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Reprinted with permission from my March 4, 2011 Trackchaser Report. 

 

 

 

THE CLASSIC TRACKCHASER REPORT

 

 

Editor’s note: This is a CLASSIC Trackchaser Report. What the heck does “Classic” mean? It’s simply a Trackchaser Report that comes from my trackchasing archives. For whatever reason (usually not enough time) it didn’t get posted to my website when I first made the track visit. Often times a classic TR will not have a video and/or photo album attached. I didn’t begin producing my YouTube videos until 2009 (YouTube channel: RANLAY). I didn’t begin writing a complete Trackchaser Report until I had seen about 430 tracks. Photo albums were sort of hit or miss during the early years of my trackchasing. Additionally, if you see a website link know that link worked when the TR was originally written. Will it work now? Your guess is as good as mine! Nevertheless, this CLASSIC Trackchaser Report has finally bubbled to the surface and is now available for everyone to see at www.randylewis.org. I hope you enjoy it.

 

 

 

I AM A TRACKCHASER

My name is Randy Lewis. I live in San Clemente, California. I am a “trackchaser”. I trackchase. Before you discovered my site had you ever heard of trackchasing? Maybe not? So….what the heck is trackchasing? Sit back, take a read and you’ll be an expert on my hobby of trackchasing when you’re finished.

 

 

Here’s my best explanation.

 

 

Trackchasing is a three-pronged hobby. I’m a racing fan. I love to travel. I love to analyze opportunities to get the most out of everything while saving time and money.

 

 

Trackchasing fills the need for all of the above. The racing part of my trackchasing has me trying to see wheel to wheel auto racing at as many different racetracks as I can all over the world. Yes, all over the world. So far things are going pretty well. As this is written, I’ve seen racing in 85 countries at more than 2,500 tracks. As a matter of fact, I’ve seen racing at more tracks than anyone else in the world.

 

 

Equally important to me are the things I get to see and experience over the “long and dusty trackchasing trail”. I call these adventures “Trackchasing Tourist Attractions”. You won’t want to miss my “Trackchasing Tourist Attractions” page. Here’s the link:  Trackchasing Tourist Attractions or my “Sports Spectating Resume” page, Sports Spectating Resume on my website at www.randylewis.org.

 

 

I live in southern California. That’s probably the most inconvenient location in the country for seeing tracks in the U.S. Most of the racetracks in the U.S. are located well over 1,000 miles from where I live. As a matter of fact, my average trip covers 5,000 miles and more. I take 35-40 of those trips each season. In any given year I will travel well over 200,000 miles, rent more than 50 cars, and stay in more than 150 hotel rooms.

 

 

I get the chance to meet people all over the world. With trackchasing trips to 85 countries and counting just getting the chance to experience so many other cultures, spend time in their homes and meet their friends is a huge reward for being in this hobby. I am indebted to several of these folks for their help and friendship.

 

 

It takes a good deal of planning to do the above and not spend my entire retirement portfolio. I enjoy the challenge, the travel and every other aspect of “trackchasing”. In reality, my trackchasing hobby is a lot like being with the carnival. I breeze into town, stay a little while and then head on down the road.

 

 

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

 

 

Randy’s Complete Track List

 

 

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

 

 

Randy on Facebook

 

 

 

 

FOREWORD

 

 

Friday, March 4, 2011.

 

 

 

DAY 1 – “TRACKCHASING’S ASSASSINS TAKE TO THE AIR” TRACKCHASING TOUR

 

 

 

TODAY’S HEADLINES

 

Has Carol achieved all of her trackchasing goals? ………..details in “The Objective & The Strategy”.

 

 

23,000 and counting……………..more in “The People”.

 

 

There is something new to see at EVERY track………..details in “Race Review”.

 

 

 

GREETINGS FROM SHREVEPORT, LOUISIANA

 

 

 

THE OBJECTIVE, THE TRIP, THE PEOPLE…AND A WHOLE LOT MORE

 

 

 

The Objective and the Strategy   

 

 

The Objective.

 

 

What is left for Carol to do in trackchasing?

This trip’s primary objective is for Carol and me to have fun.  Although I am now a part-time trackchaser, she hits the road for racing even less than I do.  You see Carol has already achieved her two most important trackchasing goals.

