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Chowchilla Speedway plus three!

Chowchilla, California

Greetings from Chowchilla, California

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From the travels and adventures of the 

“World’s #1 Trackchaser”

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chowchilla speedway sign

Chowchilla Speedway

Outer dirt oval

Lifetime Track #408

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The track ambulance was here just in case.

Chowchilla Barn Burner – Big Barn

Indoor dirt oval

Lifetime Track #1,526

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chowchilla inner oval

Chowchilla Fairgrounds and Events Center

Inner dirt oval

Lifetime Track #2,216

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chowchilla-stock-appearing-winner

Chowchilla Barn Burner – Small Barn

Indoor dirt oval

Lifetime Track #2,289

The EventBarn Burner 2016 - Small Barn Chowchilla Fairgrounds & Events Center 2016 Barn Burner 2010 - Big Barn Video PlusPhotos

 

 

 

THE EVENT

 

 

2000 plus 39

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

 

 

Randy’s Complete Track List

 

 

I have now seen racing on four different track configurations at the Chowchilla-Madera County Fairgrounds.   Those visits were separated by a good deal of time. My first visit came all the way back in 2000. I returned in 2010 and then again in May, 2016 and lastly in November, 2016.  You’ll be able to click on the various tabs to see how those trips went.

 

 

My first ever Chowchilla race event came on March 25, 2000. The permanent quarter-mile banked dirt oval was my 408th lifetime track. I didn’t begin writing my famous Trackchaser Reports until I had seen about 430 tracks. That visit to Chowchilla just missed the cut off!

 

 

I did attend that race with son J.J. He and I saw Dave Byrd win the feature race. That was a solo trip to Chowchilla for the weekend. Just five days later I was down in Texas adding tracks to my lifetime trackchasing resume.  Don’t miss the stories, pictures and videos from each of my memorable Chowchilla trips.  Now if they would just run a figure 8 race or something on a road course I would be back in a heartbeat!

 

 

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!

 

 

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Randy on Facebook

 

 

 

ON THE WAY TO THE RACES

 

 

now-later-spur-of-the-moment

People often ask me how far in advance I plan my trackchasing trips. Of course, that depends on the trip. More times than not my trips are a spur of the moment decision. Actually, I often change my plans on just a few minutes notice based upon travel opportunities, weather and the unpredictability of race scheduling.

 

 

That was certainly the case today. On about 10 minutes notice I made the final decision to drive from San Clemente up to Chowchilla, California. I have a long history with racing at Chowchilla. It dates back some 16 years.

 

 

chowchilla speedway sign

I’ve seen three countable racing configurations at the Chowchilla–Madera County Fairgrounds. My first trip was back in 2000. On that occasion I saw racing on their permanent quarter mile dirt oval (track #408).

 

 

Then in 2010 I returned to Chowchilla during the winter to see racing in their “Big Barn” (track #1,526). This was a huge covered building with open-air sides.

 

 

Chowchilla kart racing 2

Earlier this year, in 2016, I drove up to Chowchilla to see racing on a temporary inner dirt oval configuration (track #2,216) at the fairgrounds. The caged outlaw kart racing there was fun to watch.

 

 

The people who organize the caged kart racing during the winter have been racing at the fairgrounds for years. I knew that Sanders Motorsports headed by my buddy Evan Sanders and his brother Terry were holding races again this winter. However I didn’t give it much thought. I figured they were racing at the same location (Big Barn) that I had seen in 2010.

 

 

barn-burner-poster

Then….I got a message from Evan asking me to come up and watch the winter races.  He was touting the 2016 Barn Burner “Turkey Night” Double Header.  Of course as a trackchaser I rarely return to the vast majority of tracks that I have visited. With all the new tracks on my schedule there just isn’t time to do that. However Evan had new news for me. They were racing in a different building on the fairgrounds.

 

 

rules 2

I won’t take you much into the maze of trackchasing rules or how the rules were developed. I wasn’t there. I didn’t have any part in setting up the rules. I can only make conjecture regarding what the thinking was at the time.

 

 

hillbilly-33

I do know this. A dramatic majority of the voters were from the East Coast. They were mainly single white males. It seems to me that the rules favored the kinds of racing that these men were already seeing.

 

 

They had never seen a lot of flat kart racing. They hadn’t seen much drag racing or probably any off-road racing at the time. They were oval racing people. Virtually none of these folks had any children in their own family. Maybe that’s why racing with younger drivers was banned. Again, I can only guess as to how the rules were developed. However, as someone once told me, “If it walks like a duck and sounds like a duck, then it’s a duck”.

 

 

Virtually all indoor racing is done on temporary tracks. When the racers show up the indoor facility morphs into a racetrack. However, the very next week the rodeo, or flower show or dog show could be in town. The racetrack goes away for most of the year to accommodate all kinds of other activities at your typical indoor complex.

 

 

The counting of multiple temporary tracks of the same configuration (oval, road course or figure 8) is not allowed on the same property by trackchasing rules. I’m actually responsible for that rule. It’s one of several “Randy Rules”. “Randy Rules” are rules specifically added after the “ruling elite” within the trackchasing hobby determined I was exploiting the existing rules. I guess I could be called the Chad Knaus of trackchasing.

 

 

founding fathers

Nevertheless, trackchasing’s founding fathers came up with the idea that if one temporary track was in one building this year and another building next year BOTH temporary tracks could count. You can look at the historical trackchasing lists of the people involved. You will see that multiple temporary tracks were only counted by trackchasing’s founding fathers…..who lived on the east coast. Folks, I don’t make this stuff up. I only comment on it.

 

 

So a trackchaser cannot count two temporary configurations, ovals in this case, on the same property if they are both outdoors unless they are in operation at the same time. That’s not very likely is it? However, if the two different temporary ovals are on the same property and race at different times and operate in two different buildings indoors then they both count! I never understood the logic of that rule. What difference should it make if the two temporary tracks were indoors or outdoors?

 

 

Nevertheless, just because I don’t agree with a particular rule doesn’t mean that I avoid using those rules to my advantage. Trackchasing is an ultracompetitive hobby. If you don’t avail yourselves to whatever the rules are you stand the risk of falling behind.

 

 

It was going to be a 650-mile round-trip drive up to Chowchilla. I wouldn’t want to make that drive for nothing. I had to absolutely confirm that the building where I saw racing in 2010 was NOT where they were racing tonight. How was I going to objectively determine if there were in fact two different buildings being used?

 

 

Wait just one moment please. It wasn’t that I didn’t trust what Evan Sanders was telling me. It’s just that track promoters don’t understand the rules of trackchasing. I do. It’s sort of like going to your doctor and then seeking a second opinion.

 

 

I came up with a clever way to get the answer to this particular question. First I went back to the photographs I had taken during my 2010 visit. I took a very close look at the ceiling of the building they used then.

 

 

From those photos I could see a series of skylights. I could see the pattern of the skylights. Then I opened up Google Earth and looked at the Chowchilla–Madera Fairgrounds from an aerial view.

 

 

aerial-two-barns-chowchilla-fairgrounds

By comparing my photographs with Google Earth I could definitely confirm that the racing I had seen in 2010 was in the “Big Barn” building. With Evan’s information that they were now racing in the “Small Barn” I was 100% convinced that the racing in 2016 would be in a totally different building that what I had seen in 2010.

 

 

With my detective work complete, and still a few days before the race, I placed the Chowchilla trackchasing visit in the tentative category. ‪ On Friday morning I would make my final decision following my power walk along the shores of the Pacific Ocean.

 

 

I had to decide if going up to Chowchilla on Friday or Saturday night would be best. In all likelihood whichever day I chose I wasn’t going to get back to San Clemente ‪until 3 a.m. in the morning and maybe later.

 

 

As big UCLA fans we hung out with legendary basketball coach John Wooden whenever we could.

Carol and I had already confirmed a Sunday UCLA basketball game. The Bruins were playing in the Wooden Legacy tournament at the Honda Center in Anaheim, California.

 

 

By the way lots of people think my only hobby is trackchasing. Why? Because they only read about my trackchasing exploits via social media. However, in point of fact, every year more than half of all of the nights I travel are spent with activities that are not part of trackchasing.

 

 

I couldn’t know until late tonight, Friday, when the Bruins would play on Sunday. It was all dependent upon whether or not they could beat the Nebraska Cornhuskers in tonight’s game. If they somehow lost they would play much earlier on Sunday than if they won. Getting home ‪at 3 a.m. on early ‪Sunday morning from a Saturday night trackchasing visit would not fit very well with an ‪11 a.m. Sunday morning basketball game. Folks, if you have not noticed this yet there is a lot that goes into my logistical decision-making! All of the above pointed me in the direction of making the drive up to Chowchilla today, Friday.

 

 

I quickly called the National Car Rental Company. On an hour’s notice they reserved a full-sized automobile for me. The price would be $45 for a day. Just a couple of weeks ago when Carol and I went to Ventura we rented a car from the John Wayne aka Orange County Airport for just $27. I guess the demand was higher for Thanksgiving weekend.

