weather permitting.

“The goal isn’t to see every track – that would be frustrating because there are so many. I want to do this as long as I feel like doing it, and for as long as I’m healthy and I can afford it. I enjoy the competitive aspect of it too,” he said.

He also checks in with newspaper offices in the towns where he looks at race tracks and yes, they generally write his story down. “The reason I do this media stuff is that it’s a fun thing to expose people to the concept of trackchasing. Not everyone is going to want to jump out of their recliner. But maybe they want to go see something in the future and won’t feel like they can’t do it, once they hear my story,” he said.


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California

California

Desert Dispatch Barstow, California
By J.J. Calvacca

The Trackchaser visit

The Raceway had a special visitor last Saturday night by a fellow who holds the record for visiting more racetracks than any other living human. Randy Lewis, who actually has a home in San Clemente when he’s there, paid a visit here. It was the 1,277th racetrack that Lewis has visited, both here and in eight foreign countries. So far this year alone, Lewis has been at tracks in 33 states, 4 Canadian provinces and New Zealand. Just the night before he had been at a track in Minden, Louisiana and had a visit to a track in Chula Vista scheduled for Sunday. Lewis claims that his best year was 2005, when he visited 182 tracks and in just the past 4 years he’s been at about 600 tracks. You can visit Lewis’ Web site, www.ranlayracing.com or at www.trackchaser.net.




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Idaho

Idaho

 

TETON VALLEY NEWS

Driggs, Idaho

 

 

August 4, 2011

By Rachel Horne

 

Less race enthusiast, more world traveler, seeing the world once race track at a time is the motivation for the world’s No. 1 track chaser, Randy Lewis. He’s crossing Driggs off his list on Saturday at the Teton County Fair Figure 8 races.

 

Lewis has visited the most racing tracks of anyone else in the world. As of Monday, on his way to a racetrack in Minnesota, Lewis had seen 1,694 tracks in all 50 states and 52 different countries. From the Daytona 500 to the Teton County Figure 8 race, Lewis has seen it all. In track chasing, a track only counts if you’ve seen a live race. Lewis says you can’t just drive by a track; you actually have to watch the race.

 

While Lewis enjoys the races he sees, he wouldn’t call himself a big racing fan.

 

“I see myself as collecting experiences,” he said. “That’s how I pursue the hobby.”

 

Lewis has flown every day for the last 10 days. He flew home to San Clemente, Calif., on Wednesday. He’ll fly to Salt Lake City on Saturday, drive to Driggs, watch the race and then head back to SLC for another race on Sunday. He takes about 250 flights a year and stays in a hotel 150 nights a year.
All that travel can add up quickly.

 

“I charge it all on a credit card and my wife pays the bill,” he said with a chuckle. “Or at least I hope she’s paying it.”

 

Lewis said he’s worked hard over the years and is now retired. He saved a lot of his earnings and is now spending some of it.

 

His wife, Carol, tags along on most of the international trips. She’s seen about 450 races, but she doesn’t go all the time.

 

All the flights, driving and logistics are the easy parts of the whole process, Lewis said.

 

“I’ve had to ask my wife 1,693 times, ‘Can I go to the races tonight?’” he said.

 

Track chasing is also a friendly competition for Lewis. There’s a worldwide group of other people who are track chasers. There’s a website and there are rules and regulations. You have to see more than 200 tracks. There are eight other people in the world who have seen at least 1,000.

 

Lewis retired nine years ago from a career with Procter and Gamble. Track chasing gives him something interesting to do, he said. He’s recently returned from Indonesia. This year he’s been to Malaysia, Norway and Mexico. He’s made 250 videos of his trips (mini movies he calls them) set to music with some narration.

 

Lewis said he likes to share a little piece of the world though his travels with the folks he meets.

 

His favorite track is the Peoria Speedway in Peoria, Ill. Lewis grew up there and thinks of it as his home track. He’s traveled to tracks on ferries, busses, taxis, seaplane, motorcycles and even the bullet train in Tokyo. In Bangkok, Thailand, the taxi driver took him the 100 miles away to the race, waited seven hours then drove him back to Bangkok.

 

Lewis said he remembers something from every track, but a lot of times it’s not the race. He suspects the scenery in Idaho will be more long lasting than maybe the racing.

 

To sign the guestbook or take a look at videos and pictures visit randylewis.org. Or find him on Saturday at the Figure 8 races and ask him about his travels.



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Montana

Montana

 

LAKE COUNTY LEADER

Polson, Montana

 

Chasing the Race

 

World’s number one trackchaser visits Mission Valley Speedway

By Nate Traylor

Leader Staff

 

 

You’d think Randy Lewis would be sick of anything having to do with transportation.  So far this year Lewis has made 25 trips, 22 of which have involved flying. He has totaled about 30,000 miles in a rental car and about 8,000 in his personal car. He has been in a hotel every week since the beginning of the year.

He drives an average of 200-400 miles a day.  Last year, the California man spent 142 nights on the road.  “There is no one to blame but myself,” he laughed.

 

In the world of trackchasing, Lewis is number one.  He travels the world taking in as many auto races as he can in order to hold the top spot.  By the time this article is in print, he’ll have seen more than 1,082 racetracks.  He is only one of six people who have seen racetracks in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.  He has also seen racing in Australia, Canada, Belgium, France, Germany, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom.

 

In 2005, he established an all-time trackchasing record by seeing 182 tracks in 27 states and seven foreign countries.  Since retiring from Procter and Gamble about six years ago he has seen about 500 or 600 tracks.

 

The logistics of planning these trips is tricky, he said. Some people brag about the number of golf courses they’ve played. But traveling the U.S. to rack up the amount of courses you’ve visited is easy compared to trackchasing, Lewis explained.

 

“Golf courses are open from sun up to sun down,” he said – whereas trackchasing requires that everything be intricately calculated.  Racetracks are only open several hours, usually during the evening.  He looks at about 1,200 to 1,300 racetrack web sites for time and dates in order to establish an itinerary.  From there, it’s a matter of scheduling flights, arranging for rental cars and connecting the dots.  Last Saturday, he made a visit to the Mission Valley Speedway.

 

After the race, he and his wife sped to Idaho for another race before driving to Utah where they’d take in a race in Salt Lake City.  Getting his wife – also a track enthusiast – up to speed was the primary motivation for this trip, he explained.

 

At the time of the interview, she has seen racing in 40 states.  “My wife comes nearly half the time.  She was the leading trackchasing woman last year with 63 tracks,” he said.

 

So far, Lewis has yet to visit about 1,250 tracks, but it’s only a matter of time before he chips away at that number.  At the beginning of the season, Lewis was sitting in fifth place, but his dedication and efficiency on the road propelled him to the top spot.  Now it’s a matter of staying the course while younger opponents nip at his heels.  “There are some guys that are younger than me and if I quit, they’ll pass me,” he said.  “It’s a question of ‘Can I get far enough ahead that if I quit they won’t be able to catch me.’  That’s one of the things that motivates me.

 

When he first started this unusual hobby, trackchasing was an obscure sport, and it still is, but he is finding more and more people are becoming interested. “The funny thing about this is a lot of people have never heard anything about this, but the more interviews I do, the more the word in getting out,” he said. “The reaction I get from a lot of people is ‘Boy, that sounds like a lot of fun. I’d like to do that.”‘

Like any competition, trackchasing has rules. Drag racing and motorcycles don’t count. If you visit a speedway with more than one track, those individual tracks count.

 

Lewis’ love of auto racing began as a child. His favorite type of track is the quarter mile high bank dirt oval. It’s the kind of track he grew up on in Peoria, Illinois. In the Midwest, people race sevens nights a week, he said.

 

After seeing more than 1,000 tracks, you’d think they’d all start to look the same.  But Lewis said each track is unique. “In a way they’re all different,” he said.  “When I visit a track I look for something different that’s never happened before.”  For example, one time at the Buffalo River Speedway in Minnesota he was invited by the flagman to throw the starting flag.  “In 1,082 tracks, that’s never happened before,” he said.

 

Lewis admits he may have had an advantage over his competitors. While working at Procter and Gamble, he was required to do a lot of traveling and much of his trackchasing was done on the job. Between trackchasing and his career, he has accumulated six million frequent flyer miles for American Airlines.

 

NASCAR driver Ken Schrader and Sprint Car stars Steve Kinser and Sammy Swindell rank in the top 50 worldwide trackchasers. While Lewis can be proud of surpassing those racing stars on his way to becoming the top trackchaser, he insists that the hobby encompasses more than just visiting more tracks than the next guy.  “A lot of people think this hobby is just about the races, but it’s about travel and people,” he said.

 

To keep track of Lewis’ progress visit trackchaser.com or you can visit his personal web page ranlayracing.org where he posts photos from his trips.

 
 


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Nevada

Nevada

ELY TIMES – ELY, NEVADA
 
 
World’s top ranked ‘Trackchaser’ visits Ely
 
By John Plestina 
Randy Lewis - Ely, Nevada

Randy Lewis – Ely, Nevada

Randy Lewis waits for racing to begin at Great Basin Raceway on Saturday night. 

He bills himself at a “World’s #1 Ranked Trackchaser.  Now he has added the Great Basin Raceway to the growing list of tracks he has visited.
 
Ely’s one-third mile dirt oval is the 1,362nd race track that Randy Lewis has visited.   He is one of just seven trackchasers in the world who has seen more than 1,000 tracks.  Lewis’ visit to Great Basin Raceway is just his latest.  The San Clemente, Calif. man has visited tracks in all 50 states and in Australia, Barbados, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Germany, Jamaica, France, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, South Africa, Sweden, Thailand and the United Kingdom.







espn 33

 

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

 

From time to time the media covers my hobby of trackchasing. They seem interested in why and how a person can travel the country and the world doing what I do. At every opportunity I try to inform and educate the racing and general public on the fun and adventure that awaits anyone willing to travel the “long and dusty trackchasing trail.”

 

 

Today’s interviewer, Ryan Myrehn from ESPNUP asks some great questions about my hobby and what it takes to be successful with it. I fully expect to be listening to Mr. Myrehn broadcasting the Indianapolis 500 and other big sporting events in the near future. Watch for his name. In the meantime you can click on the link below to hear the interview he and I did covering the hobby of trackchasing.

 

ESPNUP Radio Interview – Randy Lewis – World’s #1 Trackchaser

 

 

Illinois

Illinois

 

PEORIA JOURNAL STAR

 

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Motorsports

 

Trackchaser Randy Lewis says Peoria Speedway still his favorite among 959 tracks he’s visited

 

BY DON BAKER

OF THE JOURNAL STAR

 

Randy Lewis has officially been to more auto speedways than anyone else in the world this year.

 

Lewis, originally from East Peoria and now living in San Clemente, California has visited and seen racing programs at more than 150 tracks this year, a one-year record for anyone involved in what is called “Trackchasing.”

 

Lewis attended the race program at the Peoria Speedway on Labor Day, a return to the site that first got Lewis hooked on auto racing when he was 5 years old.

 

Lewis is in sixth place on the list of official worldwide trackchasers with 959 different track visits.  Rich Schneider of Bayshore, N.Y. leads with 1,038 tracks.

 

But Lewis thinks he’ll lead all trackchasers some day because he is retired and has the time and means to see more tracks than do many of his fellow trackchasers.

 

As a young boy in East Peoria, Lewis lived on the same street as three local racing families whose drivers competed at the Peoria Speedwaythen located at Mt. Hawley.

 

His neighborhood race enthusiasts included the Pappy Allen family (for whom the Labor Day memorial program is run annually), Don Dabney and Jim Penn.  Vance Gojohn and Jim Strube were some of the racers involved with those cars.

 

He went to the speedway virtually every Saturday night during the summer of the 1960s and has returned 14 times since 1980.  Labor Day, however, marked his first visit since 1997.

 

Lewis admits he doesn’t fit the profile of the normal trackchaser.

 

“The normal trackchaser is single or divorced,” Lewis states.  “He is well-educated with five college graduates in the top 10 trackchasers. Many of them visit tracks that are within 600 miles from their homes, but many drive incredible distances.  Many sleep in their cars overnight to keep expenses down.

 

“I fly to most of my locations since there are no tracks within 1,000 miles of where I live that I have not already visited.”

 

Lewis finds out about different race track by checking out the more than 700 speedway web sites in existence and the roughly 1,000 driver-sanctioning groups.

 

Lewis says “Leisure” is his main hobby in life.  Trackchasing takes up a major part of his time but his other activities include UCLA football and basketball games, Angels baseball games, movies, plays and local high school girls basketball games.

 

Lewis also loves to travel and has visited tracks in eight different countries.

 

His wife Carol is 44th on the trackchasing list with 216 tracks to her credit.

 

Lewis says Peoria Speedway is his favorite track of all the ones he’s visited for several reasons.

 

“Competition is close to the spectator and cars race side by side with the high and low grooves at Peoria Speedway,” Lewis said.  “Peoria has more side-by-side racing in the low and high groove than at any track I’ve ever seen.  That doesn’t exist as many tracks.

 

Lewis notes the changes since he first attended Peoria Speedway. 

 

“They have gone from a standing start of three cars abreast to a running start,” Lewis said.  “But they are still one of the few that have officials on the actual track.”

 

His wife still carries a scar from when a car hit the fence at PeoriaSpeedway and bent a light post which then hit her leg.

 

“That bent light pole is still there,” Lewis said.

 

Safety is becoming more of an issue.  Lewis has personally witnessed six drivers and one spectator die.  But he feels overall racing has become safer.

 

“Insurers are demanding that safety continues to improve for both the racer and the spectator from race promoters,” Lewis said.  “It will always be a dangerous sport, however.”

 

Lewis predicts a continued decline in dirt tracks racing in the United States.

 

“Real estate is becoming too valuable and there are many other forms of entertainment,” Lewis said.  “And NASCAR races are now in competition on some Saturday nights with free close-up television viewing for race fans to get their fix.

 

“I think auto racing dirt tracks will become a declining venue. Promoters have also had to increase the number of classes racing from just street and stock classes from when I first attend.  They need money from both the back gate (the pit crew and racer entry fee) and the spectator gate to make it these days.”

 

Lewis has seen some tracks with only 50 to 200 fans attending.

 

But as long as there is a track Lewis hasn’t seen, his journey will continue with the roar of each new engine.