 

 

First, she has seen racing in all 50 states.  Only ten trackchasers have ever done that. Secondly, she has seen 400 tracks.  That is significant for one reason.  By seeing a minimum of 400 tracks, she is eligible to vote on trackchasing proposals.  As a political conservative (in real life) she accepts her responsibility to keep trackchasers from destroying the hobby.

 

 

 

 

The Strategy.

 

 

  

I’m in my “60s phase”.

The trackchasing portion of the “strategy” is to always see as many tracks as we can while spending as little time away from home as possible.  We should do that this weekend.  We leave on Friday morning and will be home in time to play with the kids and grandkids on Sunday afternoon.  Jets are a wonderful thing.

 

 

I’m in the middle of my “60s” phase.  At the beginning of this year, I turned 62 years of age.  I figure I have a good eight years of trackchasing before I turn seventy.  I’m in good health and don’t mind hitting the road on a frequent basis.

 

 

Sorting and segregating.

I have a database (proprietary, of course) that lists all of the tracks I have not seen in the U.S. and Canada.  That list includes 891 tracks.  Some 200 of them race on a regularly scheduled basis.  Don’t hold me to these numbers, they change hourly!

 

 

Editor’s note: As this classic Trackchaser Report is being published in late 2019 I have seen 965 tracks since visiting the Boothill Speedway. That’s MORE tracks than I knew even existed to be seen in the U.S. and Canada back in 2011! See above paragraph.

 

 

In order to keep going in this hobby, I’m going to have to “parcel” those tracks out over the next eight years.  If I had “perfect knowledge” I would guess that only 600-700 of these tracks are currently active.  I try to keep my lists up to date but it is definitely a moving target.

 

 

Month by month.

 

Different kinds of tracks are “seasonal” as well.  During January/February, ice racing is the most common form of racing going.  There are a few indoor shows here and there as well.  I probably don’t have 25 ice tracks or indoor shows still to see.  That means my “pickings” during January/February during the next eight years will be slim.  You probably won’t find me venturing out to the Midwest or East for just a one-track visit during a weekend.  That’s not very efficient.  In the future, the first two months of the year will be quiet for me.

 

 

March is a tough month for trackchasing.  Ice racing is finished and few outdoor tracks have opened up their seasons.  That’s why you will see the “driving” trackchasers searching high and low for somewhere to chase during this time.  March is also a very fickle weather month for outdoor racing, which is why few tracks try it.

 

 

More and more tracks, especially in the southern third of the country open up in April.  One of the things I like about trackchasing is watching the seasons change.  Where I live it’s nearly 72 degrees (sometimes 71 degrees with the wind chill) every day of the year.  When I go trackchasing I see “spring springing” as I work my way northward each weekend.

 

 

The months of May, June, July and August are the “summer” months of trackchasing.  All of the outdoor tracks are open during this time.  This is why I don’t place any “restrictions” on my trackchasing for these four months.  A novice trackchaser (with still lots of tracks to see) could probably go trackchasing almost every day from Memorial Day to Labor Day.  I once told Carol that if she would leave San Clemente on Memorial Day and go trackchasing every day with me through Labor Day, she would never HAVE to go trackchasing again.  She declined my generous offer.

 

 

Something very special happens, trackchasing wise, during the months of July and August.  This is “county fair season”.  A major portion of the 891 tracks I have not seen race just one time per year.  That’s right.  If I want to see any of these tracks run I have to be there during the three hours out of 365 days that they are active.  The county fair countable racetracks feature either figure 8 racing or “junk car” enduro racing.  It’s different.  It’s fun.  However, it is not the traditional dirt oval racing that I enjoy the most.

 

 

This brings us to September and October.  This is when the “season-ending” specials occur. Often tracks will run a two or three-day special.  This is a good way to see a “Saturday track” race on a Friday or a Sunday.  I am hampered during these two months with UCLA football games.  Carol and I are season ticket holders (section 22, row 77) at the Rose Bowl.  All games are played on Saturday.  That pretty well knocks six weekends off the trackchasing schedule, primarily in September and October.