 

 

Even paying $45 for a rental car was going to be a steal. I would be earning about $60 in credits for future rentals with National with this rental. That more than paid for the car right there. Additionally by renting a car I would save about $25 in gasoline expense compared to taking the Carol Lewis owned and MFunds sponsored Lexus RX 350.

 

 

You know that I don’t like to use my car for trackchasing. Trackchasing miles wear out cars much too fast. Unless you drive a beater ruining a new car by trackchasing will be a very expensive venture. With the National sponsorship credits, the gasoline savings and no wear and tear on my own car it was a no-brainer to rent.

 

 

There is something that anyone who is retired, doesn’t have their spouse supporting them and is no longer working for money will come to understand. What’s that? When I was working I could work a little bit harder and earn a little bit more money. However I have not worked for money for nearly 15 years.

 

 

retirement next exit

Let’s think about your own personal financial situation for just a second. What if you had not earned a single dime during the past 15 years? Where would you be?

 

 

Here’s another question for the reader to ponder. When you retire you will obviously have no more job income. Will you be prepared to live for 15 years in retirement or maybe even twice that long or more without any job income? These are questions that need to be answered now rather than later. Later will be too late.

 

 

The Southern California area is home to 23 million people. Considering that Southern California, in the Los Angeles general area, is about 120 miles from north to south and maybe 40-60 miles from east to west that’s a lot of folks.

 

 

The Southern California basin is separated from central California by a very rugged set of mountainous terrain. To get from the southern part of California to the central portion requires a drive over the “Grapevine”. Going into today I had seen racing at 153 different racetracks in California. Probably 80% of those track visits took me up and over the grapevine. During the rainy winter months the grapevine can be closed by snowfall.

 

 

grapevine-scenery

The Southern California rainy season runs from roughly November through March or April. The southern part of the state gets less rain than the northern part. With this being late November we haven’t had much rain. There haven’t been any weather problems with the grapevine. There were none today.

 

 

chrysler-300-rental-car-chowchilla

I drove my own car up to the John Wayne airport. I parked it there at no charge. I have a 100% parking sponsorship at SNA. I picked up my rental car at the airport. I chose a beautiful nearly brand-new white Chrysler 300. It was almost if I would be driving myself to Chowchilla and back in a big white limousine. It was comforting to know that this “limo” was going to give me a little bit more than 32 miles per gallon fuel mileage. Remember, I’m still looking for a gasoline sponsor!

 

 

I was using my Waze GPS system as I almost always do. The Waze programming can anticipate traffic delays on the route ahead. When it sees a delay it moves me from one freeway to another. Despite lots of visitors being in town for the Thanksgiving holidays I got through Los Angeles and over the grapevine with absolutely no problems whatsoever.

 

 

With my decision to go trackchasing I would be missing tonight’s broadcast of the UCLA-Nebraska basketball game. That was a problem. However, on the drive up to the racetrack I simply used my iPhone to remotely program my DVR. Then when I get home I’ll watch the game. Isn’t technology great?!

 

 

California is probably the most diverse state in terms of its topography, economic prowess and people of any in the union. I was reminded of this as I drove through central California today.

 

 

vineyards-2

I doubt that most people know that central California is home to seven of the biggest 10 agricultural counties in the United States. People think of the Midwest as having large farms with corn crops that go on forever. However it is the central valley of the Golden state that has a climate that can support often times two crops in a year. That’s what makes California agriculture so so valuable. Corn sells for about three bucks a bushel. California’s grapes (above), almonds, etc. bring in a lot more than that. When you drive through the central valley you see trucks continuously moving produce no matter what month of the year.

 

 

During the summer months, from roughly May through the end of September, the central valley is horribly hot during the day. Temperatures routinely hit 100° and more every day for four or five months. However in the winter-time it gets a little bit colder than Southern California. Tonight’s temperatures at the fairgrounds would probably be around 50° at race time. By the end of the night I expected the thermometer to drop into the low 40s. No matter where you’re at during the wintertime, temperatures can get very coolish in California. Of course “coolish” is relative. Compared to just about any place else in the country 50° is downright balmy ‪at 8 p.m. at night in late November.

 

 

On the drive up to the track I took advantage of a great “Black Friday” deal. Son J.J. had forwarded a message about a special season-ticket opportunity for UCLA basketball games.

 

 

ucla basketball

Through the first five games of the season UCLA is averaging more than 100 points a game. They have a very good team this year. The special Black Friday offer was advertising admission to all nine Pacific-12 conference basketball games for the lowly price of just $69 per seat. That was nine games at legendary Pauley Pavilion against some of the best competition in the country. That was a smoking hot deal!

 

 

I pulled over to the side of the road and snagged two of those season tickets. Carol and I can use some of them. J.J. will you some. If we attend just five of the nine games in total we would be paying only $15 a person. That about 1/3 of the normal price. Once inside we would use our “opportunistic” skills to garner the best available seats in the house. If you need me to explain what I mean by that statement then you were mistakenly judged to be intelligent enough to receive these reports.

 

 

 

THE RACING

 

 

chowchilla-small-barn-first-view

I arrived at the Chowchilla–Madera County Fairgrounds at about 6:30 p.m. It was already dark. I knew it going to get chilly. I broke tradition and wore blue jeans aka big boy pants.

 

 

chowchilla-small-barn-pano

Tonight I would be seeing “indoor” racing. The building that created this indoor racing had a huge roof supported by several steel columns. However there were no walls to the building. This is a common form of architecture at many of our nation’s county fairgrounds.

 

 

chowchilla-large-barn

As mentioned I had already seen dirt oval racing at the larger building of this design at this fairgrounds back in 2010. Tonight’s building, although very similar, was a bit smaller. It was just 50 yards or so from the building (above) where I had seen the 2010 competition.

 

 

chowchilla-clones

Tonight there would be exclusively kart racing. Two of the classes were winged karts. There were four flat kart divisions. The one and only karting division that met trackchasing’s somewhat (but not always) stringent rules were the “500” winged outlaw karts.

 

 

chowchilla-concessions

You’re not going to want to miss the Phanfare photo album or the YouTube video. The racing was great. It was intense.  When there was a lull in the action folks went over to the concession stand.  They were brewing up all kinds of warm things to eat and drink over there.

 

 

Although in my mind (remember, I am not a farmer) tonight’s building was not a “barn” the two-day Friday/Saturday racing show was called the “Battle of the Barn”. Sanders Motorsports promotes these shows. They started their season in October. I didn’t even know about them racing in the “small barn”. They will run all the way through early March in this “indoor” setting.

 

 

chowchilla-beginner-flat-kart

I have come to enjoy a go-kart racing. I will tell you that tonight’s racing was some of the best that I’ve seen anywhere. One of the best spectator aspects was that fans could stand right up against the railing and be within a few feet of the racing action. Yes, you got pelted with mud balls in the turns but so what.

 

 

The dirt oval surface was moist. There wasn’t a speck of dust all night. The track was only minorly banked in the turns. I’m guessing the banking was 1-2 degrees.

 

 

I have no idea what the track’s distance was. I’ll go out on a limb and guess that it might have been 1/10 of a mile. Tonight there was qualifying for each division as well as one heat race and a feature for each class. A couple of the classes, including the winged outlaw karts, had a “shuffle” competition.

 

 

A shuffle? I had never heard of such a thing. With the winged outlaw karts five of the thirteen drivers came out for the shuffle. They raced two at a time with the winner advancing against the next competitor. Since there was no announcer I had no idea why these five races were picked or what winning the shuffle meant.

 

 

By the way I wish more kart tracks had an announcer. Most don’t. I don’t know why. Maybe it’s because karting in more competitor driven than spectator driven. Ya, maybe that’s it.

 

 

chowchilla-flat-kart-close-up

I spent some time talking to one of the kart owners. He had an entry in the stock appearing flat kart division. He told me the entry fee was $50, which included a pit pass for the driver. His kart was being driven by a driver was 14 years of age. He told me they won about $100 with a feature victory recently.

 

 

chowchilla-kart-racing-team-w-trailer

I would highly recommend that you take a look at the video from tonight’s racing. If you do you’re going to see some very competitive, fast and generally clean racing amongst all of the divisions.  One more point.  These kart racers take things seriously.  You can tell that by looking at some of the racing rigs in the pit area.

 

 

chowchilla-hay-bales-small-barn

The entire perimeter crash wall for tonight’s track was a series of hay bales stacked two-three high. There were a few occasions where some of the cars got into the hay bales taking some wild rides.

 

 

I’m not sure what the minimum age for racers was tonight. There was one winged kart driver who had his throttle stick. When the yellow flag came out for a separate accident all of the other cars slowed down dramatically except for this one hapless driver.

