Sertoma Speedway


Greetings from Tularosa, New Mexico



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



Sertoma Speedway

Dirt oval

  Track #1,178









Each Trackchaser Report that I post between now and May 5, 2007 will be a bit more concise that normal.  Why?  Our daughter Kristy is being married on Cinco de Mayo.  For you gringos that would be May 5, 2007.  I am in serious preparation for the Father of the Bride wedding speech, so all of my free time must be devoted to this celebration.



I will not be able to see any new tracks during the wedding weekend whatsoever.  Therefore, it would be appropriate if all worldwide trackchasers took this weekend off in honor of this historic event.  I will be watching carefully for those who violate this request.




I woke up in San Clemente, California this morning. I went to sleep in Alamogordo, New Mexico. This is what transpired today.






The Strategy

One of my primary trackchasing planning strategies has changed in 2007.  Prior to hooking up with my airline travel partners, I used to plan my trips at least 3-4 weeks in advance.  It was necessary to do this to get the lowest cost airline tickets.



Now, I don’t finalize a trackchasing plan more than a few days ahead of time.  Often, as you’ve read, my trackchasing plan changes AFTER I reach the airport.  This new method of traveling affects things in several different ways.



I have more than 1,200 tracks and nearly 600 sanctioning bodies that I search for information on race dates.  It is these group’s websites that I pore over for hours in my office.  This weekend’s trackchasing focuses on New Mexico.  Since my weekend focus is so narrow, it really isn’t necessary to do a national search for tracks racing this weekend.  This affects the scheduling data I provide.  Since I don’t plan as far in advance, the number of race dates I search for is greatly diminished.  I’m thinking about removing this option from my website.  Readers who use this service may want to give me their feedback about what direction I should take with this scheduling data.



Since I can now fly more often and too much smaller cities, my overall driving distances per track have decreased. Last year, I averaged exactly 300 miles of driving in rental cars for each track I visited in a rental car. Actually, 300 miles per track is a relatively low total when compared to other trackchasers’ efficiency.



So far, this year, my average rental car driving distance is only 199.9 miles.  That 100-mile savings per track, spread over 35 tracks reached by rental car is a 33% reduction.  That’s also a 3,500-mile driving distance savings.  That translates to about $350 in gas savings and about 50-70 hours of driving time.  No U.S. based trackchaser in modern day trackchasing history can come anywhere close to averaging just 200 driving miles per track.  This weekend’s plan is likely to lower my overall driving average per track even more.




The Trip


Did you ever see the movie with Tom Hanks when he ends up living in the airport?  In this movie called the “The Terminal”, Tom plays a man from a foreign country. When he lands he learns that his Visa has been revoked and he cannot enter the U.S.  At the same time, he cannot go back to his home country because they are in the midst of a civil war.  So…..he’s stuck in the airport for several days and takes up permanent residency.



I feel a bit like Tom Hanks in that movie.  Today I wanted to fly from Los Angeles to Albuquerque.  I left San Clemente at 5 a.m. for the 8 a.m. flight.  I missed getting on the flight by just one seat! By the way, since acquiring my airline sponsors in September 2006 I have not purchased a full-fare ticket to go anywhere.



After I missed the Albuquerque flight, I hoofed it a mile or so to try to catch a flight to Denver, Colorado. Nope!  They were paying people to get OFF that flight it was so full. Next, I tried for Oklahoma City. I could make it to a track in Claremore, Oklahoma if I could get on that flight.  Nope!  Full! Why would people in SoCal be going to Oklahoma for the weekend?



After I missed these three flights, I had a couple of hours to mull over my options.  The extra time allowed me to see people acting under stress.  These people didn’t show up on time for their flight for one reason or another.  Boy, were they mad when they rushed up to the gate only to find the door closed to the airplane.  You should have heard some of the language they used with these poor gate agents. It didn’t matter what was said, these folks were not getting on the airplane.



It was announced that one airplane’s lavatory would not be working during its two-hour flight.  Passengers were directed to make one last “pit stop” before getting on the plane.  I’ve seen this happen before when the flight is delayed while they repair the bathroom facilities.  I prefer the “fly and pee later plan”.  Today, one passenger vocally demanded some form of compensation for the inconvenience he would be experiencing.  I’ve always been one to get all I can legally and ethically get, but this passenger’s behavior even made me blush.



I considered several more options including flights to Yuma, via El Centro, Phoenix and Colorado Springs.  As you know, I never give up until there are no more options.



I had one more shot if I was going to see a race today, Friday, April 27.  There was a 1:30 p.m. flight to Albuquerque.  If I could get on that flight, I could make it to Tularosa, New Mexico by the skin of my teeth.  This was not my originally scheduled Friday night destination. 



If I didn’t get on that flight, I was going to rent a car in Los Angeles and drive the 800+ miles to New Mexico. Even with no new track on Friday, I could still get three more on Saturday and Sunday.  As luck would have it, I got one of the last three seats on this nearly full flight.  Again, it helped to be a SkyWest dad since this was a SkyWest United Express flight.



