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Quinlan

Greetings from Quinlan, Texas

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From the travels and adventures of the 

“World’s #1 Trackchaser”

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Quinlan

Dirt road course

Lifetime Track #2,382

 

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 75 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. He was closely followed by Will White of Pennsylvania.

 

 

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 75 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.

 

 

I was the first trackchaser to discover UTV racing as a countable form of trackchasing. At the time I predicted I would see more than 200 UTV racing events. I’m well on my way to doing just that. Texas, with Torn Racing, has one of the very best UTV race schedules and UTV racing fields. Curtis, the owner of Torn knows what he’s doing.

 

 

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

 

 

I first had the idea of coming to Quinlan, Texas on this Sunday afternoon a couple of weeks ago. If the weather had been better in New York I would have stayed there. They have some pretty changeable weather up in the Northeast. Frequently it is not supportive of auto racing. That’s why I went to the Lone Star state for racing today.

 

 

 

SATURDAY

 

 

Late this afternoon, after I got out of the Canadian fall fair figure 8 racing in Dorchester, Ontario I made a beeline to the Detroit Metro Airport in Michigan. My last-minute idea had me trying to catch a flight from Michigan to Texas. It wasn’t easy.

 

 

It looked as if I was going to have to fly from Detroit to San Antonio. If I did that I wouldn’t land until nearly midnight. Then I would have a five-hour drive up to Quinlan, Texas for 2:30 p.m. Sunday race start.  Before I could do any of that I had to get out of Canada via the Ambassador Bridge.

 

 

However, if I could fly into Dallas my drive over to Quinlan would only be about an hour. The problem was the Dallas flight was overbooked by several seats. As luck often has it the San Antonio flight was wide open. Yes that is commonly how it works with my hobby of trackchasing.

 

 

Nevertheless, I hung in there with some creative travel strategy. I ended up getting the last seat on the flight from Detroit to Dallas. It turned out that seat was a first class seat. Often times the harder I work the luckier I get.

 

 

I would be landing in Dallas at about 11 p.m. That could be a problem. If I landed after 11 p.m. it would be too late to use Priceline.com to get a hotel. Yep. I’ve got to play by their rules.

 

 

You probably know that Priceline.com hotel purchases are nonrefundable. I can’t make a reservation on Priceline unless I’m 100% certain I’m going to be in that market and using a hotel.

 

 

With the anticipation that I would get that last seat on the plane I already had my laptop fired up to the Priceline.com website. I had done all the preliminary work. Now I had to do was wait and see if my name was called for an airline seat. As soon as my name was called I pressed “enter” to initiate the Priceline hotel buying process. For some reason I just don’t think other people do things this way. Do I think they should? I guessed it depends on how much “winning” they want to do.

 

 

My process worked really well. The gate agent called my name. I got the airline seat I needed. I pressed enter on my MacBook Pro. I soon had an Extended Stay America hotel in Plano, Texas. I paid $50 plus tax. The best online rate for this hotel was $99 plus tax!

 

 

I was going to need a rental car too. I tried to sneak in a phone call while the flight attendant was giving her safety briefing. About every 10 seconds she interrupted her briefing with a little wagging her finger telling me to get off the phone. After about the third wag I had to hang up on the National Car Rental Company without having consummated a reservation.

 

 

I enjoyed a couple of Bailey’s cocktails and a little computer work on the plane ride down to Texas. As soon as I landed I had to get a car reservation.

 

 

I called up my long-time trackchasing sponsor National Car Rental. I told them I needed a car in the next 30 minutes. They told me that they could provide one but it would be at a cost of $81 per day. That didn’t work for me. I didn’t mind telling them that.

 

 

Then I went to the Costco travel site. There I was able to pick up an Avis Rental Car for immediate delivery. It was just $28 for a day. Once in a while Costco travel is quite a bit cheaper than National Car Rental. Tonight they were a lifesaver.

