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2008 Annual Report

2008 TRACKCHASING ANNUAL REPORT

 

 

 

 

Table of Contents

Biggest event of the year

Thanks

In Memoriam

Major highlights of the year

2008 Trackchasing Goal Recap

2009 Trackchasing Goals

Budgeting and Travel

2008 Technology/Information Innovations

Best/Worst

Missed Opportunities

Trackchasing Tourist Attractions

People Visits

People Who Helped Me At The Tracks

RANLAY Racing Restaurant Money Back Guarantees

Randy’s Quotes

The Nitty Gritty

Doubles, Doubles, Doubles

Numbers!  Numbers! Numbers!

Top 5 Trackchasing Achievements By Others

Racetrack Visits In 2008

 

 

 

BIGGEST EVENT OF THE YEAR!

The most important event of my trackchasing year happened in January as I was on my way to my first new track of 2008 in British Columbia.  Daughter Kristy and her husband James informed Trackchasing’s First Mother and me that they were expecting.  Of course, since I am “King of the Trackchasing Double”, they couldn’t have just one baby they needed their own “double” as in twins!

 

Then in mid-June, our first grandchildren hit the open air.  Yes, Astrid and Mitchell made their first appearance and now reside in Pasadena, California.  You will see them frequently at www.randylewis.org as they grow up and possibly compete in a future Daytona 500.  They are yet to see their very first race but it can’t be far off.

 

 

 

THANKS

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the one main person I have to thank when I think about being able to trackchase whenever I want too.  That would be wife, Carol.  She is comfortable going on a trackchasing trip and comfortable if I go on a trackchasing trip on my own.  That’s the best kind of life partner to have.  She is the most valuable asset I have in my life.

 

 

I also want to thank our son, J.J. for deciding to change careers and become an airline pilot.  Just when it looked to my fellow competitors like I might be slowing down, he dumped the ability to fly just about anywhere, anytime and for not very much money on me.  That was quite a trackchasing gift.

 

 

I want to thank each and every one of you who gives me vital info about race dates, travel destinations and other sundry and various heads ups.  All of your efforts are most appreciated.  It seems that I always get several short emails after each Trackchaser Report offering encouragement and congratulations.  It might not seem like much to you, but it does to me.

 

 

I thank each and every one of you for reading along with me as I visited racetracks all over the world.  I would also like to thank the track announcers and promoters that made my season so enjoyable in 2008. 

 

 

As you can probably tell, the hobby for me is more about “The Amazing Race” than the racing itself.  I enjoy the challenge of getting from point A to point B as well as meeting the people along the way.  I don’t travel to find things, I travel to get lost.

 

 

 

 

IN MEMORIAM

It’s hard to go through an entire year without losing some people who you were close too and admire.  My 2008 Trackchasing Annual Report is dedicated to those people. Rest in peace, Dana Condello.

 

 

 

 

MAJOR HIGHLIGHTS OF THE YEAR

Taking a taxi some 200 miles round-trip from Bangkok, Thailand to a road course in Pattaya, Thailand…..my 1,300th-lifetime track.

 

 

Carol seeing her 350th-lifetime track at the Cameron Lake Ice Track in Erskine, Minnesota.  She not only saw racing but actually competed from the back seat of a 1980s big block Chevy while riding in the feature event!

 

 

Going trackchasing in 14 different countries in 2008 was fun.  I never would have thought I would visit places like South Africa, China, Thailand and Guyana, to name just a few with this hobby. 

 

 

Seeing my 1,400th-lifetime track at the end of the year was satisfying. 

 

 

Keeping my website up to date allows me to share my hobby with friends, family and people I have never had the chance to meet.  It’s also a great place to store more than 200,000 photos that are tied to my trackchasing.  Once in a while, I pick a track at random from the website’s archives.  It’s fun to be reminded of what I did when I visited that track in both written words and photos.

 

 

 


GOALS, GOALS, GOALS

I can finally say with some confidence that I am beginning to meet my trackchasing goals that I set each season.  My “Trackchasing Annual Report” is sent out in January of each year.  It’s very difficult to predict what will happen during the next 12 months of trackchasing.  However, in 2008, I hit nearly everyone one of my goals right on the head!

 

 

At the end of the 2004 season, I wrote, “I still have 1,054 tracks in the United States and Canada that I have not seen.  I should be able to experience that new track thrill for a long time into the future.  That being said, if I keep up with my 2004 pace I would see all of the remaining 1,054 tracks in just about eight years.  Then what would I do?  I guess I better slow down a bit, so I can still be seeing new tracks when I’m 80 years old!”

 

 

In 2005, I saw 182 tracks.  In 2006, I saw 147 tracks.  In 2007, I saw 160 tracks.  And now in 2008, I have seen another 102 new tracks.  That’s a combined total of 571 tracks.  You would think after seeing this many tracks in the past four years, my 2004 total of 1,054 tracks still to be seen would be significantly reduced.  Wrong!  Really wrong!!  My fellow competitors and I have been discovering heretofore unknown North American tracks so rapidly that even after having seen 571 new tracks in the past four years, I STILL HAVE 1,091 tracks in my North American database that I have not visited.  I will be lucky if I ever get the remaining tracks total below 1,000 in North America.

 

 

This season was one of my most productive and fun that I’ve ever had.  My international trackchasing makes that statement true.  This is my ninth consecutive year of finishing in the top three in the world rankings.  No one has ever done that. 

 

 

Here’s a summary of how I did against my 2008 trackchasing goals.  These goals were published in January 2008.

 

 

 

  

2008 Trackchasing Goal Recap

 

Goal:

Lifetime trackchaser rankings (increase lead over second place to 200+ tracks)

 

This went according to plan.  I began the year with a 164-track lead over second place.  That lead has now grown to 212 tracks.

 

Goal:

Annual trackchaser rankings (finish in the top 3)

 

I came across the 2008 trackchasing finish line in second place.  In last year’s annual report I wrote, “My goal for 2008 is to once again finish in the top three in the ultra-competitive hobby of trackchasing.  If I was forced to put a number on my 2008 tracks to be seen total, I might go with just over 100.  At this time I do not have a goal of repeating as a season champ.  Nevertheless, I am proud to have four championship trophies (figuratively speaking, of course) sitting on the fireplace mantle.  No one, in the modern era of trackchasing, has ever won four straight.  P.J. Hollebrand won six consecutive championships back in the 70s but that was before most people were keeping track of their visits by date.” 

 

 

I just about called this one by finishing with 102 tracks this year.

 

 

Goal:

Lifetime National Geographic Diversity results (reduce my number of “15” point states)

 

This was a tough goal to crack.  I began the season with twelve “15” point National Geographic Diversity states.  This meant I ranked out of the top ten in these one dozen states.  I was only able to crack the top 10 in Ohio.  That’s not much progress, but it’s some.

 

 

Goal:

Far Western states lifetime rankings (gain leadership position in each of the 13 Far Western states (x California) 

 

 

I began the year with a #1 ranking in ten of the thirteen Far Western states.  During the year, trips to Alaska and Hawaii, allowed me to move into the #1 trackchasing position in those states.  I now lead, or share the lead, in twelve Far Western states.  I have no realistic shot of every leading in my home state of California.  I can throw in Texas as the only non-Far Western state where I’ve got the trackchasing lead.

 

 

Goal:

Add at least five new countries to my trackchasing list

 

I made my biggest gains against my goals on the international front.  At the start of the year, seeing races in five new countries seemed like a daunting task.  I never could have predicted I would go trackchasing in ELEVEN new countries.  Nevertheless, my U.S. passport shows I visited these countries for the main purpose of trackchasing.

 

Austria

China*

Costa Rica

Czech Republic

Denmark*

Guyana*

Ireland

Jamaica

South Africa

Sweden*

Thailand

 

I think that’s a pretty unusual list of countries.  I can’t really say that I enjoyed visiting one more than the other.  I enjoyed them all!  Trackchasing’s First Mother came along for all of those listed with an *.  I’m happy to report that she and I have vacationed in every one of those countries (except South Africa) in the past.

 

 

Goal:

Play golf at least 100 times with a golf index of less than 8.0.

 

 

I establish personal goals like this so that I don’t spend ALL of my time trackchasing.  I fell short of playing golf 100 times but I did hit the links 82 times.   In 2008 I went trackchasing on 81 days.  This marks the first time since I retired back in 2002 that I have played golf on more days than I trackchased.  What makes this somewhat unusual is that I rarely drag my golf clubs (like I used too) on my trackchasing trips. 

 

 

My golfing goal wasn’t just about quantity.  My goal included a “quality” element as well.  When I established my golf index goal of 8.0, my January 2008 index was an 8.1.  By May 2008 it had ballooned to a 9.7.  I needed to make some changes if I was going to meet my goal for the year.  I was lucky to come in contact with golf pro-Matt Viguerie.  With a few lessons, my index dropped to a 4.6 and now stands at 5.0.

 

 

Goal:

Continue to add to my trackchasing technology/information arsenal.

 

 

When I travel I want to be comfortable.  When I analyze which tracks would be best to see I don’t want to waste time or money.  I’m willing to spend the money to buy the technology that it takes to achieve the above.  I’m also willing to spend the time it takes to learn how to operate the technology that I own.

 

 

My son, J.J. is the primary person who both alerts me to new technology opportunities and gives me enough training opportunities to get them to work.  Thanks, J.J.

 

 

My biggest technology addition for the 2008 season was my Apple iPhone.  It’s a misnomer to simply call this device a “phone”.  It has nearly replaced my laptop!  Trackchasing is so much easier with all of the “gadgets” I can use.  This allows me to enjoy the trip so much more without being concerned about how to get there, spending too much money or whatever.  Technology rocks!  You’re never too old to teach yourself more.

 

 

Goal:

Finally, my plan is simply to see as many new tracks in 2008 as I want too.  If I don’t go trackchasing, it won’t be because of some form of restraint on my part.  It will be because I found something more fun and interesting to do or I couldn’t find a place to go trackchasing.

 

 

I can confidently say that I went trackchasing when I wanted too.  During the three year period from 2005-2007, I averaged about 115 trackchasing days a year.  In 2008, I went trackchasing on 81 days.  Our international trackchasing trips accounted for a good deal of this change.  As an example, we were in China for seven days but only went trackchasing on one of those days. 

 

 

Trackchasing is the reason we are going to these new countries, but once we get there we don’t spend very much time at the track.  This gives us plenty of time to “see the world”.  I’m putting other entertainment plans in place that are designed to keep my trackchasing time at a reasonable but not obsessive level.

 

 

Goal:

I also want to continue to write entertaining Trackchaser Reports and produce a colorful and informative trackchasing website.  Of course, you the reader will be the judge of that.  I know that the reports are a little longer than some might prefer.  This is why I separate the report into major headline groups just like a newspaper would have different sections.  Hopefully, each reader can hone in on the sections of the Trackchaser Report that are most interesting if there is not enough time to read the entire copy.  Of course, readers can go to www.randylewis.org and see pictures of the event as well as the text of the Trackchaser Report for each new track.  I suspect that you can get 80% of the feel of the entire experience just by looking at the pictures.

 

 

From the feedback I get, folks still enjoy reading my RANLAY Racing Trackchaser Reports.  The distribution lists remains at more than one thousand readers. 

 

 

I now estimate that my website has more than 200,000 pictures from my trackchasing travels.  I added more than 10,000 this year alone.  No other website in the hobby comes anywhere close to that.  During the year, I switched over to using Google’s Picasa for photo sharing.  Now people who visit my website can see more pictures that load faster than ever before.

 

 

Goal:

My final goal is to simply put more time, technology and resources into trackchasing than any other trackchaser.  I want my research, which yields new tracks and new track combinations, to be superior.  Trackchasing research is like squeezing a lemon.  The harder you squeeze the more juice you get. 

 

 

I am confident that I have met this goal in 2008.  I traveled more than 257,000 miles getting to my 102 tracks.  That is nearly four times as much as anyone traveled.  My trackchasing systems have been in place and continually improved for several years now.  I can find tracks and schedules quickly.  Then I can put travel plans together that minimizes expense and maximizes output.

 

 

Conclusion

The staff at RANLAY Racing and I are already busy planning a fantastic 2009 trackchasing season.  My U.S. passport is ready with an additional 48 pages.  With the support from my current airline sponsors and several additional airlines that are expected to come on board early in the year, my trips should be more creative than ever.  By the time you read this, I will already have already begun my 2009 season.

 

 

 

 

 

2009 Trackchasing Goals

Lifetime trackchaser rankings – increase lead over second-place trackchaser by a minimum of 10-20 tracks.

 

 

Add, at a minimum, eight new countries to my trackchasing list.  This will bring my lifetime “trackchasing countries” total to thirty.  Do my best to hold off trackchaser commissioner, Will White, in our “race to 30” international trackchasing competition.

 

 

Annual trackchaser rankings (finish in the top 5); see 50-75 new tracks.  Hopefully, I will end up in the top of this range.

 

 

Lifetime National Geographic Diversity results (reduce my number of “15” point states by at least one).  I currently have 12 “15” point states.

 

 

Far Western states lifetime rankings – maintain leadership position in 12 of the 13 Far Western states (x California). 

 

 

Play golf an equal amount of days that I trackchase.  Maintain golf index below 6.0.

 

 

Continue to add to my trackchasing technology/information arsenal.

 

 

Finally, my plan is simply to see as many new tracks in 2009 as I want too.  If I don’t go trackchasing, it won’t be because of some form of restraint on my part.  It will be because I found something more fun and interesting to do or I couldn’t find a place to go trackchasing.

 

 

 

 

 

TRAVEL AND BUDGETING

This season I made it to 102 new tracks.  To get those tracks I traveled 257,540 miles in rental cars, cruise ships, taxis, airplanes and ferryboats.  This is my biggest trackchasing travel year ever.  During the past five years, my travels have covered right around 950,000 miles!

 

 

Here is how the 2008 season travel miles broke out in each transportation category

 

 

Airline – 229,609

 

Rental car – 26,003

 

My car – 0!

 

Friend’s cars – 67

 

Ferryboat – 9 (or so)

 

Cruise ship – 1,852

 

 

There are some good things that came about with all of this travel.  First, I didn’t use my car much, so it’s not worn out from trackchasing.  In fact, for the first time ever I didn’t drive to a single new track all year.  Secondly, with my airline sponsors coming on board, my airline expense wasn’t as high as it could have been.  Finally, it has been my practice to not include mileage from my house to my home airports.  I probably should include it, but I didn’t from the beginning and wanted to keep my records comparable from year to year.  With 40 airline round-trips this year, that would probably add another 3-4,000 total miles.

 

 

I did drive more than 26,000 miles in a rental car.  I’m happy to report that I have not had a speeding ticket since 2003.

 

 

Of course, with that amount of travel, you might think it would wreak havoc with my trackchasing budget.  Actually, it’s really not that bad.  I figure I earned the money, then I saved some of it and now I spend most of it!  Here’s how I did against the budget I established for trackchasing at the beginning of the year.

 

 

Airfare – 87%

 

Rental cars – 117%

 

Gasoline – 100%

 

Airport Parking – 101%

 

Hotels – 129% (in an effort to keep Carol comfortable)

 

Food – 111%

 

Race tickets – 82%

 

Total – 106%

 

 

My airline sponsors provided numerous flights for me and for Carol.  We were even able to fly first class on 27% of our flights.  This year I added several other airlines including Southwest, American, Mexicana, China and Air Lingus Airlines as associate sponsors.  SkyWest, United and Delta Airlines continue to support RANLAY Racing on a primary sponsorship basis.

 

 

I’m already starting to get that, “Ya, you can do this because you get free airfare” attitude.  Of course, I remind those folks that I established the all-time season trackchasing record not that long ago in 2005, with 182 tracks and I paid full-price for every airline ride I took.  I am fully prepared to do that again should the need arise.

 

 

I was also able to dramatically upgrade my hotel accommodations during the season.  With “anywhere/anytime” flying came “name your own price” hoteling.  I am now staying in some very fine hotels.  Just a few years ago, I stayed in the lowliest rat holes, you would be likely to find.  There was no way “Jill would approve” of those places.  Now, I’ve got Sleep Number beds, room service and the works.

  

 

I still find it amazing that I AVERAGE $40 a day for gasoline for every day that I trackchase.  Despite having robust airline sponsorships I still spent more on airfare than any other category.  However, the amount I spent on 40 round-trip airfares would be impossible to duplicate without the support of my airline partners.

 

 

 

I finished 2008 at 106% of my overall budget plan.  I’m happy with that.  I never expected at the beginning of the year to do so much international trackchasing.  I spent 12% less in 2008 than I did in 2007.  I spent 10% less on trackchasing in ’07 than I did in 2006.  I find this amazing given the fact that I covered more than 257,000 miles in 2008. 

 

 

I go about budgeting my trackchasing expenses just like I do my household expenses.  If you don’t have a budget, you don’t know where you’re going and you won’t know whether to celebrate or cry once you reach the finish line.

