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Miller Ranch

Greetings from Cash, Texas

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From the travels and adventures of the 

“World’s #1 Trackchaser”

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Miller Ranch

Dirt road course

Lifetime Track #2,393

 

The EventVideo PlusPhotos

 

 

THE EVENT

I have had the opportunity to follow my trackchasing hobby all over the world. As this is written I have seen racing in 77 countries. My lifetime track total is nearly 2,400. Long ago I wrapped up seeing racing in every American state.

 

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

When I gained an airline sponsorship all of that changed. Now I have seen racing in 77 countries and toured the world in more than 90 countries. Long ago I passed up Mr. Vanden Eynde for the true “World’s #1 Trackchaser” title.

 

 

When I first started out watching racing at the Peoria Speedway I never would have imagined my racing future. The Peoria Speedway was a high-banked quarter-mile dirt oval. They raced “coupes” like ’32 Fords on the track when I first showed up back in the mid-fifties.

 

 

Now many of my races are held in farm fields. Those farm tracks might be five miles long or more. There are no ’32 Fords racing on these dirt road courses. They race brands like Polaris and Yamaha. What do these tracks have in common? Not all that much except the dirt!

 

 

My hobby is not only about racing. Yes, that is one part of it. However of equal importance are the logistics of trackchasing and the opportunity to see the world.

 

 

I live in Southern California. The vast majority of tracks are located in the Midwest and East. It takes a good deal of logistical planning to get from where I live to where the tracks are. For the past 15 years I have traveled about 175 nights each and every year. Surprisingly to some, more than half of those overnights were not part of trackchasing.

 

 

Then there’s the travel just for the fun of seeing new things. You won’t want to miss my “Trackchasing Tourist Attractions” page or my “Sports Spectating Resume” page on my website at www.randylewis.org. That will give you some understanding on how important seeing the world and just “seeing stuff” is with my hobby.

 

 

Today’s adventure was one more of the 2,000 trips that have taken me up, down and around the long and dusty trackchasing trail. If you would like to see where I’ve been and experience those adventures here’s the link:

 

 

Randy’s Complete Track List

 

 

If you’ve got a question, comment or whatever please leave it at the bottom of this report.  It’s very easy to do.  Or you can visit me on Facebook.  Thanks!

 

 

Randy on Facebook

 

 

 

FOREWORD

Most people who follow my hobby likely think of the racing only. People rarely mention the logistics of trackchasing to me. Yes, they might be impressed with the fact that I routinely travel more than 200,000 miles each season. They might enjoy the fact that I have been able to do this on a worldwide basis. However, I just don’t think folks give much thought to what it takes to get from point A to point B.

 

 

The past 24 hours would provide a good example of the logistics needed to make Sunday’s race in Texas happen. I finished up my trackchasing in Inverness, Florida at 4 p.m. yesterday. From there I headed immediately to Cash, Texas.

 

 

I had 23 hours to get there. The driving distance from Inverness, Florida to Cash, Texas was 1,029 miles. My Waze GPS program told me I could get there in 15 hours and 25 minutes. However, driving that far didn’t seem like a god idea. Based upon my normal cost per mile for gas of $0.09 it would cost me nearly $100 in fuel to make that trip. It would also cost me another $100 U.S. or more to pickup a rental car in Florida and return it in Texas. Nope, I would fly.

 

 

I guess I could have taken the bus or maybe a train. However, that would take a long time. I probably couldn’t pull that off in 23 hours with the connections and transportation on both sides of a bus or train ride.

 

 

I’ve been doing this for a long time. I retired more than fifteen years ago. When I retired I had seen 581 tracks. It’s difficult to believe that I’ve seen more than 1,800 tracks since I voluntarily stopped working in 2002. During that time I’ve made around 700 trackchasing trips.

 

 

With all of that travel experience I determined that driving my car from yesterday’s Inverness Grand Prix to Fort Lauderdale (FLL), Florida was the best way to get to Cash, Texas in time. Yes, I had picked up my car in Orlando, Florida. Luckily, Florida is the best state for picking up a car in one of their cities and returning it to another of their cities. It doesn’t cost much to do that compared to every other state in the country.