 

 

I hailed down the rental car bus and took the 10-minute or more ride to the rental car center at DFW. Normally my name is on electronic board for VIP treatment when I rent with Avis. Tonight, because I had made such a last-minute reservation, my name wasn’t on the board. I stood in line for a good 15 minutes behind three or four people. The line barely moved. Finally my name popped up on the electronic board! At midnight I might have stood in that line for an hour. I immediately went out to space age 33 to grab my car. It was a Chevy Malibu. Not my favorite but at $28 it was a lot better than spending $81 with National to pick a car on my choice.

 

 

It was good 30-minute drive over to my hotel in Plano, Texas. I passed a couple of crashes. I think the Texas drivers are a little bit on the wild side. The roads are pretty funky too. Of course that’s just an outsider’s observation, which may or may not be supported by more extensive data.

 

 

 

SUNDAY.

 

 

I slept in until about 9:30 a.m. Then I called the front desk asking for a 12 noon late check out. They granted my request. Then I put my power walking shoes on and went out and did a couple of miles. I figured I could easily do another mile at the track this afternoon. The fourth and final mile would come tonight at the airport in Dallas. Even more distance would be added walking back to the parking garage in Los Angeles IF I were able to catch a Sunday night flight.

 

 

I like to think of myself as a connoisseur of fast food.  I’ve eaten enough of it. I should be! One of my all-time favorites is Whataburger the hamburger chain that was founded in Texas back in about 1950. I stopped there. I don’t know which I like better their hamburgers or their fries.

 

 

Do you know what the four original hamburger chains were before McDonald’s ever came into existence? If you said White Castle, In N Out, Whataburger and Krystal’s you would be 100% correct.

 

 

I was well rested. I was well fed. Maybe I do like the Whataburger fries the best when they are right out of the fryer. The weather forecast called for temps in the high 80s. It can be warm in Texas for much of the year.

 

 

I saw some more people crashing into each other on the Lone Star freeways. I wonder if insurance rates are higher here? It wasn’t long before I was out into the Texas countryside where they grow some pretty tasty Texas steers. I like to tell my vegetarian friends, “If God didn’t want you eating beef why do you think he made it taste like steak”?

 

 

Today I was going to be seeing some UTV racing with the Torn Racing sanctioning group. A fellow by the name of Curtis runs the show. Curtis is a friendly fellow. I’ve talked to him on a few occasions and enjoyed their shows.

 

 

I called him earlier in the week just to confirm the UTV‘s would be racing today. I also needed to make sure their starting procedure would meet the arcane, draconic and sometimes punitive trackchasing rules. I looked at the results for the last race. I was glad to see it looked like Torn Racing was getting their share of UTV racers.

 

 

Curtis told me that he could start as many as seven racers across one particular row. However, as an example, if 20 racers show up in a particular UTV class they would start over three rows with Torn Racing.

 

 

One row of seven competitors would leave the starting line when the green flag was raised. Then 15 or maybe 30 seconds later the second seven would start. Another 15-30 seconds after that the final group of six would start their race. At this point in time, for this particular class, those 20 racers would be racing against the clock. Yes, they were still racing against each other and continuing to pass other UTVs. The winner would be the driver with the lowest elapsed time.

 

 

Trackchasing’s founding fathers and their cohorts decided that this type of start was not really “racing“. Yes, I know what you and all UTV racers around the world are saying, “hogwash”. This is the type of desert off-road racing that has become famous in California and other far western states. Not racing? Give me a break!

 

 

However, the hobby of trackchasing started in a dark smoke-filled room with trackchasing’s East Coast elite exerting all of the power they could possibly muster. It was identical to the political power brokers in the elected political circles. Just like in that kind of politics “taking care of people” in the form of “blowing smoke up their skirts” kept the natives in line. There were no trackchasers from west of the Mississippi in those meetings. There never have been. I don’t suspect there ever will be.

 

 

Some of trackchasing’s founding fathers have been nothing if not power hungry. There was no way they were going to allow their hobby to be “hijacked” by someone living many thousands of miles away. They had to stop the type of desert off-road racing offered in California immediately.

