2015 Annual Report

2015 dk


Every year since 2001 I’ve been publishing my “Trackchasing Annual Report”. Yes, this marks my 15th year since the very first annual report was published.



I’m going to tell you about my 2015 trackchasing season. I will keep it simple. This is a true story. I was there. Yes, I was there for every mile on the odometer and every mile in an exit row seat on 98 airplane rides.



joe friday

Most of what I will tell you will be a fact. From time to time I will sprinkle in some opinions. No one can argue with the facts right? No one should argue with the opinions. Everyone has a right to his or her own. 



I will separate my comments into two parts. Just to keep it simple I’ll be telling you about the first half of the year….wait for it…first….then we’ll cover the second half of the year. I told you it would be simple. All of it will be preceded by the “numbers” and concluded with the “conclusion”.



numbers 43



Before we get started let me share the top line “numbers”. In 2015 I saw 134 tracks in 35 states and four Canadian provinces. I only traveled 165,000 miles. I know. I’m slowing down in my old age right?



I went trackchasing over 104 days. I suspect that some trackchasers WISH they could trackchase that many days. I’m guessing other folks might think that with 104 trackchasing days I didn’t have time to do anything else. That would be an assumption made without considering the data. Lots of people like to reach their own conclusions without considering the data. Sorry, those folks are beyond reach. The data tells the truth regardless of the words someone might speak.



During 2015 I spent 194 nights away from home. Once in a awhile, but not all that often, I was actually able to make it back to San Clemente after a race I had seen earlier in the day.



Here is one of the more unusual stats about my overnight travel. I spent just 93 nights away from home during my 104 trackchasing days. That means on 11 of my trackchasing days I was able to get all the way back to remotely located San Clemente, California following the racing.



Remember, I spent 194 nights on the road during the entire year. That’s right. Even though I trackchased more days than just about any trackchaser has in the history of trackchasing I STILL spent more nights on the road, 101, doing stuff NOT related to trackchasing. I trackchase more than anyone else. However, I spend more time on the road doing activities other than trackchasing than trackchasing! Who would have thought? Remember the data tells the truth.



Carol was slowed by a couple of medical events, including a bout with pneumonia. She “only” traveled with me some 80 nights during the year. Carol is a “home body”. Left to her own devices she would probably rarely travel. However, I must be a pretty convincing salesman to have her consistently traveling some 80-100 nights a year.



mike mary carol beers route 66

Carol is no dummy. She routinely picks the trips to Hawaii over the “sleep in your car and let’s go to a county fair figure 8 race” vacation. Good for her. I’m glad we have the option to do both extremes. Nevertheless, her contribution allows us to maintain our standing as the “World’s #1 Trackchasing Couple” by a triple digit margin.



100 dk

This was the tenth year I’ve seen more than 100 tracks in a year. That must be a pretty difficult thing to do. Only a handful of trackchasers have ever done it and they haven’t done it very often.



#1 493

This is the ninth year I’ve seen more tracks than anyone else. It’s also the 16th consecutive year, dating back to 2000, that I’ve ranked in the top three of all worldwide trackchasers in tracks seen. For the past 12 years I have averaged more than 125 tracks for each and every one of those years. Don’t forget one thing. I trackchase out of probably the most inconvenient spot in the continental U.S. for trackchasing, San Clemente, California. Why not just move to a better location for trackchasing? Because San Clemente might be the very best place on earth to wake-up each morning!



illinois #1

As time goes on I continue to move into the top position in state after state. A highlight was gaining a #1 ranking in my boyhood state of Illinois this year. Of course, I wish Ed Esser were still racking up tracks in the Midwest to make these achievements a little more challenging. About the only state left, of importance to me, for moving to the top of the list is California. That will probably be a 2016 goal.



I never thought I would even come close to doing that but I might make it happen in 2016. Gary Jacob has seen the most tracks in the Golden state with 149. When Gary saw his last race in California in 2004 my California total was 82! Also, in 2004, I had virtually no new tracks left to see in California. I would have bet you any amount of money I would never have challenged Gary for the California trackchasing lead. One can never say never.



19 nd

In the meantime here is a list of the 19 states where I have seen as many or more tracks than anyone else. In most states I hold a substantial lead over my nearest fellow competitor.














