Atomic Motor Speedway

atomic city bar

Greetings from Atomic City, Idaho



From the travels and adventures of the 

“World’s #1 Trackchaser”

atomic motor speedway id racing

Atomic Motor Speedway – dirt oval 

Lifetime Track #1,084



Miller Motorsports Park track map 

Miller Motorsports Park – full track 

Lifetime Track #1,083






The EventAtomic Motor SpeedwayMiller Motorsports Park


Back on Friday, August 4, 2006 I scored a trackchasing double.  Day/night doubles on a Friday are hard to come by.  In the afternoon I made my first ever visit to the brand new Miller Motorsports Park.  That evening I motored over to the Atomic Motor Speedway (245 miles; 3 hours 30 minutes) to Atomic City, Idaho.  The track was near the Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve in nearby Arco, Idaho.



As is my practice when I see two tracks in a single day I wrote one Trackchaser Report to cover both tracks.  The tabs here will take you to both the MMP visit and to the evening attraction in Idaho.  I hope you enjoy the stories that came from both.



Reprinted with permission from my August 4, 2006 Trackchaser Report



I also doubled my Idaho state total by seeing one track in the Potato state. I now have two lifetime tracks in Idaho. Today, I moved up from a tie for 8th place to a tie for 4th place in the state, just as I did in Utah this afternoon. That’s another four NGD lifetime points giving me eight for the day.



This was Carol’s first ever visit to Idaho to see a new track. She’s now tied for 9th place with 14 different trackchasers all of whom have one track. This was also her 270th lifetime track giving her sole possession of 36th place in the world lifetime trackchaser standings. Sammy Swindell at 278 tracks is the next trackchaser in her sights. Slammin’ Sammy doesn’t have much more time to enjoy his 35th place ranking.







We pulled into the metropolis of Atomic City, Idaho at just past 6 p.m. in an attempt to complete a trackchasing day/night double. It’s not much of a town with less than 10 houses, a bar and a racetrack. At least the city fathers seemed to have their priorities in place!



Off in the distance the weather looked threatening as we pulled into the track parking lot. The driver’s meeting was going on in the pits. There were about 50 racecars of all types in the pit area.



At this track, spectators buy their tickets from their car as they pull into the property. We noticed that the regular admission price was $10, but tonight was a special event with the sprint cars and tickets were five dollars more. It turned out the track had only eight sprint cars in the field, so the five-dollar surcharge seemed a bit steep. 



I asked the ticket seller what the track’s policy was in case of rain. She told me she didn’t know. As an employee of Procter & Gamble it was my responsibility to have an answer to common questions I might be asked. If I didn’t know the answer, it was also my responsibility to find someone who did know the answer as quickly as I could.



I have to be honest. Not as many people in America and very very few people at short track auto racing facilities take their employee responsibilities as seriously as the employees of Procter & Gamble do. I’m sorry to have to print that point of view, but it’s true.



Nevertheless, we were here for an evening of enjoyment and not to critique an organization’s shortcomings. We paid the $15 dollars and parked where we were told. 



I didn’t know what time the program was scheduled to begin. I guessed 7 p.m. The track didn’t seem in a hurry to get going, even though it looked like it was raining too the west. A few cars came out for some slow laps and then they began to water the track. They had only one track vehicle trying to “Run the track in” after the water truck finished.



The racing surface seemed to be made of a gray, sandy, clay material. No Iowa black dirt here. When the water truck had finished Mother Nature stepped in. It began to rain! This area gets less than an inch of rain during August each year. We couldn’t get rained out at this time of year could we?



The track put a few cars out on the track while some very large raindrops came down. It rained hard enough to drive Carol and me from the grandstands to the car. After a while, the rain stopped and we were in the clear for the rest of evening.



They finally started racing at nearly 8 p.m. There were several classes tonight including I.M.C.A. modifieds (25), hornets (6), pure stocks (14) sprint cars (8) and street stocks (4). The street stocks only hot lapped. The remaining divisions ran a total of eight heat races that were wrapped up by 9 p.m.



