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Magic Valley Speedway

twin falls snake river

Greetings from Twin Falls, Idaho

 

 

From the travels and adventures of the 

“World’s #1 Trackchaser”

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 racing on magic valley outer oval

Magic Valley Speedway – 1/3-mile asphalt oval 

Lifetime Track #1,196

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magic valley racing on one fifth mile

Magic Valley Speedway – 1/4-mile asphalt oval 

Lifetime Track #2,079

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The EventMagic Valley - 1/3-mile ovalMagic Valley - 1/4-mile ovalVideosPhotos

 

My travels have now taken me to the Magic Valley Speedway two different times.  Magic Valley actually races on three different sized ovals.  However, only the 1/4-mile and 1/3-mile ovals have “countable” racing.  The stingers race on the smallest track, a 1/5-mile oval.  However, the stingers have an age limitation for drivers.  The stinger drivers must be 8-13 years old to compete.  In trackchasing, for a class to count, drivers aged 18 and over must be allowed to race.  I hope you enjoy reading about each of these trips.  Often it is the “trip” that is the most memorable part of the trackchasing journey.  That’s a good thing.

 

Reprinted with permission from my May 28, 2007 Trackchaser Report

 

 

TODAY’S HEADLINES

 

How am I doing against my various trackchasing goals? …….details in “The Strategy.”

 

How much time does it take to plan a seven flight, four rental car trackchasing trip?…………………details in “The Trip.”

 

Can you guess what the Trackchasing Tourist Attraction was in Salt Lake City, Utah?…………….“Details in the Trackchasing Tourist Attraction.”

 

 

ESSER

CONTEST WINNER

Ed Esser is the winner of the Whispering Pines Motorsports Park race program. He was quick on the draw and the first person to report back to me. Congrats, Ed.

 

 

GREETINGS FROM TWIN FALLS, IDAHO

 

 

 

TRACKCHASING TOURIST ATTRACTION

Yes! See below.

 

 

 

WE WOKE UP IN BANFF, ALBERTA, CANADA. THEN CAROL AND I WENT TO SLEEP IN TREMONTON, UTAH. WE ARRIVED HOME THE NEXT DAY, TUESDAY. THIS IS WHAT TRANSPIRED TODAY.

 

 

PEOPLE/STRATEGY/TRAVEL NEWS

 

The Strategy      

Wow! I love it when a plan comes together. My overriding trackchasing objective is to see as many new tracks as I can. A number of ancillary and supportive plans fall under that primary objective.

 

 

One of those support objectives is to not spend more than one night a week on average away from Trackchasing’s First Mother. I am happy that she joins me from time to time on the trackchasing trail. So far, in 2007, twenty-two weeks have been completed. I have traveled away from home 53 nights and Carol has been away for 24. That gives me 29 nights spent away from Carol over 22 weeks. That’s an average of 1.3 nights. That’s not too far from the objective of one night/week.

 

 

Another objective in the search of a balanced lifestyle is to have my golfing days equal my trackchasing days. I’ve been golfing 40 times this year and have 43 trackchasing days to my credit. Things are going pretty well here as well.

 

 

Alas, the trackchasing vs. golfing balance is not limited too quantity. The quality of my golf is good. With an index hovering around 6.0, I am only a shot or two from the best golf I have ever played. If I was a little smarter, I would be at my lowest indices in my golfing life. How many games can you play where you are much better at age 58, than you were at age 30?

 

 

I have another sub-objective of leading the state trackchasing rankings in the 13 Western states. During this trip, I was able to gain at least a share of the lead in both Washington and Idaho. I’m not sure if a trackchaser has ever taken over the lead in two different states during just one trackchasing trip. This now gives me the state lead in six of those 13 Western states. I’m happy with the progress and expect to do even better with this soon.

 

 

Finally, an unspoken objective is simply to have fun! I hope you can read between the lines that I have the most fun possible planning and implementing these trips. For me, it’s a blast!

 

 

The Trip 

Wow! I love trackchasing over holiday weekends like Memorial Day and Labor Day. The typical three-day weekend (Fri-Sun) can usually be expanded to 4-6 days and the tracks can really be racked up.

 

 

How long do you think it took to plan this itinerary?

 

Drive to Orange County, CA Airport

Fly to Salt Lake City, UT and connect to Atlanta, GA

Drive to Charlotte, NC – See new tracks (2)

Drive to Atlanta, GA

Fly to Chicago, IL

Drive to Madison, WI – See new track

Drive to Chicago, IL

Fly to Salt Lake City, UT and connect to Seattle, WA

Drive to Shorewood, WA

Ride ferry to Kitsap County

Drive to Bremerton, WA – See new tracks (2)

Ride ferry to Edmond, WA

Drive to Kamloops, British Columbia, Canada – See new track

Drive to Calgary, Alberta, Canada

Fly to Salt Lake City, UT

Drive to Twin Falls, ID – See new track

Drive to Salt Lake City, UT

Fly to Orange County, CA

Drive home to San Clemente, CA

 

 

Yes, I did all of this in just six days. The trip involved seven airplanes and four rental cars. Carol joined up in the middle and caught the action with three airplanes and two rental cars.

 

 

This added up to 2,080 miles driven in rental cars. That’s still less than 300 miles per track, which isn’t bad. The airplane mileage for the seven flights came in at 5,599 miles. That gave me a total of 7,679 total miles for the trip. Ooops! I forgot the ferryboat mileage. That would be about another nine miles.

 

 

Does this plan sound complex and rigorous in any way? Let me add one complicating factor to the overall equation. Memorial Day is one of the busier travel weekends of the year. Carol and I flew on a combined 10 flights during this trip. We flew on NINE of those ten flights on a STANDBY basis! Yes, we are active seniors with a nose for adventure.

 

 

I was able to add seven new tracks in five days. Carol added four new tracks in three days. At this stage in our trackchasing careers, those are big holiday weekend numbers. We were also able to see some of the most rugged and beautiful snow-capped mountains in the world for eight continuous hours of driving through Canada.

 

 

The trip was made even better with Trackchasing Tourist Attractions in Seattle at the Pike Place Market and in Salt Lake City, home to the Mormon Church. It was a lovely trip. Carol will now go home and rest. Well not really, she will go home and manage our household. What will I do? I’ll head out on my next trackchasing trip!

 

 

TRACKCHASING TOURIST ATTRACTION 

Carol and I were able to experience a Trackchasing Tourist Attraction that I have looked forward to for a very long time. During my business career, I spent a good deal of time in Salt Lake City. Part of that time was working with Pittsburgh Pirates’ Kent Teculve’s college roommate, Mr. Dan Feist.

 

mormon tabernackle 

I have always wanted to visit the Mormon Tabernacle. Today, we had that chance. The Mormon Church is headquartered in downtown Salt Lake City, Utah. We were most fortunate to happen by the Mormon Tabernacle when the doors were opened. We walked in as if we owned the place and sat down while a man played the organ. The sound in this building is fantastic. A woman came up and demonstrated how you could hear a pin drop. The sights and sounds were unbelievable. 

 

 

We also were able to go inside the church assembly hall. The Salt Lake Temple is a majestic beauty in this complex as well but it is not open to non-members of the church.

 

 

We were about ready to leave for the airport when someone suggested we not miss the Mormon Conference Center. I’m glad we got that tip. We entered a massive foyer. We were immediately greeted, in a somewhat controlling fashion, by a man who wanted to arrange a tour for us of the conference center. We had only 10 minutes or so, so a full-blown tour wasn’t going to work.