New Mexico



Rhode Island







This list used to be limited to primarily the west coast. Now I’m beginning to add a number of Midwestern states and even adding some in the South. I have another 4-5 states that could “fall” in 2016. It would be hard to believe I could attain a #1 ranking in almost half of all the country’s 50 states. We’ll see.




My overall lifetime trackchasing total now numbers nearly 2,200 lifetime tracks. I am now beginning to approach a 600-track lead over my nearest fellow competitor. I hope that isn’t too demoralizing.



The above are the season’s highlights by the numbers. Below you’ll find some to the details of how it all came down.



In the meantime thanks to the many friends, fans and fellow trackchasing competitors who encourage me to trackchase as I do. You all motivate me in one fashion or another. Hope to see many of you in the coming trackchasing season.




Randy Lewis

San Clemente, California USA

World’s #1 Trackchaser





2015 – 1st half.


I began the season with 2,052 tracks in my rearview mirror. No one had ever begun a trackchasing season having seen more than 2,000 tracks. It will be years before anyone else does. Having seen racing at that many tracks you might think there would not be any left to see!



randy's website

Before the year began I looked back at my 2005 Trackchasing Annual Report. Did you know that you can visit my website at and see each of my annual reports dating back to 2001. Those annual reports are just behind the “News and Updates” tab, which is just below my picture on the home page of my site.



Ten years ago as I began my 2005 trackchasing season I told my readers this about my U.S. and Canada trackchasing opportunities, “At the beginning of 2005, I still had 1,054 tracks I had not seen.  After seeing 182 new tracks in 2005, as of this writing I still have 1,223 tracks in the U.S. and Canada I have not seen.  Yes, the total is increasing.  This is the result of research on my and other trackchaser’s behalf.  At this rate, I will never get to see each and every track!”



That’s right. All the way back in 2005 I still had 1,054 tracks to see. I figured if I could see a hundred tracks a year by the start of the 2015 season I would have just 54 more to go. Taking that logic a step further it seemed reasonable to deduce that by about July, 2015 I would be inviting all worldwide trackchasers to a huge party as I saw that very last track in both the U.S. and Canada. Of course, as we all know it is difficult if not impossible to predict the future.



I told you this report would be laden with facts. From the beginning of the 2006 season to the beginning of the 2015 season (nine years) I had seen 1,061 tracks. This was AFTER I had seen a record that stands to this day of 182 tracks in 2005. That meant that during a ten-year period (2005-2014) I had seen 1,243 tracks. That’s an average of well over 100 tracks each and every year.



let's do math

In point of fact, as I ended the first half of this year I still had 652 tracks in the U.S. and Canada left to see. Let’s do the math for just a moment. Ten years ago I had 1,054 tracks remaining to visit. During the past ten years I saw 1,243 tracks. You would think that I would have wiped out ALL of the tracks that were remaining to get to in the past ten years. Nevertheless, I STILL have 652 tracks that are awaiting a visit from the World’s #1 Trackchaser. What do I conclude from this? I don’t think I will ever see every track!



With that background I headed out on the long and dusty trackchasing trail on New Year’s Day to begin my trackchasing season. I had some goals. I had a couple of plans. However, for the most part, I have zero idea where I will be trackchasing the next month, the next week or the next day. I just don’t plan very far in advance.



I will break up my trackchasing year into a few groupings. First there is January and February, primarily my ice-racing season. March and April is reserved for college basketball tournaments and visiting Hawaii. During May and June I’ll work my way all over the country at more traditional tracks. “Traditional” to me means oval racing venues. July and August will find me at our nation’s county fairs. My trips to these locations seem to get bigger and bigger every year. In 2014 my county fair trackchasing effort covered a 42-day trip! Finally September through November is going to find me scrounging for whatever specials will net 2-3 or more tracks in a given weekend. December is a quiet time to look back on things and see how everything went.



car falling through ice

During January and February the primary focus was on ice racing. I saw ice racing in Minnesota, Quebec, New Hampshire, Manitoba and Wisconsin. Who could have possibly thought, after taking in my first ice racing event back in 2001 with Will White and Guy Smith that a fella from sunny Southern California would become the “World’s #1 ICE Trackchaser”. To date I have seen ice racing at 71 tracks more than any of my fellow competitors. What I find most remarkable is that my ice racing adventures have come from 16 states, provinces and countries. No one comes close on this ice racing geographic diversity front.