 

ON THE WEB

Randy Lewis blogs a newsletter chronicling his visits to race tracks around the world, including Peoria Speedway, at:

http//www.ranlayracing.com (Note:  current site is www.randylewis.org)


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PEORIA JOURNAL STAR

 

 

By JANE MILLER

Aug 13, 2011

 

There are many examples of people who decide to hop in an RV and spend the summer touring major league ballparks or visiting the nation’s racetracks.



 

Then there are people who take that idea to extremes, like East Peoria native Randy Lewis.



 

Now based in San Clemente, Calif., Lewis is No. 1 on the official list of TrackChasers for having visited nearly 1,700 racetracks in 52 countries.



 

On Saturday, he’ll be back at Peoria Speedway, the track he considers his favorite.



 

“It’s my hometown track, and I’ve probably been to that speedway more than any other,” he said. “My favorite kind of track of everything I see is a quarter-mile, high-banked dirt track. You can see everything. I went to the Korean Grand Prix last year for its inaugural race, where tickets were $600 to $700, and I could see the cars pass me for about 10 seconds.



 

“And I’ve seen a lot of races there (Peoria Speedway) where there’s one driver on the inside and one driver on the outside, and they race like that lap after lap, and I think that’s really good. And the tenderloins are top-notch.”



 

Lewis also plans to go to the Peoria TT at the Peoria Motorcycle Club for the first time Aug. 21 — at my suggestion — but that track will not count on his list because motorcycle and drag races are excluded under the TrackChaser rules.



 

Lewis retired nine years ago from Proctor & Gamble and has been running down racetracks almost full time ever since. He averages 100 a year — this year he’s already been to races in Mexico, Indonesia, Malaysia, Canada and Norway — and spent Thursday night at a county fair Figure 8 race in Crown Point, Ind.



 

How does he afford to do all this?



 

His son is a commercial airline pilot, so he can fly standby for free or a reduced charge. But there are still hotel expenses, unless he sleeps in his car or the airport, and rental cars.



 

“I saved a lot of my money when I was working, and now I’m spending it,” Lewis said.



 

The races Lewis saw Thursday had fields of three trucks and five or six cars, so clearly the quality of the event is not what drives him to visit the track.



 

“It’s absolutely more about the chase,” said Lewis, who tapes Sprint Cup races to watch after he gets home. “Just knocking one more off when it’s somewhat difficult to do. It’s like the Amazing Race — how do you get from point A to B to C in the quickest amount of time while still trying to practice some fiscal responsibility.”



 

Another of Lewis’ hobbies is financial planning, so he is always conscious of the expense.



 

“About two years ago, I averaged $40 a day in gas for about 100 days,” he said. “I will stay in a hotel, for the year, about 150 nights; I’ll rent cars; food on the road; race tickets — I always pay my way in — and it’s expensive even with the idea I can fly for free.”



 

Lewis, who visited a record 182 tracks in 2005, is down to about 500 tracks in the North America that he hasn’t seen, and many of them only race one day a year.



 

“So it’s a logistical challenge, which is one of the things I like about the hobby, to put the places that race once a year together with everything else,” he said. “The whole thing is very exciting in that it just keeps you moving all the time.”



 

Lewis has a website, www.randylewis.org, which has reports on these travels and includes interesting ideas for side trips in the area.

HOF

 

NOMINATION: Richard Childress is one of 20 finalists for the 2012 class of the International Motorsports Hall of Fame at Talladega, Ala.

Other nominees are Erwin “Cannonball” Baker, Kenny Bernstein, Keith Black, Joie Chitwood, Rene Dreyfus, Zora Arkus-Duntov, Harvey Firestone, John Force, Tommy Hinnershitz, David Hobbs, Ted Horn, Joe Leonard, Tommy Milton, Marvin Panch, Les Richter, Pedro Rodriguez, Sir Henry Segrave, Lee Shepherd and Chuck Yeager.

“It’s a tremendous honor to be nominated with this group of motorsports giants,” said Childress in a press release announcing his nomination. “I appreciate the members of the voting board who thought of me when making the decision to have my name on the ballot.”



 

MINUS 100: Thank you, Pocono, for shortening both races next year by 100 miles.



 

TWEET: Jeff Burton is now personally tweeting. Follow him at @RCR31JeffBurton. 


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PEORIA JOURNAL STAR

 

Motorsports Section

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Race tracks are thrill of this chase

 

Belgium track chaser, who has visited 551 tracks worldwide, will see Peoria bullring Monday

BY DON BAKER

OF THE JOURNAL STAR

 

Many interesting stores exist about how different people get hooked on motorsports.

 

For Roland Vanden Eynde of Vilvoorde, Belgium, it happened when he was 12 years old.

 

That moment came while he was watching a televised broadcast of the 1966 French Grand Prix.

 

Fast forward to June 3 of this year and he has now watched racing events at 551 different tracks around the world.  On Monday, he will add his first visit to the Peoria Speedway to that impressive list.

 

Eynde is currently ranked 16th in the world as an official track chaser in number of tracks visited for a racing event and is the highest ranking European track chaser.

Eynde speaks five different languages and understands three others.

 

“No other members of my family have any interest in racing,” Eynde said, “so I didn’t watch my first live racing event until 1971.”

 

“I didn’t know about track chasers until I did an internet search in 2002.  By then I had already watched thousands of races on close to 200 tracks.”

 

Becoming an official track chaser got him interested in visiting other tracks.

“Once I became a member of track chasers, I started diversifying my race visits,” Eynde said.  “I have now watched races in 35 different countries on all inhabited continents.”

His visits include tracks in New Zealand, Tunisia, Malaysia, Finland, Poland, Estonia and Ireland among others.

 

“Nowadays, I go to between 80 to 90 new tracks a year, most of them in my native country and its neighboring ones.”

Eynde does take extended racing trips, such as the one he has now embarked upon.

 

Since, according to Eynde, half of all the race tracks in the world are in the United States, he is concentrating on some of those.  Weather permitting, Eynde hopes to see at least one track per day from June 14 through July 1 in the United States.

 

He normally takes 15 to 20-day trips during which he visits as many tracks and sees as many races as he can in a short period of time.

 

“If I can successfully execute my plan,” Eynde said.  “I will add at least 30 countable tracks.”

 

Eynde chose the UMP Summer Nationals at the Peoria Speedway on Monday for two reasons.

 

“I chose the Peoria Speedway first because the race in on a Monday and there aren’t many choices for that date and because Randy Lewis raves about his former hometown track,” Eynde said.

Lewis, formerly of East Peoria, resides in San Clemente, Calif.  He is the No. 1 track chaser in the world, having visited 1,201 tracks as of June 3.

Eynde says he has no long-term goals as far as track chasing goes.

 

“I like all kinds of motor racing and I think variety is the spice of life,” Eynde said.  Being from a very small country, I like to get acquainted with different cultures and use my language skills.  My other hobbies are photography and travel.  By going to different tracks, I’ve discovered parts of countries I would have never stopped at otherwise.”

 

Add Peoria to that list soon.





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Iowa

Iowa

Monday, January 4, 2010
Thrill of the chase

World’s No. 1 track chaser travels all night to make Farley Speedway’s Hangover 200 Enduro.
BY CLETE CAMPBELL TH STAFF WRITER
Dubuque (IA) Telegraph Herald   FARLEY, Iowa —

The world’s No. 1 ranked track chaser decided long ago he’d get a good long rest when he’s dead.

Randy Lewis has a record to protect.

Lewis drove through the night Sunday morning from Kershaw, South Carolina to Richmond, Va.. He catnaped in 18-degree weather as he waited for a 6 a.m. red eye to Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport. The Californian then hopped in a rental car and drove 200 miles westward. 

His destination: Farley Speedway, home of Sunday’s Hangover 200 Enduro race and “the only place racing on Jan. 3,” Lewis said.

After Lewis retired from Proctor & Gamble seven years ago, he became a racing gypsy following the map around the world to new tracks he hadn’t seen.

His mission: Protect his standing as the world’s top track chaser. Lewis’ passion has taken him to 1,518 tracks in 35 countries and all 50 states. Last year alone, Lewis journeyed 263,000 miles, hitting 117 tracks.

“It got into probably a bigger hobby than I imagined,” said Lewis, an Illinois native who fell in love with racing while watching action at his home track, Peoria Speedway.  “Track chasing is all about the track.  I hope they have good racing where I’m going to, but it’s not a requirement. I’m trying to be some place where I’ve never been before.”

The 57-year-old Lewis is working feverishly to stay comfortably ahead of Madison, Wis.’s Ed Esser, the world’s No. 2 track chaser who has hit 1,251 tracks.

“It’s a competition with others,” Lewis said.

And when you love racing, you’ll sleep in your car in 18-degree weather.

“It’s not as easy at it looks, but if you have a passion, it’s fun, and I have a passion for this,” Lewis said.

Six degree temperatures and a wind chill of minus 9 greeted the 37 drivers daring enough to lineup for the second annual Hangover 200 Enduro.

“(Thirty-seven) brave souls challenging the Arctic tundra,” promoter Keith Simmons joked.

The brave and crazy ranged from fearless 12-year-old Hailey Roth of Livingston, Wis., who completed 104 laps with her father riding shotgun, to former Yankee Dirt Track Classic champion Jeremiah Hurst.

Wisconsin’s Matt Rowe pocketed the $500 winner’s check, pouncing into the lead when leader Brannon Bechen, of Bernard, Iowa, stalled out of a red flag restart with nine minutes left in the two-hour time limit race.





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HAWKEYE RACING NEWS

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

By Jim Brennan

The Sioux Falls Argus Leader had a good story on June 14 about my favorite Track Chaser Randy Lewis from San Clemente, California. Randy is the number one documented “Track Chaser” in the world. Recently he added Buena Vista Raceway in Alta, Iowa and Crawford County Speedway in Denison, to his list.  During his recent MidwestTour he did six days, 3,200 miles on the road and two plane trips as he visited nine tracks.  Randy is 57 and retired from his sales manager job at Procter and Gamble.  And that’s what gives him time to travel.  One of his hobbies is financial planning which enabled him to retire when he did and to have the resources he needs for his travels.

Updated information on Lewis’s travels can be found on his web site ranlayracing.com.  Lewis likes to golf and often gets time on his racing travels to knock the cover off the ball.  Track Chasers are those who try to attend races at as many tracks as possible.  They have a commissioner who records each “Chasers” numbers on a web site, trackchasers.com.  This past Father’s Day weekend Randy stayed in California at Rialto.

He says his newest track chasing strategy is to try to be home for each professional golf’s major.  This would include the Masters, U.S.Open, British Open and the PGA Championship.  The Rialto AirportSpeedway was his latest stop with his wife Carol.  Randy, keep up the good work.  I enjoy reading about your travels.  Randy says the Hawkeye Racing News is one of the papers he likes to read.



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HAWKEYE RACING NEWS

WHAT’S YOUR STORY?

By Karl Haglund

          CHARLES CITY, Iowa – Most people have presumably heard of the term “storm chaser.” For me, the term calls up images of Bill Paxton and Helen Hunt running across the Midwest countryside trying to escape the wrath of a twister hot on their tail.

 

So when I heard the term “trackchaser” recently, I called upon the same image. Only this time Paxton and Hunt were running across a cornfield being chased by a 3/8 mile dirt track that hovered in the sky menacingly; threatening to make them promoters in the middle of a gas crisis. Horrifying!

For me, the terms meaning was easy to decipher. I have long heard of people who try to go to as many tracks as they can each season. It’s a bit of a game. I just wasn’t aware it had a specific term. The fact is that there is a term. There is a web-site. There is a world champion.

You might ask, “Well Karl, what are the rules of this sport?”

The rules are simple. To even be considered a registered “trackchaser” you have to have been to at least 200 tracks. So, you must have gassed up the family “whip” and packed your lunch 200 times in order to even be considered a trackchaser. You might say “I don’t pack a lunch, Karl. I eat at the track.” That’s not important and I happen to pack my lunch. (I take a picnic basket to every race… along with a blanket to sit out on in the infield. That along with Kenny G on the IPOD makes for a great night of racing).

“Once I am considered a trackchaser, what races can I count towards my total number of races, Karl?” Well, mystery person referenced in first person narrative, that is simple. Basically you can count any oval, figure 8, and road course races. They do not count demolition derbies, motorcycle races or drag strips.

There are also a few fine-print rules that really break it down, like being able to count the same track twice if it switches from dirt to asphalt, or vice versa, and you have seen races on both surfaces.

“Karl, you made mention of a number one ranked trackchaser at the beginning of this column, I’d like to hear more about this guy.”

Randy Lewis of San Clemente, CA has been to over 1,200 tracks. (Randy e-mailed me this morning from track 1,227) He has seen races in Canada, United Kingdom, New Zealand, Australia, Belgium, Germany, Netherlands, France, and of course the United States. His travels have him ranked as the world’s number one trackchaser.

 “Karl, I would like to dethrone Randy Clemente.”

Well, you have your work/money cut out for you. Each year the retired business man from Proctor and Gamble spends 150 nights in hotels, takes about 200 flights, and rents about 60 cars.

If you’re like me and you just set your check book on fire and jumped out a window, come back. Throw a glass of water on your remaining checks and stay with me for a second.

Is it possible? If you did this as cheaply as you could, I’m talking Motel 6 and rent a clunker, what would it cost? Motel 6 or something close would be 50 dollars a night. You could probably get rooms cheaper than that, but I tend to try to stay alive as long as possible. Maybe “Adventure” is your middle name, but mine is William.

So hotels would be $7,500 a year.

Flights – $200 a trip on average = $40,000 a year. (Buy a helmet and fire-suit at that rate.)

Rental cars – $30 a day = $1,800 a year. (You’ll need the fire-suit for this as well)

Grand total = $49,300 a year. Roughly $50,000. 

If you consider that Randy has done this for five years since retiring, (not counting money spent while employed with P&G) the total comes to around $250,000. Add to that the cost of food on the road (wear and tear on the picnic basket for me) and the price goes higher. “Honey, I have a new hobby… Honey?!”

Why does Randy do it?

Randy’s love for racing was born on the dirt tracks surrounding Peoria, IL. His favorite type of racing to this day is still dirt oval racing. His favorite driver has always been Darrell Dake. In fact when he first moved to California he had a 1980 red Cadillac with the license plate DAKE 8.