 

 

It would take me about four hours to drive from Inverness to FLL. I wouldn’t get there until midnight after I finished with dinner and a movie. Yes, if you don’t pace yourself on the long and dusty trackchasing trail you’ll never finish the trackchasing race.

 

 

My flight from FLL to Dallas (DFW) was leaving at 7 a.m. Sunday morning. That meant I needed to gas up and return my rental car by 5:30 a.m. or so. By “doing the math” I figured I had about five hours for sleep. Whenever I have less than eight hours to sleep from one track to another I often times bypass getting a hotel room.

 

 

What does “bypass getting a hotel room” mean in real life? That means I will sleep overnight in my car or somewhere in the airport. I didn’t use to do that. However, in today’s trackchasing world today’s track is often a lot further from tomorrow’s track than ever before. You see I’ve taken nearly 2,400 “pins” off the map. That makes the remaining pins a long way from each other!

 

 

The low temperature last night in Florida was about 65 degrees. That made for some comfortable sleeping in the mile marker #65 service area of the Florida turnpike just about ten miles north of the FLL airport.

 

 

I entertained myself on the drive down to FLL by listening to the UCLA-usc football game. If you’re like me you detest the lowly usc trojans and their unruly, often never even been on the school’s campus rowdy and generally stupid fans. Yes, I tried to “clean it up” when describing these low lifes.

 

 

 

SUNDAY

My flight from FLL to DFW was uneventful on Spirit Airlines. I’m not a huge fan of Spirit. However, they are often cheap. Today’s flight from Florida to Texas was just $71 U.S. That’s cheap! When I fly on Spirit I have to totally disrupt my carryon baggage plan but that’s the price of cheap.

 

 

I landed at 9 a.m. The drive from DFW to Cash, Texas, home to the Miller Ranch was going to take about an hour and a half. That gave me some time to get things organized.

 

 

At DFW I picked up my Avis Rental Car. When I landed I received a message from Avis telling me my Kia Optima was waiting for me in space #E11. Yes, Avis is organized. I like National better because I can pick any full-sized car they have. Even with Avis I can change cars if I want too. The Optima today would be just fine. I would only be driving about 150 miles round-trip.

 

 

Did you know that I track my expenses in seven categories on each and every trackchasing trip I make? Those categories are: airfare, airport parking, rental cars, hotels, gasoline, food and race tickets.

 

 

I told you that I’ve done this before. I can “price out” a trip for all seven categories in about 30 seconds. I’ll be within 5% one way or the other of the trip’s cost after just 30 seconds of thought.

 

 

I figure that I pay about 30-50% of what anyone else would pay for the same trip. I’ve got sponsors who help with the cost of airfare, hotels, rental cars and airport parking. I’ve got a very minor sponsor for gas. Oftentimes promoters don’t charge to me to watch their races. Waffle House will throw in a free waffle or two from time to time for free like they did on this trip.

 

 

So far this year I have traveled nearly 220,000 miles. I know what the cost per mile is for each and every one of those miles. I can’t tell you that number. The IRS and my fellow competitors read these Trackchaser Reports. I will just say this for anyone who is concerned about my well being. I haven’t held a paying job for more than 15 years and I’ve still got enough left to pay for Carol’s food although not enough food to make her fat.

 

 

 

 

THE RACING

 

 

Miller Ranch – Cash, Texas

 

 

 

I would be attending a TORN racing event this afternoon. TORN stands for Texas Off-Road Nationals. I believe that today is my fourth TORN race over the last couple of years.

 

 

I’m getting to know theses guys. A fellow by the name of Curtis Kirchmeier runs the show. They race motorcycles, quads and UTVs at TORN sanctioned races.

 

 

Curtis is a good guy. Today, for the first time that I’ve seen, Curtis (above) was actually racing in one of the events. He was shaking down a “car” for a friend. Curtis is an enthusiastic guy who is friendly with everyone and runs a show where all of the competitors can have a good time.

 

 

At the last race Curtis asked his right-hand man Tom to run me around the course in one of TORN’s house UTVs. This allowed me a great behind the scenes look at Texas style off-road racing. It’s a view very few fans get to see.

