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Space Coast Full Throttle Speedway

Greetings from Cocoa, Florida

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From the travels and adventures of the 

“World’s #1 Trackchaser”

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Space Coast Full Throttle Speedway

Asphalt oval

Lifetime Track #2,319

 

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 74 countries. My lifetime track total exceeds 2,300. Each and every year I will trackchase in 25-30 states. At track #1,040 I moved into the “World’s #1 Trackchasing” spot.

 

 

My hobby is not only about racing. Trackchasing for me centers around three things. The racing part is pretty obvious. However of equal importance is the logistics of trackchasing and the opportunity to see the world.

 

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

Randy’s Complete Track List

 

 

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

 

 

Randy on Facebook

 

 

 

 

FOREWORD

 

There are a couple of things that make the type of travel I do unique. When you travel or when anyone else that you know travels do you do it this way?

 

 

When you’re trying to get from point A to point B do you sometimes sleep overnight in your car? If you’re not going to sleep overnight in your car do you sometimes sleep overnight (above sleeping in Kansas City airport rental car center!) in an airport?

 

 

Let’s say you’re flying. When you land at the airport are you uncertain as to where you’re going to be going on your vacation? If you answered “No” to these questions then you don’t travel like I do. Maybe that’s why you enjoy reading these Trackchaser Reports.

 

 

 

 

ON THE WAY TO THE RACES

 

 

After last night’s racing in Eagle, Nebraska I drove down toward the Kansas City airport.  At 3 a.m. I awoke from about an hour’s sleep in a Missouri highway rest area. I had to make a decision. Should I continue sleeping in the rest area or should I drive the last 20 miles and sleep for a couple hours at the airport?   I chose the airport.

 

 

I found a lovely sofa in the Kansas City rental car center building. It was quiet and comfortable there. I set my iPhone alarm to wake me at 4:50 a.m. I got about two hours sleep in that spot.

 

 

Yes, I had trackchased in Nebraska last night. To me it made perfect sense to attempt some trackchasing this afternoon, Saturday afternoon, in Florida. If nothing else you’ve got to give me some credit for being creative.

 

 

I will be attempting to fly standby to the Sunshine State. That’s always tough as everyone is beginning to head there for summer vacation. If there was an open seat on the plane I might get it. I had two destinations in mind, Tampa, Florida and Orlando, Florida.

 

 

One flight left at 6:35 a.m. The other flight left just 10 minutes later. That was not great scheduling for me. If I didn’t make the earlier flight there might not be enough time to go try for the last flight. Of course if I didn’t make it to Florida today I would try to find something to do in the Midwest.

 

 

As luck would have it I made that first flight by the skin of my teeth. That has happened before and I hope it happens again.

 

 

There were a couple of unusual things that occurred on the flight today. First there was a group of four women on board, all about my age. They were taking their “annual trip” to Florida. These ladies were a happy bunch. They were made even happier by each consuming five vodkas during the four and one-half hour plane ride.

 

 

Next up was a birthday party on the plane! I don’t know, in all my years of flying, that I could ever remember seeing a celebration the way it was done today. The flight attendant came over the PA system and told us that a young lady, toward the back of the plane, was celebrating her 21st birthday today.

 

 

The flight attendant asked the passengers if they would be willing to sing happy birthday to this woman. Of course everyone was in agreement about that idea.

 

 

With that the flight attendant asked everyone seated at a window to close his or her window shade. This made the plane’s interior very dark. Then she asked the passengers to illuminate their flight attendant call buttons to simulate candles on the cake.

 

 

We all sang happy birthday. The plane was full and everyone, especially those ladies drinking vodka, was in a jovial mood on their way to Florida. When the birthday song finished all of the passenger lights were extinguished just as if the birthday girl had blown out the candles. Pretty cool.

 

 

When I landed at the Tampa airport I went to pick up my rental car from National Car Rental. However in the “executive elite” section only offered SUVs. An SUV wasn’t going to work well for me. I was going to be driving long-distance. I didn’t want the extra fuel expense that came with most of these SUVs.

