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Marshall County Fairgrounds

 

Greetings from Warren, Minnesota

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From the travels and adventures of the 

“World’s #1 Trackchaser”

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Marshall County Fairgrounds

Dirt road course

 Lifetime Track #2,567

 

 

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 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’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

 

 

Sunday, July 28, 2019.

 

I’ve spent nearly the entire month of July cruising the oceans of the world, enjoying state room suites and wearing tuxedos. What was the highlight of all of that luxurious travel? Doing it with my family.

 

 

Normally I spend my July time checking out our nation’s county fairs. County fair racing in the United States runs from the beginning of July to the middle of August for the most part. I have visited more than 500 county and state fairs. 

 

 

Despite having seen so much experience with these fairs I still have a large number of once a year county fair figure 8 events, enduros and Baja style races that I can attend in the future. Even though I missed most of July for trackchasing there’s always next year!

 

 

With year-round a good weather, nearby mountains and just across the street oceans we have a lot of entertainment choices while living in Southern California. This weekend Kristy (above with Carol) and our grandkids, Astrid and Mitch were in town. We went on a whale watching boat departing from Dana point, the city that borders our hometown of San Clemente.  We didn’t see any whales but we were able to follow a school of dolphins all over the Pacific Ocean. Everyone had a good time. 

 

 

However, all of the family that I’ve spent time with this past month now have to return to their jobs and their own personal lives. Carol has a lot to catch up on at home. I think she will enjoy the next couple of weeks not being bothered by anyone, including me. 

 

 

With all of that being said I hopped on a jet airplane leaving Los Angeles International Airport at nearly midnight on Saturday night. I landed in Minneapolis just a few hours later at 5 a.m. central time. 

 

 

This is my 23rd airplane trip for the purpose of trackchasing in 2019. What might be surprising to some is that flying into or out of the Minneapolis airport has been part of eleven of those trips. Minnesota is a popular ice racing location during the winter. With all of their county fair racing, only second to Michigan, there is plenty of trackchasing opportunity in the summer as well. To add to all of that I just like the people of Minnesota. 

 

 

I would be flying on Sun Country Airlines. They are relegated to terminal two, the Humphrey terminal, at the Minneapolis – St. Paul International Airport. Because I believe the selection of cars might be smaller in terminal two I rode the light rail option over to terminal one of MSP to get my rental car. 

 

 

For a bit more than $700 I had reserved a full-sized car from my long-time trackchasing sponsor, National Car Rental. As you might imagine I hold a top-tier, that would be “executive elite”, frequent renter status with National. That situation allows me to walk out into their parking garage and select any full sized car that I want. 

 

 

In any given year I will rent well over 50 cars. Right now my favorites are the Toyota Camry and the Chrysler 300. Today there were lots of Fords and Chevys but if I could find a Camry there was no way I would select a domestic automobile. I found a Camry with just 1,000 miles on its odometer. I would take that one. 

 

 

I told you I had rented the car for 15 days. However, that does not mean I will keep it for 15 days. My schedule is very fluid. If something changes I’ll dump the Camry in Minneapolis and grab something else somewhere else.

 

 

It was early Sunday morning. I had a choice to make. I could see racing at the Isanti County Fairgrounds in Cambridge, Minnesota or at the Marshall County Fairgrounds in Warren, Minnesota but not both. What would be the major difference in these two race locations? 

 

 

Cambridge was only an hour and five minutes from the Minneapolis airport. On the other hand, Warren, Minnesota was more than five hours from the airport. Most people would think this would be a simple decision. They might be lazy and simply pick the track located nearest to the airport. However, I had something else to consider. 

 

 

You see rain was expected to hit Cambridge at about 1 p.m., which was also the starting time for the race. The rain forecast percentage was in the 80-90% range. On the other hand, rain was not going to be visiting Warren until around 4 p.m. I could take the easy way out and try for Cambridge and drive less miles. But it wouldn’t be any fun to get rained out after I had flown overnight just to get one more Minnesota track. 

 

 

I chose to play the rain odds. I would make the long drive to Warren, Minnesota. I had about six hours to make the five hour and 12-minute journey. I don’t want to miss lead you. I did take a few 12-minute power naps but my eye was on my ETA all the while. 

 

 

 

THE RACING

 

 

Marshall County Fairgrounds – Warren, Minnesota

I followed a couple of junk cars to the fairgrounds that were being towed for today’s “Baja style” racing. There was no charge to park at the fair. There was no charge to enter the fair. This type of fair is called a “free fair”. However, it isn’t totally free. Not much in life is.

 

 

I guess I did raise an eyebrow when I was told today’s admission price was $15 U.S. I point out that fact since we were only about 60 miles from the Canadian border. However, by the end of the day when I thought about the free parking and the free admittance to the fair and the fact that more than 100 cars showed up today $15 was actually a bargain. 

