Kemper Arena

kansas city 34

Greetings from Kansas City, Missouri



From the travels and adventures of the 

“World’s #1 Trackchaser”



kemper arena

Kemper Arena 

Dirt oval

Lifetime Track #1,400



hale arena

Hale Arena

Dirt road course

Lifetime Track #2,191




The EventKemper ArenaHale ArenaVideo PlusPhotos







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



If you’ve got a question, comment or whatever please leave it at the bottom of this report.  It’s very easy to do.  I’ll try my best to respond.  Thanks!



American Royal….site of two historic trackchasing visits.

I’ve been to the American Royal complex in Kansas City twice now. Back in 2008 I saw winged micro-sprint racing inside a frigid Kemper Arena. Then, seven years later, I returned to see UTV racing in the next-door Hale Arena. You’ll be able to read about each visit inside this post. Simply check out the tabs for each track.



Want to know more information about the American Royal history?  Here’s what Wikipedia has to say:


“The American Royal began as a cattle show in 1899 in the Kansas City Stockyards. The name “American Royal” was inspired by a 1901 editorial in beef industry publication Kansas City Drovers Telegram entitled “Call It The American Royal.” The editorial noted the Royal Agricultural Society in England has a similar event called the Royal Show.



The first American Royal horse show was added in 1907, and has grown to include five shows (Quarter Horse Show, Hunter-Jumper Horse Show, Arabian Horse Show, American Saddlebred, Youth Horse Show and a Cutting Horse show).



In 1926, the American Royal invited vocational agriculture students to judge livestock. During the 1928 American Royal, 33 of the students meeting at the Baltimore Hotel in downtown Kansas City formed the Future Farmers of America. Now, the National FFA Organization has 579,678 members. The group proceeded to hold a convention every year during the Royal in Kansas City until 1998.



The original home of the American Royal was destroyed by fire on in 1925 during an Automobile Show. The structure was rebuilt in time for the event that year and served as the center for events until the American Royal complex was built across from Kemper Arena in 1992. During World War II, the Royal complex was converted into a glider factory.




American Royal Complex (Hale Arena pictured above)

The new American Royal Complex was constructed in 1992 to replace the outdated facility constructed in 1926. The complex was designed by the architecture firm Black and Veatch and constructed by Walton Construction. The new complex consists of a museum and visitor center, three exhibition halls, Hale Arena, a theatre, a full-service restaurant and concession stand, as well as the administrative offices. In 1993, the new facilities were flooded but was restored in time for the American Royal livestock shows to continue that autumn. Hale Arena has since replaced Kemper Arena and the Sprint Center as arenas where the livestock and rodeo shows are held each autumn. The barbecue competition had been held on the complex grounds, but was moved to the Arrowhead Stadium parking lots in 2015.”










1400 d 


This afternoon I saw my 1,400th lifetime racetrack.  No one else has ever seen that many. The only two tracks that have ever stood out to me were my 500th and 1,000th tracks. Below is a list of when and where I saw other “Century” mark tracks.




century club 




# 100 – Red River Valley Speedway, West Fargo, ND (Sammy Swindell winner) – July 13, 1981



# 200 – Sumter Rebel Speedway, Sumter, SC – March 28, 1992



# 300 – Brownstown Speedway, Brownstown, IN (Billy Moyer Jr. winner) – April 19, 1997 –



# 400 – Barren County Speedway, Glasgow, KY – October 1, 1999



# 500 – Freedom Raceway, Delevan, NY – July 27, 2001



# 600 – Trail-Way Speedway (figure 8 course), Hanover, PA – July 20, 2002



# 700 – Thunder Alley Park, Evans Mills, NY – April 22, 2004



# 800 – Five Flags Speedway, Pensacola, FL – December 3, 2004



#900 – I-96 Speedway (inner oval), Lake Odessa, MI – July 15, 2005



# 1,000 – Auburndale Kartway, Auburndale, Florida – February 10, 2006



# 1,100 – Cambridge Fair, Cambridge, Ontario, Canada – September 9, 2006



# 1,200 – Castrol Raceway, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada – June 3, 2007



# 1,300 – Bira Circuit, Pattaya, Thailand – January 19, 2008



# 1,400 – Kemper Raceway, Kansas City, Missouri – December 20, 2008 



On the occasion of my 900th track, I wrote the following.  I don’t think I can add much to those words.


“Today is a special day – track #900.  I am happy about that.  I would like to thank everyone who has supported me or shown an interest in my trackchasing hobby.   Special thanks go to Carol for being so tolerant of my obsession.  She is a smart woman and recognizes that it is a good idea to let me pursue my hobbies from time to time.  Also, thank you to all of the trackchasers who have provided me information and support along the way (you know who you are) and to those trackchasers who have motivated me through other methods (you know who you are).”



I’ll add a special thanks to Guy Smith for inventing, if you will, the entire trackchaser concept.  I’ll also offer special thanks to the man known as the “Trackchaser commissioner” Will White for formalizing the trackchaser statistics, which make the hobby even more fun.



I got started late but I’m on a roll now. 

It took me nearly 11 years just to see my 200th lifetime track after I saw my 100th.  Heck, it took me nearly 52 ½ years to see my first 500 tracks.  At that point, I told the boys at the golf club that I would be cutting back on my trackchasing.  I can even remember the table I was sitting at in the club’s dining room when I made that assertion.  I missed that one by a bunch!  In the following 7 ½ years, I have added another 900 tracks.  Most people would never have expected that, including me.



Please accept my apologies i'm sorry

Please accept my apologies. 

I offer my apologies to readers who signed up to receive my RANLAY Racing Trackchaser Report some 600 or 800 tracks ago.  Maybe you thought these emails would cease, or at least become less frequent, as time went on.  I hope you received some entertainment value and maybe even a cost saving or travel tip or three.  If you have, then it’s all been worth it for me.








The purpose of technology.

The purpose of technology is not to confuse the brain but to serve the body.



As promised, I will be providing you information about my Apple iPhone is this section of the Trackchaser Report. Here’s what Newsweek magazine had to say about the iPhone recently, “It’s the most advanced, elegant, sophisticated device ever created in the history of mankind”. I could not have said it better myself.



By the way, I am happy to report that one of my Midwestern readers has “taken the plunge” and purchased an iPhone partially on my recommendation. I am certain he will agree that it’s the best piece of information technology he has ever owned.




It’s a phone. It’s a phone?

Of course, my iPhone is a phone. I can make telephone calls with it. However, less than 5% of my iPhone usage goes to making phone calls.



In California, it is now illegal to make calls while you are driving unless the caller has some sort of a “hands-free” setup. I have three methods to work around this requirement. First, I can run the phone’s audio through my car audio system. Alternatively, I can use my wireless headset/earpiece to communicate “hands-free”. Finally, the third method for talking on the phone, without holding the phone, is to use the iPhone’s speakerphone capability.



What CAN’T the iPhone do?

Another special feature of the iPhone is being able to retrieve my email correspondence. I can read and delete emails, respond to emails and forward emails with it. I can even open up photo attachments attached to emails on my phone. I must admit that even though I think I can read my email running 80 MPH down the SoCal freeway system, I am scared to death of the other idiots reading THEIR emails while they speed down the freeway!



With each Trackchaser Report, I will provide 1-2 special uses of the Apple iPhone. Please don’t wait to buy one until I have exhausted my list of what the machine can do. If you did that, you might never get one.



Cumulative list of Apple iPhone capabilities

Multiple “hands-free” communication options


Full email capabilities






Coming soon!

How do fellow P&G retirees really think?



2008 Trackchasing Annual Report (coming in January….it’s being worked on as you read these words)



I have some really big news set to break by March 15, 2009 or so.







golf lesson 

Will my golf days finally equal my trackchasing days in 2008? …………..details in “The Objective”.



What was the only grandstand vendor selling today with the building’s temperature at about 25 degrees?………………more in “Race Review”.



What’s the ‘reason for the season’?…………..details in “The People”.





Greetings from Kansas City, Missouri



I woke up Friday morning in San Clemente, California. I went to sleep in Kansas City, Missouri. This is what transpired during the trip.



true story

This is all based upon a true story.

What you are about to read is based upon a true story. Heck, I’m hearing some of this stuff for the first time myself!








The Objective 



Achieving small goals each day can be fun.

I have multiple objectives for the hobbies in my life. Some might smile at that thought. Nevertheless, it’s the achievement of small goals that makes my life interesting, to me anyway, on a daily basis.



One of my objectives for the year is to play golf about the same number of days that I trackchase. I have not been able to reach this goal for several years. It seems that trackchasing has been winning out over golf by a good margin for some time. However, it’s something I want to do. I don’t want to have one hobby that prevents me from enjoying the others.




Balance in life. That’s important.