 

 

He was totally out of control like a car going 65 miles an hour might be in a 25 mile an hour school speed zone. A quick thinking race director pulled his quad out in front of the out of control race car. There was a solid collision. That was probably the best course of action compared to the driver with a stuck throttle hitting any bystanders.

 

 

chowchilla-little-driver

I was surprised to see how small and young the driver was who had the throttle problem. He couldn’t have been much more than 3 feet tall and maybe five or six years of age. I’ll bet he didn’t weigh more than 35 pounds. Check out the photo of this youngster walking dejectedly back to the pit area. What a great way to learn about competition so early in life!

 

 

chowchilla-43-degrees

Luckily I was able to park my car within 30 yards from where the racers pushed off onto the track. During breaks in the action I retreated to the car to warm up. When I left the fairgrounds tonight after the very last race had received the checkered flag it was a cool 43°.

 

 

 

I don’t wear long pants very often. However, I’ve got a really good weather app on my iPhone called Weather Underground. If it tells me a day in advance that the low temperature is going to be 43° then it’s going to be somewhere in the range of 42 to 44°. The app is extremely accurate. Forty degrees normally means it’s time to forego my golfing trousers.

 

 

chowchilla-500s-racing-1

Evan Sanders of Sanders Motorsports has been my main contact for the racing up here in Chowchilla. Evan was busily working the pit area tonight. I didn’t have a chance to say hello. I will thank him now for reminding me they were racing this weekend and that they were racing in a building different from what I have seen in 2010.

 

 

chowchilla-winged-outlaws-racing

Tonight I was seeing my 154th lifetime track in California. This brings my overall worldwide total to 2,289 tracks.

 

 

 

AFTER THE RACES

 

 

chrysler-getting-gas-chowchilla

I really enjoyed driving the National Car Rental Racing Chrysler 300 on this 600-mile round-trip drive up to Chowchilla and back. Although this car does not have a very good reliability rating most of the ones I get have less than 10,000 miles on them. When they are that new it’s very unlikely that there will be a breakdown of any sort. Right now the Chrysler 300 might be my most favorite rental car choice in what is considered the full sized category.

 

 

I had left my home at about 11 a.m. today. I was back in my bed in San Clemente by 3 a.m. During the 16-hour trip I had driven about 660 miles. I was at the racetrack for about three hours. I was very pleased with the day.

 

 

There was a time when the trackchasing season shut down at the end of September or maybe early October. It didn’t get going again until late March or early April. However when the trackchasing hobby became hyper-competitive trackchasing became a 12-month year-round hobby.

 

 

With that in mind I’m going to have a very busy month of December with trackchasing. There’s a strong likelihood that I will add two new trackchasing countries to my resume. I might also see a couple of indoor programs that are a long way from California. I’ll keep you posted. Stay tuned.

 

 

 

 

california map 42

California

 

 

The Golden state

This evening I saw my 154th lifetime track in the Golden state, yes the Golden state. I’ve seen more tracks in California than any other state.

 

 

Thanks for reading about my trackchasing,

 

Randy Lewis

World’s #1 Trackchaser

Peoria Old Timers Racing Club (P.O.R.C.) Hall of Fame Member 

 

California thinking: 

You’ve asked someone, “Why do you live there?”

 

A pissed off Rhode Islander came up to me one afternoon. “God you Californians suck so bad!” I asked her why. “Whenever I say I’m from Rhode Island, they just ask me why. Like, why do I live somewhere that isn’t California.” I tried to sympathize, but honestly, I have no idea why anyone would want to live in Rhode Island.

 

 

 

QUICK FACTS

 

 

TRACK ADMISSION PRICES:

Chowchilla-Madera Fairgrounds – Small Barn – To be honest I didn’t pay anything.  I wasn’t being dishonest.  When I arrived I simply drove into the pit area.  There wasn’t anyone selling tickets where I was.  I doubt that the boys who run Sanders Motorsports would want to charge me anyway.

 

 

LIFETIME TRACKCHASER COMPARISONS 

The three most important trackchasing comparisons to me are:

 

Total lifetime tracks seen

 

Total “trackchasing countries” seen

 

Lifetime National Geographic Diversity results

 

 

 

Total Lifetime Tracks

There are no trackchasers currently within 565 tracks of my lifetime total. Don’t blame me.

 

  1. Randy Lewis, San Clemente, California – 2,289

 

 

randy world's #1 trackchaser hat

 

Total Trackchasing Countries

There are no trackchasers currently within 10 countries of my lifetime total.

 

  1. Randy Lewis, San Clemente, California – 70

 

 

Current lifetime National Geographic Diversity results

 

  1. Randy Lewis, San Clemente, California – 4.47

 

 

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

 

 

ON THE WAY TO THE RACES

 

 

question mark 49

 

Will you answer the question?

This is going to be another interesting trackchasing weekend. If you are a racing fan I would like to ask you a simple question. When you finish reading my tales from this weekend I have a question for you. It’s a simple question. Have you ever gone on a racing trip like this?

 

 

Airport. No airplane ride.

When most people drive to the airport they get on a plane and fly away. I normally do it that way as well. Not this time!

 

 

san clemente pier 3

I woke up this morning in our modest seaside cottage overlooking the Pacific Ocean. I did a little exercise down at the beach. Then I conversed for a few minutes with one of my buddies from Bosnia and Herzegovina. Right now he’s a test driver racing at some of the biggest and well-known road courses in Europe. He’s one of my primary Eastern European trackchasing advisers. It’s fun to have friends all over the world. I would do just about anything for them and they would for me as well. Those are the best friends to have.

 

 

Let’s get this party started.

Soon it was time to hop in the Carol Lewis owned and MFunds sponsored Lexus RX 350. The drive to Los Angeles International Airport would cover 65 miles. I parked the car in our fully sponsored airport parking garage.

 

 

However, I was not going to fly anywhere from LAX today. I was here to pick up a rental car. I would be driving that rental car more than 400 miles. At day’s end I would drop the car off in Oakland, California. I had until 6 a.m. tomorrow morning to make that happen.

 

 

Infamous.

Along the way I would stop in Chowchilla, California. You may or may not remember 1976 Chowchilla school bus kidnapping. Here’s what Wikipedia said about this crime:

 

 

“On July 15, 1976, twenty-six children and their bus driver were kidnapped in Chowchilla, California, by armed men who blocked the highway around 4:00 pm. The students, who were attending Dairyland Elementary School for summer school, were being dropped off on their way back from a field trip at the Chowchilla fairgrounds’ swimming pool. The kidnappers hid the bus in a drainage slough and drove the children and bus driver around in two vans for 11 hours, eventually taking them to a quarry in Livermore, California. There, the kidnappers imprisoned the victims inside a buried moving van with a small amount of food and water, and a number of mattresses.

 

 

After many hours, bus driver Frank Edward “Ed” Ray and the children stacked the mattresses, enabling some of them to reach the opening at the top of the truck, which had been covered with a metal plate and weighed down with two 100–pound industrial batteries. They wedged the lid open with a stick, Ray moved the batteries, and they removed the remainder of the debris that blocked the entrance. After 16 hours underground, they emerged and walked to the quarry’s guard shack near the Shadow Cliffs East Bay Regional Park. All were in good condition.”

 

 

And what happened to the perpetrators?

 

 

“The truck was registered to the quarry owner’s son, Frederick Newhall Woods IV. Under hypnosis the bus driver remembered the license number of one of the vans. Woods was arrested after fleeing to Vancouver, Canada. His accomplices, Richard and James Schoenfeld, surrendered to authorities in California. (James was caught shortly before he was able to do so.)

 

 

The kidnappers had been unable to phone in their ransom demand because telephone lines to the Chowchilla Police Department were tied up by media calls and families searching for their children. A draft ransom note was also found. Some details of the crime corresponded to details in “The Day the Children Vanished”, a story by Hugh Pentecost that was published in Alfred Hitchcock’s Daring Detectives (1969). A copy of this book was in the Chowchilla public library, and police theorized that it had inspired the kidnappers.

 

 

All three were sentenced to life in prison. Richard Schoenfeld was released in 2012. James Schoenfeld was paroled August 7, 2015.

 

 

Frederick Woods was denied parole on November 19, 2015 because he continued to minimize his crime and had disciplinary problems, including possession of a cell phone, pornography, and photos of naked children. He will not be eligible for another parole hearing for three years. Similar problems were noted at his 2012 parole hearing. Woods was married twice while in prison.”

 

 

I guess “life in prison” ain’t what is used to be. And now you know the rest of the story.

 

 

151 x

A brand new discovery.

I only recently discovered this “fair race” was being held on the grounds of the Chowchilla Fairgrounds and Events Center. Tonight I was planning on seeing my 151st different racetrack in the Golden State.

 

 

This would not be my first trackchasing trip to Chowchilla. I have made previous visits in 2000, 2010 and now 2016. They did run a figure 8 race here several years ago. However, I never made it to that one.

 

 

Today I would walk a bit more than two miles from the parking garage over to the National Car Rental location at LAX. This was all part of my aerobic exercise program. It supplemented my elliptical trainer workout a few hours before that.