 

 

We mentioned we would like to go up on the roof for a view of the botanical gardens. This could be arranged, the man told us. We were soon handed off to Sister Jorgensen. We were joined by two young girls, from Germany and Japan, who were in Salt Lake as part of their church mission.

 

 

You probably know that most young Mormon men serve a two-year mission for the church somewhere in the world. This is not mandatory but most do it. We have friends who have had their sons go on missions. They are only allowed to call home one time per year during the two-year mission!

 

 

California has a large Mormon population. We frequently see the young Mormon’s (dressed in white shirts and ties) moving about the area where we live. I’ve never heard their pitch, but am always a bit leery of their approach.

 

 

Thus, we joined up with Sister Jorgensen. She was a pleasant older lady of about 60 years of age. She, like the other tour guides, volunteers one day per week to lead these tours. I must admit, that even though she was pleasant, I felt like I would feel in the presence of a Fuller Brush salesman. I tried to be on my guard!

 

 

I should not have worried. Carol and I were not spirited off into some darkened cellar where water torture was administered until we agreed to convert to the Mormon religion. Instead, Sister Jorgensen patiently answered our questions. She also gave us some background on the Mormon Church, its Prophet (President) and their 12 Apostles.

 

 

The rooftop of the conference center covers four acres. Much of that space is covered with fountains and foliage. It’s quite beautiful as is the view. We finished off the tour with a peek inside the massive conference center auditorium. It’s huge and gorgeous. This is where the Mormon Tabernacle choir performs. All in all, a very impressive visit.

 

 

We finished off our afternoon with a special place for lunch. Son, J.J. did his final SkyWest pilot training in Salt Lake. He recommended the Himalayan Kitchen. I don’t have a great background in Indian and Nepali cuisine, but I’m willing to try everything at least once. The food was good. I’m glad we went there. If you go to Salt Lake and like this kind of food, I recommend it.

 

 

The People 

I must admit that every Mormon person I’ve ever met is both nice and good-looking. I don’t really know why there seems to be such a stigma centering around their religion. It seems that Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, also nice and good-looking is suffering from this religious paranoia as well.

 

 

 

RACE TRACK STATS:

magic valley ticket booth 

MAGIC VALLEY SPEEDWAY, TWIN FALLS, IDAHO – TRACK #1,196 

This was my sixth track to see in Idaho. I am now tied with Allan Brown for first place in the potato state. This is my third separate visit in 2007 to the state that calls the Western White Pine its state tree. I have now seen new tracks in 20 U.S. states, two Canadian provinces as well as New Zealand this year.

 

 

This was Carol’s fourth lifetime Idaho track. The new track puts her into fourth place in the state’s lifetime trackchasing rankings. More importantly, to me anyway, is that her ascension to fourth place, pushes my nearest competitor, Gordon Killian down one spot into fifth place. Net, I gain one NGD position by moving from second to first. I also gain one point on my nearest fellow competitor when he moves down from fourth to fifth. I have half of that gain to thank my trackchasing teammate for. Thank you, Carol!

 

 

Today’s track supports my primary trackchasing strategy of trying to become the #1 ranked trackchaser is all 13 Western states by 2009 (except California). Now that I lead in Idaho, I sit atop the standings in six Western states. At the bottom of this report, you can see where I rank in each of these states as of today.

 

 

 

RACE TRACK NEWS:

 

MAGIC VALLEY SPEEDWAY 

We had fun at the Magic Valley Speedway tonight. I had called in advance to make sure I understood the logistical details. I told the man that I was a trackchaser. He replied by saying, “Tonight won’t be one of our better programs. We’re just running an enduro.”

 

 

Of course, I didn’t care if I was going to see the very best race that had ever been run at the Magic Valley Speedway. I was looking for a new track opportunity on a Monday night, Memorial Day. They could be running ANYTHING and I would be satisfied.

 

 

When we arrived at the track, the wind was blowing about 100 M.P.H. O.K, maybe not that strong, but the wind was really blowing. It blew all night. With a temperature of about 65 degrees, the wind made it feel like about 45 degrees.

 

 

The tickets were a super low six bucks. The facility here is in great shape especially for Western U.S. tracks where sometimes the overall track properties are not up to par. The track features a five-position scoreboard and lap counter. The P.A. system is strong. The track restrooms are large and in good condition. There is ample grandstand seating all along the front straight. The pit area sits off turn one of the quarter-mile asphalt oval.

 

 

Today’s announcer was a woman. I mention this because in my 1,196 tracks seen, less than five have had women announcers. She did a better than average job today. She even suggested with about 180 laps complete that maybe they should stop the race and run the cars on the inner oval. I had no idea how that would have been ruled on by the Trackchaser Commissioner.

 

 

I had an excellent cheeseburger from the portable concession stand. However, when I returned to the stand in the middle of the race to get a coffee for Trackchasing’s First Mother, they were out. I was told to wait five minutes. I did. Still no coffee. I waited longer. Finally, the server told me she could substitute hot chocolate for the coffee. That worked for me and TFM was O.K. with it as well.

 

 

I received a very nice trackchaser mention from the announcing stand tonight. There was something about this announcement that made it extra memorable. Many times, following this form of recognition, the announcer will call for a round of applause. Tonight’s announcer pressed a button and a sound track of applause greeted me. Yes, there is always something new at each track I visit.

 

 

We came close to getting a “same location” trackchasing double tonight. The Magic Valley Speedway has both an inner and outer oval. I was told the inner oval was added just this year. Tonight the “teen bees” raced on the smaller track. The teen bee’s class is for drivers 14-15 years of age. Therefore, I could not count the track.

 

 

However, the “queen bees” do race on the smaller oval a couple of times per year. This is a class reserved for the ladies and includes adult drivers. Maybe some day we will be back to see those queen bees.

 

 

The main attraction of the night was a 16-car, 200-lap enduro for the hornet division. The race was contested on the outer oval. In true enduro fashion, the race was run without a yellow flag. They did hold a red flag in reserve, but never needed it. Two of the cars battled nearly the entire 200 laps for the lead. They lapped the field and finished under a blanket at the checkered flag.

 

 

The final highlight of the evening and the trip was meeting up with Jeremy Wayne from Channel 11, the local CBS TV affiliate in Twin Falls. Following the races, he invited me up to the press box and we did an interview to be shown at a later date with the highlights of today’s races.

 

 

After we wrapped up the interview, Jeremy had this to say. “Normally, when I interview people I have to really prompt them to respond. With you, I simply asked a question, and you carried the ball. You really seem to know what you’re talking about with this trackchasing.” Carol got a kick out of his comment. Thanks, Jeremy, I appreciate your words. Carol was standing off to the side taking pictures of the TV interview. 

 

 

There were a couple of other somewhat unusual things at today’s track that were positive. First, the track had one-way radio communication with each driver. This was helpful when advising a disabled driver to remain in his car or to let the driver know that help was on the way.

 

 

Additionally, they played music in the background while the entire 200-laps were being run. It was mostly 50s and 60s music and this worked out very well. Carol and I both liked this touch. All in all, considering the weather wasn’t the best with the wind, we enjoyed our visit to the Magic Valley Speedway.

 

 

CAROL’S COMMENTS 

The advertising billboards are nice and fresh. They need weed killer in the cracks near the V.I.P. tower. They didn’t use any yellow flags. Ya!

 

 

WEATHER CONDITIONS 

It was windy. I mean windy! It was so windy; it made the 65-degree temperature feel downright cold.

