Hi-Tec Oils Speedway

Greetings from Charlton, Queensland, Australia



From the travels and adventures of the 

“World’s #1 Trackchaser”



Hi-Tec Oils Speedway

Dirt oval

 Lifetime Track #2,407



The EventVideo PlusPhotos




I have had the opportunity to follow my trackchasing hobby all over the world.  As this is written I have seen racing in 77 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!



It’s not often, after doing something forever, that you get a best ever experience.  However, the promotion at the Hi-Tec Oils Speedway in total ranks, with others, at the very top of the short track promotion list. Good on them!


By the way 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  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








Sunday, December 31, 2017.

Today is New Year’s Day Eve.  I’ve got a big day planned.  First, I’ll make the 3 1/2-hour drive from Casino, New South Wales to Toowoomba, Queensland.  Once in Toowoomba I’ll have lunch with my Aussie buddy Bob Leyden.  Then in the late afternoon I’m headed to the Hi-Tec Oils Speedway for my last night of racing of this weeklong Australian trackchasing trip.  Finally, the plan is to head to downtown Brisbane to celebrate New Year’s Eve while back home folks must wait eighteen more hours for that occasion.



However, these plans are subject to change.  Any good plan is subject to change!  Why is that?  Sometimes outside factors pop up that make implementing the plan impossible.  Sometimes a better plan is discovered making the old “best” plan obsolete.  Yep. That’s how my planning process goes.



Tonight’s rain forecast for the Hi-Tec Oils Speedway calls for a 100% chance of rain pretty much all day.  Rain was everywhere. That couldn’t be good.  I’ve already resigned myself to being rained out but then you never know. That’s why they call it a rain FORECAST.



Whether they raced or not my plan is to find myself in downtown Brisbane to celebrate New Year’s Eve.  If I were home I would in bed at midnight New Year’s Eve. Why the difference in behavior? I’m on VACATION.  



I did have a couple of random thoughts while making my drive up to Queensland this morning. They seemed to have a lot of signs warning drivers against driving while fatigued. I’ve never seen anything like it in any other country I visit. Each year I drive more than 40,000 miles up and down the long and dusty trackchasing trail in rental cars. I admit to driving while drowsy from time to time. I try to pull over and nap but I can’t always do that. I’m vowing to improve in this area based upon the signage I’ve seen here.



I’ve got to give a shout out to Australian drivers. They seem to drive very conservatively compared to American drivers.  Very few people drive over the speed limit by even five or ten km an hour. I often wondered why I was passing everybody.



In all of my foreign travels I have never been pulled over by police except in a couple of cases. In Canada folks will be stopped routinely by police for “sobriety checks”. Since I drink very little and never drink and drive that’s never been a problem for me. Those stops do give me the chance to ask random questions of the police.




Then there was the time I got stopped by a cop on a moped in Uruguay. In 2011 Uruguay was trackchasing country #56. My trackchasing country total now stands at seventy-seven.



It was the middle of the day. I was in pretty much a residential neighborhood. It is true. I WAS driving down a one-way street the wrong way. However, I had only done that for a couple of blocks. I did sense something was wrong and was planning to make a U-turn at the very next opportunity. What are the chances, in that situation, that a police officer will catch you doing that?  On that day in Uruguay the chances were 100%.  I ended having to pay a $175 USD fine before they would let me leave the country.



I’ve stopped for petrol several times on this trip.  There doesn’t seem to be any way for me to “pay at the pump”.  My credit cards don’t work here by simply passing my card over a reader.  It’s very inconvenient to have to run inside the convenience store to pay for my gas.  This causes a delay for the people behind me waiting in line to get gas.  I never realized how convenient it was to “pay at the pump”.



The phrase “no worries” is used by Australians in situations where Americans might say, “no problem “. As a matter fact, the rental car lady told me “no dramas”.  She apparently doesn’t understand my hobby of trackchasing.  There is lots of drama in trackchasing.



I estimate that I’ve done 300-400 at the track interviews with racetrack commentators during the time that I have been trackchasing.  Just this week I would end up seeing racing at six tracks.  I did three Australian interviews.



This level of trackchasing media coverage is not the norm within the hobby of trackchasing.  If I had to guess all of the interviews with every other trackchaser in the entire hobby probably would not exceed twenty-five altogether.  That’s a shame.



If the hobby is not shared with others then nobody knows anything about trackchasing.  What a perfect place, at a racetrack, to be speaking over the PA about the fun and uniqueness of a hobby like trackchasing.