I really wanted to get on the road by 10 p.m. We had a long drive up to Montana that would take us through the Rockie Mountains. The sooner we could get on the road the better.



Even though they had watered the track heavily and it had rained, it was dusty during the last few heat races. Just before the rain hit, the wind that was blowing away from the grandstands switched directions. For the remainder of the evening, the wind blew directly into the faces of the grandstand spectators. That’s not a good thing on a dusty race night.



For some reason the track’s management decided to scrape the top four inches of dirt off the entire track’s surface. This was accomplished with a Caterpillar Tractor (my college employer for three summers) grader. This may have also been the slowest grader currently operating in Idaho. Each lap took the grader about 4 minutes to complete. It needed about 10 laps to finish its job. The entire “Intermission” took an hour and a half!



At about 10:30 p.m., the 24 car modified feature took to the track. The race was good although the dust had returned. I liked this race and class very much, but it was now 11 p.m. and time to hit the road.



Tonight’s racetrack had its good points and improvement opportunities. The announcer didn’t do a very good job of providing information to the crowd. They certainly did not need to take a 90-minute intermission. 



On the other hand, the refreshments were good and cheap. A 16 oz beer and bottled water cost just $2.50. The cheeseburgers served by Martha’s Café, the track caterer, were large and came with fresh veggies. I wouldn’t expect to ever return to the Atomic Motor Raceway but one time was O.K. 




The porta potties were good. They came with tons of toilet paper. The track’s surface reminded me of the Grapes of Wrath, a real dust bowl. There were very few yellow flag stoppages although scraping the entire track’s surface during intermission was ridiculous. I think the town of Atomic City had only about five houses. It seemed like everyone had a cell phone.




August in the driest month of the year in both Utah and Idaho. Salt Lake City averages just 0.64” of moisture during this month and Atomic City, Idaho only 0.44” of rain. That gives a good chance to watch races under dry conditions. 


The highs for the locations we visited today were bumping up close to ninety. The good thing about the far west compared to our visit to the Midwest last week is that temperatures fall off nicely during the evening.




I’m not sure I’ve been in the Salt Lake City airport since I retired in 2002. I had forgotten that their National Rental Car Emerald Aisle section is a bit behind the times. The renter does not get to pick from 20-30 low mileage cars.



We had a choice between just three cars. I picked the one with the lowest mileage at 14,000 miles. The car’s O.K., I’m just used to getting one with less than 3,000 miles on its odometer.



We’ll go with the grey National Rental Car Racing Chevy Impala. Its main drawback at this point is that it does not have an outside temperature gauge.



Friday total driving miles – 309 miles






These worldwide trackchasers are within 100 tracks (plus or minus) of my current trackchaser total.


  1. Randy Lewis, San Clemente, California – 1,084
  2. Rick Schneider – Bay Shore, New York – 1,048 (-36)
  3. Guy Smith, Effort, Pennsylvania – 1,042 (-43)
  4. Allan Brown, Comstock Park, Michigan – 1,021 (-63)*
  5. Gordon Killian, Sinking Spring, Pennsylvania – 1,018 (-66)*
  6. Andy Sivi, Clairton, Pennsylvania – 1,015 (-69)*
  7. Ed Esser, Madison, Wisconsin – 918 (-166)**


* Warning, you are within 50 tracks of being removed from this list.


** Special exemption.


The widespread use of the “*” is causing my printer cartridges to run dry much faster than they should.




Other notables 


These worldwide trackchasers are within 10 tracks (plus or minus) of Carol’s current trackchaser total.