 

 

Finally, we get to November and December.  There isn’t much racing during these two months.  Ice racing does not begin anywhere until January.  Most outdoor shows have shutdown by November 1 (my sister Becky’s birthday).

 

 

Just like with the weather trackchasing seasons are predictable.

In many ways the “seasonal” trackchasing schedule is very predictable.  I’ve been at this for a while.  I have already seen most of the exceptions to the above rules.

 

 

Despite limiting my schedule to a maximum of 34 trackchasing weekends, I should still be able to add 2-3 tracks per trip.  That will give me somewhere between 60-90 tracks each year.  If I can do that for the next eight years I will have seen virtually every active track in both the United States and Canada.  If that happens my trackchasing total will exceed an unheard of 2,000 tracks. 

 

 

It’s impossible to predict the future.  However, it is always a good idea to prepare for the future.  I’m well prepared to see those “final” 891 tracks.

 

 

 

The Trip

 

 

 

Beware of gremlins.

Our trip had us leaving the house at 4:45 a.m. on Friday morning.  I had a fairly simple trip planned for Carol and me.  When we returned on Sunday afternoon, we would drive over from the airport to play with our kids and grandkids.  It was a grand plan.

 

 

However, there is one thing I have found out about my trackchasing plans.  As soon as I commit to be somewhere at some time to others, “gremlins” invade.

 

 

The once clear weather forecast from just this past Wednesday began to cloud up for the Louisiana/Texas area.  During March that is not to be unexpected.  Nevertheless, it “wrinkled up” my trackchasing plans.

 

 

Trackchasing makes it hard to maintain commitments.

I had to phone and text daughter Kristy three times with a change in timing for Sunday’s meeting.  I reminded her that “trackchasing is not an exact science”.  With the changing weather conditions I had to change my one-way rental car plans as well as our airline reservations.

 

 

What’s the real advantage?

I’ve said it many times.  The main advantage of our “airline sponsorship” is not the cost savings.  Of course, that’s nice.  The real benefit is the ability to change an airline reservation on 60 seconds notice and hop on an airplane heading somewhere else without incurring penalties of any kind.

 

 

Rather than going to first Louisiana and then Texas, we will replace Texas with Missouri.  Missouri is offering an indoor show on Saturday night.  We can’t get rained out there right?  The Missouri option is good for another reason.  They only race there one time per year.  I would have preferred to see the Saturday night race in Texas.  It would have been much more entertaining.  Nevertheless, I have 20-25 days during 2011 where I can go back to that track.

 

 

Our flight from LAX to Dallas was wide open today.  That’s unusual for a Friday.  We have two Friday night options in Louisiana.  Unfortunately, there is some wet weather in and around the area.

 

 

There is always time for good eating.

At the very least we will get to have a special meal in Shreveport (see “Great Places to Eat Before it’s Too Late”).  I’ve been there before but I wanted Carol to have the experience.

 

 

 

The People

 

 

 

Would Facebook be worth it?

I seem to be getting an influx of “trackchasing fans” from my website.  When folks sign or view the guestbook, they are invited to “join” the Randy Lewis Racing website group.  I guess that feature is similar to “Facebook”.  I’m not a member of Facebook at this time.  I might have to change my position on that.  More and more racetracks seem to be posting their info on Facebook as opposed to having a website.  Does anybody care to give me his or her opinion of Facebook?

 

 

Everyone who joins my web group gets “first shot” at receiving my reports in living color (red, white and blue!) when they are first distributed.  Others can see them later when they are posted at www.randylewis.org

 

 

When will I hit a million?

My YouTube movies have now surpassed 23,000 views.  I realize there are clips on YouTube that have MILLIONS of views.  Most of those clips are less than a minute long or involve some celebrity.  However, most of my productions are 8-10 minutes in length.  I am honored that folks have spent about 137 total days (at nine minutes per) watching these homemade “not yet ready for the Oscars” films.

 

 

Editor’s note….again. As of late 2019, my YouTube channel (RANLAY) has nearly 1.2 million views!

 

 

 

GREAT PLACES TO EAT BEFORE IT’S TOO LATE!

 

 

 

Herby K’s – Shreveport, Louisiana

 

(Check out Herby K’s!)

 

 

We dined well.

