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Greetings from San Clemente, California

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

 

 

BackgroundWhy racing?Contact me


From the beginning.

Randy - circa 1955 about the time of my first ever visit to the Peoria Speedway

Randy – circa 1955 about the time of my first ever visit to the Peoria Speedway

 

My mother and sister Becky - circa 1955.
My mother and sister Becky – circa 1955.
 

I started my interest in racing as a small boy in East Peoria.  I grew up in a lower middle class neigborhood with 10 houses on our block.  Today my boyhood home at 411 Doering still wouldn’t bring $50,000.  It was my good fortune that three of the houses on my street were home to racecars!  On Saturday morning, it was like gasoline alley as the cars were prepared for that evening’s racing action at the old Peoria Speedway at the Mt. Hawley Airport.  I spent many Saturday nights with my mother at the track.  I did not see my second track until I was 14 years old.  

As a kid sports were my life.
I grew up in East Peoria, Illinois.  Beginning in the second grade I started playing competitive basketball in the famous “Biddy” basketball program organized by the Salvation Army in Peoria.  I gained my competitive nature from this program.  To this day the Salvation Army is my favorite charity.  I literally played basketball every waking moment of the day.  I later went on to start for the East Peoria High School “Red Raiders” basketball team.  Two times during my four years of high school basketball the Illinois single class state champion came from our conference, the Pekin “Chinks”.  We never beat them!

 

Our sixth grade Biddy basketball all-star team. Several members went on to play in high school and college.

Our sixth grade Biddy basketball all-star team. Several members went on to play in high school and college. I’m #10 top row, third from left.

 

High school basketball action.

High school basketball action.

 

The Peoria Journal Star covered high school sports very well in the basketball crazy state of Illinois.

The Peoria Journal Star covered high school sports very well in the basketball crazy state of Illinois.

 


Getting a good education was important.
East Peoria was and is a small, blue collar industrial town.  The area is home to the world headquarters of the Caterpillar Tractor Company.  I regularly ate my lunch from 3 a.m. to 3:20 a.m. seated in a D9 tractor while working the graveyard shift at “Cat”.  The money I earned at Caterpillar as well as my jobs during college paid for 100% of my college education.

 

My mother Betty, Carol, my stepfather Bill and my brother and sister (twins!) Lynn and Mark.

My mother Betty, Carol, my stepfather Bill and my brother and sister (twins!) Lynn and Mark.

 

 

Marrying the right gal was the best thing I ever did.
I graduated from Northern Illinois University in 1971 with a B.S. in management.  With a low military draft lottery number I enlisted in the United States Marine Corps following graduation.  On my 10-day leave following Marine Corps boot camp in San Diego, I married my wife Carol.  We had met during our sophomore year at NIU while both working as dormitory resident assistants.

 

United States Marine Corps - 1971

United States Marine Corps – 1971

 

 

I won a guy's entire CD selection playing poker on this night in the Marines.

I won a guy’s entire CD selection playing poker on this night in the Marines.

 

My stepfather Bill and mother Betty on our wedding day in 1972.

My stepfather Bill and mother Betty on our wedding day in 1972.

 

Our wedding reception was held at the Holiday Inn. There's a Kohl's Department store there now!

Our wedding reception was held at the Holiday Inn. There’s a Kohl’s Department store there now!

 

 

I guess I was just lucky to find the right company to work for….and stick with it.
When I was finished with active duty, I started a sales career with Richardson-Vicks, Inc.  RVI sold the Vicks line of cough and cold products as well as Oil of Olay, Clearasil and Pantene hair care products among other consumer items.  In 1985, RVI was acquired by Procter & Gamble.  P&G is the 13th largest company in the world.  I switched over from sales to product supply/logistics for the last ten years of my career.

 

 

Richardson-Vicks National Meeting 1976.

Richardson-Vicks National Meeting 1976.

 

I worked my way up through the sales management ranks relocating several times during my business career (top row third from left).

I worked my way up through the sales management ranks relocating several times during my business career (top row third from left).

 

 

The prestigious "President's Club" at Richardson-Vicks.

The prestigious “President’s Club” at Richardson-Vicks. I’m the one with the perm in the back row!

 

 

A good family life was more important than anything.
After thirty years of “working for the man” (and women too!) I retired in 2002.  During my business career my family and I had lived and worked in Peoria, Illinois; Cincinnati, Ohio; Phoenix, Arizona; Mission Viejo, California; Ridgefield, Connecticut; Inverness, Illinois and Laguna Niguel, California.  We finally settled in the “little Spanish city by the sea”, San Clemente, California.  