The response I get from the various commentators that I’ve talked with all over the world is about as varied as the cultures of all of those places.  Some announcers really get into it.  They seem to be the announcers that are the best with informing and entertaining their audiences.  I think that’s the primary responsibility of the commentator if they’re going to do their job well.



I have had other commentators pretty much hand me the microphone as if to say I don’t really know much about your hobby.  I’m not even interested enough to ask you any questions that I might think of on my own.  I’ll just hand you the mic and you do all the work.  Even in those situations it’s O.K.  It allows me to “freestyle” and cover anything around my trackchasing hobby that I think folks might be interested in.  It does sometimes amaze me that someone whom I have just met 30 seconds ago gives me a microphone to speak to their entire audience on a live time basis. 



I don’t go back to racetracks that I’ve already seen all that often.  That’s not really what trackchasing is all about.  I will never get the chance to meet or talk to most of these people ever again.



I have stayed in touch with some but not many.  A notable exception to that situation is Bob Leyden long-time track commentator at the Archerfield Speedway located in the Brisbane suburbs.



I remember the night back in December, 2012 when I first met Bob.  I had jetted over to Australia for a really quick trackchasing trip.  How quick?  I left Los Angeles on Thursday night and was back home on Monday morning!  That’s a pretty quick trip to Australia from the United States.



The Archerfield Speedway, still ranks as one of the very best of the 34 tracks I’ve seen on the Australia continent.  Bob and I stayed in touch.  He is a member of the group, that numbers in the thousands, that receive and read my Trackchaser Reports that I submit after every trackchasing event.



Bob lives near Brisbane.  Tonight’s track is located in Charlton, near the larger town of Toowoomba.  Toowoomba was fairly close to Bob’s home.  With the stars being aligned, as well as the geographical map, we were able to meet up for lunch.



We met at the Wilsonton Hotel. As an American I still can’t get used to the idea that an Australian “hotel” is mainly a place to eat.  A “motel” is mainly a place to sleep overnight.  Don’t give up on me.  I’m working on it!  The hotel was easy to find.  Bob had just arrived by the time I got there.



For the next 2 1/2 hours we talked non-stop, with lots of smiles on our face.  We covered a wide range of topics which of course centered around racing but wandered into politics and lots of other subjects. It’s always fun hearing a perspective coming from a person whose culture is not exactly mine.



I wanted to hear Bob’s stories about the American racers who have come to the Archerfield Speedway.  They have gotten a lot of the biggest American sprint cars stars to Archerfield over the years.  Like I said we covered all kinds of topics from our mutual political questions as well as his travels in the United States. As Australian Bob has probably seen more of the bigger attractions in the U.S.A. than 90 percent of Americans have.  Bob, great seeing you and I’ll look forward to when we can do it again.  All the best mate!



Our restaurant was less than a 10-minute drive from the Hi-Tec Oils speedway.  I believe the track used to call be called Toowoomba Speedway.  Quite a few tracks in Australia seem to have sold their “naming rights” to commercial sponsors.  That’s not nearly as common in the United States for short tracks.



I had never heard of Hi-Tec Oils.  I did some research.  They are a maker of diesel engine oils, transmission and automotive gear oils as well as brake fluids and coolants.  So far, my Hertz Racing Toyota Yaris rental car had not needed any oils.  However, if it did I would be using Hi-Tec Oils!



I had pretty much my resigned myself to being rained out today.  The rain forecast called for a 100 percent nearly all day.  The weather radar showed lots of yellow all over the map in and around Toowoomba.  If I did get rained out it wouldn’t be the end of the world. The day had already been a success by having lunch with Bob Leyden.  



Two of the previous five tracks I had seen this week had either been rained out or ran their features in a constant rain shower.  I had already been more than lucky with rain in Australia this week.







Hi-Tec Oils Speedway – Charlton, Queensland, Australia



When I pulled into the track I noticed how windy it was.  The wind blew 20-30 miles an hour all through the night.  It was much cooler than it had been earlier in the week as well.  Temperatures were probably in the high 60s and with a strong wind.  I needed a jacket.



I had been in contact with the speedway’s promoter, Bennie Bishop.  Bennie was one of those guys that understands all of the aspects on how to run a race track really well.  Obviously, one of those aspects is promotion.



He had arranged for me to get a complementary pit pass.  Of course, I most appreciated his hospitality.  Additionally, in advance of my arrival, Bennie had sent out a press release announcing that the World’s #1 Trackchaser would be coming to the Hi-Tec Oils Speedway.  I can probably count on two hands and a foot how often that has occurred over the years.