  1. Mike Knappenberger, Reading, Pennsylvania – 279 (+9)
  2. Sammy Swindell, Bartlett, Tennessee – 278 (+8)
  3. Carol Lewis, San Clemente, California – 270
  4. Dale Danielski, Onalaska, Wisconsin – 269 (-1)
  5. Bob Schafer, Oshkosh, Wisconsin – 267 (-3)






  1. Randy Lewis, San Clemente, California – 93
  2. Ed Esser, Madison, Wisconsin – 58
  3. Roland Vanden Eynde, Vilvoorde, Belgium – 49
  4. Mike Knappenberger, Reading, Pennsylvania – 45
  5. Carol Lewis, San Clemente, California – 40
  6. Guy Smith, Effort, Pennsylvania – 37
  7. Paul Weisel, Orefield, Pennsylvania – 36
  8. Roger Ferrell, Majenica, Indiana – 35
  9. Gordon Killian, Sinking Springs, Pennsylvania – 32
  10. Allan Brown, Comstock Park, Michigan – 32




Thanks for reading about my trackchasing,

Randy Lewis

#1 Trackchaser Living West of the Mississippi


I should never care to argue for anything that would lesson the difficulty of the game because difficulty is its greatest charm. 








Long Beach, CA – Salt Lake City, UT – 589 miles



Salt Lake City International Airport – trip begins

Tooele, UT – 29 miles

Atomic City, ID – 276 miles





Miller Motorsports Park – $20

Atomic Motor Raceway – $15




Carol added two new states to her trackchasing total. She now has seen racing in 42 states. She expects to add one more new state during this trip.




RACETRACKS VISITED IN 2006 (** not the first time to visit this track)


  1. Watermelon Capital Speedway, Cordele, Georgia – January 14


  1. Cross Roads Motorplex (asphalt oval), Jasper, Florida – January 15


  1. Norfolk Scope Arena, Norfolk, Virginia – January 20


  1. Qualcomm Stadium, San Diego, California – January 21


  1. Oregon State Fair & Expo Center, Forster Livestock Arena, Salem, Oregon – January 28


  1. Morosso Motorsports Park, Jupiter, Florida – February 4


  1. Thunderbowl Speedway of Ocala, Ocala, Florida – February 4


  1. Cross Roads Motorplex (dirt oval), Jasper, Florida – February 5


1,000. Auburndale Kartway, Auburndale, Florida – February 10


1,001. Ocala Speedway (asphalt oval), Ocala, Florida – February 12


1,002. Speedworld Speedway, Surprise, Arizona – February 19


1,003. Lowe’s Motor Speedway (1/5 mile asphalt oval), Concord, North Carolina – February 25


1,004. Concord Raceway, Concord, North Carolina – February 25


1,005. Antioch Speedway, Antioch, North Carolina – February 25


1,006. Green Valley Speedway, Gadsden, Alabama – February 26


1,007. East Bay Raceway (inner oval), Gibsonton, Florida – March 17


1,008. Volusia Speedway Park West (1/6M oval), Barberville, Florida – March 18


1,009. Speedway Park, Fruitland Park, Florida – March 18


1,010. Sand Mountain Speedway (road course), Fort Meade, Florida – March 19


1,011. Anderson Motor Speedway, Anderson, South Carolina – March 31


1,012. Westminster Speedway, Westminster, South Carolina – March 31


1,013. East Lincoln Motor Speedway, Stanley, North Carolina – April 1


1,014. Margarettsville Speedway, Margarettsville, North Carolina – April 2


1,015. Sunny South Raceway, Grand Bay, Alabama – April 7


1,016. Barber Motorsports Park, Leeds, Alabama – April 8


1,017. Coldwater Raceway, Coldwater, Alabama – April 8


1,018. Talladega Short Track, Talladega, Alabama – April 8


1,019. Ballymena Raceway, Ballymena, Northern Ireland – April 14


1,020. Oulton Park, Little Budworth, England – April 15


1,021. Somerset Rebels Banger Raceway, Rooks Bridge, England – April 16


1,022. Mendips Raceway, Shipham, England – April 16


1,023. Oval Raceway, Angmering, England – April 17


1,024. Arlington Stadium, Eastbourne, England – April 17


1,025. Southside Speedway, Midlothian, Virginia – April 28


1,026. Motor Mile Speedway, Radford, Virginia – April 29


1,027. Wythe Speedway, Wytheville, Virginia – April 29


1,028. Summit Point Raceway, Summit Point Circuit, Summit Point, West Virginia – April 30