 

 

 

 

2008 TECHNOLOGY/INFORMATION INNOVATIONS

 

February – Google Picassa 3.  This program allows me to share many more photos than I ever have in the past.  The photos download much faster so the viewer gets to see more pictures in less time.  With this program, I was able to share more than 10,000 photos from this year’s trackchasing travels.

 

 

March – Lenovo computer laptop.  This machine offers more of everything and comes with a 17” screen.

 

 

April – Radio Shack 150-watt inverter.  I use this to charge all of my electronic gizmos from the power adapter (aka cigarette lighter) of my rental car.  This keeps me fully powered and gives me full access to the information world.

 

 

April – Yellow tinted race goggles acquired at the Swainsboro Speedway.  Not every piece of technology has to be a machine.

 

 

May – My GPS is an indispensable tool in my hobby of trackchasing.  This month I was able to add European maps, for the first time ever.  This made traveling around Ireland, Denmark and Sweden a snap.  Special thanks to son-in-law James for the help here.

 

 

April – I first began using Google Earth to aid in my finding the tracks I visit.  It’s a great way to see things from above.

 

 

November – Apple iPhone.  This is the coolest electronic gadget I have ever had.  The question is not “What can it do”? It’s “What can’t this thing do”?  I will simply say the Apple iPhone rocks and then it rocks some more.

 

 

I have some of the best advisors in the business when it comes to technology/information innovations.  My fellow competitors can only wish to emulate my performance in this category. 

 

 

My Garmin GPS unit is possibly the best aid to efficient trackchasing I have ever had.  I no longer take paper maps with me on any trip.  In 2006, I averaged an even 300 miles driving for each track I visited.  You would think that the more tracks I visit, the further apart the remaining tracks would be.  That is true.  However, after getting my GPS unit, I averaged even less miles driven for each track I saw.  In 2007, I averaged just 263 miles of driving for each of the 160 new tracks I visited.  A 37-mile savings might not seem like much, but then consider I went trackchasing 124 days including rainouts.  That savings amounts to about 4,500 miles.  The cost of gasoline for that much driving would be about $500.  That cash savings would buy two GPS units.  What happened in 2008?  I averaged just 255 miles for each new track I saw, an all-time record.

 

 

I’m just beginning to enjoy the benefits of Priceline.com.  I’m getting hotels that are dramatically better than the Super 8s and Motel 6s that I used to stay in for about the same price as I paid for my current hotels.  I’m renting full-sized cars for less than $15 per day.  Priceline, when used properly, rocks!

 

 

Many of you may not know what an “Executive Travel Skyguide” is.  Back in my business days, I used its predecessor, the Official Airline Guide or the “OAG”.  J.J. got me back into using this tool.  The monthly guide gives me details on every daily flight in North America and beyond.  When I run into a mechanical or weather-related flight delay, this guide is the first thing I turn too.

 

 

The “Road Food” guide was given to me as a Father’s Day gift by Carol.  This publication allows me to visit some of the most off the wall eateries our nation has to offer.  Not only does it make each trip more fun, but the food is great too.

 

 

I continue to operate with “anywhere/anytime” internet capability from my laptop.  No other trackchaser can sit in his/her car at some remote and out of the way little dirt track and be checking weather, making hotel reservations and the like.  As an example, I can never make a hotel reservation until I know the track I plan to visit is actually going to race.  If the track canceled at the last minute because of weather, I would not want to be stuck with a hotel where the canceled track was located.  Often I can’t confirm that until I reach the track.  Usually, the track is located in a very remote location.  With my new laptop capability, I can make an online reservation from anywhere.  This saves me both time and money and lots of potential aggravation of having to find a motel room after the races is finished, sometimes very late at night. 

 

 

J.J. and Kristy were behind my upgrading to an Apple iPhone.  This thing simply does it all.  I’ll tell you more about it as the 2009 comes about.  Real-time, online information is the lifeblood of any worldwide trackchaser.

 

 

My GPS unit has probably been the best time saving/efficiency idea I have ever added to my trackchasing tool chest.  Now, I have made the GPS unit even more valuable.  With the help of son-in-law James Peters and track website guru Richard Welty and Will White, I can now find the exact longitude/latitude coordinates for a track that I plan to visit.  I plug those coordinates into my GPS and I have customized driving instructions directly to the track from any direction.  There is no better way to get track directions anywhere.

 

 

 

 

BEST/WORST

 

 

Trackchasing firsts 

Cameron Lake Ice Track, Erskine, Minnesota – Carol rode in the back seat of a race car during the feature event at this track.

 

 

My first ice race in province of Alberta, Canada

 

 

Carol’s first-ever trackchasing effort in Alberta, Canada

 

 

My 1,316th track and Carol’s 357th track put us in the lead as the trackchasing couple who have seen the most tracks – 1,673

 

 

Single season record for ice tracks – 15

 

 

Carol and I took over the Mexican trackchasing lead with 2 lifetime tracks

 

 

First nighttime ice racing – Moosehead Lake Ice Track, Greenville Junction, Maine

 

 

First trackchasing trip to the continent of Africa – Durban Grand Prix, Durban, South Africa

 

 

First trackchasing trip to the continent of South America – South Dakota Circuit, Timehri, Guyana

 

 

Threw the green flag for the feature event at the Atlanta Motor Speedway

 

 

 

 

Most fun trackchasing day of the season

Dover Raceway, Brown’s Town, St. Ann, Jamaica

 

 

Best logistical trip of 2008

Autodromo Hermanos Rodriquez circuit, Mexico City, Mexico

 

 

Most unusual food item on a track’s menu

Dover Raceway, Brown’s Town, St. Ann, Jamaica – Jerk Chicken

 

 

Best City Tour in advance of a new track visit

Mexico City, Mexico

 

 

Best International Road Course

Dover Raceway, Brown’s Town, St. Ann, Jamaica

Sturup Raceway, Malmo, Sweden

 

 

Best International Hospitality – alphabetical order

Bryan Max – Guyana

Morten Alstrup – Denmark

Rengar Infante – Costa Rica

 

 

Best Domestic Hospitality

Greg Clemmons, Grand River Speedway, Urich, Missouri

 

 

Best Facility

Virginia Motor Speedway, Jamaica, Virginia

Lucas Oil Speedway, Wheatland, Missouri

 

 

Best Bullring

Grayson County Speedway, Bells, Texas

 

 

Best dirt track racing

Lake Country Speedway, Ardmore, Oklahoma

Central Missouri Speedway, Warrensburg, Missouri

 

 

Best ice racing

Rice Lake Ice Track, Rice Lake, Wisconsin

 

 

Best indoor racing

No winner

 

 

Coldest indoor racing

Kemper Arena, Kansas City, Missouri

Mototown USA, Winsor, Connecticut

 

 

Best Trackchasing Tourist Attractions 

Mexican Riviera Holland America Cruise (on the way to ice track in British Columbia!)

 

 

Touring Bangkok for three days before seeing my 1,300th-lifetime track in Pattaya, Thailand and then spending a day in Hong Kong on my way back from Thailand.

 

 

Dakar, Senegal, Africa including Goree Island

 

 

Hluhluwe-Umfolozi Park wild animal park, South Africa

 

 

Mexico City Tour (www.turibus.com.mx), Mexico City, Mexico

 

 

William J. Clinton Presidential Library, Little Rock, Arkansas

 

 

“Love” Cirque de Soleil, Mirage Hotel, Las Vegas, Nevada

 

 

Copenhagen city tour (via boat), Copenhagen, Denmark

 

 

Herby K (home of the Shrimpbuster), Shreveport, Louisiana – this is also a RANLAY Racing Restaurant recommendation

 

 

Mount Rushmore (http://www.nps.gov/moru/) – near Keystone, South Dakota

 

 

Martha’s Vineyard touring, Massachusetts

 

 

James Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame, Springfield, Massachusetts

 

 

Little League World Series, Williamsport, Pennsylvania

 

 

Waterford Crystal Factory Tour & Showroom Visit, Waterford, Ireland

 

 

Tours all over Guyana in South America.  The highlight was spending time in the local home of a native Guyana family

 

 

Hong Kong city tour including restaurants, subways, farmer’s markets, Symphony of Lights laser light show, ferryboat rides, Ngong Ping cable car, Temple Street Night Market, theatre production of Cinderella and much more including our share of Dim Sum

 

 

Macau, China city tour including ferryboat ride via Turbojet from Hong Kong to Macau, Macau Tower visit, Macau Casinos tour (great), St. Paul’s Church and the Macau Grand Prix Museum

 

 

Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, Kansas City, Missouri

 

 

Grand Prize Winner – Trackchasing Tourist Attraction

Tours all over Guyana in South America.  The highlight was spending time in the local home of a native Guyana family

 

 

Best inner oval

Utica-Rome Speedway, Vernon, New York wins this award by a large margin

 

 

Luckiest tracks to even see a race at (weather, location, etc.)

Mille Lacs Lake Ice Track (oval), Garrison, Minnesota – We were watching a road race on this lake when a bystander told me they were holding an oval race just a few hundred yards away on the SAME lake!

 

 

Lake Speed Ice Track, Tilleda, Wisconsin – without my GPS unit I never would have been able to drive straight to the track, without getting lost, just in time to catch the very last race of day as the cars pulled onto the track.

 

 

Penticton Speedway – it poured down rain all during my 275-mile drive to the track, yet the asphalt surfaced facility still raced on both their oval and road course.

 

 

Scotia Speedworld, Halifax, Nova Scotia and Centre for Speed, New Brunswick, Canada both raced in an otherwise dreary and rainy Northeastern Canadian weekend.  We did get rained out in Prince Edward Island.  We very well could have been washed out in all three of these new trackchasing Canadian provinces.  With an ounce more of luck, we could have gotten all three as well.

 

 

Best Airport

Hong Kong International Airport

 

 

Biggest surprise

Getting two tracks at Mille Lacs Lake in Garrison, Minnesota

Getting three tracks at Grand River Speedway, Urich, Missouri

 

 

Coldest Weather

Shawano Lake – North Shore Ice Track, Shawano, Wisconsin -35 degrees wind chill temperature 

 

 

Hottest Weather

Big Island Oval Track, Hilo, Hawaii

 

 

Most rundown

Big Island Oval Track, Hilo, Hawaii

 

 

Best Announcer 

Evergreen Speedway, Monroe, Washington

 

 

Best radio coverage of my trackchasing visits

Steve Mortland, North Sound Radio 1380 AM, ESPN 

 

 

Best at the track trackchaser interview

Genesee Speedway, Batavia, New York

Shadybowl Speedway, Degraff, Ohio

 

 

Best trackchasing sideshow

The Flying Canuck, Saratoga Speedway, Courtenay, British Columbia, Canada

 

 

Most exotic hotel

Hotel Casino Lisboa, Macau, China

 

 

Best technology value in all of trackchasing

Tonto, my always reliable GPS unit

 

 

Best Domestic Trip

Alaska – 5 new tracks and lots of sightseeing experiences

 

 

Most unusual transportation method

Bira Circuit, Pattaya, Thailand – I had a taxi driver take me 200 miles round-trip from Bangkok to the track.

 

 

 

Worst car count

Three beat up front wheel drive figure 8 cars at the Beamsville Fair, Beamsville, Ontario, Canada.  The “race” lasted less than five minutes after it took me more than a day to get there.

 

 

Most Friendly

Barnes Lake Ice Track, Ashcroft, British Columbia, Canada

Evergreen Speedway (WWRA), Monroe, Washington

Penticton Speedway, Penticton, British Columbia, Canada

 

 

Best novelty event

Tipperary International Speedway, Rosegreen, Ireland (bangers)

 

 

Most crowded county fair 

Hebron Harvest Fair, Hebron, Connecticut

 

 

Dustiest track

Valentine Speedway, Glenrock, Wyoming

Lovelock Speedway, Lovelock, Nevada

 

 

Most unusual layout

Alberni Motorsports Park, Port Alberni, British Columbia, Canada

Shadybowl Speedway, Degraff, Ohio

 

 

Most beautiful scenery in a foreign country

Austria

 

 

Worst Infield Obstructions

Phillips County Raceway, Holyoke, Colorado

 

 

Most unusual looking racecars 

Lambrechten Stock Car Track, Lambrechten, Austria

 

 

 

 

MISSED OPPORTUNITIES

Once again, there were not very many missed opportunities in 2008.  I was only rained out two times and snowed out once in the 84 trackchasing days I planned to see racing.  I’m pretty lucky with the weather.  Back in 2006, I completed a string of 109 consecutive days and 159 consecutive countable tracks without a single rainout. 

 

 

My biggest hotel “missed opportunity” occurred in Bangkok, Thailand.  After traveling non-stop for nearly 24 hours, my taxi driver took me to my nearby hotel.  It was 2 a.m. I gave the hotel desk clerk my prepaid voucher and passport.  She checked me in and gave me my room key.  I was dead tired.  After hauling my luggage up several flights of stairs I reached my room.  I simply took off my clothes and hit the sack.  Five minutes later the phone rang.  It was the hotel desk clerk.  She informed me I was in the wrong hotel!!  I had to get up and get dressed.  Then at nearly 3 a.m. I found a cab to take me to the hotel that I had already paid for.  Don’t ask me why the taxi driver or the desk clerk didn’t notice I wasn’t at the correct hotel!

 

 

During the winter ice racing season, I had a planned trackchasing ice track double where the two tracks were just 6.6 miles apart.  I had visited both tracks before their racing program started for the day.  I was returning to the track that would begin racing first when I pulled off the road just a couple of feet to take a picture.  Then I got stuck.  I was only a mile from the first track but the temperature was -35 degrees (wind chill).  I called AAA but they were so busy they could not help me.  Luckily a Wisconsinite Good Samaritan stopped to help me.  Thank you!!

 

 

Leaving Johannesburg, South Africa for the U.S. provided the first of two airplane emergency landings during the 2008 season.  First, there was some minor smoke in the cabin and then the lights went out.  We spent nearly 45 minutes dumping fuel before we landed amidst the swirling red emergency lights of more than 20 fire trucks and ambulances that lined the runway at nearly midnight.  If that wasn’t enough excitement trying to find a hotel for the evening was.  South Africa might have been the biggest learning experience of my entire season.

 

 

It was disappointing to show up at the Richards Bay Raceway, a short track oval, in South Africa and see that no one else was there.  It seems they canceled on almost no notice.  Although I did see the Durban Grand Prix while we were in Africa, I would have traded it for a night of racing at Richards Bay.

 

 

It was disappointing to get my new Lenovo computer laptop and then screw it up on the first day I traveled with it.  It was zero dark thirty at LAX and I was just getting used to my new laptop.  Somehow I pressed the wrong “power on” button and reformatted my hard drive.  Sad, but true!  My laptop keeps me entertained on these trackchasing trips, so I was bummed to have to spend the weekend without it.

 

 

I was somewhat bummed on the last day of my trip to Jamaica.  For some unknown reason, all flights out of Montego Bay, Jamaica were canceled.  This forced me to stay an extra night in the country.  That meant I had to find a hotel and a flight the next day when all of the passengers from the previous day were trying to rebook their flights. 

 

 

I had my second airline emergency landing with Carol on our way back from Alaska in May.  The plane’s landing gear was stuck in the “open” position.  I guess that’s better than having it stuck in the “closed” position.  Nevertheless, we made it down O.K. with the runway lined with emergency vehicles.

 

 

I hated to be snowed out in my last attempt of the year to see a new track.  This happened in Idaho.  However, I was so pleased to have seen more than 100 tracks this year and to have reached 1,400-lifetime tracks that I didn’t really mind being snowed out at all.

 

 

 

 

TRACKCHASING TOURIST ATTRACTIONS

When I am out on the trackchasing trail, I am always on the lookout for local attractions to visit and enjoy.  Finding such places is even more enjoyable when Carol or another member of the family is with me.  During the course of the year, we’ll get to touch and feel lots of cool places.  I call them Trackchasing Tourist Attractions.  Here are the major TTAs we visited in 2008 during our trackchasing travels.

 

 

Mexican Riviera Holland America Cruise (on the way to ice track in British Columbia!)

 

 

Touring Bangkok for three days before seeing my 1,300th-lifetime track in Pattaya, Thailand and then spending a day in Hong Kong on my way back from Thailand.

 

 

The Lodge on Lake Detroit (spa) – Cameron Lakes, Minnesota.

 

 

Ridgefield city touring, Connecticut – Tour of our home where we lived for 15 months (1979-80).