 

 

RENTAL CAR UPDATE 

Salt Lake City car – Monday/Tuesday

 

Monday total driving miles – 387

Tuesday total driving miles – 81

 

I drove this car 468 miles.  I paid an average price of $3.26 per gallon. The Chevy Impala gave us 28.0 M.P.G. in fuel mileage at a cost of 11.6 cents per mile. The car cost 10.3 cents per mile to rent, all taxes included.

 

 

Seattle car – Saturday/Sunday/Monday

 

When I showed up at the Executive Selection lot area of National Rental Car, all they had were SUVs. We were going to be putting some miles on our rental car and I did not want to accept SUV gas mileage at today’s higher than normal gas prices. I also wanted a car with XM radio.

 

 

I explained my plight to the local National Car attendant. He was very helpful. He offered to let me choose any Alamo rental car that was in inventory at the airport. The same folks own national Rental Car and Alamo Rental Car. Nevertheless, I’ve never see such a reciprocal agreement as was being offered to me today.

 

 

Just as I was pouring over the guy’s computer screen, an attendant came screeching up in a recently washed Chevy Impala with 25,000 miles on it. Before the sound of the screeching tires stopped, I had located a car I wanted from the Alamo inventory on the computer screen.

 

 

Right there among all of those Chevies, SUVs and Grand Prixs was a Cadillac DTS. No, this car would not give me great fuel mileage. However, it did have only 2,000 miles on it and an XM radio. I convinced my somewhat inexperienced rental agent that was the car for me. The rental agent wanted to please and the car was mine.

 

 

The really great thing about getting this premium car was it was nearly free for the two days! When I rent cars in one location and plan to drop them off in another, I use “free day” coupons. This was going to be a one-way rental. I was picking it up in Seattle and planed to drop it in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. I would only have to pay the tax, about $21.

 

 

I had entered the rental car parking lot only to find a number of undesirable cars, none of them with XM radio. I ended up driving away in a nearly brand new Cadillac with the fresh smell of brand new leather. Yes, life is good.

 

Saturday total driving miles – 141

Sunday total driving miles – 572

Monday total driving miles – 91

 

 

I drove this car 804 miles.  I paid an average price of $4.06 per gallon. This high price was mainly due to 70% of the fuel being purchased in Canada. At one gas stop in Canada, the fuel was $4.03 per gallon (converting from liters.) At a rural, in the mountains, Canadian station the fuel was $4.83 a gallon. The Cadillac gave us 23.7 M.P.G. in fuel mileage at a very high average cost of 17.2 cents per mile. The car cost 2.6 cents per mile to rent, all taxes included.

 

 

Chicago car – Friday/Saturday

 

Friday (and early Saturday morning) total driving miles – 255

 

I drove this car 255 miles.  I paid an average price of $3.72 per gallon. This may have been my highest ever U.S. average fuel charge. The Pontiac Grand Prix gave me 24.5 M.P.G. in fuel mileage at a very high average cost of 15.2 cents per mile. The car cost 11.9 cents per mile to rent, all taxes included.

 

 

Atlanta car – Wednesday/Thursday/Friday

Wednesday total driving miles – 131

Thursday (and early Friday morning) total driving miles – 422

 

 

My rental car wasn’t the cleanest one I’ve ever rented. I had to move two other cars so I could get to one that had XM radio, but it was worth it. This will likely be the first of four rental cars on this trip.

 

 

I drove the car 553 miles.  I paid an average price of $2.99 per gallon. The Chevy Impala Prix gave me 28.2 M.P.G. in fuel mileage at an average cost of 10.6 cents per mile. The car cost 17.7 cents per mile to rent, all taxes included.

 

 

LIFETIME TRACKCHASER STANDINGS UPDATE:

 

These worldwide trackchasers are within 100 tracks (plus or minus) of my current trackchaser total.

 

  1. Randy Lewis, San Clemente, California – 1,196

 

  1. Allan Brown, Comstock Park, Michigan – 1,106 (-90)*

 

  1. Ed Esser, Madison, Wisconsin – 1,009 (-187)**

 

* Warning, you are within 50 tracks of being removed from this list. 

 

** Special exemption.

 

 

LIFETIME NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC DIVERSITY STANDINGS

 

2007 (current thru 5/14/07)**

 

 

  1. Randy Lewis, San Clemente, California – 6.82
  2. Gordon Killian, Sinking Springs, Pennsylvania – 7.12
  3. Allan Brown, Comstock Park, Michigan – 7.55

 

 

**Until the end of the year, NGD rankings are unofficial.  Rankings are affected not only by the leader’s activities but also by other trackchasers impact on the leader’s position in each state. 

 

 

 

 

Other notables

 

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

 

  1. Carol Lewis, San Clemente, California – 319

 

There are no trackchasers within 10 tracks (either above or below) of Carol’s current total. 

 

 

 

2007 TRACKCHASER STANDINGS

 

  1. Randy Lewis, San Clemente, California – 58

 

  1. Ed Esser, Madison, Wisconsin – 44

 

  1. Carol Lewis, San Clemente, California – 25

 

  1. Roland Vanden Eynde, Vilvoorde, Belgium – 22

 

  1. Mike Knappenberger, Reading, Pennsylvania – 22

 

  1. Guy Smith, Effort, Pennsylvania – 15

 

  1. Gordon Killian, Sinking Springs, Pennsylvania – 12

 

  1. Roger Ferrell, Majenica, Indiana – 11

 

  1. Rick Young, Maxville, Ontario, Canada – 10

 

  1. Paul Weisel, Orefield, Pennsylvania – 9

 

  1. Pam Smith, Effort, Pennsylvania – 9

 

Tracks have been reported by 34 different worldwide trackchasers this season.

 

 

Thanks for reading about my trackchasing,

 

Randy Lewis

British Columbia’s Trackchaser

That’s all the news that’s fit to print from San Clemente where the women are strong, the men are good-looking, and all of the children are above average.

 

 

 

CUMULATIVE TRAVEL DISTANCES:

AIRPLANE

 

Orange County, CA – Salt Lake City, UT – 588 miles

Salt Lake City, UT – Atlanta, GA – 1,589 miles

 

RENTAL CAR – ATLANTA

Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport – trip begins

Concord, NC – 273

Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport – 553 miles – trip ends

 

AIRPLANE

Atlanta, GA – Chicago, IL – 606 miles

 

RENTAL CAR – CHICAGO

Chicago O’Hare International Airport – trip begins

Oregon, WI – 123 miles

Chicago O’Hare International Airport – 255 miles – trip ends

 

AIRPLANE

Chicago, IL – Salt Lake City, UT – 1,247 miles

Salt Lake City, UT – Seattle, WA – 690 miles

 

RENTAL CAR – SEATTLE

Seattle-Tacoma International Airport – trip begins

Bremerton, WA – 54 miles

Enter British Columbia, Canada – 141 miles

Kamloops, BC – 385 miles

Calgary International Airport – 804 miles – trip ends

 

AIRPLANE

Calgary, Alberta, Canada – Salt Lake City, UT – 291 miles

 

RENTAL CAR – SALT LAKE CITY

Salt Lake City International Airport – trip begins

Twin Falls, ID – 231 miles

Salt Lake City International Airport – 468 miles – trip ends

 

AIRPLANE

Salt Lake City, UT – Orange County, CA – 588 miles

 

Total Air miles – 5,599

 

 

Total auto and air miles traveled on this trip – 7,679 miles

 

 

 

TRACK ADMSSION PRICES: 

Lowe’s Motor Speedway – $20

Wisconsin International Speedway – $8

Thunderbird Stadium – $8 (senior discount)

Whispering Pines Motorsports Park – $10 Canadian

Magic Valley Speedway – $6

 

Total racetrack admissions for the trip – $51.30

 

 

 

UPCOMING TRACKCHASING PLANS

I try to adhere to my policy of sending you no more than one Trackchaser Report per day. By the time you receive this, my fifth Trackchaser Report from Memorial Day weekend’s adventure, I will be in Boise for the NEXT trackchasing weekend.

