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Lake Allie Ice Track

 

Greetings from first Buffalo Lake, Minnesota

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and then Beausejour, Manitoba, Canada

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From the travels and adventures of the 

“World’s #1 Trackchaser”

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Lake Allie Ice Track

Ice road course

 Lifetime Track #2,521

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CPTC Complex Ice Track

Ice oval

 Lifetime Track #2,522

 

 

The EventVideo PlusPhotos

 

 

THE EVENT

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

 

 

Here’s my best explanation.

 

 

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

 

 

Trackchasing fills the need for all of the above. The racing part of my trackchasing has me trying to see wheel to wheel auto racing at as many different racetracks as I can all over the world. Yes, all over the world. So far things are going pretty well. As this is written, I’ve seen racing in 82 countries at more than 2,500 tracks. As a matter of fact, I’ve seen racing at more tracks than anyone else in the world.

 

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

I get the chance to meet people all over the world. With trackchasing trips to 82 countries and counting just getting the chance to experience so many other cultures, spend time in their homes and meet their friends is a huge reward for being in this hobby. I am indebted to several of these folks for their help and friendship.

 

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

Randy’s Complete Track List

 

 

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

 

 

Randy on Facebook

 

 

 

 

 

FOREWORD

 

 

Saturday, January 19, 2019.

I live in Southern California. I’m originally from Illinois where my brothers and sisters still live today. For much of the last decade one of our two sons has lived in Hawaii and our daughter has resided in Texas.

 

 

One of the benefits of my trackchasing travel is that I get to see our kids who live a long way from Southern California and my relatives frequently. Not many people who live in a relatively geographically remote location like SoCal get to make those visits multiple times each year. I’m very thankful for the opportunity that trackchasing travel provides outside of racing.

 

 

This trip began with a quick one night trip to Tulsa, Oklahoma to see the Chili Bowl. This was my third year for this big show and fifth Chili Bowl event to witness. I really enjoyed the racing and the folks I met in Tulsa.

 

 

From there I drove to McAlester, Oklahoma where I would stay the night. The next morning I drove down to Dallas, exchanged rental cars and continued on to Austin, Texas.

 

 

There I would visit with our daughter Kristy and our son Jim who recently moved to Texas. Of course, the visit included Krista and the five children that belong to all of these folks.

 

 

I had a grand time. Kristy had a very robust schedule of activity for the two days that I would be in town. We took a walking tour of the University of Texas. Kristy and I also got to sit in on a small jam session with recording artist Terry Allen (above on keyboard), a native of Lubbock, Texas. He’s an usual country singer as well as a noted artisan.

 

 

It’s always fun to hang out with the grandkids. I got to take them to their karate class. That’s Mitch Peters above practicing his kicks. Then I ended up buying five boxes of Girl Scout cookies! The final evening was celebrated in honor of my birthday and son Jim’s 40th birthday. I really had a good time. I have Kristy to thank for pulling it altogether. Well done young lady. Maybe will do it again sometime soon at your place in Southern California!

 

 

I had planned a flight from Austin to Minneapolis to begin this trackchasing weekend. However, when that flight got too tight to chance it I ended up driving to Houston from Austin. I left Kristy’s house at 2:30 in the morning with the new airline itinerary!

 

 

I pulled into the George Bush International Airport in Houston at about 6 a.m. I had just enough time for breakfast at the Cadillac Mexican Kitchen and Tequila Bar. Of course this restaurant is part of my Priority Pass sponsorship. I could order up to $28 worth of food and drink and it wouldn’t cost me a penny. I went with the huevos rancheros for breakfast and took the yogurt and strawberries and breakfast sandwich with me for lunch. No, I could not do this without sponsorship.

 

 

From there I hopped on a plane from Houston, Texas to Minneapolis, Minnesota. I had to quickly get my rental car. The National Car Rental lot at MSP is in a parking garage with no walls. That put the temperature in that area at about 0°. I selected a Toyota Camry for its front-wheel drive capability. That’s important if you’re going to be driving your car on a frozen lake with little traction. By the way the car had just come from the car wash to the rental car parking garage. The water from the car wash had already frozen all of the doors shut!

 

 

 

THE RACING

 

 

Lake Allie Ice Track – Buffalo Lake, Minnesota

It was an easy drive up to Buffalo Lake, Minnesota. Buffalo Lake is home to Lake Allie. My directions were to head toward the Oakdale Golf Club. Did you know that Minnesota has some 11,842 lakes of ten acres or more? Well, they do.

 

 

The Central Minnesota Ice Racing group was holding their very first event of the year today. They were scheduled to run earlier in January but didn’t have enough ice and had to cancel.

 

 

In recent years ice racing organizations have been canceling their races much more often than any time that I can ever remember. That being said I would say that northern Minnesota and northern Wisconsin are a couple of the very coldest places in the continental United States. Those locations are probably colder than most places in Alaska as well.