 

 

You’ve all heard about Robby Gordon and list some other names. They were legendary desert off-road racers. Can you imagine someone trying to tell them that they really weren’t “racing“ on a track in the Baja 1000 or some of the bigger races in the far west? Yes, as one fellow once said “Dude, that’s hogwash“.

 

 

Nevertheless, trackchasing’s founding fathers always get their way. There are really two types of trackchasers living in the East. There are the handful or less that want to control everything. Then there are the rest of the eastern-based trackchasers who don’t really care one way or the other how things are run. They don’t want to ruffle any feathers. They keep their heads down and their mouths shut. Folks I didn’t invent this stuff. I’m just here to explain it.

 

 

The good thing about the UTV racing with Torn is that some of their classes don’t draw all that many competitors.  Well, that’s good for me anyway. When they have seven or fewer in an entire class those racers all start their race at the same time. They are still racing against the clock and the driver with the lowest elapsed time is STILL the winner. In these races of seven or fewer racers they all start with the raising of the green flag and finish under a checkered flag just like the midget racers in Pennsylvania. Did you know that the winner of a USAC midget race at Grandview Speedway is the car with the lowest elapsed time? I’ll bet some folks never thought about it that way. Today I would benefit from the classes that didn’t bring many competitors. This situation is what would make today’s racing action in Quinlan, Texas “countable” by trackchasing standards.

 

 

I did have a little trouble finding today’s track. I had a street address but street addresses aren’t 100% reliable when you’re out in the country. Quinlan, Texas is out of the country. I did remember Curtis had told me the track was closer to Ables Springs, Texas than it was to Quinlan. That helped.

 

 

 

THE RACING

 

 

Quinlan – Quinlan, Texas

 

 

I knew I was getting close to the track when I saw several ATV racing teams passing me going the opposite direction. When I arrived I paid my $15 admission fee. The quads were on the track wrapping up their race at that point.

 

 

I follow about 25 UTV/quad/bike racing groups. I don’t take the time to follow sanctioning bodies that don’t run UTVs until they start racing UTVs.

 

 

UTVs, also known as side-by-sides (SXS), are getting more popular. Nevertheless, the numbers of bikes and quads almost always dwarfs UTV car counts. Why is that you might ask? A lot of times when you don’t know the answer to a question if you think “money“ that will begin to provide some answers.

 

 

This was going to be the third Torn Racing event that I have attended. Curtis, the owner/operator for the group, has always been more than helpful in giving me the information I needed. Curtis was one of the original founders of the GNCC off-road racing group. They’re one of the biggest off-road racing sanctioning bodies in the country.

 

 

Today I first took a ride around the paddock area in the Avis Rental Car Racing Chevy Malibu. I can cover a lot more ground that way then if I were walking and, of course, do it a lot quicker. Today’s high temperature reached 93° without a cloud in the sky. It was warm and dry.

 

 

UTVs would be the last race of the day. They were scheduled to begin at 2:30 p.m. Right about that time the UTVs all started to show up from out of nowhere. I followed them to the starting grid location.

 

 

It didn’t take me long to track down Curtis. He was a busy man. This weekend’s racing brought in about 300 motorcycle riders, another 30-40 quads and 31 UTVs. Different folks told me that the count was down from what they had earlier in the summer. I suspect just the cost of maintaining a racing machine over the course of the year knocks people out toward the end of the season.

 

 

Curtis was happy to see that I had made it all the way from California. In point of fact I had come from Ontario, Canada where I had seen racing yesterday afternoon. I looked around. I didn’t see anyone from the Dorchester, Ontario figure 8 races of yesterday!

 

 

Curtis has a pretty good sense of what I need in order to make my trackchasing hobby successful with Torn Racing. He knows the trackchasing rules by now! As soon as he saw me he summoned his right-hand man over to where we were talking. I was going to get a chance to meet Tom, the fellow who had prepared today’s track. Tom would take me in a “mule“ around the entire place. What a “behind the scenes” view I got on that ride! It allowed me to take some fascinating video and photos. Don’t miss that.

