Navigation 

Rexburg Figure 8 Track

Rexburg Figure 8 Track

Greetings from Rexburg, Idaho!

From the travels and adventures of the “World’s #1 Trackchaser”

Track #1,814

HighlightsThe PlanThe TripThe ExperienceAttractionsRace ReviewPhotosVideosQuick Facts

 

THE 2013 TRACKCHASING SEASON BEGINS THIS WEEKEND!

 

 

THE KEYS TO THE TRIP

 

 

The season begins with a quality Trackchasing Tourist Attraction……………more in “Trackchasing Tourist Attraction”.

 

If there is really an “off-season” in trackchasing then I kept pretty busy during my  “vacation”……………..more in “Where have you been?”

 

This time I paid for traveling ‘light’…………..details in “The Trip”.

 

 

 

WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN?

 

48 days off’!!

That would be a legitimate question to ask.  It HAS been 48 days since my last trackchasing adventure….in Hawaii.  There used to be a long “off-season” in trackchasing.  Most folks would end their seasons in October and not return to the trackchasing trail until March or April.  That has changed.

 

Now there are so many ice racing venues and indoor shows there is almost no trackchasing “off-season”.  Add in the international opportunities and you might frequently see someone trackchasing on New Year’s Eve and then again on New Year’s Day.

 

What was I up too?

I certainly do a lot of traveling with my hobby of trackchasing.  However, you might also know that Carol and I travel a good deal even during the trackchasing off-season.  If you’re interested in where we’ve been check out the next paragraph or two.

 

I did a great radio interview with the fellows who run the ‘King of California” sprint car group.  I also hosted a luncheon with Pennsylvania trackchaser Paul Weisel during his visit to California.  J.J. and I attended the UCLA basketball game where they beat #7 Missouri at the new Pauley Pavilion.  Then I was off to the Orange Bowl in Miami to see my Northern Illinois University Huskies battle Florida State.  I’m a 1971 graduate of NIU.  On the way home from that game I stopped in Louisville to see the #4 ranked Cardinals play Providence.  On the spur of the moment I turned a Saturday morning errand run into an afternoon of basketball in Westwood to see our Bruins play and beat Stanford.

 

Carol and I attended the twins’ school Christmas party in Pasadena.  The highlight of our 48-day “off” period was babysitting the twins in our home for three full days.  Boy, at four years old they never stop moving!  Our adventure took us to Legoland in Carlsbad, seeing the Christmas light displays where the “rich people live” and visiting the playgrounds of three separate Chick-Fil-A’s.

 

A few days after I returned from the Orange Bowl Carol and I found ourselves in Florida again just ten days after my last visit.  From there we hopped on a weeklong cruise to the Caribbean to both relax from the last trackchasing season and prepare for the next.  You simply cannot beat cruising for an all-inclusive vacation.  On the way home we stopped by a FedEx store.  Why mention that?  We had to mail our passports off to a faraway place to get an important international visa.  Better start boning up on where trackchasing country #64 will be.  Then before too long Carol and I ended up at the Pantages Theatre (one of her Christmas gifts) in Los Angeles to see Peter Pan starring Catch Rigby.  The next day we visited the Peterson Automotive Division (one of my birthday gifts) in Los Angeles.  It was most impressive.  Then I flew over to Phoenix to visit brother Mark and also watch the UCLA basketball Bruins battle and beat the #6 University of Arizona Wildcats.  Yep, in the last six weeks I’ve seen a lot of high profile sporting events.

 

The above might go to show you that there is a lot in our lives other than trackchasing.  I love trackchasing.  However, too much of a good thing is….well too much.  Since our last trackchasing event in Hawaii and the first trackchasing day of 2013 today in Idaho, Carol and I have spent a combined 24 nights on the road overnight in some fine hotels.  I guess you could say we ARE active seniors.

