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Miller Motorsports Park

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Greetings from Tooele, Utah

 

 

From the travels and adventures of the 

“World’s #1 Trackchaser”

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Miller Motorsports Park track map 

Miller Motorsports Park – full track 

Lifetime Track #1,083

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lucas off road logo

Miller Motorsports Park – temporary dirt road course 

Lifetime Track #1,558

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miller motorsports park ticket

Miller Motorsports Park – west track

Lifetime Track #2,078

 

 

 

 

The EventThe Full TrackTemporary Dirt Road CourseThe West TrackVideosPhotos

 

My travels have now taken me to the Miller Motorsports Park on three different occasions.  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 August 4, 2006 Trackchaser Report

 

GREETINGS FROM TOOELE, UTAH AND THEN ATOMIC CITY, IDAHO

 

 

EXTREMELY IMPORTANT NOTICE!

 

I am very close to announcing a sponsorship relationship that will insure the financial viability of my trackchasing hobby for years to come. I expect to make this announcement in the next 2-3 weeks. Stay tuned.

 

 

CAROL AND I WOKE UP VERY EARLY IN SAN CLEMENTE, CALIFORNIA. THIS IS WHAT TRANSPIRED TODAY. 

 

 

PEOPLE/STRATEGY/TRAVEL NEWS 

 

 

The Strategy                                                                               

This trip’s strategy is all about seeing tracks in states that Carol has never visited for trackchasing purposes. To date, Carol has seen racing in 40 different states. The plan for today is one of the most unusual doubles a trackchaser can get.

 

 

Carol was able to see a rare day/night trackchasing double on a Friday. What made this double even more unusual was that each of these two tracks was in a different state. Finally, to cap it off, the two states were both new for her. Congrats, on a great trackchasing double!

 

 

The Trip 

I don’t get to trackchase in the far west nearly as much as I would like. This weekend’s trackchasing trip will take us to Utah, Idaho and Montana. Going into this trip, I have seen 1,082 different tracks. However, only seven tracks of that total were seen in the three states we’ll visit this weekend.

 

 

Today was an extra early wake-up call for a 4:44 a.m. San Clemente departure up to the Long Beach airport. This allowed us to make a 6:45 a.m. flight to Salt Lake City. Landing before 10 a.m. would get us over to the Miller Motorsports Park for their Friday afternoon schedule.

 

 

The People

The Miller Motorsports Park is owned by Larry H. Miller. Who’s Larry Miller? Mr. Miller is a prominent Salt Lake City businessperson who is famous locally for owning the Utah Jazz. He also owns more than 40 auto dealerships as well as the Delta Center where the Jazz play their home NBA games. He can always be found watching the games from his seat directly underneath the basket at the end of the court.

 

 

 

RACE TRACK STATS:

 

MILLER MOTORSPORTS PARK, TOOELE, UTAH – TRACK #1,083 – 8/4/06

This was only my second lifetime track to see in the Mormon state. Not many folks have seen very many tracks in Utah. Andy Ritter leads the state totals with only four tracks. I have moved from an 8th place tie in the state into a fourth place tie. This gives me an additional four valuable NGD points, one of my bigger gains of the season.

 

This was Carol’s first ever track to see in Utah. This will move her into a tie for 9th place with 17 other trackchasers. It may be difficult to split up the 9th place prize money! This was also Carol’s 269th lifetime track moving her into a 36th place tie with Dale Danielski of Onalaska, Wisconsin.

 

 

ATOMIC MOTOR RACEWAY, ATOMIC CITY, IDAHO – TRACK #1,084 – 8/4/06

I also doubled my Idaho state total by seeing one track in the Potato state. I now have two lifetime tracks in Idaho. Today, I moved up from a tie for 8th place to a tie for 4th place in the state, just as I did in Utah this afternoon. That’s another four NGD lifetime points giving me eight for the day.

 

 

This was Carol’s first ever visit to Idaho to see a new track. She’s now tied for 9th place with 14 different trackchasers all of whom have one track. This was also her 270th lifetime track giving her sole possession of 36th place in the world lifetime trackchaser standings. Sammy Swindell at 278 tracks is the next trackchaser in her sights. Slammin’ Sammy doesn’t have much more time to enjoy his 35th place ranking.

 

 

 

RACE TRACK NEWS:

 

MILLER MOTORSPORTS PARK

This facility is brand new. The entire western side of the track is ringed in mountains. The track’s property covers 511 acres. That’s 3.65 times the size of Disneyland. According to the track’s “Fan guide”, there is 3.6 million square feet of asphalt on the property. That’s enough to cover 81 football fields.

 

 

The main road course itself is 4.8 miles in distance. This makes it the longest road course in North America. The entire course is flat. I often say I don’t go to racetracks for the racing. However, I do go to see the cars race. If you come to the Miller Motorsports Park, you won’t really get to see the cars race.

 

 

Yes, you can technically see the cars cover about 95% of the course. However, a normally sighted spectator is unlikely to be able to make out a car’s number over more than 25-35% of the course. If I can’t even read a car’s number then that’s the break point for enjoying the races. I believe road racing is generally a good excuse to have a picnic.

 

 

We arrived at the track nearly an hour and one half before the first race. This gave us plenty of time to visit the gift shop. This is a very professional retail outlet complete with salespeople who bug you by asking, “Can I help you with something?”

 

 

Tickets were $20 for general admission and $35 for a reserved seat! That’s high especially for an HSR West road racing program. This sanctioning group is a distant second to the SCCA sanctioning group. HSR West doesn’t bring many cars to the track. They are also known to cancel or consolidate races at the last minute.

 

 

As you might imagine with a 4.8-mile racecourse, the entire place is spread out. We walked through the paddock area and the garage area, which is huge. A general admission ticket gets you into the facility but does not allow you to legally sit in any of the grandstands!

 

 

We received conflicting information from nearly every track employee we spoke too regarding where we could sit. There were nearly as many track employees controlling admission to special seating areas, as there were spectators.

 

 

I asked one young woman who was guarding the entrance to the track’s clubhouse, “Where do spectators sit.” “What do you mean ‘spectator?” was her reply. Carol had to restrain me at this point. After regaining my composure, I replied, “Spectators were people who came to watch the races.” This seemed to make things a bit clearer for her. Wow!

 

 

We did find a grandstand that was both covered (great protection from the sun) and faced the mountains. The 9-row aluminum seating area seats about 1,300 people. There were about 15-20 people sitting in the stands. The young lady protecting the entrance told us, “You can sit in the grandstand, but if someone comes with a reserved ticket for the seat you’re in, you’ll have to give up your seat to them.”

 

 

Let’s see. The grandstand seats 1,300 people. There are 15 people in this grandstand. There is really no reason to think any more people will occupy the grandstand for the rest of the afternoon and they didn’t. Yes, if I’m one of the 15 people in the stands who might be preventing someone with a reserved seat ticket from sitting in the seat they bought, I GUESS I COULD JUST MOVE OVER A SEAT OR TWO. Yes, Carol had to restrain me again!

 

 

O.K., we’ve paid $20 to get in. We were faced with a 4.8-mile road course. What type of racing would we get? The first qualifying race was for Indy style open wheeled cars. Five cars took the green flag to run a race of just six laps. Carol was really trying doing her best to restrain an irate trackchaser now.

