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Coleridge Speedway

 

Greetings from Ramseur, North Carolina

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From the travels and adventures of the 

“World’s #1 Trackchaser”

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Coleridge Speedway

Dirt oval

 Lifetime Track #2,423

 

The EventVideo PlusPhotos

 

 

THE EVENT

I have had the opportunity to follow my trackchasing hobby all over the world.  As this is written I have seen racing in 78 countries.  My lifetime track total is just over 2,400.  Long ago I wrapped up seeing racing in every American state.

 

 

Some twelve years ago I moved into the “World’s #1 Trackchasing” spot.  Of course, that’s if that title is awarded to the person who has seen the most lifetime tracks.  Frankly, I don’t think it should be.   Maybe “Most Prolific Trackchaser” is a better description for that category.

 

 

The World’s #1 Trackchaser title should be bestowed on the person who has seen the most racing in the most countries.  That’s what the “world” is made up of isn’t it?  Countries!

 

 

Of course, most of my trackchasing (2,068 tracks) have been seen in the United States. Nevertheless, I have watched racing at more than 130 European tracks and around 350 tracks outside of the U.S. Yes, trackchasing is an exciting hobby that keeps me young and keeps me on the go.

 

 

It’s important to note that my hobby is not only about racing.  Yes, that is one part of it.  However, of equal importance are the logistics of trackchasing (getting from point A to B to C, etc.) and the opportunity to see the world.

 

 

I live in Southern California.  The vast majority of tracks in the U.S. are located in the Midwest and East.  It takes a good deal of logistical planning to get from where I live to where the tracks are.  A typical weekend trip within the U.S. will cover more than 5,000 air and driving miles.  I do about forty of those trips each year.  For the past 15 years I have traveled about 175 nights each and every year.  Surprisingly to some, more than half of those overnights were not part of trackchasing.

 

 

A big part of trackchasing for me is simply travel just for the fun of seeing new things.  You won’t want to miss my “Trackchasing Tourist Attractions” page or my “Sports Spectating Resume” page on my website at www.randylewis.org.  Search around on my site.  Use the drop-down menus.  They will take you all over the world!  My site will give you some understanding on how important seeing the world and just “seeing stuff” is with my trackchasing hobby.

 

 

Today’s adventure was one more of the 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

 

 

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

 

 

 

Saturday, March 17, 2018.

 

 

Today is St. Patrick’s Day. That’s never been a big holiday for me. I’m not Irish and I don’t care much for beer. ­ I don’t think they have a lot of Irish in the American south.

 

 

I am trackchasing in North Carolina today. This wouldn’t be my first time. As a matter fact this was my 37th separate trip to the Tar Heel state to pursue the hobby of trackchasing.

 

 

You might not know that I am a former resident of North Carolina. Does that surprise you? In 1972 I lived for three months in Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. You may recognize Camp Lejeune as being home to a United States Marine Corps base. Following 12 weeks of boot camp in San Diego I was stationed in Camp Lejeune. During my stint I was on the hook in the Marines for six years from my initial enlistment date. In the photo above I won a guy’s entire CD collection. Just sayin.

 

 

My living experience in North Carolina is far far in the rearview mirror. Today I was headed to Ramseur, North Carolina to visit the Coleridge Speedway. They do a real good job of racing go karts there.

 

 

I woke up this morning in Lewisville, Texas, a suburb of Dallas. At 11 a.m. I had a two-hour flight over to Greensboro, North Carolina. Greensboro was not the original destination. However, when the Charlotte flights proved to be too full I went to Plan B. I use Plan B or even plan C quite frequently in my hobby!

 

 

It used to be that being in airports so much was a major detriment to my exercising. Then I discovered a new approach. If I was early for a flight or had some time between flights I could do my power walking up and down the airline terminals. That’s what I did today. By the time I boarded the plane I had more than 2 miles in my powerwalking bank.

 

 

I had not been in the Piedmont Triad (Greensboro) International Airport in a few years. However, when I got there it brought back memories. Soon I had scored a Chrysler 300 rental car for the second consecutive day and was off to the races so to speak.

 

 

I was starving. I needed to take advantage of Wendy’s new marketing strategy of offering their double stacked cheeseburger sandwich for a dollar. I did just that by getting three of them minus half the bread today.

 

 

It was only going to be a 50-minute drive down to the Coleridge Speedway. I’ve known about this track for more than a decade. This was my first serious opportunity to make things happen in Ramseur, North Carolina.

 

 

 

THE RACING

 

 

Coleridge Speedway – Ramseur, North Carolina

 

I found the track easily. I paid my $10 general admission and parked my car just outside of the fence in turn one. When I’m by myself I really love being able to watch the races from my car.

 

 

When there’s downtime in short track racing, and there is lots of downtime at most of these shows, I can multitask in my rental car. Today I listened to several podcasts, did some work on my laptop computer and dictated much of this report using the smart phone app “Evernote”.

 

 

However, there was a significant outage with this plan. I was so far out of the boonies that my smart phone showed “no service”. That was a major bummer. I am in the midst of negotiations and discussions with multiple foreign countries about very near-term visits. Not being able to communicate with them was a major drawback.

