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Madison County Fairgrounds

Greetings from first Idaho Falls, Idaho

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and then Rexburg, Idaho

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From the travels and adventures of the 

“World’s #1 Trackchaser”

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Idaho Falls Raceway

Dirt inner oval

 Lifetime Track #2,568

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Madison County Fairgrounds

Dirt figure 8

 Lifetime Track #2,569

 

 

The EventVideo PlusPhotos

 

 

THE EVENT

My name is Randy Lewis. I live in San Clemente, California. 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 on what trackchasing is to me.

 

 

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 85 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 85 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 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.

 

 

I’ve tried to tell you what the trackchasing hobby is to me. Now I will show you what trackchasing is to me in pictures and music. If you watch just one YouTube video this year, this is the one to watch.

 

 

You will see how a simple trackchasing trip takes me a long way from my environment in California and most importantly not just in miles. My hobby is about seeing and experiencing the things that most folks walk right past. Check this out. It might just make your day.

 

 

Trackchasing….this is exactly why I do it

 

 

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, August 17, 2019.

This was going to a somewhat unusual trackchasing trip to Idaho on many fronts. I would be in Utah/Idaho for less than 24 hours if everything worked out. 

 

 

I liked the idea of being gone from home for only one night. I liked the idea that I expected to see racing at two different tracks. That’s not easy to do in one day in a remote trackchasing state like Idaho. 

 

 

The two venues I was hoping to see were at the Idaho Falls Raceway in Idaho Falls and the Madison County Fairgrounds in Rexburg, Idaho. I had a link with each one of these locations from my trackchasing past. 

 

 

Back in 2007, I saw racing on the larger quarter-mile outer oval at what was then called the Noise Park Raceway in Idaho Falls. That visit netted lifetime track #1,273. “Noise Park” is now known as the Idaho Falls Raceway. When I walked in the front door of tonight’s facility it didn’t bring back ANY memories. Well, that WAS 12 years ago and almost 1,300 new track visits in the past.

 

 

Don’t miss my Trackchaser Report from back in 2007. I think it will give you some good background as you think about what I was doing at the Idaho Falls Raceway this evening. Here’s the link to that report:

 

 

Noise Park Raceway aka Idaho Falls Raceway – 2007 visit

 

 

Did you know that when you want to find something on my website the process is really pretty easy? Simply go to the home page of my site at www.randylewis.org. Look for the “search” box in the upper right-hand corner of the page. Then type in the name of the track or any other subject you might be looking for. You might be amazed at how well this feature works.

 

 

Tonight the Madison County Fairgrounds in Rexburg, Idaho was holding a figure 8 race at their county fair. Just a few years ago, back in 2013, I attended another one of “Mad Marvin’s” figure 8 shows in Rexburg. However, that race was held in a dirt field not all that far from the Rexburg Walmart location. That was a WET, cold, snowy, slushy and muddy event! This meant I could go back to the county fairgrounds tonight and count a different figure 8 track in the town of Rexburg. 

 

 

When I went to the races those many years ago in Idaho Falls I commented that I had seen caged kart racing on their smaller dirt oval. I also said that all of the karts were being driven by children. If that information was correct back in 2007 then my seeing racing on the smaller inner oval would not have met trackchasing rules. 

 

 

Currently, the Idaho Falls Raceway appears to have three go-kart divisions. All of the karts are caged. They have 1) beginner karts and 2) expert karts. The rules say expert kart drivers must be eight years and older. They do not specify an upper age limit. I don’t know if they intend to have eight-year-olds competing against much older adults or not. I don’t think so but then I’m not sure. 

 

 

They also run a third class of karts. This one is named the “125/250 caged” class. It’s open to drivers aged 10-18. Eighteen is the minimum age that would be required for a class to be countable by trackchasing rules. I had a lot to do with “18” being the magical number as the minimum age limit in the hobby of trackchasing. Actually, I have influenced or downright dictated several “Randy Rules” and this was one of them.

 

 

Here is what is kind of funny about that rule.   A class must be OPEN to at least 18-year-olds but an 18-year-old does not have to race in order for that class to count. The class simply needs to be OPEN to 18-year-olds. Weird huh?