 

 

As the most simpleton might imagine, maybe someone like the track worker who was still trying to figure out what a “Spectator” was, just five racecars can tend to get spread out over nearly a five-mile course! In fact, they did.

 

 

Each lap took about three minutes and twenty seconds to complete. That’s a long time to watch five cars. Actually four because one dropped out on the first lap of the race. We stayed for one more race. They had 14 cars in that one, again for six laps.

 

 

This is a very nice race facility. I still like the Barber Motorsports Park in Leeds, Alabama the best but today’s track is a close second. I’m sure it’s a lot of fun for the competitor’s but not for the spectator.

 

 

By the way, since everything is spread out over such a large space the track offers golf carts for rent. They had nearly 50 of the golf karts available. I asked Carol how much she thought they would rent for. Her answer, “20 dollars.” Correct answer: $3,500 per two-seat golf cart for the weekend! Yep, that right, three thousand, five hundred and no/100ths. I have a friend who just BOUGHT a fully outfitted golf cart for just $3,000!

 

 

CAROL’S COMMENTS

The shape of the Indy styled cars reminded me of the Boy Scout’s Pinewood Derby cars. This track is really state of the art, especially for this geographical locale. It was great that you could see nearly the entire track. I liked the public address system.  

 

The crowd was really small. Maybe that was because it was a Friday. I was looking forward to getting a sno cone, but they still didn’t have their ice when we left. There must have been more than fifty eight’ by 10’ checkered flags blowing in the breeze at the track’s entrance. That was impressive.

 

 

ATOMIC MOTOR RACEWAY

We pulled into the metropolis of Atomic City, Idaho at just past 6 p.m. in an attempt to complete a trackchasing day/night double. It’s not much of a town with less than 10 houses, a bar and a racetrack. At least the city fathers seemed to have their priorities in place!

 

 

Off in the distance the weather looked threatening as we pulled into the track parking lot. The driver’s meeting was going on in the pits. There were about 50 racecars of all types in the pit area.

 

 

At this track, spectators buy their tickets from their car as they pull into the property. We noticed that the regular admission price was $10, but tonight was a special event with the sprint cars and tickets were five dollars more. It turned out the track had only eight sprint cars in the field, so the five-dollar surcharge seemed a bit steep.

 

 

I asked the ticket seller what the track’s policy was in case of rain. She told me she didn’t know. As an employee of Procter & Gamble it was my responsibility to have an answer to common questions I might be asked. If I didn’t know the answer, it was also my responsibility to find someone who did know the answer as quickly as I could.

 

 

I have to be honest. Not as many people in America and very very few people at short track auto racing facilities take their employee responsibilities as seriously as the employees of Procter & Gamble do. I’m sorry to have to print that point of view, but it’s true.

 

 

Nevertheless, we were here for an evening of enjoyment and not to critique an organization’s shortcomings. We paid the $15 dollars and parked where we were told.

 

 

I didn’t know what time the program was scheduled to begin. I guessed 7 p.m. The track didn’t seem in a hurry to get going, even though it looked like it was raining too the west. A few cars came out for some slow laps and then they began to water the track. They had only one track vehicle trying to “Run the track in” after the water truck finished.

 

 

The racing surface seemed to be made of a gray, sandy, clay material. No Iowa black dirt here. When the water truck had finished Mother Nature stepped in. It began to rain! This area gets less than an inch of rain during August each year. We couldn’t get rained out at this time of year could we?

 

 

The track put a few cars out on the track while some very large raindrops came down. It rained hard enough to drive Carol and me from the grandstands to the car. After a while, the rain stopped and we were in the clear for the rest of evening.

 

 

They finally started racing at nearly 8 p.m. There were several classes tonight including I.M.C.A. modifieds (25), hornets (6), pure stocks (14) sprint cars (8) and street stocks (4). The street stocks only hot lapped. The remaining divisions ran a total of eight heat races that were wrapped up by 9 p.m.

 

 

I really wanted to get on the road by 10 p.m. We had a long drive up to Montana that would take us through the Rockie Mountains. The sooner we could get on the road the better.

 

 

Even though they had watered the track heavily and it had rained, it was dusty during the last few heat races. Just before the rain hit, the wind that was blowing away from the grandstands switched directions. For the remainder of the evening, the wind blew directly into the faces of the grandstand spectators. That’s not a good thing on a dusty race night.

 

 

For some reason the track’s management decided to scrape the top four inches of dirt off the entire track’s surface. This was accomplished with a Caterpillar Tractor (my college employer for three summers) grader. This may have also been the slowest grader currently operating in Idaho. Each lap took the grader about 4 minutes to complete. It needed about 10 laps to finish its job. The entire “Intermission” took an hour and a half!

 

 

At about 10:30 p.m., the 24 car modified feature took to the track. The race was good although the dust had returned. I liked this race and class very much, but it was now 11 p.m. and time to hit the road.

 

 

Tonight’s racetrack had its good points and improvement opportunities. The announcer didn’t do a very good job of providing information to the crowd. They certainly did not need to take a 90-minute intermission.

 

 

On the other hand, the refreshments were good and cheap. A 16 oz beer and bottled water cost just $2.50. The cheeseburgers served by Martha’s Café, the track caterer, were large and came with fresh veggies. I wouldn’t expect to ever return to the Atomic Motor Raceway but one time was O.K.

 

 

CAROL’S COMMENTS

The porta potties were good. They came with tons of toilet paper. The track’s surface reminded me of the Grapes of Wrath, a real dust bowl. There were very few yellow flag stoppages although scraping the entire track’s surface during intermission was ridiculous. I think the town of Atomic City had only about five houses. It seemed like everyone had a cell phone.

 

 

WEATHER CONDITIONS 

August in the driest month of the year in both Utah and Idaho. Salt Lake City averages just 0.64” of moisture during this month and Atomic City, Idaho only 0.44” of rain. That gives a good chance to watch races under dry conditions.

 

The highs for the locations we visited today were bumping up close to ninety. The good thing about the far west compared to our visit to the Midwest last week is that temperatures fall off nicely during the evening.

 

 

RENTAL CAR UPDATE: 

I’m not sure I’ve been in the Salt Lake City airport since I retired in 2002. I had forgotten that their National Rental Car Emerald Aisle section is a bit behind the times. The renter does not get to pick from 20-30 low mileage cars.

 

 

We had a choice between just three cars. I picked the one with the lowest mileage at 14,000 miles. The car’s O.K., I’m just used to getting one with less than 3,000 miles on its odometer.

 

 

We’ll go with the grey National Rental Car Racing Chevy Impala. Its main drawback at this point is that it does not have an outside temperature gauge.

 

 

Friday total driving miles – 309 miles

 

 

 

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 – 1,084
  2. Rick Schneider – Bay Shore, New York – 1,048 (-36)
  3. Guy Smith, Effort, Pennsylvania – 1,042 (-43)
  4. Allan Brown, Comstock Park, Michigan – 1,021 (-63)*
  5. Gordon Killian, Sinking Spring, Pennsylvania – 1,018 (-66)*
  6. Andy Sivi, Clairton, Pennsylvania – 1,015 (-69)*
  7. Ed Esser, Madison, Wisconsin – 918 (-166)**

 

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

 

** Special exemption.

 

The widespread use of the “*” is causing my printer cartridges to run dry much faster than they should.