Randy told me, “I would go to the Freeport raceway and just stare at the hill in the distance leading from Iowa until I saw Darrell’s rig comer over that hill. Then I could relax and enjoy the program.”

Randy is not alone in his quest for world domination. His son has recently taken a job as an airline pilot for Southwest Airlines and so Randy does get a break on the cost of flying courtesy of family ties. Randy joked, “I once asked Darrell Dake about his sponsorship with the ‘Lighthouse Inn.’ [Dake] laughed and said ‘my son owns the restaurant, he gives me free meals.’ So I guess I have sponsorship like Darrell Dake had.”

I would like to thank Randy for letting me know about trackchasing and giving me one of the most fun stories to write that I have done to date. It has been a pleasure learning about trackchasing and learning about Randy. If you see him at a track near you (a genuine possibility no matter where you call home) stop and say Hi to him and cheer him on in his quest. I imagine he will hold this title for at least a few more years.

You can check out Randy’s website at www.ranlayracing.com or check out the trackchasing web-site at www.trackchaser.net where you will see some famous racing names like Steve Kinser and Ken Schrader among the registered chasers.

Let me know what you think about this column at whatsyourstory@mchsi.com.



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Kansas

Kansas

DODGE CITY DAILY GLOBE
Dodge City, Kansas  

No. 1 “trackchaser” sees DCRP
By John Curtis  

Californian Randy Lewis has loved the sport of auto racing ever since the first time he saw a race in Illinois more than 50 years ago.

But instead of traveling to race, Lewis does what is called “trackchasing,” which means he just travels to different venues to watch races.

“I retired from Procter & Gamble about four years ago and I had seen about 50 or 60 tracks in a season,” Lewis said. “But since I stopped working, I’ve been to 420 tracks in the last three years; and I plan on doing this a lot in the future.”

Lewis recently became the top trackchaser and his visit to Dodge City Raceway Park was his 1,109th and 1,110th visit to a track. The chaser said the reason why DCRP counts as two is because they had racing on both the 3/8-mile dirt track and the 1/4-asphalt track.

His wife, Carol, who is also a trackchaser (with the tracks she’s visited up to 280 with her trip to DCRP), accompanies Lewis on this trip. She accompanies her husband to about half of the tracks he visits and recently passed World of Outlaws legend Sammy Swindell on the chaser list.

Lewis said it takes a lot of planning to go from one track to another, with drives of 600 miles between tracks. This weekend was more of a relaxing time considering all he had to do was drive from Wichitato Hutchinson to Dodge City. He and his wife spent Sunday night atEnid, Okla., and then went back to Wichita (a 600-mile round trip).

“We started this year in Georgia. I’ve already been to 119 tracks this season and will be at another 20 to 30, then we’ll be getting ready to go to New Zealand over the Christmas Holiday,” Lewis said. “I’ve been to Canada, England and to 33 different states this year. We’ll spend about 150 nights a year doing this.

“What I’ll do is that I have about 800 track Web sites of tracks where I’ve never been and about 500 sanctioning bodies, like the World of Outlaws, and I scour those Web sites, and then make a plan. I’ve already been on 25 round-trip airplane rides and traveled about 130,000 miles.”

But it leads to the question: Why do this?

“I just want to see as many tracks as I can,” Lewis said. “I’ve got some time, it’s a fun hobby and I enjoy the travel all the time. I get to see places I’d never see if it weren’t for this. It’s just a love of racing ever since that first time I saw a race when I was five.”  


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HAYS DAILY NEWS

 

Hays, Kansas

 

Cautions galore, attrition high at WaKeeney Speedway

By MIKE HUGHES

Special to The Hays Daily News

WAKEENEY, KS (June 21)–The caution flag seemed to wave as much as the green flag at Wakeeney (KS) Speedway Sunday evening, June 21, and the attrition rate was high in 3 of the 4 classes competing.

In the IMCA Modified feature, Brian Calhoon led the first 10 laps before the lone caution in the 20-lap race waved on lap 11 for a spinning Matt Fabrizius. After the restart, point leader Corey Lagroon of Salina took the lead from Calhoon on lap 12 and checked out on the field to win his third feature of the season at the 3/8-mile oval. Calhoon held on for second, followed by Mike Petersilie, Dave Hardesty and Clinton Hockersmith. Heat race winners were Jerry Phillips, Chad Sterling, Lagroon, Petersilie, and Calhoon, with John Fabrizius first to the checkers in the B-feature.

The IMCA Stock Car feature saw only 10 of 18 scheduled starters around at the finish. C.J. Pfannenstiel led the opening lap but was passed on the following circuit by Dalton Bauer. Jason Davis then took command on lap 6 and led the next 5 laps. Then after a caution on lap 11 for debris, Kensington’s Cory Struckhoff, who went to the pits during a first lap caution and came back out to line up at the tail end of the field, finally made the pass on Davis. Struckhoff, Davis and ‘Flyin’ Ryan Wark battled it out to the finish with Struckhoff claiming the victory, his second of the season at Wakeeney. Wark beat out Davis for the runner-up spot, with Marty Barth and Travis ‘The Terminator’ Sherfick rounding out the top five. Terry Cunningham, Davis, and Adam Balthazor were heat race victors.

Sixteen-year-old Mathew Crowell of Clearwater made his first appearance in victory lane in 2009 with a win in the 15-lap IMCA Hobby Stock feature. Crowell took the lead from Kent Tammen on lap 3 and never looked back on his way to the winner’s circle. Jerry Hudson finished second, trailed by Casey Gilmore, heat two winner B.J. Dauer, and Kirk Karst. Only 9 of the 18 scheduled starters finished the race. G.W. ‘Cheeseburger’ Fuller won the other heat race.

Art Herzog of Hays led the entire distance in the IMCA Sport Compact feature, which saw the race cut from 15 laps to 12 laps due several cautions and time. Michael Smith made a late charge to finish second, with Nicole ‘Wonder Woman’ Woods third. Only 5 cars were running at the checkers of the 11 starters. Jesse Dunlap and Allen Rice won the two heat races.

The evening’s race sponsor was Hot Rods of Oakley.

A special guest on hand was the #1 track chaser in the world, Randy Lewis of San Clemente, CA. Lewis travels all over the world to see as many race tracks as possible. To date, he has seen 1,446 different tracks in the U.S. and 34 different countries. He is one of only 6 people to have seen races in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Official track chaser rankings are kept at www.trackchaser.net.



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Minnesota

Minnesota

August 4, 2011                                                                                                                       www.jordannews.com  |   Jordan Independent 

 

SCOTT COUNTY FAIR

 

Did you see the amazing traveling fan? 

 

Scott County joins list of 1,690 tracks he’s seen 

 

BY DAVID SCHUELLER 

 

If you went to the Autocross at the Scott County Fair last week, you might have rubbed shoulders with the world’s leading trackchaser, Randy Lewis, of San Clemente, Calif.

“I’m the world’s No. 1 trackcahser.  I’ve seen more tracks than anyone else,” Lewis said.

Missed him?  Too bad, he probably won’t be back – not, at least, to the Scott County Fair.

Trackchasers try to see racing at as many unique venues as possible, and use the hobby as a way to add some horsepower to their traveling.

“Tonight’s my 1,690th track in 52 countries,” Lewis said, before the racing started near Jordan on Friday, July 29.

The day before, he’s visited a track near Columbus, Ohio.  Next on his itinerary was a track in Brighton, Ontario.

Lewis, who retired nine years ago from a career in advertising at Procter & Gamble, said getting to as many tracks as possible provides logistical challenges, along with opportunities to see the sights of any given area that has a racetrack.

In Minnesota, he’s seen the SPAM Museum, the Mall of America, and Target Field, to name a few attractions.

And Minnesota can be proud – in the “why” section of Lewis’ trackchasing website , he has boasted of seeing the headquarters of SPAM in Minnesota, on the same website where he lists a gaggle of countries he’s seen from Guyana to Sweden to Thailand.

If he wasn’t in the area already, he wrote, why would he ever take the time to see the headquarters of SPAM?

Lewis is not the only trackchaser, either.

“We have about 70 other people that we know of that have seen more than 200,” Lewis said, adding that eight people have seen 1,000 or more tracks.

Second and third place are almost 300 tracks behind him, Lewis said.

But it’s not just about the racing – otherwise, why not sit at home and watch YouTube racing videos all day? (If that sounds like fun, Lewis has more than 100 of his racing videos, some from Minnesota, linked to on his website, randylewis.org.)

“It’s not so much about racing as seeing the country,” Lewis said. 

 

 

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Randy Lewis

Randy Lewis

Morris Sun-Tribune

Morris, Minnesota

 

World record holder to visit Enduro track at Stevens County Fair

  

The annual enduro race at the Stevens County Fair will be held Wednesday evening this year.  The move was necessary to open up the grandstand for the Fantastic Convertibles and Razin’ Cain.  The Wednesday date also happened to be an open slot on the schedule for Randy Lewis of San Clemente, Calif.

 

Lewis has an unusual hobby that requires a lot of traveling and now he’s on his way to Morris.

 

“I’m from California and I go all over the world trying to see as many different auto racing tracks as I can.”  In fact, he is the top ranked trackchaser in the world.

 

Lewis describes trackchasing as the auto racing hobby of going to as many racetracks as possible.  “There are more than 50 people in the world who have visited more than 200 tracks.  There are six trackchasers in the world who have seen racing at more than 1,000 tracks,” said Lewis

 

“Well-known race drivers such as NASCAR’s Ken Schrader, sprint car stars Steve Kinser and Sammy Swindell rank in the top 50 worldwide trackchasers, he said.

 

Trackchasers count racing on ovals, figure 8 tracks and road courses.  Drags and motorcycles don’t count. Official trackchaser rankings are kept at www.trackchaser.com.

 

“To date, I have seen 1,079 different racetracks.  I’ve seen these tracks in all 50 states as well as the District of Columbia,” said Lewis.  “My hobby is not limited to seeing racetracks just in the U.S.  I’ve also seen tracks inAustralia, Belgium, Canada, Germany, France, Netherlands and the United Kingdom.”

 

All this ‘trackchasing’ has made Lewis known for his hobby.  “In 2005, I established the all-time record for trackchasing by seeing 182 tracks in 27 states and 7 foreign countries.  During 2006, I took over the worldwide lead in trackchasing and am now the world’s number-one Ranked Trackchaser.”

 

He plans to add another track to his list of conquests by visiting the Stevens County Fair.

 

The object of the enduro race is to make the most laps in the time limit of one hour and 30 minutes.  Laps are electronically counted for instant results in the grandstand.


Unlike Lewis, you don’t have to travel far to get in on all of the excitement.  Tonight’s enduro race starts at 7:30 p.m.


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Nebraska

Nebraska

ALBION NEWS – ALBION, NEBRASKA

 

World’s #1 ‘Trackchaser’ Finds Boone County Raceway

July 13, 2010

Trackchaser Randy Lewis

Trackchaser Randy Lewis

You’ve heard of stormchasers and thrillseekers, but trackchasers?

While it may be a unique hobby, there is a core of avid fans who travel the world to see as many race tracks as possible. Sunday, the man ranked as the #1 “trackchaser” in the world, Randy Lewis of San Clemente, CA, found his way to the Boone County Raceway in Albion to watch the American Sprint Car Series compete at the Boone County Fair.

Lewis said the BCR was his 1,566th documented track visit, which includes facilities in all 50 states and 41 countries around the world. There are more than 50 people who have visited over 200 tracks, he stated, and eight trackchasers in the world who have seen racing at more than 1,000 venues. Lewis tops the list.

In 2009, Lewis traveled more than 236,000 miles to visit race tracks in 35 U.S. states and 16 different countries. His busy travel schedule continues in 2010.

“The 1/4 and 1/3 mile tracks are my favorites. I like Late Model racing on tracks just like this,” Lewis said during Sunday’s visit. In fact, Lewis so enjoyed his Albion visit that he ranked the Boone County Raceway facility as his favorite highback dirt oval. Lewis, who grew up in Illinois, is retired from a sales career with Proctor & Gamble. He said his hobby started from a job that frequently moved him around the country and has flourished from there. He still enjoys the travel and his wife accompanies him on bigger trips. Lewis is planning visits to tracks in Latvia and Estonia soon. He has already been to such unusual racing locales as South Africa, Iceland, Guyana and Australia.

Although he is still ranked #1, Lewis said the trackchaser hobby is competitive and noted younger enthusiasts are catching up to him. Lewis has a website (www.ranlayracing.com) where he has chronicled his adventures with more than 50,000 photos and reports from each location visited. His Trackchaser Reports also go out to more than 1,000 of the most influential people in auto racing worldwide. Luckily for Lewis, Sunday’s event beat the evening’s rain and lightning. “We have to see live racing for a track to count in our total,” he noted.


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COLUMBUS TELEGRAM

Columbus, Nebraska July 9, 2004

‘Trackchasers’ travels bring him to U.S. 30  


By DON STRECKER/Telegram Sports Editor  
COLUMBUS – 

For auto racing fans, going to a new racetrack can be an exciting experience.

Randy Lewis has experienced that excitement a few times.

Some 726 times, to be exact.

Lewis, from San Clemente, Calif., is what is known as a race “trackchaser.” He travels throughout the United States and to foreign countries, watching auto racing at as many different tracks as possible.

On Thursday, Lewis was at U.S. 30 Speedway, attending auto races at the 726th track of his life.

“I just like to travel,” Lewis said during races on Thursday at U.S. 30. “I try to go to as many tracks as I can.”

Lewis is actually one of many trackchasers throughout the world. They even have their own web site – www.trackchaser.com – and they keep trackchaser standings.

Lewis’ 726 tracks rank him ninth in the world all-time and first among trackchasers west of the Mississippi.


The leader, Rick Schneider of Bay Shore, N.Y., has been to more than 1,000 track. Lewis had hoped to add U.S. 30 Speedway to his list two weeks ago, but the races were rained out.Now retired, Lewis said he began his trek when he was working in sales for Proctor and Gamble. He usually flies to the general area, then rents a car to get to the track.

“When we go to a track, we have to see racing (for it to count in the total),” Lewis said.

The trip was not a total wash for Lewis, however. In addition to seeing racing at other local tracks during that week, he was able to get in a round of golf at Quail Run Golf Course and attended a College World Series game in Omaha.