 

 

A nice road car.

I have begun to like the Chrysler 300 as a rental car. It’s big and luxurious. This car doesn’t get the mileage of my all-time favorite the Hyundai Sonata but it has a nice freeway ride.

 

 

If I told you…..no, I can’t.

The National Car Rental Company was providing sponsorship for my rental car today. I’ll pick it up in Los Angeles and drop it in Oakland, California. Normally a one-way rental like that would be very expensive. If I told you how much I paid today I might jeopardize my sponsorship with National so I won’t do that. I will say this. If you had a $10 bill, rented a car for a one-way drive from LAX to Oakland and got some change you might want to get the sponsorship program I have. Did I say too much?

 

 

This was annoying.

I did have one minor problem with the Chrysler 300. It was nearly as much user error on my part as anything else. Apparently the person who had the car before me used the navigation and didn’t quite complete the trip they had entered into the “nav” system.

 

 

When I got the car I didn’t plan to use the car’s navigation system. My iPhone does that particular job for me. Off I went from LAX. However the car was directing me to some unknown southern location. At every freeway exit it told me to get off and turn around. OMG.

 

 

The Chrysler nav system does not allow for adjustments to the navigation while the car is moving. I was on a roll and didn’t want to stop to fix this problem. Therefore, for the next 60 miles, I endured a female voice telling me to get off at the next exit. I heard that message about 40 times. Finally when it was time to grab a little lunch I corrected the problem. This was minorly annoying but not annoying enough to make me take action until I did.

 

 

 

 

 

THE RACING

 

 

chowchilla kart racing

Chowchilla Fairgrounds and Events Center – Chowchilla, California

 

 

I go to the top.

A couple days ago I first made contact with tonight’s promoter Evan Sanders. Evan also promotes the indoor kart races at Chowchilla Barn Burner indoor track. That’s the permanent location for their winter indoor series.

 

 

When I arrived at the track I paid my $10 pit admission fee. I also took the time to look up Evan and introduce myself. It’s always a good idea to know the top people at these racing organizations.

 

 

More new track opportunities!

After meeting Evan I took a walk around the pits. I met several of the drivers and car owners with the winged outlaw kart class. During these meetings I became aware of another track in California hosting winged outlaw karts.

 

 

Not appropriate?

It would not be appropriate to share that information at this point. Why? There are actually a couple of reasons. One is that trackchasing is a very competitive hobby. The people who say it isn’t are the most competitive. Go figure. Everyone will learn about this track’s details after I visit there.

 

 

I have an additional reason for not sharing the details of that track. What if I told people about this track and they made plans to visit. If their visit wasn’t a complete success I couldn’t live with myself. I would feel responsible for “recommending” something to others than I had not tried myself. No one should do that right?

 

 

The tracks of Chowchilla.

Tonight’s kart track would be an inner oval to the currently defunct quarter-mile dirt track that sits directly in front of the covered county fair grandstand. Of course it wouldn’t take all that much to make the quarter-mile track operational. It’s still there it just hasn’t been used in a couple of years based upon its appearance.

 

 

chowchilla fair sign

Hot laps started at 5:30 p.m. It was 70° with the wind blowing away from the grandstand. I planned to watch most of the racing from the grandstand when we got into the heats and features. This would also give me the opportunity to check out the fair.

 

 

When it’s all over….but it’s not all over yet.

When the races are finished I will make the two hour drive over to the Oakland International Airport. I suspect I won’t get there until after midnight. That’s not a problem. I have until tomorrow morning’s 6 a.m. flight to get things organized. There won’t be enough time to get a hotel. Somewhere between here and there I’ll lean back the driver’s seat of the National Car Rental Racing Chrysler 300 and grab as much sleep as I can. Remember you’re going to tell me at the end of this weekend trackchasing trip if you’ve ever gone racing like this?

 

 

chowchilla kart racing pano

This was “on the gas” racing.

I really enjoyed tonight’s racing. It was some of the most “on the gas” go-kart racing I have ever seen. I don’t know what Trackchasing Founding Fathers were thinking when they decided to not count go-kart racing. Of course hindsight is 20/20 isn’t it?

 

 

chowchilla kart track pano 3

What did bull riding have to do with tonight’s track?

I learned some interesting information at the driver’s meeting. It seems as if last night’s bull riding event at the fair went until 1 a.m. At 2 a.m. the race track crew went to work and created tonight’s small flat inner oval. They finished their work at about 5 a.m.

 

 

chowchilla outlaw kart

The racers.

Tonight there were four classes of racing competitors. The one and only class that would count for trackchasing was the “500” class of winged outlaw karts. There was also another cage class, called box stock, for youngsters eight and under.

 

 

karts at chowchilla

Two flat karts classes called “stock appearing” and “clones” were also racing tonight. Those classes probably put on the best racing of the night. As mentioned they were “hard on the gas”. The program was made even more entertaining when I watched the racing from just 10 yards or so from the turn three and four racing surface.

 

 

I always check out the fair.

There were only about 75 people in the covered grandstand. At intermission I took a walk out into the fairgrounds. Mind you, I’ve been to well over 300 country fairs across the country and Canada. The fair was very well attended. It wasn’t really like the Midwestern fairs I visit. However, it was California’s version of a rural county fair.

 

 

Profitable?

There were about 70 karts in the pit area in total tonight. If every one of those karts brought four people in total that’s nearly 300 people buying pit passes and kart entry fees. I would suspect this was a very successful promotion.

 

 

California weather is typically warm but not hot with little humidity. However, in places like Chowchilla in the summertime it can routinely get to be 100°. Two days ago in Chowchilla the high was 94°. Tonight the expected high would be only seventy-three. By the last race of the night the temperature was 55° and windy. I had to make a trip to my car to get my army field jacket.

 

 

They kept the show moving.

There were a number of yellow flags with tonight’s racing. Thankfully whenever a yellow flag appeared they were racing again within one or two minutes. They were extremely efficient in getting going again after a spinning competitor stopped the action.

 

 

Chowchilla kart racing 2

Not the safest place to watch from but it was exciting.

The entire “catch fence” was a series of hay bales. They grow some hay in these parts. The overall height of the wall was only about two feet or a little less. One flat kart got out of shape with the car doing a series of end over end barrel rolls. I don’t think I have ever seen a flat kart do that. The go-kart itself ended up outside the hay bale barrier. The driver found himself laying on the racetrack!

 

 

Nevertheless lots of people in the pit area watched the racing standing only five or 10 feet away from the hay bales. That looked dangerous to me. I took my life in my own hands, for your viewing enjoyment, to get some exciting video clips of the outstanding racing action. Do not miss this video.

 

 

The track was a little rough. It was a little dusty. The competitive action was top notch. It was a good show in Chowchilla.

 

 

 

 

 

AFTER THE RACES

 

 

Onward and upward.

The racing wrapped up at nearly 10 p.m. I wouldn’t get to the Oakland International Airport until a little past midnight. I needed to begin checking in for my early morning flight by 4:30 a.m. or maybe 5 a.m. at the latest.

 

 

I’ve been hearing a lot of sad stories about TSA security backing things up at the airport. Sometimes, very early in the morning, TSA operates with a skeleton crew. This slows down my getting through airport security. I didn’t want to miss my 6:05 a.m. flight to Salt Lake City.

 

 

no hotel

What do you mean….no hotel?

What did arriving at the airport at past midnight and being in line for my flight tomorrow morning at 4:30 a.m. mean? There would be no time for a hotel. I would have to find a place to sleep for about four hours between the Chowchilla Fairgrounds and the Oakland International Airport. In my next report I will tell you exactly how I did that.

 

 

I asked you at the beginning of this report that if you were a race fan have you ever had a race trip like this one. Of course this is only day one of this trip! Stay tuned. I don’t think many people trackchase like I do.

 

 

Good night.

 

 

 

 

 

california map 42

California

 

 

The Golden state

This evening I saw my 151st lifetime track in the Golden state, yes the Golden state. I’ve seen more tracks in California than any other state. Here’s the current list.