 

 

 

Other notables

 

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

 

  1. Mike Knappenberger, Reading, Pennsylvania – 279 (+9)
  2. Sammy Swindell, Bartlett, Tennessee – 278 (+8)
  3. Carol Lewis, San Clemente, California – 270
  4. Dale Danielski, Onalaska, Wisconsin – 269 (-1)
  5. Bob Schafer, Oshkosh, Wisconsin – 267 (-3)

 

 

 

2006 TRACKCHASER STANDINGS

 

  1. Randy Lewis, San Clemente, California – 93
  2. Ed Esser, Madison, Wisconsin – 58
  3. Roland Vanden Eynde, Vilvoorde, Belgium – 49
  4. Mike Knappenberger, Reading, Pennsylvania – 45
  5. Carol Lewis, San Clemente, California – 40
  6. Guy Smith, Effort, Pennsylvania – 37
  7. Paul Weisel, Orefield, Pennsylvania – 36
  8. Roger Ferrell, Majenica, Indiana – 35
  9. Gordon Killian, Sinking Springs, Pennsylvania – 32
  10. Allan Brown, Comstock Park, Michigan – 32

 

 

 

Thanks for reading about my trackchasing,

Randy Lewis

#1 Trackchaser Living West of the Mississippi

 

I should never care to argue for anything that would lesson the difficulty of the game because difficulty is its greatest charm. 

 

 

 

 

 

CUMULATIVE TRAVEL DISTANCES:

AIRPLANE

Long Beach, CA – Salt Lake City, UT – 589 miles

 

RENTAL CAR

Salt Lake City International Airport – trip begins

Tooele, UT – 29 miles

Atomic City, ID – 276 miles

 

 

 

TRACK ADMSSION PRICES: 

Miller Motorsports Park – $20

Atomic Motor Raceway – $15

 

 

UPCOMING TRACKCHASING PLANS

Carol added two new states to her trackchasing total. She now has seen racing in 42 states. She expects to add one more new state during this trip.

 

 

 

RACETRACKS VISITED IN 2006 (** not the first time to visit this track)

 

  1. Watermelon Capital Speedway, Cordele, Georgia – January 14

 

  1. Cross Roads Motorplex (asphalt oval), Jasper, Florida – January 15

 

  1. Norfolk Scope Arena, Norfolk, Virginia – January 20

 

  1. Qualcomm Stadium, San Diego, California – January 21

 

  1. Oregon State Fair & Expo Center, Forster Livestock Arena, Salem, Oregon – January 28

 

  1. Morosso Motorsports Park, Jupiter, Florida – February 4

 

  1. Thunderbowl Speedway of Ocala, Ocala, Florida – February 4

 

  1. Cross Roads Motorplex (dirt oval), Jasper, Florida – February 5

 

1,000. Auburndale Kartway, Auburndale, Florida – February 10

 

1,001. Ocala Speedway (asphalt oval), Ocala, Florida – February 12

 

1,002. Speedworld Speedway, Surprise, Arizona – February 19

 

1,003. Lowe’s Motor Speedway (1/5 mile asphalt oval), Concord, North Carolina – February 25

 

1,004. Concord Raceway, Concord, North Carolina – February 25

 

1,005. Antioch Speedway, Antioch, North Carolina – February 25

 

1,006. Green Valley Speedway, Gadsden, Alabama – February 26

 

1,007. East Bay Raceway (inner oval), Gibsonton, Florida – March 17

 

1,008. Volusia Speedway Park West (1/6M oval), Barberville, Florida – March 18

 

1,009. Speedway Park, Fruitland Park, Florida – March 18

 

1,010. Sand Mountain Speedway (road course), Fort Meade, Florida – March 19

 

1,011. Anderson Motor Speedway, Anderson, South Carolina – March 31

 

1,012. Westminster Speedway, Westminster, South Carolina – March 31

 

1,013. East Lincoln Motor Speedway, Stanley, North Carolina – April 1

 

1,014. Margarettsville Speedway, Margarettsville, North Carolina – April 2

 

1,015. Sunny South Raceway, Grand Bay, Alabama – April 7

 

1,016. Barber Motorsports Park, Leeds, Alabama – April 8

 

1,017. Coldwater Raceway, Coldwater, Alabama – April 8

 

1,018. Talladega Short Track, Talladega, Alabama – April 8

 

1,019. Ballymena Raceway, Ballymena, Northern Ireland – April 14

 

1,020. Oulton Park, Little Budworth, England – April 15

 

1,021. Somerset Rebels Banger Raceway, Rooks Bridge, England – April 16

 

1,022. Mendips Raceway, Shipham, England – April 16

 

1,023. Oval Raceway, Angmering, England – April 17

 

1,024. Arlington Stadium, Eastbourne, England – April 17

 

1,025. Southside Speedway, Midlothian, Virginia – April 28

 

1,026. Motor Mile Speedway, Radford, Virginia – April 29

 

1,027. Wythe Speedway, Wytheville, Virginia – April 29

 

1,028. Summit Point Raceway, Summit Point Circuit, Summit Point, West Virginia – April 30

 

1,029. Old Dominion Speedway – inner inner oval, Manassas, Virginia – April 30

 

1,030. Shenandoah Speedway, Shenandoah, Virginia – May 4

 

1,031. Bridgeport Speedway (inner oval – front), Bridgeport, New Jersey – May 5

 

1,032. Empty Jug, Hawley, Pennsylvania – May 6

 

1,033. Oakland Valley Race Park, Cuddebackville, New York – May 6

 

1,034. Thunder Mountain Speedway, Center Isle, New York – May 6

 

1,035. Motocross 338, Southwick, Massachusetts – May 7

 

1,036. Glen Ridge Motorsports Park, Fultonville, New York – May 7

 

1,037. Calumet County Speedway, Chilton, Wisconsin – May 19

 

1,038. Grant County Speedway, Lancaster, Wisconsin – May 20

 

1,039. Blackhawk Farms Raceway, Rockton, Illinois – May 21

 

1,040. The Milwaukee Mile (Road course), West Allis, Wisconsin – May 21

 

** Angell Park Speedway, Sun Prairie, Wisconsin – May 21 (new track Carol only)

 

1,041. Park Jefferson Speedway, Jefferson, South Dakota – May 25

 

1,042. Superior Speedway, Superior, Wisconsin – May 26

 

1,043. Brainerd International Raceway, Brainerd, Minnesota – May 27

 

1,044. Canby Speedway, Canby, Minnesota – May 27

 

1,045. Crawford County Fairgrounds (figure 8), Denison, Iowa – May 28

 

1,046. Tri-State Speedway, Sisseton, South Dakota – May 29

 

1,047. Sheyenne River Speedway, Lisbon, North Dakota – May 29

 

1,048. Spring Mountain Motorsports Ranch, Pahrump, Nevada – June 3

 

1,049. The Bullring at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Las Vegas, Nevada – June 3