 

I’m not content with only being tied for first place in Idaho. I am also not content with leading only one Canadian province in trackchasing. More to follow.

RACETRACKS VISITED IN 2007 (** not the first time to visit this track)

1,139.  Meremere Dirt Track Club, Meremere, New Zealand – January 1

 

1,140.  Meeanee Speedway, Hawkes Bay, New Zealand – January 1

 

1,141.  Top of the South Speedway, Richmond, New Zealand – January 2

 

1,142.  Woodford Glen Speedway, Christchurch, New Zealand – January 3

 

1,143.  Robertson Holden International Speedway, Palmerston North, New Zealand – January 5

 

1,144.  Taupo Motorsports Park, Taupo, North, New Zealand – January 6

 

1,145.  Waikaraka Park International Speedway, Auckland, New Zealand – January 6

 

1,146.  Angels Stadium of Anaheim (inner oval), Anaheim, California – January 13

 

1,147.  Angels Stadium of Anaheim (outer oval), Anaheim, California – January 13

 

1,148.  West Valley Speedway, Surprise, Arizona – January 14

 

1,149. Sandia Motorsports Park (road course), Albuquerque, New Mexico – January 28

 

1,150. Grand Prix De Lanaudiere, Lavaltrie, Quebec, Canada – February 3

 

1,151. Ste-Eulalie Ice Track, Eulalie, Quebec, Canada – February 4

 

1,152. St Guillaume, St Guillaume, Quebec, Canada – February 4

 

1,153. Caldwell Rodeo Arena, Caldwell, Idaho – February 10

 

1,154. Balsam Lake Ice Track, Balsam Lake, Wisconsin – February 18

 

1,155. Northeast Pond Ice Track, Milton, New Hampshire – February 24

 

1,156. Lee Pond Ice Track, Moultonborough, New Hampshire – February 25

 

1,157. New Hendry Country Speedway, Clewiston, Florida – March 3

 

1,158. Florida Sports Park, Naples, Florida – March 4

 

1,159. Honeoye Lake Ice Track – Road Course, Honeoye, New York – March 10

 

1,160. Houston Raceway Park, Baytown, Texas – March 16

 

1,161. Houston Motorsports Park, Houston, Texas – March 16

 

1,162. Dawgwood Speedway, Chatsworth, Georgia – March 17

 

1,163. Toccoa Speedway, Toccoa, Georgia – March 17

 

1,164. Tazewell Speedway, Tazewell, Tennessee – March 18

 

1,165. Malden Speedway, Malden, Missouri, Tennessee – March 23

 

1,166. Dacosa Speedway, Byhalia, Mississippi – March 24

 

1,167. Swinging Bridge Raceway, Byram, Mississippi – March 24

 

1,168. Florence Motor Speedway, Florence, South Carolina – March 25

 

1,169. Foothills Raceway, Easley, South Carolina – March 30

 

1,170. Mileback Speedway, Gray Court, South Carolina – March 30

 

1,171. Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, St. Petersburg, Florida – April 1

 

1,172. Vegas Grand Prix, Las Vegas, Nevada – April 8

 

1,173. Huntsville Speedway, Huntsville, Alabama – April 13

 

1,174. Low Country Kartway, Aynor, South Carolina – April 14

 

1,175. Dillon Motor Speedway, Dillon, South Carolina – April 14

 

1,176. Valley Dirt Riders, Berthoud, Colorado – April 15

 

1,177. Antelope Valley Fairgrounds, Lancaster, California – April 22

 

1,178. Sertoma Speedway, Tularosa, New Mexico – April 27

 

1,179. Sandia Motorsports Park (outer oval), Albuquerque, New Mexico – April 28

 

1,180. Sandia Motorsports Park (inner oval), Albuquerque, New Mexico – April 28

 

1,181. Hollywood Hills Speedway, San Felipe Pueblo, New Mexico – April 29

 

1,182. Meridian Speedway, Meridian, Idaho – May 11

 

1,183. Diamond Mountain Speedway, Vernal, Utah, Idaho – May 12

 

1,184. Rocky Mountain Raceways (oval), Salt Lake City, Utah – May 12

 

1,185. Rocky Mountain Raceways (figure 8), Salt Lake City, Utah – May 12

 

1,186. Modoc Speedway, Modoc, South Carolina – May 18

 

1,187. Possum Kingdom Super Speedway, Belton, South Carolina – May 19

 

1,188. Laurens County Speedway, Laurens, South Carolina – May 19

 

1,189. Fairplex at the Los Angeles County Fairgrounds, Pomona, California – May 20

 

1,190. Lowes Motor Speedway (inner oval), Concord, North Carolina – May 24

 

1,191. Lowes Motor Speedway (road course), Concord, North Carolina – May 24

 

1,192. Madison International Speedway (inner oval), Oregon, Wisconsin – May 25

 

** Madison International Speedway (outer oval), Oregon, Wisconsin – May 25

 

1,193. Thunderbird Stadium (figure 8), Bremerton, Washington – May 26

 

1,194. Thunderbird Stadium (oval), Bremerton, Washington – May 26

 

1,195. Whispering Pines Motorsports Park, Kamloops, British Columbia, Canada – May 27

 

1,196. Magic Valley Speedway, Twin Falls, Idaho – May 28

 

1,197. Owyhee Motorcycle Raceway Park, Boise, Idaho – June 1

 

 

In the business world, the U.S. is often divided up into geographic areas that are referred to as East, Central and the “eleven Western states plus Alaska and Hawaii.” No, I don’t know why they don’t just say the “thirteen western states.” Those states include Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington and Wyoming and, of course, Alaska and Hawaii.

 

 

The far west probably has the most beautiful scenery per square mile anywhere in the United States. This got me to thinking. Over the next 2-3 years, I’d like to put a “full-court” press on these far west states for trackchasing purposes. I want to establish a goal of becoming the number one trackchaser in each of these states except California by the end of 2009. Becoming #1 in California is not a realistic goal at this time.

 

 

Below is a listing of these thirteen Far Western states. The state’s name is followed by my current rank and how many tracks I need to see to gain at least a tie for 1st place. As an example, I’m currently in ninth place in Alaska and trail first place by three tracks. I’m looking forward to spending more time than usual is the Far West, a great part of our country.

 

Alaska – 9th by 3

 

Arizona – 1st

 

California – 2nd by 48

 

Colorado – 2nd by 1

 

Hawaii – 3rd by 1

 

Idaho – 1st

 

Montana – 2nd by 1

 

Nevada – 2nd by 2

 

New Mexico – 1st

 

Oregon – 1st

 

Utah – 1st

 

Washington – 1st

 

Wyoming – 2nd by 2

 

As you can see I don’t have far to go in most states. However, if I have to get most of these tracks on a one track per trip basis, it could take some time. Each time I see a Far Western U.S. track, I will keep you posted on my progress. We’ll see how it goes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My trip to the Magic Valley Speedway’s 1/4-mile oval track was part of a trackchasing “double”.  Earlier in the day I saw racing at the Miller Motorsports Park – West Course in Tooele, Utah.  What follows in my Trackchaser Report from that day of trackchasing on April 25, 2015. 

miller open wheel racers 

THE EVENT

 

Editor’s note: Today’s trackchasing effort took me to two different tracks in two different states. Since the day was so intertwined with both locations this Trackchaser Report will cover the entire day.