 

 

 

 

TRACK CITY STATE COUNTRY DATE TRACK TYPE
Riverside International Raceway Riverside California United States Pre-1980 PRC
Ascot Park Gardena California United States Pre-1980 OUTER-DO
Ascot Park Gardena California United States Pre-1980 INNER-DO
Ontario Motor Speedway Ontario California United States Pre-1980 PO
Speedway 605 Irwindale California United States Pre-1980 PO
Corona Raceway Corona California United States Pre-1980 DO
West Capital Raceway West Sacramento California United States Pre-1980 DO
Dixon Fairgrounds Speedway Dixon California United States Pre-1980 DO
El Toro Speedway El Toro California United States Pre-1980 DO
All American Raceway Roseville California United States Pre-1980 PO
Cajon Speedway El Cajon California United States Pre-1980 PO
California Mid-Winter Fairgrounds Imperial California United States Pre-1980 DO
Mesa Marin Raceway Bakersfield California United States Pre-1980 PO
Orange Show Speedway San Bernardino California United States Pre-1980 PO
San Jose Fairgrounds Speedway San Jose California United States Pre-1980 DO
Saugus Speedway Saugus California United States Pre-1980 PO
Speedway 117 Chula Vista California United States Pre-1980 DO
Silver Dollar Speedway Chico California United States June 6, 1980 DO
Baylands Raceway Park Fremont California United States June 23, 1984 DO
Watsonville Fairgrounds Speedway Watsonville California United States June 29, 1984 DO
Santa Maria Speedway Santa Maria California United States September 14, 1984 OUTER-DO
Placerville Speedway Placerville California United States September 4, 1985 DO
Kings Speedway Hanford California United States September 25, 1985 DO
Ventura Raceway Ventura California United States November 21, 1986 DO
Long Beach Grand Prix Long Beach California United States April 5, 1987 STREET-RC
Bakersfield Speedway Oildale California United States October 8, 1988 DO
Colorado River County Fairgrounds Blythe California United States November 13, 1988 PO
Madera Speedway Madera California United States June 24, 1989 PO
Rose Bowl Pasadena California United States March 13, 1991 DO
Delta Speedway Stockton California United States May 17, 1991 DO
Petaluma Speedway Petaluma California United States June 8, 1991 DO
Plaza Park Raceway Visalia California United States June 14, 1991 DO
Calistoga Speedway Calistoga California United States July 6, 1991 DO
Lake Perris Speedway Perris California United States October 11, 1991 DO
Willow Springs Raceway Rosamond California United States October 27, 1991 PRC
Carlsbad Raceway Carlsbad California United States July 30, 1992 DO
Victorville Grandstand Arena Victorville California United States July 31, 1992 DO
Thunderbowl Speedway Tulare California United States October 17, 1992 DO
Antioch Speedway Antioch California United States April 30, 1993 DO
Stockton 99 Speedway Stockton California United States May 1, 1993 PO
Twin Cities Speedway Marysville California United States July 1, 1993 DO
Orange County Fairgrounds Costa Mesa California United States July 10, 1993 DO
I.M.I. Raceway Pearsonville California United States November 27, 1994 DO
Sunrise Valley Raceway Adelanto California United States April 22, 1995 DO
Sacramento Raceway Park Sacramento California United States June 16, 1995 DO
Ernie Purssell Memorial Speedway Grass Valley California United States June 17, 1995 DO
Barona Speedway Ramona California United States July 1, 1995 DO
Rocky Hill Speedway Porterville California United States July 8, 1995 DO
Glen Helen Speedway San Bernardino California United States July 15, 1995 DO
Cal Expo Sacramento California United States October 7, 1995 DO
Kern County Raceway Rosamond California United States November 26, 1995 PO
Altamont Raceway Park Tracy California United States May 19, 1996 OUTER-PO
Perris Auto Speedway Perris California United States July 4, 1996 OUTER-DO
Lemoore Midget Raceway Lemoore California United States August 17, 1996 DO
Ukiah Speedway Ukiah California United States May 1, 1997 PO
Orland Fairgrounds Raceway Orland California United States May 31, 1997 DO
Cycleland Speedway Nelson California United States June 1, 1997 DO
Shasta Motorsports Complex Anderson California United States June 18, 1997 PO
California Speedway Fontana California United States June 22, 1997 PO
Redwood Acres Raceway Eureka California United States June 26, 1997 PO
Merced Fairgrounds Speedway Merced California United States July 15, 1997 DO
Tustin Thunder Road Course Tustin California United States August 3, 1997 TEMPORARY-PRC
Lakeport Speedway Lakeport California United States June 27, 1998 DO
Sears Point Raceway Sonoma California United States June 28, 1998 PRC
Edison International Field Anaheim California United States January 30, 1999 TEMPORARY-DRC
Irwindale Speedway Irwindale California United States May 15, 1999 OUTER-PO
Temecula Speedway Temecula California United States June 5, 1999 DO
Stoddard Valley OHVA Barstow California United States July 17, 1999 TEMPORARY-DRC
Irwindale Speedway Irwindale California United States August 6, 1999 INNER-PO
California Speedway Fontana California United States February 13, 2000 PRC
Chowchilla Speedway Chowchilla California United States February 25, 2000 DO
LA Street Race Los Angeles California United States July 16, 2000 STREET-RC
Pauline Davis Pavilion Red Bluff California United States February 17, 2001 INDOOR-DO
The Pavilion at the Fairgrounds Chico California United States February 18, 2001 INDOOR-PO
Buttonwillow Raceway Park Buttonwillow California United States May 6, 2001 PRC
Anderson Dry Lake Lucerne Valley California United States June 23, 2001 TEMPORARY-DRC
Perris Auto Speedway Perris California United States June 23, 2001 DF8
Ventura Raceway Ventura California United States August 1, 2001 DF8
Orange Show Speedway San Bernadino California United States Retroactive – 2001 PF8
Watsonville Frgrds Spdwy Watsonville California United States Retroactive – 2001 DF8
Ascot Park Gardena California United States Retroactive – 2001 DF8
Irwindale Speedway Irwindale California United States May 25, 2002 PF8
Yuba-Sutter Fairgrounds Yuba City California United States August 2, 2002 DO
Thunderhill Raceway Park Willows California United States August 4, 2002 PRC
Butte County Fairgrounds Gridley California United States August 23, 2002 DO
Altamont Raceway Park Tracy California United States August 24, 2002 INNER-PO
Mazda Raceway at Laguna Seca Monterey California United States August 25, 2002 PRC
Floyd Baldwin Pavilion Lakeport California United States December 21, 2002 DO
Lassen Speedway Susanville California United States August 16, 2003 DO
American Valley Speedway Quincy California United States August 17, 2003 DO
Antelope Valley Fairgrounds Lancaster California United States August 29, 2003 DF8
CORA Speedway Dixon California United States April 16, 2005 DO
Chula Vista International Off-Road Raceway I Chula Vista California United States October 2, 2005 DRC
Naval Air Station North Island Coronado California United States October 9, 2005 TEMPORARY-PRC
Wheel 2 Wheel Raceway Victorville California United States November 19, 2005 DO
Jacqueline Cochran Regional Airport Thermal California United States November 20, 2005 PRC
Qualcomm Stadium Mission Valley California United States January 21, 2006 DO
Rialto Airport Speedway Rialto California United States June 17, 2006 PO
Angel Stadium of Anaheim Anaheim California United States January 13, 2007 INNER-DO
Angel Stadium of Anaheim Anaheim California United States January 13, 2007 OUTER-DO
Antelope Valley Fairgrounds Lancaster California United States April 22, 2007 DRC
Fairplex at the Los Angeles County Fairgrounds Pomona California United States May 20, 2007 TEMPORARY-DRC
Victorville Auto Raceway Victorville California United States September 29, 2007 DF8
Chula Vista International Raceway II Chula Vista California United States September 30, 2007 DRC
Perris Auto Speedway Perris California United States March 14, 2009 TEMPORARY-DRC
Siskiyou Motor Speedway Yreka California United States May 16, 2009 DO
Delberts Memorial Raceway Lakeport California United States May 17, 2009 DO
Prairie City Short Course Rancho Cordova California United States November 1, 2009 DRC
Lake Elsinore Motorsports Complex – Main Lake Elsinore California United States December 19, 2009 DRC
Glen Helen Raceway Speedway-4.5M San Bernardino California United States January 9, 2010 DRC
Chowchilla Barn Burner Chowchilla California United States March 6, 2010 DO
Glen Helen Speedway-1M San Bernardino California United States March 13, 2010 DRC
Perris Auto Speedway Perris California United States March 13, 2010 INNER-DO
Santa Maria Speedway Santa Maria California United States May 23, 2010 INNER-DO
Chuckwalla Valley Raceway Desert Center California United States November 20, 2011 PRC
Antelope Valley Fairgrounds Lancaster California United States August 23, 2012 DF8
Stockton 99 Dirt Track Stockton California United States March 22, 2013 DO
Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum Los Angeles California United States April 27, 2013 MIXED-RC
Qualcomm Stadium San Diego California United States May 4, 2013 MIXED-RC
Qualcomm Stadium San Diego California United States May 4, 2013 DRC
Kern County Raceway Park Bakersfield California United States May 25, 2013 INNER-PO
Kern County Raceway Park Bakersfield California United States May 25, 2013 OUTER-PO
Hayfork Speedway Hayfork California United States May 26, 2013 OUTER-DO
Milestone MX – Main Track Riverside California United States October 6, 2013 DRC
Bakersfield Speedway Kart Track Oildale California United States January 5, 2014 INNER-DO
Honolulu Hills Raceway – 7M Taft California United States January 18, 2014 DRC
Milestone MX – Vet Track Riverside California United States March 23, 2014 DRC
Desert Empire Fairgrounds Ridgecrest California United States May 10, 2014 TEMPORARY-DRC
Tulare County Kart Club Tulare California United States May 10, 2014 DO
Del Mar Arena Del Mar California United States June 29, 2014 TEMPORARY-DRC
Orange County Fair & Event Center (large) Costa Mesa California United States September 19, 2014 TEMPORARY-MRC
Orange County Fair & Event Center (small) Costa Mesa California United States September 19, 2014 TEMPORARY-MRC
Port of Los Angeles San Pedro California United States September 19, 2014 TEMPORARY-MRC
Thunderhill Raceway Park – 5 mile Willows California United States November 15, 2014 PRC
AV Motoplex Motocross Park Lancaster California United States March 15, 2015 DRC
Finger Lake Raceway – Outback track Red Bluff California United States March 21, 2015 DRC
Finger Lake Raceway – MX track Red Bluff California United States March 22, 2015 DRC
Speedway Willow Springs – North Oval Rosamond California United States June 13, 2015 INNER-PO
Speedway Willow Springs – South Oval Rosamond California United States June 13, 2015 INNER-PO
Speedway Willow Springs Rosamond California United States June 13, 2015 PRC
Alameda County Fairgrounds Pleasonton California United States July 3, 2015 DF8
Speedway Willow Springs Rosamond California United States September 12, 2015 MF8
Ukiah Speedway Flat Track Ukiah California United States October 2, 2015 DO
California Mid-Winter Fairgrounds El Centro California United States November 21, 2015 INNER-DO
Superstition Mountains OHV Open Area Edgar California United States December 12, 2015 TEMPORARY-DRC
The Dirt Track at Kern County Raceway Park Bakersfield California United States January 16, 2016 INNER-DO
Plaster City West Plaster City California United States January 30, 2016 TEMPORARY-DRC
Auto Club Speedway Fontana, CA California United States May 1, 2016 PRC – 2.8M
Streets of Willow Springs Rosamond California United States May 14, 2016 PRC
Lake Elsinore Motorsports Park – Vet Lake Elsinore California United States May 15, 2016 DRC
Chowchilla Fairgrounds and Event Center Chowchilla California United States May 20, 2016 DO