 

1,050. Hibbing Raceway, Hibbing, Minnesota – June 6

 

1,051. Buena Vista Raceway, Alta, Iowa – June 7

 

1,052. Lebanon Midway Speedway, Lebanon, Missouri – June 8

 

1,053. Rocky Top Raceway, Coal Grove, Ohio – June 9

 

1,054. Midvale Speedway (oval), Midvale, Ohio – June 10

 

1,055. Midvale Speedway (figure 8), Midvale, Ohio – June 10

 

1,056. Spring Valley Raceway, Millport, Ohio – June 11

 

1,057. Rialto Airport Speedway, Rialto, California – June 17

 

1,058. Lawrenceburg Speedway (figure 8), Lawrenceburg, Indiana – June 20

 

1,059. Lawrenceburg Speedway (temporary oval), Lawrenceburg, Indiana – June 20

 

1,060. Thunder Mountain Speedway, Knox Dale, Pennsylvania – June 21

 

1,061. State Park Speedway, Wausau, Wisconsin – June 22

 

1,062. Dodge County Fairgrounds Speedway, Beaver Dam, Wisconsin – June 23

 

1,063. Lucas Oil Speedway (oval), Wheatland, Missouri – June 24

 

1,064. Lucas Oil Speedway (figure 8), Wheatland, Missouri – June 24

 

1,065. Tri-City Speedway, Pontoon Beach, Illinois – June 25

 

1,066. Lake Ozark Speedway, Eldon, Missouri – June 29

 

1,067. Poplar Bluff Speedway, Poplar Bluff, Missouri – June 30

 

1,068. Indianapolis Motor Speedway (road course), Indianapolis, Indiana – July 1

 

1,069. Rush County Fairgrounds, Rushville, Indiana – July 1

 

1,070. Rock Castle Speedway, Mount Vernon, Kentucky – July 2

 

** Windy Hollow Speedway (oval), Owensboro, Kentucky – July 2

 

1,071. Heartland Park Topeka (dirt oval), Topeka, Kansas – July 3

 

1,072. Thunderhill Speedway, Mayetta, Kansas – July 3

 

1,073. Little Valley Speedway, Little Valley, New York – July 13

 

** Twin State Speedway (oval), Claremont, New Hampshire – July 14

 

1,074. Twin State Speedway (figure 8), Claremont, New Hampshire – July 14

 

1,075. Canaan Speedway (asphalt oval), Canaan, New Hampshire – July 14

 

** New Hampshire International Speedway, Loudon, New Hampshire – July 15

 

1,076. White Mountain Motorsports Park, North Woodstock, New Hampshire – July 15

 

1,077. Legion Speedway, Wentworth, New Hampshire – July 15

 

1,078. Devil’s Bowl Speedway, Fair Haven, Vermont – July 16

 

1,079. Stafford Motor Speedway, Stafford Springs, Connecticut – July 17

 

1,080. Little Log House Speedway, Hastings, Minnesota – July 28

 

** Elko Speedway (outer oval), Elko, Minnesota – July 28

 

** Elko Speedway (inner oval), Elko, Minnesota – July 28

 

** Elko Speedway (figure 8), Elko, Minnesota – July 28

 

1,081. Chickasaw Big Four County Fairgrounds, Nashua, Iowa – July 29

 

1,082. Buffalo River Speedway, Glyndon, Minnesota – July 30

 

1,083. Miller Motorsports Park, Tooele, Utah, – August 4

 

1,084. Atomic Motor Raceway, Atomic City, Idaho – August 4

 

 

 

Reprinted with permission from my June 26, 2010 Trackchaser Report

 

 

DAYS 1 & 2 – “THREE IN A DAY KEEPS THE COMPETITION AWAY” TRACKCHASING TOUR

 

 

 

GREETINGS FROM TOOELE, UTAH AND THEN EPHRAIM, UTAH

 

rnl cpl jrl virts fla airboat tour (1)

SAD NEWS TO REPORT

I wanted to let my friends know that my stepfather, Bill Virt, passed away unexpectedly on June 20, 2010 at his home in Auburndale, Florida. Bill had been at the hospital bedside for more than three weeks of his wife Betty who wasn’t doing well after having complications from heart surgery.

 

 

I think the stress of her health problems were just too much for him to handle. The official cause of death was heart failure. Although I don’t darken the door of a church very often I do believe in the afterlife. I am certainly saddened at Bill’s passing. However, if one is a true believer then what’s in store for us “after life” is much greater and better than what we experience on earth. I choose to remember all the fun times that he and I had together. I can remember those happenings as if they were yesterday even though many of them happened nearly a half-century ago. If Bill hadn’t been such a huge “race nut” I wouldn’t take your time in a forum like this. However, permit me to cover some of our “racing highlights”.

 

 

Bill came into my life when I was 14 years old. He began dating my mother who had been divorced for 11 years. About a year after the courtship began Bill married my mother, also named Betty. They were married until her death in 1997 after 34 years of marriage.

 

 

My mother’s “strategy” to introduce a new man into a 14-year old’s life was to stress Bill’s interest in racing. That made sense to me. The first time I ever met him was during a planned dinner/race date to the Davenport Speedway about 100 miles from our home in East Peoria, Illinois. I was excited to see my first ever track away from my home speedway in Peoria.

 

 

Of course, my mother and Bill were in their “courtship”. I remember the three of us stopped at a “supper club”. The lights were low and these two “lovebirds” seemed to have a lot to talk about! I was a bit antsy, especially when the talk went on and on. To make a long story short, we arrived at the Davenport Speedway at 10:30 p.m. The races were over and I had missed my first interstate trackchasing opportunity. Things would improve from here.

 

 

Bill was a laid back guy and never hassled me in anyway whatsoever. He was a “car guy”. His primary occupation was being a “weld engineer” at the Caterpillar Tractor Company. However, during the early years he also worked part-time at a Texaco gas station. The “station” owned and sponsored a stock car. Bill did the welding on the car. The racecar was a ’54 Mercury. This was when ’55 and ’57 Chevies were the fast cars. A ’54 Mercury was NOT a good racecar. The car normally ran in the “consie” and the “semi-feature”. The highlight was the winter that the Mercury was stored at our house. We only had about ten houses on our block and three of those (including us) were home to a stock car. Having that old car parked next to our driveway in 20 below degree temps made me feel important.

 

 

I remember the day I returned home from my day at high school to find a beautiful 12-year old 1955 Pontiac Chieftain sitting out in front of the house. Bill and my mother had bought the car for me. They either paid $170 or $185 for it. I can’t remember for sure. What a cool car!

 

 

This was a couple of weeks after I had driven Bill’s 1957 Pontiac to driver education class. That Pontiac had a big 348 cubic inch engine and could fly. On the way home from driver’s ed I picked up a couple of my friends who were hitchhiking their way back home. I wanted to show these guys what this car “could do”. We were on a four-lane highway with two lanes in each direction.

 

1957 pontiac 

I got that Pontiac going about 80 M.P.H. in a 35 M.P.H. zone. I looked over at my friends to make sure they were properly impressed. Then I looked back toward the road only to find a huge dump truck, about 200 yards ahead, stopped in our lane waiting to make a left hand turn! That Pontiac never did have very good brakes.