 

 

Entertainment Diversification Update 

2013 Goal:  23 full weekends (a full weekend is Friday, Saturday and Sunday) away from trackchasing.  This goal is in place to keep my free time in perspective so I can lead the most balanced lifestyle possible considering my addiction to the trackchasing hobby.

 

Current results:  3 weekends off through January 26, 2013

 

 

 

Let’s get this party started!

I was looking forward to this trip.  One of my annual goals is to maintain my #1 ranking in each of the Far West states (California excepted).  Getting a chance to see a race in Idaho would help me with that goal.

 

Some time ago, my RLR research staff came across a series of figure 8 races being promoted in southeastern Idaho.  There wasn’t a lot of information to go by but I did scrounge up the phone number of a fellow named “Marvin”.

 

Over the past few months I’ve been in contact with Marvin about today’s races.  There are very few venues racing figure 8 in January.  In the entire country there probably aren’t five tracks that do that.  Getting up to Idaho, flight wise, is probably easier in the winter than in the summer.  This would be a great time to go to Idaho.

This would be my third figure 8 race in the general area.  In the past Carol and I had seen figure 8 racing in Driggs, Idaho and nearby Jackson Hole, Wyoming.  Figure 8 racing is not nearly as prevalent in the Far West as it is in the east and Midwest.  However it is catching on.

 

Day #1 logistically was great; Day #2 less great.

On day #1 of this trip I woke up in San Clemente, California and went to bed in Chandler, Arizona. On Day #2 I woke in Chandler, Arizona. I went to bed in Boise, Idaho. This is what those two days looked like.

 

Although I put lots of time into planning these trips they almost NEVER come off as planned. The problem is that I don’t know WHICH part of the plan isn’t going to work. Nevertheless, the fun and challenge really begins when the trip’s logistics begin to fall apart.

 

Day #1 of the trip worked perfectly. I flew from Los Angeles to Phoenix to meet my brother Mark for the UCLA basketball game against #6 ranked Arizona.

 

 

I’m going to sleep in better places this year.

I enjoy finding ways to self-improve.  I’ve been thinking that way my entire life.  If you improve just a little bit everyday after awhile you should be pretty good at the things you’ve been working on.  At this point finding things that need improving and, much more importantly, being able to actually improve those things is difficult.

 

I’ve resolved to try to upgrade my overnight accommodations this season without increasing my hotel expenses very much.  That will be hard to do.

 

My “low price” default motel has always been Motel 6.  When I travel by myself Motel 6 is a great value.  However, when Carol comes along we stay away from that chain.  She deserves better…and she gets it.  One of the reasons I like having her come along on a trip is that I get “upgraded” with our hotel choice!

 

After the “bug incident” earlier this year in Miami while I was at the Orange Bowl game I’m a little down on Motel 6.  The average price for a Motel 6 is $40-50.  However, I can often get a Priceline hotel for $50-60 when it’s selling to the general public for $90-100.  I’m thinking it’s better to pay $10-20 more per night when I was get a hotel that is “$50 better than a Motel 6”.

 

Of course, when I arrive at midnight and leave at 5 a.m. a Motel 6 is still going to be the best “value”.  Stick with me this season to see how I do with my “self-improvement” goal of staying in better hotels.

 

This time I paid for traveling ‘light’.

When I’m on the road I try to travel as light as possible.  It is rarely a good idea to check a bag when flying on a standby basis.  Because of the uncertainty of standby flying the checked bag can go one way while I go another.

 

That’s why, despite my flying into some cold climates, I brought only one pair of shoes.  Those would be my “tennis” or Reebok athletic shoes that I was wearing.  Projected temperatures for today’s Idaho race and tomorrow’s unnamed (for competitive reasons) venue were expected to be in the 30s.  With it being that warm tennis shoes should do the trick.

 

However, my “shoe plan” did not take into consideration the local “spectating conditions” at the Rexburg figure 8 track.  With temperatures in the mid to high 30s the snow was melting.  This was compounded by a strong morning rain storm.  This left the Rexburg track, pit area and spectator parking area a wet, puddle ridden soggy mess.