“That was fun,” Lewis said of the CWS game. “The neat thing is I get to travel all over the country, and I try to stop to see the local attractions.”

Lewis hasn’t limited his journeys to the United State, however. He has seen auto racing at tracks in five foreign countries, including Canada,England, Scotland and Australia.

He said the racing in England is interesting – and not for the faint of heart.

“No. 1, it’s full contact (racing), so it’s OK to bump people out of the way,” said Lewis, who has been to 26 tracks in England, the most of any foreign country.

“No. 2, they race rain or shine, so … you knew they would never get rained out. And No. 3, there was no charge to get into the pits. You could just walk right in.”

When Lewis returns to San Clemente, he will email the trackchaser commissioner about his visit to U.S. 30, his 43rd track this year, and the commissioner will add the track to his total.

Some tracks can count for more than one. If a track has an inner track that it conducts races on, that can be included as a separate track.

At U.S. 30, an inner track is used for the four-cylinder Four Fun races. But Thursday’s races were cancelled because the inner track was too muddy, so Lewis wasn’t certain if he would be allowed to use it as a second track.

U.S. 30 is the 11th track in Nebraska at which Lewis has watched racing. He was at Butler County Speedway in Rising City and the Hamilton CountyFairgrounds in Aurora on June 25, The Speed Bowl in Red Cloud on June 23 and Junction City Speedway in McCool Junction on June 22.

He plans to be at the Thayer County Speedway in Deshler on July 18.

His impression of U.S. 30?

“It’s unusual in that the races are on Thursday nights,” Lewis said. “It’s one of only about 10 tracks in the United States that race on Thursdays on a regular basis. … It’s a typical track.”

Lewis made his comments while the IMCA Modifieds were conducting their A feature. He said the Modifieds were comparable with others he’s seen around the country.

“The Modifieds are the most popular right now,” he said. “The Modifieds are as good here as they are at other tracks.”

Lewis’ goal is be reach 1,000 tracks, and “I expect to finish that by 2008,” he said.




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North Dakota

North Dakota

Chaser stops in Glyndon

By Matt Anderson, The Forum – Fargo, North Dakota
Published Monday, July 31, 2006

GYNDON, Minn. – In 1955, Randy Lewis attended his first auto race at Peoria Speedway in Peoria, Ill.

Fifty-one years and 1,081 racetracks later, Lewis was at Buffalo River Speedway.

Lewis, the world’s No. 1 track chaser according to the rankings at Trackchaser.com, was at Buffalo River Speedway on Sunday as the final part of a three-track weekend trip through theMidwest.

Lewis, a 57-year-old retired pharmaceutical salesman from San Clemente, Calif., started out as what he called a race chaser – someone who went to tracks to see the racing.

Eventually, Lewis’ emphasis shifted from seeing the races to seeing the tracks.

“I do it because I like to see new places,” Lewis said.  “After I’ve seen 1,080 tracks, the racing is just no big deal”.


In 1999, Lewis discovered Trackchaser.com. Over the next seven years, he has increased his career track total from around 400 to more than 1,000 and has become the world’s top-ranked tracker. According to the rules on Trackchaser.com, only ovals, figure-eight tracks and road courses count in the standings, and all racing must be done by adults.

Lewis begins planning for a season by sorting through more than 1,000 Web sites that list where racing is taking place for the upcoming year.

He then inputs that data into a spreadsheet and sorts the races by location and day. From there he starts making his travel itinerary for the upcoming year. He said he flies to most locations and groups multiple tracks together for each flight.

“I usually plan my trips around the Sunday night track,” Lewis said. “It’s easy to fill in Friday-Saturday once you find a Sunday.”

Lewis said he never calls ahead to the racetrack to let track officials know he is coming, in part because of the reviews he writes on his Web site, Ranlayracing.com.

“I always pay my way in,” Lewis said. “I do that so when I write my track chaser report, that allows me to do it from sort of an unbiased point of view. I think if I was the guest of the track, I might feel obligated to say it was better than it was.”

Amongst the reviews on his Web site, Lewis speculates about how other track chasers might fare in the 2006 season. As for the more distant future, Lewis said Sunday that some of the younger track chasers in the lifetime rankings may eventually pass him.

But how long does he plan on pursuing his track chasing hobby?

“Forever,” Lewis said.


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Chasing through the Geographical Center

August 23, 2013
Chris Bieri – Tribune Editor , Pierce County Tribune

 

Randy Lewis

Randy Lewis


Randy Lewis has been to hundreds of race tracks all over the world, from Australia to Russia and from Norway to Uruguay.

He’s seen races in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

Finally, he made a stop at the Geographical Center.

Lewis, the world’s top trackchaser, visited the Geographical Center Speedway in early August, his 1,877 different track.

Lewis has been to a dozen different tracks in seven separate trips to North Dakota. He first came to West Fargo in 1981 and took in a night of racing at the Red River Valley Speedway.

It was during a prior trip to Minot when Rugby and its track first landed on his radar.

“A few years ago, former track announcer Larry McFall invited me to come to Rugby,” Lewis said. “He had interviewed me at another North Dakota track. I tried to make it up here in the past but scheduling and bad weather always kept me away.”

Trackchasing follows fairly strict rules and Lewis is always trying to stay a step ahead of the competition.

“Trackchasing rules allow for counting tracks that use an oval, road course or figure 8 track,” Lewis said. “Trackchasing rules do not allow the counting of drag races, motorcycle races, demo derbies or rallies. Any wheel to wheel racing done by adults on the three tracks I mentioned are countable.

But accumulating nearly 2,000 tracks worldwide often means that Lewis is on the run.

“Unfortunately, my stop in Rugby was brief,” Lewis said. “It was a 691-mile drive up to Rugby from Lincoln. Then following the race in Rugby I had a 230-mile drive to the next day’s race in Mahnomen, Minn. I did have a chance to drive through Rugby and took pictures of downtown and several neighborhoods. I was impressed with how peaceful everything looked.”

While he didn’t have much time to visit the city, the track definitely left an impression on him.

“Probably the (most memorable thing was the) old wooden covered grandstand,” Lewis said. “Those are classics and an endangered species. Although the car counts were somewhat small the racing was competitive. For the last race of the night I watched from just beyond turn one with the sun setting over the track. What a beautiful sight.”

Lewis has been to the world’s most notable tracks in Daytona, Indianapolis and Monaco, but he said he really likes the high-banked dirt oval tracks like the ones that are common in North Dakota.

Lewis generally puts between 30,000 and 40,000 miles on rental cars each year traveling to different tracks.

With more than 1,800 tracks checked off, Lewis said it’s becoming more and more difficult to see new tracks.

But he jokes there is one thing he finds even tougher: Asking his wife 1,877 times if he can go to the races.

 

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Oklahoma

Oklahoma

 

ENID NEWS AND EAGLE

Enid, Oklahoma

Randy & Carol Lewis - Enid, Oklahoma

Randy & Carol Lewis – Enid, Oklahoma

Photo by Mike Hoffman

Trackchaser visits Enid

By Cheryl Licklider Commentary

Randy Lewis, the No. 1 ranked trackchaser in the world according to www.trackchaser.com, traveled from San Clemente,Calif., to Enid Motor Speedway for the $10,000-to-win Street Stock Nationals on Sunday, putting a notch on his belt for visiting his 120th track this year.

“This is my 24th trip of the season,” said Lewis. “I’ve visited 120 tracks this season so far in 33 different states. This weekend I flew into Wichita (Kan.) on Friday. We went to the track in Hutchinson (Kan.) on Friday and Dodge City (Kan.) on Saturday. The Dodge City track counted as two as it has both an outer and inner oval.”

Trackchasing is the racing hobby of going to as many race tracks as possible. There are only six trackchasers in the world who have seen racing at more than 1,000 tracks, according to the Web site. Well-known drivers such as Kenny Schrader, Steve Kinser and Sammy Swindell rank in the top 50 worldwide trackchasers.

There are strict rules for trackchasing. Only ovals, figure eights and road courses count. No drag strips, demolition derbies or motorcycle venues are allowed. While there are more than 60 ranked chasers with 200 or more tracks. To date Lewis has seen 1,111 tracks. Six months ago he achieved his No. 1 rank. Lewis has made his way to 600 ovals, 200 road courses and 100 figure eights in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Canada, England,Australia, Germany and New Zealand.

Trackchasing is a unique hobby, and Lewis takes it seriously. After retiring from a successful career as a sales manager with Proctor and Gamble, this weekend warrior has put 100 percent into his passion. In 2005 Lewis saw 182 new race tracks, breaking his old record of 127. During the season he traveled 147,082 miles via airplanes, ferries and rental cars. He spent 150 nights on the road and spent about $50,000 on track tickets, air fares, rental cars and hotels.

“I research air fares and rental cars, but it all tends to add up,” said Lewis. “I definitely have a passion for this. When you retire, you spend your time doing what you love. I wouldn’t do this if I didn’t enjoy it. It’s fun to walk into a track for the very first time, go to a new town and search out local attractions.”

When he’s not chasing tracks, Lewis spends hours on his home computer searching out track schedules and putting the data into a spreadsheet, which helps him mix and match to get a trip together. A successful weekend trackchasing trip will net this dedicated chaser a visit to three or four tracks. Typically, he will depart from his San Clemente home at 4 a.m. for the airport. He will fly into a location where he rents a car and starts driving. He may drive well more than 1,000 miles.

It was only natural that Lewis became enamored with the sport. He grew up in Illinois, a hotbed of dirt track racing. There were 10 houses on his block, and three belonged to avid stock car drivers. As a youngster Lewis spent hours in their garages watching them get their cars ready for the weekend.

The Speed channel recently shot a pilot with Lewis. Soon race fans may get a closeup look into the world of trackchasing via a reality show featuring this avid chaser. Even though he already has seen more than 1,100 tracks, Lewis has a long way to go. There still are 1,250 tracks in the U.S. and Canada that he hasn’t seen.

“It is getting harder to put combinations together,” said Lewis. “The hassle is to fly in for one or two tracks. I need a combination of three or four to make it profitable. And there is always the weather to contend with.”

Lady Luck has followed Lewis on his adventures. He has won numerous prizes from lucky tickets at tracks, including hats and Ronnie Millsap albums. The biggest prize to date was winning two round trip tickets to Zurich, Switzerland.

 

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South Dakota

South Dakota

ARGUS LEADER – SIOUX FALLS, SOUTH DAKOTA

Racing fan has visited 1,056 tracks

ROB RISTESUND rristesu@argusleader.com June 14, 2006  

Many racing fans enjoy visiting tracks located outside their local area for a variety of reasons. Taking in a major racing event, such as a NASCAR or special short track race, are primary causes for fans to visit a track that may require an overnight stay. Others may take to the road just to check out what other racing venues have to offer as far as classes of cars, formats and facilities.


Randy Lewis has taken the hobby of visiting different racetracks to the extreme. He is the No. 1 documented “track chaser” in the world.



Track chasers are those who seriously strive to attend races at as many tracks as possible. They have a commissioner who records each “chaser’s” numbers on a web site – TrackChasers.com.


On a visit to the Midwest last week, Lewis added nine more tracks to bump his chase-leading total to 1,056 tracks. Plans to add Rapid Speedway in Rock Rapids, Iowa, on Friday to his list fell through due to an unfavorable weather forecast. Lewis is the only person to have watched racing in all 50 states and the District of Columbia and has also attended races in seven foreign countries.



“Chasing racetracks allows me to do a combination of several things I enjoy doing at the same time,” said the Illinois native now living in San Clemente, Calif. “I enjoy racing, traveling and the challenge of putting my racing trips together.”


Lewis’s latest racing venture was typical of many in the past.



He flew to Minneapolis on Tuesday and then drove his rental car to Hibbing, Minn., for a race that evening. Last Wednesday night’s race in Alta, Iowa, was followed by the decision to scrap plans for more racing inIowa due to unsettled weather.


Lewis then pointed his car southward to catch a race in southwest Missouri on Thursday night. After that it was off to Ohio for afternoon and evening races on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, followed by the long trek back to Minneapolis.


Six days, 3,200 miles on the road, two plane trips and nine more tracks.


Two essentials are obviously required for the schedule Lewis maintains – time and financial resources.


The 57-year-old former sales manager for Procter and Gamble retired about six years ago, leaving him free to pursue his dream. Another pastime also enabled him to chase tracks without severe financial restrictions.


“Another of my hobbies is financial planning,” he said. “That enabled me to retire when I did and to have the resources to do this.”


Living on the west coast can be a liability to a track chaser, since most of the country’s racetracks are located near and east of theMississippi River.  Lewis overcomes that handicap by usually flying to a part of the country before continuing by car.


He utilizes the latest technology to aid him in avoiding the dreaded rain-out.  The criteria for an official visit to a track requires the chaser to witness at least one lap of competitive racing.  A weather scanner, satellite radio, GPS device and laptop accompany him while on the road.


After visiting more than 1,000 tracks, it’s easy to understand that Lewis’s recollections of visits to tracks in the Sioux Falls area – including Huset’s and I-90 about 600 tracks ago – is somewhat vague.  But there are a couple of things that standout in his memory.


“The dirt in that area is black, which is unique to that part of the country.  In the south it’s red and most other places it’s brown.  Also, the people in that area are generally the nicest of wherever I’ve traveled.”


Lewis hopes to return to South Dakota later this year to allow his wife, Carol, a chance to add another state to her current list of about 40 where she’s attended races.


Last year’s personal record of 182 new tracks visited would seem to leave little time for Lewis to enjoy any other pastimes.


However, the single-digit handicap golfer managed to squeeze in about 100 rounds of golf.  And along with his wife, they attended nearly all the home games of their favorite college basketball team, the UCLA Bruins.


Updated information on Lewis’s racing travels can be found on his web site, ranlayracing.com.  (Note:  Randy’s current site is www.randylewis.org.



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RAPID CITY JOURNAL

RAPID CITY, SOUTH DAKOTA 

 

Randy Lewis at Black Hills Speedway

Randy Lewis at Black Hills Speedway

Trackchaser Randy N. Lewis of San Clemente, Calif., relaxes in the grandstands at Black Hills Speedway after last Friday night’s races. Lewis saw racing action at both BHS and Heartland Speedway on Friday, and Newcastle, Wyo., on Saturday to bring his lifetime total of tracks to 1,361. (Jim Holland/Journal staff)

 

Speedweek: Chasing the tracks

By Jim Holland, Journal staff Friday, July 04, 2008

 

RAPID CITY — Another day, another racetrack for Randy Lewis.