I believe that 2008 is the year I will finally balance out these two activities. As this is being written, I have played golf on 78 days this year. After this afternoon’s races, I have now trackchased 81 days during ’08. We had heavy rains and cold weather (highs about 55-60) that prevented me from playing a couple of times this week. Had we not had bad weather, golf would have been tied with trackchasing going into today’s races.



Yes, the SoCal climate rocks!

Before I go any further, I must apologize for complaining about our cold temperatures topping out at 55-60 degrees Fahrenheit. I know that much of the U.S. has had below freezing temps, and even below zero, with tons of snowfall. All I can say if that I have pleaded with my readers to move to SoCal in the past. Folks can get a good deal on real estate here now! Anyway, I was able to play golf today. The temperature was 60 degrees with a bright sun. I wore long pants to play golf for the first time I can remember in years. One fellow in our foursome even commented, “This is the first time I’ve ever seen everyone in our foursome wearing ‘big boy’ pants ever!”



It’s going to be very close on whether my golf days will equal my trackchasing days this year. With just 12 days, left in the year I am going to have to hit the links a few times. I expect to top out at 82-83 trackchasing days. Will I be able to play golf 4-5 more times in the next 12 days? Let’s wait and see.





The Trip


 santa auto racer 32

It was probably crazy to get involved with our nation’s airport system during the weekend before Christmas.

It takes a special sort of demented person to strike out on a trackchasing trip the weekend before Christmas. What makes this even more challenging is attempting to fly STANDBY on the busiest flying weekend of the year. Flying standby on this weekend is both risky and uncertain due to the holiday airport crowds and weather related problems during late December.




In planning this trip, I scoured the flights going into Kansas City and Toledo. The weather for the Toledo indoor races scared me off. Kansas City had bad weather as well, but a trip out there looked doable. After viewing all of my standby flying options, I opted to actually buy a ticket! That’s a bit like Kobe Bryant going out and buying a new pair of Nikes. It could happen but it’s not likely to happen.




I didn’t want to do it, but I had too…I bought a ticket.

I found a great fare on Southwest Airlines from Los Angeles to Kansas City. With a purchased ticket, I would be assured of getting a seat on the plane during this busy season. I will use my airline sponsorships for the rest of the trip beyond KC. With bad winter weather and the Christmas airline rush, that may end up making an interesting story for a later time.



Editor’s note: The plane I ended up taking to KC took off with about 20 empty seats. Heck, I could have flown standby on this flight for a lot less money. Yes, hindsight is 20/20.



My flight to Kansas City was scheduled to leave LAX at 6:45 p.m. on Friday night. With that late departure, I felt comfortable scheduling a morning round of golf with a tee time of 10:51 a.m. Of course, our golf ran long and I didn’t get out of the club until 3:35 p.m. Now I had just a bit more than three hours to drive 65 miles to the airport. There would be heavy-duty Friday night/Christmas shopping rush hour traffic. I also had to have time to get my car parked off-site and clear airport security. I didn’t even have time to go home after golf to change clothes.



race traffic

The worst traffic of the year.

While I was in route, Southwest Airlines sent me a text message indicating my flight was on time. Ain’t technology wonderful! The radio stations all lamented how traffic was the worst of the year. I guess it’s good to have low expectations as the traffic wasn’t really that bad.



I had printed my Southwest Airlines boarding pass at home the night before. Ain’t technology wonderful! Passengers are allowed to print their boarding passes online 24 hours before departure. Of course, just to test the system, I tried to print my boarding pass 24 hours and five minutes ahead of time. Nope, that didn’t work. I guess they’ve encountered folks like me before. Anyway, the sooner you print your boarding pass the better seat you get on the plane.



I fired up my laptop.

Clearing security was a piece of cake. I got through in less than five minutes. My flight was scheduled to land in KC at 11:55 p.m. Once I knew the flight was going and would not be canceled, I fired up my laptop. I needed a hotel room. First, I checked to find out what successful bids had been made recently for Kansas City hotel rooms on Then I went on and used PROPRIETARY information strategies to get around the rules of Soon I had a room at the Hilton hotel in Kansas City for just $45 per night. The least expensive room at the hotel via their website was $99 per night plus tax. Ain’t technology wonderful!



Busy. Busy. Busy.

From there I made calls to fellow golfers and family members to arrange my schedule for the upcoming week. I’m working hard to get those 4-5 rounds of golf in. We’re also expecting family from Wyoming to visit over the holidays and Jim just landed this morning from Hawaii.



A final call went out to son Jim himself. I needed to give him instructions on how to get my car at the airport while I’m gone. This strategy will both give him a car to drive and reduce my parking charge at the airport. I have no idea on how I was able to live life before cell phones came into existence.



Information technology is vitally important to me.

As you can see, information technology is an hourly aspect of my life. I even use an electronic golf rangefinder on the golf course to tell me how long my golf shot will be. Computers and cell phones and GPS units just make life easier. I want life to be easy, not hard. Technology does not confuse my brain, it serves my body. These things save me time and they say me money. They also make it so much easier for my family and friends to interact with me.



grandma computer

Come on fellow geezers. Don’t give up on tech. You may still live a long time.

Everyone in my generation has come a long way in this regard. I grew up in a household that didn’t get its first TV until I had already started school. We have nine or ten TVs in our house today. I don’t know for sure, as I don’t think I’ve been in all of the rooms in our house yet (ba-da-bing!) Our first TV in my childhood home was, of course, black and white. My grandfather won it in a contest offered by a Nash automobile dealer. The person who could drive one of their cars the furthest on one gallon of gasoline won a TV. To see a program in color, we used to go over to a “rich lady’s house” to watch Bonanza on Sunday nights on her color TV! My, how times have changed.




The People


Thank you!

Special thanks to Bud Heineman for the “heads up” on this weekend’s racing events in Kansas City.




What’s the reason for the season?

Christmas is a special time of the year. I saw a sign in the front yard of a Florida home last weekend. It said, simply, “Jesus in the reason for the season”. That seemed to pretty well sum things up. I hope everybody gives that statement some extra special attention during the holidays. I know I will.



I also hope that each “loyal and ardent” readers of the RANLAY Racing Trackchaser Report has a happy and fun Christmas with their loved ones and family. I hope that they are one and the same!







Time to see stuff.

I very much enjoy the racing when I go on trackchasing trips. However, I am not the type of person who would feel the trip was complete if I simply left home, went to the race and came back home.


I do a good deal of traveling. I want to do my best to see the local area when I come for a visit. There are usually unusual attractions that one area is noted for more than any other locale. I want to see those places. I want to touch them and feel them. When I leave an area, I want to have memories of these special places that I call Trackchasing Tourist Attractions. I will remember those experiences long after the checkered flag has fallen on whatever race I have seen that day.



This proves I was there!

Negro Leagues Baseball Museum – Kansas City, Missouri



From motorcycles to baseball.

When I checked into my hotel near the airport, I noticed a highway sign for “Harley-Davidson Factory Tours”. That sounded like fun. I called them but there were no tours scheduled during the time I would be in town. That got me to thinking. I would have a couple of hours before the racing started this Saturday afternoon. What else was there to see in Kansas City?



Negro Leagues Baseball Museum.

A quick Google search (by the way, I use Google searches many times every day) put me onto the “Negro Leagues Baseball Museum” ( I love sports museums. This was one of the best I have ever seen.



I will begin my review with the one and only negative of the entire museum. Visitors are not allowed to take pictures inside the museum of any kind. I think that might be a first in a modern sports museum of this type for me. I found that very disappointing, as I love to share pictures of the places I visit with you. I know that many people will never be able to visit some of these spots. Pictures can be just about as good as actually going there. Sorry!



The museum was reasonably priced. At a cost of just six dollars to get into the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, it was a real bargain. For just two dollars more I could see the baseball museum and its sister museum (in the same building) the American Jazz Museum. That is exactly what I did.



yankees logo 2

I grew up as a huge baseball fan.

As a kid in the late fifties and early sixties, I was a huge baseball fan. In central Illinois, most people are either Cubs or Cardinals fans. I was a Yankee fan (now I can’t stand them). When I got home from school, I immediately went to the sport pages to check out the standings (comparisons). Back in those days, there were just 16 major league teams, eight in the American League and the same number in the National League. There were no divisional playoffs back then.


mickey mantle baseball card

I had a huge baseball card selection. I knew every player and every stat. I played little league baseball and played in the early rounds of the little league World Series tournament for our league all-star team. I pitched my freshman year in high school (lifetime record 1-1) before switching to the golf team in my sophomore year. Yes, I was a huge baseball fan back then.



The museum’s background.

This background made the “Negro Leagues Baseball Museum” an excellent place to spend a Saturday morning. There were so many things I learned or was reminded of. Here a few of those items:



jackie robinson

The first black baseball player did not appear in the major leagues until 1947. That’s when Jackie Robinson (former UCLA football and baseball star!) joined the Brooklyn Dodgers.