 

 

L.L. Bean, Portland, Maine

 

 

New York, New York

 

 

Dakar, Senegal, Africa including Goree Island

 

 

Johannesburg, South Africa

 

 

Hluhluwe-Umfolozi Park wild animal park, South Africa

 

 

Macbeth – The Citadel Theatre – Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

 

 

Staples Center, Los Angeles, California – Pac-10 Basketball Tournament

 

 

Mexico City Tour (www.turibus.com.mx), Mexico City, Mexico

 

 

World of Coca-Cola – Atlanta, Georgia

 

 

William J. Clinton Presidential Library, Little Rock, Arkansas

 

 

Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail, Prattville and Birmingham, Alabama

 

 

Las Vegas Golf, Las Vegas, Nevada

 

 

“Love” Cirque de Soleil, Mirage Hotel, Las Vegas, Nevada

 

 

Richmond International Raceway, Richmond, Virginia (I stopped here just to soak up the NASCAR big weekend ambiance, but not to see the race

 

 

Ring of Kerry drive, Ireland

 

 

Copenhagen city tour (via boat), Copenhagen, Denmark

 

 

Copenhagen city tour (via bus), Copenhagen, Denmark

 

 

Tivoli Gardens (amusement park), Copenhagen, Denmark

 

 

Denali State Park, Alaska

 

 

Alaska pipeline

 

 

II Dice Pawn Shop, Fairbanks, Alaska

 

 

Trace Atkins concert, Carlson Arena, Fairbanks, Alaska

 

 

Herby K (home of the Shrimpbuster), Shreveport, Louisiana – this is also a RANLAY Racing Restaurant recommendation

 

 

Hope, Arkansas – boyhood home of former President Bill Clinton

 

 

Wall Drug (http://www.walldrug.com/) – Wall, South Dakota

 

 

Bear Country U.S.A. (http://www.bearcountryusa.com/index.php) – Rapid City, South Dakota

 

 

Mount Rushmore (http://www.nps.gov/moru/) – near Keystone, South Dakota

 

 

Maritime Museum of the Atlantic, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada

 

 

Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts

 

 

James Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame, Springfield, Massachusetts

 

 

Little League World Series, Williamsport, Pennsylvania

 

 

Hapuna Beach Golf Club, Big Island, Hawaii

 

 

Pacific Tsunami Museum, Hilo, Hawaii

 

 

Mauna Kea Mountain, Big Island, Hawaii

 

 

Waterford Crystal Factory Tour & Showroom Visit, Waterford, Ireland

 

 

New York Broadway theatre production – “Chicago”

 

 

Tours all over Guyana in South America.  The highlight was spending time in the local home of a native Guyana family

 

 

Fisherman’s Wharf Tour, San Francisco, California

 

 

Hong Kong city tour including restaurants, subways, farmer’s markets, Symphony of Lights laser light show, ferryboat rides, Ngong Ping cable car, Temple Street Night Market, theatre production of Cinderella and much more including our share of Dim Sum

 

 

Macau, China city tour including ferryboat ride via Turbojet from Hong Kong to Macau, Macau Tower visit, Macau Casinos tour (great), St. Paul’s Church and the Macau Grand Prix Museum

 

 

Minute Maid Park, Houston, Texas

 

 

Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, Kansas City, Missouri

 

 

 

  

PEOPLE VISITS

Ed Clark, President, Atlanta Motor Speedway

 

 

Bill Elliott and his son Chase, Hampton, Georgia

 

 

Dale Terry, Hampton, Georgia

 

 

Ed Esser, Brainerd, Minnesota

 

 

Bruce Spencer, Windsor, Connecticut

 

 

Rick Young, P.J. Hollebrand, Will White, Paul Weisel, Guy Smith, Mike Knappenberger, Clarence Creek, Ontario, Canada

 

 

J.J. Lewis, Will Van Horne, Johannesburg, South Africa

 

 

Mike Joy, Fox TV broadcaster, Jamaica, Virginia

 

 

Jim Sabo, Georgia trip

 

 

Steve Tomasek, Alabama golf trip tied to Arkansas racing

 

 

Mike Skonicki, Jim Kiss, Jim Hammer, Phil Thompson, Russ Hagberg, Las Vegas golf trip tied to Idaho racing

 

 

Darin Racek, Phillips County Raceway

 

 

John Moore, Monticello, Arkansas

 

 

Jill, Jerry & Wes Moody, Reno, Nevada

 

 

Eleanor and Paul Weidman, Cobleskill, New York

 

 

Allan Brown, Frankfurt, Ohio

 

 

Russ & Kerri Ingram, Dallas, Texas

 

 

Kenny Schrader, Edna, Texas

 

 

Betty & Bill Virt, Auburndale, Florida

 

 

 

 

PEOPLE WHO HELPED ME AT THE TRACKS 

Tony Boothby and several others – Barnes Lake Ice Track, Ashcroft, British Columbia

 

 

Ron Olafson – Cameron Lake Ice Track – Erskine, Minnesota

 

 

Trey Sanders, media director, Atlanta Motor Speedway

 

 

Dale Terry, www.georgiastockracing.com

 

 

Renee Anderson, International Ice Racing Association

 

 

P.J., promoter, Bay of Green Bay Ice Track

 

 

Igor, Super 8, Grand Marais, Minnesota

 

 

The guy who pulled me out of a snow ditch, Shawano, Wisconsin

 

 

Ashland, Wisconsin, ice track promoter

 

 

Tonto, my always reliable GPS unit

 

 

All of my contacts at the Dover Raceway in Brownstown, St. Ann, Jamaica

 

 

“Big Red” promoter at Screven Motor Speedway

 

 

Roland Vanden Eynde (Denmark/Sweden)

 

 

Morten Alstrup, Denmark

 

 

Par-Olaf Hakansson, Sweden

 

 

Steve Schoenfeldt and the gang from the Western Washington Racing Association

 

 

Steve Mortland, North Sound Racing 1380 AM, ESPN

 

 

Will White, international track reports and website

 

 

Kevin O’Hara, North Pole Speedway

 

 

J. Clark, President of Alaska Sports Car Club and others at the Tanacross Airport road course

 

 

Randy Martin, owner Mitchell Raceway, Fairbanks, Alaska

 

 

Allan Miller, PR Director, Central Missouri Speedway

 

 

Jim Holland, Rapid City Journal

 

 

Butch Knouse, all around South Dakota expert

 

 

John Plestina, Ely Times

 

 

John Sullivan, all over Maine

 

 

Johnny Aantjes and his wife, promoters at Penticton Speedway, Penticton, British Columbia, Canada and their announcer, Allan.

 

 

Ed Esser track reports

 

 

Colin Herridge, all-around expert

 

 

John, commentator and starter at Waterford Raceway, Dungarvan, Ireland

 

 

Allan Brown, www.speedwaysonline.com

 

 

Bryan Max, everything Guyana

 

 

Greg Clemmons, promoter Grand River Speedway

 

 

Renger Infante, P.R. Director, Autodromo La Guacima

 

 

Bill Cleary and his wife, promoters at the Sumter County Motorsports Park, Bushnell, Florida

 

 

Please accept my apologies if I left anyone out.  I didn’t mean too.

 

 

 

 

RANLAY Racing Restaurant Money Back Guarantees

 

Chum’s Restaurant – Cache Creek, British Columbia 

 

 

Nathan Congee and Noodle Shop – Hong Kong, China

 

 

Culvers – All over the upper Midwest

 

 

McGinn’s Southern Pit BBQ, near Atlanta Motor Speedway

 

 

Planet Pizza, Ridgefield, Connecticut

 

 

Becky’s Diner, Portland, Maine

 

 

Kelly’s Landing Restaurant, Greenville Junction, Maine

 

 

Moyo’s at Melrose Arch, Johannesburg, South Africa

 

 

Yank Chow (get the slippery shrimp), Los Angeles, California

 

 

Los Girasoles, Mexico City, Mexico

 

 

Café De Tacuba (the best!), Mexico City, Mexico

 

 

Pop’s Kitchen, Sylvania, Georgia

 

 

Wolf Run Café, Fairbanks, Alaska

 

 

Herby K (home of the Shrimpbuster), Shreveport, Louisiana

 

 

Skyline Chili – all over Ohio

 

 

McKelvie’s Restaurant, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada

 

 

Strawberry Shortcake House, Cobleskill Fairgrounds, Cobleskill, New York

 

 

Stella’s Diner, Syracuse, New York

 

 

Steak n’ Shake, all over the Midwest and selected southeastern areas

 

 

 

 

RANDY’S QUOTES

 

Each of the following quotes appeared in the yearlong RANLAY Racing Trackchaser Reports of 2008.

 

 

January 13 – I am happy to report that Carol is soon going to be “Trackchasing’s First Grandmother!”  Yep, we learned on the cruise that daughter Kristy (married in May 2007 to James Peters) is “with child”.  However, since her father is famous for “trackchasing doubles”, Kristy and James did not want to be outdone.  They will be having their own “double” as in twins!  The expected arrival is sometime in June or July of this year.  This will be an exciting time for entire family.  It’s one of the reasons, that a podium trackchasing finish will satisfy me in 2008.

 

 

January 13 – My overall trackchasing objective is to see more racetracks than anyone else in the world has ever seen.  That seems like a pretty simple goal to have. However, when it comes to picking track locations, I have many choices.  Although the quantity of tracks is important, quality is as well.  A quality track for me means entertainment, adventure and some new scenery whenever possible.

 

 

January 16 – (on my way to Thailand) When I kissed Carol good-bye before I drove up to LAX, I had absolutely no idea whether I would be seeing her in five hours (after I didn’t get on the flight) or five days (which was the plan) or five years (after having been thrown in a Thailand prison for littering).

 

 

January 19 – With the addition of Thailand, I have now seen racing in 12 different countries.  Will White has offered to “race you to 30”.  I know Will’s offer smacks of direct trackchaser competition and some trackchasers would rather smack their mother in the face than have anyone think they were actually competing in the hobby of trackchasing.

 

 

Personally, I am not going to hold Will’s offer against him.  I am not offended by it at all.  I will accept Will’s offer for a friendly competition.  I know it will take each of us some number of years to reach our goal of seeing racing in 30 different countries.  Regardless of how our competition turns out, I know that each of us will have the time of our lives trying to add foreign countries to our trackchasing resume.

 

 

January 26 – I will say this from a trackchasing strategic point of view.  Trackchasers are discovering new tracks right and left.  Very few of these new discoveries are “traditional” oval and road course tracks.  Many are ice tracks at lakes never known to race on before.  Others are county fair figure 8 once a year dates.

 

 

This is somewhat concerning to me.  First, I am concerned from a budgeting point of view.  True, I have several sponsorships, but what about my fellow competitors?  They are still working for a living.  They have loved ones who depend on them for bread and milk.  If we have too many tracks to see, they may spend the bread and milk money on too much trackchasing.  In order to rein in things, I propose that trackchasers can only go trackchasing at one location per day and that no countable tracks can be added from Thanksgiving until Valentine’s Day.

 

 

I believe the proliferation of so many “lame” countable tracks has taken us away from seeing traditional racing.  These kinds of “lamers” don’t provide much true racing entertainment.  Alas, this is unlikely to change, so in order to remain competitive I will continue to see every countable track that I can.

 

 

January 27 – My trackchasing objective is to see as many tracks as I can while meeting the trackchaser rules as listed at www.trackchaser.net.  Additionally, I’m out here to have fun and have a complete racing experience at each track I visit.  I don’t want to miss a thing.  I want to explore the entire racing property, sample the track food and the restroom facilities.  I want to speak with local promoters and fans.  When I leave the track, I don’t want to have missed any of that track’s ambiances.

 

 

February 2 – There are three major elements to trackchasing.  Of course, there is the racing.  However, there are also the places to see and the people to meet.  I love the racing, but often times the places to see and the people to meet are the most enjoyable.

 

 

February 9 – I have gotten off to a fast start in the 2008 trackchasing season.  “But, Randy, you told us in your 2007 annual report that you would not be focusing on a fifth straight trackchasing championship, what gives?”, the concerned and ardent reader of the Trackchaser Report might ask.

 

 

To set the record straight I will repeat what I said about this subject in my 2007 Annual Trackchaser Report.  I have a number of commitments that will likely limit the number of tracks I will see in 2008.  I intend to do a good deal of foreign travel this year in search of new trackchasing countries.  Often this, like my trip to Thailand, will be a long journey for just one track in that country.  That’s O.K.  My purpose is to see racing in a new country more so than building up my track total.

 

 

Alas, I don’t want my fellow competitors to get their hopes up.  I still plan to aggressively trackchase.  As I stated in my annual report, given all of my other 2008 non-trackchasing commitments and interests, I still expect to earn a podium finish, somewhere in the top three in 2008.

 

 

February 10 – I hope you know that trackchasing mirrors life.  The same things that make sense in your everyday life make good sense in trackchasing.  In everyday life, you want to make decisions on a daily basis that support your overall life plans. Sometimes, you have to have a very flexible frame of mind in order to take advantage of new opportunities that come up on the spur of the moment.  Some of the people who are the most fixed in their thinking believe they are the most flexible.  I have never understood why that works that way.

 

 

February 10 – My overall goal is to see more racetracks that anyone else in the world while having a “kick-ass” time doing it.  I have other trackchasing goals, but this is the primary one.

 

 

February 10 – (after being pulled out of a snowdrift in Wisconsin) The people in the Midwest are just too danged nice.  Granted, I am a native Midwesterner, but I have not lived here in a very long time.  When I was a Midwestern resident (up to age 22), I don’t think I realized this.  However, now that I have been away for most of 37 years, I understand that these folks are just nice people.

 

 

Why can’t everybody be as nice as the people I encounter in the Midwest?  Our country would be about 86% better if everyone behaved like these folks in this part of the Midwest do.

 

 

February 15 – There was a time in trackchasing where trackchasers rarely saw any new tracks in January or February.  In recent years, only about 8% of all new tracks have been seen in Jan/Feb by our leading (top 20-25) trackchasers.  Last year’s top trackchasers (excluding my totals) averaged about 40 tracks per person for the year.  That means that the average trackchaser might see five new tracks during Jan/Feb.  Today is my 14th new track for the Jan/Feb period.  I still find it somewhat amazing that after all the tracks I’ve seen (more than 1,300), it is still so easy to come up with two, three and even four-track weekends, every weekend in the middle of winter.    

 

 

February 16 – My systems and technology are really coming together.  What does that mean in the real world?  I don’t get lost.  I drive fewer miles getting from point A to B.  I stay in nicer places at lower prices.  No one, not even those dreaded East coast trackchasers could possibly argue with that.

 

 

February 17 – One of the things I most enjoy doing in life is thanking people.  I love to see people’s faces light up when they are recognized for some act of kindness or job well done.  You will hear me thanking folks quite often in these pages.

 

 

February 17 – I have never said the hobby used to be more fun.  I’ve had fun with it 20 years ago, ten years ago as well as today.  I see trackchasing as simply finding a racetrack, going to the racetrack and then getting the information to the Trackchaser Commissioner so it can be recorded for all posterity.  This is not rocket science.  We are not curing cancer.  We are simply enjoying a hobby.  What some other trackchaser does or does not do has no influence whatsoever on my enjoyment of the hobby.  Can it really be any simpler than that?

 

 

February 24 – One of my primary trackchasing objectives this year is to see new tracks in foreign countries.  Today’s new track was planned to be in a very faraway place, South Africa.  The trip would require more than 20,000 miles of round-trip air travel.  When I go trackchasing in a foreign country, my main purpose is to see the country and experience its culture and people.  The race I will see is what motivates me to visit the country.  However, the race is far down the list in the overall importance of the things I want to experience and do for my personal enjoyment.

 

 

March 7 – Yes, it was 3:40 a.m. on a Friday and I was backing out of my Southern California driveway headed for the ice races in Northern Wisconsin.  It does sound somewhat sick doesn’t it?

 

 

 

March 7 – I would have loved to be a financial planner.  The only drawback is that nine people out of ten people can’t implement the simplest financial planning directions and therefore my teachings would have been largely ineffective.  Most people think they are acting properly financially by not taking action and making decisions.  In reality, not making a decision is making a decision.  Proper financial planning and preparation is about as simple as the formula for losing weight…..watch your calories and exercise.

 

 

March 8 – I never ask to be admitted free to a racing event.  Sometimes a promoter will make that offer to me and I will accept only because I was taught to be a gracious guest.  However, I prefer to pay my way at every race.  This way I am not beholding to anyone in any way.  I want to be able to tell you, my loyal reader, my TRUE opinion of the day’s activities.  At most events, I will find things I like and things that need to be improved.  You will rarely if ever see me write a report so positive you might think the track wrote it.  You also will rarely if ever read a report so negative, you would think that Scrooge wrote it.

 

 

March 8 – One group in New York has come up with the idea to race on snow-covered ground when there is not enough ice to create a track.  Duh!  How many ice races needed to be canceled over how many years before this idea came to the top of the list?  I have always wondered why ice racers took their multiple cancellations so calmly almost as if it was a fait accompli.  If I wanted to race in the winter and the opportunity kept alluding me, I think I would have come up with a solution a little sooner than these guys did.  On the other hand, most other ice racing groups haven’t even gotten this far.

 

 

March 8 – I happen to think I’m the best planner in trackchasing.  Dizzy Dean said, “It’s not bragging if it’s true or you can do it”.  Of course, this is just my humble opinion. You, the reader, can judge for yourself.  Regardless of the plan’s quality or the quality of the planer, not everything works out perfectly every time.  That’s when the trip gets to be really fun.