 

 

This weekend the Idaho Falls Raceway was holding a two day Friday/Saturday special event. Their website told me that the go-karts would run their heat races and features back to back at intermission on Friday night. On Saturday night they would run their heat races at 6 p.m. and then their features later on in the program during intermission. This timing plan was significant for me. 

 

 

That schedule meant that I could come up to Idaho Falls on Saturday and in all likelihood catch the kart heat races at 6 p.m. The go-kart car counts at the Idaho Falls raceway, as well as their regular stock car class car counts, are extremely low. I noticed that yesterday there were only three entries in the 125/250 group. Seeing a heat race for those three karts and then bypassing the feature for those same three karts at intermission would not be a big deal. 

 

 

By the way, I had an interesting Trackchasing Tourist Attraction on the drive from Salt Lake up to Idaho Falls. At a rest area along Interstate 15 in Idaho Falls, they have a small lava flow “park”. It’s called Hell’s Half Acre. I stopped and took the walk. I was able to see some beautiful lava formations similar to what I’ve seen in Hawaii and Iceland. It was well worth the stop.

 

 

 

THE RACING

 

 

Idaho Falls Raceway – Idaho Falls, Idaho

The Idaho Falls Raceway is located in a very rural location about 10 miles outside of Idaho Falls. One of the roads that leads directly to the track on my GPS route was closed. That meant I need to take a detour. Racing was scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. I pulled into the parking lot at 4 p.m. I am almost always early. If you’re not early you’re…..wait for it…..late. 

 

 

Rather than drive back into Idaho Falls on the bad roads to see what I could see I elected to simply stay at the track for two hours. I relaxed and worked on some of my Trackchaser Reports that I will be posting soon. While I was in my car I could see the race cars pulling into the pit area. 

 

 

At around 6 p.m. I bought my general admission ticket. The adult ticket price was $12. Seniors were admitted for just eight bucks. Don’t even get me started on why seniors should not be getting a discount! 

 

 

This past winter I attended a racing seminar that focused a good deal of time on the security that tracks must offer to keep their fans safe. The leaders of those groups made it seem like tracks all over the country were working hard on security. I have not seen that at all during the 2019 trackchasing season. However, there was a strong security presence tonight with armed guards at the Idaho Falls Raceway. These folks take guns seriously. 

 

 

The track didn’t start on time when I visited Idaho Falls in 2007. They didn’t start on time tonight either. More short tracks than not do NOT start at the advertised time. Why? Ask them!

 

 

At 6 o’clock they put most of the cars out of the track to run in the dirt surface on the larger oval. They also laid down some water on the smaller oval. It was nearly 6:30 p.m. before the heat races began for a group of about eight or ten caged cars. 

 

 

I compared the car numbers on the karts racing tonight with the results that have been posted on the Idaho Falls Raceway website from last night’s action. By the way, kudos to the website people for getting those results posted so quickly. Most tracks can’t handle that.

 

 

Tonight it looked like they were combining two of the karts that raced in the 125/250 group from last night with the two karts that raced in the expert class. That was no problem for me. Regardless of whether the expert class karts counted or not, I was seeing the 125/250 karts race and they DID count.

 

 

The karts racing tonight looked like the winged outlaw carts that I see race all over the country. I don’t think they were as powerful as the ones Kyle Larson drives but they looked pretty similar. The karts races were not anything to write home about. 

 

 

The announcer didn’t have much to say about the kart racing. The PA system sound a little weak as well. The temperature was warm in the low 80s with dry humidity conditions. A strong wind blew from turn 2 toward turn 4. I think the fans were going to get dusted when the more powerful stock cars raced on the bigger oval. I knew from checking my weather Wunderground that the temperatures fall dramatically into the 50s later on in the evening in these parts. 

 

 

I saw no great need to stay for the racing on the larger oval at the Idaho Falls Raceway. I had already added that track to my lifetime list back in 2007. I also noticed that last night the largest car count in any of the four big car divisions was seven. That’s not much, is it?

 

 

By the time the kart race was finished it was a little past 6:30 p.m. I came to see racing on the small inner oval at the Idaho Falls Raceway. I had done that. Now it was time to head up to Rexburg, Idaho. 