Do you know who the first black players were for the Chicago White Sox, Chicago Cubs and New York Yankees?


White Sox – Minnie Minoso

Cubs – Ernie Banks

Yankees – Elston Howard



The first ever night game was played in the major leagues in 1935. The Negro leagues had their first night game in 1930.



The Boston Red Sox were the last team to integrate. It took them until 1959 to do it. That was 12 years after the Dodgers did it. There have always been some cities where their sports teams were very slow to fully integrate. Boston was one of those cities. The Yankees demise in the mid-60s was attributed to being slow to add black players to the team.



Caterpillar basketball

Caterpillar basketball and baseball was big in my hometown.

I grew up in East Peoria, Illinois. Peoria, Illinois is the world headquarters for the Caterpillar Tractor Company. Back in the 50s, “Cat” had both a basketball team and a baseball team. The basketball team was part of the National Industrial Basketball League ( Click on this link to see the complete NIBL standings from 1947-1960.



This league was founded in 1947 and played for 14 seasons. During this time, college players did not leave early to play in the NBA. The best players did not always even go to the NBA when they graduated from college. Often they played for amateur teams like those in the NIBL to maintain their amateur status. By remaining an amateur, they could play in the next basketball Olympics. When the Olympics were finished, they pursued their NBA career. The Caterpillar “Cats” basketball coach, Warren Womble, was the U.S. basketball Olympics head coach in 1952. The U.S, won the gold medal.



Teams in the NIBL were normally sponsored by companies and had colorful nicknames. Teams included:

Akron Goodyear Wingfoots

Bartlesville Phillips 66ers

Cleveland Pipers**

Denver Truckers

Fort Wayne General Electrics

Peoria Caterpillars


** George Steinbrenner, current New York Yankees owner bought the Cleveland Pipers in 1960.



Caterpillar’s baseball team also played an eclectic schedule. I recall one game against the Indianapolis Clowns, an all black barnstorming team. The Clowns lived up to their name. They were baseball’s equivalent to the Harlem Globetrotters. By the way, the museum was critical of these types of black baseball teams as not being true to the sport or the race.



The Negro Leagues Baseball Museum was founded in 1990. It is a privately funded, non-profit organization dedicated to preserving the rich history of African-American baseball history. The NLBM opened its 10,000 square foot (it seems a lot bigger) building in 1997.



From 1920-1955, over 30 communities, located primarily in the Midwest, South and Northeast were home to franchises organized into a number of leagues. The term “negro leagues”, as it is used in the museum, refers to the highest level of play black baseball during segregation. These leagues included teams such as the:

Birmingham Black Barons

Washington Black Senators

Chicago Brown Bombers

Indianapolis Clowns

Detroit Stars

Kansas City Monarchs

New York Cubans

Harrisburg Giants



Kansas City Monarchs

The best negro leagues baseball team.

The Kansas City Monarchs were somewhat the equivalent of the New York Yankees in Major League Baseball. I think I remember them coming to Peoria to play the Caterpillar team. You may see me at the tracks sporting a Kansas City Monarchs shirt.



I will say this. I VERY MUCH enjoyed my visit at the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum. I watched every minute of the three movies depicting the era. I find segregation one of the most, if not the most, egregious activities that the United States could have ever practiced.



I also spent just a few minutes in the American Jazz Museum. Since I don’t have much background or interest in music, this museum didn’t appeal to me. However, if you like that form of entertainment I think you would very much like this museum.



I give the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum a full five-star rating. I’ll go back at my earliest opportunity. It was the highlight of my trip. There are several “soul food” type restaurants in the area for an “after museum” bite to eat.








My wide angle camera lens provided a good shot of the entire track.



#1,400 and things were going according to plan.

Today was a most unusual day for trackchasing. Not much of what happened was the way I expected it to go. That’s about right for the day I would see my 1,400th lifetime track. I would say less than 1% of my trackchasing trips go exactly according to plan.



Here’s what we know about the Kemper Arena.

Today’s event was being held indoors at the Kemper Arena in Kansas City, Missouri. The Kemper Arena was built in 1974 at a cost of $22 million. The arena seats 18,344 for concerts. The Kansas City Comets, members of the Major Indoor Soccer League, play here. The arena is owned by the city of Kansas City. I was surprised to hear the announcer say that the NCAA men’s basketball final four was contested at Kemper in 1988. He also told us the name of the track in the Kemper Arena today was the Kemper Raceway.



frozen bike icycle

What? Indoors but no heat?

It was cold in Kansas City today. The high temperature topped out at about 25 degrees with a strong wind. I was looking forward to the idea of sitting in a heated arena and watching micro-sprint, legends and midget racing today. Not much of that plan happened!!



I parked near the arena in the arena parking lot. That set me back ten bucks. I left my winter gloves, stocking cap and neck gaiter in the car. I didn’t want to be carrying around all of that stuff, along with my camera gear, all day.



I ventured out into the cold and windy conditions in need of a ticket for the races. I soon discovered that I had parked at the far end of the parking lot from where the one and only ticket booth would be selling tickets. From a quick review of the track’s website, I knew the race tickets were going to be $37. That was steep for a show of this nature. Nevertheless, I had come all this way and it was my 1,400th lifetime track. What’s another thirty-seven bucks?


Altough the dust did not provide a viewing problem, it did make the seats dirty.

Sold out? Really?

All seats at the Kemper Arena were reserved. I ended up with an upper deck seat when the ticket seller told me all of the lower level seats were sold out. This surprised me. The Kemper Arena seats more than 18,000 fans. They must have been counting on a large crowd if the lower deck was already sold out.



The arena was not heated. I repeat the arena was not heated.

I took my ticket and went to gate four. Then I encountered a huge and uncomfortable surprise. The arena was not heated!!! Now wait just a minute. I said the ARENA WAS NOT HEATED.



Editor’s note: It is common knowledge that words written in CAPS in computer messages are the equivalent of shouting. Normally, it is poor form to write computer messages in that format. Today, it is meant to signify shouting.



This arena had been home to the NCAA final four just 20 years ago. It looked very modern on the outside. Are you going to tell me they were charging ten dollars to park and thirty-seven dollars to get in and they couldn’t even heat the #$%^$ place?



I heard one usher meekly say that they didn’t heat the arena because of the fumes the racecars would emit. Yes, I have been in some areas where the carbon dioxide level would choke both Al Gore and George Bush (which might not be a bad idea). However, I was willing to risk an elevated CO2 level in my blood stream so as to prevent frostbite on each of my exposed extremities.



I made an error…..too bad.

I soon realized that leaving my hat and gloves in the car was a glaring error. I told the gate attendant about my dilemma. He reminded me that there was a strict “no re-entry” policy. However, a plea from the bottom of my frozen heart allowed him to bend the policy in my case. I ended up walking about four blocks round-trip to get my stuff. On the way back, I walked with two local ladies who would be working at the concession stands. They were appalled that there was no heat in the building.



The website told me the building would open at 1 p.m. My ticket told me the building would open at 12 noon. In reality, the building opened much earlier than either of these empty promises. Don’t worry. This is how short track auto racing works.



I showed up at 1 p.m. I would be flying all evening to my next new track destination. I could stay until 5:30 p.m., which is what I ended up doing. This weekend’s Kemper Arena race promotion was a two-day affair. The plan was to run a complete program each night.



There were about 90 microsprints racing today from 26 different states.

Don’t worry. This is how the short track auto racing industry works.

The announcer was not overly forthcoming with details but did share this. He told us that last night’s program had encountered “some problems”. He thanked the arena management for allowing them to race THREE HOURS longer than they had planned too. Nevertheless, the feature events for BOTH the midgets and micro-sprints for Friday night’s show could not be completed last night or even into the early morning. He didn’t have the guts to mention how late they ended up racing last night/early morning as they encountered those problems. They ended up running those two main events on Saturday morning, sometime before I arrived at 1 p.m. Don’t worry. This is how short track auto racing works.



Both inane and insane.

Shortly after the track announcer explained how late the show had run the night before, the first of two “D” main events came onto the track. There were five cars in this race. The crowd was told that four of them would transfer to the “C” main race. Most of you are not trackchasers or even racechasers. You may not know how absolutely inane (yes, inane but it was also insane) it is to do the above. Trust me it is! On the first lap, one of those five starters spun and could not restart. The four remaining competitors raced, with a few spins, to complete the event. Trust me, I was so mad I was about ready to start throwing my shoes onto the track.



Editor’s note: Please don’t be concerned that “I was so mad”. In reality I rarely get mad at anything other than a wayward golf shot and that feeling lasts for just a few seconds. However, it does make the story a bit more entertaining doesn’t it?