 

I needed a new wardrobe plan and I needed it quick.

Race time was set for 2 p.m.  I pulled into the track an hour early.  I bought my ticket and drove my National Rental Car Racing Chevy Impala through the gate.  I was told I could park right next to the track and watch the races from there.  That would have been a good idea for two reasons.

 

First, if I stayed in the car my tennis shoes would remain in one piece.  I would stay warm too.  However, using that strategy was a BAD idea for two BIGGER reasons.

 

The surface of the entire general area was so mucky that I might not be able to drive my rental car out of the place at race’s end.  That was a major concern.  Secondly, there was NO WAY I could walk around this area in tennis shoes.  It was WAY to wet and muddy.  Check out the pictures from today’s event and I’m sure you will agree.

 

My trackchasing was delayed by a ‘shopping spree’.

Being early was good for more than one reason.  First, it would give me time to shop for some boots or galoshes.  How convenient was it that the Rexburg Figure 8 Track is located right behind the local K-Mart?  I could also park “outside” the track area on the asphalt parking lot at K-Mart.

 

Off I went “shoe shopping”.  I first stopped at K-Mart.  Back in 1980 I was the company’s salesperson for K-Mart headquartered in Troy, Michigan.  They were the biggest account we had.  I made some REALLY good money selling to them.  However, K-Mart has fallen on hard times.  Wal-Mart has killed them.  K-Mart stores never were that great and now they’re worse.

 

I did find some “shoe/boots” as K-Mart for twenty-five bucks.  They might do but Wal-Mart was just across the street.  Why not comparison shop?  I would give them a try.  Mind you I wouldn’t want to buy my “Sunday best” clothing at Wal-Mart but I don’t judge people who do.  At Sam Walton’s place I found a much better pair of rubber bottomed waterproof boots for twenty dollars.  Maybe this is an example of why Wal-Mart is so much better than K-Mart.

 

Mind you these were nearly identical to the L.L. Bean “ice racing” boots I bought up in Maine a few years ago.  Although I don’t recall what I paid for them I’m sure it was “multiples” of what Wal-Mart charged today.

 

I slunk a little lower in the front seat.

While I was driving around Rexburg I noticed a couple of curious things for a ‘suburban’ boy like myself.  At the local theatre the marquee announced they would be hosting a “2nd Amendment” rally.  Remember, this is not only the Far West it’s the “Wild West”!

 

Then, while stopped at a red light, I noticed an unusual pedestrian in the crosswalk.  This was a young man who appeared to be in his early twenties.  He was a bit overweight and his belly hung over his belt.  That was not what made him look unusual.  That only made him look American.  His attire was 100% civilian.

 

What DID make him look a little odd from my perspective was what he was carrying.  In point of fact, it would be accurate to say he WAS “carrying”.  He had a rifle of some sort slung over his shoulder.  In addition to that he had a pistol in a holster around his waist.  This was not some costume.  He didn’t look like he was going to a party.  His weaponry appeared to be the real thing.  Yikes!  I was not going to honk at this guy to get him to cross the street quicker!

 

If you’re interested in the outcome of the gun rally mentioned here, check out this link:

Rexburg, Idaho gun rally

 

TRACKCHASING TOURIST ATTRACTION

 

I very much enjoy the racing when I go on trackchasing trips.  However, I am not the type of person who would feel the trip was complete if I simply left home, went to the race and came back home.

 

I do a good deal of traveling.  I want to do my best to see the local area when I come for a visit.  There are usually unusual attractions that one area is noted for more than any other locale.  I want to see those places.  I want to touch them and feel them.  When I leave an area, I want to have memories of these special places that I call Trackchasing Tourist Attractions.  I will remember those experiences long after the checkered flag has fallen on whatever race I have seen that day.

