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Saginaw County Fairgrounds

Greetings from Chesaning, Michigan

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From the travels and adventures of the 

“World’s #1 Trackchaser”

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Saginaw County Fairgrounds

Dirt oval

 Lifetime Track #2,472

 

 

The EventVideo PlusPhotos

 

 

THE EVENT

I am a “trackchaser”. So, what the heck is that? I get that question from racing and non-racing people all the time. This is a difficult question to answer. Why? Because after I do my best to respond people still say, “I’ve never heard of such a thing”!

 

 

Here’s my best explanation.

 

 

Trackchasing is a three-pronged hobby. I’m a racing fan. I love to travel. I love to analyze opportunities to get the most out of everything while saving time and money.

 

 

Trackchasing fills the need for all of the above. The racing part of my trackchasing has me trying to see wheel to wheel auto racing at as many different racetracks as I can all over the world. Yes, all over the world. So far things are going pretty well. I’ve seen racing at nearly 2,500 tracks in 80 countries. As a matter of fact, I’ve seen racing at more tracks than anyone else in the world.

 

 

 

Equally important to me are the things I get to see and experience over the “long and dusty trackchasing trail”. I call these adventures “Trackchasing Tourist Attractions”. You won’t want to miss my “Trackchasing Tourist Attractions” page. Here’s the link:  Trackchasing Tourist Attractions or my “Sports Spectating Resume” page, Sports Spectating Resume on my website at www.randylewis.org.

 

 

I live in southern California. Most of the racetracks in the U.S. are located well over 1,000 miles from where I live. As a matter of fact, my average trip covers 5,000 miles and more. I take 35-40 of those trips each season. In any given year I will travel well over 200,000 miles, rent more than 50 cars, and stay in more than 150 hotel rooms.

 

 

I get the chance to meet people all over the world. With trips to 80 countries and counting just getting the chance to experience so many other cultures, spend times in their homes and meet their friends is a huge reward for being in this hobby. I am indebted to several of these folks for their help and friendship.

 

 

It’s takes a good deal of planning to do the above and not spend my entire retirement portfolio. I enjoy the challenge, the travel and every other aspect of “trackchasing”. In reality, my trackchasing hobby is a lot like being with the carnival. I breeze into town, stay a little while and then head on down the road.

 

 

Today’s adventure was one more of the 2,000 trips that have taken me up, down and around the proverbial long and dusty trackchasing trail.  If you would like to see where I’ve been and experience those adventures here’s the link:

 

 

Randy’s Complete Track List

 

 

If you’ve got a question, comment or whatever please leave it at the bottom of this report.  It’s very easy to do.  Or you can visit me on Facebook.  Thanks!

 

 

Randy on Facebook

 

 

 

 

 

FOREWORD

 

 

Wednesday, August 1, 2018.

 

 

Tonight I will be trackchasing at the Saginaw County Fairgrounds in Chesaning, Michigan. This would not be my first visit to Chesaning. Back in 2005 I went to this fair to see racing on a figure 8 configuration. That was a long time ago. It was during my record breaking trackchasing season where I ended up seeing 182 racetracks for the first time in a single year. At the time the Saginaw County Fairgrounds – Figure 8 configuration was my 920th lifetime track.

 

 

Before I comment about tonight‘s adventure I want to lodge a complaint. My complaint is against many Americas drivers. Do they not understand the phrase, “keep right except to pass”? American drivers leave a lot to be desired here. Europeans can drive circles around Americans. Enough said.

 

 

Carol and I woke up this morning in Portland, Maine. That’s a long way from our modest seaside cottage in California. We had just completed a nearly two-week visit to eastern Canada. It was a major success.

 

 

However, all good things must come to an end or at least to a pause. This morning Carol and I drove down to Boston’s Logan International Airport. I made sure she was safely placed on a nonstop jet airplane to Los Angeles. With that accomplished I grabbed an airplane to Detroit, Michigan.

 

 

We had some angst on our drive into Boston. My Illinois I-PASS toll transponder wasn’t working. We didn’t know what the problem was. One of the tollbooth folks told us that maybe it was a battery problem. Luckily, from New Hampshire into the airport in Boston there were no tolls. The state of Massachusetts has a lot of toll roads. None of them accepts cash and none of them has a real person collecting tolls. You get my drift?

 

 

Later in the day I would call the Illinois toll pass people. They’re going to be sending me a new transponder. They told me to wrap the old one in aluminum foil when I returned it so that I wouldn’t inadvertently be charged for any tolls!