 

 

When I was planning this trip I was surprised to see that both the Idaho Falls Raceway and the Madison County Fairgrounds were racing on the same night. Idaho is a pretty good-sized state. What were the chances that Idaho Falls and Rexburg would be close enough together in order to see racing at both tracks tonight? I would not have guessed those chances were very good.

 

 

However, I was more than pleasantly surprised to see that the two towns were only 30-35 miles apart. That meant I could see the figure 8 racing up in Rexburg if the kart racing didn’t take too much time in Idaho Falls. With the kart races being wrapped up by about 6:30 p.m. and the races beginning in Rexburg at 7 p.m. and both places being only 30 minutes apart I was “golden” as the guys I worked with back in the factory at the Caterpillar Tractor Company used to say. 

 

 

As I noted I had seen Figure 8 racing in Rexburg, Idaho back in 2013. They essentially raced in a big dirt parking lot. However, on the day that I showed up, it was raining and cold. That was sort of to be expected since they were racing in January in Idaho!

 

 

The track and all of the spectator grounds were so wet and muddy that I really couldn’t watch the race and enjoy it wearing my normal pedestrian footwear. I ended up going to a nearby Walmart and getting a great deal on a pair of heavy-duty boots. Walmart saved me on that day. Don’t miss my video from that visit. Well, heck. You just might want to see that video right now. Here’s the link:

 

 

Figure 8 racing from Rexburg, Idaho….in the rain and the mud

 

 

 

THE RACING

 

 

Madison County Fairgrounds – Rexburg, Idaho

 

 

From the Idaho Falls Raceway, I drove directly to the Madison County Fairgrounds. They were charging a one-dollar admission fee for the fair. I had never seen such a thing! One dollar? I could handle that even though Carol and I are retired and living on a small fixed income.

 

 

They were already racing at the Madison County Fairgrounds. I paid $10 to gain admission to the figure 8 race. I watched a little bit of one race and then headed out into the fair to see what I could see. I knew they still had a couple of hours or more a figure 8 racing so if I missed a couple of heats while getting something to eat and exploring the very small fair that would be just fine. 

 

 

I would say that Mad Marvin’s puts on a standard small car figure 8 show. I’ve seen F8 racing at more than 325 locations. I think I’m qualified to make that statement. 

 

 

Tonight they had a four-cylinder class of figure 8 racers, a six-cylinder class, a powderpuff division as well as racing lawnmowers. Actually, all of the competitors put on a good show tonight.

 

 

Not many F8 promoters run a powderpuff class. Is “powderpuff” an acceptable term to use nowadays? In Idaho it is! They can carry guns out in the open in Idaho so I think “powderpuff” will still be around for a few more years. Almost no figure 8 promoters offer lawnmower racing. That gives the Mad Marvin’s show a leg up. By the way, “Marvin” of Mad Marvin’s is a state police officer. I’ll bet that surprises lots of people. 

 

 

Despite my seeing so many figure 8 races, the way they handle the starts with Mad Marvin’s races is different than every other place where I’ve been. They lineup five or six cars PERPENDICULAR to the X for the start of the  Figure 8 race. When the green flag flies the cars take off from this standing position to move onto the figure 8 track. Check out my video to see what I’m talking about if it’s unclear.

 

 

The lawnmower racing was excellent. The crowd loved it. There were about ten mowers in total divided into two divisions. They guys and gals got around the dirt oval track really well.

 

 

Tonight they had a good announcer who could be heard well over a solid PA system. They had a good-sized county fair covered grandstand. They also had an additional series of bleachers for the fans. I’m going to guess they had somewhere in the neighborhood of 1,000-1,500 people. The place was nearly packed. 

 

 

These folks do a nice job of keeping the show moving. They had two or three skip loaders that they used to remove the disabled cars after each race quickly. 

 

 

The track’s surface was a little unusual compared to the kind of figure 8 racing that I normally see. It was definitely moist and actually somewhat “silty” in most places. There wasn’t any dust although the silt was easily 12 inches deep in some sections. The main groove was packed down pretty well with the rest of the track being somewhat difficult to navigate with the loose, thick and wet dirt. 

 

 

Overall, it was a solid night of figure 8 Racing. Somewhat surprisingly, to me at least, is that I’ve now seen six figure 8 tracks out of the 24 total venues I’ve seen in Idaho. I would not have thought a rural location like the Gem state would be all that much into county fair figure 8 racing.