Folks, I don’t believe one can live well or sleep well if one does not dine well.  I was lucky to grow up in a corporate culture that valued “dining well”.  We ate at the very best places without much regard to cost.  Therefore, I have had the chance to eat in many of the very best restaurants our country has to offer.  They were not always fancy.  But almost all the time they were the best in a particular city.  I still love to dine well!

 

 

A little bit of history.

Today’s offering would be “Herby K’s”.  I had been here previously during a trackchasing trip.  Herby’s is not fancy, it’s old.  Heck, they started serving Louisiana shrimp back in 1936.  That statement is as important as any when valuing a restaurant.  Anybody who has been serving food for 75 years has to be doing lots of things right.

 

 

Herby K’s is in a very rundown portion of Shreveport.  However, I wouldn’t call their neighborhood dangerous.  Every building for a few blocks except Herby K’s, for a few blocks, is boarded up!  It’s locations like this that make things interesting for me.

 

 

The original seating area for Herby K’s offer just four tables and about eight seats at the counter.  There is additional seating in a “patio” area.  Luckily, I’ve had table seating in the “old” section both times I’ve been there.  Even if you have to wait for a table I recommend that so as to enhance your overall abiotic experience.

 

 

The ‘shrimp buster’!

Herby K’s is famous for the “shrimp buster”.  The shrimp buster goes for $11.99 and offers four HUGE but thin “butterflied” shrimp.  You also get French fries and coleslaw.  Tonight I went with a bowl of the “gumbo” and a large shrimp buster that I shared with Carol.  She also chose the shrimp salad.  Her description was simple, “the shrimp were prepared in some kind of sauce and there was more shrimp than there was lettuce!”  She loved it.

 

 

The service was friendly but slow.  Hey, we’re in the south!  Probably what makes this place so memorable is the ambiance.  I love bringing friends and family to these special places I discover along the trackchasing road.  Tonight’s visit was a major culinary and touring success.

 

 

 

 

RACE REVIEW

 

 

BOOTHILL SPEEDWAY – SHREVEPORT, LOUISIANA

 

 

 

We arrived early…..really early.

We would be lucky to get tonight’s racing program in due to the threatening weather.  We arrived in the greater Shreveport area at 5 p.m.  Racing was not scheduled to begin for two more hours.  I thought it prudent to stop by the track to see what was up.

 

 

Despite it being just two hours before race time, there were only two racecars on the property.  That didn’t look good.  We stopped to ask one of the drivers if the races were still on.  When I asked, the driver looked in our car window and didn’t say a thing.  He just gave us that impression of “You folks ain’t from around here are you?”  Finally, he spoke.  “Ya, the races are on.  It’s not supposed to rain until after midnight”.  With that confirming news, we headed to “Herby K’s”.

 

 

Would they start on time?

We returned at 6:45 p.m.  It was now dark.  The races were supposed to begin in 15 minutes….according to the track’s website.  Yet, the announcer was still going through those time-honored words known to short track fans everywhere.  “Gentlemen, we need you to get your cars out for track packing right now.”  Of course, this message was repeated several times while we sat in the car.

 

 

Early in the day, I had signed up to get “tweets” from the track regarding the weather situation.  I had never done that before.  That’s what will make the Boothill Speedway unique in my memory.  At first, the tweeting news came every couple of hours.  Once we were at the track the messages changed.  They kept telling their readers that “the races were on and it wasn’t going to rain”.  Later during the race program, they tweeted the results from every race we were seeing.

 

 

My radar system showed rain nearby.

My iPhone weather radar confirmed most of weather info I was being tweeted.  It did show massive amounts of “green” on the radar just 20-30 miles to the south of the track.  That was too close for comfort for me.  With threatening weather why wasn’t the track showing more of a “can do now” attitude?

 

 

Despite the track’s website saying that racing was to begin at 7 p.m. as you might have guessed it did not.  The announcer called for the driver’s meeting to begin in the pit area at 7:15 p.m.  Oh, my!  Promoters can’t you get your meetings done on your own time?  After 7 p.m. is the FAN’S time!

 

 

However, this track did have their act together.