 

Lewis, 59, of San Clemente, Calif., is a trackhcaser, the auto racing hobby of attending events at as many racetracks as possible.  “Some people collect stamps, postcards or figurines,” said Lewis.  “I collect race tracks.”

 

Last Friday night, Lewis came to Rapid City to maintain his status as the world’s No. 1 ranked trackchaser, bouncing between simultaneous racing events at Black Hills Speedway and a last-minute Badlands Mini-Sprint Association card at Heartland Speedway. 

 

He then traveled to the Badlands Mini-Sprint Association races at Newcastle Fairgrounds Speedway in Newcastle, Wyo., on Saturday night to boost his career racetrack total  to 1,361.

 

A Montana Bunp-and-Run series event scheduled for a temporary track at Acton, Mont., Sunday night had actually occurred a couple of weeks ago, not on Sunday night as Lewis was led to believe.

 

“That was a shutout.  That happens sometimes.  The races at Heartland were kind of an unexpected plus, so when the Montana races didn’t happen, that took away my plus,” he said.

 

Lewis grew up in East Peoria, Ill., and saw his first race at the old Peoria Speedway as a small boy.

 

He didn’t get serious about trackchasing until his working years, traveling as a sales manager for Procter and Gamble.

 

“Whenever I would travel somewhere for a meeting, I would hang around an extra day or two and go to racetracks,” he said.  He was able to pursue two of his favorite pastimes when he retired six years ago. 

 

“Golf is my hobby and trackchasing is my passion,” he said.

 

In the last four years he has added more than 600 tracks to his total, including venues in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and 15 foreign countries. 

 

In January he attended a six hour endurance race at the Bira Circuit in Thailand, track No. 1,300.  His wife, Carol, is currently 27th on the top 40 trackchaser list with 366.

 

In his travels he has seen a very young Jeff Gordon racing a sprint car at Kings Speedway in California.

 

Last winter, he spent time with Tiger Woods’ caddie Steve Williams, who races sedans in New Zealand during the southern hemispere’s summer months.

 

Earlier this year at a track in Denmark, Lewis saw a Danish prince, fourth in line to the throne, racing a prototype sports car. 

 

He estimated that he travels 50 weekends out of the year.  Last year, he traveled 187,000 miles and added 160 tracks to the list.

 

Lewis maintains a Web site:  www.ranlayracing.com, and shoots hundreds of photos to document his travels, including local color and landmarks.  While is South Dakota, he visited Wall Drug and Mount Rushmore.

 

“Planning a trip is almost as much fun as attending the races”, Lewis said.

 

“Just like the success of a race team is tied to the work they do in the garage, my success depends on how much preparation I do in my office, so there are some similarities,” he said.

 

Three parameters determine the direction of his travel, he said.  Obviously there has to be a new racetrack to see, along with a favorable weather forecast and a way to get within reasonable driving distance by air.

 

Lewis’ son became a pilot for SkyWest Airlines two years ago, which allows Lewis to fly for greatly reduced fares.  But he also has to wait for an available seat and that makes trip planning more difficult.

 

Even with the lowered airfares, lodging, food, rental cars, admission tickets or pit passes quickly add up into thousands of dollars per year. 

 

“Obviously, if you don’t have the financial means, you can’t participate at this level, so that’s another similarity to racing,” he said.

 

Trackchaser rules stipulate that only ovals, road courses and and figure 8 tracks with no less than three cars competing at once can be counted.  That eliminates drag strips, mud bogs, monster truck shows and time trial events.  Tracks racing only “flat cars” such as racing karts also don’t count.

 

Lewis estimates there are at least 1,000 tracks in the U.S. alone that he has yet to attend.  At least 500 of those tracks will only have one event each year.

 

As new tracks constantly spring up, there will never be a finish line, nor a winner for trackchasers. 

 

“It never ends,” he said.


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RAPID CITY JOURNAL – RAPID CITY, SOUTH DAKOTA

Motorsports: Belle Fourche track gets up and running

Jim Holland Journal staff | Posted: Saturday, June 19, 2010 

BELLE FOURCHE — Terry McNamara left the competition literally in his dust at Saturday’s opener at Butte County Speedway.
 

McNamara was first in front of the four-car modified field and stayed there to win the 12-lap feature during Saturday’s opener of the dirt oval west of Belle Fourche.
 

McNamara prevailed in extremely dusty conditions to finish ahead of Rick Guthmiller, Mike Kress and Grant Bolt, all of Rapid City.
 

“If you were in the front row, you knew you were going to win that race,” McNamara said.”A lot of it was getting to the first corner. If you were out front, it was pretty much clear sailing from there.”
 

A slim car and spectator count marked Saturday’s opener. 

Eleven cars signed in, and nine took part in what was little more than a test-and-tune session on the tight, high-banked 3/8ths-mile dirt oval.

 

The field included four modifieds, two late models, two sprint cars and a lone street stock car.

Other official feature winners were Dave Olson of Rapid City (sprint), Lynn Amick of Rapid City (late model) and Clint Pedersen of Broadus, Mont. (street stock).

 

Operator Bill Keester, attempting to revive the track started a dozen years ago, has had his season delayed by wet weather and construction problems as well as opposition from adjacent neighbors Terry and Wendy Carr, who claim the track will lower the value of their home, located just a few hundred yards from the oval.
 

Keester was counting on more drivers to fill out the field of four classes, but several cars he had expected were damaged in crashes Friday night at Black Hills Speedway.

Running in the daytime also meant extremely dusty track conditions, but Keester wanted to get his season under way.

 

“I don’t like day races because of the dust, but we wanted to get something going,” he said.
 

He plans to complete lighting for night races at the track in the next couple of weeks.
 

McNamara said the addition of lights should improve racing. “I think it’ll be a fun, fun track to race on, especially if we can run at night,” he said.
 

Among the estimated 150 spectators were Randy and Carol Lewis of San Clemente, Calif. The Lewis’s are trackchasers, motorsports enthusiasts who try to attend races at as many tracks around the world as possible.
 

Randy Lewis bills himself as the “World’s No. 1 Trackchaser,” and Saturday’s stop at Butte County Speedway marked the 1,555th track he has visited in all 50 states and 41 foreign countries. Carol has visited 420 tracks.

The Lewis’s attended races at Tri-County Speedway in Wishek, N.D., I-94 Speedway in Fergus Falls, Minn., then drove from Jamestown, N.D., to catch the afternoon races at Belle Fourche.

 

They attended the Black Hills Mini-Sprint Association races at the J.C. “Pappy” Hoel Short Track in Sturgis on Saturday night, and will complete the weekend at a Baker, Mont., track today.
 

“This is about as basic as it gets, especially if you don’t have lights and you have to run during the day,” Lewis said of Butte County Speedway. “But it’s nice to see tracks like this get going, and you have to start somewhere.”


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RAPID CITY JOURNAL – RAPID CITY, SOUTH DAKOTA 

 

Motorsports: Chasing racing

Jim Holland Journal staff | Posted: Friday, June 25, 2010

A chance meeting brought the two top trackchasers in the world to Sturgis last Saturday.

Reunions of longtime friends are nothing new at the J.C. “Pappy” Hoel Short Track, but when Randy Lewis of San Clemente, Calif., noticed friend and rival Ed Esser of Madison, Wisc., in the stands for the Jackpine Gypsies’ short track motorcycle races and Black Hills Mini-Sprint Tour event, it marked a rare happening.

“We might run into each other three or four times a year,” Lewis said. “It has a better chance of happening if there’s a new track that neither of us has been to before.”

Going to a new racetrack is what the hobby of trackchasing is all about. Both Lewis, a retired Procter and Gamble executive, and Esser, a retired accountant, combine their love of motorsports with a severe case of wanderlust to chase new and different motorsports venues across the country — and in Lewis’ case, around the globe.

According to trackchaser.com, Lewis is the No. 1 ranked trackchaser. On Saturday he added track No. 1,555 (Butte County Speedway near Belle Fourche), with Saturday night’s mini-sprint races at Sturgis counting as No. 1,556.

Esser estimates he and Lewis have met up about a dozen times over the years.

“It doesn’t happen as often as you might think,” Esser said. “There’s not too many places we’re going to run into each other.”

Esser attended stock car races at Hiway 92 Raceway Park near Gering, Neb. on Friday night, then drove 225 miles to Sturgis, which brought his second-place total to 1,288. He missed out on a chance to add the afternoon races at Butte County Speedway to his list.

“If I had gotten here sooner I’d have gone to Belle Fourche.  I didn’t know Butte County didn’t have lights, so that’ll have to be on another trip,” he said.

Randy Lewis has attended racetracks in all 50 states and the District of Columbia as well as 41 foreign countries. His wife, Carol, accompanies him on about one-third of the trips.

The Lewises often fly to their trackchasing adventures. Esser limits his trackchasing to venues in the continental U.S., pounding out road mile after road mile in a Dodge Minivan, equipped with a mattress in the back. The minivan replaced a 1988 Chevy Blazer retired with 848,000 miles on the odometer.

“I frequent a lot of truck stops and rest areas,” he said. “I change the oil about every 12,000 miles, otherwise I’d be in the shop every week.”

Lewis didn’t want his friendly rival to know he was headed for a track in Baker, Mont., on Sunday. Likewise, Esser kept his plans to go to a track in Stuart, Neb., on Sunday to himself.

Carol Lewis, who has 420 racetracks to her credit, sat between the two men as they swapped tall tales of their recent exploits.

“It’s crazy, isn’t it?” she said. “Randy gets ants in his pants and just can’t stay home on weekends. The only time he’s around is when there’s a family event going on. It is fun venturing out.”


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Wisconsin

Wisconsin

The Chronotype

Rice Lake, Wisconsin March 19, 2008   

Forty-four drivers raced on the final day of the Rice Lake Ice Racing season on Saturday, bringing a 9-week run to an end.

The 44 drivers nearly matched the season’s weekly average in the 5th year of Rice Lake Ice Racing.


Under Saturday’s sun and in a chilly breeze, special guest Randy Lewis, recognized as the World’s No. 1 Track Chaser, showed up from California.

Lewis, from San Clemente, has traveled the world to watch automobile racing in as many venues as possible. The Rice Lake ice oval was the 1,317th track he has attended, and he added another the next day at the Ashland ice races before driving to Minneapolis and flying back to the West Coast.

Lewis’ trip to Rice Lake is recorded on his Web site, “www.ranlayracing.com.” (now www.randylewis.org)

In racing action, Jarred Amundson and Karen Koltunski ended up in their familiar spot of the winner’s circle.

Amundson won his fifth 6/8 Full Size feature while Koluntski claimed her sixth win in Comp4 to lead all feature winners this season.

Steve Hallquist got his first feature checkered flag in Front Wheel Drive. Hallquist’s wife, Missy, took the checkers in the Powder Puff’s RWD class.

The Powder Puff FWD class was won by first-time driver Jenna Hayes.

The ice racing awards banquet is Saturday, March 29, at the Bungalow Bar. Cost is $12, and reservations can be made by contacting race promoter Troy Holder at 296-6768. -03/12/08

RICE LAKE ICE RACING SATURDAY RESULTS Comp4 Heat One: Karen Koltunski, Cumberland; Al Koltunski, Cumberland; Troy Holder, Rice Lake. Heat Two: K.Koltunski; A.Koltunski; Holder. Feature: K.Koltunski; Tadd Davis, Rice Lake; Holder; A.Koltunski; Trent Gross, Turtle Lake.

6/8 Full Size Heat One: Jim Cimfl, Clayton; Jarred Amundson, Barron; Troy Holder, Rice Lake. Heat Two: Steve Hallquist, Eau Claire; Joel Hinrichs, Cameron; Don Cook, Barron. Heat Three: Hallquist; Andy Cimfl, Clayton; J.Cimfl. Heat Four: Holder; Butch Madsen, Rice Lake; Brandon Davis, Chetek. Feature: Amundson; Hallquist; Holder; Hinrichs; A.Cimfl.

Front Wheel Drive Heat One: Jesse Tripp, Spooner; Jerret Hamilton, Chetek; Scott Miller, Rice Lake. Heat Two: Steve Hallquist, Eau Claire; Pete Leuschner, Cumberland; Mike Schnider, Rice Lake. Heat Three: Miller; Lueschner; Jon Wigchers, Rice Lake. Heat Four: Hallquist; Hamilton; Mark Lawrence, Cumberland. Heat Five: Travis Lloyd, Cumberland; Harold Fischer, Eau Claire; Lawrence. Heat Six: Schnider; Hallquist; Fred Lloyd, Cumberland. Feature: Hallquist; Miller; Brent Good, Birchwood; F.Lloyd; Schnider.

Powder Puff Heat: Jill Amundson, Barron; Missy Hallquist, Eau Claire; Sheila Cook, Barron. Feature: Hallquist (RWD); Cook (RWD); Amundson (RWD); Jenna Hayes (FWD), Cameron; Deb Cimfl (RWD), Clayton.


   

 

North Carolina

North Carolina

 

NATIONAL SPEED SPORT NEWS

 

 

January 6, 2010

By Adam Fenwick, Editorial Assistant

 

A color photo appeared above the story with this caption, “Airline Mileage:  Race cars compete at (from left) the Dunkin’ Donuts Center in Rhode Island, the Bahrain Int’l Circuit in Sakhir, Bahrain, and Lee (N.H.) USA Speedway in 2009.  Trackchaser Randy Lewis saw racing at all three tracks in 2009”.

 

The text of the story included:

 

Most race fans go to races hoping to see lots of crashes, hard racing and a great finish.

 

But some fans, like California’s Randy Lewis go to races for another reason:  To see racing at as many different racetracks as possible.  Lewis and those like him are called track chasers (sic).

 

“I think track chasing is more about the track than it is the race.  You want to see a good race, but you mainly want to see a good track,” Lewis said.  I distinguish the difference between a race fan and a track chaser where a racing fan goes to the track to see the quality of the race.  Maybe they like World of Outlaws sprint cars or the late models or whatever they like,” Lewis said.  “They all just follow that group around wherever they race.  A track chaser goes to the track primarily to go places they’ve never been before.”