 

 

 

I’m friends with Derek Hedburg and his father Tom. Derek is the organizer of CMIR. Tom handles the flagging duties. They’ve got a robust schedule of ice races at several different lakes in Minnesota. I’m going to try to catch as many of them as I can.

 

 

This group runs ice racing machines in several different categories. Today they had cars, both front-wheel and rear-wheel drive, UTVs, motorcycles and quads. They are still building their car counts. UTVs had the most class entries with nine. There were six cars on the ice racing today in two separate divisions.

 

 

Don’t miss the pictures and video from the racing today. Derek has built just about the most beautiful ice racing stock car that I’ve ever seen in all of my 92 ice racing tracks visits. Very impressive.

 

 

In some ways it’s unusual that the stock cars that race with Central Minnesota Ice Racing do not have safety roll cages. I’m going to assume their insurance doesn’t require that item. Stock cars don’t get upside down very much on the ice unless they hit a snowbank at the wrong angle. Then normally it’s only a slow roll over. Next time I talk to Derrick I’m going to ask him about the insurance situation.

 

 

CMIR runs two “motos” for each of their racing classes. I arrived during intermission when the track was being groomed. Since my day started in Austin and then Houston, Texas I couldn’t get up to the ice racing track to see the first set of motos. With small car/bike/quad counts the racers in an individual class all raced in one moto for their class. That meant the second moto of the day had pretty much the same competitors in the same set of races as the first moto did.

 

 

The temperature was about 5° with little to no wind. It was helpful to have my ice cleats. My cleats dig into the ice and give me just a little bit more traction when I’m outside of the car. One of the nice advantages of ice racing that exists at most tracks is that if you must you can watch the races from your car. 

 

 

Today I parked near the starting line which was about 75 yards in front of the finish line. I was able to get photos and video when the cars took the green flag. Then I would hop in my car and drive to various portions of today’s ice road course to get more photos and video. The races weren’t very long. I’m going to guess only four or five laps.

 

 

I did see someone with a microphone. I assumed that he must have been broadcasting today’s race activity. I checked all of the FM stations to no avail. I didn’t hear any PA system at the track. This is another question I’ll add to the list for Derrick.

 

 

Derek as the organizer of the group handled the green flag duties. His dad (above) took care of the checkered flag. Last year they built a propane heated flag stand. This allows Tom to flag the races in the heated comfort of their ingenuity!

 

 

I only had time to have a brief conversation with Derek and a wave over toward Tom‘s direction. Everything felt just a little bit “rushed” today but that was the only way it could be done if I was going to see my family in Texas on Thursday and Friday, which was very important.

 

 

When all of the races were finished I had hoped to spend a little time with Derrick. However, he was busy taking some of his friends around the track in his beautiful ice racer. I’ll catch up with him and Tom later in the season.

 

 

Good afternoon from frozen Lake Allie in Buffalo Lake, Minnesota.

 

 

 

Minnesota

 

 

 

The Gopher state

This afternoon I saw racing at my 92nd lifetime track in the Gopher state, yes, the Gopher state.  I hold the #1 trackchasing ranking in Minnesota.  I’ve seen 92 or more tracks in seven different states. No other trackchaser can match that result.

 

 

 

From Buffalo Lake, Minnesota I headed back to the Minneapolis – Saint Paul International Airport. I had an 8 p.m. flight scheduled that would take me to Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. In the Houston airport and then when I got to the ice track and finally at the Minneapolis airport I was able to get more than 4 miles of power walking in. If it wasn’t for spending some of my free time in airports walking I would never meet my exercise goal for the year.

 

 

It already been a long day driving from Austin to Houston and then flying to Minneapolis and then driving to Buffalo Lake and then driving back to the Minneapolis airport. That’s why it was a really nice touch to be upgraded to first class on my flight into Canada tonight.

 

 

Clearing border control in Canada is now much easier than it ever has been. They have kiosks where you get your passport scanned, answer a few questions electronically and then basically pass through the human part of border control with no delays whatsoever.

 

 

It was going to be cold in Canada. As a matter fact, it was going to be so cold that I was concerned about the Winnipeg area races being canceled.

 

 

I have friends all over the world who help me with my hobby of trackchasing. They gave me information about new racing venues, how to get there, when they’re going to be racing and all kinds of helpful information.

 

 

One of the best people at doing this and a good friend is a fellow by the name of Hamish Donaldson. Hamish got involved with the Winnipeg Sports Car Club ice racing group all the way back in 1972. He’s never raced but has been the group’s race director for a few years. Hamish gave me all of the details about their upcoming ice racing season.