 

 

March 16 – In a way, trackchasing research is a lot like golf practice.  You can practice and practice for an upcoming match or tournament.  You never really reach perfection.  You just work on your weaknesses to improve them and practice on your strengths.  After a while, you stop practicing and just “go do it”.

 

 

March 16 – I didn’t want to lug my computer bag at the racetrack today.  If I had a rental car, I would put the bag in the car’s trunk.  If I were in a bad area, I would use my computer security cable to attach the laptop to one of the car trunk hinges.  Today, I would be leaving my computer with Ivan.

 

 

Carol made an interesting comment.  “You never let your computer out of your sight.  Now, you are leaving it with a Mexican cab driver that you just met 20 minutes ago”.  Of course, Carol was factually correct in her assessment.

 

 

March 24 – By the way, except for Quebec, I hardly consider Canada a foreign country.  It’s more like “Minnesota lite” in the English speaking parts of Canada.  That is in no way a knock on Canada, I’m just saying it’s really not much different than the U.S.  Let me tell you, the countries I’ve been visiting this year are REALLY different from the U.S.  Actually, the more different the better to me.  I want to have experiences that are unique to what I am accustomed too and I certainly get that on these trips.

 

 

March 24 – However, I am always on the lookout for a better plan.  Sometimes I have to consider an accounting term called “sunk costs”.  If you are not familiar with that term let me explain.  By the way, I was an Accounting major in college until the second half of my freshman year.  Then it dawned on me that learning accounting was just too much doggone work!  I did remember the first two rules of accounting though.  They are 1) All your debits must equal your credits and 2) Always keep a sharp pencil.  I seem to be better with rule #2.

 

 

March 24 – Some folks ask why I would ever want to leave the paradise-like area of San Clemente.  I figure San Clemente will always be there (even though we live in an earthquake zone!).  When I’m old and don’t feel like traveling I can always walk at the beach.  However, now I’m just a kid and the world is my oyster!

 

 

April 3 – April is going to be a very tough trackchasing month for me.  You might recall that I’ve scaled back my 2008 trackchasing plans because of the large number of non-trackchasing commitments I have this year.  I plan to see just over 100 new tracks in 2008.  I’m hoping that will be enough to give me a podium finish for the year (top 3) in the ’08 annual trackchasing standings.

 

 

I figure there are three trackchasers who could best my total this year.  These three trackchasers are Ed Esser, Mike Knappenberger and Roland Vanden Eynde (listed in alphabetical order).  Although I could be wrong, I don’t think any other trackchasers could muster up the resources, time or commitment to challenge.

 

 

Like I say, I plan to get just over 100 tracks this year.  Ed has not made a public comment regarding his plans this year but he can always be counted on to break the century mark.  Mike has already told me he will top out at about 85 tracks.  Roland has also indicated he plans to cut back on his totals from the past couple of years and will finish somewhere below 100 new tracks.

 

 

Can I count on these guys living up to their prognostications?  In a word, “No”.  That being the case, I have to see as many tracks as I can early in the year just in case all THREE of these chasers band together to prevent my standing on the end of the year podium.

 

 

April 3 – However, after surpassing the 1,000 track mark, I had seen 90% of the best 500 tracks in the country.  What was left?  It doesn’t take a math wizard to figure out that 90% of the tracks I would see from that point were NOT the best 500 tracks in the country.  That didn’t bother me in the least.  By that point, I had seen so many interesting and entertaining races, I was content just to “see the show” no matter how good or bad it might be.

 

 

The lion’s share of racing events I visit nowadays would never have even been considered for attendance when I was a “racechaser”.  However, I am a “trackchaser” now.  I attend an event primarily to see the track.  The actual racing is an afterthought of sorts.  I would love to see some good racing, but it is not a requirement and actually doesn’t happen very often.  Some folks seem to mistake this comment that I am not interested in seeing good racing.  Of course, I am.  I just know that with the tracks that remain to be seen, there is not going to be much good racing.  There is still good racing to be viewed, but most of it is at tracks I have already visited.  I’ve already seen those tracks and seen those races.  I want to see new stuff.  “New stuff” translates to new places, new tracks and new types of competition.  That’s all O.K. with me.

 

 

April 5 – The fun I have in trackchasing has ZERO to do with what some other trackchaser does or does not do.  I honestly can’t recall a trackchasing trip I’ve been on where I didn’t have a good deal of fun.  I wouldn’t go trackchasing if I didn’t have a good time.  I can’t imagine why anything I would do would have any impact on the “fun” another trackchaser might have.

 

 

April 6 – If you’ve been paying attention, you probably know that trackchasing is simply a “slice of life”.  Trackchasing strategy can also prepare a person for the difficult situations they will encounter in life.  You’ve seen how I have been trained to deal with last-minute problems to find a successful and quick solution. 

 

 

 

April 26 – Why is it that I have no idea what a cup of coffee, or many things for that matter, costs?  Because it really doesn’t matter.  If I were a coffee drinker, my consumption wouldn’t be affected by any of the prices most likely to be charged.  There are just too many things in life to keep track of (and I keep track of many of them) to sweat the small stuff.

 

 

It is likely that I spend more on this hobby that any of my fellow competitors.  That stands to reason since I’ve probably earned more in my life than any of the other trackchasers.  What’s important about this is that no one should spend more than they can afford.

 

 

I am in no way responsible for encouraging or affecting how much my fellow competitors spend on the hobby of trackchasing.  I know the hobby is competitive.  Nevertheless, I do not want any other trackchasers accusing me of being responsible for their rapidly depleting savings accounts and IRAs.

 

 

Just a few days ago, I visited the “most recent track visits” section of the www.autoracingrecords.com site.  I have to be honest with you.  I have to be blunt with you.  Overall, this is a collection of some of the most unusual and general unentertaining tracks just about anybody could find.  That’s right.  Overall, it’s a collection of dud racing venues.

 

 

April 27 – It is somewhat concerning when people (trackchasers) don’t understand the rules of trackchasing.  Most of the trackchasing rules were already in place when I joined the other trackchasing hobbyists.  I don’t spend much time complaining about the rules.  Do I agree with all of them?  No, I do not.

 

 

May 2 – When I began my retirement back in 2002 (age 53), I had visions of just sitting out on the deck watching the surfers all day.  I had absolutely no idea, I was about to get myself into the most competitive situation anyone my age could ever imagine.

 

 

May 3 – There is a very good chance that Guy Smith may someday become the #1 ranked trackchaser in the world.  My job is to make sure that it’s after he’s had two knee replacements, a hearing aid and triple bypass surgery on at least three bodily organs.  In other words, it is my responsibility to delay his potential climax as long as I can.

 

 

May 10 – You are about to read about our European trackchasing adventures.  As with all RANLAY Racing Trackchaser Reports everything presented as fact is, well, a fact.  On the other hand, everything presented as an opinion is in fact MY opinion.  As you know opinions are like elbows, almost everyone has one.

 

 

 

May 10 – I received a nice note from fellow competitor Mike Knappenberger.  Initially, I think he felt I might be against whatever trackchasing strategies he is using this year.  Upon further thought, he understood that I am supportive of any and all trackchasers who play by the rules established by our forefathers.  To be perfectly clear, I do not endorse all trackchasing strategies that meet the rules, but I support those trackchasers who trackchase by the rules.

 

 

Mike had some very nice things to say about my trackchasing.  He even wondered when he and I might be able to do some trackchasing together.  Mike had initially provided a trackchasing estimate of 85 tracks for the 2008 season.  However, he has now raised that total to 90-107 and admits it could go higher.  Will the trackchasing competition never stop?

 

 

May 22 – I am very fortunate to have Trackchasing’s First Mother aka Carol as my wife.  The other trackchasers who have met her along the trackchasing trail can vouch that Carol is one of the most pleasant and agreeable people they might ever meet.

 

 

May 24 – I’ve been lobbying for a reduction in the amount of time trackchasers can spend on trackchasing for a very long time now.  I’m concerned that when trackchasers spend too much time chasing tracks they will neglect other aspects of their lives that shouldn’t be neglected.

 

 

As a financial planner, I am most concerned that some folks are going to have a much more Spartan retirement lifestyle tomorrow because of the money they spend on trackchasing today.  This hobby with all of the travel involved can be very expensive. 

 

 

I have recommended that we put a “cap” on the trackchasing season as well as how many tracks can be seen in one day.  I think it would be a good thing if there were no trackchasing at all between say November 1 and April 1 of each year.  That would give trackchasers a nice 5-month breather to spend with their families and loved ones.  It would also keep trackchasers off our nation’s highways during the winter when driving is most hazardous.  Of course, it would lessen each trackchaser’s “carbon footprint” on the world as well.

 

 

I must go out and seek trackchasing sponsorships that will allow me to keep up with the competition without jeopardizing the economic support of my family.  I will have to continue to seek out trackchasing doubles and drive all night on slick winter roads.  Where will all of this competition end?  That’s a good question.  I’m not sure I have an answer for that one yet.

 

 

May 25 – Let me be perfectly clear.  I do not think blended doubles without a feature on the front end are a good idea in all circumstances.  I would never leave the Indy 500 (even though I think the Indy 500 blows) with 50 laps to go in order to make it to a county fair figure 8 race.  I would never leave any important race or sanctioning group to get the second half of a blended double.

 

 

By the way, I think that any trackchaser that does not share the results of his efforts via some sort of communication to the trackchasing community, in general, is ripping off the system IF he/she reads about everyone else’s trackchasing efforts. 

 

 

June 1 – Let me be the first to congratulate Mr. and Mrs. Guy Smith of Effort, Pennsylvania.  They have moved into second place in the worldwide COUPLES trackchaser rankings with a combined total of 1,684 tracks.  With that many tracks, comes a boatful of fun experiences both at and away from the track.

 

 

There are only five male trackchasers in the worldwide top 40 who have also been able to bring their spouse into that same top 40 ranking.  Therefore, Mr. and Mrs. Smith are well ahead of the curve when it comes to having a hobby they can both enjoy together.

 

 

As expected both Ed Esser (Wisconsin) and Roland Vanden Eynde (Belgium) have now moved into the 2008 top five trackchasers.  From here on out, the struggle for me begins to attain a top-three podium finish for this year.  I only have to beat one of these guys (Esser, Knappenberger, or Vanden Eynde) to attain my ninth straight year of podium finishes.  It will be the four of us at the top of the standings when the clock strikes twelve on 2008.

 

 

June 2 – I don’t like those mid-week racing shows.  I’m talking about races that are scheduled from Monday – Thursday.  Now that I have “pinpoint airstrike” capability, I can’t resist these events.  These races are like a magnet for me.  I will drop everything and go.  I beg promoters not to schedule these shows.  I want to limit my trackchasing to “out Friday and back Monday”.  Don’t they know that?

 

 

June 2 – I am just now seeing the credit card bills from our recent trip to Ireland, Denmark and Sweden.  Ah, yes the weakness of the dollar!  Ah yes, the overall expensiveness of Europe regardless of the weakness of the dollar.  Ah yes, the foreign transaction fees levied on each charge by the credit card company.  It’s just as the credit card company promised about the experience:  Priceless!

 

 

June 7 – As you know, I employ technology to help me go all over the world with my hobby of trackchasing.  What’s so great about the various forms of technology?  I can sum it up in two words, “Ease”, “Options”. 

 

  

Technology makes everything easier.  I’m not doing this to see how difficult I can make every trip.  Remember the invention of the wheel?  Imagine how much easier that made things for mankind.  As an example, only in the last few years has the wheel even made it to carryon luggage.  Just 10-15 years ago, everyone CARRIED his or her bags inside the airport.  Now almost everyone ROLLS his or her luggage inside an airport.

  

 

The second major benefit of technology is that it gives me options.  I remember Belgium trackchaser Roland Vanden Eynde complaining on a recent visit to the U.S. that hotels here do not have flexible showerheads.  Most European hotels do.  Would you prefer a fixed or flexible showerhead when you stay overnight in a hotel?  I hope you answered, “Put me down for a flexible shower head, Randy”.  Why wouldn’t someone want the option of moving the showerhead around?  If they preferred a fixed showerhead, they could still use the flexible showerhead and just not move it!  (Everyone wants options). 

 

 

June 7 – There was a time in trackchasing where you could just get in your car and head out to the racetrack.  You could enjoy some races and then drive home to sleep in your own bed.  Fans that time has passed.

 

 

In today’s super competitive trackchasing environment, it takes bucks to go trackchasing.  It can take big bucks.  A modern trackchaser must invest in computers, GPS units, special mapping software, cell phones and all of the tertiary items it takes to run the aforementioned items.

 

 

There are rental cars and rooms to rent.  There is restaurant food to buy.  Gas costs more than four bucks a gallon.  Race tickets can be expensive as well.  How is one to pay for it all?

 

 

June 14 – I am more than elated to announce that Carol and I have become grandparents for the first time on June 14, 2008.  Our daughter Kristy gave birth to twins on Saturday evening.  Both she and James as well as the babies are doing well.  This capped off a wonderful week of activities for the Lewis household.

 

 

The birth date came on the 24th Saturday of 2008.  You might ask, “But, Randy, you’re not home very often on Saturday night are you?”  That’s a legitimate question.  For the first TWENTY-THREE Saturday nights of 2008, I have been out of town for 22 of them.

 

 

“So, Randy, what possessed you to home on THIS Saturday night,” the curious and loyal Trackchaser Report reader might ask.  Maybe it was just divine intervention.  That’s about the only way I can explain it.  We certainly didn’t know when the births were going to happen.  I received a phone call while sitting at my office desk at 6 p.m. on Saturday night.  It was Kristy.  She told me the Cesarean birth was scheduled for 8 p.m. just two hours from the time of her call.  Of course, Carol was at church praying for my rain-free trackchasing record to continue.  To top it all off we had houseguests!  Our guests, the Moodys were away for a few hours attending a local wedding.  When they came back to our house, we were already headed to the hospital!

 

 

June 20 – I subscribe to the National Speed Sport News racing paper.  It’s the #1 national racing publication going.  I really liked the U.S. track list they provided a couple of months back.  The listing provides the track name, phone number and website if any.  I believe this list was provided to the NSSN by Allan Brown.  This comes in mighty handy in my travels.  I’m not a user of the National Speedway Directory anymore as I use satellite imagery for all of my racetrack directions.  I used the book for years before this new technology became available and loved it.

  

 

I happen to think the National Geographic Diversity rankings are one of the most important in all of trackchasing.  I just think the concept of marrying both quantity of tracks and the travel it takes all over the country to see those tracks is a great way to measure the true impact of a trackchaser, in the U.S. anyway.

 

 

I don’t think simply seeing a lot of tracks if they’re all in one area is as important as seeing a reasonable amount of tracks spread over all 50 states.  One trackchaser could see 1,000 tracks in five states.  I don’t think that’s as significant as seeing 20 tracks in 50 states.  Of course, we don’t have anyone who has accomplished these extremes, but I think you get the point.  I’m more impressed with someone who can see a large number of racetracks in a large number of states.

 

 

I don’t think anyone in the hobby of trackchasing could have ever imagined a trackchaser from such a geographically remote area of the country such as Southern California ever doing so well in the hobby of trackchasing.  More than 90% of the countable tracks in the U.S. are more than 1,000 miles from my home.  Many of those are more than 2,000 miles from where I live.

  

 

June 20 – I had a personal best this week.  For the first time ever, I paid more than $100 to fill the tank of the Carol Lewis owned and Life of Virginia sponsored LX 430.  Gas is more expensive in California than just about everywhere else in the country.  The Lexus requires premium fuel.  Even though I still had 40-50 miles left in the tank before reaching empty, I was able to put 21.899 gallons in the fuel cell.  At $4.779 per gallon, my total fuel charge was $104.66!

 

 

June 21 – I like trackchasing.  I really like trackchasing.  It’s my most fun individual thing to do with my recreational time.  A fellow golfer told me that “golfing is my passion, but it’s only your hobby”.  That’s probably true.  Trackchasing is my passion.

 

 

Some folks might think that trackchasing is an expensive hobby.  They might think that flying 40 round-trips, staying in 150 hotel rooms and renting 40-50 cars might strain someone’s budget.  Somehow I was lucky enough to save and invest my money so that these expenses don’t really matter.  I don’t want those “dreaded East cost trackchasers” to know this, but I really don’t give the expense of trackchasing any real serious thought. 

 

 

I’ve really enjoyed the international trackchasing we’ve done this year.  I never thought of that much before.  When we go trackchasing in a foreign country it’s really like a vacation with some unusual racing thrown in.  I want to do more of that.

 

 

June 21 – My Google Earth capabilities just makes finding these tracks just too doggone easy.  It’s taken all of the challenge out of finding the track.  It’s also taken all of the hassle, angst, and consternation out of finding the track.  I think I’ll stick with Google Earth! 

 

 

June 22 – I don’t think much of our government’s economic stimulus package recently approved by our country’s legislators.  You know the one…..where just about everybody gets a check for 600 bucks from Uncle Sam.  I was listening to a radio program where folks were being asked how they were going to spend their $600 check.  One respondent said he was going to get guitar lessons that he couldn’t afford to get without the check.