 

 

The person I talked with from the Coleridge Speedway a few days ago told me the show would begin at 5 p.m. Initially there was rain forecasted for this evening but the potential wet stuff went away in the last day or so. I was happy for that. I showed up at about 4 p.m. If you’re not early….you’re late.

 

 

I’ve seen racing at more than 2400 race tracks. Most of those tracks would be classified as “short tracks”. Despite all of that experience I am still a naïve person.

 

 

I’m one of those guys that if someone tells me something I believe them. I think if you know me personally you’ll know that’s true of my output as well. It’s important to be honest….very important.

 

 

If I tell you something you can take it to the bank. Of course, over the years that hasn’t been always the case with trackchasing’s powerful elite. Quite frequently they will say one thing which isn’t true or is misleading or they don’t plan to back up. I guess I can’t be too concerned about that. I can only lead my life the right way, right?

 

 

Since I was early and there wasn’t a lot happening at the track I walked all over the place until I got my 4 miles of walking in for the day. Even though they told me they expected the first feature to begin at 5 p.m. they didn’t start until a little after 6 p.m.

 

 

The Coleridge Speedway facility itself was excellent. Most go-kart tracks have a racing surface that is as smooth as a baby’s butt. That’s the case with Coleridge as well. The track measures at about 0.189 miles for the slightly banked dirt oval.

 

 

There were nearly 200 go-kart racing teams on hand. They pitted on the outside of turns three and four. My $10 admission fee allowed me into the pits. Why isn’t that the case with the larger dirt oval tracks that race stock cars and sprint cars? If kart tracks and tracks all over England can let “spectators” in the pits for no extra charge I suspect an oval track promoter could do it in the U.S. Getting the fans up close and personal with the racing machines and their drivers is a big marketing win.

 

 

According to my advance information there were 20 classes racing today. Only two of those classes would meet trackchasing’s sometime overly stringent and sometime draconian rules. By the way, if you don’t like the rules don’t ask me I didn’t make them. I came to watch the senior champs but very much enjoyed the flat kart racing as well. 

 

 

The two classes competing that would allow me to count today’s racing in my lifetime trackchasing totals were the senior champ heavies and the senior champ mediums. As far as I know the only difference in these two classes is the amount of weight required to race. Most classes in racing have a minimum car weight that must be maintained with or without the driver.

 

 

Although there was a sign in the pit area that indicated I could listen to the announcer’s broadcast on FM channel 87.9 it didn’t work in my car. Maybe it was an old sign. The announcer didn’t have much to say. He only communicated with the pits to tell the racers which class was coming up next.

 

 

Remember I had been told racing would begin at 5 p.m. so I showed up at 4 p.m. just to be safe. Then the first race didn’t take to the track until 6 p.m. However, the first race that would count for what I was trying to do wouldn’t begin until nearly 8 p.m. That’s kind of how trackchasing works. One needs to be patient.

 

 

I wasn’t too concerned about the tardiness of the situation. I was only 50 miles from the airport. I had a flight tomorrow morning leaving the Greensboro airport at 5:30 a.m. (2:30 a.m. California time!). My plan was to set a wakeup call for 4:09 a.m. so I could return my car an hour before flight time. That wasn’t gonna leave me much time for sleep. Tonight, I would not be getting a hotel. I would sleep in my car.

 

 

As you probably have surmised by now I have never had the big trackchasing budgets of the major East Coast trackchasing teams. I never made someone ride along with me to cover my expenses. I didn’t ask Carol to go to work to pay for my trackchasing. I simply went out and got a job, saved some money and used those funds to pay for my hobby. I always thought that was the way people were supposed to do things.

 

 

There have been two or three trackchasers who routinely slept in their cars for economical purposes while trackchasing. Although I don’t have the biggest budget I don’t have the smallest budget. I NEVER sleep in my car overnight for the primary purpose of saving money.

 

 

I grew up in a small town in central Illinois. We didn’t starve but we didn’t have any money either. I learned that spending money wisely was a good idea. I always spent my money wisely so I could spend it lavishly on the things that required lavish spending. Luckily, Carol is even more frugal than me.

 

 

Tonight, the track had a rather extensive concessions menu. The prices were absurdly low. A corn dog went for a dollar and a half and an order of onion rings was just two bucks. I settled down with a three-dollar serving of cheese sticks. They were accompanied by ranch dressing. It was an excellent choice. A bottle of water was just a buck. You won’t find a bottle of water any cheaper than that at any racetrack in the United States.

 

 

I enjoy watching flat kart racing. Today the kart counts were excellent. Several classes had 20 racers competing in their feature event. By the way there were no heat races only features today.

 

 

Yes, I like flat kart racing. I can’t begin to imagine what trackchasing’s founding fathers were thinking when they banned them back in the 20th century. I wasn’t there. Maybe just one or two of the leaders influenced the rest. I don’t know.

 

 

I am in trackchasing for counting purposes. Remember trackchasing is not about racing it’s about counting. If anybody tells you differently I would suggest you give them the option of passing a lie detector test. I don’t think you’ll get any takers.