One of my goals for the 2015 season was to try to equal the tracks seen my by nearest fellow competitor (NFC). I figured if I could do that then my NFC would not eat into my 400+ track lead I had to begin the year with. How did that work out over the first six months of 2015? Pretty well I think. From January through June, 2015 I ended up seeing racing at 63 tracks. How many did “my nearest fellow competitor” see? Seventeen. As a matter of fact no one else in the trackchasing hobby saw as many as 50% of the tracks I saw during the time frame.



softball pitcher

I am often critical of trackchasers who set what I call “softball goals”. Softball goals are those goals that you could achieve simply by waking up every morning. If I see 63 tracks and my nearest fellow competitor sees 17 can I be accused of setting a “softball” goal? Who else can I compare my results against but my nearest fellow competitor? O.K. in hindsight maybe it WAS a softball goal.



Another one of my goals for the year was to become the #1 trackchaser in three more states. I compare myself against not just members of the trackchasing Yahoo Groups! forum members but ANY trackchaser who credibly reports their tracks in any location. Going into the year I held the #1 spot in 15 states spanning geography from Hawaii to Rhode Island. During the first half of the year I was able to add Nebraska and Oklahoma to that list. My goal for the year was to gain a #1 position in three total states. With two in the books I was working to add a third.



sandstone utv race lineup

A couple of years ago I discovered UTV aka SXS (side by side) racing. I’m happy to see that so many trackchasers have followed my lead with this type of racing. Some 11 of the season’s 63 (first half of the year) tracks have featured SXS racing. I can easily see getting some 200 or more track from these types of race classes. I wouldn’t be surprised to see my UTV tracks exceed my figure 8 totals at some point. By the way I have seen racing at more figure 8 tracks than anyone else.



One of the ways to add to one’s track list is by seeing two or more tracks in a single day. I’ve seen more “doubles” over the years than anyone. As a matter of fact “doubles” often drive my trackchasing location choices. With that being the case I would have thought all of the double opportunities would have dried up long ago.



Before I go further let me clarify one situation regarding seeing more than one track in a single day. I am NOT for going to a track, seeing a heat race, and heading to the next track. At a minimum I want to see every countable entrant race at least once before I will consider leaving for another track*. The asterisk excludes kart racing from this declaration.




This somewhat stringent policy required an apology of sorts to friend and fellow competitor Paul Weisel. Some time ago he and I were trackchasing in New Zealand together. We had just seen racing at his 899th lifetime track. We were long past the time when some trackchasers would have left a track to go see another. However, I was busy taking photos and interviewing drivers for my YouTube movies.



Finally when I returned to Paul’s viewing position he suggested we move onto another track we knew was racing an hour or so away. Because I had taken the time to visit with the drivers by the time we got to the next track we had been rained out. We missed seeing that track by less than TWO minutes. Paul had to wait an entire calendar year to see his 900th track. Yes, I was sorry for Paul in this example. However, I do not and have not ever supported the idea of seeing a heat or two and heading to another track. Take a look at some trackchaser’s track lists. You will see some examples of what I am talking about. Some chasers have been credited with three or four tracks in an evening. When you think that a race might start at 7 p.m. or so and end by midnight it would be nearly impossible to simply DRIVE from point A to point B to point C and/or D from 7 p.m.-12 a.m. let alone see any racing!!



Nevertheless, in the first six months of the year I saw 63 tracks over just 45 trackchasing days. That means I saw 18 trackchasing doubles!! How did those doubles break out? Eleven of them were “day/night” doubles where I saw a track in the afternoon and during the evening. Five of them were “same track” doubles. These were places where two different track configurations were racing at the same overall venue. Finally, two of the doubles were “blended doubles without a feature”. In both of these examples I left after the senior champ kart class raced their heat race (in each case the senior champs had only one heat race and after I had watched them I also saw ten or more non-countable classes race) to head to another track. Yes, I know the facts can be hard to accept at time but they are still….facts.



remote living

I tend to move around a bit. If I am going to be a trackchaser living in Southern California I have too. If you are a trackchaser can you possibly imagine living in a more remote trackchasing spot that SoCal?  If you are a trackchaser can you possibly imagine living in SoCal and seeing more than 130 tracks after you have seen almost all Far West tracks in existence? During the first half of the year I made it to 23 states and four provinces in Canada.



used car 9

However, I didn’t really move around all that much by MY standards. I traveled nearly 89,000 miles. How many miles did I drive the Carol Lewis owned and Lincoln Financial sponsored 2013 Lexus RX 350? Not too many. I drove my (her) car just 285 miles to see 63 tracks in 23 states and four Canadian provinces. Nope. You won’t see me standing in a used car lot trying to unload a beat up and exhausted car used to nearly death in the trackchasing hobby. When I get rid of Carol’s car it will be begging for the sweet garaged life of it’s former home in the sunny seaside resort of San Clemente.