 

 

He also told me that if the wind chill temperature drops below -40°C they cancel the races. That kind of weather is too cold for the corner workers! That means a temperature of -25°C with a 10-15 mile an hour wind might be the death knell for their racing this weekend. It was going to be close but I thought we were going to be OK.

 

 

Tonight I selected a Kia Optima from the well below ice cold National Car Rental parking garage. It was another front-wheel drive car which could come in handy on the ice. It was most unusual to see a perfectly white rabbit that must’ve weighed 20 pounds or more hopping around inside the parking garage. He stopped just long enough for me to take a couple of photos.

 

 

For the next two nights I would be staying at the Best Western Plus hotel at the Winnipeg airport. Priceline was my sponsor. Other guests were paying about $87 a night. My rate was only $59 U.S. each evening. I save a little here and I save a little there with my sponsors.

 

 

I was really looking forward to my stay at the Best Western. Their “Plus” properties are normally very nice. This was a modern hotel. I had a very large and comfortable room. This was an especially good thing in that I was going to be able to sleep in relatively late on both Sunday and Monday morning before heading back to our modest seaside cottage in the sleepy little village of San Clemente.

 

 

Today had been a good day. It had been a busy day. I was able to get my second ice racing track into the books from Minnesota this year. I’m closing in on 100 tracks in the Gopher State. If I make it I will have seen 100 cracks or more in seven different states. No other trackchaser comes close to that total. When racing was finished in Minnesota I was able to grab a plane to Winnipeg, Canada. Everything was going according to plan.

 

 

 

Sunday, January 20, 2019

Today the races were scheduled to start at about 12 noon. My hotel was an hour away from the racetrack. That meant I could sleep in. That was a great idea.

 

 

 

On the way to the racetrack I stopped at a Tim Hortons for a takeaway breakfast. There have been very few trackchasing trips to Canada where I didn’t stop at Timmy’s. Of course, I had to get a carton of Timbits and a maple flavored donut. Who in their right mind wouldn’t do that?

 

 

 

THE RACING

 

 

CTPC Complex – Beausejour, Manitoba, Canada

As I mentioned Hamish Donaldson is my contact for the Winnipeg Sports Car Club ice races in Manitoba. Hamish had given me the coordinates to the track today. Using my Waze GPS system I was as good as gold.

 

 

I wish there was a trackchasing stat for trackchasers who had visited a track before any other trackchaser made it there. I think I would lead that competition by several kilometers!

 

 

During the past 24 hours I nervously checked my email every couple of minutes. I was dreading getting a message from Hamish saying the races were canceled because it was too cold. I’ve had ice races canceled because there wasn’t enough ice but maybe only once have the races been canceled because of the extreme cold weather.

 

 

Don’t get me wrong. There was no heat wave in Manitoba today. It was about 27° below Celsius and that didn’t count the wind. It wasn’t going to reach the club’s threshold of -40°C that could’ve canceled the races. I was more than thankful for that.

 

 

Today’s racing was going to take place on an ice and snow race surface which was on top of a dirt oval track. This ice track was on land. The facility is called the CTPC Complex. It’s mainly used for snowmobile racing. They have a nice covered grandstand. I don’t know what kinds of activities they have during the summer. I would have expected to hear that they had some kind of auto racing on this track in the warm weather but I was told they didn’t.

 

 

As I looked around the pits the car counts were a bit skinny. They had five racers in the studded tire class and just four in the rubber to ice class. They, like most other racing groups that I visit, have been experiencing declining car counts over the years.

 

 

I had enough time to attend the driver’s meeting. With only nine cars all of the drivers could fit into an enclosed trailer where the meeting was held. As you can imagine in these frigid temperatures the meeting didn’t last long! The drivers were asked if they wanted to have the races combined for both studded and non-studded classes. Nope. Drivers wanted to race only with cars in their own division.

 

 

There would be a lot of racing today. Each of the classes was going to run six races on the half mile or so flat oval. I believe the race distances were for about 10 laps. There are very few racing drivers who bring their car to the track and get enough track time to complete six heat races of 10 laps each.

 

 

Initially I was a little concerned that I might have to watch the races by standing exclusively outdoors all day. In these temperatures that did not seem like a good idea. For the most part there were no good viewing sports from the pit area.

 

 

It definitely pays to know people. Hamish has been with this group since 1972. He and I sat inside a building with a big sign on the outside that read “VIP/Sponsors”. The building wasn’t really heated but it did block the wind. The only thing that was cold for me today were my toes. I made a mental note that one pair of wool socks inside my REI acquired size 14 boots doesn’t quite cut it.

 

 

Despite the small car counts the racing was actually very good. It seemed like there were quite a few battles for position especially at the head of the pack. Please don’t miss the photos and videos of today’s race again action. When you’re watching my YouTube racing video remember how cold it was.