  

 

Nevertheless, who do you think is REALLY paying most people in America six hundred dollars?  Where do you think that money came from?  The tooth fairy?  Where does the cash come from so that our friend can get his $600 worth of guitar lessons?  Should the government be providing money for guitar lessons?

  

 

I’m getting razzed on the putting greens of the Pacific Golf Club for not being able to achieve a first-place trackchaser ranking in California.  I don’t think I will ever get to first place in California.  I trail by more than 40 tracks.  I have only two currently operational tracks in the Golden state that I have not seen.  I’m perfectly comfortable leaving the California title with the late and great Gary Jacob, the best racechaser ever to come down the pike.

 

 

Among the multitude of objectives for the Trackchaser Report is to entertain and to educate.  By entertain, I mean to simply bring a smile to your face when you read about the adventures and travails of the “World’s #1 Ranked Trackchaser”.  If I’ve done that a time or two, then I’ve accomplished my entertainment objective.

 

 

By educate, I mean to bring to you a thought or an idea that will make your life better, easier, more entertaining and/or just more fun.  More than 87% of the subscribers to the Trackchaser Report are not active race fans or trackchasers.  They’re just family, friends and folks I’ve met along the trail. 

 

 

Trackchasing mirrors life.  The storyline I share may directly relate to my trackchasing.  However, it might just as easily, and often does relate indirectly to something that you yourself might have done in your daily routine.  It will be up to you, the reader, to make the mental leap from what happened in a trackchasing adventure to what can and does happen in your own life.  For those who can successfully make that jump, I promise you an “education” of sorts or at the very least, some minor mental stimulation.  Take a look at “The Trip” to see what I’m talking about.

 

 

June 22 – In years gone by, I freely shared this data with other trackchasers.  Then, I discovered that MOST other trackchasers never shared their dates with me.  In fact, they didn’t share their dates with MOST of the other trackchasers.  It took me years to figure this out.  I was sharing dates with them, but they weren’t sharing dates with me or anyone else.

  

 

That’s when I changed my philosophy about race date sharing.  I wasn’t mad that other trackchasers didn’t share their dates.  It just dawned on me that they had done all of the work to get the dates.  To me, that meant they had a right to enjoy the fruits of their labor.  Once they actually went to a track, I would learn about it on www.trackchaser.net.  Then I would benefit from their good trackchasing research efforts.  I could go to the track the NEXT time they raced.  I was still benefiting from someone else’s efforts, but the benefit was delayed in time by a small amount.

  

 

June 22 – For me, trackchasing provides as much of a mental gymnastics challenge as I’m willing to take on at this stage in my life.  For years, I worked for Procter & Gamble at wage rates that always made me thank my lucky stars.  I don’t really recall working on any projects in business that were anymore mentally challenging than the mental logistics required to make things work in trackchasing.  This is not a criticism of any work I’ve ever done in the past.  It’s more of a statement on what it takes to pursue my hobby the way I choose to pursue it today.

  

 

June 22 – (following the figure 8 races in York, Nebraska) Tonight I would find slumber in the airport.  Yes, I would be sleeping overnight at D.I.R.  This had to be safer than sleeping in a highway rest area.  At least none of the bad boys had a gun or even a sharp metal object in my part of the airport.

 

 

Sleeping on a half-inch of indoor/outdoor carpet laid over concrete isn’t as good as sleeping on our Tempurpedic mattress at home, but sometimes you just gotta do what you gotta do.  By the way, if you’re getting the bright idea that sleeping overnight in an airport might reduce some of those pesky vacation expenses I recommend www.sleepinginairports.com.  You’ll get some good tips there.

 

 

June 27 – After much delay, I have added two important features to my website at www.ranlayracing.com.  First, I finally got around to adding the audio play from my radio interview on ESPN’s West Sound Racing Program at 1380 AM in Everett, Washington.  With your computer speakers turned on, you can listen via my site’s home page or with the link to ESPN radio found on my “Media Coverage” tab.

 

 

I have also added a feature I have wanted to do for a very long time.  I now have a “Foreign Tracks Visited” tab at www.ranlayracing.com.  This links to each of the 15 foreign country track visits I’ve made.  If you ever wanted to see how the foreign tracks do it, this is the place.  You’ll also get to experience the sights of these faraway visits as well.

 

 

June 27 – I just got around to reviewing the schedule pages put out by the National Speedway News racing paper.  They provided the racing dates for the top 19 racing sanctions in the country.  There were 419 race dates included.  How many new tracks do you think I have yet to see from these 19 groups?  Just 20!  No, I won’t be going to races with the major sanctioning groups much this year.

 

 

July 11 – At the end of my 2004 season, I wrote in my annual recap that I still had 1,054 tracks remaining to be seen in North America (primarily the U.S. and Canada).  I finished that 2004 season with 809-lifetime tracks.  Tonight I saw my 1,362nd track.  That means since January 1, 2005, I’ve seen 553 different tracks.

 

 

Let’s do some simple math.  At the end of the 2004 season, I still had 1,054 tracks in NA to see.  Since then I’ve seen 553 tracks.  Doesn’t that mean I should now have 501 tracks remaining?  (1,054 minus 553).

 

 

Not exactly.  People in the hobby of trackchasing keep finding new countable tracks to add to our database.  We count oval tracks, road courses and figure 8 layouts.  That’s it.  I would estimate that less than 10% (probably a much lower number than that) of the new tracks we have “found” since 2005 are traditional oval or road course tracks.

 

 

Here’s the problem.  No, I do not have just 501 tracks still to see.  How many new tracks have I identified that remain for me to see in North America?  The answer is 1,097!  That means since the beginning of 2005, I have ADDED 596 tracks to my database that didn’t exist on New Year’s Eve of 2004.  That’s absolutely ridiculous!

 

 

Almost all of these tracks do NOT offer traditional racing with weekly schedules.  They are “novelty” type racing shows that often occur just one time per year.  I got into trackchasing after being an avid racechaser for years.  However, the trackchasing that I got into years ago is not the trackchasing as it is today.

 

 

July 13 – I have always loved trackchasing for the personal challenge of it.  I’ve put a lot of time and effort into “smoothing” out the strategic and logistical obstacles that the art of traveling all over the country on a moment’s notice can create.

 

 

Now, trackchasing is easy for me.  I can go wherever and whenever I want.  Cost is no consideration with regard to where or when I go whatsoever.  Some might say, “Gee, if I could go anywhere I wanted, anytime I wanted and didn’t have to worry about the cost that would be great”.  It IS great and it HAS BEEN great.  However, with trackchasing, or any other activity, there is an “opportunity” cost.

 

 

July 19 – One of my overall objectives in life is simply to have fun in a safe and productive manner while listening too and supporting my friends and family.  An outcome of that objective had me signed up to play golf this weekend rather than going trackchasing.

 

 

July 19 – I’ve always enjoyed meeting the Canadian people.  I rarely hear other trackchasers talk about the people they meet on their trips.  I hope they are meeting interesting folks.  That’s one of the best parts about trackchasing (for me).

  

 

July 20 – There are times in trackchasing where the time, effort and money expended are way too much for the reward exacted.  Some would say that is always the case in trackchasing.  I won’t go that far, but I will say that attending today’s track was NOT a good value for the time, effort and money that was required to pull this off. (Although this could be said about many tracks I visit, this specific comment was made about the Alberni Motorsports Park).

 

 

August 1 – (this is regarding my eBay auction of several Beijing, China Olympics tickets I had purchased.  Now I would be able to afford to stay on the trackchasing trail for a few more weeks) Even though my auction was listed for five days, most of the real price action for popular items happens in the last day.  Actually, it can happen in the last TEN MINUTES of the auction.  With ten minutes to go in the auction the value of all bids was $1,592.  At that point, I kept hitting the “refresh” button on my computer.  I could not believe how the bids were increasing on nearly all of the items. With ten minutes to go, the women’s basketball tickets had a bid of $168.  Those tickets ended up going for $355!  Table tennis went from $102 to $161 in those final 600 seconds.  Softball from $20 to $64.  In total, the value of the bids went from $1,592 with ten minutes to go in the auction to a final total of $2,219!  Before my eBay fees and PayPal charges, that’s a profit of $1,817!!!!  With eBay the buyer pays for the shipment of the tickets.  The sum of all of my eBay/PayPal fees amounted to about $75.

  

 

August 1 – Trackchasing from the west coast is not easy.  Actually, if you’re going to trackchase in the U.S., there is no more difficult location to trackchase from.  Actually, no other trackchaser has ever faced such an uphill battle, geographically, in an attempt to create trackchasing excellence.

  

 

August 3 – (a chance meeting with a Super 8 desk clerk in Cobleskill, New York) Although Tommy was an engaging and interesting fellow, I felt sorry for him.  He was being limited by his own mind.  He’s not alone, we all are limited by what we think we can and cannot achieve in our lives.  It just seemed like my new friend was setting the bar so low, that he was going to miss out on so many life experiences that travel, even limited travel, could bring.  

  

 

August 9 – Trackchasing, or any hobby for that matter, that takes up nearly every weekend all year is probably best for those who don’t have many other interests.  Since I have several other interests, some of which are best suited for weekend activity, an adjustment is my trackchasing activity is called for.

  

 

August 22 – I don’t think men should be admitted to our nation’s airports wearing tank tops.

  

 

August 22 – I don’t want to offend any of my Canadian Trackchaser Report readers.  However, with the exception of Quebec, I don’t really consider Canada a foreign country.  I think if a country speaks the same language as we do in the U.S. and uses the same electrical outlets as we do, then it can hardly be called “foreign”.  Heck, my GPS works in Canada and even XM radio works up here in the “United States Lite” country.  About the only thing that even remotely makes me think I’m in a foreign country when I visit Canada is knowing that I at least had to clear “immigration” and maybe get another stamp in my passport.  Soon, I am going to have to have pages added to my U.S. Passport as the existing 24 pages are filling up rapidly.

 

 

August 22 – When I started the season, I had hoped to get at least 102 tracks for the season.  That would have allowed me to reach the 1,400-track level by the end of 2008.  However, my focus on international activities as well as my focus on a more balanced lifestyle will not allow me to reach that level this year.  Going into this trip, I had recorded 73 new track visits.  Despite what I might achieve on this trip, I will be lucky to reach 90 tracks this year.  I don’t know if that will be good enough for a podium finish this year or not.

 

 

August 22 – There’s a reason nobody has ever trackchased to the extent I have for as long as I have.  Yep!  It’s just too damn hard.  I credit my Marine Corps basic training.  The Marines taught me how to handle being uncomfortable for long periods.  The physical training and physical beatings that my drill instructors handed out were somewhat different, but not that much, from the rigors required being a world-class trackchaser.

  

 

August 22 – I consider myself a ticket scalper of some repute.  As a buyer (from ticket scalpers), this is really the best way to get a quality seat at a good price.  One of the major advantages is not having to commit to the event months in advance. 

  

 

As a seller (aka ticket scalper), I can get a warm and fuzzy feeling from knowing that I was able to get a ticket into the hands of someone who really wanted to attend the event that I owned a ticket too.  Yes, the financial reward from selling a ticket in these circumstances is a nice prize as well.

  

 

With the above in mind, I was certainly a proud father when I heard that J.J. had attempted to scalp……let me rephrase that.  He attempted to “resell” a ticket while he was at the Olympics in Beijing, China.  During the transaction, the local authorities noticed what was going on.  J.J. was “detained” by the Chinese authorities before being released after a short time.

 

 

In the world of ticket scalping, it doesn’t get much better than that!!  Can you imagine the stories you can tell of being detained in China for scalping Olympics tickets?  In “our” world, this ranks right at the top of pushing the envelope to get “more and better”.  Good job, J.J.!  I’m happy that my parental training is paying dividends.

  

 

August 23 – One of my objectives once I’m at a racetrack is to inform and educate the fans in attendance about the hobby of trackchasing.  I am the first, and for the most part, the only trackchaser who tries to spread the trackchasing word in this fashion.  It is a responsibility I take quite seriously.  This information sharing comes most often in the form of an interview with the track’s announcer.  In the past, when I’ve been with fellow trackchasers I have included them in these interviews.  These trackchasers have always given a good account of themselves when asked too on short notice, speak too thousands of people.

 

 

August 24 – It is one thing to say I am cutting back on my trackchasing to spend more time on my other interests and it is another thing to actually do it.  My golfing friends are always asking me when I am going to do less trackchasing and more golfing.  For the past couple of years, I have been telling them that I’m ready to do that.  However, it was not until this year that the data actually supports this idea.

 

 

Below is the number of days I have actually seen new tracks through the date of August 24 (today) for the past four years.

 

2005 – 87 days

2006 – 81 days

2007 – 85 days

2008 – 60 days

 

There is one more thing to think about as the above data table is reviewed.  I’m focusing much more on international trackchasing this year.  So far, in addition to several trips to Canada, I’ve been to Denmark, Jamaica, Mexico, South Africa, Sweden and Thailand.  I hope to add a few more foreign countries before the year is out.  When I take these trips, more often than not the time turns into “vacation days” and not “trackchasing days”.

 

 

September 5 – WIN A TICKET TO THE DAYTONA 500 CONTEST!!!

 

 

That’s right; you can win a ticket to the 2009 Daytona 500!  The contest is simple and open to all members in good standing who receive the RANLAY Racing Trackchaser Report directly from me.  This includes my Freewebs friends as well.  Wondering if you are a member in “good standing”?  First, ask yourself why you might be wondering that. 

  

 

September 5 – One should never underestimate the power of Willie Nelson!  Since I engaged in my partnership with Sir Willie (his custom trackchasing song plays when you are at my homepage of www.ranlayracing.com) my website has surged to #1 on the Google search list for “Randy Lewis”.  Thanks, Willie!

  

 

Caution:  The rankings at Google change constantly.  It’s entirely possible that if you do a search on “Randy Lewis” I may not be #1 when you do the search.  Thinking such a ranking may not be a big deal?  Try a search on your own name and see what you come up with.

 

  

September 5 – It’s a lot easier to see tracks when your track total is low.  This makes all the sense in the world.  When a person is just getting started in trackchasing there are so many choices of where to go.  I have now seen nearly 1,400 tracks.  In North America, there are still some 1,000-1,100 tracks I have yet to see.  However, only a little more than 300 of those tracks race on a weekly basis.  Most of the others race just once a year or a few times at most.  This certainly adds to the challenge of seeing as many tracks as possible.

  

 

September 6 – It’s probably also noteworthy to mention that most trackchasers have a slightly different way of recording what a “rainout” actually is.  I believe my definition is the toughest of all.  In a nutshell, here is how I look at it.  If I plan to go trackchasing on a particular day and leave the house headed for the track and don’t get to see a new track because of inclement weather then I have been “rained out”.

 

 

This definition is even more extreme than it might look at first blush.  When I say “leave my house” I’m talking about leaving my home in California for a track that might be in Maine or Michigan or anywhere in the country.  I’m not just looking out my living room window to see how the clouds look before I decide to drive across town to my local track.  Once I leave the house on a scheduled trackchasing day, I must see a new track, come hell or high rainwater or I will have been rained out if the cancellation was caused by bad weather.

 

 

September 7 – This weekend’s trip took me from San Clemente, California to Hebron, Connecticut to Degraff, Ohio to Beamsville, Ontario, Canada and back to San Clemente.  Has I driven this itinerary, I would have covered 6,670 miles!  However, I couldn’t be away from home that long.  In point of fact, I was gone from San Clemente only 81 hours.  It’s called my “pinpoint airstrike capability”.

 

 

September 13 – I used to spend more time trying to find out when tracks were racing than I did anything else.  This year I’ve done far less trackchaser research than I have travel research.  Now, I spend the most time trying to figure out how I will get from point A to point B (and C, D, E, F…….!)

 

 

 

September 13 – I feel strongly that no one should ever be considered for the “Trackchasing Hall of Fame” unless they have trackchased in at least ten countries. As it stands now, it’s simply a function of how much “pain and suffering” do I want to put my body through in an attempt to visit even more countries!

  

 

September 26 – I would be remiss if I did not congratulate the U.S. Ryder Cup Team.  They have now taken the cup back from those pesky Europeans.  It is nice to be a winner in this competition again.

  

 

September 26 – The exact membership list of “dreaded East coast trackchasers” has never been made public.  It’s sort of like the secret Coca-Cola formula.  Nevertheless, if you read this and think you might be one……you might be.

  

 

September 26 – I will say this.  I believe the statement often heard from retirees that goes something like this, “I don’t know how I ever had time to work” is more than true.  Most of my friends who are retired are at the golf club.  They range in age from 55-80.  Almost to a man, they absolutely love retirement, have plenty of things to do and wouldn’t go back to traditional “work” for any amount of money.  If you’re thinking of retirement, I hope these words are helpful to you.

 

 

September 27 – Whenever someone in the trackchasing worldwide top ten moves up a spot it rates congratulations in the RANLAY Racing Trackchaser Report.  With the last update at www.autoracingrecords.com we were all notified that Guy Smith of Effort, Pennsylvania had moved into second place in the worldwide lifetime rankings with 1,183 (current through 9/27/08) lifetime tracks.  Special notice is due to Guy for this outstanding lifelong achievement.