 

It may sound like a hobby, but Lewis and those like him have taken it to another level.  The tight-knit group keep meticulous records, even creating a Web site (www.trackchasers.net) (sic) to chronicle their track-chasing efforts.

 

“I think it was back in about 1997 when Guy Smith – he sort of organized the group – came up with some rules on what they would be counting.  Then it became a little more formal,” Lewis said.

 

The rules are quite simple.  A track chaser must witness wheel-to-wheel racing at an oval, road course or figure-8 for it to count toward their track total.  Drag racing, motorcycle racing, rally racing, desert off-road racing and demolition derbies do not count towards a track chasers total.

 

Once a track chaser has seen a race at a given track, that track no longer counts towards his or her total.  That makes finding new tracks that much more important.

 

“Quite a few of the tracks race once a year.”  Lewis said.  “A county fair figure-8 will only race once a year.  So that adds to the challenge of trying to link all of these tracks together so you can go out on a trip and see three or four in a weekend.”

 

Lewis himself is the worldwide track-chasing leader.  As of this writing, Lewis has attended races at an astounding 1,515 different tracks in 35 different countries.  His wife, Carol Lewis, is 28th on the all-time list at 408 tracks (as of Sept. 13).

 

“My racing friends think this is about racing.  It’s not about racing pretty much at all.  It’s about the logistical challenge of getting from point A to B,” Lewis said.

 

In 2009 alone, Lewis witnessed racing at more than 110 new race tracks, including speedways in 13 countries.  But that pales in comparison to his efforts in 2005, when he visited 182 race tracks for the first time.

 

“Track chasing is very competitive.  It’s competitive in the sense that different people want to have those tracks.  They want to have more tracks in North Carolina than anyone else.  They want to go to more figure-8 races than anybody else ever has.  You see people really have some strange travel schedules as they try to do really well in the category that interests them,” Lewis said.

 

Lewis knows all about strange travel schedules.  In the early portion of 2009, Lewis traveled all over the world looking for new race tracks.

 

First he visited Andorra, a small country in southwestern Europe, for an ice race on a road course known at the Grandvalira Circuit.  That was only the tip of the iceberg for Lewis.

 

After Andorra, he made trips to Argentina, Qatar, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, Colombia, Spain, Portugal, Iceland, Hungary, Switzerland and Italy, all before the end of May.

 

Holding down the second position in the track chaser record books is a name that may be familiar to NSSN readers.  Ed Esser, a regular entrant to Ron Hedger’s SuperFans competition, has visited 1,251 race tracks in his lifetime, which places him just ahead of third-place Guy Smith (1,247 tracks).

 

Writer and photographer Gordy Killian hold down fourth on the overall list with 1,226 race tracks under his belt.  Rounding out the top five is National Speedway Directory Founder Allan Brown who has visited 1,191 race tracks in his lifetime.

 

Other interesting names on the trackchasers list include Allan Brown’s wife Nancy (523 tracks), Ken Schrader (380 tracks), NSSN’s own Chris Economaki (303 tracks) and Sammy Swindell (280 tracks).

 

Lewis is the first to admit that track chasing is an expensive hobby.  In order to save money he typically uses airline miles or waits on a standby basis for a seat to open up on a flight.  If a seat opens up, then he gets on the plane and travels to the next race.

 

Lewis also gets financial support from a few select sponsors, who help him with his travel expenses while he adds to his track chasing total.

 

“I still look forward to it and have the most fun doing it,” Lewis said of his hobby.  “I’ve averaged more than 200,000 miles a year on track-chasing travel each of the last seven years.  I drive more miles in rental cars every year than I do in my personal car.”

 

Now that’s dedication.

 

Lewis said that the group is always looking for new members, adding that anyone who has visited more than 200 race tracks qualifies.

 

“Anybody, and I know there would be a lot of people who read Speed Sport who would qualify for this, who have seen more than 200 race tracks qualifies as a track chaser,” Lewis said.  “We are always looking to add more people.  Right now I think we have a little bit more than 60 people worldwide who have seen more than 200 tracks.”

 

So, are you a track chaser?

 

 

A table also appeared with this article summarizing the top worldwide trackchasers.  It read:

THE TOP 10 TRACK CHASERS

 

                   Name                     State              Tracks    

1.             Randy Lewis              Calif.              1,515

2.             Ed Esser                    Wis.               1,251

3.             Guy Smith                  Pa.                1,247

4.             Gordy Killian               Pa.                1,226

5.             Allan Brown                Mich.             1,191

6.             Rick Schneider           N.Y.               1,096

7.             Andy Sivi                    Pa.                 1,060

8.             Jack Erdmann            Wis.                914

9.             P.J. Hollebrand           N.Y.               894

10.           John Moore                 Tenn.            832



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Texas

Texas

World’s #1 rated Track Chaser witnesses opener at ECR
By Dave Peterson, President, Corinthian Vintage Auto Racing Corporation 

Randy Lewis contacted me prior to the event and wanted assurance the he would be able to see competition after 2:00 on Saturday because he was coming from CA to the airport and would have only a few hours before jetting off to another event.  Apparently Track Chasing is like bird watching, where you get a notch in your belt with each new species or event.  See Randy’s write-up and photos.   ECR was Randy’s 1,294th event!  

 


New York

New York

 

SPORTS & LEISURE MAGAZINE

 

Buffalo, New York

August, 2002

Dave Sully

Dave Sully

 

By Dave Sully

 

 

Trackchasing – the ultimate auto race fan’s dream

 

For those of you who consider yourselves die hard race fans, ask yourselves how many different tracks have you been to in your lifetime?  15, 20, 30, 40, 50, 100? Not many of us can claim the latter numbers in the list.  I think I have been to 50 or so and I travel a lot.

 

Well, for your enlightenment, the who is in 10th place in the country in the national Organization known at Trackchasers, has been to 584 different tracks around the world.  He is a member of an elite group of race fans whose expressed goal is to see races at as many tracks as they can and to move up in the world rankings.

 

The man I referred to is Randy Lewis from San Clemente, California, the number one trackchaser living west of the Mississippi.  I ran into Randy a couple of years ago at Gasport Speedway in Pt. Colborne and struck up a conversation.  I learned something about the loosely knit group that charts the progress of the membership as to the number of tracks visited.  I also had him put me on his e-mail list, which goes out after each track or group of tracks he visits, in which he summarizes his activities on the way to the track, at the track and sometimes afterward, depending upon what happens.

 

His is an interesting story, and when he made a visit to our area recently , I arranged to meet him at Merrittville Speedway in Thorold, Ontario (near Niagara Falls), where I could interview him about his most unusual hobby.  In the course of the evening, he was invited up to the scoring tower and interviewed by track announcer Gordie Wilson.  He left right after the races, because he had to drive toHartford, Connecticut, by the next afternoon to fly home.

 

Several days later I received Randy’s email account of the visit and he made some very nice comments about his visit to Merrittville.  He was also impressed with his interview in the scoring tower, saying, “The announcer interviewed me for a few minutes about my hobby.  I’ve had several interviews like this, but this was one of the better ones because the announcer, Gordie, was a veteran and seemed to have a real interest in asking the questions.”

 

Ironically, our meeting was on the first official day of his retirement, after a thirty-year career with Procter & Gamble, much of it in the capacity of sales manager.  Randy’s racing background began in Illinois where he grew up.

 

He noted, “On my street there was 10 houses.  Three of the houses had stock cars, and Saturday morning was sort of like gasoline alley, but I didn’t see my second track until I was in high school, and didn’t see my third and fourth tracks until I was in college.  I heard about trackchasing from Guy Smith, who writes for the Area Auto Racing News.  The last 5 or 6 years I’ve been averaging about 60 or 70 new track a year.

 

I’m very close this year to seeing a hundred tracks over the last 12 months.  If I could do that it would be fun, but I think I’m going to miss it by a track or two. The uniqueness about my trackchasing is that I’m really the only one who flies to races.  The rest of the guys live in the Midwest or Northeast.

 

There are a lot of tracks in those areas, so they can drive everywhere.  I would say in California, within 200 miles of me there are only five or ten tracks.  (Compare that to Western New York and Southern Ontario, where there are 20 tracks in a relatively tight circle.  In addition, they only race on Saturday for the most part, so to get any place, because we’re geographically remote, you’ve got to fly.”

 

I asked Randy how you get to be a member of the organization.  He explained. “There is a website operated by Will White called trackchaser.com, and anybody who has 200 tracks or more gets listed on the site, but in order to be ranked you have to have about 420 tracks or more.

 

Just going to a track and buying a ticket does not credit a trackchaser as having officially been there.  Randy explains what is required to have the track count. “They have to race cars or trucks, as opposed to motorcycles, school buses or go-karts.  The drivers to be adults, sixteen years or older.  There have to be more than two car racing, so we’re not talking about drag races or anything like that.  It has to be competitive racing, so it’s not vintage racing where the cars are old, and the just drive around in a parade for the fans.  They’re really racing each other.  I think that’s the jist of it.

 

We actually have on the website a list of rules for all of this.  We have an e-mail group that anybody is welcome to join.  There are probably fifty people that are members of that.  Well pass along scheduling tips if someone hears if such and such is happening.  We’ll debate the rules and how we might want to change them.  We just added figure eight tracks this year.”

 

One additional bit of information regarding what constitutes a track counting in the total is that the attendee must be present for at least one feature during the evening’s program, so if the races are rained out after the heats, it doesn’t count.  Randy has had a number of occasions where that has happened and worst yet rained out entirely.  Through it all he has maintained his sprit for the chase and harnessed his frustration.  Being an avid golfer, as well as a trackchaser, he can satiate two appetites when he is out on the road.

 

Randy has had numerous interesting experiences, too many to mention here, but there are some highlights, including  one involving a trip to England.  He explains, “That’s was a lot of fun.  Normally for the last few years when I go to a track, I have a little hand out, and I just pass it along to the announcer, and a lot of times they’ll read it.  Sometimes, they’ll invite me up and we’ll talk about it over the PA system.  It was an afternoon track at what  they call grass racing.  It really isn’t on grass.  It’s an oval track and this one happened to be out in the country.

 

They had a ton of cars there.  They must have had two hundred.  The announcer said, “Have you ever raced?  I said, “No,” and he said, “Would you like to?”  I said, “Yea, that would be great.”  He said, “I think I can arrange that.”  “I had a guy video tape it, and the video is a prized possession.  I had a lot of fun.”

 

Besides his trip to England, Randy has been to some other out of the country locations.  He added.  I’ve been to tracks in Australia, Canada, the Isle of Mann, which is its own separate country off the coast of England, a lot in England, about fifteen of them, and one in Scotland.”

 

One of his best experiences occurred right in the good old “US of A,” one with a spectacular result.  Randy describes what happened.  “My wife and I went to theLong Beach (California) Grand Prix one time.  I think it was about 1987.

 

We were guests of American Airlines.  (Randy was a guest of American Airlines because he flies a lot on American.  He said that he has over 6 million miles in American’s Frequent Flyer Program.)  That was nice enough in itself because they provided a nice dinner, caps and that sort of thing, but they had a prize for the person who could accurately guess the winning average speed.  So I went out and bought a program and looked at the last 10 years, which were very consistent. Most of the other people who were guests there didn’t know too much about racing.  They were all over the ball park.  We picked kind of a range, my wife’s number and my number.  We ended up winning first prize.  First prize happened to be two air tickets to Zurich, Switzerland, and a week’s hotel!”

 

Another memorable occurrence was on his trip to Scotland and his visit to Cowdenbeath Raceway.  He describes what happened.  “I had written ahead and the flagman (starter) corresponded with me.  When the races ended he invited Carol and I over to his house.  This is like 11:30 at night.  His wife gave us coffee and he showed us his video tapes.  We met his son and saw his house.  That was a fun thing to do.

 

I asked Randy about his ultimate goal as a trackchaser and if he could ever be number one.  He replied, “I don’t think so.  I got a late start in this.  When my kids were smaller, I was tied into Little League and soccer, and all the things that go along with that.  I would have only needed to average, for the ten years I was sort of out of it, about thirty tracks a year, which isn’t very much.  I’ve got thirty-five tracks this season, and we’re only midway through.”

 

One would think that with this unique hobby he would get into a lot of tracks for free.  He explains how often that happens, “Virtually never.  A long time ago I used to write ahead and tell them I was coming, but that made me feel obligated that I had to come there, and if something in my plans changed  thought that was inconvenient for everybody, so I stopped doing it that way.

 

Randy’s wife Carol doesn’t go with him that often.  She does have 115 tracks, but that’s nowhere near his total.  I’m sure some of you are curious as to how the relationship can survive with him away so much chasing racing.  Randy explains how that has actually been a plus.  The thing that makes that worthwhile in our marriage is when I’m home, my office has been in the house, so I see her from seven in the morning until we go to bed at night.  We talk probably every hour as she walks by my desk.  Even though I travel 60 or 70 nights a year doing this, I may see her more that the average person who goes to work every day and leaves at 7:00 and gets home at five or six at night.”

 

With Randy Lewis now officially retired as of July 1, 2002, he can really start to get serious about trackchasing, as if he hasn’t before.  Judging from the extend to which he has gone to races in all parts of the world, and because there are still hundreds that he hasn’t seen, I expect to keep reading his e-mails with great interest and envying this fascinating hobby.



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Rhode Island

Rhode Island

Providence Journal – Providence, Rhode Island – March 8, 2009

 

The following excerpt appeared in the local Providence paper following the races at the Dunkin Donuts Center.

 

Give that the event marked the first sanctioned series of auto races in Rhode Island in 50 years, it attracted the attention of trackchasers, a group of hobbyists who compete to attend the most races at different tracks.

 

“It was an excellent program”, said Randy Lewis of San Clemente, Calif., a retired executive, who had flown in with his wife, Carol, to attend the race.  Lewis is the “World’s No. 1 Ranked Trackchaser,” having attended races at 1,412 different tracks worldwide.

 

Indeed, only the weekend before, he and Carol had flown out to races in Bahrain and Abu Dhabi and he was flying to Alaska after the Rhode Island program to watch a race in Anchorage this afternoon.  “I’ve been to 25 indoor programs and this was one of the best,” he said, noting that having the cars start and restart in double file created good action.

 

“Plus there were no fumes,” he and Carol said, noting that was a particular problem with indoor racing.