Not as good as NASCAR.

I had smuggled/brought a Subway sandwich into the arena. I’m trying to eat a more healthy diet. I rebelled at paying four dollars for a bottle of Diet Coke. Even a pretzel was four bucks. These guys didn’t have anything on NASCAR. At least NASCAR lets you park for free and they don’t make you watch races in 20-degree temperatures.



4 kk

Ed Esser now #4.

Initially I went into the upper deck as directed by my ticket. Then I noticed that far less than 10% of the seats in the lower deck were occupied. What happened to the idea of the lower deck being completely sold out? I ended up sitting in the lower deck for the rest of the day. Come to think of it, it might have been warmer (heat rises) in the upper deck. It was rumored that trackchasing’s Ed Esser would be in attendance today. Soon, it will be known to a broad audience that Ed has moved into the #4 position in the trackchasing worldwide comparisons (the politically correct term for “rankings”). I looked all over but I didn’t see Ed. I’m not saying he was there and I’m not saying he wasn’t. In cold weather gear, just about everyone looks the same.



As the afternoon wore on, the crowd increased. They might have had 1,000 people or so. If they did have one thousand fans, I would estimate that less than 50 of them were women. Women are smart, often times smarter than men. They aren’t stupid enough to sit in 20-degree temperatures all day to watch races. I am not normally that stupid either.



You simply have to be kidding me.

During the entire afternoon, I saw only one vendor walking through the stands selling anything. It was somewhere in the 20-30 degree temperature range inside the building. Any ideas on what that vendor was trying to sell? Maybe you’re thinking hot chocolate or hot popcorn or hot anything. Nope. He was selling rainbow colored sno cones! Now I was REALLY getting mad at the more than inane actions of the arena’s management. If my feet weren’t ice cold I would have thrown my shoes at the sno cone vendor. I hope he wasn’t working on commission.



Why did they tell me the entire lower deck was sold out when I bought my ticket?

The track.

The track was about 1/6-mile in length. It was a dirt oval with a very modest amount of banking. The surface was fairly smooth, and for the most part dust free, except for a very fine coating of dust that settled on the grandstand seats themselves. The cars pitted outdoors and possibly in other buildings. This made me glad that I am a trackchaser and not a racer.



I believed they changed the race format today from what went on Friday. Thank goodness, they did. The announcer told us the micro-sprints would run a complete program in the afternoon. The midgets would run at night. He didn’t mention a thing about the legends.



When I arrived, they were working on getting the dirt-racing surface ready to run on. By 1:30 p.m. they were racing. Over the next four hours, they ended up running eleven 7-8 car heat races. They followed that with two “D” mains, and then two “C” mains and then two “B” mains that all led up to a 20-car, 30-lap feature race.



I don’t really know what the difference is between the 600cc micro-sprints that raced today and the mini-sprint class. Overall, today’s racers were good; they were just operating on a very tight track. The winged cars were extremely fast, but they ended up running over each other about every two laps on average. I would estimate that each heat had 3-5 cautions. The features had twice that because they started 15-20 cars. In total that’s about 60-70 yellow flag delays. I will say the track crew was quick to get them back to green flag racing. There were also 3-4 flips that brought out the red flag.



Despite the large number of yellow flags, I think the actual racing was very good. There just wasn’t much sustained racing. I took lots of photos. I even emailed photos to family and friends and to trackchasing’s headquarters back in Quakertown, Pennsylvania. I suspect they’ve never received email photos during an event before.



The cold weather was awful.

The overriding downside of today’s event was the cold weather. When I left the building at 5:30 p.m., the outside temperature had dropped to 18 degrees. By the time my plane departed Kansas City it was 13 degrees. It might have been a bit warmer inside the Kemper Arena but not by much.



Tony Stewart supervises the track prep.

Tony Stewart – track maintenance worker.

I was surprised to see NASCAR’s Tony Stewart supervising the track maintenance before the “A” feature. The website didn’t make any mention of his involvement that I had seen. He looked taller than I expected.



It can be lonely at the top. As Tony stood in the infield directing the track crew and watching the races, most of the time he was by himself. I suspect he intimidates others when he comes to local events like this one. If you watch closely you won’t see many people standing around leaders like Rick Hendrick or Roger Penske yukking it up either. Folks don’t feel comfortable standing around the boss making small talk all that much.



The announcer told us the 80 or so micro-sprints had come from 26 different states. That was impressive. He also said there were an additional 80 full-sized midgets from 19 different states. The midgets were going to run their program sometime after 6 p.m. I can’t imagine sitting in the cold for four and one-half hours as I did and then sitting for another 4-5 hours or longer in even colder temperatures watching the midgets race.



Just plain ridiculous.

I think a $37 admission price was absolutely ridiculous. I spend a lot of money on this hobby and other things. Nevertheless, I don’t like to waste my money when I’m not getting a good value. I think charging $37 for BOTH days would have been too much.




It is difficult for some folks to truly understand what it takes to trackchase at this level.

Despite the program’s significant shortcomings, I was happy to get track #1,400 before the end of the year and before I turn 60 years old on January 23, 2009. My civilian friends don’t really understand what it has taken to see this many tracks. Sometimes when people hear my track total they ask, “have you seen all of those in one year”? That question tells me they don’t really understand what’s going on with my trackchasing.



My fellow trackchasers are probably in the best position to understand what it takes to trackchase this frequently. They all know how much time and effort they have put into the hobby to get whatever total they have. They can then look at their number and then at my number and realize that up to now, I’ve put a lot more time into this than anybody else has.




It’s been a lot of fun.

I will say this; it’s been a lot of fun. I think my trackchasing will slow down in the future just because there are fewer (far fewer) good tracks left to see. I want to spend more time with my other hobbies. If I had to sit in 20-degree temperatures for four and one-half hours at every track, my lifetime total would not even reach 140 tracks. Heck, it might not reach fourteen.












This afternoon I saw my 45th lifetime track in Missouri. This gives me a third place ranking in the Show Me state. I have a third place ranking or higher in 26 of our 50 U.S. states. I trail Wisconsin’s Jack Erdmann by just three tracks now in Mizzou. Ed Esser leads here with 63 tracks.








Kansas City, Missouri – Saturday/Saturday

I will be driving the National Rental Car Racing Mitsubishi Gallant on this trip. I don’t rent that brand very often. I will be driving the car less than 50 miles. However, my GPS unit proved indispensible as always.

I drove the National Rental Car Racing Mitsubishi Gallant just 49 miles. The Gallant gave me 25.3 miles per gallon fuel mileage at a cost of 5.5 cents per mile. The car cost 57.4 cents per mile to rent, all taxes included. Gas mileage on short runs like this can be volatile. Cost per mile to rent the car is always inflated when I don’t drive many miles.




Thanks for reading about my trackchasing,


Randy Lewis

Alberta’s #1 Trackchaser

Everything I know I learned from someone else.








Los Angeles, CA – Kansas City, MO – 1,361 miles



Kansas City International Airport – trip begins

Kansas City, MO – 32 miles

Kansas City International Airport – 49 miles



Kansas City, MO – Denver, CO – 532 miles





Kemper Arena – $37 – BANDITS!








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


  1. Randy Lewis, San Clemente, California – 1,400!



Other notables


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


  1. Kevin Eckert, Indianapolis, Indiana – 455


  1. Ken Schrader, Concord, North Carolina – 373


  1. Carol Lewis, San Clemente, California – 371






  1. Mike Knappenberger, Reading, Pennsylvania – 165


  1. Randy Lewis, San Clemente, California – 102


  1. Ed Esser, Madison, Wisconsin – 91


  1. Brian Hickey, Westport, Massachusetts – 82


  1. Roland Vanden Eynde, Vilvoorde, Belgium – 73





After the most recent updates (December 19, 2008), my lifetime NGD lead sits at 17 state position points. This should seal this title for the year.





Since I’ve decided to brave the wild winter weather and even wilder Christmas airport rush of vacationers, I might as well stay out and try to see one more track. Nobody knows this one even exists let alone that it’s racing just four days before Christmas.