 

 

When I landed in the Detroit Metro Airport I grabbed a seat in the terminal and begin to do my normal administration work. Today that would include contacting Priceline.com to get a hotel. I grabbed a Delta by Marriott property located a couple of miles from the airport. I paid 62% OFF the hotel’s best online rate. My room had a pretty wild interior!

 

 

Then I booked a couple of flights that would take me from Detroit over to Syracuse and then onto Minneapolis for tomorrow. I didn’t know if I would make tomorrow morning’s early flight or not. If I didn’t, I would simply rent a car and drive seven hours over to Syracuse. Secretly, I hoped I would make my flight.

 

 

Then I brought up my Google Maps program. Tonight’s destination of Chesaning, Michigan was near one of my all-time favorite Trackchasing Tourist Attractions. I’m talking about Bronner‘s CHRISTmas World up in Frankenmuth, Michigan. I simply love that place. I never have enough time to spend there. Today I would have just 30-40 minutes inside the store. That was better than nothing.

 

 

I would end up driving out of my way about 40 minutes to spend 30 minutes at Bronner‘s CHRISTmas Wonderland. For several years now I’ve been getting up there about one time a year. This was my first visit to Bronner’s in 2018.

 

 

It is a fact that Bronner’s CHRISTmas Wonderland is the largest Christmas store in the world. Their store and all of the buildings cover seven acres. Those buildings are jam packed with Christmas ornaments, displays and anything else related to the holiday. I absolutely love it.

 

 

At this stage in our lives we don’t have a great need for more Christmas supplies. Over the years we bought an ornament here and there during our travels. Several years ago we switched from real trees to artificial Christmas trees. I liked that. I really hated getting pine needles stuck in my foot! I was happy to be going to Bronner’s one more time even though I didn’t buy anything.

 

 

I use the Weather Underground smart phone app multiple times every day. Normally, I have the weather forecast for eight or ten cities that I’m looking at in the app. Those cities are either planned trackchasing locations or potential trackchasing locations. Tonight’s forecast for Chesaning, Michigan was reasonable. There was a 20% chance of rain.

 

 

 

THE RACING

 

 

Saginaw County Fairgrounds – Chesaning, Michigan

Tonight’s racing was being promoted by Unique Motorsports. I’ll bet I’ve seen thirty of their events or so. They do a nice job. They also tend to race in wet weather. Tonight that fact would be important.

 

 

Racing was set to begin at 7 p.m. I parked my car in a very crowded county fair parking lot and began to walk over to the fairground’s entrance. Just as I did that it began to sprinkle and then rain a little harder. I quickly exchanged a $10 bill for admittance to the fair.

 

 

The rain didn’t amount to that much at that point. I grabbed the one and only remaining top row seat in the grandstand at one end of a series of grandstands. The place was crowded. I began to take video and racing photos of the action on tonight’s oval track.

 

 

 

 

After I saw a race or two I looked around and assessed the cloud situation. It didn’t look all that great. It wasn’t long after that the winds changed, the temperature dropped somewhat and it began to rain.

 

 

Lots of locals must have had pretty good weather apps. When it started to rain some ran for cover (above!!) but other didn’t. They simply opened their huge umbrellas. I didn’t have an umbrella. I didn’t have a rain poncho. I had a lightweight pullover and my World’s #1 Trackchaser hat.

 

 

As it began to rain harder I recognized I was ill prepared for the elements. There was not much shelter nearby. However, the Boy Scouts were running a concession in the small building just behind my grandstand location. I found that if I stood on one side of that building I was blocked from both the wind and most of the rain. I could actually see some of the racing from there as well.

 

 

It was somewhat ironic that they were selling food concessions at the Boy Scouts building and also rain ponchos for two dollars apiece. I didn’t buy one. The plastic almost cellophane drycleaner like material would have kept my body dry but my shoes would have been ruined with the rain. I only had one pair of shoes with me and I was wearing them. They needed to last for another week.

 

 

In sort of a perverse sadistic way it was fun taking photos of the fans scrambling for dryer ground whenever the rain picked up. The rain did pick up. Unique Motorsports kept the show going even as the grandstands begin to empty out.

 

 

Tonight’s oval track with small. The cars raced around a couple of large tractor tires in a clockwise oval direction. Despite the rain the promoters moved forward with the feature events.