However, there is one thing missing from my trackchasing geographical story. What about seeing racing in new countries? I’ve seen racing in 70 different countries. Together Carol and I have seen racing in well over 100 combined countries. My goal for the year was to see racing in at least one new country. Will I make it? I don’t know. There aren’t that many “easy” countries to see nowadays. We’ll just have to see how it all goes.



International trackchasing is a great deal of fun. Most of our trips last 7-10 days with a trackchasing day or two sprinkled in. I plan and implement all of my own trips. That adds so much to the enjoyment and the achievement.



goals 49

My three most important goals in trackchasing are 1) total tracks seen, 2) total countries seen (for trackchasing of course) and 3) my National Geographic Diversity (NGD) score. Of course my NGD scored can’t be computed until the end of the year. However, adding so many new tracks improves my state ranking in lots of places. It makes it that much more difficult for any fellow competitor to gain any ground anywhere.



Another goal is to continue to see more tracks in the 13 Far Western states aka the “Far West”. Far West tracks are hard to come by. First, I’ve seen most of them. Far West tracks aren’t very many in number and aren’t very close to each other. That’s why so few trackchasers ever trackchase in the Far West. Nevertheless, I made it to California, Idaho, Utah and Washington in the first half of the year.



Years ago I thought it was “unthinkable” to ever gain the #1 spot in California trackchasing. Probably the greatest “racechaser” ever, Gary Jacob, had that spot covered. I guess it wasn’t unthinkable because I thought it couldn’t happen! Nevertheless during the first six months of the year I added six Golden state tracks. I’m up to 140 now. Gary saw 149. There have never been, over the past many years, that many traditional California tracks for me to see. However, with the addition of SXS racing and novelty tracks a few surface every year. Now I’m thinking that someday I might meet and/or exceed Gary’s number. Like lots of things in life we will have to see how it goes.



physical exam

In order to continue to trackchase I need to stay in good physical condition. My doctor tells me I am one of the few patients in my age range that doesn’t need to take ANY doctor prescribed prescription products. That’s a good thing. However, I never take good health for granted. I know that these things can change on a dime.



That being said, I have a goal to exercise aerobically for a minimum of 45 minutes. That’s not the easiest thing to do when one travels as much as I do. The LAST thing I want to do is exercise after flying all night and landing in a time zone three hours different than mind.



One of my goals is to exercise TWICE as many days as I trackchase. I trackchased 45 days during the first six months of 2015. How many times did I exercise? Just 72. I always have a hard time making this goal. In order to meet the goal I would have needed to have exercised 90 times. My exercise periods often cover an hour or more. I’ll just keep working at it.



I always have a “racechasing” goal as well. This is the idea of seeing racing at tracks just for….wait for it again….the racing. I’m not talking about tracks that are within an easy drive of the house. I’m talking about making a REAL commitment to pursue the racechasing hobby. I’m happy to report I saw WOO sprint cars in Arizona, Civil War sprint car in Northern California, NASCAR Sprint Cup racing at Bristol as well as making TWO separate visits to see racing on the tiny little bullring in Belleville, Illinois. Considering the locations of these tracks compared to where I live I was satisfied with my racechasing performance.



However, I would be remiss to not tell you that the idea of sitting through 1-2 hours of heat racing before seeing a main event lessons my enthusiasm for re-visiting tracks no matter how good the racing might be. Don’t even get me started on the tardiness of short track racing in general.



randy carol beer morocco

I would also be remiss if I didn’t mention how Carol was doing with her trackchasing. Her numbers are down. She went to just five new tracks during the first half of the year. I always like to offer her plenty of traveling opportunities. As an example, I might say, “Would you like to go to Hawaii for a week and just kick back or fly on the red-eye with me to some dusty hole in the wall track where we might have to sleep in the car overnight?” Carol is a smart cookie. She married me right? That being the case more often than not (O.K. 100% of the time) Carol will choose the Hawaii trip.