Once I was signed into the pits by Ben’s daughter Eliza, I took a quick spin through the pit area.  Tonight there were three racing classes, which included the headliner division super sedans, street stocks and the junior sedans.  These guys have been racing straight for four nights at four different tracks.  Tonight was the final night of that competition.



You can pretty much tell when you’re in a Lexus new car showroom as compared to that of a Chevrolet or a Kia.  Things are just a little bit nicer.  In almost every case in life “nicer” is better.  That was definitely the case with the Hi-Tec Oils Speedway.



Yes, as a veteran racetrack visitor, I can certainly tell when I’ve walked into a situation that is top-of-the-line.  One of the first things I saw once I got over toward the grandstand side of things was a modern playground for children.  This wasn’t a sandbox.  It was a full on colorful children’s playground.  I probably won’t see a children’s playground at a racetrack one time out of fifty.



The speedway had seating pretty much around the entire quarter-mile dirt oval track.  Some of the seating was of the hillside variety.  Fans brought their beach chairs for that.  There was lots of bleacher grandstand seating and other benches to get a good view of the action.  There was also a lot of concrete and asphalt poured.  That made just walking around the facility a lot easier than at so many tracks I have visited.




In a lot of ways this track reminded me of visiting the Perris Auto Speedway in southern California.  The “PAS” is considered one of the very best dirt tracks in the U.S.A. when it comes to fan amenities.  I actually think Hi-Tec Oils Speedway beats the PAS in a head to head competition.



Tonight, concessions were sold in several different locations.  They offered a wide variety of menu items from sandwiches to donuts to Pluto pops to pizza to ice cream and the like. Later in the evening I would avail myself to my third Pluto pup consumption of this vacation.  They even had “American” mustard.  I got a kick out of that.



Of course, a lot of the basic systems of the racetrack such as the lighting, speaker system, track prep and the like were top notch.  Bennie, my main contact, and Ryno the track’s primary announcer did a great job.  They informed and entertained.  They really worked well together. They could be a professional comedy team!  One of the best comments made by Ryno after a particularly bad crash-invested street stock race was, “That was one the worst street stock race I’ve ever seen in my life”!  That’s telling it like it is.  The crowd loved the honesty.



Three additional highlights supported tonight’s racing program.  The first was the freestyle motorcycle combo.  These guys did some remarkable stunts jumping from one ramp to the next.  I wondered how they first learned to do these things without being killed.  They brought their own announcer.  He built the drama up by asking the crowd and then the riders if the 20-30 MPH winds would effect their jumps. The wind, although howling, didn’t seem to bother the jumpers. They made each of their many jumps easily. They were scheduled to perform three times but only got through two attempts. I’ll tell you why that happened a little bit later.  Unfortunately, as I moved around the track, I never seemed to be in a good position to get any good photos of these daredevils.  



The track also had a nice fireworks display later in the evening. There was even a demolition derby heat set to be part of the program. These guys were offering a lot of entertainment for people on New Year’s Eve night.




They started racing about 5:15 p.m. on this New Year’s Eve.  I was happy to notice there would be only two heat races for each class tonight.



Everywhere else I’ve been this week has had each class run three heat races. You’re talking to a guy who normally only watches ONE heat race per class and I think THAT’S too many. I’m a features guy.



I thinking because of the time spent with the motorcycle jumpers and the fireworks and possibly the weather they elected the two-heat race format. I supported that idea 100 percent.  



I prefer late model stock car racing over sprint car racing.  I grew up with late models and it’s one of my favorite classes.  Tonight’s super sedan series is essentially a top-of-the-line late model stock car racing class.



I’ve been lucky enough to see them race three times in the last four nights.  They bring a large field of cars. Tonight the super sedans had 25-30 of their cars in the pit area.



Unfortunately, the super sedans seem to be afflicted by something that is common in major racing series at the short track level.  Through a series of qualifying procedures, be it time trials or heat race finishes, the very fast guys start at the front of the pack.  What does that mean?  Normally it means the front row guys, who are already driving the fastest cars, run off and win the race. They never have to pass anybody for position in the feature race.  That was the case this week as well.



One driver, Matty Pasco carrying the Queensland #1 on its side won three of the four feature events in the Christmas holiday racing series. Pasco would have won all four of the finals but he had a $10-part break while leading at the Mothar Mountain Speedway. Nevertheless, the racing tonight was really good throughout the pack. It’s just that the winner was never challenged.