 

 

Today even though Curtis was busy running the show he took the time to make sure I could get some great photos and videos. He introduced me to James who ended up having a fellow named Leon “show me the racing sights” at the Miller Ranch. Leon is Curtis’ father. He’s a great guy and very proud of his family extending all the way down to his granddaughter and grandson who also like to race.

 

 

It’s hard to miss me at one of these events. I’m the taller than normal, greyer than normal guy wearing board shorts. Yes, it is true. Most people my age don’t wear board shorts. However, those suckers are comfortable!

 

 

The folks in Texas, especially those racing at TORN events wear blue jeans. Everybody wears blue jeans. I’ve been to some races during the summer in Oklahoma and Texas, when the temperature sits at about 100 degrees. STILL everybody in the stands is wearing blue jeans.

 

 

No, I am not a Texan. However, I grew up in a pretty small town in Illinois. I was around older adults a good deal of the time. I know how to talk country and Texan and I’m very respectful way toward the people I meet. If you do that you can fit in just about anywhere…….even if you are wearing board shorts that fall below the knee. At least I’m not sagging!

 

 

Today there would be two UTV races. These races were the last for the weekend at the Miller Ranch. Leon told me they had about 4,000 racers and fans here for the weekend. The motorcycles bring the most folks.  Today Hunter Miller, whose family owns the Miller Ranch, was the overall winner in the UTV division.  There were 32 UTV entries spread over about six different classes primarily based upon engine size and the experience of the driver, expert or amateur.

 

 

There are about six classes of adult UTV racers. In total there were about 20-30 UTV in one class or another. The track is capable of handling 6-8 UTVs in a single row. A couple of UTV classes bring more than eight competitors. When that happens that class goes off the starting line in two or more rows. The cars leave the starting line at an interval of 30-60 seconds in that case. The other classes have less than eight racers. For those classes when the green flag is raised NOT lowered the entire class starts the race at exactly the same time.

 

 

Many years ago I went out into the California dessert to see some true off-road desert racing. At those events they often start just two competitors at a time at intervals of 15 seconds or so. When they’re finished they might have 200 competitors or more racing for the next four hours!

 

 

Trackchasing over the years has had its share of politics. The guys who controlled trackchasing at the time decided that they didn’t want a west coast trackchaser to dominate their east coast based hobby. As you might imagine they don’t have a lot of off-road desert racing in Pennsylvania. They do have a lot of that in California and surrounding states!

 

 

The trackchasing elite quickly mobilized and outlawed any racing where the racers started at intervals. They said that west coast off-road racing wasn’t “racing”. Oh my!

 

 

That worked for a long time. Then I was the first to discover off-road UTV racing. Most of these shows start all of the racers in a single class at the same time. What could the trackchasing elite do then? After I started racking up the off-road UTV tracks they had no choice but to follow. Now off-road UTV tracks are commonly added to the lifetime trackchasing totals of several trackchasers.

 

 

It was fun riding around the course with Leon today. He was a former racer himself. He has raced motorcycles and UTVs. He’s even raced in the big GNCC national events. As a matter of fact, Leon’s son Curtis was one of the original founders of GNCC.

 

 

It was a good day of racing at the Miller Ranch in Cash, Texas. I’ll let you see what the entire show looked like with my YouTube video and photo album. If you get the chance to see a TORN race or any other UTV off-road show give it a try. You might just like watching it or maybe racing in an event like this.

 

 

When I pulled into the track today I parked near some UTV racing teams. We started talking and by the end of our conversation I learned of about a dozen more tracks where’ I’ll likely be showing up in the next couple of years. I’m always on the lookout for new track opportunities. They seem to be popping up at a rapid pace nowadays. This comes at a good time for me. The traditional oval tracks are shutting down at a fairly quick rate. Short track racing, where spectators pay or used to pay the freight, seems to be going the way of the drive-in movie.

 

 

 

 

AFTER THE RACES

 

 

I left the Miller Ranch at about 4 p.m. I had a choice. I was pretty tired from last night’s “sleep in your car” adventure. I could either try to fly home tonight or grab a hotel and stay the night in Texas. Normally, I head for home. Today I would stay another night in Texas.