 

 

ON THE WAY TO THE RACES

 

 

Movin’ around the far west.

I woke up this morning at home in the “little city by the sea” San Clemente, California. I went to sleep in Salt Lake City, Utah. This afternoon I would trackchase in Tooele, Utah a suburb of Salt Lake City. In the evening trackchasing would take me up to Twin Falls, Idaho. This is how the day turned out.

 

 

Tooele, Utah.

Tooele is a town of 31,115 residents. It is the county seat of Tooele County. It is known for the Tooele Army Depot. Tooele has two sister cities in Kambarka, Russia and La Baneza, Spain. How do cities become “sister cities”?

 

 

The flight from Los Angeles to Salt Lake City was a quick two hours. With a one-hour time change to the Mountain time zone this would be easy. To make the trip even simpler Tooele was just 30-40 minutes around the Great Salt Lake from the SLC airport.

 

 

April and intense.

It’s only April and my travel schedule seems to be as intense as if I were in the middle of the summer. First Carol and I spent 10 days in Hawaii. Then I was back for just two days before heading out on a 9-day trip that included trackchasing in Tennessee, Virginia, and North Carolina. Then there was a racechasing day (Bristol) in Tennessee. I flew directly from that trip into Las Vegas for a four-day golf outing with my college fraternity brothers. I was home for 36 hours before heading out on this trip that will take me to first Utah and then California.

 

 

If all goes well I’ll be home for two or three days before Carol and I head out to Illinois for a family trip. As I look out I don’t see any off weekends from personal and trackchasing trips until probably the July 4 weekend! However if I didn’t love this I wouldn’t do it.

 

 

Kids!

Today I was flying into the Salt Lake City airport. There’s one thing that sets SLC apart from just about any other airport I visit. What is that? Kids! It’s a well-known fact that the Mormon religion has larger families than just about anybody else. By the way some 62% of all Utah residents are linked to the Church of the Latter Day Saints (Mormon). Yes, Utah and Salt Lake City are dominated by folks who practice the Mormon faith. If you go to the Salt Lake City airport you cannot help but notice the large number of children under the age of 10.

 

 

This can’t be right.

Most airports charge premium prices for the products they sell. There are a couple of airports, Pittsburgh and Cleveland come to mind, where they advertise selling their items at “mall prices”. Mall prices aren’t always the cheapest but they’ve got to be lower than airport prices!

 

 

There is a McDonald’s in the Salt Lake City airport. Currently my “go to” sandwich at Mickey D’s is the McDouble. At most McDonald’s locations they sell a McDouble for about $1.39 U.S. What does it sell for in the Salt Lake City airport? A cool $4.65. This is my advice to you: Don’t go to the airport hungry. 

 

 

The National Car Rental Company rocks….not so much in Salt Lake City.

I am a huge fan of the National Car Rental Company. Their phone customer service is some of the best I’ve ever experienced. I love being able to pick whatever car I want from their lot. However, I have never cared much for their Salt Lake City airport location. It’s a “franchise” location.

 

 

At 99% of the National locations I use I can simply walk or ride to the rental car location and pick virtually any car in their lot. I love flexibility. National provides it.

 

 

However in Salt Lake I must go to an outdoor kiosk (where it can be zero degrees in the winter), tell them I have a reservation and rent a car from the limited selection they might have on hand. Today that was just three cars in the full-sized category.

 

 

O.K. I don’t care so much for domestic cars.

To add insult to injury, okay I was neither insulted nor injured, I had to limit my choice, if you call it a choice, to General Motors cars. I asked why I was being discriminated against? Okay I wasn’t being discriminated against but my car choices were being limited as if I lived in Russia.

 

 

It turns out the National Car Rental location in Salt Lake City is owned by a GM dealer. Therefore they only have Chevys. Left to my own devices I would not rent a Chevy… ever.

 

big motorcyle riders

If it’s domestic then it’s Ford.

First of all I grew up in a Ford only family. At our family reunion on Memorial Day the only non-Ford car to show up would be my wild and crazy Uncle Bill and Aunt Lucille from Terre Haute. Aunt Lucille could bake the best sweet rolls you’ve ever tasted. Once in a while Uncle Bill and Aunt Lucille would show up at the family reunion on their huge motorcycle. That was quite a sight considering they tipped the scales at nearly 300 pounds each.

 

 

Apologies to any and all of my readers who might own this car.

Today’s Chevy Malibu had about 6,400 miles on it when I picked it up. I am not a fan of the domestic automobiles. I “had” to rent a Ford Fusion in Hawaii recently. I didn’t like that car either.

 

 

The driver side door weighed about as much as a Honda Civic. It was difficult to adjust the driver’s side seat belt. Why is it that American carmakers can’t come close to matching the quality of Japanese automobile makers and specifically Lexus?

 

 

As my trip continued with the Chevy Malibu LT more little things began to pop up. Every so often a series of chimes would “chime in”. I had my seatbelt fastened. There didn’t seem to be any doors ajar. The trunk was shut firmly. I had absolutely no idea why the chimes were activating. I would find out later.

 

 

In the middle of the trip I took one of my patented twelve-minute power naps. When I reclined the seat the Chevy wasn’t nearly as comfortable as that offered by my usual Hyundai Sonata.

 

 

Of course this car did not have Sirius/XM satellite radio. I can’t blame that on GM. I’ll put the fault at the doorstep of the decrepit Salt Lake City National Car Rental proprietors.

 

 

Every cloud has a silver lining.

The car did have one redeeming feature that I don’t think I’ve had since the last car I rented in Europe. When I pulled up to a stop sign the gasoline engine would shut off. O.K. I was assuming the Chevy’s engine was not simply dying!

 

 

When the light turned green the engine I accelerated. All I had to do was press the accelerator and the engine came to life. I’m not sure I want that technology in an American car. Nevertheless, that’s a pretty cool feature as long as the engine always restarts. Of course it is in place to help save gas.

 

chris berman

Back! Back! Back!

O.K., I can’t STAND Chris Berman even if he was a fraternity brother of my doctor at Brown University. This is going to be a trackchasing day of going back to racing facilities I have previously visited. I am only able to count the tracks I would see today because of the “variations” rule.

 

 

Why even have a “variations” rule?

Why does trackchasing even HAVE a “variations” rule? Two reasons. I believe the people who proposed and supported these rules wanted to “pad” their totals”. Additionally, the hobby IS about “tracks”.

 

 

Today I would visit visiting the Miller Motorsports Park in Tooele, Utah. Utah doesn’t have that many tracks. I’ve seen most of them. I would see one more today.

 

 

THE RACING

 

Miller Motorsports Park – Tooele, Utah

 

 

Third time to Miller and I may not be done yet.

I will be coming back to the Miller Motorsports Park for the third time. Back in June, 2010 I saw the Lucas Oil Off-Road group race on a temporary dirt road course. That road course was set up in some of the open areas inside the East road course.

Back in August, 2004 I saw racing on the “full” or outer course at the Miller Motorsports Park. The place was brand new back then.

 

 

The West course comes to you via Belgium.

Today I was coming to see the NASA Road racing group participate on the West course at Miller. A few years ago Roland Vanden Eynde of Belgium proposed that trackchasers be able to count a “variation” within road course configurations. His proposal was to count a maximum of two road course tracks at one location. His thinking was that as long as the two road courses in question had a difference of at least three turns and one straightaway the two tracks can be counted separately. I can never remember how many “turns and straights” it takes to make one track “different” from another!