 

 

Today, for the first time ever, I was debuting my 2019 World’s #1 Trackchaser” souvenir T-shirt. I had worn one yesterday in San Clemente to Yogurtland. The cashier struck up a very long conversation with me after seeing my shirt. I warned Carol that this was going to be a problem, timewise, if others did the same. Today, no one at the Marshall County Fairgrounds mentioned trackchasing or my shirt. 

 

 

“Baja style” junk car racing is somewhat unique to Minnesota. They called their form of racing today “redneck racing” but it was identical to Baja racing, which is all over the state of Minnesota. I’ve seen the term “Baja” used in Wisconsin as well but I don’t think anywhere else. Michigan has the most county fair racing by far. However, Minnesota would rank second in the county fair racing activity rankings. 

 

 

I was very impressed with today’s Baja racing in Warren, Minnesota. I might go as far as to say it was the best Baja style racing I’ve seen anywhere but then I can’t really remember back to every different Baja fairgrounds that I have visited. Let’s just say it was an excellent racing program. 

 

 

Today’s racing would take place under blue skies with white puffy clouds. The more than reasonable temperature of 70 to 75° with a slight breeze was perfect weather. It was Southern California weather.

 

 

Just outside the fair grandstands I saw a big banner advertising a fundraising effort to get a new grandstand. I really didn’t know if they’d already built a new grandstand and were now trying to raise money to pay for it or if they were trying to replace the existing grandstand. 

 

 

I thought the grandstand that was in place today was outstanding. It had a covered roof, seated probably a couple thousand people and was very comfortable with perfect sightlines albeit with a couple of posts here and there. 

 

 

The show started on time with two young ladies singing the Star-Spangled Banner as a duet. The announcers sat in the middle of the grandstand like I’ve seen at other tracks in Minnesota and Nebraska. The PA system was excellent. During the races they played some very upbeat music that kept the crowd entertained and made the racing even more fun to watch. It was also fun to watch those in the crowd displaying their dancing skills! 

 

 

From what I could tell there were three different classes racing today. The six-cylinder class brought the most entries at about 50. They also had a minivan or small truck division and then a large pick up division. In total I estimate they had 100 “junk car” racers or more. 

 

 

Everything was very well organized. Eight to ten cars started each heat race. Invariably, a couple of cars would be stranded by breakdowns during the race. They only stopped the races with a red flag when a car or truck flipped over. That option actually happened quite often,. There might have been as many as ten flips today. Each time the track crew removed the disabled cars quickly. 

 

 

I had not had any time to see the fair before I bought my ticket into the grandstand. Seeing the fair is always a highlight for me. I gave some thought to going out and taking a look at the fair exhibits after all of the heat races were finished. The announcer told us the heat racing would be followed with consolation events and then the features. However, everything was running along so quickly and smoothly I elected to stay in my seat and watch the remainder of the program. I would catch the fair afterwards. That was only a partially successful strategy. 

 

 

Today’s track sort of looked like a capital “M“ standing for Minnesota I guess, with the letter M underlined. Don’t miss my video of today’s racing. Let me know if you think that’s an accurate description. 

 

 

 

I have long said that the best looking women in the United States come from Southern California, Las Vegas, New Orleans and North Dakota. North Dakota offers up the tall slender blond ladies. Warren, Minnesota is only 60 miles from the Canadian border. It isn’t very far from North Dakota either. I’ve never seen so many attractive young blonde ladies at a fairgrounds in recent memory. There must’ve been 200 of these younger  gals roaming about with not very many young men to chase them. If you are age 20 or so and a male I’d recommend moving to Warren, Minnesota as soon as you can. 

 

 

Like I say this was some of the best Baja style racing I’ve seen ever. That being the case I would strongly recommend you take a look at my photo album and videos so you can see pretty much what I saw.  

 

 

At about 3:20 p.m. with a couple of consolation events and three feature races to go the announcer made a surprise announcement. The police had just notified him that in 40 minutes a storm was likely to hit the fairgrounds. It was being billed as bringing 60 MPH winds with heavy hail. 

 

 

I thought about that for a moment. I still hadn’t made a tour of the fairgrounds. There were still five races to go. I knew that I had the Procter & Gamble retiree rental car automobile liability insurance. That made the oncoming hail a nonstarter for me. I would stay and watch the rest of the races. Most of the fans did the same. 

 

 

However, it’s entirely possible that one or both of today’s announcers did not have the same liability coverage I had. They told the crowd they were welcome to go down to the courthouse in the center of town. That’s where the town’s storm shelter was located. Nobody, it seemed, was willing to take them up on their offer. 

 

 

Then, as if the announcer were on a countdown clock, he told the crowd at the fair the storm was going to be here in 31 minutes, then 23 minutes etc. The storm would be coming from behind the grandstand. That made the blue skies with white puffy clouds just over my view of the racetrack look like there would be no potential weather issue. 