At each of the tracks I had visited this week they had saved their best class for the last final of the night.  The Australian tracks I have been visiting run a lot of races in a single night.  They average about 35 races for three or four classes.  That’s a lot of racing.  As I mentioned that’s a lot of heat racing.  I’d rather spend my time watching feature racing.



Earlier in the evening the announcers told everyone the super sedan feature would be the last race of the night.  Then about midway in the program things changed for the better.  I believe they knew rain was coming quickly to the speedway.  They decided to move the super sedans up to be the first feature race of the night. Good on them!



Once again, the top driver started on the front row, jumped out to the lead and never lost it.  Nevertheless, it was still good racing.  I had a great time seeing such a first-class facility operated by people who view their show as a production.  This wasn’t just simply letting a few old cars go out onto a dusty dirt track and run in circles for the fans.



The people who promote the Hi-Tec Oils Speedway obviously know what they’re doing.  As I think back on it I can’t ever remember any of my previous 2,400+ tracks doing a better overall job of promotion than these guys.



I think this track may have been called the Toowoomba Speedway in the past.  I believe “Toowoomba” is an Aboriginal word.  I was impressed during opening ceremonies when the commentator made a special mention about the Aborigine heritage.  It wasn’t exactly a prayer. It was more of an acknowledgement that everyone should respect the land where the speedway sits because it was home to individual tribes back in the day.



My plan was to leave after the super sedan final no matter when it was.  That’s exactly what I did.  By the time I got out to my car in the parking lot it was starting to rain.  Three minutes later it was raining hard.  I’m virtually certain no more races went off tonight at the track.







My plan after tonight’s races, which I expected to wrap up at about 9 p.m., was to drive downtown to Brisbane.  I would celebrate New Year’s Eve there.  However, I had not been expecting cold weather.  I had not been expecting it to be raining cats and dogs. Now my celebration idea didn’t seem as attractive.  It was going to be a two-hour drive from the Hi-Tec Oils Speedway down to Brisbane.



Earlier in the evening I was pleasantly surprised to get a live person when I called to get some instruction about how to use the train system.  She was most helpful.  I was looking to find a train stop where I could park.  I figured I could avoid a lot of traffic and congestion if I rode the train to downtown from an outlying suburb.



With the cold and the rain, I decided that standing outside with thousands of Brisbanians didn’t seem quite as attractive.  I decided to pass on that idea and do what I do when I’m home for New Year’s Eve. What’s that?  Sleep!



At about 11 p.m. I decided it was time to pull over at a local gas station and get a little shut eye.  I did just that and woke up at 12:45 a.m.  Yes, I had slept right through the Australia new year….just as I do at home.


I gassed up for the final time at the airport.  I have driven about 1,500 miles during this weeklong trip.  I was impressed with the Australian drivers.  I can’t think of a single occurrence when I observed any aggressive driving by anyone.
Recall that after seeing two races at tracks with no grandstands I bought a lawn chair.  Wouldn’t you know it.  Three of the last four tracks I saw offered grandstands.  I only used my eight dollar USD Australian purchased lawn chair one time.  At 3 o’clock in the morning I asked the convenient store clerk where I was getting gas if she would like a free lawn chair.  She told me her kids go camping all the time.  Now they have one more lawn chair!


Tonight’s plan all along was to sleep in my car overnight tonight even if I did go into Brisbane to celebrate the new year.  I figured that once the New Year’s celebrations wrapped up at about 1 a.m. or so I would have only four hours until I needed to be at the airport by 5 a.m.


I did sleep in the car for a couple of hours near the airport.  However, in Brisbane it was so hot I had to lower the windows for some air.  That let the mosquitoes in.  That wasn’t a good thing either.



I moved on to the landside (as opposed to the air side!) of the airline terminal.  There I slept for couple more hours on some padded airline chairs.  It was cool and comfortable.  I should have gone there without wasting time trying to sleep in the car.
Today I’ll be flying an hour and a half from Brisbane to Sydney, Australia.  From Sydney, my flight to Los Angeles would be another 13 1/2 hours or so.  There was no real exit procedure leaving Australia.  That seemed unusual but acceptable.