 

 

By the time the last feature race started it was pouring down rain. They raced for about a lap and the PA system failed. They immediately threw a red flag. From my somewhat sheltered position at the Boy Scout building I couldn’t see why a red flag was necessary.

 

 

The owner and the promoter of Unique Motorsports is also the track announcer. I guess that cuts down on overhead right. The drivers sat in the muddy infield that was getting muddier by the moment awaiting the lifting of the red flag sanction.

 

 

After a few wet minutes the PA system was back in business. The track announcer told the drivers and everyone who was still in the grandstand (that wasn’t many) that the drivers could not race without a working PA system. I’ve been to a lot of tracks and I’ve never heard it expressed that way. Announcer Jim told the drivers that tonight‘s feature would be for 12 laps unless the PA system went out again. If it did stop working the race will be considered final. The drivers nodded in a wet agreement.

 

 

I’m happy to report that the feature ran the full 12-lap distance. They moved the program along a little bit faster than normal given the weather conditions. The last race finished up at about 8:10 p.m.

 

 

I’m going to guess they had about 20 cars at the track. Unless you count them individually it’s difficult to know the exact car count. Sometimes cars race in multiple divisions and they usually race in a heat, and last chance qualifier and/or feature event.

 

 

The most unique racer in the pit area tonight was a Volkswagen beetle. I’ve seen those models race from time to time but certainly not very often. The fella driving the beetle got around the track very well.

 

 

When the final feature event took the checkered flag there couldn’t have been more than 10 or 15 people in the grandstands that had previously held hundreds. I was still there. Even when the race finished I didn’t go anywhere right away. It was still raining and I wanted to stay as dry as I possibly could.

 

 

 

AFTER THE RACES

 

I had already done some walking in the Boston airport today and again at the Detroit airport in the afternoon. I have done a little more walking around the fair. I was beginning to approach my 4-mile daily goal so I hung around the fair even when the rain stopped for a while. I checked out the commercial/barn buildings. That was interesting. Don’t miss the photos.

 

 

I hadn’t given the possibility of rain much thought tonight because of the positive forecast. A lot of times I will worry as to whether or not they will get the racing in when rain is in the forecast. Tonight’s forecast wasn’t that bad and I knew that if it did rain the Unique Motorsports group would likely run the event anyway. I don’t get rained out very often. Tonight I was lucky I wasn’t watching a traditional dirt oval racing program. They would have canceled. A junk car off-road demolition derby event continues is just about any weather.

 

 

I needed to get back to my hotel in Detroit. In the early morning tomorrow I’m going to standby for a flight from Detroit to Syracuse. If I don’t make that flight I have a car reserved in Detroit. I’ll make a 13-hour drive into a questionable weather situation. Why would I do that? It’s really the only trackchasing opportunity on my agenda for a Thursday night in August.

 

 

 

Good night from Chesaning, Michigan.

 

 

Randy Lewis – 80 countries – 2,472 tracks.

 

 

 

 

Michigan

 

 

The Wolverine state

This evening I saw racing at my 130th lifetime track in the Wolverine state, yes, the Wolverine state.  I hold the #4 trackchasing ranking in Michigan. I’m just thirteen tracks behind Ed Esser here.  I’ve seen 130 or more tracks in two different states.

 

 

 

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

Michigan sayings: You know you’re from Michigan when….your parents would design a Halloween costume to fit over your snowsuit.

 

 

QUICK FACTS

 

 

LIFETIME TRACKCHASER COMPARISONS 

The threemost important trackchasing comparisons to me are:

 

Total lifetime tracks seen

Total “trackchasing countries” seen

Lifetime National Geographic Diversity results

 

 

Total Lifetime Tracks

There are no trackchasers currently within 655 tracks of my lifetime total.  Don’t blame me.

 

 

  1. Randy Lewis, San Clemente, California – 2,472

 

 

Total Trackchasing Countries

There are no trackchasers currently within 25 countries of my lifetime total. 

 

  1. Randy Lewis, San Clemente, California – 80

 

 

 

Current lifetime National Geographic Diversity results

 

  1. Randy Lewis, San Clemente, California – 4.14

 

 

 

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

 

 

Click on the link below to see the video production from the racing action today.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Click on the link below for a photo album from today’s trackchasing day.  You can view the album slide by slide or click on the “slide show” icon for a self-guided tour of today’s trackchasing adventure.

 

 

 

From way out in Eastern Canada to a tiny town in Michigan…that’s what trackchasing is all about

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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