 

 

I was hungry. Texas BBQ sounded good. I checked with Yelp and soon found Baker’s Ribs. It was only a couple of miles from the racetrack in nearby Greenville.

 

 

Tonight I dined on brisket, roast turkey and sausage. Of course this all came with “Texas Toast”, baked beans, onion rings and plenty of spicy BBQ sauce. When I finished all of that I was “full as a tick” as my momma used to say.

 

 

However, Baker’s Ribs is noted for their dessert as well.   They have “fried pies”. How often do I get a chance to have a fried pie? Not that often! I went with the pecan fried pie smothered liberally with the Baker’s Ribs version of vanilla ice cream. Now I was really full as a tick!

 

 

From the restaurant I popped open my laptop. I needed a hotel for the evening. Dallas is a big place. I needed a place somewhat close to DFW. Soon I had a discounted room, via Priceline.com at the Super 8 hotel in Irving, Texas.

 

 

Back in the day I used to stay in Super 8 hotels quite a bit. However, once I discovered I could get Marriott and Sheraton hotels for the price of a Super 8 with Priceline I stopped staying at Super 8s. I can’t recall the last time I got a Super 8 using Priceline. Initially, I was disappointed. However, I am happy to report that tonight’s Super 8 was the very best Super 8 hotel I have ever stayed in. I knew Priceline wouldn’t let me down.

 

 

 

 

MONDAY

 

 

I was up early and headed back to Southern California. I won’t be there long…..just enough time to celebrate an early Thanksgiving. There are just too many once a year shows happening in November and December to pass them all up.

 

 

I grabbed enough of Super 8’s hot breakfast to go. With the airport less than ten minutes away I was returning my rental car quickly. Then I encountered the longest TSA PreCheck line I’ve even seen. I still made my non-stop flight back to LAX on the first try. I landed at 10 a.m. My normal procedure upon returning to LAX early in the day is to stop by the Alaska Lounge for breakfast when I have time. There I can relax, collect my thoughts and ultimately make the one-mile walk back to the airport parking garage. Then just 65 miles later, on the best freeway system in the U.S., I’m home.

 

 

Folks, that’s how one of these trips gets done. Good afternoon from Cash, Texas.

 

 

 

 

Texas

 

 

The Lone Star state

This afternoon I saw my 80th lifetime track in the Lone Star state yes the Lone Star state. No other trackchaser has seen 80 or more tracks in ten different states. I hold a #1 ranking here as I do in 24 total states.

 

 

States where I’ve seen 80 or more tracks.

 

California

Illinois

Indiana

Iowa

Michigan

Minnesota

Ohio

Pennsylvania

Texas

Wisconsin

 

 

 

Thanks for reading about my trackchasing,

 

Randy Lewis

World’s #1 Trackchaser

Peoria Old Timers Racing Club (P.O.R.C.) Hall of Fame Member

Texas sayings: Not plum but pert near: Not plum but pert near means that the situation is not ideal, but workable.

 

 

 

 

 

 

QUICK FACTS

 

 

LIFETIME TRACKCHASER COMPARISONS 

The three most important trackchasing comparisons to me are:

 

Total lifetime tracks seen

Total “trackchasing countries” seen

Lifetime National Geographic Diversity results

 

 

Total Lifetime Tracks

There are no trackchasers currently within 600 tracks of my lifetime total. Don’t blame me.

 

 

  1. Randy Lewis, San Clemente, California – 2,393

 

 

Total Trackchasing Countries

There are no trackchasers currently within 20 countries of my lifetime total.

 

  1. Randy Lewis, San Clemente, California – 77

 

 

 

Current lifetime National Geographic Diversity results

 

  1. Randy Lewis, San Clemente, California – 4.37

 

 

 

That’s all folks! Official end of the RLR – Randy Lewis Racing Trackchaser Report

 

 

Click on the link below to see the video production from the racing action today.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Click on the link below for a photo album from today’s trackchasing day.  You can view the album slide by slide or click on the “slide show” icon for a self-guided tour of today’s trackchasing adventure.

 

 

 

Another fun TORN Racing event; this time at the Miller Ranch in Cash, Texas

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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