2008 1

RACETRACKS VISITED IN 2008 (** not the first time to visit this track)



1,299. Barnes Lake Ice Track, Ashcroft (road course), British Columbia, Canada – January 13


1,300. Bira Circuit, Pattaya (road course), Thailand – January 19


1,301. Cameron Lake Ice Track (oval), Erskine, Minnesota – January 26


1,302. Birch Lake Ice Track (oval), Hackensack, Minnesota – January 27


1,303. Mille Lacs Lake Ice Track (road course), Garrison, Minnesota – January 27


1,304. Mille Lacs Lake Ice Track (oval), Garrison, Minnesota – January 27


1,305. Ozark Empire Fairgrounds (oval), Springfield, Missouri – February 1


1,306. Atlanta Motor Speedway (road course), Hampton, Georgia – February 2


1,307. Brainerd International Raceway Ice Track (road course), Brainerd, Minnesota – February 3


1,308. Bay of Green Bay Ice Track (road course), Marinette, Wisconsin – February 9


1,309. Lake Speed Ice Track (oval), Tilleda, Wisconsin – February 9


1,310. Shawano Lake Ice Track – North Shore (oval), Shawano, Wisconsin – February 10


1,311. Cecil Bay Iceway (oval) – Cecil, Wisconsin – February 10


1,312. Mototown USA (oval) – Windsor, Connecticut – February 15


1,313. Moosehead Lake Ice Track (oval) – Greenville Junction, Maine – February 16


1,314. Clarence Creek Ice Track (oval) – Clarence Creek, Ontario, Canada – February 17


1,315. Durban Grand Prix (road course), KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa – February 24


1,316. Lake La Biche Ice Track (road course), Lake La Biche, Alberta, Canada – March 1


1,317. Rice Lake Ice Track (oval), Rice Lake, Wisconsin – March 8


1,318. Ashland Ice Track (oval), Ashland, Wisconsin – March 9


1,319. Autodromo Hermanos Rodriquez (road course), Mexico City, Mexico – March 16


1,320. Hartwell Motor Speedway (oval), Hartwell, Georgia – March 22


1,321. Lavonia Speedway, Lavonia (oval), Georgia – March 22


1,322. Dover Raceway (road course), Brown’s Town, St. Ann, Jamaica – March 24


1,323. Lake Country Speedway (oval), Ardmore, Oklahoma – March 29


1,324. Swainsboro Raceway (oval), Swainsboro, Georgia – April 3


1,325. Screven Motor (oval), Sylvania, Georgia – April 4


1,326. Centerville Super Speedway (oval), Centerville, Arkansas – April 5


1,327. Central Arkansas Speedway (oval), Plumerville, Arkansas – April 5


1,328. Clinton Country Speedway (oval), Alpha, Kentucky – April 6


1,329. Pleasant Valley Raceway (oval), Boise, Idaho – April 20


1,330. Bremerton Raceway (road course), Bremerton, Washington – April 26


1,331. Port Angeles Speedway (oval), Port Angeles, Washington – April 26


1,332. Evergreen Speedway (1/5-mile oval), Monroe, Washington – April 27


1,333. Virginia Motor Speedway (oval), Jamaica, Virginia – May 1


1,334. Natural Bridge Speedway (oval), Natural Bridge, Virginia – May 2


1,335. Sturup Raceway, Malmo (road course), Sweden – May 10


1,336. Ring Djursland, Tirstrup (road course), Denmark – May 11


1,337. Nisseringen, Naestved (road course), Denmark – May 12


1,338. Valentine Speedway (oval), Glenrock, Wyoming – May 17


1,339. Gillette Thunder Speedway (oval), Gillette, Wyoming – May 17


1,340. Phillips County Speedway (oval), Holyoke, Colorado – May 18


1,341. North Pole Speedway (oval), North Pole, Alaska, – May 22


1,342. Tanacross Airport (road course), Tok, Alaska, – May 24


1,343. Mitchell Raceway (oval), Fairbanks, Alaska, – May 24


1,344. North Star Speedway (oval), Wasilla, Alaska, – May 25


1,345. Capitol Speedway (oval), Willow, Alaska, – May 25


1,346. Elk City Speedway (inner oval), Elk City, Oklahoma, – May 30


1,347. Sweet Springs Motorsports Complex (oval), Sweet Springs, Missouri – May 31


1,348. Central Missouri Speedway (oval), Warrensburg, Missouri – May 31


1,349. Lucas Oil Speedway (road course), Wheatland, Missouri – June 1


1,350. Ark-La-Tex Speedway (oval), Vivian, Louisiana – June 5


1,351. Monticello Speedway (oval), Monticello, Arkansas – June 6


1,352. Paris Motor Speedway (oval), Paris, Texas – June 7


1,353. Grayson County Speedway (oval), Bells, Texas – June 7


1,354. Prowers County Motorsports Park (oval), Lamar, Colorado – June 13


1,355. Moler Raceway Park (oval), Williamsburg, Ohio – June 20


1,356. La Junta Raceway (road course), La Junta, Colorado – June 21


1,357. El Paso County Speedway (oval), Calhan, Colorado – June 21


1,358. York County Fairgrounds (figure 8), York, Nebraska – June 22


1,359. Black Hills Speedway (oval), Rapid City, South Dakota – June 27


1,360. Heartland Speedway (oval), Rapid City, South Dakota – June 27


1,361. Newcastle Speedway (oval), Newcastle, Wyoming – June 28


1,362. Jackson County Sports Park (oval), White City, Oregon – July 11


1,363. Great Basin Raceway (oval), Ely, Nevada – July 12


1,364. Lovelock Speedway (oval), Lovelock, Nevada – July 13


1,365. Saratoga Speedway (oval), Courtenay, British Columbia, Canada – July 19


1,366. Saratoga Speedway (figure 8), Courtenay, British Columbia, Canada – July 19


1,367. Alberni Motorsports Park (road course), Port Alberni, British Columbia, Canada – July 20


1,368. Scotia Speedworld, Halifax (oval), Nova Scotia, Canada – August 1


1,369. Centre for Speed (oval), Grand Barachois, New Brunswick, Canada – August 3


1,370. Penticton Speedway (oval), Penticton, British Columbia, Canada – August 9


1,371. Penticton Speedway (road course), Penticton, British Columbia, Canada – August 9


1,372. Tri-Oval Speedway (inner oval), Fountain City, Wisconsin – August 22


1,373. Tri-Oval Speedway (outer oval), Fountain City, Wisconsin – August 22


1,374. Genesee Speedway (oval), Batavia, New York – August 23


1,375. Limerock Speedway (oval), Caledonia, New York – August 23


1,376. Wyalusing Valley Motorsports Park (oval), Wysox, Pennsylvania – August 24


1,377. Utica-Rome Speedway (inner oval), Vernon, New York – August 24


1,378. Hebron Fair (figure 8), Hebron, Connecticut – September 5


1,379. Shadybowl Speedway (oval), Degraff, Ohio – September 6


1,380. Beamsville Fair (figure 8), Beamsville, Ontario, Canada – September 7


1,381. Automotodrom BRNO (road course), Brno, Czech Republic – September 13


1,382. Lambrechten Stock Car Track (road course), Lambrechten, Austria – September 14


1,383. Sherman County Speedway (oval), Goodland, Kansas – September 26


1,384.Thirty-Five Raceway (oval), Frankfort, Ohio – September 27


1,385. Oakshade Speedway (oval), Wauseon, Ohio – September 28


1,386. Big Island Oval Track (oval), Hilo, Hawaii – October 11


1,387. Mountain Raceway Park (oval), Maryville, Tennessee – October 19


1,388. Tipperary International Raceway (oval), Rosegreen, Republic of Ireland – October 26


1,389. Waterford Raceway (road course), Dungarvan, Republic of Ireland – October 27


1,390. South Dakota Circuit (road course), Timehri, Republic of Guyana – November 2


1,391. New Jersey Motorsports Park – Thunderbolt Raceway (road course), Millville, New Jersey – November 9


1,392. The Guia Circuit (road course), Macau, Republic of China – November 16


1,393. Texana Raceway Park (oval), Edna, Texas – November 21  1,394. Gator Motorplex (oval), Willis, Texas – November 22  1,395. Grand River Speedway (outer oval), Urich, Missouri – November 23


1,396. Grand River Speedway (inner oval), Urich, Missouri – November 23


1,397. Grand River Speedway (figure 8), Urich, Missouri – November 23


1,398. Autodromo La Guacima (road course), La Guacima, Costa Rica – November 30


1,399. Sumter County Fairgrounds (oval), Bushnell, Florida – December 13


1,400. Kemper Raceway (oval), Kansas City, Missouri – December 20












Up early. Why?

I set my alarm for 7:15 a.m. central time. Today’s countable racing would be in Kansas City, Missouri. Race time was an uncharacteristically late 8:30 p.m.



Kansas City was going to be a three-hour drive to the south of Des Moines, Iowa. Why would I need to get up so early to make a three-hour drive for an 8:30 p.m. racing start?



I’m always up for a Trackchasing Tourist Attraction.

Folks, when I come out of the trackchasing trail I just don’t come to see racing. If I have any free time whatsoever I’m up for a “Trackchasing Tourist Attraction”.



2009 world series logo

I’m a big sports fan. The bigger the event the better. I’ve seen Super Bowl’s, World Series (major league, college and little league!), NBA finals, NCAA Final Fours, the U.S. Tennis Open, the Masters golf tournament and lots of other really big sporting events. During the wintertime when I’m on the trackchasing trail college basketball opportunities abound.