 

 

 

Thanks for reading about my trackchasing,

 

Randy Lewis

World’s #1 Trackchaser

Peoria Old Timers Racing Club (P.O.R.C.) Hall of Fame Member

California sayings: “Animal Style” Shut up Arizona. Shut up Utah. Shut up Oregon. And especially shut up Texas. You only have In N Out because WE LET YOU have it. In N Out is ours and we invented Animal Style. In fact, you probably wouldn’t have even known you could do Animal Style, if someone from SoCal didn’t tell you about it. Have some frickin respect. This is ours.

 

 

 

 

QUICK FACTS

 

 

 

TRACK ADMISSION PRICES:

Chowchilla Fairgrounds and Events Center – $10

 

 

 

 

 

LIFETIME TRACKCHASER COMPARISONS 

The three most important trackchasing comparisons to me are:

 

Total lifetime tracks seen

Total “trackchasing countries” seen

Lifetime National Geographic Diversity results

 

 

Total Lifetime Tracks

There are no trackchasers currently within 525 tracks of my lifetime total. Don’t blame me.

 

  1. Randy Lewis, San Clemente, California – 2,216

 

 

 

world map 493

Total Trackchasing Countries

There are no trackchasers currently within 10 countries of my lifetime total.

 

  1. Randy Lewis, San Clemente, California – 70

 

 

 

Current lifetime National Geographic Diversity results

 

  1. Randy Lewis, San Clemente, California – 4.47

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

DAY 1 – “THIS ONE DIDN’T WORK OUT AS PLANNED” TRACKCHASING TOUR

 

 

 

 

 

GREETINGS FROM CHOWCHILLA, CALIFORNIA

 

 

 

TODAY’S HEADLINES

 

 

Objectives, expenses and obsessions. They must all be considered. …………..details in “The Objective”.

 

 

When does ‘two plus two’ equal one hundred and thirty-six dollars?………………more in “The Trip”.

 

 

I never like saying ‘no’ to my friends. …………..details in “The People”.

 

 

 

 

school house 39

THINGS YOU MIGHT HAVE NOTICED HAD YOU BEEN PAYING MORE ATTENTION IN SCHOOL

 

 

 

 

 

THE BEST READERS IN RACING TAKE TIME TO CONTRIBUTE

 

 

 

 

From Guyana

I have had the good fortune to meet a number of interesting and good people during my international travels. If not for the hobby of trackchasing, I would have never met these folks. I stay in touch on a regular basis with many of them. Recently, I received several photos from Bryan Mackintosh, my racing contact in Guyana. Google racing in Guyana to see how they do it down there.

 

 

 

 

From Malta

Frans Deguara sends along this article that appeared in Malta’s #1 daily newspaper, the Malta Times. The brief story recalls my visit to Malta a few weeks ago. It also provides a first ever European media mention for Ed Esser and Guy Smith for their ranking in the worldwide trackchasing competition. Check it out at:

 

 

My trackchasing media history…you’ll find the Malta story

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

The Objective 

 

 

What are the real objectives?

So many objectives need to be met when I go trackchasing. Of course, the first is to have fun. In almost every instance, I’ve had fun before I EVER get to the track. For me it’s a blast just to discover the track and develop a plan to get there. You might not believe how much time I spend building each element of every trip I take. That’s the element I enjoy the most.

 

 

Of course, I have to control expenses.

It’s important to manage my expenses properly in trackchasing. I don’t mind spending money on this hobby. However, I evaluate every expense no matter how big or how small before I allocate funds. You might be interested in my transportation approach for this trip. You’ll be able to read all about it in the “Trip” section.

 

 

It is never a good idea to do something to the point of obsession.

Trackchasing is a hobby where it is easy to become obsessed. To be honest, I’ve failed in this area in the past. However, now I am sitting pretty. I have a huge lead, in what I think is the most important trackchasing category, over my fellow competitors in the “Lifetime Total Tracks” category. Even if I stopped now, which I won’t, it would take folks some years to catch up.

 

 

Earlier in the year, I took a full three weeks off from trackchasing. For me, in recent years, that was unheard of. I’ve got another three-week trackchasing hiatus coming up. I’m not so much looking forward to being off the trackchasing trail as I am to the activities that don’t involve trackchasing that I have coming up.

 

 

NGD results are coming soon.

The second most important category, in my opinion, is leadership in the National Geographic Diversity lifetime standings. This NGD category measures not only quantity of tracks seen but also overlays where those tracks were visited. I have long held the belief that it’s better to see five tracks in each of five different states than it is to see 21 tracks in one state and just one track in four other states. The lifetime NGD results of 2009 will be posted in my next Trackchaser Report. You will see I’ve made great progress in this category.

 

 

37 dk

I love to trackchase in foreign countries.

Another category that has been elevated in importance to me over the past few years is international trackchasing. When I didn’t have the capability of seeing so many tracks all over the world, I didn’t truly value the accomplishments of those who did. Now that I have trackchased in 37 different countries, I see what the big deal was all about. I’ve had a tremendous amount of fun trackchasing all over the world. I don’t hold a first place position in this important category….but I’m working on it.

 

 

 

 

 

The Trip

 

 

The value of two plus two.

For some reason, I’ve always been good with numbers. Early on in grade school, I could “figure simple numerical problems” faster than just about anybody else. When math got more “theoretical”, I lost interest in that aspect of the subject. By the way, did you know that “Trackchasing’s First Mother” has a Bachelor of Science degree in Mathematics? Yes, she is a smart cookie.

 

 

Today I encountered another “simple math problem”. We would be traveling 600-700 miles in just one day to see two new tracks. In actuality, we only saw one new track since the second one was rained out later in the day.

 

 

savings 33

It’s never a good idea to waste your stuff.

I didn’t want to subject the Carol Lewis owned and Life of Virginia sponsored Lexus LS 430 to that many driving miles in a single day. We have now owned this car for six years and three months. For us, that’s a long time. The car has 87,000 miles on it. Very few of those miles came from trackchasing. That’s why the car has relatively, “low miles”.

 

 

I’m lucky in a way. Since I fly to most of the tracks I visit, I don’t have to beat up my car. In six years, I’ve driven my car less than 90,000 miles. During that same period, I’ve driven rental cars about 200,000 miles. Can you imagine the repair bills and depreciated value this Lexus would have if it had 290,000 miles on it!!

 

 

Here was the plan.

The plan today would be to rent a car to make the 600+ mile drive. Here was my thinking. The rental car would cost me $34 to rent for the day. At 6 a.m. this morning, I picked out a nearly new Dodge Charger at the John Wayne Airport to be our “car for the day”.