 

 

That wasn’t going to be a problem for me. The National rep heard my requirement and ran off to get me a sedan. Soon he came back with a bright white Toyota Camry (above) with less than 4,000 miles on the odometer. That would work just fine.

 

 

It was 10 a.m. I had a decision to make. I had come to Florida for a very special reason. If I could add one Florida track today to my all-time Florida trackchasing list I would have 67 Sunshine state tracks. The significance of that number is that it would tie me with Wisconsin trackchaser Ed Esser, now deceased.

 

 

Ed was a very prolific and good-natured trackchaser. He probably did the hobby more like I do than any other trackchaser that I’ve seen.

 

 

We both did our own trackchaser research. Neither one of us would broadcast in advance, for the most part, where we would be headed. One of the things that Ed and I had in common was that we were “independent” trackchasers. What exactly does that mean?

 

 

We traveled alone. We drove ourselves to the races. Ed and I, for the past many years, had driven more miles individually that probably the next 10 trackchasers combined. One year Ed drove his very well used Chevy Blazer more than 90,000 miles in search of tracks. Just a couple of years ago I drove rental cars more than 49,000 miles in a single year. In the last 4½ years, since I purchased my last new car I’ve driven more than 176,000 miles in rental cars. During that same time frame I drove my own car to the races for just over 6,600 miles.

 

 

Last night I saw my 43rd track in Nebraska. It wasn’t that long ago that I had tied and then passed Ed’s Nebraska total of 41 tracks in the Cornhusker state. Today I hoped to tie him in Florida with 67 tracks.

 

 

Let me be perfectly clear. If Ed had not died an early death, at age 65, I never would have had a chance of meeting or surpassing many of his achievements. Nevertheless, as they say records are meant to be broken.

 

 

I had two trackchasing options for this afternoon. The first choice was a go-kart track on the western side of Florida. The other option was a go-kart track on the eastern shore of Florida. I was going to have to use as much strategy as possible to make a good choice here. I needed to get a firm verbal confirmation from the track promoter in Western Florida before heading there.

 

 

The track on the west coast was a dirt track. They just started running races. They didn’t have much history in attracting the types of karts needed to meet trackchasing rules.

 

 

The track on the east coast had only been converted from a dirt track into an asphalt racing facility about a year ago. They were on a better growth curve. Their promoter had given me much stronger indications that they would have the senior champs I was looking for. If I drove all the way to one track or another and they didn’t attract the racers I needed I could not count the track in my lifetime totals.

 

 

I drove my rental car east from Tampa and stopped in Lakeland, Florida. Lakeland was almost equidistant from the two tracks I was considering. I sort of wanted to go to the track on the western shores because it seemed like it might be a harder track to get in the future. However, when I finally made contact with their race promoter he told me that no senior champs had shown up. I was glad to get that information.

 

 

With that news I put the car in gear and headed from Lakeland over to Cocoa, Florida. Cocoa is home to the brand spanking new, or at least 100% renovated, Space Coast Full Throttle Speedway. That’s one of the more unusual names for all of the tracks I’ve seen.

 

 

 

THE RACING

 

 

Space Coast Full Throttle Speedway – Cocoa, Florida

 

 

A couple of years ago I had talked to Space Coast’s promoter Dan Smith. At the time his facility was called Hurricane Speedway. The Hurricane Speedway was a dirt track. During my conversation with Dan back then he couldn’t confirm they would be getting the types of racers I needed for trackchasing. I passed on that opportunity.

 

 

A few days ago Dan confirmed that the senior champs were going to race at Space Coast this weekend. There was one unusual thing about our phone call. I was in Kansas City and in the middle of one of my 4-mile power walks when I accepted Dan’s return call. I had to carry on my conversation with Dan using my Apple iPhone’s patented ear bud microphone. I told Dan that if I sounded out of breath it was because I was!

 

 

With a fixed address the track was easy to find. It’s in the middle of a sports complex that offers so many activities. In this overall complex they offer soccer, baseball, football and model airplane flying. It’s a very impressive place.

 

 

I had been told that the first race of the day would begin between 3-4 p.m. I pulled into the parking lot at about 3:30 p.m. I couldn’t see much of the track from the parking area. I could just get a glimpse of some flat karts racing around the banked asphalt oval.