KU logo

Good fortune.

It just turned out to be my good fortune that the University of Kansas Jayhawks had a home game today in Lawrence, Kansas. The game started at 1 p.m. It would be featuring the Texas Longhorns as the KU the opponent. Just last week Kansas was the number one ranked team in the country.



I guess seeing the number one ranked team in their famous field house, the Allen Fieldhouse constructed in 1955, would qualify as a pretty big event. The game was sold out. I didn’t have a ticket. That wasn’t a problem. I had my “need one” sign. I would make it happen from there.



Last night I did some additional research for other possible basketball opportunities. I discovered that William Penn University from Oskaloosa, Iowa had a road game in Kansas City. They would be playing Avila University.



william penn logo

Why William Penn?

I must tell you I had never heard of Avila University or their home court in the Mabee located in Kansas City, Missouri. However I had heard of William Penn University.



William Penn recruiting letter

William Penn had contacted me via letter during my senior season of basketball at East Peoria Community High School. They were interested in having me play basketball at the University. I never made a visit to their campus in Oskaloosa, Iowa. I figured my long-term job opportunities, since I wasn’t likely to be drafted into the NBA, might be better if I went to a bigger and better school. I ended up going to Northern Illinois and getting a good job with Procter & Gamble. I spent thirty years working for them. I think I made the right choice.



I would really have loved to have seen William Penn play basketball in Oskaloosa. It would have been fun to see what could have been. However the next best thing would be able to see them play today in Kansas City. It’s been nearly 50 years since I received that recruiting letter. I suspect that basketball at William Penn has improved a good deal since the 1966–67 season.



Maybe I should just sleep in?

I must tell you that when my alarm woke me from a dead sleep at 7:15 a.m. (5:15 a.m. San Clemente time) I seriously considered bagging the Kansas basketball game. I didn’t have a ticket. It might be expensive. I was still tired from last night’s indoor oxygen deprivation indoor racing activity. My ski jacket wreaked of gas fumes.


I’m 67 but feel 37 especially when I’ve sitting down.

I could sleep for another two hours or more and still make the 4 p.m. William Penn basketball game in Kansas City. However I got to thinking. Today was my birthday. I was turning 67 years old but I feel like I’m only 37 years old. A 37-year-old wouldn’t back out on the Kansas basketball game would they? No, they wouldn’t. And I wouldn’t. I jumped into the shower and was soon on the road with a can of Vienna sausages and Dukes beef jerky sausages at the ready. Sadly I left three large bottles of Diet Mountain Dew in the hotel refrigerator as an oversight!



The outside temperature was just 19°. However my National Car Rental Racing Toyota Avalon has heated seats as well as a strong car heater. In a matter of moments I was toasty warm.



I was going to fly more than 4,000 miles to make this trip. I was going to drive more than 1,500 miles. I’m really glad that I’m not putting any of those miles on any of the equipment I own.



pilot travel center $1.43

I had struck gold black gold.

When it was time to get gas I struck gold. I paid just a $1.43 for a gallon for petrol. That’s about half of what the current gasoline prices are in San Clemente right now.



How would I know that?

I took a picture of the gasoline price sign. A woman filling up her car nearby yelled over to me, “What’s the price of gas in Illinois?” How would I know that? That’s when I realized my rental car had an Illinois license plate. I told her I was in California. The prices were twice as high in the Golden state as they were here in Missouri today. Only in the Midwest, would you have a fellow traveler say “hi” like she did. I liked it.



waffle house coupon

My Waffle House sponsorship.

Yesterday I had received a coupon from the Waffle House via email. I’m a member of their “Regulars” Club. They were offering me a free waffle for my birthday. I would have to use it in the next couple of weeks. Today might be my final shot of traveling anywhere near where a Waffle House was located.



waffle house food 345

The Kansas City area has several Waffle House locations. The only problem was I couldn’t print the coupon. I could only take a picture of it on my phone. Would they accept that? I would have to find out.



waffle house interior 2

Waffle House folks are pretty friendly. I showed the woman serving me a photo of the coupon on my phone. That was good enough for her. She served my waffle with a large Diet Coke made in a “to go” cup. My bill was only $2.14. I’ve saved about three dollars on my waffle with the coupon. I gave my server a five-dollar tip for her cooperation.



Now for the Jayhawk part of this trip.

From the greater Kansas City area it was a short 40-minute hop over to Lawrence, Kansas home of the University of Kansas. Part of the drive had me traveling on the Kansas Tollway. Included in my change after one stop was a two-dollar bill. When was the last time you saw one of those?



There are a few college basketball programs that stand out from the rest. The University of Kansas has one of those programs.



James Naismith

How steeped in tradition is the University of Kansas basketball program?

How steeped in tradition is the game of basketball at the University of Kansas? Their first ever basketball coach was James Naismith the INVENTOR of basketball. Wow.



Naismith invented the game of basketball in Springfield, Massachusetts. The year was 1891. A few years later in 1898 James Naismith became the first ever basketball coach at the University of Kansas. During his first season the team went 7-4. However, over a coaching career of nine years Coach Naismith went 55-60. How’s that for an interesting situation. The inventor of the game of basketball could not manage a winning record at the University of Kansas!



I have found that certain basketball programs located in places that don’t have a lot of major-league entertainment go bonkers over their programs. Tucson Arizona, Spokane Washington and Chapel Hill North Carolina are some of those that come to mind. The small town of Lawrence, Kansas falls into that category as well. There’s not a lot else going on and their program is ultra successful.



Until a loss last week, the University of Kansas was the number one ranked college basketball team in the country. Today they came into the game with a number three ranking. They were playing the University of Texas, which was also a top 25 team. The game was sold out.




Sometimes I wish I could pay high prices too.

Do you ever resent it when other people get to do things you can’t do? I don’t get the chance to pay high prices for major-league entertainment like some people do. Don’t hold that against me. It’s my choosing.



I am not a season ticket holder. I am not an alumnus who paid extra money to get tickets to high-quality games. I am simply a traveler who runs around the world collecting life experiences.



For gosh sakes. I didn’t even have a ticket.

I came to the game with no ticket. I didn’t have much money in my blue jeans. I’m retired. I’ve been unemployed for 14 years. Nevertheless I had something that no one else had. I actually had two things.



First I had a positive attitude. I had an attitude that says even though the game is sold out and you don’t know the first thing about the University of Kansas basketball program, campus or anything else you can do this.



the sign 3

The sign.

Secondly, and most importantly I had “sign”. That’s right. I had a sign that was a simple piece of paper that must be 10 years old or more by now. On the sign two words were printed with a blue magic marker “Need One”.



I have used that sign all over the world. It works especially well in the United States at exclusive sporting venues.



Mind you I like seeing a sporting contest at whatever level of expertise. However I do not focus on the lower level sports programs where getting a ticket is cheap and easy. Remember I don’t want to buy cheap things cheap I want to buy good things cheap.



People can be jealous.

However there are some people who resent another person’s ingenuity. Those are the people who blindly follow the rules, never take a chance and generally live very boring lives. I am not one of those people.



When I got near the campus and even closer to the Allen Fieldhouse I saw signs for parking starting at $10 and increasing up to $20. That wasn’t for me. I drove over a couple more blocks and found parking on the side street for no charge. Things were going well so far.



lawrence kansas walk

I didn’t have local knowledge.

It was about a five-block walk from where I parked over to the basketball arena. I thought with such a short walk I would not need my stocking cap and gloves. Most other people seemed to have thought otherwise. They were more right than me. Yes, they had a home court advantage in choosing their winter weather gear. I should’ve brought my hat and gloves.



Enduring the looks.

Nevertheless, I had my sign. Yes I had to endure those looks that come from folks who bought their season tickets a year ago. You know the look. It’s the look of pity. They pity the poor fellow standing out in the cold with no gloves, no hat and no ticket but with only a sign that read, “Need One”.



I might have looked like a rookie. I might have looked like an old man who just wandered over toward the field house without any clue that he was about ready to try to get a ticket to one of the most cherished basketball programs in all the land. It was no doubt these people felt that I was down on my luck and had little chance of success.



game warden

I had just dropped my line in the water when the game warden spotted me.

I had just started “fishing” when a man who looked a lot like me came up and said, “You can’t stand here with that sign. You’re going to have to leave the campus. My supervisor has noticed you and if you don’t leave we’re going to call the police.” Wow!



No wonder people from Kansas are not part of the “NIMS” group. This fellow seemed to minorly relish in the power he had. I asked him where could I go with my threatening sign where I would not be a danger to the public. He was nice enough to give me some directions on how I could quickly get off campus.



barney fife

O.K. Barney Fife.