 

 

There would be several “savings” by renting a car for this trip and not using mine. We ended up driving 602 miles. The Dodge Charger uses regular gas. The Lexus requires premium fuel. The Dodge Charge gave us 25.7 miles per gallon. I get about 22 M.P.G. with the Lexus. The fuel expense was 11.7 cents per mile today with the Charger. Had I used the Lexus we would have paid about 14.4 cents per gallon assuming 22 M.P.G. and a premium of 20 cents per gallon for premium gas. That’s a difference of 2.7 cents for 602 miles.

 

Total gas savings: $16.25

 

 

For every five rentals I have with the National Rental Car company, I earn a “free day”. I use those free days for “one-way” rentals. One-way rentals are always more expensive than trips where I pick up the car in a location and return it to the same place. Normally, a one-way rental will cost about $75 per day. At times, a one-way rental can be both a time saver and a money-saver. Not having to drive “back” to where the trip started can be a blessing. Since I earn the equivalent of a $75 free day with each five rentals I consider that National is giving me “$15 dollars” for each regular rental I make.

 

Total reward savings: $15.

 

 

My maintenance expense (tires, oil changes, repairs, etc.) for the Lexus runs at about 3.2 cents per mile. At 602 miles today that “wear and tear” on the car would have been just over nineteen dollars.

 

Total maintenance savings: $19.26

 

 

Of course, the largest expense associated with car ownership is depreciation. The more miles a car has on its odometer, the more it normally depreciates. I estimate that our Lexus has depreciated about 40 cents per mile over its current life. One simple trip of 602 miles wouldn’t necessarily be a “straight-line” drop in value. However, a series of trips like this would really make a dent in the value of the car over time. If I take just 50% of my normal per mile depreciation expense ($0.20) then the savings from not wearing out the car would be significant.

 

Total depreciation savings: $120.40

 

 

Let’s add it all up.

 

 

Expense

Rental car rental expense – one day = $34.22

 

 

Savings

Gasoline savings = 16.25

National Rental Car free day savings = $15

Maintenance savings = $19.26

Depreciation savings = $120.40

 

 

Net savings for the day = $136.69

 

 

Now I know this savings amount might not seem like much to those “Dreaded East Coast Trackchasers” but I’m just a trackchasing “independent”. One hundred and thirty-six dollars means something to me. Heck, if I didn’t spend that $136, it could earn me about $13 each and every year that I could spend on something else.

 

 

The entire strategy and calculation could be mostly figured in my head. It didn’t take any time at all. The time I spent thinking about it, making a rental car reservation and picking up the car was certainly worth $136 to me. It is the sum of financial decisions as small as this that cumulatively over a lifetime can add up to some serious money. I know it has for me.

 

 

The evening plan……………

 

We were planning to hit another new track this evening. However, that track ended up being rained out. When that happened, the day really turned upside down!!!

 

 

More on that in my next report.

 

 

 

 

The People

 

 

garth brooks 39

Garth Brooks has ‘friends in low places’. I have friends all over the place.

During my business career, we lived in seven different locations across the country. That gave me the opportunity to develop friendships with business associates and others all over the U.S. I’ve stayed in contact with as many of those people as I can. I’ve always said that “in order to have a friend, you have to be a friend”.

 

 

It’s hard to be in two places at once.

I love trackchasing. However, trackchasing knocked me out of three “get togethers” with friends in the last few weeks alone. “Steve T.” from Denver contacted me about playing golf in California last month. Unfortunately, the last day of my Malta trackchasing trip conflicted with the golf outing. Then “Ron O.” from St. Louis called to say he would be in California and asked if I could join him for some golf. My trackchasing trip to Finland prevented me from joining up. Then “Kindred P.” from Clearwater, Florida got in touch asking me to join him for a Mexican off-road racing event where he was going to be a crewmember. Again, my planned activities prevented us from hooking up. I just want to keep trackchasing in perspective so I can still do things with all of my friends. I get enough of “where have you been” from my golfing pals at the Bella Collina Golf & Towne Center already.

 

 

 

 

 

RACE REVIEW

 

 

This looks like a convenient way to move a racecar around.

CHOWCHILLA BARN BURNER, CHOWCHILLA, CALIFORNIA

 

 

 

 

 

I don’t get to trackchase much in California nowadays.

This was an unusual trackchasing day for me. First, I don’t trackchase in California very often. This track was located some 300 miles from my home. That’s a long one-way ride to make for a single new track. I don’t do that very often either. Fortunately, Carol was up for a Saturday morning “joy ride”.

 

 

The weather in California this weekend was cool, cloudy and rainy. We’re just about out of our “winter”. I’m glad for that. I hate 60-degree days. They’re just too cold for me.

 

 

Today we would see several classes of racing.

An unusual aspect of this track, which was a positive, was the track was “indoors”. It was mostly indoors anyway. The “Chowchilla Barn Burner” track was covered with a roof but the “building” had no walls. I’m pretty sure we count that as an indoor track. The main point is that there was no way, with the roof, that today’s show could be rained out.

 

 

There were some 15-20 racing classes today. How many of those were “trackchasing countable”? Just one!! That’s right, we drove more than 600 miles to see one class race. Maybe I’m not doing as well with the “obsession” thing as I thought I was.

 

 

Remember drivers must be adults in order for whatever they are racing to be considered for acceptance by the trackchasing commissioner. To be considered an adult a person must be at least 18 years old. As long as the class allows anyone 18 and older to compete, the class is “acceptable” on that point. Today they were racing flat karts, quads and motorcycles. Trackchasing’s Founding Fathers didn’t like any of those kinds of competitors. They nixed those years ago. That’s right…they don’t count. There were a few winged kart classes today. Winged karts do count in trackchasing…..if the class allows adults to race. Now you know what I have to go through to make sure a long drive is warranted and that I will see some “countable” racing.

 

 

Following the races, these competitors all pitted near each other.

The countable class was a 500cc winged “open” kart group. They had eight competitors today. As mentioned, there were also flat karts and winged karts driven by “non-adults”. Quad racers and motorcycle racers were racing as well. The program kicked off at about 12 noon. We had picked up our rental car at 6 a.m. We pulled into the track at 11 a.m. in time to give the pit area a full inspection.

 

 

 

The official name of the track is "California Barn Burner".

They call it the ‘Barn Burner’.

The racetrack facility was excellent. The track was a flat black dirt 1/8-mile oval. There was no dust. The competitors could pit their race machines under the roof of the “Barn Burner”. However, the tow vehicles were not “under roof”. A concession stand offered a wide variety of foods that seemed a bit expensive to us. There was no P.A. system for the most part and only one porta-potty that we saw. The track’s outer retaining walls consisted of stacked hay bales.

 

 

Carol and I moved all around the track watching the various classes do their thing. They ran one race after another in a very efficient manner. Although only one class would “count” for us, it was fun to see all of the different groups competing. This was the next to last race for this track before their “year” ends. They’ve run about ten times this season

 

 

 

 

STATE COMPARISONS

 

 

 

california map 23

California

This afternoon I saw my 111th lifetime track in California. It was Carol’s 64th Golden state track. That gives me a second place ranking and her a fourth place standing in California. The greatest “race chaser” of all time leads in our state. I’m talking about the late Gary Jacob who has seen 149 tracks here.

 

 