 

Certainly, they should know.

 

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‘Track chasers’ notch their belts at car races in R.I.

01:00 AM EDT on Wednesday, March 11, 2009

By Peter C.T. Elsworth

Journal Staff Writer

 

“The goal is to see as many races at as many different tracks as possible,” says Randy Lewis, below, of San Clemente, Calif., who was in town last weekend to catch the races with his wife, Carol.

 

The Providence Journal Steve Szydlowski

PROVIDENCE While last weekend’s auto racing at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center was a treat for local fans, it also attracted the attention of a special group of enthusiasts from across the nation — track chasers.

“Track chasing is a hobby,” said Randy Lewis, who was in town from San Clemente, Calif., with his wife, Carol. “The goal is to see as many races at as many different tracks as possible.”

The count does not include drag strips or motorcycle tracks; only car racing on ovals, figure-eight tracks and road courses.

The reason the local race series featuring Three-Quarter Midgets and Senior Champ Karts attracted so much attention from track chasers is that it gave them the opportunity to rack up Rhode Island, which had not seen sanctioned racing since 1959, on their “track belts.”

“The top five (track chasers) are all here,” Lewis said following Friday’s program, citing the listing on autoracingrecords.com where he is ranked as the world’s No.1 track chaser, having seen races at a total of 1,406 tracks worldwide.

But that listing is somewhat out of date, as Lewis has since been to a number of locales to watch races, including Bahrain, Qatar and Wisconsin.

Indeed, adding in last weekend’s races here and a street race he flew on to attend Sunday afternoon at the Fur Rondy winter festival in Anchorage, Alaska.

“I just got back from Alaska, which was a successful trip,” he said by phone from Los Angeles Airport on Monday. “They ran the 49th Fur Rondy Grand Prix through the streets of Anchorage in 15-degree temperature.”

Lewis’ total is now 1,413, but he said that is still less than half the 3,000 to 4,000 tracks worldwide.

Paul Weisel, who ranks 15th with some 650 tracks, said he had enjoyed the show.

“It was an excellent venue, I wish we had such a building down here, and the racing was as good as it gets,” he said from Orefield, Pa., where he runs Weisel Racing Equipment.

He said he got into track chasing because he used to race Midgets and also because of his business, which supplies tires to dragsters and all sorts of equipment for Midgets and Three-Quarter Midgets.

Actually, Lewis and 10 other track chasers, including Weisel, had already notched up Rhode Island by attending the semi-mythical Barnyard Speedway in Chepachet.

Races are run at the Barnyard on an irregular basis on a dirt oval in the back of someone’s farm. Racing is by invitation only and NASCAR Modified champion Mike Stefanik of Coventry, who was competing in the Midgets last weekend, attends when he can.

“It’s a blast,” he said in an earlier interview.

“Not many people have (been to tracks in all 50 states),” said Weisel. In fact, Carol Lewis became the 10th track chaser to do so with her attendance at the race here on Friday. “It does not sound difficult, but it is.”

Overall, there are seven drivers who have seen auto races at more than 1,000 tracks, according to autoracingrecords.com.

While Randy Lewis has watched auto races at tracks in every state, he has also attended races at tracks in 26 countries, including Mexico, Australia, Britain, New Zealand, South America and South Africa.

Indeed, the previous weekend saw the couple watching races at the Bahrain International Circuit in Sakhir, Bahrain, and the Dubai Autodrome in the United Arab Emirates.

That visit followed driving on and watching races at the Lake Washington Ice Track in Mankato, Wis., and watching the Losail International Circuit in Doha, Qatar, in the weeks before.

“People think of (track chasing) as a racing hobby when it’s more of a travel hobby,” the retired Procter & Gamble executive said. “After you’ve seen this much racing, there’s not much new you can see.”

Indeed, as if to make this point, his contact card includes a small photograph of an airplane rather than a race car.

“The hobby becomes more about finding out where a track is, when it is running a race and the logistics of getting there,” he said, adding that finding “all the little niche tracks” plays a big part.

Track chasing has a competitive aspect, and finding such tracks creates a dilemma of when to share the information, Lewis said. Right away? After you’ve seen a race? Or as you’re boarding the plane bound to the race locale?

“Certain friends think I’m crazy,” he said. “But the racing community knows it can get addictive.”

Lewis, 60, said he started chasing race tracks 8 to 10 years ago when he was traveling as a sales manager at P&G. “After a sales meeting on Friday afternoon, I’d stay over and see a race.”

Now retired, he said has averaged 125 tracks a year for the last six years and added that part of the challenge is living far from the East Coast and Europe, where there are so many tracks.

“Every one of my trips starts with an airplane,” he said.

His favorite track? “I like the Talladega SuperSpeedway (in Alabama),” he said. “It’s great racing.”

At the same time, he said his favorite kind of racing was on quarter-mile dirt ovals. “You can sit in the grandstand and see all the action,” he said.

Lewis said he was continually amazed at how well he and Carol were treated overseas.

“Most people speak some English,” he said, noting that even in nations where the couple could not blend in, such as in the Mideast, they were treated kindly.

“People like people, even though they may not like other people’s governments,” he said.

Lewis said he had been impressed with last weekend’s racing at the Dunk. “I’ve been to 25 indoor programs and this was one of the best,” he said. “They started on time and had their act together.”

He said having the cars start and restart in double file NASCAR style created good action, and added that he had been pleasantly surprised by the lack of fumes, which often bedevils indoor auto racing.

Having returned from Anchorage, Lewis said he was thinking of traveling to Kansas and Georgia this weekend, although he was concerned about the weather forecasts, which did not look favorable.

The search goes on.

For more information, go to:

autoracingrecords.com

ranlayracing.com (Note:  Randy’s current website is www.randylewis.org)







Australia
Australia

Monday, January 3, 2005

133rd year

Serving Warnambool and the southwest daily

 Randy & Carol - Sungold Stadium

Randy & Carol – Premier Speedway

                     Randy’s living the dream….

Trackchasers Randy and Carol Lewis add
Premier Speedway to their list.

 

By Greg Best

 

CALIFORNIAN Randy Lewis is living every speedway fan’s dream, traveling the world watching racing.

 

It is no holiday for the 53-year-old who sees speedway spectating as a competition.

 

He is one of about 1000 Americans known as trackchasers.

 

They travel the length and breadth of the earth in search of another venue to add to their record.

 

Allansford’s Premier Speedway became Mr. Lewis’ 810th circuit he had seen and while you might stutter with disbelief, he is by no means the most prolific.

 

According to trackchaser.com, which records their deeds, Mr. Lewis is seventh in the world standings, behind New York’s Rick Schneider, who has been to 1033 racetracks.

 

Mr. Lewis and his wife, Carol, have made a quick swing through southern Australia in the past week, visiting tracks at Adelaide, Mildura, Mount Gambler, Avalon and Hamilton.

 

“In 2004 I set a new record.  I went to 127 tracks in one year.  The old record was 114,” he said on the hill at Premier Speedway on Saturday night.

 

Based in San Clemente, California, Mr. Lewis said he was at a disadvantage in the trackchasing stakes because he had to fly to mostU.S. tracks.

 

His competitors who lived in states such as Pennsylvania where there are between 60 and 80 tracks, were able to drive.

 

“I have clocked up six million miles on American Airlines,” he said.

 

He started chasing tracks when he was 25 and after retiring from his position as a salesman with a global firm, has stepped up his quest to watch racing at more tracks, financing his trips out of his savings.

 

He is one of only six people to have seen races in all 50 American states and the District of Columbia.

 

Outside the U.S., he has been to speedway meetings in Britain andCanada.

 

Mr. Lewis said he was impressed with Premier Speedway but admitted experiencing a culture shock at his first few Australian tracks.

 

“One thing that is a bit unusual is the lack of grandstand seating.  Here most tracks you sit on the grass.  Ninety-eight per cent of seating inAmerica is bleachers so we went to Kmart and bought a couple of chairs.”

 

After arriving in Australia for the Boxing Derby round of World Series Sprint cars in Adelaide, Mr. and Mrs. Lewis will jet out on Thursday in search of more tracks in the U.S.

The Warrnambool Standard
170-176 Koroit Street, Warrnambool 3280
General inquiries: (03) 5563 1800

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Alberta, Canada

Alberta, Canada



World’s top track chaser visits Hidden Valley Motorsports

Darren Ridgley

Darren Ridgley

Darren Ridgley The Drumheller Mail Drumheller, Alberta, Canada June, 2007  

He’s been to 20 states, three provinces and New Zealand this year alone, and on Sunday, June 3, Randy Lewis made an appearance in Drumheller. Lewis, a resident of San Clemente, California, is the number one track chaser in the world, on a quest to visit as many motor sports tracks as he can around the world. “In the last six years I’ve seen about 700 new tracks,” Lewis said. He was in town to see the races at Hidden Valley Motor Sports, which marked 1,201 tracks he has visited. Lewis remarked on the scenery that the venue provided, noting its unique qualities among other places he has visited. “The scenery you guys have here today, this is my 1,201th track, and I’ve never seen a racetrack situated in scenery like this,”  Lewis said. “It seems like everywhere I go, there’s always something I’ve never seen before.  So that’s why I do it.” The previous day, he had visited tracks in Calgary and Edmonton, including the Castrol Raceway. He’s been at it for approximately 10 years, and his passion lies not only in the races, but also in the places he gets to see along the way. “It’s really about the logistics of planning the trip and all the different things you can see,”  Lewis said. Though Lewis has visited larger racing venues, he said that small shows were his preference. “This is definitely grass roots racing here.” “I’ve been to Daytona and the Indy 500, but I’m much rather see this event than those kinds of races.” Lewis said there are still 1,250 tracks he hasn’t seen.

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Ontario, Canada
Ontario, Canada

 

SIMCOE REFORMER

 

BY STEVEN NOBLE, SIMCOE REFORMER
October 8, 2006
Randy Lewis was a trackchaser before he even knew there was such a thing. Today he holds the world record for tracks visited.

The resident of San Clemente, Calif. woke up to catch a 3:30 a.m. flight from Los Angeles to Salt Lake City, Utah where he jumped a connecting flight to Toronto. From there Lewis rented a car and headed to Simcoe for the first time. Showing up at the Norfolk County Fairgrounds yesterday in time for the figure-eight race and the demolition derby, Lewis checked off track No. 1,113, padding his lead.

He began officially chasing tracks in 1999. He was planning a visit to a track inEngland when his online research introduced him to two things: a) he was a “trackchaser,” and b) there are more people like him out there.

“I started out because I enjoyed races and I wanted to see new places,” said the retired Proctor & Gamble sales account manager last night. When he signed in with www.trackchasers.com — the official web site and forum for people who visit different race tracks as a hobby — in 1999, he was ranked 15th in the world, with 500 tracks visited.

Lewis says there is no real way to prove if someone is telling the truth about their visits. Trackchasers go by an honour system, although he backs his visits up with photos and stories about each visit on his own web site.

His favourite track of all time is his home track in Peoria, Illinois where he grew up as a child. But he points out that the biggest spectacle he’s ever seen at a track is either the Indy 500 or the Daytona 500.

Lewis has visited tracks in all 50 states as well as the District of Columbia, but his hobby is hardly limited to the U.S. He’s visited tracks in Australia, Belgium, Germany,France, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, and of course, here in Canada.

For his efforts he’s actually signed a sponsorship deal with United Airlines and Delta Airlines, so he gets flights at a hefty discount — a perk of being a world No. 1.

From Simcoe Lewis will fly to Lacrosse, Wis. where he’ll visit track No. 1,114 before returning home.




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THE TILLSONBURG NEWS
By Nathan Taylor

 

WORLD’S NO. 1 TRACKCHASER

Randy Lewis
Randy Lewis

The World’s No. 1 ranked track chaser, Randy Lewis, was in town for the derbies and races at Tillsonburg Fair.  Lewis, ofSan Clemente, Calif. has visited over 1,098 tracks in theUnited States and seven other countries, giving him a considerable lead over second-place chaser Rick Schneider of New York.  Lewis is one of the seven people to have seen races in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.  Watch for postings of his Tillsonburg experience on his website: www.ranlayracing.com.

 

A full half-page of pictures from the fair figure 8 races and demolition derby appeared with this story.

 

Tillsonburg #!

Brownsville’s Mark Carroll, right, won the Most Entertaining Driver award in his heat during Tillsonburg Tri-County Fair’s demolition derby Sunday.From left, Jim Schroeder of Kitchener, Mike Dean of Tillsonburg and Neal Singh of St. Thomas took part in the figure eight race at Tillsonburg Fair Aug. 20.  Schroeder won the first heat while Peter Becker of New Hamburg won the second.Emergency crews were on scene but fortunately not required during the Tillsonburg Fair car rollover competition, put on by Thrill Show Productions, Aug. 20.  Car 116, or 911, was driven by Ken Konrad of London.All photos by Nathan Taylor.




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Saskatchewan

Saskatchewan

 

The StarPhoenix – Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada 

July 28, 2011 – By Devin Heroux 

 

Randy Lewis has the extraordinary title as the world’s No. 1 racetrack chaser, a distinction he holds after visiting more than 1,680 racetracks around the globe.

 

On Wednesday night, Lewis made a pit stop in Saskatoon to tack on another track to his growing list by being in attendance for the third annual Velocity Prairie Thunder 250 at Auto Clearing Motor Speedway.

 

The racetrack connoisseur had sparkling reviews for the city’s track.

“I’ve seen about 90 Canadian tracks, and this has got to be one of the best from what I can see,” Lewis said. “It’s nice to be here when it’s the biggest show of the year.”

 

Wednesday’s race was part of the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series.

 

Lewis grew up in East Peoria, Ill., a small blue-collar industrial town where he fell in love with cars and racing. Now he’s taken his passion for the sport to a whole new level. In the past seven years, Lewis has visited 1,688 different tracks in 52 countries. On average, he takes upwards of 250 flights and rents more than 50 cars to get him to venues in a year. In the past four years, Lewis estimates he’s travelled more than one million kilometres.

 

“I have a huge database of race dates across mainly North America,” Lewis said. “Right now I have about 500 more tracks to go.”

 

But how does he afford it all?

 

“I charge it and then my wife pays the bill,” he said, laughing. “At least I’m assuming she pays the bills.”