 

 

As we closed fast on the dump truck, I stomped on the brakes. There was no way we were going to avoid a crash. At the very last minute I yanked the big steering wheel to the right and nearly missed the inevitable impact. I caught the left rear quarter panel and rear bumper on the dump truck. The driver of the truck never stopped. Maybe he didn’t even know I hit him. However, I had “done a number” on Bill’s car. It was a long wait that afternoon for me. When Bill got off work at 5 p.m. I would have to tell him what happened. I did and, as I remember it, he didn’t get mad at all. That’s just the way he was.

 

 

Shortly after Bill and my mother were married, they bought a new house. I think it cost about $20,000. I’m pretty sure the monthly payment was around $100 per month. Nevertheless, money was always very tight at our house. Back then when you didn’t have any money, I guess you didn’t miss it.

 

 

There was one Christmas a year or two after they were married that was memorable for the most part in a bad way. I can’t really explain where my head was at during this part of my life. It was nearly 50 years ago. For some reason, when we began to open up the Christmas presents for my mother, my 13-year-old sister and the newly arrived twins, who are now 45 years old, there were no presents for my mother! No, I have no plausible explanation about how this could have happened. Blame it on a thoughtless 16-year old boy and his stepfather. When Bill and I realized our “error” we left the house on Christmas morning on a mad mission. Somehow the local hardware/variety store was open on Christmas morning. I guess they did things differently back then. We scrounged together a Christmas gift package for my mother from the store’s meager offerings. As time went on I left for college and the “money situation” got better for my parents and their new “arrivals”. Thank goodness.

 

 

During my 30-year business career, I only spent one year in the same city where my parents lived. Nevertheless, I always showed up every three months or so for all those years. I was lucky my job allowed me to fly just about anywhere I wanted just about anytime I wanted. Actually that part of my work life isn’t much different than the way I’ve operated during my eight years of retirement.

 

caterpillar logo 

Bill retired from Caterpillar at age 53. He died at age 80. I’m happy he got to have 27 years of healthy retirement. Very few people get that. He spent most of those years going camping with my mother before they relocated to Florida. During the past 11 years of his life he very much enjoyed his life with the “new” Betty.

 

 

Bill and I went race chasing all over the country. I’ve included a list of the tracks we visited together at the bottom of this report. The list includes well over 100 tracks from New York to Florida to California and many points in between. We did much of our travel back in the days when I was still a “racechaser”. We went all over seeing the very best races there were.

 

 

I recall one night we had parked our car in the infield of the Nashville Fairgrounds for a major asphalt-racing event. This had to be 25 years ago or so. As luck would have it the rains came. The track announcer told us that anyone could take their car out on the track to try to dry the racing surface. We were driving Bill’s Ford Escort back then. Soon I was driving it with Bill as my navigator around the high banks of the Nashville Speedway! My mother had stayed back at the hotel. When she heard what we had done, she wasn’t happy.

 

Little Jimmy Dickens 

The highlight of that evening was not driving a Ford Escort around a NASCAR Winston Cup track. Ultimately, that race was rained out. It was still early in the evening. I had “contacts” over at the Grand Ol’ Opry. We drove over to see if we could get in. Once my “friend” saw Bill and I she got us backstage. There the first person we met was “Lil Jimmie Dickens” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Little_Jimmy_Dickens). I didn’t know who Mr. Dickens was but Bill did. He was impressed. We finished off the evening watching the Grand Ol’ Opry in the very first row. When we told my mother THAT story she didn’t believe us!

 

 

My final visit with Bill and Betty was this past New Year’s Eve. We went trackchasing at their home track in Auburndale, Florida. We all had a good time. Yes, I’m sad that I won’t be seeing him anymore. However, whenever I really want to “see him” I can think back on the memories mentioned above and hundreds more. It’s like he’s right next to me anytime I want him to be. Rest in peace, Bill.

 

 

TODAY’S HEADLINES

 

This was a weekend I just wanted to “get through” …………..details in “The Objective”.

 

 

Would you think you could rent a car, drive it more than 700 miles and then just “leave it” for less than the cost of a Big Mac?………………more in “The Trip”.

 

 

Was someone from “above” helping me on this trip? …………..details in “The Objective”.

 

 

 

THE OBJECTIVE, THE TRIP, THE PEOPLE…AND A WHOLE LOT MORE

 

 

The Objective 

 

 

I had some special help tonight. 

My objective was simple for this trip. I just wanted to get through the weekend. Following Saturday night’s racing I would be heading to Florida for the funeral of my stepfather, Bill, on Monday. This trip had been on my schedule for some time. Bill was a major race fan. There is no question he would have wanted me to go.

 

 

I actually thought he was responsible for some “special” things that happened at this evening’s track. He always wanted to see me getting new tracks. Do I think he “stepped in” and setup something special at the aptly named “Wild Bill’s Raceway”? Yes…..I do. 

 

 

The Trip

 

 

Our life changes from one day to the next….we just try to keep up. 

Today was planned to be a simple flying trip from sunny SoCal to Salt Lake City. Many of the tracks I end up seeing get on my schedule a day or two before I go. However, this trip had been planned for months. My plan was to see a “day/night” trackchasing double, stay just one night in SLC and then head back home. Circumstances changed that plan some.

 

 

With Carol flying to Florida from LAX, I decided to leave two days early from the Orange County (SNA) airport. Strategically this made sense. We would have cars at two different airports upon our return. This gave us more flexibility when it came time to choosing an airport to fly back into.

 

 

Carol’s sister and our niece had planned to visit from Wyoming for the weekend. Our plan allowed Carol to stay with her guests as long as possible before she needed to head out for the long journey to Florida. 

 

 

The summer is the toughest three month period for me to fly. 

Flights are tight this summer. I had five non-stop options to get me from SNA to SLC today. My best option was first on my most preferred airline, SkyWest. They give me the best priority. However, I still missed that flight when one paying passenger, a “Judith Kelly” showed up at the last minute. Nothing against Ms. Kelly but I hope her bunions hurt at the end of the day.

 

 

I still had four non-stop flights that would get me to Salt Lake. However, each of those would be on an airline where I had a lower boarding priority. The very people I was ahead of on the flight I had just missed would now be ahead of me on the next four airplanes. That didn’t seem like a good idea. 

 

 

What were my options? 

I sat down in an airline terminal and assessed my options. It was 10 a.m. I really needed to get to Salt Lake City. It was not so much for the trackchasing opportunities but that was where my “semi-guaranteed” flight was leaving from on Sunday bound for Florida.

 

 

I used my Apple iPhone “Maps” app to find the distance from where I was in the airport to Salt Lake City. It was a cool 695 miles. The route would take me through Las Vegas and the southwestern dessert. Should I drive or wait for a flight that I might not make? I decided to drive.

  

big mac 

For the price of a Big Mac. 

I am “lucky” that I have so many sponsors willing to aid my trackchasing activity. Where would I be without them? I explained my predicament to the folks at the National Rental Car Company, my primary trackchasing rental car partner.