The first hot lap session (practice) did not take place until 7:36 p.m.  Is that any way to run a railroad when Mother Nature is ready to spit on you?  There were only about 45 cars in the pit area.  The track was efficient is wrapping up practice.  There were no time trials (thank goodness).  The national anthem was playing at just past 8 p.m.  Maybe to this track promoter “racing,” meant practice.  Even giving them this benefit of the doubt they were still behind schedule when everyone knew rain could come and cancel the program.

 

 

Tonight’s most prolific division (20 cars) was the factory stocks.  This was my first outdoors “normal” racing event of the season.  Everything else I have seen this year (17 tracks) was either an indoor race, racing on ice or go-kart racing.  I don’t consider that “normal” racing, although I do respect the competitive aspect of those competitions.

 

 

Tonight’s racetrack was being conducted on a 3/8-mile semi-banked dirt oval.  The pit area was located beyond the backstretch and turns one and two.  The grandstand was large.  It spanned the entire front stretch.  The seating was made of poured concrete.  This reminded me we should have brought our foam rubber seat cushions.  That rough concrete was hard on the butt!

 

 

The track was efficient in running their 6-7 car heat races.  The factory stocks ran three heats.  The modifieds brought about 12 cars for two heats.  The other divisions of limited modifieds, beginners and cruisers had only enough racers for one heat.  I was happy to see the heat races completed by 8:45 p.m.

 

 

The track then went to a short intermission.  The announcer provided a short but welcoming mention for a visiting trackchaser from California.  That’s always nice.

 

 

It’s feature time.

The 17-car factory stock feature was up first.  They put on a competitive 20-lap race with lots of passing and banging.  That’s what stock car racing should be about.  Fans want to see passing and/or banging.  I do too.

 

 

We stayed for the limited modified and beginners’ class feature events.  Since they started just five and three cars respectively, they weren’t much.  Overall, this was a good way to get “our feet wet” on what could have been a disastrous weather night for racing.

 

 

Our hotel was located just ten miles from the track.  It would be good to get a full eight hours sleep.  This morning we had left California at 4:45 a.m.  Tomorrow we will have nearly 500 miles of driving to our next track.  At least we won’t get rained out there.  It’s indoors!

 

 

 

 

STATE COMPARISONS

 

 

Louisiana

This evening I saw my seventh track in the Pelican state, yes, the Pelican state.  That gives me a fourth-place ranking here.  Wisconsin’s Ed Esser leads with 16 Louisiana tracks.  I trail both John Moore and Robert Helmick who have seen 14 tracks down in the Bayou.  Some thirty-four trackchasers have pursued the hobby here.

 

 

I show just five tracks remaining to be seen for me in Louisiana.  All five of them race on a regularly scheduled basis.  I can get to most of these by flying into Dallas or New Orleans.

 

 

 

Coming Soon – RLR – Randy Lewis Racing Exclusive Features!

 

My review of the Apple iPhone trackchasing “app” Track Guide powered by the National Speedway Directory.

 

 

How is the transition going from unofficial trackchasing commissioner Will White to his successor?

 

 

National Geographic Diversity season results for 2010 will be posted by March 15, 2011.

 

 

 

Thanks for reading about my trackchasing,

 

Randy Lewis

World’s #1 Trackchaser

Louisiana sayings:  We’re Not ALL Drunk Cajun Wackos, But That’s Our Tourism
Campaign

 

 

 

TRAVEL DETAILS

 

AIRPLANE

Los Angeles, CA (LAX) – Dallas, TX (DFW) – 1,237 miles

 

 

RENTAL CAR #1

Dallas-Ft. Worth International Airport – trip begins

Shreveport, LA – 236 miles

 

 

 

TRACK ADMISSION PRICES:

Boothill Speedway – $10 (no senior discounts)

 

 

 

COMPARISONS

 

 

 

 

LIFETIME TRACKCHASER COMPARISONS 

 

 

There are no trackchasers currently within 200 tracks of my lifetime total.

 

  1. Randy Lewis, San Clemente, California – 1,630

 

  1. Ed Esser, Madison, Wisconsin – 1,352

 

  1. Guy “The Kid” Smith, Effort, Pennsylvania – 1,345

 

 

 

 

Official end of the RLR – Randy Lewis Racing Trackchaser Report

 

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

Herby K’s and a night at the Boothill Speedway

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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