 

 

Today Hamish was acting in the role of race steward. There isn’t supposed to be any contact in this kind of sports car racing. However, on today’s ice track there was a little bit of contact. Whenever that happened Hamish or someone else on the radio would share the information about “who hit who”. Then that driver would get a “talking to” from one of the stewards. No one was disqualified today but there were a few “discussions”.

 

 

 

AFTER THE RACES

I was most happy to knock out another track in the Canadian province of Manitoba. I have now seen 11 tracks up here. The provincial trackchasing leader is Don McAuley. I met Don many years ago just briefly at a track. I can’t really remember when and where but I remember his being a nice guy.

 

 

Don, a Canadian, has seen racing at 13 “Manitoban” tracks. Surprisingly, but maybe not really, the third best trackchasing result in this province is only two tracks! Maybe that isn’t surprising because very few trackchasers trackchase very much outside of their region.

 

 

I’m not finished with my ice racing in Manitoba for 2019. If all goes according to plan I might get one more. We’ll just have to wait and see.

 

 

I wasn’t out in the cold all that long today. But, when I got back to the hotel it felt as if I had been outside in sub-zero temperatures all day. It was going to be nice to get a reasonable amount of sleep. If all goes well tomorrow I will fly from Winnipeg to Minneapolis and then onto Los Angeles. There are some open seats but it’s not a slam dunk.

 

 

Monday, January 21, 2019

I did sleep in today. I waited to catch an 11:15 a.m. flight out of Winnipeg heading to Minneapolis. In the United States today was Dr. Martin Luther King Day. I wonder if MLK ever went to an ice race? I wonder if any of the 535 members of the U.S. Congress had ever stood out in the cold watching ice racing.

 

 

I retired from working for the man nearly 17 years ago. Today, the people who are still working bug me. Why? Well, they create rush hour on the freeways going and coming from work each day. Then at the end of a three-day holiday weekend they clog up our nation’s airports. I guess I can tolerate this as long as they keep paying their social security taxes!

 

 

I had hoped to take a non-stop flight from Minneapolis to Los Angeles. However, those flights were too full to guarantee getting a seat. Remember, with my airline sponsorship program I fly standby. If there is an unsold seat and no other sponsored individual has more “juice” than me I get a seat. If a seat is not available for me I stand at the window in the airport and wave good-bye to the plane as it taxis toward the runway. I’m not complaining, just explaining. I love my airline sponsors.

 

 

I would end up getting a flight from Minneapolis to San Diego. In San Diego I hoped to catch another flight to Los Angeles. If I could make that happen I could always get a one-way car rental for that part of the trip.

 

 

All during the day I used my airport restaurant and airport lounge sponsorships. They make the travel experience much more comfortable. I even got two first class rides in a row.

 

 

I finally did get home at about midnight. That was 2 a.m. on TUESDAY Manitoba time. Now ask yourself this question. Is it really so surprising that the third leading trackchaser has seen only two tracks of any kind in Manitoba?

 

 

 

Good afternoon from Beausejour, Manitoba, Canada.

 

 

 

 

Manitoba

 

 

The “Canada’s Heart Beat” province

This afternoon I saw racing at my 11th lifetime track in the “Canada’s Heart Beat” province, yes, the “Canada’s Heart Beat” province.  I hold the #2 trackchasing ranking in Manitoba. I’ve seen 11 or more tracks in five different states. No other trackchaser can match that result.

 

 

Randy Lewis – 82 countries – 2,522 tracks.

 

 

 

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

Minnesota sayings:  “Skol!”

If you’ve been to a Vikings game at the newly built U.S. Bank Stadium, or even at the old Metrodome, you’ve most definitely heard people scream and sing this word. This Norwegian word used by vikings actually means “cheers” and “to good health.”

 

 

Manitoba experiences: Honey Dill Sauce

The rest of Canada doesn’t even know what they are missing! If they knew though, chicken fingers would never be the same!

 

 

QUICK FACTS

 

 

LIFETIME TRACKCHASER COMPARISONS 

The threemost 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 690 tracks of my lifetime total.  Don’t blame me.

 

 

  1. Randy Lewis, San Clemente, California – 2,522

 

 

Total Trackchasing Countries

The nearest trackchasing competitor has seen racing in 30 fewer countries compared to my lifetime total. 

 

  1. Randy Lewis, San Clemente, California – 82

 

 

 

Current lifetime National Geographic Diversity results

 

  1. Randy Lewis, San Clemente, California – 4.14

 

 

 

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

 

 

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

 

Racing on the ice from Lake Allie in Buffalo Lake, Minnesota

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Ice racing on an oval way up in Manitoba, Canada

 

 

 

 

 

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 photo album tells the complete story from the weekend of ice racing in Minnesota

 

 

Ice racing Central Minnesota Ice Racing!

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More international trackchasing…this time from Manitoba, Canada

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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