 

 

Today there would be two 45-minute UTV races. The first one was for three different classes and about 12-15 UTVs in total. Each of these classes started their race in their own row. One row went off and then another 30 seconds later another row until all the competitors were out of the track. With Tom at the wheel off we went making our own path at times.  Since Tom built the track he knew the property like the back of his hand.

 

 

I wish every UTV spectator had the opportunity to go out “into the bush” or the woods as the case may be and see what the competitors are up against. Most UTV racing is not well suited for spectators if the course involves woods racing or a lot of off-road racing. That’s why Curtis’ suggestion that I hop in the UTV with Tom (above) and go over the track was such a great one.

 

 

I’m sure Curtis understands that I really respect and value what he and his crew does. It can’t be easy to host racing competitions with 400-500 competitors 10-12 times a year. Can you imagine the paperwork and the phone calls and the like? Yes, I truly respect and value anyone who can create an organization like that and keep it running like Curtis has done with Torn Racing.

 

 

I guess I could have called today’s off-road course a “mixed” surface track.  When the competitors rolled through the scoring zone they actually drove INSIDE a building and over a concrete pad.  Thinking about it that way I guess it could have been called an INDOOR race.  However, after thinking about it I’ll go with an outdoor dirt road course.  At least I know where they throw the checkered flag!

 

 

Tom, who was doing the driving for us today, has spent the last few weeks preparing the track. When I say, “preparing the track,” I mean he literally built it from scratch. None of the racetrack existed before he got involved. This course was about 3 1/2 miles long. Today’s racing surface was all dirt with the exception of a short patch of concrete where the riders went through the scoring building. I guess I’m going to have to count this as a mixed surface racetrack. Then maybe not.

 

 

The weeds were pretty high all over the property. I was wearing shorts and a short sleeve T-shirt. Some time ago I had a situation with poison ivy at an Indiana UTV track. I asked Tom if that would be a problem here. He told me he didn’t think it would be and then he reconsidered. He showed me his arm. Yep. Poison ivy could be a problem at Quinlan. We’ll see how I do in another day or two.

 

 

I know I say this frequently but you’re really not going to want to miss my race video from Quinlan, Texas. You’re going to see video clips of racers in situations that if you’ve only been a spectator (outside the woods) at UTV races you’ve never seen before.

 

 

I’ve really got to thank Curtis and Tom and all the other people I met today. They’re a friendly bunch and they’re serious about the racing. They‘ve got a very good organization going and things run pretty much like clockwork.

 

 

 

AFTER THE RACES

 

 

When it was time to go I said my goodbyes with the full intention that I might actually be able to catch one more Torn Racing show this year. We’ll see about that soon. As I began to head out I looked over at the Avis Rental Car Racing Chevy Malibu. It was drenched in dust although the photo doesn’t really show that very well. Hopefully the Avis employee checking in my car would have a little sympathy toward a UTV racing fan.

 

 

Quinlan, that’s what the track is called, was my 90th new track that I’ve seen in 2017. I’ve got a plan to see 100 this year but there are a lot of ifs and maybes on my remaining schedule.

 

 

I was going to have to hustle back from the track. My challenge at the moment was to get to DFW in the hopes of catching a plane back to Los Angeles tonight. Flights were tight as you would expect on a Sunday evening. I was going to have to hustle back from the track as well.

 

 

Without stops I would arrive back to the airport 73 minutes before my flight departed. However, I would need to stop for gas. When I returned the rental car to DFW’s rental car center it was going to be another 10-12 minutes for the ride back to the airline terminal. I was going to be cutting it tight. If I didn’t have any major delays with traffic I thought I had a good shot of at least getting to the gate on time. I would be flying standby. I could jump through all these hoops, get to the gate and still not make the flight. Yes, my entire rush plan didn’t mean I would get a seat it just meant I would have a shot.

 

 

I ended up missing the first two flights back to Southern California that I tried for. If I told you what I had to do to be in a position to be successful for tonight‘s third flight you would never believe it. One of the coolest things about my hobby is there really is no one else in the entire friggin world that travels like I do. No, I don’t fly like other people. Most people wouldn’t want to fly like I do. I very much love flying like I do. This method opens up all kinds of opportunity. No, I wouldn’t want to fly like most people do!