 

 

They had a solution. They would let me rent a car at the Orange County Airport, drive it to Salt Lake City and then leave it there. Most folks would pay well over $100 to do that. What was National going to charge me? Just $3.45. Yes, for the cost of a “Big Mac” I could drive a brand new car almost 700 miles across the scorching dessert and then………..just leave it there!! Yes, I sure am “lucky”.

 

 

We used to make the drive from our home in sunny SoCal to southwester Utah frequently when the kids were young. We went skiing in Brian Head, Utah. The scenery is this part of the country is some of the most beautiful of any in the United States. By the way, I have traveled to more than 50 countries. I strongly believe that the U.S. has more beautiful and diversified scenery than any other country I have visited by a factor of several. 

 

 

It was going to be hot. 

During the drive the dessert’s high temperature reached 111 degrees Fahrenheit. I suggest that anyone who shrugs this off as being a “dry heat” needs to have his or her head examined. One hundred and eleven degrees is hot!

 

 

I arrived into Salt Lake City a little before midnight. I could get a good night’s sleep before the racing action began Saturday afternoon. I would be able to use my new www.roadfood.com capabilities to grab a good place for breakfast or lunch. More on that in the “Where’s the Best Place to Eat” section.

  

 

The People

 

 

Not everyone has a fair chance at life.

While I was waiting for the restaurant to open at 11 a.m. I pulled the car into a shaded spot beside a convenience store. From there I did some of my “computer work”. However, the strangest group of “twenty somethings” kept walking past.

 

 

I didn’t know if I was in Salt Lake City’s “red light” district or maybe just in the area of the cities’ “rehab” centers. Heck, I didn’t even know if Salt Lake City HAD a red light district.

 

 

The women were most attractive but seemed a little down on their luck. It makes me disappointed to see so many people in such bad shape. Their past can’t have been too good and their future doesn’t look bright either. I suspect their parents put them in this position. I think I support well-run orphanages for the children of the disadvantaged.

  

 

Where’s the best place to eat?

  

 

RLR – Randy Lewis Racing Money Back Guarantee

 

navajo hogan

Navajo Hogan – Salt Lake City, Utah

 

(http://www.navahohogan.com/)

 

 

I’ve been telling you recently about “Roadfood.com”. I recently joined their “insiders” group ($19.95 per year). One of the benefits is being able to download their entire database of more than 1,600 unique restaurant locations into my GPS. Now, regardless of where I’m at, “Garth” will tell me which Roadfood locations are nearby.

 

 

Today there were three selections near me in Salt Lake City. I had already been to one of them (twice) the “Hires Big H Drive-in’. This is an old-time drive-in restaurant that uses “curbies”. The food isn’t that healthy but it’s a “blast from the past”.

 

 

This place was a “diamond in the rough”. 

Today I chose the Navaho Hogan restaurant. I actually showed up at 9:30 a.m. However, they don’t open til 11 a.m. That’s why I was parked in a shady spot for a few minutes waiting to get something to eat.

 

 

The Navajo Hogan specializes in “Indian fry bread”. Racing fans from the northeast will know this is similar to “fried dough” or “elephant ears” sold at the racetracks out that way. However, fry bread is a little bit lighter and sweeter than fried dough. 

 

 

This seemed weird. 

During the course of my visit I met the owner. He gave me his card. It simply said, “Bill – owner”. That seemed weird. I was headed to “Wild Bill’s Raceway” tonight. Maybe my step dad “Bill” was sending me off with a unique luncheon meal and a hole in the wall racetrack, named in his honor. It did seem a little bit difficult to explain.

 

 

This place has been in business for 20 years. It’s definitely a “hole in the wall” place, my absolute favorite. I went with Bill’s recommendation, a “Navajo taco”. This was a piece of Indian fry bread about 12” in diameter. It was topped with meat and cheese. I added hot sauce and green onions. It was delicious. I topped it off with a Navaho Hogan dessert. This was another piece of Indian fry bread covered with butter and cinnamon. This was a fantastic place for an unusual lunch. I will be back. Don’t miss the pictures. That’s half the fun.

 

 

 

RACE REVIEW

 

MILLER MOTORSPORTS PARK – TOOELE, UTAH

 

 

They didn’t spare much change in building this place.  

Back in 2006, I watched racing on the brand new Miller Motorsports Park asphalt road course. The best-appointed road course I have ever visited is the Barber Motorsports Park in Leeds, Alabama. However, the MMP probably comes in second in the “amenities” category.

 

 

Today I was here to watch the Lucas Oil Off-Road Racing Series. This is fun spectator racing with the “Stadium Off-Road Racing” genre. They’re pretty proud of this type of competition. They charge $33 to see it.

 

 

I arrived about an hour early. This gave me plenty of time to see the pit area. One of the good things about “Stadium Off-Road Racing” is that you ticket includes admission to the pit area. That’s a huge plus. Please don’t miss the pictures.

 

 

The first race of the day began at 1 p.m. I needed to be on the road by 3:45 p.m. I figured being at the track for nearly five hours was plenty. During this time, I saw six classes race their feature events in five races. Three of those classes were “countable”. Three others were just as entertaining but “non-countable”. 

 

 

Do trackchasers discriminate? 

Did the trackchasing “Founding Fathers” decide to discriminate based upon the age of the drivers? You betcha! Since Jeff Gordon started racing at age 13 (I saw him do it at the Easy Bay Raceway) I feel very good about watching 13 year olds race. However, the trackchasing commissioner (who may have been kidnapped) interprets the “age rule” as requiring a minimum age of 18 years in order to be trackchasing countable. 

 

 

Don’t forget; this is entertainment. 

I love taking pictures of the UTVs, buggies and trucks going through the jumps on the track. Today I caught one shot with at least five competitors in the air at one time. These guys don’t throw a yellow flag when a competitor flips. However, they do throw a “competition yellow” at the race’s midpoint to let the back markers catch up. Remember, the track’s management is in the “entertainment” business and not the “racing” business.

 

 

Today’s dirt road course is a “temporary” track. The asphalt road course at MMP is a permanent track. They don’t overlap at all. These conditions allow me to count both tracks in my lifetime trackchasing totals.

 

 

 

 

WILD BILL’S RACEWAY – EPHRAIM, UTAH

 

 

Tonight I really WAS lucky.  

I had been looking forward to this weekend for several months. It’s not often trackchasers can get a “day/night” trackchasing double in Utah. Wild Bill’s Raceway only races about six times during the year. They alternate races dates with the Desert Thunder Raceway in Pryce, Utah.

 

 

Most of the time I will call the track a few days ahead of race day just to confirm everything is going to happen. Sometimes I’ll just go with what the track’s website has to say but it’s better to talk with a real person.

 

 

Often my phone conversation is just limited to, “Are you racing? What time do you start?” and that’s about it. For some reason I kept the conversation going with the person I was talking to at “Wild Bill’s”. That’s when the conversation got interesting.

 

 

My informant told me that during the first race of the year they featured “tough truck” racing. He told me this was a series of timed events where one truck raced against one other truck. Of course, under trackchasing rules that type of “race” is not countable.

 

 

However, I was told that today the truck drivers would all be racing “side by side” in one race. Wow! I was expecting a simple “day/night” trackchasing double and it looked as if I would see three new tracks in one day in Utah. That was wonderful.