It's McHale Center in Tucson, Arizona.

McHale Arena – Tucson, Arizona (UCLA Bruins vs. #6 ranked Arizona)

 

What a college basketball game!

This was not my first visit to the McHale Arena in Tucson.  Carol and I came here a few years ago to see UCLA play.  There are some difficult places for visiting teams to play.  Arizona had to be one of the most difficult.  Tucson is sort of a “one horse” town.  They don’t have any big league teams.  The University of Arizona is it!  UofA has had a strong history over the past 25 years in college basketball.  As a matter of fact, over the past TWENTY-SEVEN years Arizona has led the Pac-12 in basketball attendance.

 

When I knew my trackchasing trip would begin in the Far West I looked at basketball schedules in the region.  That’s when the UCLA-Arizona game first popped up on my radar screen.  There was an additional bonus.  I could meet my brother Mark who lives in Phoenix.  We would drive down to Tucson together.

 

The fans at Arizona are rabid.  I didn’t say they had rabies but I’m not ruling that out.  I’ve seen UofA fans at the Pac-12 season ending basketball tournament.  To be honest they are an obnoxious bunch not unlike usc and UNLV fans.  Some schools and their fans just carry that vibe.

 

But Randy, the game was sold out far in advance.  How did you get in the building?

Yes, we would need to get tickets.  Of course, the game was sold out.  Not a problem.  Soon we had THREE tickets for a total cost of $95.  We didn’t WANT three tickets but that’s just the way it worked out.  The total cost wasn’t bad considering the high-profile of this game.

 

McHale Center seats 14,545 people.  Tonight some 99.9% of those folks were Arizona fans.  Some 99.8% of those fans were wearing white shirts is what was dubbed a “white out”.  It looked as if it had snowed inside the arena!  They were loud too!  It was a wild and crazy place.

 

UCLA was starting three freshman.  They’re so good that at least two of them will probably be “one and done” if you know what that means.  Despite their inexperience and playing in such a hostile atmosphere, the Bruins started strong.  Before the Wildcats knew what hit them UCLA was ahead 19-3.  Even at that point I didn’t breathe a sigh of relief.

 

Arizona made several runs during the game.  A couple of time they closed the deficit to just four points.  However, the UCLA Bruins, an eight-point underdog, prevailed 84-73.  The UofA fans were not quite as boisterous on the way out of the arena!

 

Mark, a staunch University of North Carolina fan (I have no idea why) was caught clapping along with the Arizona fans at one point in the first half.  A sharp elbow to his ribs brought Mark back to his senses.  Overall, it was an excellent way to spend a Thursday evening on the way out to a winter trackchasing trip.

 

 

ONE CANNOT LIVE WELL OR SLEEP WELL IF ONE HAS NOT DINED WELL

 

IMG_3681

Rosati’s – Tucson, Arizona

 

You can’t go wrong with my restaurant recommendations.

Mark and I scoped out the restaurants near McHale Center.  Most were packed with fans having a bite to eat before the game.  I consider eating at quality places paramount in the “trackchasing process”.

 

At Rosati’s it was so crowded that Mark and I ate at the bar.  The pizza was delicious!  I’ll go back there anytime I can when UCLA is about ready to give those Wildcats a good ol’ ass-whippin.

 

REXBURG FIGURE 8 TRACK – REXBURG, IDAHO

 

IMG_3766

A very muddy affair. 

Today’s racing was a good deal of fun.  This was my first new track of 2013.  The weather was moderate for Idaho in the winter.  It was time to get this year’s trackchasing season started.

 

Last year it took me until July 1 to get my first figure 8 track.  I wasn’t wasting any time in 2013.  My FIRST track of the year would be over the figure 8 configuration.

 

Marvin Crane promotes figure 8 racing at multiple locations in southeastern Idaho.  In Rexburg, the city lets him use some ground behind K-Mart.  Normally, this winter race is run on hard packed ice and snow.  However with today’s warm weather and rain we would be racing in conditions similar to a mud bog.  I am oh so glad I had time to pick up a pair of waterproof boots.  My Reeboks would not have lasted five minutes in today’s conditions.