 

 

I had two spectator options for enjoying the Space Coast Full Throttle Speedway today. At no charge whatsoever I could simply walk in and sit in the bleachers. I would be able to watch the races there in small grandstands right next to the backstretch. However, that seating location faced directly into a setting sun on this 80° day.

 

 

The other option was to buy a pit pass for 10 bucks. I chose to go that route. I’m glad I did. This would let me get up close and personal with all of the cars and drivers. I found the people racing today to be a friendly bunch including Don Large driver of the senior champ #44.

 

 

Don took a lot of time to explain to me what the senior champ situation was like in Florida. He told me about all of the tracks where they compete or could compete. Don has six Florida state titles during his 30 years of kart racing. He’s now 61 years old.  I also had the opportunity to meet Don’s long-time friend Nolan who was photographing today’s racing.  Both nice guys!

 

 

Don told me it’s not as much fun as it used to be. He suspected that was because he wasn’t winning as much as he used to. That made sense to me. That’s one of the reasons I dropped out of golf up to this point in time. When I couldn’t get much better it wasn’t as fun as it used to be.

 

 

There were a mixture of flat karts and caged karts racing today. I’m going to guess there were six or seven divisions. It was nice to see that the senior champs had 11 cars in their division. I think their group had more than any other.

 

 

Without much of a PA system I didn’t know where the program was at when I arrived. The woman who sold me my pit pass told me that each division would have two heats and a feature race.

 

 

However as the afternoon wore on I did some more investigative work. I found that the race schedule actually varied by racing division.

 

 

From what I could determine some of the classes would have one heat race and a feature event. Other divisions, including the senior champs, had qualifying and a feature race only.

 

 

I had missed the senior champ qualifying, where they ran a couple of laps to see how fast they could go. Their time trial would determine their place in the feature race. The fastest qualifier would start on the first row in the pole position.

 

 

I was most happy to see that the senior champs would be the fourth feature following intermission. They got back to racing after intermission finished at about 5:20 p.m. The three feature events in the earlier feature classes didn’t have too many racers.

 

 

At about 5:40 p.m. the senior champs hit the track. They put on a very good main event. My new friend Don Large moved up from an eighth place starting position, out of the 11 competitors, to finish an impressive third. Don told me he brought his old engine, old tires and all of the rest saving the good stuff for a big upcoming event. When the checkered flag flew I gave a thumbs up from my photographic position in turn three to Don. He acknowledged my salute with the wave of his own.

 

 

 

AFTER THE RACES

 

 

It was now nearly 6 p.m. I had to get back on the road. I had a nine-hour one-way drive to tomorrow afternoon’s destination. Where was that? I was headed to Talladega, Alabama.

 

 

I was dragging just a bit. Last night I slept for an hour and a half in a highway rest area and another two hours in the airport. Tonight was going to be touch and go on whether or not there would be enough time to justify getting a hotel. In the end there was not.

 

 

I drove up interstate 95. In Jacksonville I took a left onto Interstate 10. A little while later I headed north on I-75. Once in Georgia I stopped from time to time for refreshment, personal needs and my patented 12-minute power nap. Don’t worry. It’s what I do.

 

 

Good afternoon from Cocoa, Florida.

 

 

 

Florida

 

 

The Sunshine state

This afternoon I saw my 67th lifetime track in the Sunshine state, yes the Sunshine state. I now hold the #1 trackchasing spot in Florida along with Ed Esser. I’ve seen 67 or more tracks in 12 separate states. No chaser can come close to matching those stats.

 

 

 

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

Florida definitions: Miami

 

 

What it usually means: A fun place to vacation. 

 

What it means in Florida: Its own separate country.

 

 

 

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 585 tracks of my lifetime total. Don’t blame me.

 

 

  1. Randy Lewis, San Clemente, California – 2,319

 

 

 

Total Trackchasing Countries

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

 

  1. Randy Lewis, San Clemente, California – 74

 

 

 

Current lifetime National Geographic Diversity results

 

  1. Randy Lewis, San Clemente, California – 4.37

 

 

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

Kart racing from down in Florida on a brand new racing surface

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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