 

 

Ethical behavior is important in trackchasing. 

It’s important to note that I did not encourage or in any way instigate the idea of changing the format of the trackchasing from trackchasing “non-countable” to trackchasing “countable”. I fear that some of my fellow competitors try to do that from time to time. I think that is unethical trackchasing behavior. I wouldn’t do it and never have.

 

 

 

Why so early? 

The Wild Bill’s Raceway schedule called for racing to begin at 6 p.m. I don’t know why they start so early. The track has lights, they don’t have very many cars and it doesn’t get dark during the summer until after 9 p.m.

 

 

As it was, the temperature at 5:40 p.m. when I arrived was 86 degrees. The sun would end up setting directly into the eyes of the spectators. That is never good. What made the viewing almost intolerable was the wind blew the more than ample dust directly into the grandstand.

 

 

Luckily, Carol was not with me tonight. Had she been I would have had to send her directly to the car after just one heat race. I couldn’t ask my “date” to sit through “desert storm” racing conditions like this. I’ll do it but I don’t expect anyone else too.

  

 

What was the biggest problem? 

In addition to the heat, sun and wind, this area is fraught with mosquitoes. They were so bad that several days after this race my right arm still sported huge red welts the size of a quarter. Maybe some other desert critter bit me beyond just the mosquitoes.

 

 

Tomorrow I was headed to Florida for my stepfather, Bill’s funeral, on Monday. Was it just a coincidence that I was seeing the race before his funeral at “Wild Bill’s Raceway”? I didn’t think it was. This is a small and rural racetrack. Would they have any souvenirs for fans like me? Yes, they did! I nearly bought out their entire t-shirt collection with the logo “Wild Bill’s Raceway” emblazoned across the front. I bought one for each of my brothers and sisters as well as each of our children, all grandchildren of my step dad, Bill. I’m sure they can keep these shirts forever in his memory.

 

 

The regular admission tonight was seven dollars. The senior rate was five bucks. The woman selling the tickets asked me “which ticket do you want”. I said, “Well, I’m 61 years old, which ticket do I qualify for”. She came back with a most unusual response. “The owner didn’t tell me what the cut off is this year, so I’m giving you the benefit of the doubt”. Thanks!

 

 

Tonight’s track was extremely dusty. The grandstands weren’t very large but they were nearly full with some 200 fans. Those folks got a dusting. When the wind wasn’t blowing sand and dust into the stands, the sun was baking our skin and causing premature aging.

 

 

When the above wasn’t a problem (it was always a problem) the mosquitoes were. As mentioned, I had huge red welts all over my arms from those bites. Carol always says, “They always like Randy”. She’s talking about the mosquitoes and not my high school girlfriends. 

 

 

Did they get a deal on paint? 

The “Wild Bill’s Raceway” definitely has its own racing colors. Just about everything is painted red and gold. This is annoyingly similar to the colors of those “cheaters” the usc Trojans. I hope you are all aware that usc has been put on football bowl probation for two years and been forced to forfeit several football scholarships among other things. Their basketball coach was fired for cheating and their football coach resigned to take a job in the NFL before he might have been fired. No, I didn’t feel comfortable with all of this “red and gold” around me. It gave me the “heebie jeebies”.

  

 

Two tracks was a huge bonus. 

As promised they started out with a truck race on a crudely constructed dirt (sand) road course in the oval track’s infield. There were about ten competitors. They all started at the same time in rows of two. Boy was it dusty. Less than 100 yards from where the trucks started the dust became so bad the racers were barely visible for the remainder of the five-lap race.

 

 

Next up was racing on the oval. The dust was bad here too. After each heat race the track was watered for one lap. This didn’t do very much good. The 3/8-mile dirt (sand) oval ran downhill on the backstretch and uphill on the front stretch. The sun sat just over turn three facing into the grandstand.

 

 

I watched most of the racing from turn four. At that point the P.A. didn’t work at all. Therefore, it was impossible to hear what the announcer was saying about the racing. I chose this viewing location because the dust was less of an annoyance than anywhere else in the stands was.

 

 

There were 3-4 classes of lower lever stock cars. They also had five mini-sprints and five modifieds (really two sport mods and three “full” modifieds). In total they ran about seven heat races. Remember that between each heat there was a 10-minute delay to re-water the track.

 

 

This was a less than entertaining racing event. It was hot, dusty and the sun shone directly into my eyes. The heat races featured just 4-6 cars and there was a minimum delay of ten minutes between each race. By 8 p.m. I had all I could stomach. The last heat race of the evening had just finished up. I had been standing in these conditions for more than two hours. That was enough. How much of a poor situation is someone expected to take? 

 

 

What were the highlights? 

What were the highlights of the evening? There were three. First, being able to get an “armload” of those “Wild Bill’s Raceway” t-shirts made my entire evening. Next up was a cowboy who rode up on his horse to watch the races. Please don’t miss his picture. He’s a most unique looking individual with a name to match, “Jeradia”!

 

 

This was followed by my meeting a fellow taking pictures of the racing activity near me. It turned out he was from Spain. He told me he wasn’t “into racing” but enjoyed taking pictures anyway. I take a lot of pictures; however this guy never stopped taking shots. I didn’t get a chance to ask him how he ended up at “Wild Bill’s Raceway” in the first place.

 

 

 

STATE COMPARISONS

 

Utah  

Today I saw my 7th, 8th and 9th lifetime tracks in the Beehive state, yes, the Beehive state. That gives me a first place ranking here. San Clemente’s own Carol Lewis and Pennsylvania’s Andy Ritter hold down second place with four tracks. Although 26 trackchasers have come through here, just the three of us have seen as many as four tracks.

 

 

I have one lonely track left to see in Utah. No one but me knows about it. However, after I see a show at that track everyone will know about it. They won’t just know the track exists but they’ll get a recommendation on where to have a unique lunch as well as every little detail about this mystery trackchasing location. That way they will be able to enjoy the show to the fullest based upon my experiences. And that is the way it should be.

 

 

 

 

Coming Soon – RLR – Randy Lewis Racing Exclusive Features!

 

Has a conspiracy been committed in the international tracks “counting world”?

 

 

I’ll soon be introducing two new promotional ideas to the hobby of trackchasing. Neither has ever been offered by any trackchaser in the hobby.

 

 

Effective July 1, 2010, I will announce a new charitable giving program that will be funded from my trackchasing.

 

 

 

Thanks for reading about my trackchasing,

 

Randy Lewis

Alberta’s #1 Trackchaser

Utah sayings: Our Jesus is better than your Jesus.

 

 

 

 

TRAVEL DETAILS

 

RENTAL CAR #1 

Salt Lake City International Airport – trip begins

Salt Lake City International Airport – 697 miles – trip ends 

 

RENTAL CAR #2 

Salt Lake City International Airport – trip begins

Tooele, UT – 53 miles

Ephraim, UT – 198 miles

Salt Lake City International Airport – 343 miles – trip ends

  

Total Rental Car miles – 1,040 (2 cars)

 

Total miles traveled on this trip – 1,040 miles

 

 

 

TRACK ADMISSION PRICES: 

Miller Motorsports Park – $33

Wild Bill’s Raceway – $5

 

 

Total racetrack admissions for the trip – $38

 

 

 

COMPARISONS

 

 

 

LIFETIME TRACKCHASER COMPARISONS 

  

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

 

  1. Randy Lewis, San Clemente, California – 1,560

 

  1. Ed Esser, Madison, Wisconsin – 1,286

 

  1. Guy “The Kid” Smith, Effort, Pennsylvania – 1,272

 

 

 

 

Tracks that my stepfather Bill and I visited together.