 

Nice people; fun racing.

Today’s track was a figure 8 configuration.  It was good sized with two sets of tires marking the spots that would be raced around in the figure of 8.  The large crowd had the option of parking along the oval-shaped perimeter of the track.  They were close to the racing action but just beyond the “spray” that was coming from the racers.  There were no bleachers for this event.

 

I arrived in time for the driver’s meeting.  Although I had never met Marvin he recognized my presence.  At the end of the meeting he asked me to introduce myself and tell the group a bit about trackchasing.  My speech was brief but the drivers seemed interested in the upcoming YouTube movies of today’s event.

 

During the day several of them came up to save hello.  I met a diesel mechanic, a Chevy customer service manager and several snowmobilers and drag racers among others.  They told me about their racecars and upcoming events.  These folks could not have been nicer.  I suspect I’ll be back for future Idaho F8 events.

 

The races were wild and the conditions treacherous.

There were two classes of competitors today.  They had about twenty-five four-cylinder cars racing.  The six-cylinders had about six if memory serves.

 

First there were a series of heat races.  The winner of each heat transferred to the main event.  Then a group of “last chance” races added one more driver from each of those events to the feature.  The four-cylinder main event started nine cars for ten laps.  I filmed the entire feature race.  Although I never film a complete race I thought the conditions and racing action warranted the attention.

 

After a lap of two all of the cars looked alike.  Why was that?  The water and mud covered the cars and they all immediately turned “brown”.  One fan had a good idea.  He thought every car should have it’s number affixed to the roof like they do in England.  Especially on a day like this that would be a great idea.  You won’t want to miss pictures of the drivers after they had completed their racing.  They looked as if they had been mud wrestling all afternoon.

 

It was a most fun afternoon.

There were several factors that made this a lot of fun today.  First, the people were great.  Marvin the race promoter and his lovely wife Misty (from Riverside, California no less) who handles the paperwork were wonderful hosts.  A big thanks to all of the people who came up to introduce themselves.  That made the day even more interesting to see these guys racing.

 

The weather made the racing and track conditions a huge challenge.  Having waterproof boots made this a doable event.  Without them I would have been “stuck” in more ways than one.  Good job Idaho boys and girls!

 

STATE COMPARISONS

Idaho, The Gem State

 

This afternoon I saw my 14th lifetime track in the Gem state, yes the Gem state.  I still have a handful of tracks yet to see in Idaho.  I’ll be back.

 

Thanks for reading about my trackchasing,

 

Randy Lewis

World’s #1 Trackchaser
Peoria Old Timers Racing Club (P.O.R.C.) Hall of Fame Member

Idaho sayings:  Gone Squatchin



 

 

TRAVEL DETAILS

 

AIRPLANE

Los Angeles, CA (LAX) – Phoenix, AZ (PHX) – 334 miles

 

BROTHER’S CAR

Sky Harbor (Phoenix) International Airport – trip begins

Tucson, AZ – 101 miles

Sky Harbor (Phoenix) International Airport – 218 miles – trip ends

 

AIRPLANE

Phoenix, AZ (PHX) – Boise, ID (BOI) – 725 miles

 

RENTAL CAR #1

Boise Airport – trip begins

Rexburg, ID – 312 miles

 

TRACK ADMISSION PRICES:

Rexburg Figure 8 Track – $5

 

 

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

1.  Randy Lewis, San Clemente, California – 1,814

 

Total Trackchasing Countries

There are no trackchasers currently within 10 countries of my lifetime total.

1.  Randy Lewis, San Clemente, California – 63

 

Current lifetime National Geographic Diversity results

1.  Randy Lewis, San Clemente, California – 5.08

 

 

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

 


Leave a Reply