I watched movies and slept on the flight home.  We landed at about 5:45 a.m. Los Angeles time.  The flight attendants informed us that customs didn’t open until 6 a.m.  With that in mind we sat on the plane for several more minutes.  Clearing U.S. customs with Global Entry was a snap.  There was no wait at all.
From there I walked a mile over to where my car had been parked for the past week.  I’ve got a fantastic parking deal with the Los Angeles World Parking group, a long-time sponsor of my trackchasing.
The time change of first five and then six hours from the United States to where I was staying in Australia had not been a big deal.  I have always said it’s much easier to travel west than it is to travel east.



It was New Year’s Day and traffic was light in Los Angeles.  Nevertheless, I was tired and it was a 65-mile drive.  I figured that rather than driving when I was really sleepy it might be best to pull over.  That is what I did.  There’s a huge shopping mall in Westminster, California.  There are acres of parking, all unoccupied.  It was just perfect for a little catnap.  My cat nap turned into a full-sized sleep.  When I left the shopping center parking lot it was 3 p.m.!



Later in the afternoon, I arrived home into the loving arms of Trackchasing’s First Mother.  She had not come along on this adventure but she’s been with me to Australia on three different trips.  Carol had been busy doing her Christmas thing while I was gone and everything looked great.



We celebrated my return with a trip to one of our favorite hamburger spots, The Habit, and then went over to Yogurtland for a little dessert.  This had been an ultra-successful trip.



I do a lot of planning in front of these travel adventures.  I would have to say that virtually every major agenda item of my plan was achieved.  I saw racing at six different racetracks even though three of them were affected by rain.  They were affected by the wet stuff but not to the point where it would cancel what I was trying to do in trackchasing.
I had a chance to do a boat cruise in both downtown Melbourne along the Yaris River and then up near Hervey Bay near Fraser Island.  Those cruises were a lot of fun.
As noted a big highlight of the trip for me was being able to have lunch with my buddy and Archerfield Speedway commentator Bob Leyden.  We had a lot of fun talking about our mutual interests and shared a lot of laughs.  Great reuniting with Bob.



I have now seen racing in 77 countries at 2,407 racetracks.  I’ve seen racing at 34 tracks on the Australian continent.  No one matches those totals.



International trackchasing has always been an expensive and challenging activity. It’s still expensive. However much of the challenge has gone out of the effort when I’ve got an iPhone by my side that makes it seem as if I’m traveling from Indianapolis to Pittsburgh.



There have been few trackchasers with the notable exception of Roland Vanden Eynde and Will White who have accepted the international trackchasing challenge.  Some can’t afford it.  Others just don’t have the innovative, thrill-seeking, aggressive constitution to take on the challenges that might come their way.  However, if someone can make the trip from Indianapolis to Pittsburgh they could probably do several of these international trips.  



You might see more international activity from trackchasers now that a good deal of the real personal challenge of getting from point A to B is handled by technology.  Frankly, most of our trackchasers have been extremely timid with their international forays.  Some might go if someone holds their hand.  I guess that’s better than staying home.  However, until you’ve done these trips to non-English speaking countries on your own you really haven’t DONE international trackchasing.



I’m back at home now and looking to see what 2018 might offer in my hobby of trackchasing.  I suspect I will travel somewhat less and see fewer tracks than I have in the past.  However, I’ve said that in the past and it never came about.  I never really know what the future will hold but I like challenges and I like opportunity so when they come along I’ll try to take advantage.



Heck, I might even come back to Australia a time or two in ’18.  It’s a fun country to visit and the racing is very good.  If I do come back I’ll be looking to visit the Australian states and territories where I haven’t seen any racing.  That would be Western Australia, Tasmania and the Northern Territories.  Stay tuned.



Randy Lewis – 77 countries – 2,407 tracks.



Good night from the Hi-Tec Oils Speedway in Charlton, Queensland, Australia.








The Sunshine state

This evening I saw racing at my fourth lifetime track in the Sunshine state, yes, the Sunshine state.  I’ve now seen 16 tracks in Australia.  With another 18 racked up in New Zealand I hold the #1 trackchasing ranking in the entire continent of Australia.  That’s right.  The continent of Australia.  I’ll take that.




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

Queensland sayings:  Someone uncultured.


“He’s a Bogan.”










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



  1. Randy Lewis, San Clemente, California – 2,407



Total Trackchasing Countries

There are no trackchasers currently within 20 countries of my lifetime total. 


  1. Randy Lewis, San Clemente, California – 77




Current lifetime National Geographic Diversity results


  1. Randy Lewis, San Clemente, California – 4.37




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.




My last track of the trip was the best facility….don’t miss what a really well put together race facility looks like




















Leave a Reply