1,029. Old Dominion Speedway – inner inner oval, Manassas, Virginia – April 30


1,030. Shenandoah Speedway, Shenandoah, Virginia – May 4


1,031. Bridgeport Speedway (inner oval – front), Bridgeport, New Jersey – May 5


1,032. Empty Jug, Hawley, Pennsylvania – May 6


1,033. Oakland Valley Race Park, Cuddebackville, New York – May 6


1,034. Thunder Mountain Speedway, Center Isle, New York – May 6


1,035. Motocross 338, Southwick, Massachusetts – May 7


1,036. Glen Ridge Motorsports Park, Fultonville, New York – May 7


1,037. Calumet County Speedway, Chilton, Wisconsin – May 19


1,038. Grant County Speedway, Lancaster, Wisconsin – May 20


1,039. Blackhawk Farms Raceway, Rockton, Illinois – May 21


1,040. The Milwaukee Mile (Road course), West Allis, Wisconsin – May 21


** Angell Park Speedway, Sun Prairie, Wisconsin – May 21 (new track Carol only)


1,041. Park Jefferson Speedway, Jefferson, South Dakota – May 25


1,042. Superior Speedway, Superior, Wisconsin – May 26


1,043. Brainerd International Raceway, Brainerd, Minnesota – May 27


1,044. Canby Speedway, Canby, Minnesota – May 27


1,045. Crawford County Fairgrounds (figure 8), Denison, Iowa – May 28


1,046. Tri-State Speedway, Sisseton, South Dakota – May 29


1,047. Sheyenne River Speedway, Lisbon, North Dakota – May 29


1,048. Spring Mountain Motorsports Ranch, Pahrump, Nevada – June 3


1,049. The Bullring at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Las Vegas, Nevada – June 3