 

 

I am not a huge fan of this rule. On the one hand I can see that the rule adds some consistency to the fact that variations in the size of ovals can be counted twice at one facility.

 

 

However if I go to a race facility that holds events on two different sized ovals it is very easy to see that I am watching a race on two DIFFERENT tracks. However, that is not the case with road courses.

 

 

The road course variation rule and me.

I don’t know how many times I’ve used the road course variation rule to count an additional track. I’m going to take a wild guess and say I’ve done it about 10 times. The major drawback I see, or can’t see, is that identifying one road course variation from another is almost indiscernible to the naked eye.

 

 

It is very difficult to see the cars close up when they are racing on the track at many road courses. It is doubly difficult to discern whether or not they are running on one course or another of when the “variation” is so small of just “three turns and a straight”. That’s what I don’t like about this rule. Nevertheless I will continue to see road course variations in order to remain competitive with my fellow trackchasing competitors.

 

 

Temperatures in Utah were in the high 50s with some wind and a chance of rain. These were not ideal racing conditions but probably expectable Utah in April.

 

salts lake city snow capped mountains

Ringed in snow-capped mountains.

This part of Utah can be very cold in the wintertime. Tooele is within 30 miles or so of Utah’s state capital, Salt Lake City. Today the area was ringed in snowcapped mountains. During the summer it is very hot and humid. That always surprised me when I came to work in Salt Lake City. 

 

larry h miller

Larry H. Miller

Miller Motorsports Park was built by Larry H Miller. Larry was a very successful new car dealer, among other things, in and around Salt Lake City. He was so successful that he owned the NBA Utah Jazz franchise. Unfortunately Larry had poor health and died at age 64. Yes, good health is most important.

 

 

A very nice looking entertainment facility.

This facility is well developed and had a lot going on today. Their kart track was active this afternoon. The racing today featured some highly competitive flat karts.

 

 

The East road course was hosting a motorcycle race. NASA sports cars and open wheelers were racing on the West course. At the back of the property motorcycle riders were testing out the dirt motocross track. There was another group of “Drifters” looking to race as well. It is these smaller events that keeps these big road course facilities financially afloat.

 

miller motorsports park admin buildings

Always on the lookout for more information.

I had to leave my car and go inside the registration building to buy my ticket for the NASA races. Admission was a reasonable six dollars. While inside I picked up a nice color map of the facility.

 

 

From this map I learned that the East track and the West track are both to 2.2 miles long. However their configurations are somewhat different. They also have a “Outer loop” course. It’s 3.06 miles long. When I was here back in 2004 I saw racing on the full track over a distance of 4.5 miles.

 

 

Next time.

The Miller Motorsports Park also has an off-road short course. It has a dirt surface. This is a permanent track with its own grandstands. They race about once a month here with the Lucas Oil off-road series. I wouldn’t be surprised if I find myself back at the Miller Motorsports Park to see racing on this track.

 

miller open wheeled cars 

The first race of the day for NASA was for a group of nine open-wheeled cars. These cars were each a little different and all lumped into the catchall category of “open wheel”.

 

 miller scoring tower

They raced around the 2.2-mile circuit for 30 minutes. The track was virtually flat. From the start/finish line the view was not very good. I mentioned this to a MMP track worker.

 

miller scoring tower 2

It nearly always pays to know people.

He took pity on my plight. He let me go up into the scoring tower where the NASA officials were officiating the race. There I got some good photos and videos from an elevation of about 25 feet.

 

 

From there I followed the worker’s recommendation. I drove my car around the outside of the West track. As I did I passed the off-road short course. I took some photos for your viewing enjoyment.

 

 

Once on the other side of the West course I was able to get some different views of the racing. This viewing area was elevated. I could see the racing better from that point.

 

miller sports cars 

Following the open wheel race there would be a 30-minute race for the lightning group and a 30-minute race for the thunder group. Then, later, the last race of the day would be for the open wheelers again..

 

 

Thunder and lightning seemed like appropriate names for today’s racing classes. Why? When the lightning group began their race the rain started. The temperature seemed to drop and the winds picked up. It rained steadily.

 

 

I finished my viewing for the day by watching the lightning feature. I could’ve stayed and watched more of the “action” from inside my car. 

 

 

However it was cold, windy and rainy and the racing, from a spectator view, wasn’t all that entertaining. I had an ulterior motive as well.

 

california map 49

Let’s go to California from Utah….no don’t do that.

My original plan was to catch an afternoon flight from Salt Lake City to Sacramento. However as I was having my lunch in a Subway store, prior to going to MMP, I received a text from a Northern California promoter. He recommended I not come to his event. There were a lack of entries in his side-by-side class. I took his advice and canceled my plans to return to California today.

 

 

It’s not easy to have a backup plan for tracks in the Far West. There are two reasons for that. First nearly every track in this geographical region is a good distance from the next one. Additionally I have knocked off the vast majority of far western tracks in the past.

 

 

A large number of far western tracks don’t even start their racing season until May or June. With this being April it would be difficult to find racing anywhere else close to Salt Lake City, Utah.

 

 

What could the Randy Lewis Racing research department come up with?

However you can never underestimate the research group at Randy Lewis Racing. They hunkered down and found an inner oval race at the Magic Valley Speedway in Twin Falls, Idaho.

 

 

I had seen racing in Utah this afternoon. My original plan was to return to California for racing tomorrow. With that idea squashed I would now trackchase in Idaho later tonight, weather permitting.

 

 

As time goes on it gets more and more difficult to find trackchasing combinations like these. I’m not sure how much longer I can continue with the production I’ve had over the past 10 years or so. If I slow down it won’t be so much because I am slowing down but that I am running out of racetracks to see.

 

 

Traveling on the fly.

When I pulled out of the Miller Motorsports Park I had a 3 ½-hour drive up and over to Twin Falls, Idaho. Before I left I had to make my “escape plan” so I could get back to California tomorrow at a reasonable hour.

 

 

First I had to cancel all of the airplane rides that would have been involved with a trip to Sacramento. Then I added a flight from Salt Lake to Los Angeles for tomorrow, on a standby basis of course.

 

 

I would not have much time for a hotel tonight but I figured I had better get one. I used Priceline to buy a room at the Doubletree by Hilton near the Salt Lake City airport. I paid $40 plus taxes and fees. That was much less than the minimum rate being accepted for “regular” people of $89 per night plus tax.

 

honesty

Can we be honest for just a moment? I won’t sugar coat it.

Quite honestly even the Dreaded East Coast Trackchasers, with their big trackchasing budgets, cannot keep up with my efficiency and cost control. Yes, even though they have bigger budgets you won’t see them changing airline plans or getting Doubletree hotels at the prices I pay.

 

 

Nevertheless they shouldn’t give up. I don’t expect them too. They’ll just be a little slower it will take them a little bit longer and things will cost a little more. They won’t get the good stuff cheap though. They will get the cheap stuff cheap. Somebody has to buy the cheap stuff cheap or the “cheap things” places would go out of business. I also worry about how old the DECTs will be when they finally retire. Spending too much on trackchasing NOW simply makes the financial equation more difficult when retirement finally is achieved. However, I digress.

 

 

Stay out of the fast lane.

The interstate speed limit in both Utah and Idaho was 80 mph for most of my trip this afternoon. I can cover some ground at those speeds.

 

 

When I was about 35 miles from Twin Falls I received both good news and bad news. The good news was there was a Jack-in-the-Box restaurant nearby. I made a mental note to stop there on the way home from tonight’s track visit. I would be looking for a fully loaded breakfast entrée.