  

 

September 28 – I will confess I enjoy trackchasing travel somewhat more than I did business travel.  There are really two major differences.  One is positive and the other less so.  With business travel, I didn’t have to pay for it!  With trackchasing travel, I do, although not very much with my sponsor’s support.  The downside to business travel is there was always a meeting to attend on the other end.  With trackchasing travel, there’s no meeting, it’s all fun!

 

 

October 11 – For those of you who have been reading the RANLAY Racing Trackchaser Report for many years, you know I provide a season-ending recap each year.  In that recap, I establish goals for the coming year.  I am a firm believer in setting goals.  I was reading a book titled, “If you don’t know where you’re going, you may end up there”.  That seems like a distinct possibility for the person unable or unwilling to set goals.  Anyway, goal setting has always worked for me.  I recommend the process most heartily.

  

 

October 19 – Sometimes, on a lazy afternoon, I look back and wonder how I was able to accumulate enough funds so that I don’t have to work at all.  I don’t receive Social Security checks (although I hope to someday).  I don’t receive a pension of any kind whatsoever.  We live on our personal savings, investments made over time and funds from our company’s profit-sharing program.  When I left the company, they gave me what was in my account and wished me well.  I don’t think there is a better company in the WORLD for achieving lifelong financial security than the Procter & Gamble Distributing Company.

  

 

Too many people talking about money in public and even in private is taboo.  That is not the case for me.  I don’t know where I acquired this habit, my parents or grandparents never talked about money.  However, we frequently talked about money with our children and still do today.  They all say that has helped them.  There will always be people who have more money than I do and people who have less.  It doesn’t matter to me how much money I have relative to others.  I simply want to have enough money to do what I want to do without ever having to work “for the man” again.

 

 

October 26 – It is common at this point of a long diatribe to offer one of those famous RANLAY Racing Wal-Mart gift certificates for loyal readers who have read this far.  However, I can’t for two reasons.  First, as I’m sure you’ve read we’re in a tough economy.  Secondly, those dreaded East coast trackchasers are reading right along to see if they can find something in one of the RANLAY Racing Trackchaser Reports that they don’t like.  That’s actually a good thing.  It makes me feel like I can control their behaviors and ultimate responses.  I like that.

 

 

October 26 – Somewhere in life I learned that as soon as option #1 in no longer a possibility then I immediately move on to option #2.  However, some people ask me “what if you did ‘such and such’ to make option #1 work”.  When I hear that statement it tells me the person I am having the conversation with is not really listening.  When option #1 is no longer a possibility that means it is no longer a possibility.

 

 

November 9 – I love to go trackchasing.  I also love hot fudge sundaes.  I have learned that too much of a good thing is not really a good thing.  Too much trackchasing takes me away from my family and from my friends.  I’m really not talking about being away from Carol.  Since we’re retired, I see her pretty much 24/7 each day that I am home.  It’s not as if we were working during the week and then I went trackchasing on the weekend.  If that were the case, I would never see her.

 

 

November 9 – I’M MAD AS HELL AND I’M NOT GOING TO TAKE IT ANYMORE

 

 

What did Ed Esser do wrong?

He didn’t do a gosh-darned thing wrong!  Ed is one of the leading trackchasers of all time.  He’s a graduate of the University of Wisconsin and trackchases out of Madison, Wisconsin.  He’s a mild-mannered fellow who does his very best to avoid controversy of any kind.

 

 

November 9 – I am frequently disappointed at the extreme partisanship of some fellow trackchasers.  Many act like little kids who can only wait for their sibling to brush up against them so they can go screaming to Mom, yelling “he hit me”.  At the same time, they will sit on their hands with fellow trackchasers of their “party” commit behavioral misconduct.

 

 

November 16 – By the way, in an attempt at human generosity, I have allowed some “dreaded east coast trackchasers” to remain as subscribers of the RANLAY Racing Trackchaser Report.  I’ve done this as much for selfish reasons as anything else.  It’s my way of making sure my comments are relayed onto everyone in the trackchasing community, including those folks who are not members of my distribution list.  It’s akin to telling the nosey neighbor down the street something that you are hoping will be passed along to everyone on the block.  Of course, this increases my readership as well as advertising revenues.  However, I have just one request.  If I’m going to be referred to in public forums, please make sure you mention the website.  It’s www.randylewis.org.  Thanks in advance.

 

 

November 16 – If you are unwilling to face a sometimes uncomfortable “learning curve” associated with foreign travel, then foreign travel may not be for you.  A major symptom of learning new things is that slightly uncomfortable and sometimes frustrating feeling you get from getting out of your comfort zone.  Sitting on the sofa with a remote control in your hand is comfortable, but you may not be gaining many new experiences. 

  

 

November 21 – I have a tremendous number of advantages with my trackchasing airline sponsorships.  There is just one minor drawback to flying on a standby basis.  It does not allow me to make concrete plans to meet up with friends and family along the trackchasing trail easily.

  

 

November 23 – The trackchasers have a set of rules.  If you meet those rules then you can count the track you see.  It seems every trackchaser has their own set of “minimum” standards.  I think it’s important to note that no one’s standards are any higher or lower than anyone else’s.  You either meet the trackchasing rules or you don’t.

 

 

I know a few trackchasers who have “paid the purse” to have a group hold a special race.  Had the purse not been paid, the group would not have raced on that track.  This is not the end of the world.  However, I don’t believe in doing that.  There is no rule against doing it, so it’s legal in trackchasing.  Some believe I have more financial means than others in the hobby.  I don’t know about that.  I am not permitted to see others’ financial statements.  I don’t believe anyone in trackchasing has ever seen my financial statement.  I do know that I don’t want to take advantage of the situation by offering money to racers to race on tracks where they wouldn’t if I wasn’t there to give them money.

 

 

November 23 – I believe we have one major problem in trackchasing.  I will be kind and omit the names of the people I believe are behaving badly in this regard.  We have some trackchasers who believe that everyone should trackchase the way THEY trackchase.  If they think staying at a track up to a certain point is the right thing to do, then they can’t see how anyone could possibly want to do it any differently. 

 

 

I will never criticize anyone for staying too long and not long enough at a track.  I will never criticize anyone for the type of race cars they like to see or don’t like to see.  If what you do meets the trackchaser rules, it is acceptable in my book.  We have someone in place to monitor the group’s activity.  That’s good enough for me.  Could it possibly be any simpler than that?

 

 

December 13 – In retirement, “play” is a tad more expensive, but there are more choices.  I absolutely love trackchasing.  I really do.  My “civilian” friends think that means I love racing.  Racing is O.K., but it’s not as good as it used to be.  When I say I love trackchasing, I’m mainly talking about the planning that goes into making up a trip, the travel, the sights and the people I meet along the traveling trail.  If I were not married with a great family, I would probably do this more than I already do.

 

 

 

 

THE NITTY GRITTY

 

 

JANUARY, 2008

 

6 new tracks – British Columbia, Thailand, Minnesota

 

 

This was the first time I had ever taken a cruise ship on my way to a racetrack.  Our family wrapped up a week-long cruise to Mexico by dropping me off at the San Diego airport where I headed north for some ice racing in British Columbia.  The highlight of the day (other than meeting some great people) was getting to ride shotgun in one of the ice races.

 

 

Next up was a 16,000+ mile trip to Thailand.  A highlight was having a Thai taxi driver take me to and from the track from Bangkok, a round-trip distance of some 200 miles. We even stopped at a highway rest area where the bathroom facilities were outdoors.

 

 

Carol and I finished off the month with four ice racing events in Minnesota.  Carol achieved several milestones during the weekend.  This was her first-ever ice race.  She also saw her 350th track this weekend and rode in her first-ever ice racing feature!  Two of the tracks up here race without helmets and allow passengers to ride along during the racing events.  It was wild and it was cold.  We finished off our ice racing with massages back at our resort hotel.  On the Sunday we actually knocked off a track that we had no idea was even racing.  As we were watching the road course action on Mille Lacs, we noticed there was another group just a few hundred yards away racing on an oval.  Sometimes it’s better to be lucky than good.

 

 

 

FEBRUARY, 2008

 

11 new tracks – Missouri, Georgia, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Connecticut, Maine, Ontario, South Africa

 

 

I started off the month battling both dust and fumes at an indoor race in Missouri.  The next day I showed up in Atlanta and met NASCAR’s Bill Elliott and his son, Chase, at the Atlanta Motor Speedway.  A highlight of that day was meeting AMS track president, Ed Clarke and being invited up to the press box as well as being the honorary starter for the main event!  Then, as if I don’t travel enough already, I ended up on the frozen tundra of Brainerd, Minnesota, the next day!  There I made my only sighting of trackchasing’s Ed Esser during the 2008 season.  I was happy to relinquish the ice racing ride offered to me so that Ed could strap himself into one of those fire breathing ice-racing machines for a few laps.  It was the least I could do for my fraternity brother.

 

 

I was starting to really get into this “ice racing”.  The next weekend found me in Wisconsin for four new tracks in just two days.  It was cold and I had to be pulled from a snow ditch to see the final two tracks.  What did I learn from this?  The people of Wisconsin are too darned nice.

 

 

The third weekend of February found Carol and me at an indoor track in Connecticut.  Bruce Spencer joined us but it was just too cold inside the Mototown arena.  The next day we moved over to Maine where we saw our first ever night ice race.  That was fun. I was happy to see ice racing in my fifth different state.  I have now seen ice racing in more American states and Canadian provinces than any other trackchaser.

 

 

The next day Carol and I drove 865 miles in a 24-hour period from Maine to Ontario, Canada and back to New York City, just to see one ice track.  Fellow trackchasers Rick Young, P.J. Hollebrand, Will White, Paul Weisel, Guy Smith and Mike Knappenberger were there as well.

 

 

From there Carol and I hung out in New York City until son J.J. joined me for the trip of a lifetime.  We went trackchasing in South Africa!  It was really a South African vacation with an afternoon street circuit race thrown in.  I had to get shots, plenty of shots for yellow fever, hepatitis A, hepatitis B and tetanus along with a six-week regimen of malaria pills.  Our tour of Goree Island in Senegal, as well as our wild animal safari, were the highlights of the trip.  It was great fun touring South Africa.  The Durban Grand Prix, a street race was forgettable.

 

 

 

MARCH, 2008

 

8 new tracks – Alberta, Wisconsin, Mexico, Georgia, Jamaica, Oklahoma

 

 

Carol and I started off the month with our first-ever ice race in Alberta, Canada.  Actually, this was the first time Carol had ever trackchased in Alberta.  The race marked the northernmost point that anyone had ever trackchased in the history of the hobby.  It was also the coldest ice racing event of the season.  Finally, this race moved Carol and me into the #1 couples trackchasing lead.   I have noticed that Canada has become much more expensive from a currency conversion point of view.

 

 

The second weekend of the month had me going to Wisconsin for ice-racing.  This was my final ice-racing weekend of 2008.  I had seen 15 ice tracks for the year.  No one has ever done that.  Without my airline sponsors I never would have been able to follow the often unreliable world of ice racing.  All of the “at the track” people I met at this year’s ice racing events were great.  None were better than the folks at the Rice Lake Ice Track in Wisconsin.

 

 

The following weekend we switched trackchasing gears and headed to Mexico City.  We were on the ground for just 36 hours but had a spectacular time.  The racing at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriquez road course was sub-par.  We couldn’t see a thing.

 

 

However, our city tour of Mexico City (www.turibus.com.mx) was outstanding.  We met several helpful people that ended up getting us race tickets.  We also ate in two of the very best restaurants we could have ever hoped to encounter.  Overall, the Mexico City trip was the best logistical effort of the year and far exceeded our advance expectations.

 

 

The fourth weekend of the month had me in the southeast.  This was one of my poorest logistical efforts of the year.  Everything seemed to go wrong.  The racing in Georgia wasn’t very good as none of the races started on time.  However, things were about to change for the better.

 

 

One of my goals for 2008 was to see racing in more foreign countries.  In late March, I added Jamaica, my 14th trackchasing country to my list.  The circuit racing at the Dover Raceway was great.  By moving around the track property, I had a good view of everything.  However, the highlight of the day was the food (Jamaican Jerk chicken) and the people (more than 5,000 of them).  I highly recommend Jamaica and the Dover Raceway.

 

 

I ended up going trackchasing every weekend in March.  That amounted to five weekends.  Actually, I never made it home from my Jamaica weekend before it was time to wrap up the month over the fifth weekend of March in Ardmore, Oklahoma.  I doubt I have ever had such a diverse month (cars and geography) of trackchasing ever.  I was glad the last track of my March 2008 swing was one of the best of the year.  The Lake Country Speedway did just about everything right.  They had great racing and a well-organized program.

 

 

 

APRIL, 2008

 

 

9 new tracks – Georgia, Arkansas, Kentucky, Idaho, Washington 

 

 

I joined long-time friend Jim Sabo for a late model trip to Georgia.  Jim and I have been racechasing together since the early 80s.  We been to Eldora together about 20 times.  We saw the Lucas Oil Late Models race at both Swainsboro and Screven.  One of the best things about Screven was that our admission ticket also included admission to the pit area and the track’s drag strip.  The racing reminded me of the great late model racing we have seen over the years.  We also spent several minutes talking with late-model driver, Steve Casebolt (3rd in Lucas Oil LM season points).  I first met Steve while he was racing in New Zealand.

 

 

With terrible rains coming into the Georgia, area I flew over the storm to Arkansas.  My trackchasing at the Centerville Super Speedway and Central Arkansas Speedway left a lot to be desired.  Small car counts and tardy programs don’t cut it for me.  I wrapped up the wild travel weekend with a race in Kentucky and then a golf outing with P&G friends in Alabama.

 

 

After a weekend off, I went to Las Vegas for my annual golf outing with my Delta Sigma Pi fraternity brothers.  After three days of golf, I found a track in Idaho racing.  Watching the Idaho races in 40-degree temps with intermittent rain was a shock to my system after the warm golf weather of Las Vegas.

 

 

My last weekend of April found me in the northwest for a trackchasing trip to Washington.  My afternoon visit to the Bremerton Raceway wasn’t much.  However, I enjoyed my first asphalt trackchasing visit of the year, at the Port Angeles Speedway a good deal although the track is in a state of disrepair.

 

 

My final new track of the month was at the Evergreen Speedway.  This was my fifth countable track at this property.  I could not have been given a warmer welcome than what I received from all of the folks from the Western Washington Racing Association.  They went out of their way to welcome a trackchaser that was a long way from home.  The trip ended up with my first ever trackchaser interview on ESPN radio.  Thanks to everyone from the WWRA.

 

 

 

MAY, 2008

 

16 new tracks – Virginia, Sweden, Denmark, Wyoming, Colorado, Alaska, Oklahoma, Missouri

 

 

May was my most productive trackchasing month of the year.  I made it to 16 new tracks.  My first stop took me to Virginia where I met Fox TV NASCAR broadcaster, Mike Joy.  I introduced Mike to the hobby of trackchasing.  The racing at Virginia Motor Speedway was great but the show took WAY too long.  The next day found me headed to Natural Bridge, Virginia for track #1,334.  I had my one and only flat tire on the way to this track.  My AAA membership came to the rescue.

 

 

On Mother’s Day weekend Carol and I headed for Europe.  We had planned to trackchase in Ireland, Denmark and Sweden.  At the last minute, our Ireland tracks canceled.  That left us with three days to tour the beautiful country of Ireland.  We made the most of our free time.  The only “racing” we did see was a drifting event at the Tipperary International Speedway.  We found everything in Ireland to be very expensive.

 

 

Next, we headed off to Sweden.  Sweden, and our next country Denmark, were the most expensive places we had ever visited.  One toll bridge cost $55 to use.  We crossed it twice in one day and also hit another toll bridge that charged $45 to cross.  Net, we spent $150 U.S. to cross three bridges in one day!!

 

 

The Sturup Raceway in Malmo, Sweden was an excellent road course for viewing.  We were only in Sweden for a matter of hours.  Next, we were headed out for two days of Denmark racing.  Local Denmark native, Morten Alstrup was most instrumental in our Denmark trip.  He drove us around the track’s layout and even introduced Carol and me to the Prince of Denmark, Prince Joachim.  He is fourth in line to become the King of Denmark!!

 

 

Our day of road racing at the Ring Djursland was fun.  We owe a deep debt of gratitude to Morten Alstrup.  Our final day of racing in Denmark took us to a “short track” of sorts that used both a dirt and paved surface.  We saw some great racing over hill and dale at the Nisseringen Raceway in Denmark.  I like short track racing in foreign countries more than at the major circuit tracks that I visit in these areas.

 

 

What will I remember most about this trip?  The expense!  We paid $117 U.S. to fill our rental car gas tank.  I paid more than ten dollars for a Diet Coke.  Finally, I ended up having a cheeseburger and soda for $24 U.S.!  Nevertheless, it was a fun trip.