 

Family life has always been very important to Carol and me.  We have three very successful grown children.  J.J. is a commercial airline pilot, Kristy is a lawyer and Jim is a teacher.  When our kids were growing up they didn’t have much interest in racing.  That’s why you will see my trackchasing totals being almost non-existant during the years the kids were in their activities and living at home.  We spent much of our time during these years going to soccer matches, school plays, little league games and traveling the country and the world.  I believe it was these broad bases of exposure and experience that provided a great foundation for our children to take on the world.

 

This is Kristy on day one of her life back in 1977!

This is Kristy on day one of her life back in 1977!

 

Our kids were always hard workers. That's one of the reasons they all graduated in four years from UCLA!

Our kids were always hard workers. That’s one of the reasons they all graduated in four years from UCLA!

 

We've been blessed to have three such wonderful children who are now out on their own living happy, healthy and responsible lives.

We’ve been blessed to have three such wonderful children who are now out on their own living happy, healthy and responsible lives.

 

 

I’m doing what 99.9% of people want to do in retirement.
All during my working career I traveled for business reasons.  My first sales territory included Western Illinois and Eastern Iowa.  It was amazing how my sales appointments so closely coincided with the mid-week Iowa late model stock car racing schedules!  I also traveled on a national basis.  Many times my business meeting would end at some resort in just about any part of the country on a Friday afternoon.  I might stay over in the area for a day or two and watch the races.  In 1992 our “hometown” Los Angeles area track, Ascot Park, closed.  Carol and I went to Ascot on a very frequent basis and now there was no quality local track to attend.   I soon found out that I liked traveling a little bit more to see a race than I liked the local racing action.  It was more fun for me to travel to a new location and see a race than to travel to an old location and see a race.  My trackchasing career was born.

 

 

As the kids began to leave the house and pursue their own careers, the time I had devoted to their activities was freed up for Carol and me to travel.  We have traveled all over the world for non-racing entertainment.  We’ve been to more than 80 countries.  Now that I am retired there are no time restrictions on my trackchasing.

 

 

One of the questions I get most often is how do I pay for all of this.  I have several answers to this question.  Sometimes I’ll say, “I just charge everything and as far as I know Carol pays the bill each month!”.  On a more serious note the answer is really, “I started with nothing.  We took a $200 bank loan to pay for our wedding.  Then we saved our money and invested it wisely.  Now we’re spending it in retirement.  Our story is pretty much the American dream.” I believe I am doing what 99.9% of everyone who is retired or thinking about retirement would like to do.  No, it’s not trackchasing!  I’m simply doing what I want to do in retirement.

 

 

Of course, if you’ve read many of my Trackchaser Reports you’ll know I am busy with lots of other things beyond trackchasing,  I spend a good deal of my time with financial planning, aerobic exercise, golf and travel with my Carol.  We’re also big UCLA fans, since all of our children graduated from this fine university.  We go to most of their home football and basketball games.  We attend several Los Angeles Angels baseball games and go to the theatre in Los Angeles frequently.  When we take a trackchasing trip we go out of our way to see the area’s local attractions.  I call them “Trackchasing Tourist Attractions”.

 

 

Setting goals gets it done.
I’m a big goal setter.  I feel that having the proper goals in life keeps you focused on achieving whatever it is you find important in life.  My trackchasing goals for the future are very simple.  I want to do my best via this website, my media interviews and the like to publicize my hobby of trackchasing.  So far that effort has gone very well.  Don’t miss the media coverage of my adventures elsewhere in this site.  

 

 

How long will I keep trackchasing?  I’ll keep doing it as long as I’m having fun.  Someone asked me if I’ve ever had a bad trip.  I thought about that question for a moment.  Nope!  I couldn’t think of a single trip where I didn’t have fun. 

 

So, that’s it.  I hope to see you somewhere down the trackchasing road!

 

Thanks for visting my website!

 

Randy Lewis

World’s #1 Trackchaser 

 

 

P.S.  One more very important thing that I couldn’t leave out.  We have grandchildren.  Back in 2008 Kristy and her husband James blessed us with twins, Astrid and Mitch.  As far as I know they are the best-looking and smartest grandkids I have ever met!  Maybe you’ll get to meet them some day out of the trackchasing trail.

Astrid!

Astrid!

 

Carol and Mitch go to Disneyland!

Carol and Mitch go to Disneyland!

 

Mitch, Kristy, Astrid and James on our trip to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.

Mitch, Kristy, Astrid and James on our trip to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.