 

airbag deactivated

Please get me out of this Chevy!

What was the bad news? The annoying chimes came back on again on my rental Chevy. A display came across the dashboard. This identified the problem that the chimes were trying to warn me about. The airbag needed servicing!

 

 

The car had only 6,700 miles on it for gosh sake. Please slap me the next time I want to rent a domestic automobile. Folks, if YOU own a domestic auto please don’t be mad at me. You read these reports to get my honest assessment of the situations I encounter right?

 

 

It was going to be a 6-7 hour round-trip drive from Salt Lake City up to Twin Falls, Idaho. There was a reasonable chance I would be rained out but I decided to make the drive anyway.

 

twin falls snake river

My first trip to Twin Falls.

I last visited the Magic Valley Speedway in 2007. On May 28, 2007 the Magic Valley Speedway was counted as my 1,196th lifetime track.

 

 

Twin Falls is a good-sized town of more than 44,000 people. That’s big for Idaho. It’s the seventh largest city in the state and features a semi-arid climate.

 

 

Twin Falls is home to some infamous people. W. Mark Felt, known as the “Deep Throat” informant from the Watergate scandal graduated from Twin Falls High School. Lyda Southard, noted serial killer, was married seven times after moving to Twin Falls. She was suspected of killing four of her husbands amongst a few others. Maybe she was just a bad cook.

 

 

Need information? Go the top of the food chain.

When I last went to the Magic Valley Speedway I saw racing on their 1/3-mile asphalt oval. The track also holds competitions on two smaller ovals.

 

 

Before I drove up to Twin Falls today I gave a call to the promoter Eddie McKean. Eddie was more than willing to answer my questions.

 

 

He actually gave me more information than I was expecting. I thought they raced on TWO different sized ovals at the Magic Valley Speedway. In reality they race on THREE different sized ovals.

 

magic valley 1:5- mile

The littlest track.

The stinger division races on an irregularly shaped 1/5- mile “oval”. The hornet division races on a loosely laid out quarter-mile oval. The remaining divisions such as street stocks and late models race on a traditional 1/3- mile oval.

 

 

The driver age limit for racers in the stinger division is 8-13 years old. When you see my video you will be surprised that eight-year-olds can drive a mini stock around a racetrack like this.

 

 

As mentioned I was driving nearly seven hours round-trip to see racing on the quarter-mile oval. The age limit for the hornet division was 14 years and up.

 

 

Even though I did not make the trackchasing rules I have had some ‘influence’ over the rules.

Trackchasing rules require that drivers 18 years of age or older must be eligible to drive to make that driver “trackchasing eligible”. Of course there are other requirements regarding the racecar and the racetrack itself. That must be met at well. I won’t bore you with those details now.

 

 

I must mention that several trackchasing “rules” have been implemented “after the fact” After which fact? Several rules were “drummed up” after I walked the grey line of the existing rules. Trackchasing is dominated by eastern-based chasers. Frequently they are an envious group. I guess competition creates envy. Nevertheless, not everyone enjoyed seeing a western-based trackchaser putting a “whippin” on the local boys. I can understand that.

 

young people 

Not many folks know I was part of the “18 years of age” breakeven point ruling for what trackchasing considers an adult. Will White was the trackchasing commissioner at the time. He ruled with a firm but mostly friendly hand.

 

 

However, for years and years the rules simply used words like “adult” to describe what kind of driver could be considered countable. “Adults” counted. Whatever word that was the opposite of “Adult” did not count. I didn’t think that was precise enough.

 

 

It has to make you smile.

It was kind of funny. Whenever I exploited a rule the Eastern based trackchasers immediately jumped to the side of the fence demanding more specificity.

 

 

I wanted Will White to specifically identify what an “adult” was within the trackchasing rules. I asked him many times. Finally, likely to keep me from asking him many more times, he gave me an answer. If a class were open to drivers 18 YEARS OF AGO or older then that class was “trackchasing countable”. Thank you Will!

 

 

The uncertain weather worried me.

The weather in Idaho was definitely uncomfortable and rained threatened. In an effort to bring clothes that only fit in my “Spirit Airlines rolling travel bag” I didn’t have much bad weather gear with me.

 

 

Folks who know me understand that I rarely wear anything but shorts. It’s usually cargo shorts for that matter. I didn’t bring any long pants with me. I did have my Zero brand golf windbreaker as my nod to the questionable weather.

 

welcome to idaho sign 

On the drive up from the greater Salt Lake area to Twin Falls, Idaho it rained off and on. For the most part the rain wasn’t heavy but it was fairly constant. The weather radar for Twin Falls showed no rain at the present but a large rain system just 20 miles to the west was lurking. That didn’t look good.

 

 

Under “normal” conditions I would not have attempted see a track with the weather forecast like what I was seeing tonight. However I had already added a track this afternoon so my “trackchasing day” couldn’t be rained out.

 

 

I also didn’t have any other trackchasing options. With Carol going to visit her mother in Denver for the weekend I thought “why not?”.

 

 

As I got closer to Twin Falls the rain was steady. However the weather radar was still showing Twin Falls itself was in the clear. I just didn’t know how far behind, time wise, the weather map on my “Weather Underground” app might be. 

 

 

It was still spitting rain when I got to within 5 miles of the track. I had not expected the rain to be that close for the 7 p.m. starting time.

 

 

I’ve had my share of “nip and tuck” battles with the weather when trying to see new tracks. You all know that in the summer it often rains in the late afternoon or early evening. Of course that is just the time when many racetracks are beginning their programs.

 

 

The temperature was 48° with a strong wind from the west when I pulled into the track parking lot. Tonight was opening night. I was surprised at how many spectator cars were in the parking lot. The fans were ready for a new racing season.

 

because I'm happy

Because I’m happy.

Clap along if you feel like a room without a roof.

Because I’m happy.

I soon found out I was going to be happy on several fronts. I was happy to see the racetrack start on time at 7 p.m. There would be racing on three different sized ovals.

 

 

From a trackchasing standpoint I didn’t really care about the 1/5-mile oval racing. That racing was for “kids”. That wouldn’t count in my trackchasing totals. 

 

 

I knew I would find the racing on the larger 1/3-mile oval entertaining. However I had seen racing on that track in 2007. Racing on that track wouldn’t count as a new track today either.

 

Twin Falls weather map 

Would the hornets race before it rained?

In reality I would be driving 500 miles round-trip to see racing on the one quarter mile oval for just one division… the hornets. I had no idea when the hornets would appear in tonight’s program. With the rain just 5 miles away I didn’t expect them to get a full program in. I might see some racing but I might not see any racing on the 1/4-mile track before it rained.

 

magic valley price sheet 

I was happy to see that senior citizens were offered a five-dollar discount on their admission tonight. The track’s website told me there are three different pricing plans depending upon the classes that race each weekend. Regardless of which class races the senior citizen gets a five-dollar discount. Tonight my net admission price was just five dollars.

 

 

I also noted that military people with their ID are always submitted free. That is a fantastic policy. I thought I heard the track announcer say that anyone who had been in the military and could produce their ID also got in free. I’m not sure about that one but if that is the case it might be a first.

 

 

We were racing but things were not countable yet.

Following the singing of the national anthem three stinger racecars appeared and ran a quick heat race on their little track. Please don’t miss the video. I can’t recall ever seeing racing on a track like this one inside a traditional oval.

 

 

Whew!

The stinger race was followed by about seven Hornets coming out and racing on the quarter-mile oval asphalt track. As soon as the green flag dropped on that event track #2,079 was in the books. I felt a major sense of relief.