 

 

The third weekend of May found me trackchasing back in the American Far West.  I would visit both Wyoming and Colorado on this trip.  The Valentine Speedway in Valentine, Wyoming is a new track and dusty in the afternoon.  I found my way over to Gillette, Wyoming that evening.  Gillette probably has the best track in the state.  I wrapped up the weekend at the Phillips County Raceway in Colorado.  This was a bad show because the infield obstructions blocked the view of the racing.

 

 

Our fourth May trackchasing weekend turned out to be one of our best domestic trips of the year.  We went to Alaska.  By going to Alaska Carol saw racing in her 49th state.  Only Rhode Island remains for her to conquer.  Our first track was aptly named, the North Pole Speedway.

 

 

The Alaska scenery was loving in the early spring.  On our way down to Tok, Alaska, a moose the size of a horse jumped out in front of Carol.  It scared both of us.  The road course at the Tanacross Airport runs just once a year, so we were lucky to get the track.  We were also surprised to see for ourselves that this really is the “Land of the Midnight Sun”.  We had a snack at Denny’s at midnight and it was still light out! 

 

 

We had our share of track-type


 

/surface diversity in Alaska.  The North Pole Speedway was asphalt, the Tanacross Airport track was a road course and the Mitchell Motor Speedway was an old-time dirt oval celebrating its 40th consecutive year of racing.  It was special to note that anyone over 60 years of age was admitted for free at Mitchell.

 

 

Our trip continued over to the North Star Speedway in Wasilla, Alaska.  Of course, Ms. Sarah Palin is the former mayor of Wasilla.  We wrapped up the trip with a late afternoon visit to the somewhat rundown Capitol Speedway in Willow.  Car counts were low at each track we visited, but the people were wonderful.  We very much enjoyed our visit to Alaska.

 

 

I headed out for my FIFTH trackchasing weekend during the month of May.  It had been a wild month with trips to Sweden, Denmark, Alaska and a handful of states in the continental U.S.  This weekend, at the last minute, I headed to Oklahoma for a quiet program at a small track in Elk City.

 

 

The next day I had a trackchasing double in Missouri.  The Sweet Springs Motorsports Complex is a nice little track, but they had heat raceitis.  I was lucky to catch the back half of the double at the Central Missouri Speedway as they nearly rained out.  The racing at CMS was some of the best I saw all season.

 

 

 

JUNE, 2008

 

13 new tracks – Missouri, Louisiana, Arkansas, Texas, Colorado, Ohio, Nebraska, South Dakota, Wyoming 

 

 

My first trackchasing weekend of June saw me visiting the “Taj Mahal” of short track dirt racing, the Lucas Oil Speedway in Wheatland, Missouri.  I was at the track to see the World Series Off-Road Racing Group.  The track was way too wet from recent rains and the program was not nearly as good as the C.O.R.R. off-road racing presented on the west coast.

 

 

The next night I found myself all the way down in Louisiana.  I was there for a USMTS modified show, one of my favorite sanctioning groups.  They didn’t disappoint and put on a great show.  The announcer gave me a nice trackchasing mention that alerted one of the fans in attendance that I was at the track.  Soon, top-10 worldwide trackchaser John Moore was coming by to say hello.

 

 

The next night John and I had a Mexican dinner in Arkansas (no this is not an oxymoron) and attended the USMTS show in Monticello, Arkansas.  The following evening had me showing up in Texas.  I would be seeing my one and only “traditional” trackchasing double of 2008.  I ended up in both Paris, Texas and then Bells, Texas.  I never would have made the second track before their races ended without my “Tonto” my faithful GPS unit.  I wrapped up the entire trip by sleeping overnight in the Dallas-Ft. Worth Airport on my way home to San Clemente.

 

 

My second full weekend called for me to use my “pinpoint airstrike” capabilities.  With out of town friends arriving on Saturday morning and tickets to the U.S. Open near San Diego on Sunday, I didn’t have much time for trackchasing.  However, I was able to fly into Colorado for an evening of racing on Friday.

 

 

I was lucky that our weekend was so full of activity.  This had forced me to be home on Saturday night.  Lucky me!!  At 6 p.m. I received a phone call from daughter Kristy.  She was going to the hospital to have her twins in just two hours!  Carol and I rushed to the hospital to be there for the birth.  On the late evening of June 14, both Astrid Elisabeth and Mitchell Frederick were born at Cedars Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.  We were grandparents!!

 

 

My next June trackchasing weekend found me in Ohio.  The Moler Raceway Park had some good races but too many delays for me to count it as an entertaining program.  The next morning I hustled over from Ohio to Colorado for the afternoon racing at the La Junta Raceway.  The racing wasn’t much and it was hot.  From there I left for an evening show at the El Paso County Speedway in Calhoun, Colorado.  In a last-minute move I went to a figure 8 race in Nebraska on Sunday afternoon after my Idaho flight was overbooked.  Following the races, bad weather affected my flight home and I ended up sleeping overnight in the Denver airport. 

 

 

The final weekend of June, I headed out to South Dakota.  I became the first trackchaser to visit the Heartland Speedway in Rapid City and caught the Black Hills Speedway on the very same night, also in Rapid City.  I had a delightful newspaper interview with Jim Holland of the Rapid City Journal.  I wrapped up the weekend after visiting Wall Drug and Mt. Rushmore in South Dakota at the Newcastle Speedway in Wyoming.  The year was now half over and I had seen 63 new tracks.  I wouldn’t have any trouble seeing 100 tracks this year….or would I?

 

 

  

JULY, 2008

 

6 new tracks – Oregon, Nevada, British Columbia

 

 

My trackchasing in July started off with a flight delay due to the California wildfires.  Nevertheless, I finally made it to Oregon for some outlaw kart racing.  When they raced it was good but they had a yellow flag delay about every two laps.  On Saturday I flew over to Nevada for racing at the Great Basin Raceway in Ely.  There big late model show drew only 11 cars and almost got rained out.  With this track I moved into the Nevada state trackchasing lead.  I spent Sunday in the terrible summer heat offered up in remote desserts of Nevada at the brand new Lovelock Speedway.  It was too hot to enjoy the races, but I did have a lovely dinner with the Moodys in Carson City, Nevada that evening.

 

 

My second and final weekend had me heading up to trackchase in British Columbia.  I love it up there.  The highlight of the trip was riding the auto ferry in the midst of peak season tourist travel.  The first location on my agenda was the Saratoga Speedway.  They ran some entertaining “bump n run” races on their outer oval.  They then ran a somewhat “hokey” figure 8 race around two tractor tires placed on the outer oval’s front straight.  That was weak.

 

 

However, the highlight of tonight’s event, and one of the best at the track promotions I saw all year, was the “Flying Canuck”.  This guy drove a Ford Galaxie station wagon up a ramp at somewhat high speeds into and over a school bus and into a series of parked cars.  The entire stunt captivated the crowd.

 

 

On Sunday, I became the first trackchaser to ever visit the Alberni Motorsports Park.  This was a most unique layout that is best described by looking at the pictures offered at www.ranlayracing.com.  Logistics were the most significant memory of this track.  I drove more than 40 miles over the most desolate and potholed filled dirt road in the mountains that a two-wheel-drive rental car could ever handle.  After the race, I arrived in the back of a mile-long line of motorists trying to get on a ferryboat back to Vancouver.  It was wild but will be in my memory forever.

 

 

 

AUGUST, 2008

 

10 new tracks – Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, British Columbia, Wisconsin, New York, Pennsylvania

 

 

Carol and I started out our trip to Canada with the objective of seeing racing in three new Canadian provinces for us.  We made it to two.  We encountered a very rainy weekend.  Nevertheless, we saw tracks in the Canadian provinces of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick for the first time ever.  We were rained out in our attempt to see some racing at Raceway Park in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island.  The trackchasing tourist attractions were the highlight of this trip.  We also enjoyed our brief encounter with Eleanor and Paul Weidman at the Cobleskill Fairgrounds in Cobleskill, New York.

 

 

For the third consecutive trackchasing weekend, I went to Canada to get my fix.  I was gone from home for only 31 hours.  On my 275-mile one-way drive to the Penticton Speedway, it rained relentlessly.  Just before I got to the track it stopped and the asphalt track decided to race.  Yes, it was a miracle.  Then, later in the evening, they reversed their earlier decision and decided to run as previously scheduled on their road course.  Some nice people run this track, and despite the bad weather, getting two tracks on a day like this was nearly unbelievable.  On the way back home, I ended up sleeping overnight in the National Rental Car indoor parking lot at the Vancouver International Airport.

 

 

During the final weekend of August I went on my most productive trip (six new tracks) of the year.  I was only gone three days, but it turned out to be a fun adventure.  My trip first took me to Minneapolis for a race in Wisconsin.  The racing at the Tri-Oval Speedway was good, but what I encountered going both to and from the track was the most noteworthy.  I encountered the MyoMed RAGNAR Relay Great River Race.  I saw both men and women running alongside the narrow highway both in the dark and in the rain.  It was the darndest thing to see and it looked very dangerous as well.

 

 

From Wisconsin, I was off to upstate New York.  I had one of my best interviews at the Genesee Speedway and was somewhat disappointed with the racing at the Limerock Speedway, although the concessions were nearly gourmet.  From there I was off to Pennsylvania for some small car racing.  The real benefit to being in this part of the country on this particular weekend was that I was able to go to the Little League World Series in Williamsport, Pennsylvania.  That rocked.  I wrapped up my trip by seeing the best inner oval racing of the year at the Utica-Rome Speedway.  I never would have made it to enjoy the racing and their salt potatoes without “Tonto” my always reliable GPS unit.  Tonto adds about five tracks to my totals each year that I wouldn’t have reached without his help.

 

 

 

SEPTEMBER, 2008

 

8 new tracks – Connecticut, Ohio, Ontario, Czech Republic, Austria, Kansas

 

 

My month of September trackchasing began at the most crowded county fair I have ever seen, the Hebron Harvest Fair in Hebron, Connecticut.  Everyone in the state must have been there.  The next night had me at the Shadybowl Speedway in Ohio.  I could have easily gone to the World 100 at Eldora but I am now a trackchaser.  I am no longer a racechaser.  The Shadybowl track announcer described the racetrack shape as being similar to a “warped toilet seat”.  He was right.  I wrapped up my weekend with a trip to Ontario, Canada.  I should have been rained out, but they went ahead and ran three figure 8 cars that allowed me to count this track.  It’s incredible that we count events like this in the hobby of trackchasing.

 

 

My second trackchasing weekend of the month took me to the Czech Republic.  I had a plan to add several new countries to my trackchasing resume before the end of the year.  Of course, my touring of foreign countries far outweighs the racing activity I see from an entertainment point of view.  That’s why I make these long trips!  Check out the photos from my foreign country visits at www.randylewis.org and click on the “Foreign Country Visits” tab.  The day I saw my racing in CZ it was bitterly cold.  I’m glad I visited the track the day before when the temps were comfortable and I could have full run of the paddock area.

 

 

My “two countries” trackchasing weekend wrapped up in Austria.  This was good ol’ short track racing Austrian style.  The cars were the most unusual I had seen all season and maybe ever.  I love this kind of racing.  Unfortunately, I got a cool day and then it started to rain.  That was a bummer.  I found Austria to have the most beautiful scenery of any country I visited this year.

 

 

My final September trackchasing weekend took me first to Kansas.  It was 91 degrees when I arrived in the afternoon and dipped down to about sixty degrees by the time I left.  They started late with a total field of 144 cars.  As might have been predicted the program was poorly run.  The next day I left for Ohio to try to improve my National Geographic Diversity score.  I needed my 300th-lifetime airline sponsored flight to make it.  My Saturday night track, the Thirty-Five Raceway is located in an area where the homeowners don’t like it.  There were several signs testifying to this fact.  I wrapped up my weekend at the Oakshade Speedway with an 11-car, 200-lap enduro.  I love enduros.  I shared the comfortable late fall afternoon with another 47 people or so.  This Ohio track moved me into the state’s top ten and removed the five NGD “penalty” from my lifetime NGD score.

 

 

 

OCTOBER, 2008

 

4 new tracks – Hawaii, Tennessee, Ireland

 

 

October started off with a visit to Hawaii.  The main reason for going to the 50th state was to see my fourth and last remaining Hawaii racetrack.  My total of four Hawaiian tracks moved me into a tie for first place in the state.  This allowed me to reach my goal of being the #1 ranked trackchaser in twelve of the thirteen Far Western states.  Although my main reason for going to Hawaii was the trackchasing, the BEST reason for going was to spend time with our youngest son, Jim.  We had fun together on the big island of Hawaii.  During this trip, I broke my old record for flying miles in one season that had been 161,751 miles.

 

 

The next week I decided to go trackchasing in Tennessee.  I had to fly from Los Angeles to Seattle to Chicago to Knoxville, Tennessee but I made it.  I went to the Volunteer state to see just one track.  I thought I would need that track to reach 100 new tracks for the season.  The racing started late and wasn’t that great.

 

 

I wrapped up the month with a trip to Ireland.  Carol and I had been there earlier in the year, but the track canceled on us.  I wanted to see a new track in Mississippi before going to Ireland but my flight connections prevented that by just a few minutes.  This allowed me to get to Ireland a day early and in business class to boot.

 

 

When I visit this part of Europe I love staying in B&Bs (bed and breakfast) hotels.  They are all so unique and the hosts are very friendly.  They are inexpensive as well.  One of my B&B owner couples wanted to know what a “hockey mom was”.  The non-racing highlight of my trip was a visit to the Waterford Crystal showroom and factory tour.  This tip came from U.K.’s Colin Herridge and provided lots of Christmas gift-giving ideas.

 

 

The racing in Ireland was good.  The banger racing at the Tipperary International Speedway was simply awesome, to quote my favorite NASCAR driver.  I also went to the Waterford Raceway on a very cold and blustery day.  I was very pleased with my overall trip to Ireland.

 

 

 

NOVEMBER, 2008

 

9 new tracks – Guyana, New Jersey, China, Texas, Missouri, Costa Rica

 

 

November was a huge month, especially on the international trackchasing front.  I never would have imagined making separate trips to Guyana, China and Costa Rica in my lifetime let alone within 28 days.  Each of those trips was unique and will be remembered for a lifetime.

 

 

I got a great deal of help from “Bryan Max” on the Guyana trip.  He’s “the man” for racing in Guyana.  It rained on race day.  However, we were getting the V.I.P. treatment and seeing the sites at the track so it didn’t matter.  We also spend some quality time touring the country that can only be appreciated by seeing the photos from the trip.  If you would like to see them, simply go to www.randylewis.org and click on the “Foreign Country Visits” tab.  This was our first ever trackchasing trip to South America.

 

 

The next weekend I went trackchasing in New Jersey to get just one track.  I thought I needed it to get reach 100 new tracks for the season.  The facility was nice, but the racing wasn’t much.  I made a tactical error by not visiting the Philly cheesesteak places previously recommended by fellow trackchaser, Paul Weisel.

 

 

A trip to China was next for Carol and me.  This was certainly one of our best, if not the best, international trip of the year.  We spent three days touring Hong Kong and another two at nearby Macau, China.  We were the first traditional trackchasers to ever visit China to trackchase.  We had plenty of time to sightsee in these two beautiful cities.  It was an absolute blast.

 

 

The actual street circuit racing at the 55th annual Macau Grand Prix left a lot to be desired.  We could see the cars race by for about eight seconds in each 80-90 second lap.  However, when viewed as an “event” the outing was educational and a perfect cultural experience.  I could not have expected more from a venue like this.

 

 

I continued on in November with a visit to Texas.  The USMTS mods were disappointing in Edna, Texas but I did get a chance to talk with Kenny Schrader about trackchasing.  The next night found me up by Houston for a 14-car enduro.  There was very little action in this one.

 

 

From Texas, I moved onto Missouri.  There I found gold.  It’s hard to find a track that races every Sunday afternoon into late November.  However, that’s what the Grand River Speedway does.  The promoter at Grand River is very supportive of the trackchasing hobby.  He has helped other trackchasers in the past and he helped me today.  What did “help” look like?  Greg decided to race on his track’s outer oval, inner oval and figure 8 track.  That was a very nice gesture on his part and one that I did not expect or ask for.  Nevertheless, I was most appreciative of his support.  The people at the Grand River Speedway were some of the nicest I met all season.

 

 

During Thanksgiving weekend, I traveled to my 14th country of the year for racing.  I headed to Costa Rica!  With the support of my local on the ground contact I was given V.I.P. treatment everywhere I went at the track.  The airport, racetrack and my hotel were so close together that I only drove my rental car 15 miles!  I spent day one in Costa Rica touring the racecar garages and being chauffeured around the track.  The next day, it rained which made watching the race a bit less comfortable.  Costa Rica was my 22nd-lifetime trackchasing country.  I never would have thought that would happen.