 

 

 

AFTER THE RACES

My wake-up call had come this morning at 3:30 a.m. I very rarely ever begin a trackchasing trip on a Saturday. I would bet that I don’t do that more than one time out of a hundred.  What’s funny about that is that as a boy when I was a racechaser EVERY one of my racechasing trips to the track started on a Saturday and I was usually home in bed by 11 p.m. 

 

 

I wouldn’t be home by 11 p.m. tonight or even to my hotel in Salt Lake City. I had driven three hours from where I picked up my car at the Salt Lake City airport to the races tonight. I would need to cover that same three hours after tonight‘s race. I wouldn’t get to my hotel until nearly 2 a.m.

 

 

I would end up driving the National Car Rental Racing Chrysler 300 520 miles in less than the 24 hours that I had it. If everybody did that the rental car companies might go out of business! I will tell you that I was one tired puppy during the last hour of tonight’s drive.

 

 

 

Sunday, August 18, 2019.

 

 

Well, I missed the Illinois State Fair for another year. I hate that. However, I can’t be in two places at one time. This morning I was in the Salt Lake City airport. Years ago, with a different form of airline sponsorship, I was at SLC all the time.

 

 

Sundays are a difficult time to fly “standby”. Everyone wants to get back home from their busy weekend to go to work or school. I just wanted to get back home because it was time. I had to get back home in time to get ready for the next trip, which leaves in less than 48 hours.

 

 

I was happy to get one of the last seats on a plane headed for the Los Angeles International Airport. Once there I had just a little bit more work to do.

 

 

I have a sponsorship program with Priority Pass. They give me free food, drink and private lounge membership at airports all over the world. Today I would make my first ever visit to Point the Way Café. There I dined on a huge serving of fish tacos and fries. I topped that off with an order of their delicious chocolate bread pudding. My part of the bill in a major airport where prices are always jacked up? Thirty-six cents….plus a tip for my server.

 

 

I followed that up with some take-home food from first P.F. Changs and then Rock & Brews. I split those two restaurant visits with some relaxing time at the Korean Air Lounge. The total value of $110 worth of food, drink and lounge time makes this a very valuable sponsorship.

 

 

That’s about it. This had been another very successful Far West trackchasing trip. It was quick and to the point. Am I done with Idaho for the rest of the year? Maybe not.

 

 

 

Good evening from first Idaho Falls, Idaho and then Rexburg, Idaho.

 

 

P.S. Carol and I can take off for another international adventure on Tuesday. Wish us luck.

 

 

Randy Lewis – 85 countries – 2,569 tracks.

 

 

 

 

Idaho

 

 

The Gem state

This evening I saw racing at my 23rd and 24th-lifetime tracks in the Gem state, yes, the Gem state.  I hold the #1 trackchasing ranking in Idaho.  I’ve seen 24 or more tracks in fifteen different states. No trackchaser can match that stat. Idaho is one of a handful of states where I have seen more than twice as many tracks as my next nearest competitor. No other trackchaser has done that….anywhere.

 

 

 

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

Idaho sayings: I can’t wait to see the Potato Drop this year.

 

 

We don’t care about your shiny Times Square Ball Drop, New York. We’ve got a giant potato! Yes, it’s utterly ridiculous. But it’s ours. Here in Idaho, there is no other way of celebrating the new year.

 

 

QUICK FACTS

 

 

LIFETIME TRACKCHASER COMPARISONS 

The three most important trackchasing comparisons to me are:

 

Total lifetime tracks seen

Total “trackchasing countries” seen

Lifetime National Geographic Diversity results

 

 

Total Lifetime Tracks

There are no trackchasers currently within 720 tracks of my lifetime total.  Don’t blame me.

 

 

  1. Randy Lewis, San Clemente, California – 2,569

 

 

 

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 – 85

 

 

 

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.

 

Winged caged kart racing on the inner oval at the Idaho Falls Raceway

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Figure 8 racing from the Monroe County Fairgrounds up in Rexburg, Idaho

 

 

 

 

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.

 

A return trip, for the first time in 12 years, to see racing at the Idaho Falls Raceway PLUS project updates from home!

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This was a rare trackchasing double….this time in Idaho.

 

 

 

 

 


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