1,050. Hibbing Raceway, Hibbing, Minnesota – June 6


1,051. Buena Vista Raceway, Alta, Iowa – June 7


1,052. Lebanon Midway Speedway, Lebanon, Missouri – June 8


1,053. Rocky Top Raceway, Coal Grove, Ohio – June 9


1,054. Midvale Speedway (oval), Midvale, Ohio – June 10


1,055. Midvale Speedway (figure 8), Midvale, Ohio – June 10


1,056. Spring Valley Raceway, Millport, Ohio – June 11


1,057. Rialto Airport Speedway, Rialto, California – June 17


1,058. Lawrenceburg Speedway (figure 8), Lawrenceburg, Indiana – June 20


1,059. Lawrenceburg Speedway (temporary oval), Lawrenceburg, Indiana – June 20


1,060. Thunder Mountain Speedway, Knox Dale, Pennsylvania – June 21


1,061. State Park Speedway, Wausau, Wisconsin – June 22


1,062. Dodge County Fairgrounds Speedway, Beaver Dam, Wisconsin – June 23


1,063. Lucas Oil Speedway (oval), Wheatland, Missouri – June 24


1,064. Lucas Oil Speedway (figure 8), Wheatland, Missouri – June 24


1,065. Tri-City Speedway, Pontoon Beach, Illinois – June 25


1,066. Lake Ozark Speedway, Eldon, Missouri – June 29


1,067. Poplar Bluff Speedway, Poplar Bluff, Missouri – June 30


1,068. Indianapolis Motor Speedway (road course), Indianapolis, Indiana – July 1


1,069. Rush County Fairgrounds, Rushville, Indiana – July 1


1,070. Rock Castle Speedway, Mount Vernon, Kentucky – July 2


** Windy Hollow Speedway (oval), Owensboro, Kentucky – July 2


1,071. Heartland Park Topeka (dirt oval), Topeka, Kansas – July 3


1,072. Thunderhill Speedway, Mayetta, Kansas – July 3


1,073. Little Valley Speedway, Little Valley, New York – July 13


** Twin State Speedway (oval), Claremont, New Hampshire – July 14


1,074. Twin State Speedway (figure 8), Claremont, New Hampshire – July 14


1,075. Canaan Speedway (asphalt oval), Canaan, New Hampshire – July 14


** New Hampshire International Speedway, Loudon, New Hampshire – July 15


1,076. White Mountain Motorsports Park, North Woodstock, New Hampshire – July 15


1,077. Legion Speedway, Wentworth, New Hampshire – July 15


1,078. Devil’s Bowl Speedway, Fair Haven, Vermont – July 16


1,079. Stafford Motor Speedway, Stafford Springs, Connecticut – July 17


1,080. Little Log House Speedway, Hastings, Minnesota – July 28


** Elko Speedway (outer oval), Elko, Minnesota – July 28


** Elko Speedway (inner oval), Elko, Minnesota – July 28


** Elko Speedway (figure 8), Elko, Minnesota – July 28


1,081. Chickasaw Big Four County Fairgrounds, Nashua, Iowa – July 29


1,082. Buffalo River Speedway, Glyndon, Minnesota – July 30


1,083. Miller Motorsports Park, Tooele, Utah, – August 4


1,084. Atomic Motor Raceway, Atomic City, Idaho – August 4




Reprinted with permission from my August 4, 2006 Trackchaser Report







I am very close to announcing a sponsorship relationship that will insure the financial viability of my trackchasing hobby for years to come. I expect to make this announcement in the next 2-3 weeks. Stay tuned.









The Strategy                                                                               

This trip’s strategy is all about seeing tracks in states that Carol has never visited for trackchasing purposes. To date, Carol has seen racing in 40 different states. The plan for today is one of the most unusual doubles a trackchaser can get.



Carol was able to see a rare day/night trackchasing double on a Friday. What made this double even more unusual was that each of these two tracks was in a different state. Finally, to cap it off, the two states were both new for her. Congrats, on a great trackchasing double!



The Trip 

I don’t get to trackchase in the far west nearly as much as I would like. This weekend’s trackchasing trip will take us to Utah, Idaho and Montana. Going into this trip, I have seen 1,082 different tracks. However, only seven tracks of that total were seen in the three states we’ll visit this weekend.



Today was an extra early wake-up call for a 4:44 a.m. San Clemente departure up to the Long Beach airport. This allowed us to make a 6:45 a.m. flight to Salt Lake City. Landing before 10 a.m. would get us over to the Miller Motorsports Park for their Friday afternoon schedule.



The People

The Miller Motorsports Park is owned by Larry H. Miller. Who’s Larry Miller? Mr. Miller is a prominent Salt Lake City businessperson who is famous locally for owning the Utah Jazz. He also owns more than 40 auto dealerships as well as the Delta Center where the Jazz play their home NBA games. He can always be found watching the games from his seat directly underneath the basket at the end of the court.







This was only my second lifetime track to see in the Mormon state. Not many folks have seen very many tracks in Utah. Andy Ritter leads the state totals with only four tracks. I have moved from an 8th place tie in the state into a fourth place tie. This gives me an additional four valuable NGD points, one of my bigger gains of the season.


This was Carol’s first ever track to see in Utah. This will move her into a tie for 9th place with 17 other trackchasers. It may be difficult to split up the 9th place prize money! This was also Carol’s 269th lifetime track moving her into a 36th place tie with Dale Danielski of Onalaska, Wisconsin.






This facility is brand new. The entire western side of the track is ringed in mountains. The track’s property covers 511 acres. That’s 3.65 times the size of Disneyland. According to the track’s “Fan guide”, there is 3.6 million square feet of asphalt on the property. That’s enough to cover 81 football fields.



The main road course itself is 4.8 miles in distance. This makes it the longest road course in North America. The entire course is flat. I often say I don’t go to racetracks for the racing. However, I do go to see the cars race. If you come to the Miller Motorsports Park, you won’t really get to see the cars race.