 

 

 

DECEMBER, 2008

 

2 new tracks – Florida, Missouri

 

 

With 100 tracks for the year in my back pocket, I could take it easy in December and I did.  I went down to Florida for a quick visit with my stepfather and his wife and picked up a legends show.  The next week I made it to Kansas City, Missouri for an indoor show.  I was shocked to find out they were not going to heat the building’s interior in Kansas City.  It’s not much fun sitting in temperatures of 25 degrees, wearing a hat and gloves, while being indoors!  From there I tried to make it to Idaho for an indoor show.  I showed up, but the racers didn’t.  I took that as a sign that my 2008 trackchasing season should be over….and it was!

 

 

 

 

DOUBLES, DOUBLES, DOUBLES

 

I had 21 doubles during my 2008 season.  Here is a summary of those doubles:

 

6 day/night doubles

6 same location doubles

5 blended doubles with a feature on the back end only

3 blended doubles with features on both ends

1 traditional double

 

Here is a breakout by individual category

 

 

 

Day/night doubles (6) 

A day/night double, my favorite, allows the trackchaser to see a program during the day, then a program during the evening.

 

Birch Lake Ice Track/Mille Lacs Lake Ice Track (Minnesota)

 

Bremerton Raceway/Port Angeles Speedway (Washington)

 

Valentine Speedway/Gillette Thunder Speedway (Wyoming)

 

Tanacross Airport/Mitchell Raceway (Alaska)

 

La Junta Raceway/El Paso County Speedway (Colorado)

 

Wyalusing Valley Motorsports Park/Utica-Rome Speedway (Pennsylvania/New York)

 

 

 

Same location doubles (6)

A “Same location” double is the easiest of all doubles for the trackchaser to get.  This means the track is running some combination of oval, figure 8 and/or road course events at the same venue.

 

Mille Lacs Lake Ice Track – road course/Mille Lacs Lake Ice Track – oval (Minnesota)

 

Saratoga Speedway – outer oval/ Saratoga Speedway – inner oval (British Columbia)

 

Penticton Speedway –  oval/Penticton Speedway – road course (British Columbia)

 

Tri-Oval Speedway – outer oval/Tri-Oval Speedway – inner oval (Wisconsin)

 

Grand River Speedway – outer oval/Grand River Speedway – inner oval (Missouri)

 

Grand River Speedway – inner oval/Grand River Speedway – figure 8 (Missouri)

 

 

 

Blended doubles with a feature on the back end only (5)

A blended double involves seeing about the same amount of racing, time-wise at each track.  I establish a minimum of one hour of racing at each track.  The driving time between the two tracks should be less than one hour.  In this form of a blended double a feature race is not seen at the first location, but a feature is seen at the second location.

 

 

Hartwell Motor Speedway/Lavonia Motor Speedway (Georgia)

 

Centerville Super Speedway/Central Arkansas Speedway (Arkansas)

 

North Star Speedway/Capital Speedway (Alaska)

 

Sweet Springs Motorsports Park/Central Missouri Speedway (Missouri)

 

Black Hills Speedway/Heartland Speedway (South Dakota)

 

 

 

Blended Doubles with features on both ends (3)

A blended double involves seeing about the same amount of racing, time-wise at each track.  I establish a minimum of one hour of racing at each track.  The driving time between the two tracks should be less than one hour. The BD with features on both ends differs from a traditional double in that about equal time is spent at both BD tracks whereas in a TD 75% or more of the race time is spent at the first track with the balance at the second track

 

 

Bay of Green Bay Ice Track/Lake Speedway Ice Track (Wisconsin)

 

Shawano Lake – North Shore Ice Track/Cecil Bay Iceway (Wisconsin)

 

Genesee Speedway/Limerock Speedway (New York)

 

 

 

Traditional doubles (1)

A traditional double involves seeing the majority of the program including a feature event at the first track and then catching just the last few minutes of the program at the second track of the TD.  This is my least favorite type of trackchasing double.  Normally, you see very little racing at the second track of a TD.

 

Paris Motor Speedway/Grayson County Speedway (Texas)

 

I have not seen any blended doubles with no features on either end or any rainout doubles.  I hope this summary will give any and all worldwide trackchasers some ideas on doubles that you might like to see in the future.

 

 

 

 

NUMBERS!  NUMBERS!  NUMBERS! 

I wanted to share with you the highlights of my 2008 trackchasing season.  Here they are:

 

 

Total new tracks seen:  102

 

Total U.S. states visited 29

 

Total Canadian provinces visited: 5

 

Total countries visited 14 (Austria, Canada, China, Costa Rica, Czech Republic, Denmark, Guyana, Ireland, Jamaica, Mexico, South Africa, Sweden, Thailand, United States)

 

New countries:  Austria, China, Costa Rica, Czech Republic, Denmark, Guyana, Ireland, Jamaica, South Africa, Sweden, Thailand

 

 

Track breakout

 

Dirt ovals – 37

Figure 8 tracks – 5

Road Course tracks – 21

Asphalt ovals – 10

Kart tracks – 7

Ice tracks – 15

Indoor tracks – 3

Inner ovals – 4

 

 

Total foreign country tracks – 25

 

 

Total successful trackchasing days in 2008 – 81

Total golfing days in 2008 – 82 

 

Trackchasing days rained out – 2

Trackchasing days snowed out – 1

Trackchasing days with no countable cars – 0

 

 

Longest streak of new tracks seen in 2008 without a rainout – 46 (March 28-August 2)

 

Total flying trips – 40

Total driving trips – 0!

 

 

Randy’s total overnight stays in 2007 – 161

Randy’s total overnight stays due to trackchasing in 2008 – about 100

 

 

Carol’s total overnight stays in 2008 – 62

Carol’s total overnight stays due to trackchasing in 2008 – many of them

 

 

Most tracks seen on one trip – 6 – August

Most tracks seen in one month – 16 – May

 

Trackchasing days by the day of the week

Sunday – 31

Monday – 3

Tuesday – 1

Wednesday – 0

Thursday – 4

Friday – 14

Saturday – 28 

 

 

There were several states/provinces/countries where I established or tied my personal bests for seeing new tracks.  I was surprised that after all of these years of trackchasing, I was able to tie or beat so many of my personal bests in these areas.  The first number is my track total for this year.  The second number is my previous best number of new tracks in that state/province/country:

 

Alaska 5-1

Arkansas 3-2

Georgia 5-4

Wyoming 3-2

Austria 1-0

British Columbia, Canada 6-3

New Brunswick, Canada 1-0

Nova Scotia, Canada 1-0

China 1-0

Costa Rica 1-0

Czech Republic 1-0

Denmark 1-0

Guyana 1-0

Ireland 2-0

Jamaica 1-0

Mexico 1-1

South Africa 1-0

Sweden 1-0

Thailand 1-0

 

 

Somewhat surprisingly, I came up with goose eggs in places where I have trackchased quite a bit in the past.  These zeros were recorded in Arizona, California, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, North Carolina and the United Kingdom among others.

 

 

 

 

 

TOP 5 TRACKCAHSING ACHIEVEMENTS BY OTHERS

I like to think I’ve had some very noteworthy achievements in the hobby of trackchasing.  However, others have met or exceeded anything I’ve ever done in this crazy hobby.  I wanted to share with you what I think are the five most significant trackchasing achievements that have nothing to do with me.  This list is not ranked in any particular order of importance.

 

  

Andy Sivi, Clairton, Pennsylvania 

In 1988, Andy saw new tracks in 47 of the 48 continental United States.  Which one did he miss?  Rhode Island.  At the time, they didn’t have any active racetracks!

 

  

Guy Smith, Effort, Pennsylvania 

Guy has seen racing in all 50 United States, the District of Columbia and all ten Canadian provinces 

 

 

Pat Eckel, Easton, Pennsylvania 

Pat has seen more racetracks than any woman in the world – 583

  

 

Ed Esser, Madison, Wisconsin 

Ed has seen 100 or more new tracks in more seasons than anyone else – 5 (at the time this was originally printed I had not matched this record)

  

 

Roland Vanden Eynde, Vilvoorde, Belgium 

Roland has seen racing in more different countries than anyone else – 38

 

  

Congratulations to these trackchasers on some spectacular achievements in the hobby of trackchasing.

 

 

 

RACETRACKS VISITED IN 2008 (** not the first time to visit this track)

 

1,299. Barnes Lake Ice Track, Ashcroft (road course), British Columbia, Canada – January 13

 

1,300. Bira Circuit, Pattaya (road course), Thailand – January 19

 

1,301. Cameron Lake Ice Track (oval), Erskine, Minnesota – January 26

 

1,302. Birch Lake Ice Track (oval), Hackensack, Minnesota – January 27

 

1,303. Mille Lacs Lake Ice Track (road course), Garrison, Minnesota – January 27

 

1,304. Mille Lacs Lake Ice Track (oval), Garrison, Minnesota – January 27

 

1,305. Ozark Empire Fairgrounds (oval), Springfield, Missouri – February 1

 

1,306. Atlanta Motor Speedway (road course), Hampton, Georgia – February 2

 

1,307. Brainerd International Raceway Ice Track (road course), Brainerd, Minnesota – February 3

 

1,308. Bay of Green Bay Ice Track (road course), Marinette, Wisconsin – February 9

 

1,309. Lake Speed Ice Track (oval), Tilleda, Wisconsin – February 9

 

1,310. Shawano Lake Ice Track – North Shore (oval), Shawano, Wisconsin – February 10

 

1,311. Cecil Bay Iceway (oval) – Cecil, Wisconsin – February 10

 

1,312. Mototown USA (oval) – Windsor, Connecticut – February 15

 

1,313. Moosehead Lake Ice Track (oval) – Greenville Junction, Maine – February 16

 

1,314. Clarence Creek Ice Track (oval) – Clarence Creek, Ontario, Canada – February 17

 

1,315. Durban Grand Prix (road course), KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa – February 24

 

1,316. Lake La Biche Ice Track (road course), Lake La Biche, Alberta, Canada – March 1

 

1,317. Rice Lake Ice Track (oval), Rice Lake, Wisconsin – March 8

 

1,318. Ashland Ice Track (oval), Ashland, Wisconsin – March 9

 

1,319. Autodromo Hermanos Rodriquez (road course), Mexico City, Mexico – March 16

 

1,320. Hartwell Motor Speedway (oval), Hartwell, Georgia – March 22

 

1,321. Lavonia Speedway, Lavonia (oval), Georgia – March 22

 

1,322. Dover Raceway (road course), Brown’s Town, St. Ann, Jamaica – March 24

 

1,323. Lake Country Speedway (oval), Ardmore, Oklahoma – March 29

 

1,324. Swainsboro Raceway (oval), Swainsboro, Georgia – April 3

 

1,325. Screven Motor (oval), Sylvania, Georgia – April 4

 

1,326. Centerville Super Speedway (oval), Centerville, Arkansas – April 5

 

1,327. Central Arkansas Speedway (oval), Plumerville, Arkansas – April 5

 

1,328. Clinton Country Speedway (oval), Alpha, Kentucky – April 6

 

1,329. Pleasant Valley Raceway (oval), Boise, Idaho – April 20

 

1,330. Bremerton Raceway (road course), Bremerton, Washington – April 26

 

1,331. Port Angeles Speedway (oval), Port Angeles, Washington – April 26

 

1,332. Evergreen Speedway (1/5-mile oval), Monroe, Washington – April 27

 

1,333. Virginia Motor Speedway (oval), Jamaica, Virginia – May 1

 

1,334. Natural Bridge Speedway (oval), Natural Bridge, Virginia – May 2

 

1,335. Sturup Raceway, Malmo (road course), Sweden – May 10

 

1,336. Ring Djursland, Tirstrup (road course), Denmark – May 11

 

1,337. Nisseringen, Naestved (road course), Denmark – May 12

 

1,338. Valentine Speedway (oval), Glenrock, Wyoming – May 17

 

1,339. Gillette Thunder Speedway (oval), Gillette, Wyoming – May 17

 

1,340. Phillips County Speedway (oval), Holyoke, Colorado – May 18

 

1,341. North Pole Speedway (oval), North Pole, Alaska, – May 22

 

1,342. Tanacross Airport (road course), Tok, Alaska, – May 24

 

1,343. Mitchell Raceway (oval), Fairbanks, Alaska, – May 24

 

1,344. North Star Speedway (oval), Wasilla, Alaska, – May 25

 

1,345. Capitol Speedway (oval), Willow, Alaska, – May 25

 

1,346. Elk City Speedway (inner oval), Elk City, Oklahoma, – May 30

 

1,347. Sweet Springs Motorsports Complex (oval), Sweet Springs, Missouri – May 31

 

1,348. Central Missouri Speedway (oval), Warrensburg, Missouri – May 31

 

1,349. Lucas Oil Speedway (road course), Wheatland, Missouri – June 1

 

1,350. Ark-La-Tex Speedway (oval), Vivian, Louisiana – June 5

 

1,351. Monticello Speedway (oval), Monticello, Arkansas – June 6

 

1,352. Paris Motor Speedway (oval), Paris, Texas – June 7

 

1,353. Grayson County Speedway (oval), Bells, Texas – June 7

 

1,354. Prowers County Motorsports Park (oval), Lamar, Colorado – June 13

 

1,355. Moler Raceway Park (oval), Williamsburg, Ohio – June 20

 

1,356. La Junta Raceway (road course), La Junta, Colorado – June 21

 

1,357. El Paso County Speedway (oval), Calhan, Colorado – June 21

 

1,358. York County Fairgrounds (figure 8), York, Nebraska – June 22

 

1,359. Black Hills Speedway (oval), Rapid City, South Dakota  – June 27

 

1,360. Heartland Speedway (oval), Rapid City, South Dakota  – June 27

 

1,361. Newcastle Speedway (oval), Newcastle, Wyoming  – June 28

 

1,362. Jackson County Sports Park (oval), White City, Oregon  – July 11

 

1,363. Great Basin Raceway (oval), Ely, Nevada – July 12

 

1,364. Lovelock Speedway (oval), Lovelock, Nevada – July 13

 

1,365. Saratoga Speedway (oval), Courtenay, British Columbia, Canada – July 19

 

1,366. Saratoga Speedway (figure 8), Courtenay, British Columbia, Canada – July 19

 

1,367. Alberni Motorsports Park (road course), Port Alberni, British Columbia, Canada – July 20

 

1,368. Scotia Speedworld, Halifax (oval), Nova Scotia, Canada – August 1

 

1,369. Centre for Speed (oval), Grand Barachois, New Brunswick, Canada – August 3

 

1,370. Penticton Speedway (oval), Penticton, British Columbia, Canada – August 9

 

1,371. Penticton Speedway (road course), Penticton, British Columbia, Canada – August 9

 

1,372. Tri-Oval Speedway (inner oval), Fountain City, Wisconsin – August 22

 

1,373. Tri-Oval Speedway (outer oval), Fountain City, Wisconsin – August 22

 

1,374. Genesee Speedway (oval), Batavia, New York – August 23

 

1,375. Limerock Speedway (oval), Caledonia, New York – August 23

 

1,376. Wyalusing Valley Motorsports Park (oval), Wysox, Pennsylvania – August 24

 

1,377. Utica-Rome Speedway (inner oval), Vernon, New York – August 24

 

1,378. Hebron Fair (figure 8), Hebron, Connecticut – September 5

 

1,379. Shadybowl Speedway (oval), Degraff, Ohio – September 6

 

1,380. Beamsville Fair (figure 8), Beamsville, Ontario, Canada – September 7

 

1,381. Automotodrom BRNO (road course), Brno, Czech Republic – September 13

 

1,382. Lambrechten Stock Car Track (road course), Lambrechten, Austria – September 14

 

1,383. Sherman County Speedway (oval), Goodland, Kansas – September 26

 

1,384.Thirty-Five Raceway (oval), Frankfort, Ohio – September 27

 

1,385. Oakshade Speedway (oval), Wauseon, Ohio – September 28

 

1,386. Big Island Oval Track (oval), Hilo, Hawaii – October 11

 

1,387. Mountain Raceway Park (oval), Maryville, Tennessee – October 19

 

1,388. Tipperary International Raceway (oval), Rosegreen, Republic of Ireland – October 26

 

1,389. Waterford Raceway (road course), Dungarvan, Republic of Ireland – October 27

 

1,390. South Dakota Circuit (road course), Timehri, Republic of Guyana – November 2

 

1,391. New Jersey Motorsports Park – Thunderbolt Raceway (road course), Millville, New Jersey – November 9

 

1,392. The Guia Circuit (road course), Macau, Republic of China – November 16

 

1,393. Texana Raceway Park (oval), Edna, Texas – November 21  1,394. Gator Motorplex (oval), Willis, Texas – November 22  1,395. Grand River Speedway (outer oval), Urich, Missouri – November 23

 

1,396. Grand River Speedway (inner oval), Urich, Missouri – November 23

 

1,397. Grand River Speedway (figure 8), Urich, Missouri – November 23

 

1,398. Autodromo La Guacima (road course), La Guacima, Costa Rica – November 30

 

1,399. Sumter County Fairgrounds (oval), Bushnell, Florida – December 13

 

1,400. Kemper Raceway at the Kemper Arena (oval), Kansas City, Missouri – December 20

 


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