 

 

I was happy the rain that was supposed to come in at seven or 8 o’clock tonight was delayed by at least a few hours. With the length of this program I would hate to have arrived at 4 o’clock and been rained out at 8 o’clock without seeing the racing I needed to see.

 

 

I simply cannot tell you how much more comfortable I was sitting in and watching the races from the comfort of the National Car Rental Racing Chrysler 300. When they raced I could leave the car and stand at the fence if I wanted. I contrast that with the idea of sitting on a wooden board all afternoon with a strong wind blowing in my face. It was the cat’s meow.

 

 

There is one more thing I’d like to mention about the track concession menu. You can see the sign that read the crackers were only a buck. Even in the south and in a more enlightened age I would have thought a southern cracker would be worth more than a dollar.

 

 

I left the track at about 9 p.m. I figured a five-hour commitment to this event was respectable. Overall, I had a good time. Some of the racing was single file. However, with longer races of 15-20 laps there was a decent amount of passing.

 

 

One flat kart racer flipped down the front stretch not more than 20 yards from my car. He was O.K. but it was a scary crash. I could just imagine his kart, and maybe him, face planting into the hood of my shiny Chrysler 300.

 

 

I wouldn’t mind it if all go-kart racing that I see brought a couple hundred competitors and raced features only at a well-maintained facility. I’d recommend they add an announcer to the mix.

 

 

 

AFTER THE RACES

 

 

It would be a one-hour drive back towards the Greensboro airport. I figured if I was in North Carolina it would be a shame if I didn’t stop at the Waffle House. I stopped. After a peanut butter waffle and a large order of grits I headed to Walmart parking lot.

 

 

Why a Walmart parking lot? It was actually an interim stop. I knew the National Car Rental lot would be closed for business at the airport starting at midnight. They wouldn’t reopen until 6 a.m.

 

 

I would stay in the Walmart parking lot doing this and that with my phone, laptop and a phone call back home to Carol. At about midnight I would head over to the rental car parking lot at the airport. I would sleep from about 12:30 a.m. until about 4:15 a.m. At that point I would return my rental car and check in for my 5:30 a.m. flight to Miami, Florida. Yes, you’re right. I was in Miami just seven days ago with Carol.

 

 

I would be less than genuine if I didn’t tell you that I do take some pleasure in my travel schedule. I’ve got a lot of systems in place which make it much more bearable than if I didn’t have those systems. I get a kick out of the idea that I’m doing something that virtually no one else can, will and/or would want to do. That’s quite a combination!

 

 

I did receive a fright while parked at Walmart. Yes, it just about scared the $hit out of me as my mother used to say. Their parking lot was one of the largest I had seen anywhere. I was in a space that had to be 30-40 yards or more from any parked car at 10 o’clock at night. I was concentrating strongly on whatever it was I was doing with my computer when the car took a major hit. It made me feel like I was at a stop sign and someone ran into the back of my car.

 

 

There was just one problem. I wasn’t at a stoplight. I was in a mostly vacant Walmart parking lot. I looked around and again there still wasn’t any car closer to me than 30 or 40 yards. No one had run into me. Any ideas on what happened?

 

 

I was parked on the downside of a minorly sloping parking lot. One of the shopping carts had gotten loose and whacked me in the rear quarter panel. Like I say it was dark and there were no cars near me. Momentarily it scared the heck out of me. I got out to see what damage might have been created. I was more than pleased to see there really wasn’t any problem to speak of. Yes, it did scare me.

 

 

Good night from the interior of the National Car Rental Racing Chrysler 300 located at the Piedmont Triad International Airport, Greensboro, North Carolina.

 

 

 

Randy Lewis – 78 countries – 2,423 tracks.

 

 

 

 

North Carolina

 

 

The Tar Heel state

This evening I saw racing at my 56th lifetime track in the Tar Heel state, yes, the Tar Heel state.  I’ve seen 56 or more tracks in fourteen different states.

 

 

 

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

North Carolina sayings:  Leafers

People from out of state who come during “peak leaf season” to drive on the Blue Ridge Parkway and clog up our interstates.

 

 

 

 

QUICK FACTS

 

 

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 640 tracks of my lifetime total.  Don’t blame me.

 

 

  1. Randy Lewis, San Clemente, California – 2,423

 

 

Total Trackchasing Countries

There are no trackchasers currently within 25 countries of my lifetime total. 

 

  1. Randy Lewis, San Clemente, California – 78

 

 

 

Current lifetime National Geographic Diversity results

 

  1. Randy Lewis, San Clemente, California – 4.14

 

 

 

That’s all folks!  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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

 

 

 

Come with me to North Carolina to see what we can see

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Comments

  1. Great report Randy, I agree, no trip to the south is complete without a Waffle House visit, this yankee loves himself some grits. We call those pesky out of state autumn visitors, who hopefully leave a few dollars in our tax free state, leaf peepers.

    • Bruce,

      Good to hear from you. How’s your race team looking for 2018? Hopefully, we’ll run into each other somewhere in the Northeast this summer.

      All the best,

      Randy

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