Yes, you can technically see the cars cover about 95% of the course. However, a normally sighted spectator is unlikely to be able to make out a car’s number over more than 25-35% of the course. If I can’t even read a car’s number then that’s the break point for enjoying the races. I believe road racing is generally a good excuse to have a picnic.



We arrived at the track nearly an hour and one half before the first race. This gave us plenty of time to visit the gift shop. This is a very professional retail outlet complete with salespeople who bug you by asking, “Can I help you with something?”



Tickets were $20 for general admission and $35 for a reserved seat! That’s high especially for an HSR West road racing program. This sanctioning group is a distant second to the SCCA sanctioning group. HSR West doesn’t bring many cars to the track. They are also known to cancel or consolidate races at the last minute.



As you might imagine with a 4.8-mile racecourse, the entire place is spread out. We walked through the paddock area and the garage area, which is huge. A general admission ticket gets you into the facility but does not allow you to legally sit in any of the grandstands!



We received conflicting information from nearly every track employee we spoke too regarding where we could sit. There were nearly as many track employees controlling admission to special seating areas, as there were spectators.



I asked one young woman who was guarding the entrance to the track’s clubhouse, “Where do spectators sit.” “What do you mean ‘spectator?” was her reply. Carol had to restrain me at this point. After regaining my composure, I replied, “Spectators were people who came to watch the races.” This seemed to make things a bit clearer for her. Wow!



We did find a grandstand that was both covered (great protection from the sun) and faced the mountains. The 9-row aluminum seating area seats about 1,300 people. There were about 15-20 people sitting in the stands. The young lady protecting the entrance told us, “You can sit in the grandstand, but if someone comes with a reserved ticket for the seat you’re in, you’ll have to give up your seat to them.”



Let’s see. The grandstand seats 1,300 people. There are 15 people in this grandstand. There is really no reason to think any more people will occupy the grandstand for the rest of the afternoon and they didn’t. Yes, if I’m one of the 15 people in the stands who might be preventing someone with a reserved seat ticket from sitting in the seat they bought, I GUESS I COULD JUST MOVE OVER A SEAT OR TWO. Yes, Carol had to restrain me again!



O.K., we’ve paid $20 to get in. We were faced with a 4.8-mile road course. What type of racing would we get? The first qualifying race was for Indy style open wheeled cars. Five cars took the green flag to run a race of just six laps. Carol was really trying doing her best to restrain an irate trackchaser now.



As the most simpleton might imagine, maybe someone like the track worker who was still trying to figure out what a “Spectator” was, just five racecars can tend to get spread out over nearly a five-mile course! In fact, they did.



Each lap took about three minutes and twenty seconds to complete. That’s a long time to watch five cars. Actually four because one dropped out on the first lap of the race. We stayed for one more race. They had 14 cars in that one, again for six laps.



This is a very nice race facility. I still like the Barber Motorsports Park in Leeds, Alabama the best but today’s track is a close second. I’m sure it’s a lot of fun for the competitor’s but not for the spectator.



By the way, since everything is spread out over such a large space the track offers golf carts for rent. They had nearly 50 of the golf karts available. I asked Carol how much she thought they would rent for. Her answer, “20 dollars.” Correct answer: $3,500 per two-seat golf cart for the weekend! Yep, that right, three thousand, five hundred and no/100ths. I have a friend who just BOUGHT a fully outfitted golf cart for just $3,000!




The shape of the Indy styled cars reminded me of the Boy Scout’s Pinewood Derby cars. This track is really state of the art, especially for this geographical locale. It was great that you could see nearly the entire track. I liked the public address system.   


The crowd was really small. Maybe that was because it was a Friday. I was looking forward to getting a sno cone, but they still didn’t have their ice when we left. There must have been more than fifty eight’ by 10’ checkered flags blowing in the breeze at the track’s entrance. That was impressive.












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