About the time I was just finishing up my my conversation with the Barney Fife of the University of Kansas another gentleman came up to say hello.



Just a couple of questions and I could be golden.

His tone was much more welcoming. He was holding three tickets. He had just a couple of simple questions for me.



He wanted to know if I was looking for a ticket for myself. He was trying to confirm if I was in a scalper of some sort. He didn’t want me to take his ticket and sell it for profit.



Then he asked me if I was a University of Texas fan or University of Kansas fan. I told him “I’m at UCLA fan”. He took my comment to be a nonthreatening response.



ku basketball ticket

I am one polite sucker.

He handed me one of his three tickets. Although I knew he was giving it to me for free the polite thing to say was “How much do you want for it”. He said he didn’t want a thing and told me to enjoy the game. The ticket’s face value was $110.



I had quietly placed my “Need One” sign in my back pocket. I now I had a free ticket to one of the biggest games of the college basketball season. However I was now going to have to clear security where my “friend” and his boss had been eyeing me up-and-down for the past several minutes.



Wait! He’s got beef jerky! He’s got beef jerky!

As I was waiting in line with about five people to clear the gates I could see one of the security agents whispering to my friend. Then he pretty much ran around three other lines to accost me at the gate entrance. He must have said loudly “What do you have in your pocket” four times. I didn’t think I had “anything” in my pocket until I remembered I had chosen to bring in a small bag of beef jerky sausage links.



He’s got a gun

The guy started yelling to everyone around him, “He’s got something in his pocket! He’s got something in his pocket! It’s beef jerky.” His reaction reminded me what it would have been like if a TSA agent had seen someone carrying an AK-47 machine gun through airport security. “He’s got a gun!”



Although I had “outsmarted them” on the ticket idea there was no getting around my beef jerky offense. I would have to toss it. I didn’t throw it out until I downed six complete sausages. That was going to give me some bad breath!



KU pano allen fieldhouse

A great seat to a great game.

My ticket was for a seat in section #6. I would be sitting nearly at center court and four rows from the top of the Allen Fieldhouse. However there is no wasted space in this basketball arena. Even though I was near the top of the arena I still wasn’t very far from the court. The place was absolutely jammed with rabid KU fans.



You can’t fix stupid and you can’t fix idiotic.

There are some really stupid and idiotic and imbecile-behaving type sports fans. I seem to be able to sit in front of most of them.



I did marvel at the demographics with today’s crowd and the KU basketball team. I don’t think I saw a black person in the entire 16,500-person crowd. However, Kansas didn’t play a single white player and all but one of the guys who did play lived far away from Kansas. Nevertheless, the Rock Chalk Jayhawk fans rooted for “their” Kansas basketball team. Notably, this situation is not unique to Kansas. It’s pretty much the same at all major basketball schools.



The guy behind me was an old white guy. I doubt he had ever made a free throw in a competitive game in his life. He was a Kansas “fan”.



After EVERY Texas score he criticized the Kansas player that was nearest to the Longhorn who had made a basket. He was critical of the coach and critical of the officials. How can someone root for one particular team and think the officials have made an error against their team 19 times out of 20? There are so many fans like that. When I watch a game and root for my own team I will rarely if ever make a comment about the officials.



For the most part I simply watch the game and don’t even applaud that strongly when my team does well. I simply am a student of the game. I played it at a high-level through high school in Illinois crazy basketball country.



allen fieldhouse

This was fun. I was glad I did it.

Nevertheless, I had a great time at the Allen Fieldhouse on the campus of the University of Kansas in Lawrence, Kansas. It was important to create another life story. There’s almost a 100% chance I will never see a basketball game in this arena again. That’s unless, of course, if UCLA comes to play KU with a strong team.



The game ended at 3 p.m. That was perfect timing for me to see ANOTHER basketball game starting at 4 p.m. in Kansas City, Missouri.




These were MY William Penn Statesmen.

I would be seeing the William Penn Statesmen, a Quaker school, playing the Avila University team at the Mabee Fieldhouse in Kansas City. This game was of interest to me because of the recruiting interest I had received from William Penn back in 1966.



mabee fieldhouse

It was a short 45-minute drive over to the Mabee Fieldhouse on the campus of Avila University in Kansas City, Missouri. I arrived just a few minutes before tip off time.



This is what Wikipedia had to say about Avila University:



Avila University is a private university sponsored by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet. It offers bachelor’s degrees in thirty-six majors and master’s degrees: Master of Science in Counseling Psychology, Master of Science in Counseling Psychology/Art Therapy, Master of Business Administration, Master of Science in Organizational Development, and Master of Arts in Education. Its 13 buildings are situated on a campus of 50 acres (20.2 ha) in the heart of Kansas City, and include four residence halls, a field house and auxiliary pavilion for basketball and volleyball, sports complex for football, baseball, softball and soccer, library, theatre, chapel, and classroom facilities. Of the 1,971 students attending Avila University, females outnumber males 67 percent to 33 percent. 61 percent of students are Caucasian, and 28 percent are Catholic. The average ACT score of the incoming freshman class is 23. About 31% of students live on campus.



I didn’t know which door to use. I wasn’t trying to cheat anyone.

I entered the first door I came across to enter the field house. However this must not have been the main door for entry to the game. Although the door was open no one was charging an entry admission. Soon I was standing at the edge of the basketball court. This would be my second game of the day where I wouldn’t have to pay anything to watch the action.



I’ve seen a few basketball games this year at non-Division I I sites. Typically these are small private religiously affiliated schools.



mabee fieldhouse basketball

Big then small.

Earlier this afternoon I was in the Allen Fieldhouse amongst a sellout crowd of 16,500 people. The Avila Eagles would host the William Penn Statesmen in front of about 200 people.



The Avila University’s Mabee Fieldhouse might not have been as good as my high school gymnasium in East Peoria, Illinois. I think East Peoria had a bigger seating capacity. Despite basketball arenas at the small schools being on the tiny side the level of basketball is actually very good.



The players that are recruited to NAIA schools will probably be the second or third or fourth best player on their high school team. I was impressed by the speed and jumping ability of today’s players. They were a bit smaller than what you might see in a major college program but the play was no less intense.



william penn ranking

Highly rated.

The William Penn Statesmen were ranked number six in the national poll of NAIA schools. Avila was no slouch either. They entered the game with a 13 and 6 record and ranked number 24 in the national polls.



These two schools are in the same conference, the Heart of America Athletic Conference. They had met earlier in the season at William Penn’s home arena in Oskaloosa, Iowa. William Penn won that game 108-72. The conference game was played all the way back on November 21, 2015. That seemed early in the season for a conference match up. With such a lop-sided score previously I wasn’t sure I would see much of a game today.



However, just following the opening tip-off it looked like today’s game might feature a different outcome than the first contest between these two teams. Avila jumped out to a 7-0 lead. Sedric Johnson their 6 foot one senior guard passed the 2,000-point career scoring mark early in the game. At half time the score was tied at 41 all.



It looked like it could happen but it never did.

It looked like at any minute William Penn would take charge and pull way. However they never did. Late in the second half Avila had built an 18-point lead over the #6 team in the country. They ended up winning by 15 points. The loss dropped William Penn’s record to 17-3. I had a good time and was pleased that I had sought out this game.



My day was going well. I started out with a 3 1/2 hour drive from Des Moines, Iowa to Lawrence, Kansas. I was in time for the tip off for the 1 p.m. Kansas-Texas basketball game. Then I was able to catch the entire game at Avila University at 4 p.m. When that game was wrapped up it was only a 30-minute drive or so over to the Hale Arena also in Kansas City.







hale arena 3

Hale Arena – Kansas City, Missouri



I wasn’t home free yet.

I was in the greater Kansas City, Missouri area for the main purpose of trackchasing. Nevertheless it was a most pleasant surprise to be able to add two basketball games to the day’s entertainment.



However I had two concerns that could be deal breakers for my trackchasing visit at the Hale Arena. The Hale Arena is located in the overall complex of tradeshow buildings owned by American Royal. The “American Royal” started out as a cattle show in 1899. A few year later American Royal expanded into hosting horse shows.



In 1992 the American Royal Complex was constructed. The Hale Arena is part of that complex. One of the buildings on the property is the Kemper Arena.



I found a lower level seat off of turn one and two to watch the racing.

My history with the Kemper Arena.

The Kemper Arena is famous in its own right. Back in the 60s it hosted the NCAA championship basketball final four championships. Kemper was also the site of the 1976 Republican National Convention. Those are some pretty high profile activities for anyplace including the Kemper Arena.



Memorable but not for the reason you might expect.

Back on December 20, 2008 I saw racing inside the Kemper Arena. It was lifetime track #1,400. That event was a memorable for one reason. It had to be the coldest indoor show I have ever seen.