 

 

 

How could I not be a race fan? 
I started my interest in racing as a small boy in East Peoria.  I grew up in a lower middle class neigborhood with 10 houses on our block.  It was my good fortune that three of the houses were home to racecars!  On Saturday morning, it was like gasoline alley as the cars were prepared for that evening’s racing action at the old Peoria Speedway at the Mt. Hawley Airport.  I spent many Saturday nights with my mother at the track.  I did not see my second track until I was 14 years old.  Although I liked racing, I did not go to very many new tracks during my college years.  During my twenties, I was a “racechaser”.  I went to racing events where the best races were being held.  

 

 

As time went by I began to travel for business reasons.  I would travel on a national basis.  Many times the business meeting would end at some resort in just about any part of the country on a Friday afternoon.  I might stay over in the area for a day or two and watch the local races.  In 1992 our “hometown” track, Ascot Park closed.  My wife and I went to Ascot on a very frequent basis and now there was no quality local track to attend.   I found out that I liked traveling a little bit more than I liked the racing action.  It was more fun for me to travel to a new location and see a race than to travel to an old location and see a race.  My trackchasing career was born.

 

As the kids began to leave the house and pursue their own careers, the time I had devoted to their activities was freed up for my wife and I to travel.  We have traveled all over the world for non-racing entertainment.  Now that I am retired there are no time restrictions on my trackchasing.  This time freedom manifested itself in a record year of trackchasing in 2004.  I went to 127 new tracks, breaking the record of 114 held by Madison, Wisconsin’s Ed Esser.  In 2005, I broke my existing record with a grand total of 182 new tracks.  I followed up that best ever year by seeing 147 new tracks in 2006 and another 160 new tracks in 2007.  Since I retired in 2002 I have seen more than 1,000 new track locations and am fast closing in on the unheard of number….2,000 tracks.  I have traveled approximately two MILLION miles since the start of the 2004 season.  My trackchasing has taken me to all 50 states as well as the District of Columbia.  I have trackchased in well over sixty countries.  Don’t miss the links that will take you too each of these exotic locales.

 

My trackchasing goals for the future are very simple.  I want to maintain my position as the World’s #1 Trackchaser.  Additionally, I want to see racing in more countries than anyone else and continue to lead in the lifetime National Geographic Diversity results.

 

So, that’s it.  I hope to see you somewhere down the trackchasing road!  If you see me make sure to say hello.

Stay in touch.

The best way to get in touch is to email me at ranlay@yahoo.com.  You can also mail information to me at:

 

Randy Lewis
P.O. Box 4275
San Clemente, CA 92674
USA

 


Comments

  1. Randy, very interesting epistle on LIFE. I thoroughly enjoyed reading and then contemplating what you have “served-up.”
    I could easily join you in your thinking and would love to spend some time discussing some other aspects of “this life.”

    I am struggling to recall, if, when & how our paths have intersected. Here’s a brief on me: Ohio U ’68 BBA, So Cal ’74 MS; US Army
    (ROTC) FA, Pilot – VN 70/71. Grad school 73/74. Joined P&G Paper Div 3/74 Green Bay, Food Div Lexington 83-86, Ivorydale Food 86-90,
    GO 90-02 – an array of asignments. Retired 3/02. Lived in Montgomery, Oh 86-06, then moved to NKy – Union, Ky where we now reside. Any of this ring a bell with you? Hope so, Jim 513-484-3232 (c) 859-384-0226 (O/R)

  2. Hey Mike,

    Sorry your cards are not about me! They might be about the “Randy Lewis” who drove in the Indianapolis 500. He was also an accomplished road racer with other sanctioning bodies.

    Best,

    The “real” Randy Lewis but not the Randy Lewis you were looking for.

  3. RANDY DID THEY EVER MAKE ANY TRADING CARDS OF YOU. I HAVE 9 TRADING CARDS OF AN INDIVIDUAL WITH YOUR NAME. I AM HOPING IT IS U. IF IT IS THEN I WOULD GREATLY APPRECIATE AN ADDRESS AS TO WHERE I CAN SEND THEM TO GET THEM AUTOGRAPHED. I THANK U FOR YOUR TIME AND UNDERSTANDING AND GOD BLESS U AND YOURS.

  4. Very good story…… Used to live 1 block from the Southern Iowa Speedway when I was born…… went to the races there in the early 50’s and 60’s and still go there every Wednesday night….. Have 3 son’s that like racing. The 2 oldest built IMCA national champion stock cars (2001 & 2002). The middle one went on to work for Billy Moyer in the 2005 season. Then went to work for Ken Schrader in 2006 to 2011….. then he went to Penske in 2012 to present… The oldest has over 125 feature wins in the cars that he has built over the years. People like you make this sport great for drivers and all other people that are involved…..

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