Nevertheless, Carol did travel some 36 nights during the first half of 2015. It’s just that those 36 nights of travel translated into just five tracks. Since being effectively banned from the trackchasing hobby her enthusiasm for trackchasing has waned. Nevertheless, with lots of big trips planned for the last half of the year I would estimate her total overnight travel will approach 80-90 nights for the year.



I keep telling her that she has to make some contribution in order for us to maintain our position as “The World’s #1 Trackchasing Couple”. Our lead in this category is now in the triple digits.



graph numbers down

By the way I continued to be concerned about the “state of trackchasing”. The numbers are down and have been down for a long time now. Trackchasers are aging. Many have retired. One might think that trackchasing numbers would increase when someone has “more time on their hands”. Nevertheless, that is not the case. Don’t believe me? Take a look at the numbers. Almost all retired workers who trackchase are seeing far fewer tracks today than when they worked.



Why is that? There are many reasons. Most are hemmed in by their “Geographical Driving Circle”. The time and expense of traveling long distances just isn’t worth the entertainment value the hobby offers. Some need others to travel with them in order to make the trip “pay off”. If one person retires and the other does not where does that leave things? Some aren’t “into” novelty racing. They grew up on oval track racing and by God if today’s world isn’t the way it used to be screw it. There are more reasons but no one can argue the trackchasing numbers are way down. Do I blame anyone or anything for this? Not really. Stuff changes over time. What someone liked when they were 20 years old probably isn’t what they like/will like when they are 40 or 60 or 80.



So there you have it. That’s what I’ve got to say about the first half of 2015. I’ve given up on seeing every track there is. That ain’t going to happen. We’ll see how the remaining half of the year goes. I have some busy plans. I did hint at retirement once my trackchasing lead surpassed 500 tracks over my NFC. That lead is now 504 tracks. I am concerned about the personal self-esteem of those following in my wake. All I can tell anyone suffering from such an affliction is buck up. Every cloudy day will turn to a sunny one sooner or later won’t it?




2015 – 2nd half.



I ended the first half of the year by seeing 63 tracks over 45 trackchasing days. I was just getting started. I would end the year by seeing 134 tracks in 104 trackchasing days.



alameda county fair figure 8 racing

I started the second half of the season by seeing a rare California county fair figure 8 race. Can you imagine where I could be with figure 8 racing if California county fairs REALLY got into figure 8 racing like some of their Midwestern and Eastern counterparts do?



66 days 9

On July 6 I had dinner with Carol and son J.J. in Los Angeles. Then I boarded a jet plane and didn’t come back to San Clemente for 66 days. Years ago I thought a 20-day trip was a long one. Then last year I did a 42-day trackchasing adventure. Did I think I would ever break my record of being gone for 42 days? No. Do I think I will ever break my 66-day record? No. Carol joined in for about 20 days of the trip after missing another 10 days because of pneumonia.



During this trip I would add 48 new tracks to my totals. Most people will never see 48 tracks in a single year…ever. Does that put 48 tracks seen during ONE TRIP into perspective? The trip knocked off lots of county fairs. Was the racing great at most places? Probably not. However, I am a trackchaser and not a racechaser. In today’s world I am looking for new tracks. If I happen to see good racing great. However, that is not a requirement for me to have a good time.



sturgis riders

Highlights included my first ever visit to the famous Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, their 75th annual. I received a good deal of most generous hospitality from race promoters at the tracks I visited. The most noteworthy came from the Aitken County Fair (MN), ALH Motor Speedway (Manitoba), LaGrange County Fair (IN), Hemlock County Fair (NY), Dirty Turtle Off-Road Park (KY), Plymouth County Fairgrounds (IA), St. Francois County Raceway (MO), Multi-Purpose Arena at the Illinois State Fairgrounds (IL), Lone Tree Creek Race Park (SD), Russellville Lion’s Club (MO) and the Sportsdrome Speedway (IN). I hope I didn’t miss anybody.



Each and every one of these promoters and tracks rolled out the red carpet for the World’s #1 Trackchaser. I can’t thank them enough for th