 

Lewis has been married for 39 years and admits the only reason his wife tags along is because of his passion for track chasing. She has been to over 450 tracks with Lewis, and most recently joined him for the first leg of his current 16-day tour.

 

“Could you imagine asking your wife 1,688 times if you could go to the races?” he asked

 

After Wednesday night’s race, Lewis will continue on his trek to his next track. There could be scheduling difficulties looming, however.

 

“Tonight, I hate to say this, but I may sleep in my car because of a 5: 55 a.m. flight to get to my next track,” he said. “It just wouldn’t be worth it to get a hotel.”

 

Lewis plans to be in Minneapolis tonight but will be back in Saskatchewan during this trip, visiting a race track in Outlook and Swift Current on Sunday.

 

For Lewis to go track chasing he needs three things to happen. He needs there to be a race on that evening, good weather, and he has to find a way to get to the track.

 

“A lot of people don’t understand that this is about logistics and planning as much as it is racing,” he said. “It’s my amazing race.”

 

At 62, Lewis feels younger than ever, saying the track chasing keeps him feeling fresh and excited about life. He also says there isn’t an end date down the road.

 

“I act like I’m 32,” he said. “I’m going to keep doing this until I run out of tracks and my wife doesn’t mind.”

 

After each track Lewis visits, he posts an official track chaser report to his website. He was busy capturing all the sights and sounds of Saskatoon’s track on Wednesday night, and he said his reports go to thousands of the most influential people in the auto-racing world.





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England

England

 

SHORT CIRCUIT

 

Birmingham, England

 

March, 2006 

 


Randy Hits the 1000

 

By Rick Young

While talking about TrackChasin, I must mention the amazing achievement of World famous TrackChaser Randy Lewis of San Clemente, Calif.  When on the 10th February, accompanied by his wife Carol, who herself has done 223 tracks, scored his 1000th.  The track chosen was the Auburndale Kartway, in Florida where he witnessed Champ Karts, the only countable type of kart in TrackChasin rules.  It was just less than two years ago on the 22 April 2004 at the Thunder Alley Speedway in New York that I joined Randy and TrackChasin Grand Commissioner Will White, to celebrate his 700th, and he’ll be adding yet more to his list, this Easter when he visits the UK once more.  For more info on this fascinating hobby check out the websites www.ranlayracing.com and www.trackchaser.com. (Note:  Randy’s current website location is www.randylewis.org.



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Malta

Malta

MALTA TIMES

Valletta, Malta 

 

Friday, 19th February 2010

Motor sport

 

Compelling racing at ASM series

 

ASM competitors showed their mettle during the last round of the 2009/10 National Championships.

Another series of races from the ASM 2009/10 National Championships, sponsored by Ashika and Poiatti, was held recently at the circuit in Ta’ Qali.

In the Autocross Class A event, Mario Scicluna chalked up the highest number of points in qualifying but, after leading for most of the distance, a mechanical failure forced him to retire.

Patrick Cassar and Chris Aquilina, driving similar and highly-competitive cars, were engaged in a tight duel for the leading position but it was the former who had the final say. The Galea duo, Christian and Mario, followed as they challenged for third place. At the finish line, it was Mario who roared his car to the remaining place on the podium.

Malcolm Borg was the winner of the Class B race. He was closely followed by Silvio Sciberras in a Citroen AX. Newcomer Karmenu Zammit completed the nine-lap race in third place.

Bangers ace Dennis Vassallo is the man to beat in his 2-litre Cortina these days. He won two races at Ta’ Qali and finished second in the third heat, thus obtaining 54 of the 60 points available.

Tony Spiteri was second behind Vassallo on 50 points and Clayton Bugeja third with 46.

 

Distinguished guest

The ASM has just hosted a distinguished guest from the international motorsport scene as Randy Lewis, of California, US, recently toured the circuit at Ta’ Qali, accompanied by association officials.

Lewis, who travels to different countries to monitor racing in as many different racetracks as possible, is the world’s no.1 ‘track chaser’.

With the ASM oval now added to his repertoire, Lewis has visited 1,522 venues for auto racing. Before Malta, he had been to 34 other countries to achieve his lifetime ambition.

According to official records, Ed Esser is second behind Lewis in the track chasers’ list with 1,251 visits. Guy Smith is third with 1,247 tracks.

 

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MALTA TELEVISION INTERVIEW

 

 

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New Zealand

New Zealand

 

BAY OF PLENTY TIMES, TAURANGA, NEW ZEALAND – JANUARY 3, 2007

Randy loves life in the fast lanes

 

By Colin Smith 

Colin Smith

Colin Smith

 

THERE’S a joke that a hard core race fan believes the last four words of the national anthem are “gentlemen start your engines.”

But hard core race fan barely begins to describe Randy Lewis.

Lewis and his wife Carol from San Clemente, California are “track chasers” making a 12-day, 12-track visit to New Zealand.

Randy Lewis, 57, is one of six people in the world to have attended more than 1000 race tracks.  The New Zealand trip will consolidate his status as the world number one in the competitive hobby of track chasing with a lead of about 60 tracks over his nearest rival.

Baypark Speedway on December 28 was the 1135th different race track Lewis had attended and his 144th last year alone.  For Carol Lewis the Baypark meet was her 60th different race track for 2006 and she’s approaching 300 different tracks.

“I think my best achievement is I’ve seen more tracks while I’ve been married than anyone else.”

“I saw my first race when I was five but I didn’t see my next one till I was 14.  Since I retired four years ago I’ve been to 500 different tracks.”

“In 2005 I saw racing on 121 days at 182 different tracks.  In 2006 it’ll be 148 tracks in 115 days in 37 states, Canada, England and New Zealand.”

And he’s not about to run out of destinations.

“There’s still about 1250 tracks in North American I haven’t seen.”

“Some of them are little figure-eight tracks that only run once a year at county fairs.  They’re not advertised very well so you hear about some of them through other track chasers.”

Lewis says track chasing is similar to a serious collecting hobby. It’s a competitive pastime with rules – practice days, drag strips and motorcycle events don’t count.

Research is vital.

“There are about 1300 websites I monitor as well as discussion forums.  I’m always looking for the unusual midweek races.”

Living in southern California is a geographic disadvantage to Lewis who must fly to keep the track tally ticking upward.

Having already attended every regularly scheduled track within 1000km of his home, track chasing now sees him flying east or to Canada, the United Kingdom and for the first time New Zealand.

“I’ve flown over six million miles with American Airlines,” says Lewis.

“This is my 37th racing trip this year.  I’ve seen racing on 48 out of 52 weekends.

” “My disadvantage is I live in California and most of the trackchasers are based in the Midwest and Eastern states where they can drive to a lot of tracks.”

So how did Baypark rate?

“It’s a great facility.  There aren’t five dirt tracks in the US where you can seat 15,000 people like this one.”

“The cars are immaculately prepared and it’s nice to be able to go into the pits to look around because you can’t do that in theUS.”

Lewis gets to see some below par racing as well.

“If it’s a good race then I’m glad I made the trip.  If it isn’t then the beauty of track chasing is you don’t have to go back again.”

The obvious question is how does Lewis support his expensive habit?

“I saved my money,” he says.

“I worked for Procter & Gamble until I retired four years ago at 53.  My other hobby is financial planning and I’m able to afford to do this.”


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HAWKE’S BAY 

New Zealand     

TODAY

 

SPEEDWAY:  The World’s No. 1 ranked ‘trackchaser visits Meeanee write SHANE HURNDELL

Lewis is well on track

03.01.2007

 

It’s almost another one of those American sports stories which are becoming far too common.
 

You know the ones.  An American is the best at something and they claim he/she is the world champion regardless of what is happening in the sport in another part of the world. 

Californian Randy Lewis, who was among the spectators at ZM Meeanee Speedway on Monday night, is the world champion at trackchasing.  Trackchasing?

“It’s going all over the world trying to see as many different automobile racing tracks as I can,” he said.

There are more than 50 people in the world who have visited more than 200 tracks.

There are six trackchasers in the world who have visited more than 1000 tracks, including NASCAR’s Ken Schrader and sprintcar stars Steve Kinser and Sammy Swindell.

Lewis had 1133 tracks before starting his 12-trackNew Zealand visit last week.  In addition to United States and New Zealand tracks Lewis, who is retired, has visited tracks in Australia, Belgium, Canada, Germany, France, Netherlandsand the United Kingdom.

“Trackchasers count racing on ovals, figure 8 tracks and road courses.  Drags, demo derbies and motorcycles don’t count,” he said.

Before visiting Meeanee on Monday night Lewis took in a Meremere Dirt Track Club meeting and yesterday traveled to a Nelson Speedway meeting.

To date only one of his meetings on his New Zealand schedule have been rained out.

“If there’s an aspect of the New Zealand speedway scene I want to see improved it’s the rain-outs.  New Zealand should be like the United Kingdom and race rain or shine,” Lewis said.

“But overall you have great racing over here.  Most of the classes are as good as we have in the States, and some are better,” he said.

Lewis was particularly impressed with the Midget racing at Auckland’s Western Springs and the Saloon and Super Saloon racing, which Steve Williams, the caddie for the world’s #1 golfer Tiger Woods, was involved in.

“I like the fact that over here the racing starts on time and is usually over by 10pm.  Back home it can drag on a bit sometimes til midnight or 2am,” Lewis said.

With most of his New Zealand track visits taking place in the evenings Lewis and his wife Carol, who is the world’s #1 female trackchaser, have had no time to sample some of New Zealand’s best restaurants he has heard so much about.


“I’ve got to be honest……we’re getting sick of hot dogs and chips, which is all you seem to get at tracks over here,” he said.

And do he and his wife get sick of trackchasing?

“No way, but we do need a break occasionally….that’s why we’re going to Tahiti when we leave New Zealand on January 7.  There are no tracks there so we can take some time out to plan our next visits.

“I want to stay No. 1,” he added.

 

 




 



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Portugal

Portugal

I met some wonderful people during my trackchasing visit to Portugal.  Nena and Rodrigo were the best and are responsible for my trackchasing story appearing in this Spanish language publication.

Trackchasing in Portugal.



 

 










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Qatar



Qatar

 

Qatar’s top-selling daily newspaper

February 14, 2009

 

GULF TIMES

Losail wows world champ trackchaser

Sports Reporter

 

Randy Lewis

Randy Lewis

CALIFORNIAN Randy Lewis, who was among the spectators at the Losail International Circuit on Thursday night is the world champion at trackchasing.

So what is trackchasing? “It’s going all over the world trying to see as many different automobile racing tracks as possible,” he said. With his presence at Losail, Lewis has completed his visit  to the 1,408th race track. Lewis has said that his travels abroad have helped him understand and relate better to  cultures of the world. “The more I observe, the more I understand a culture,” said the former sales manager with Procter and Gamble. “In the US, if I see people wearing the Arab attire of abayas and dishdashas I would be surprised but being here and because it is so common, it helps in overcoming apprehensions,” he said. 

Asked how he managed the finances for his air travel particularly during the global financial turmoil, he said, he had invested wisely during his 30 years of service with Procter and Gamble. “I made wise decisions with my personal investments. I invested in malls, real estate and some good shares. I also have a few airlines supporting me in my endeavours,” said Lewis. “I must say the circuit in Losail is one of the best that I have visited and I am also privileged to be the first trackchaser to visit Qatar,” he added. There are currently more than 50 people in the world who have visited more than 200 tracks and there are six trackchasers in the world who have visited more than 1000 tracks. “Trackchasers count racing on ovals, figure 8 tracks and road courses.  Drags, demo derbies and motorcycles don’t count,” he said. Though he has enjoyed his travels worldwide, last minute schedule changes of important events have been some of the lows. “I have seen seven drivers and a spectator die in various accidents across the world,” said Lewis about the unpleasant moments of his hobby. Asked about his plans for the future, he said, “I want to stay No 1.”




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QATAR TRIBUNE

Monday, February 16, 2009

Losail gets thumbs up from racing connoisseur

 

The Losail circuit had a unique visitor this weekend during the GP2 and Speedcar Asia series.  Randy N Lewis is no ordinary racing buff but is the number one track-chaser in the world.  He holds the distinction of spending 1408 race weekends in different parts of the world.

Lewis, a former Procter and Gamble executive, is also the only man to have visited over 1200 tracks all over the globe and is ahead of his nearest competitor by over 400 points.

A trackchaser gets one point for each motor race over a weekend.  One has to produce documentary evidence of witnessing a race in order to get the point.  The overall standings are dominated by the Americans and there is just one Belgium in the top-25.

 

Lewis is not willing to pull up now.  “I am over 60 but the man behind me is quite young.  So I don’t want to stop right now and wish to gain as many points as possible.”

 

Randy was all praise for Qatar.  “I’m the first among the top track-chasers to come to Qatar.  It’s very impressive place.  I’d to struggle a lot before getting the right contact.  I finally managed to catch (Neus) Ramos at the Losail circuit and acquired all relevant information before coming here.  Doha is indeed much different and a lot more impressive than what I’d thought.”

 

Praising Losail’s track and floodlight facilities, Randy said, “I’ve not seen a track like Losail before.  It’s indeed a great track.”





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Wales

Wales



NORTH WALES CHRONICLE, ANGLESEY, WALES, UNITED KINGDOM

April, 2011

 

 Anglesey added to Randy’s tracklist

 AN AMERICAN racing fanatic added an Anglesey race track to his list of international tracks that he has visited.

Trackchasers Randy Lewis and his wife Carol, of San Clemente, California, visited the Anglesey Circuit at Ty Croes over the Easter weekend as part of his mission to visit as many tracks as possible around the globe.

 

Carol said that the couple had enjoyed their first trip to Wales.

 

“It not all about tracks.  We like to see the local area and we have seen some castles and had a boat trip to Puffin Island,” she said.

 

“The scenery is beautiful”.

 

The couple were driven around the track by operations director Richard Peacock, and were impressed by the circuit, Formula Ford and saloon car racing.

 

Drag races, rallies and motorcycle races do not count in trackchasing, and visits are recorded by a commissioner.

The retired logistics worker is regarded as the USA’s top trackchaser, while Carol tops the women’s ranks.

 

His hobby had seen him visit over 1600 tracks in 49 countries.

 

Randy hopes to consolidate his number one spot with visits to four English tracks.

 

For more information about Randy Lewis, visit www.randylewis.org.




 

 


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