 

 

The Dallas airport has really upgraded their dining choices. They might have the best places to eat of any airport that I’ve seen lately.

 

 

After missing a couple of flights I had about an hour until my next flight option. This would give me enough time to have a gourmet sit-down dining experience at Pappadeaux. This is a small chain of seafood restaurants. Carol and I visited their location in Denver. Today’s experience was outstanding. I had the shrimp and crawfish fondue. It was pricey but a nice reward for a very successful trackchasing weekend.

 

 

I’ve got to tell you I wasn’t very impressed with the performance of the service employees at the airport today. I can’t be any more specific than that. It’s just that there are a good number of Americans who don’t do their jobs very well and in some cases don’t even seem to know they’re not doing their jobs very well. These people really shouldn’t have their jobs but I’m sure their bosses can’t find anyone better at the prices they are willing to pay and the hours that they offer. Too bad.

 

 

I had done a lot of walking today. Before I headed out to the track I did a quick 2 miles around my hotel. I didn’t walk that much at the track itself because I got the opportunity to explore the racecourse on a UTV. Yes, much of my time was spent on a mule seeing things that very few spectators get to see at an off-road UTV course. 

 

 

Surprisingly I added another 3 1/2 miles in and around first DFW and then the LAX airports. The airports are great place to get some power walking miles logged.

 

 

I did find a plane to take me back to SoCal. We didn’t land at LAX until nearly 11 p.m. Even at that hour LAX was a complete zoo.  What do these people come from?  Where were they going?  I go home at a little after midnight or a little past 2 p.m. Texas time. I had left today’s track at about 5 p.m. I wondered how many the folks at the track today were still traveling back home at 2 a.m. Texas time?

 

 

Last year I traveled overnight 188 times for both my trackchasing and personal travel. It seems as if I’ve been traveling more this year but I’ve actually been traveling less.

 

 

It also seems that I would have more than 90 new tracks at this point. I’m not sure why that is. It’s mid-October. One would think that trackchasing would be slowing down for me.

 

 

On the contrary, I’ve got a very busy October, November and even early December planned. I’ve still got lots of airplanes to fly and lots of miles to cover. Hopefully, the weather will cooperate and I’ll finish off the 2017 trackchasing season with a bang.

 

 

This had been a good weekend with trackchasing visits in New York, Ontario and now Quinlan, Texas. A highlight was sitting with Graham and Glenn Shirton (from London, Ontario) in Oswego. Then getting the VIP treatment with all of the behind the scenes views of today’s UTV racing was outstanding.

 

 

 

Good afternoon from Quinlan, Texas. 

 

 

 

 

 

Texas

 

 

The Lone Star state

This afternoon I saw my 78th lifetime track in the Lone Star state, yes the Lone Star state. I hold a #1 ranking here as I do in 24 other states. I have seen 68 or more tracks in 12 states.

 

 

 

Thanks for reading about my trackchasing,

 

Randy Lewis

World’s #1 Trackchaser

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

Texas sayings: Dishonest

 

He’s on a first-name basis with the bottom of the deck.
There are a lot of nooses in his family tree.
So crooked that if he swallowed a nail he’d spit up a corkscrew.
So crooked you can’t tell from his tracks if he’s coming or going.
He knows more ways to take your money than a roomful of lawyers.
Crooked as a dog’s hind leg.
Crooked as the Brazos.
Slicker than a slop jar.
More twists than a pretzel factory.
Crooked as a barrel of fish hooks.
So crooked he has to unscrew his britches at night.
She’s more slippery than a pocketful of pudding.
He’s slicker than a boiled onion.
I wouldn’t trust him any farther than I can throw him.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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 – 2,382

 

 

 

Total Trackchasing Countries

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

 

  1. Randy Lewis, San Clemente, California – 75

 

 

 

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.

 

 

 

 

UTV racing with TORN Racing….that’s “Texas Off-Road Nationals”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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