 

Peoria Speedway Peoria Illinois
Davenport Speedway-1/4 mile Davenport Iowa
Davenport Speedway-1/2 mile Davenport Iowa
Sterling Speedbowl Sterling Illinois
Rockford Speedway-oval Rockford Illinois
Rockford Speedway-road course Rockford Illinois
Freeport Raceway Freeport Illinois
Wisconsin State Fair Park Milwaukee Wisconsin
Salem Super Speedway Salem Indiana
Hawkeye Downs Spdwy-dirt Cedar Rapids Iowa
Fairbury Legion Speedway Fairbury Illinois
Grundy County Speedway Morris Illinois
Santa Fe Speedway -1/2 mile Hinsdale Illinois
Santa Fe Speedway -1/4 mile Hinsdale Illinois
Atlanta Intl Raceway (1.5 oval) Hampton Georgia
Illinois State Fairgrounds Springfield Illinois
Farley Speedway Farley Iowa
Southern Iowa Speedway Oskaloosa Iowa
West Liberty Fair Speedway West Liberty Iowa
Queen City Speedway West Chester Ohio
Daytona Intl Speedway Daytona Beach Florida
Volusia County Spdwy East-dirt Barberville Florida
Deland Speedway Deland Florida
Golden Gate Speedway Tampa Florida
Farmer City Raceway Farmer City Illinois
Knoxville County Fairgrounds Knoxville Illinois
Ascot Park -1/2 mile Gardena California
Ascot Park -1/4 mile Gardena California
Ontario Motor Speedway Ontario California
Knoxville Raceway Knoxville Iowa
East Bay Raceway Gibsonton Florida
Big H Motor Speedway Houston Texas
Stafford Springs Motor Speedway Stafford Springs Connecticut
Eldora Speedway Rossburg Ohio
Orange County Fair Speedway Middleton New York
Albany-Saratoga Speedway Malta New York
Indianapolis Raceway Park Indianapolis Indiana
Mansfield Raceway Mansfield Ohio
Illiana Speedway Schererville Indiana
Kankakee Speedway Kankakee Illinois
Slinger Super Speedway Slinger Wisconsin
Springfield Speedway Springfield Illinois
East Moline Speedway East Moline Illinois
Winchester Speedway Winchester Indiana
Nashville Intl Raceway Nashville Tennessee
Bristol Intl Raceway Bristol Tennessee
Anderson Speedway Anderson Indiana
Charleston Speedway Charleston Illinois
Kokomo Speedway Kokomo Indiana
I-70 National Speedway Odessa Missouri
Paragon Speedway Paragon Indiana
Oswego Speedway Oswego New York
Pennsboro Speedway Pennsboro West Virginia
Mobile Intl Raceway Mobile Alabama
Rennsselaer Raceway Rennsselaer Indiana
Hales Corner Speedway Franklin Wisconsin
Casey Speedway Casey Illinois
Action Track Terre Haute Indiana
Spoon River Speedway Canton Illinois
North Wilkesboro Speedway North Wilkesboro North Carolina
Martinsville Speedway Martinsville Virginia
311 Speedway Madison North Carolina
Ventura Raceway (oval) Ventura California
I-55 Raceways Pevely Missouri
Vermillion County Speedway Danville Illinois
Metrolina Speedway Charlotte North Carolina
Bakersfield Speedway Bakersfield California
Hawkeye Downs Spdwy-asphalt Cedar Rapids Iowa
Charlotte Motor Speedway Charlotte North Carolina
Friendship Speedway Elkin North Carolina
Thunderbowl Speedway Valdosta Georgia
Richmond Intl Raceway-3/4 mile Richmond Virginia
Thirty-Four Raceways Burlington Iowa
Autodrome Rive Sud St. Phillippe Quebec
Sanair Super Speedway St. Pie Quebec
Autodrome Granby Granby Quebec
Bureau County Speedway Princeton Illinois
Lasalle Speedway LaSalle Illinois
Citrus County Speedway Inverness Florida
Charlotte County Speedway Punta Gorda Florida
Talladega Superspeedway Talladega Alabama
Independence Motor Speedway Independence Iowa
Dubuque Fairgrounds Speedway Dubuque Iowa
Belleville High Banks Belleville Kansas
Macon Speedway Macon Illinois
Quincy Raceway Quincy Illinois
Tulsa Expo Raceway Tulsa Oklahoma
Volusia County Spdwy-West-Dirt Barberville Florida
Paradise Speedway Geneva New York
Rolling Wheels Raceway Park Elbridge New York
USA International Speedway Lakeland Florida
St. Augustine Speedway St. Augustine Florida
Tri-City Speedway Granite City Illinois
Ransomville Speedway Ransomville New York
Fulton Speedway Fulton New York
Evans Mills International Spdwy Evans Mills New York
Cayuga County Fair Speedway Weedsport New York
Hawkeye Raceway Blue Grass Iowa
Orlando Speedworld Speedway Bithlo Florida
Brownstown Speedway Brownstown Indiana
Macomb Speedway Macomb Illinois
Flag City Motorsports Park Findlay Ohio
Red Hill Raceway Sumner Illinois
Thundercross Motor Sports Park Okeechobee Florida
Brockville Ontario Speedway Brockville Ontario
Can-Am International Spdwy LaFargeville New York
Brewerton Speedway Brewerton New York
Glag Rag Raceway Saratoga Springs New York
Utica-Rome Speedway Vernon New York
Jacksonville Speedway Jacksonville Illinois
Auburndale Speedway Auburndale Florida
Desoto Speedway Bradenton Florida
Shannonville Motorsport Park Belleville Ontario
Frogtown Intl Speedway Hogansport New York
Cornwall Motor Speedway Cornwall Ontario
Autodrome Drummond Drummondville Quebec
Bakersfield Raceway Park Linton Indiana
Indy Raceway Park (RC) Clermont Indiana
Sebring International Raceway Sebring Florida
Desoto Speedway – Fig 8 Bradenton Florida
Zephyrhills Antique Racecar Track Zephyrhills Florida
Dirt Devil’s Speedway Land O’ Lakes Florida
Auburndale Kartway Auburndale Florida
Ocala Speedway – asphalt Ocala Florida
Volusia Spdwy Park East – 1/6M Barberville Florida
Speedway Park Fruitland Park Florida
Sand Mountain Speedway – RC Fort Meade Florida
New Hendry County Speedway Clewiston Florida
Florida Sports Park Naples Florida
Sumter Cty Raceway Park Bushnell Florida
Auburndale Speedway – F8 Auburndale Florida

 

 

Official end of the RLR – Randy Lewis Racing Trackchaser Report

 

 

 

 

 

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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