 

 

Because of the impending bad weather arrival they decided to cancel the two consolation races. The organizers would finish the program with a feature event for each of the three racing classes. However, as is often the case that the drivers race a little harder in the feature races. This caused a few flips and some minor delays.

 

 

The announcer was going pretty much epileptic at this stage. He implored the starter to begin the race where the cars had stopped when the flip occurred rather than lining them up all over again. The starter seemed to be on his own agenda. Each time he brought the cars around to the starting line before waving the green flag. 

 

 

When I looked back over my shoulder I could see they were not kidding about bad weather approaching. My weather radar told me the “blue dot” was going to get wet, very wet….soon. They had said it would be here at 4 p.m. The six-cylinder class took their checkered flag for their feature event, the last race of the day precisely at 4 p.m. It began to rain about two minutes later.

 

 

 

AFTER THE RACES

 

 

With it sprinkling lightly there would be no time for a complete tour of the fairgrounds. Nevertheless, I did peek my head in the bingo hall and grabbed a quick four-dollar corn dog. The dog was supplemented by some kettle corn and Diet Mountain Dew acquired just before the races began. 

 

 

I had a decent walk back to my car but got there before the rain really picked up. Just as I was exiting town the rain started to come down heavily. Remembering my near fatal experience in Kansas a couple of years ago when the rain got so heavy on a two-land road that I couldn’t see for several seconds I decided to find a safe place to wait out the storm.

 

 

The rain and wind never got as strong as advertised. It didn’t hail either. I was thankful for that.

 

 

I had driven more than 400 miles from the Minneapolis airport just to get to the fairgrounds. The three-hour racing program had been both entertaining and exciting. Now most of the adrenaline had left my body. The original plan called for me to make the five-hour drive back to the Twin Cities tonight. My body suggested otherwise.

 

 

With my iPhone in my hand I checked out Priceline.com. They were offering up a Fairfield Inn and Suites hotel for just $49 plus taxes and fees. In North Dakota in the summertime and in Grand Forks that’s a bargain. Hotels during the summer in these parts can be just as outrageously expensive as they are all of the time in the Northeast. I made a reservation. 

 

 

I checked into the hotel and used my Bonvoy frequent stay membership Titanium Elite status. Soon I was being given a welcome gift bag and a superior room upgrade. Life was all good.

 

 

My trackchasing goal for the year is to add a seventh state where I have seen 100 racetracks or more. Minnesota is the target. Today I saw my 98th track in Gopherland. I’ve got a plan in place to finish this off. If the weather cooperates I’ll do it. 

 

 

 

Monday, July 29, 2019 

I didn’t have any new tracks to visit on this Monday. Racing on a Monday, other than a three-day holiday weekend, is the least popular day of the week for auto racing. I could have stopped over in Plymouth, Wisconsin to see the World of Outlaws late model stock cars race tonight. However, I see so much auto racing that going to another auto race, unless it’s very special, is not really something I want to do with my free time. 

 

 

No matter what I did, I had to drive back to Minneapolis from Grand Forks, North Dakota today. That would take the better part of five hours. The weather continued to be beautiful with a temperature of 72°, a little bit of a breeze and a white puffy clouds sky. 

 

 

I begin the day with a little bit more than four miles of power walking around a nearby shopping mall in Grand Forks. This was the Columbia Mall. With that many miles in so early in the morning I established a goal of more than 8 miles of walking today, which would give me two credits toward my trackchasing/exercise goal. If you haven’t noticed already I am very goal focused.

 

 

I told you I had made a rental car reservation for about 15 days for a little more than $700. My new travel plan called for me to fly from Minneapolis to Chicago tomorrow morning. That meant I would return my rental car back to MSP just two days after I picked it up. I would grab a rental car at Chicago’s O’Hare airport to continue the trip. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Good afternoon from Warren, Minnesota and various locations thereafter. 

 

 

 

 

Randy Lewis – 85 countries – 2,567 tracks.

 

 

 

 

 

Minnesota

 

 

The North Star state

This afternoon I saw racing at my 98th lifetime track in the North Star state, yes, the North Star state.  I hold the #1 trackchasing ranking in Minnesota.  I’ve seen 98 or more tracks in eight different states. No trackchaser can match that stat.

 

 

 

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:  “It could be worse.”

Spoken like a true Minnesotan: “Oh, it’s 15 below zero, it’s been blizzarding for three days, all the schools are closed… I’m not sure where my car is because the snowdrifts are too deep, I’ve got icicles growing out of my nostrils, and I was almost killed by an ice stalactite on my way out of the house, but whatever! It could be worse!”

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

 

 

  1. Randy Lewis, San Clemente, California – 2,567

 

 

 

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.

 

Maybe the best and most entertaining Baja style racing I’ve seen anywhere 

 

 

 

 

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.

 

 

 

Baja style racing from yet another Minnesota fairgrounds….the Marshall County Fair in Warren, Minnesota

 

 

 

 

 


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