 

magic valley pit area 

Car counts were on the skinny side tonight. That probably had to do with the lack of population in this area, the weather forecast and this being opening night. Often times racers don’t have their cars ready for opening night even though they’ve had all winter to work on them.

 

 

The late-model division ran two heats for a total of eight cars. There were eight street stocks racing in two heat races. The underdog division brought five competitors for their one heat race.

 

Magic VAlley speedway press box

Good job.

I was most impressed by the dual announcers at the track. They entertained the crowd over an outstanding PA system. The track manager must understand the value of the announcer and the speaker system for the entertainment of the show.

 

 

In reviewing the track rules I noticed that both the stinger and hornet divisions had a $500 claim on their racecars. That meant if someone wanted to buy their car for $500 they had to sell it. That rule is designed to keep the costs down to field a car. The thinking is that if you MUST sell your car for $500 then you won’t put more than $500 into the car.

 

 

It was a most cold and windy night. I don’t believe I saw anyone else wearing shorts. Too bad. I think people should wear shorts most of the time!

 

 

The track was efficient and rolling out one race after another. There were a couple of minor crashes that took some time to clear but overall the track kept the racing moving.

 

 

When I wasn’t taking videos and photos for your viewing enjoyment I stood at the base of the concession stand/press tower. This two-story building blocked much of the wind and made my visit more comfortable.

 

big wheels

Not my cup of tea.

At intermission the track brought out some big wheels riding toys. They had a contest for young children on the front stretch of the big oval. It was about this time that it began to rain lightly. An asphalt track can’t take much rain without rendering the surface untraceable.

 

 

I decided this was a good time to leave the track. Why? I would soon learn it was 42° with a wind of about 20 miles or more per hour. That meant the wind chill temperature was somewhere in the 30s. Additionally it was raining and the forecast called for heavier rain.

 

 

With the car counts being so small it didn’t seem like it would be worth it to stay in these weather conditions. Additionally I had a five-hour drive ahead of me.

 

 

 

AFTER THE RACES

 

After I left the track I would experience a few more reasons that supported my decision to leave a good one. It rained heavily almost all the way home toward Salt Lake. At one point the temperature dropped to 32°. The rain was coming at me horizontally in the form of snow!

 

 

I had reserved a very nice Doubletree by Hilton Hotel at the Salt Lake airport. However if I had known how the time was going to work out on both ends I probably would’ve just slept the night in my car despite the cool temperatures.

 

 

As it was I didn’t reach the hotel until after midnight. My best flight option would be a 7 a.m. departure from Salt Lake to LAX.

 

broken down chevy

How many more surprises did my ‘crack Chevy’ have for me?

Once I got back to the general hotel area I had to find a gas station. That would not be easy in a hotel/office park neighborhood. Those places don’t have too many gas stations. When I did finally find one I discovered that my “crack Chevy” had a gas tank that was difficult to fill. Despite my best efforts to top off the tank when I got in the car it still showed only 7/8 full. That would be a problem that could create an extra expense when I returned the car.

 

 

When I checked in the desk clerk gave me the traditional Doubletree chocolate chip cookies (2). Normally that would’ve been wonderful however I have sworn off cookies for the time being. Then I had to walk for a very long time through a maze of tunnels to find my room. Can’t anything be easy?

 

 

I got to bed at about 1 a.m. My wake up call came at 5:30 a.m. There was so little time to sleep that I didn’t even bother taking a shower. I would have to get dressed and find a gas station in hopes I could fill the tank to the top. Then I would drive to the airport and return my rental car. I needed to do all of the above in 30 minutes.

 

 

I met that goal. I was using TSA pre-check system like I always do. I was through security in less than two minutes. I soon learned my flight was “weight restricted”. That’s never good thing for standby passengers. Nevertheless I made the flight and landed in Los Angeles before 8 a.m.

 

 

It was time to just take a moment to relax.

My flight arrival dropped me off right at the front door of the Alaska Airlines Boardroom. I went in relaxed, had some food and drink and then began the process of heading home. I love those private airline clubs. Just about everyone is “pushing and shoving” outside and I’m in a soft leather chair sipping on a drink.

 

 

I had only been gone from the Los Angeles International Airport for about 24 hours. Nevertheless during that time I had driven 535 miles and seen two new tracks. Whenever I can be gone from “home” for so little time and end up with two tracks I have to consider the trip successful.

 

 

Oh shoot.

However when I organized my gear in the hotel last night I noticed one distressing item. I seemed to be missing my Bose noise-canceling headset. Those babies run about $300. I figured I’d left it on the floor of the airplane when I flew over to Salt Lake City.

 

 

This was the second pair of Bose I have ever owned. Carol had given me this pair for Christmas. Now I had lost them!

 

 

I quickly filled out the on line “lost article” form with Delta Airlines. I wasn’t really expecting to get them back but then you never know. I did have my business card inside the Bose case. I would now have to wait and see.

 

 

I made the 20-minute walk and the 65-mile drive back to San Clemente. I grabbed a burrito at “Adolfo’s” in the center of town. Then I headed home for the start of the rain delayed NASCAR Sprint cup race from Richmond, Virginia.

 

boze headphones 

While I was watching the race I got a call from Delta Airlines. They had found my Bose headphones! That was great news. I gave the woman my credit card number to pay for the return shipping ($22 USD).

 

 

It’s all about ‘action’ baby!

As I reread some of the aspects of this trip I marveled at how much “action” can happen in just 24 hours in this hobby. It’s not a hobby for everyone. In point of fact it’s not a hobby for that many people but for some reason I seem to enjoy it. I think everyone who reads these reports marvels….for one reason or another. As I always say I do this so you don’t have to but at least you can read about it in the comfort of your own Jacuzzi.

 

 

 

Utah/Idaho

 

utah map 49 

 

idaho map 490

The Bee Hive state and the Gem state

This afternoon I saw my 12th lifetime track in the Bee Hive state, yes the Bee Hive state (that’s Utah of course). This evening I saw my 15th lifetime track in the Gem state, yes the Gem state (and that is Idaho).

 

 

 

 

 

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 

Utah sayings: Welcome to Utah. Set your watch back twenty years.

Idaho sayings: Proud to say I Da Ho.

 

 

 

 

QUICK FACTS

 

AIRPLANE

Los Angeles, CA (LAX) – Salt Lake City, UT (SLC) – 589 miles

 

RENTAL CAR #1

Salt Lake City International Airport – trip begins

Tooele, UT

Twin Falls, ID

Salt Lake City International Airport – trip ends – 535 miles

 

AIRPLANE

Salt Lake City, UT (SLC) – Los Angeles, CA (LAX) – 589 miles

 

 

 

 

Total air miles – 1,178 (2 flights)

Total rental car miles – 535 (1 car)

 

Total miles traveled on this trip – 1,713 miles 

 

 

 

TRACK ADMISSION PRICES:

Miller Motorsports Park – $6

Magic Valley Speedway – $5 ($5 senior discount)

 

Total racetrack admissions for the trip – $11

 

 

 

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

 

  1. Randy Lewis, San Clemente, California – 2,079

 

 

world map 

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 – 4.88

 

 

 

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

 

 

Check out these videos!

 

Miller Motorsports Park – West course

 

 

Magic Valley Speedway – racing action!

 

 

 

Magic Valley Speedway – the trailer

 

 

Click on the link below for a photo album from today’s trackchasing day: 

Miller Motorsports Park sign 

Racing on the West course at the Miller Motorsports Park

 

 

Magic VAlley speedway press box

My night of trackchasing from the Magic Valley Speedway

 

 

 

 

 

 


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