The exhaust fumes were so strong inside Kemper that night that they had to keep the doors to the outside air open for the whole program. Outside temperatures were about 0° and it couldn’t of been all that much warmer inside. It was a brutally cold indoor show. By the way the next day following Kemper’s show in Kansas City I was snowed out at an event in Kuna, Idaho. That’s right. As I look back on these travel itineraries I don’t know how I got from point A to point B either.



This was a major concern.

I began to do a GPS search for the Hale Arena. Suddenly it concerned me that the Hale Arena might also be a subset of the Kemper Arena. Could they be one and the same thing? I had one out. In 2008 I had seen racing on a dirt oval inside the Kemper Arena. Tonight I would be seeing racing on a dirt road course so that particular problem of overlapping arenas was erased.



Motorhead Events LLC.

The group promoting tonight’s races is called Motorhead Events LLC. I’ve seen a few of their programs over the years. I had given the promoter, Jay Reynolds, a phone call earlier in the week.



I wanted to ask him first if they were going to have UTVs racing at tonight’s event. The schedule said they were but UTVs are not featured on every Motorhead promotional schedule. Jay confirmed that UTVs were going to be racing.



hale arena sxs 2

The standard question.

Then I had to ask my standard question. Would all of the UTVs start at the same time? He told me they would all start in one row. That prompted the question what if there were more UTVs than could be accommodated in one row?



At some UTV locations, mainly outdoors, there can be two or three rows of one particular UTV class. In those situations what I have seen is that one row goes off and 30 seconds or so later a second row leaves the starting line. This type of starting procedure would not count in the hobby of trackchasing. Every racer in an individual class has to start the race at the same time. How in the world did a rule like this ever get started? It’s a “Randy Rule”. Don’t even get me started.



Would there even be UTVs?

Another concern with UTV racing at Motorhead promotions was the amount of UTVs that might show up. At the last Motorhead event in DuQuoin, Illinois they only had 4-5 UTV entries spread over two classes. Kansas City is a long way from DuQuoin. What if no UTVs showed up? That was a real concern.




Who makes these rules anyway? Does anyone stand to benefit? Does a bear #$%^ in the woods?

When I arrived I could clearly see that the Hale Arena was a totally separate building from the Kemper Arena. By the way a long ago established trackchasing rule stated that races held in separate buildings on the same property could count as two different tracks. Who made those rules? Mainly people from Pennsylvania. Where was the only property that was holding racing in two separate building on the same property at the time? Pennsylvania. Do the math!



I was pleased to see the Hale Arena parking lot was not charging for fans to park. They do have parking tollbooths. I suspect they charge for parking at several events. The parking lot had a lot of cars in it by the time I arrived.



The general admission price was a little steep at $20. I was happy they accepted credit cards. I could save my valuable cash for other uses.



I was on time.

I was in the arena by about 7 p.m., which was close to the official starting time. I was pleased to feel that the arena was heated. I also noticed that the place was nearly entirely sold out with a crowd of 3,000-4000 in my estimation.



hale arena 3 pano

The track.

Tonight’s dirt track was built in a motocross style fashion. That means it had a lot of jumps and sharp turns. The dirt-racing surface was probably about one-half mile or maybe three quarters of a mile in length with lots of switchbacks.



Jason Pritchett

Let’s meet Jason Pritchett.

The show started off on time with the lights being turned down and country music singer Jason Pritchett of the greater Kansas City area singing a couple of hit his hit songs. I enjoy country and western music. However, I’ve got to be honest I had never heard of Mr. Pritchett.



During his dialogue with the crowd Pritchett told everyone that some 450 riders were “waiting behind the pit wall to entertain you”. That’s a lot of “riders”.



What is arenacross racing?

Tonight’s show was labeled “arenacross” racing. Arenacross racing typically involves motorcycles and quads a.k.a. ATVs a.k.a. all-terrain vehicles. Arenacross does not necessarily include UTVs a.k.a. side-by-side’s. Of course the side-by-side racers count in trackchasing. Motorcycles and quads do not.



Each race featured 8-15 competitors or so. Some races were heat races; some where consolations and some were main events. Each race lasted between three and eight laps.



hale arena motorcycles

There were more motorcycle races than quad races. Competitors of all ages especially youngsters were racing in classes limited by age and engine size of whatever it was they were racing.



There were very few yellow flag delays. I liked that aspect of the racing. When a rider did have a problem a local yellow flag was displayed. That kept the race program moving along nicely.



The announcers did a good job.

All during the show the announcers were entertaining the crowd over a robust and clear PA system. They were shooting T-shirts into the crowd as well. It was a lively fun atmosphere even as the races went on in the “background”.



For an indoor show the air-quality was actually very good. However, my ski jacket had absorbed exhaust fumes from my event the night before in Des Moines, Iowa. The odor made me feel like I had over filled my car’s fuel tank and the excess fuel has spilled all over my blue jeans. It was not a good smell.



It’s always good to get the straight and accurate scoop.

The Motorhead website told me that UTV heat racing would take place at 12:30 p.m. and feature races in the evening just before intermission was to begin. However when I talked to Jay he told me that he expected the UTVs to be racing at about 8:30 p.m. and 10:30 p.m.



Most of the competitors were parked in a pit area behind a wall where I couldn’t see them. The only racers I could see were the ones competing in the upcoming race and maybe the one following it.



O.K. I admit it. There was still some concern in the back of my mind.

I’m going to guess I saw 20-25 races in total. As the evening wore on I began to get a little concerned. They were getting closer and closer to when I thought intermission would begin. I hadn’t seen any sign of any UTV racers.



I would be less than genuine if I didn’t tell you I considered the idea that no UTVs had shown up tonight. No UTVs meant no track countability. I had seen two hours of racing and still nothing that would count in the trackchasing hobby.



It was with a great sigh of relief that at about 9:10 p.m. four UTV racers pulled to the starting gate. Actually they pulled just beyond the starting gate. Those gates don’t work with UTV racers like they do with bikes and quads.



Hale Arena side by side

It’s in the books.

The green flag fell and off went the four side-by-side’s. Track #2,191 was now in the books. During the race one of the side-by-side’s had mechanical issues and dropped out. The other three raced to the finish line.



If you’re not too familiar with Arenacross racing or motocross racing I think you’re going to enjoy the video I produced from tonight’s event. Since most of the racing was with bikes and quads most of the video will be as well. Nevertheless you will be able to see all of the side-by-sides starting the race at the same time and racing to a checkered flag.








Not much rest for the active senior citizen.

Following the races I hopped into the National Car Rental Racing Toyota Avalon and drove three hours northward to my hotel in Des Moines, Iowa. I would arrive at my hotel at about 12:30 a.m. My alarm would be going off in just five hours and 15 minutes from that arrival time.



When I had initially planned this trip the itinerary had me sleeping overnight in my car on this night, Saturday night. The overall driving distance from tonight’s race in Kansas City to tomorrow afternoon’s ice racing in Montello, Wisconsin was going to be about eight and one-half hours.



let's do math

Again, let’s do the math.

I had figured if I got out of the races in Kansas City at 10 p.m. I would need to be at the races on the ice in Montello at 12 noon the next day. That plan gave me 14 hours to travel 8 1/2 hours. That’s normally the kind of numbers that would prompt me to catch a little shut-eye in my car. My plan was to do that despite it being the middle of winter in January in the upper Midwest. I was thinking ahead when I asked Carol if she thought I could possibly freeze to death if I went to sleep in the car in these conditions. She didn’t know the answer to that question. She suggested strongly that I get a hotel.



I found out I could get a good deal on an Extended Stay America hotel in Des Moines by arriving on Friday afternoon and leaving on Monday morning. That solved the sleeping in the car in the frigid winter weather problem. Granted I would only get five hours of sleep on Saturday night but that was probably better than the alternative in the car.



Good night.




missouri 23




The Show Me state

This evening I saw my 58th lifetime track in the Show Me state, yes the Show Me state. I’ve seen 58 or more tracks in 13 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




Missouri definitions: Billiken


What it means everywhere else: A tiny charm doll created by an artist from Kansas City, Missouri.


What it means in Missouri: The mascot of a university in a different Missourian city, Saint Louis University.









Los Angeles, CA (LAX) – Seattle, WA (SEA) – 958 miles

Seattle, WA (SEA) – Omaha, NE (OMA) – 1,365 miles




Eppley Field (OMA) – trip begins

Des Moines, IA

Kansas City, MO





Jacobson Exhibition Center – $8

Hale Arena – $20






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 – 2,191



world globe

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




Click on the link below to see the “Video Plus” 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.



Hale Arena side by side 

Hale Arena Arenacross plus a visit to the famous Allen Fieldhouse and more




There were about 90 microsprints racing today from 26 different states.

Kemper Arena – Kansas City, Missouri….the coldest indoor show ever!













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