Riverside International Raceway Riverside California United States Pre-1980 PRC
Ascot Park Gardena California United States Pre-1980 OUTER-DO
Ascot Park Gardena California United States Pre-1980 INNER-DO
Ontario Motor Speedway Ontario California United States Pre-1980 PO
Speedway 605 Irwindale California United States Pre-1980 PO
Corona Raceway Corona California United States Pre-1980 DO
West Capital Raceway West Sacramento California United States Pre-1980 DO
Dixon Fairgrounds Speedway Dixon California United States Pre-1980 DO
El Toro Speedway El Toro California United States Pre-1980 DO
All American Raceway Roseville California United States Pre-1980 PO
Cajon Speedway El Cajon California United States Pre-1980 PO
California Mid-Winter Fairgrounds Imperial California United States Pre-1980 DO
Mesa Marin Raceway Bakersfield California United States Pre-1980 PO
Orange Show Speedway San Bernardino California United States Pre-1980 PO
San Jose Fairgrounds Speedway San Jose California United States Pre-1980 DO
Saugus Speedway Saugus California United States Pre-1980 PO
Speedway 117 Chula Vista California United States Pre-1980 DO
Silver Dollar Speedway Chico California United States June 6, 1980 DO
Baylands Raceway Park Fremont California United States June 23, 1984 DO
Watsonville Fairgrounds Speedway Watsonville California United States June 29, 1984 DO
Santa Maria Speedway Santa Maria California United States September 14, 1984 OUTER-DO
Placerville Speedway Placerville California United States September 4, 1985 DO
Kings Speedway Hanford California United States September 25, 1985 DO
Ventura Raceway Ventura California United States November 21, 1986 DO
Long Beach Grand Prix Long Beach California United States April 5, 1987 STREET-RC
Bakersfield Speedway Oildale California United States October 8, 1988 DO
Colorado River County Fairgrounds Blythe California United States November 13, 1988 PO
Madera Speedway Madera California United States June 24, 1989 PO
Rose Bowl Pasadena California United States March 13, 1991 DO
Delta Speedway Stockton California United States May 17, 1991 DO
Petaluma Speedway Petaluma California United States June 8, 1991 DO
Plaza Park Raceway Visalia California United States June 14, 1991 DO
Calistoga Speedway Calistoga California United States July 6, 1991 DO
Lake Perris Speedway Perris California United States October 11, 1991 DO
Willow Springs Raceway Rosamond California United States October 27, 1991 PRC
Carlsbad Raceway Carlsbad California United States July 30, 1992 DO
Victorville Grandstand Arena Victorville California United States July 31, 1992 DO
Thunderbowl Speedway Tulare California United States October 17, 1992 DO
Antioch Speedway Antioch California United States April 30, 1993 DO
Stockton 99 Speedway Stockton California United States May 1, 1993 PO
Twin Cities Speedway Marysville California United States July 1, 1993 DO
Orange County Fairgrounds Costa Mesa California United States July 10, 1993 DO
I.M.I. Raceway Pearsonville California United States November 27, 1994 DO
Sunrise Valley Raceway Adelanto California United States April 22, 1995 DO
Sacramento Raceway Park Sacramento California United States June 16, 1995 DO
Ernie Purssell Memorial Speedway Grass Valley California United States June 17, 1995 DO
Barona Speedway Ramona California United States July 1, 1995 DO
Rocky Hill Speedway Porterville California United States July 8, 1995 DO
Glen Helen Speedway San Bernardino California United States July 15, 1995 DO
Cal Expo Sacramento California United States October 7, 1995 DO
Kern County Raceway Rosamond California United States November 26, 1995 PO
Altamont Raceway Park Tracy California United States May 19, 1996 OUTER-PO
Perris Auto Speedway Perris California United States July 4, 1996 OUTER-DO
Lemoore Midget Raceway Lemoore California United States August 17, 1996 DO
Ukiah Speedway Ukiah California United States May 1, 1997 PO
Orland Fairgrounds Raceway Orland California United States May 31, 1997 DO
Cycleland Speedway Nelson California United States June 1, 1997 DO
Shasta Motorsports Complex Anderson California United States June 18, 1997 PO
California Speedway Fontana California United States June 22, 1997 PO
Redwood Acres Raceway Eureka California United States June 26, 1997 PO
Merced Fairgrounds Speedway Merced California United States July 15, 1997 DO
Tustin Thunder Road Course Tustin California United States August 3, 1997 TEMPORARY-PRC
Lakeport Speedway Lakeport California United States June 27, 1998 DO
Sears Point Raceway Sonoma California United States June 28, 1998 PRC
Edison International Field Anaheim California United States January 30, 1999 TEMPORARY-DRC
Irwindale Speedway Irwindale California United States May 15, 1999 OUTER-PO
Temecula Speedway Temecula California United States June 5, 1999 DO
Stoddard Valley OHVA Barstow California United States July 17, 1999 TEMPORARY-DRC
Irwindale Speedway Irwindale California United States August 6, 1999 INNER-PO
California Speedway Fontana California United States February 13, 2000 PRC
Chowchilla Speedway Chowchilla California United States February 25, 2000 DO
LA Street Race Los Angeles California United States July 16, 2000 STREET-RC
Pauline Davis Pavilion Red Bluff California United States February 17, 2001 INDOOR-DO
The Pavilion at the Fairgrounds Chico California United States February 18, 2001 INDOOR-PO
Buttonwillow Raceway Park Buttonwillow California United States May 6, 2001 PRC
Anderson Dry Lake Lucerne Valley California United States June 23, 2001 TEMPORARY-DRC
Perris Auto Speedway Perris California United States June 23, 2001 DF8
Ventura Raceway Ventura California United States August 1, 2001 DF8
Orange Show Speedway San Bernadino California United States Retroactive – 2001 PF8
Watsonville Frgrds Spdwy Watsonville California United States Retroactive – 2001 DF8
Ascot Park Gardena California United States Retroactive – 2001 DF8
Irwindale Speedway Irwindale California United States May 25, 2002 PF8
Yuba-Sutter Fairgrounds Yuba City California United States August 2, 2002 DO
Thunderhill Raceway Park Willows California United States August 4, 2002 PRC
Butte County Fairgrounds Gridley California United States August 23, 2002 DO
Altamont Raceway Park Tracy California United States August 24, 2002 INNER-PO
Mazda Raceway at Laguna Seca Monterey California United States August 25, 2002 PRC
Floyd Baldwin Pavilion Lakeport California United States December 21, 2002 DO
Lassen Speedway Susanville California United States August 16, 2003 DO
American Valley Speedway Quincy California United States August 17, 2003 DO
Antelope Valley Fairgrounds Lancaster California United States August 29, 2003 DF8
CORA Speedway Dixon California United States April 16, 2005 DO
Chula Vista International Off-Road Raceway I Chula Vista California United States October 2, 2005 DRC
Naval Air Station North Island Coronado California United States October 9, 2005 TEMPORARY-PRC
Wheel 2 Wheel Raceway Victorville California United States November 19, 2005 DO
Jacqueline Cochran Regional Airport Thermal California United States November 20, 2005 PRC
Qualcomm Stadium Mission Valley California United States January 21, 2006 DO
Rialto Airport Speedway Rialto California United States June 17, 2006 PO
Angel Stadium of Anaheim Anaheim California United States January 13, 2007 INNER-DO
Angel Stadium of Anaheim Anaheim California United States January 13, 2007 OUTER-DO
Antelope Valley Fairgrounds Lancaster California United States April 22, 2007 DRC
Fairplex at the Los Angeles County Fairgrounds Pomona California United States May 20, 2007 TEMPORARY-DRC
Victorville Auto Raceway Victorville California United States September 29, 2007 DF8
Chula Vista International Raceway II Chula Vista California United States September 30, 2007 DRC
Perris Auto Speedway Perris California United States March 14, 2009 TEMPORARY-DRC
Siskiyou Motor Speedway Yreka California United States May 16, 2009 DO
Delberts Memorial Raceway Lakeport California United States May 17, 2009 DO
Prairie City Short Course Rancho Cordova California United States November 1, 2009 DRC
Lake Elsinore Motorsports Complex – Main Lake Elsinore California United States December 19, 2009 DRC
Glen Helen Raceway Speedway-4.5M San Bernardino California United States January 9, 2010 DRC
Chowchilla Barn Burner Chowchilla California United States March 6, 2010 DO

 

 

 

I know of five somewhat active tracks that race in California where I have not visited. I’ll try to see those locations whenever time and scheduling permits.

 

 

 

 

 

Coming Soon – RANLAY Racing Exclusive Features!

 

 

Trackchasing politics revealed….they’re about ready to kill each other.

 

 

Has a conspiracy been committed in the international tracks “counting world”?

 

 

National Geographic Diversity results are being computed as we speak.

 

 

 

 

 

Thanks for reading about my trackchasing,

 

Randy Lewis

Alberta’s #1 Trackchaser

It’s only a gambling problem if you’re losing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

TRAVEL DETAILS

 

 

AIRPLANE

 

No airplane!

 

 

RENTAL CAR #1

 

John Wayne Airport – trip begins

Chowchilla, California – 302 miles

John Wayne Airport – 602 miles – trip ends

 

 

 

 

Total Air miles – 0 (0 flights)

Total Rental Car miles – 602 (1 car)

 

 

 

Total miles traveled on this trip – 602 miles

 

 

 

TRACK ADMSSION PRICES:

 

Chowchilla Barn Burner – $10

 

 

Total racetrack admissions for the trip – $10

 

 

 

 

 

 

COMPARISONS

 

 

 

 

 

LIFETIME NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC DIVERSITY UPDATE

 

Lifetime NGD results for the year ending 2009 will be posted very soon.

 

 

 

 

LIFETIME TRACKCHASER COMPARISONS 

 

 

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

 

  1. Randy Lewis, San Clemente, California – 1,526
  2. Ed Esser, Madison, Wisconsin – 1,258
  3. Guy “The Kid” Smith, Effort, Pennsylvania – 1,255

 

 

 

 

 

Official end of RANLAY Racing Trackchaser Report

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

Racing outdoors on the inner oval in Chowchilla – 2016 

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The Barn Burner “Turkey Night” Double Header – 2016

 

 

 

 

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.

 

 

The Barn Burner from 2010 in the “Big Barn” 

Track #1,526 was in the books!

Photos from the Barn Burner – 2010

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Racing outdoors on the inner oval in Chowchilla – 2016

chowchilla karts distance

Real good kart racing from Chowchilla, California

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The Barn Burner “Turkey Night” Double Header – 2016

chowchilla-winged-outlaws-racing-2

“Indoor” kart racing from the small barn up in Chowchilla, California

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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