The People 



Do you ever judge people by their appearance?  I sometimes do.  If you live in an urban area, you have likely come upon a stop sign or red light where a homeless type person holds a sign asking for a handout.  Do you make certain assumptions based upon his or her appearance?



When you see someone who isn’t like you, maybe they’re much older or much younger than you are, do you make certain negative assumptions.  How about when they are a different color than you or race or gender?  I admit that sometimes I do.



Today, when I boarded my United Express SkyWest flight to Albuquerque, I noticed I would be sitting next to someone who didn’t look like me.  This man was of a slight build and about 45 years old.  He wore jeans and a grey t-shirt.  He looked to be of American Indian descent and wore his hair with a very long ponytail.  He did not look like me much at all.  I admit after viewing his appearance, I mentally made some assumptions.



Nevertheless, when I sat down, I greeted him.  I think he was surprised I spoke.  We ended up having a nice conversation during the two-hour flight.  I was surprised to learn that this man was not anything like some of the initial impressions I had about him before we had met.



He worked in a machine shop making bank ATM machines.  He saved 16% of his salary to put in his 401K retirement plan.  He worked overtime nearly every day.  His workday ended up being 10 hours, Monday through Friday with his overtime.  He often worked overtime on Saturday.



As we continued to talk, I learned that this soft-spoken man was a hard-working conscientious person.  He had just ordered a passport for a planned trip to Vietnam to visit friends.



My new friend was headed to Albuquerque for the “Gathering of Nations, Pow Wow”event.  This is a gathering of more than 100,000 native Americans held each year in Albuquerque.  I would later learn that this event would jack up hotel rates in town!



During our conversation, we got on the topic of Indian reservations.  Several of this man’s relatives live on the reservations. This man was a Navajo Indian.  I asked him what the folks on the reservations thought about white people.



He paused for a minute before he answered my question.  He said it really depended.  He thought the older people had a more negative reaction to white people than younger folks did.  I suspect that’s true in how white people feel about other races.



Overall, it was an interesting conversation for me.  When I have contacts like this, I always want to know what people are up too and how they feel about certain topics, some of which people might think of as sensitive. You never know, unless you ask. Our conversation did remind me of one thing that I know is true, but sometimes have a hard time putting into practice.  You can’t always (but sometimes you can) judge someone based upon their appearance.










This is my 4thlifetime track to see in New Mexico.  This one track moves me up from a 5thplace tie, in the state which calls the Pinyon Pine its state tree, to a tie for 2ndplace with Alan Brown, Gary Jacob and Andy Sivi.  As you know a second place finish in any state gives a trackchaser two National Geographic Diversity points.  This is a three-point improvement in my state score after seeing just this one track.  I am now starting to distance myself from the second place chaser in the NGD lifetime results.  However, the year has a very long way to go and anything can still happen.  Allan Skinrood, whom I have never met, leads the nation’s fifth largest state with five tracks.  Can Allan stay out front much longer?



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








People don’t trackchase very often in New Mexico.  In the entire history of the hobby (through 2006), only 56 total track visits have been seen cumulatively by listed trackchasers.  By the way, a listed trackchaser must have seen at least 200 tracks if he/she lives in North America.  If they live elsewhere, they are given a pass and only need 100 tracks to be listed. The 56 total track visits ranks the state as 41stin the U.S. in total track visits up to and including 2006.



Only a couple of other listed trackchasers have ever been to the Sertoma Speedway and it’s been in existence since 1996. I had a good time tonight.  The racing was good but my people encounters were better.  I arrived at just before 8 p.m. after hotfooting it down from the Albuquerque airport as soon as my plane landed at 4:33 p.m.  The program was scheduled to begin at 7:30 p.m.  They were in the midst of heat races.  The final checkered flag flew at 9:45 p.m.



By the way, the Sertoma Speedway is 813 miles from my home in San Clemente, California.  It is one of the five closest tracks where races are run on a weekly basis that still remain for me to see.  Now, can you see why I must fly to nearly all of my new tracks?



I could give you a thousand guesses and you could never figure out how the Sertoma Speedway got its name.  Is Sertoma the name of the county or the city where the track is located?  Is Sertoma the name of a local Indian tribe or mountain range?  Nope!



Sertoma stands for “Service to Mankind.”  Sertoma is a non-profit 503 © corporation.  Their purpose is to help folks with hearing and speech problems.  Some 11 years ago, this organization was looking for a service project and decided to build a racetrack!  You don’t hear or see that story very often.



You can learn more about Sertoma at  Here’s a short description about the organization:



“SERTOMA.  A curious word until three very important words come together in union:  SERvice TO MAnkind.  Sertoma’s primary service project is assisting the more than 50 million people with speech, hearing and language disorders.  Sertoma also sponsors community projects to promote freedom and democracy, to assist youth and to benefit a variety of other community needs.


Headquartered in Kansas City, Missouri, Sertoma is a 501 © (4) not-for-profit international organization dedicated to “SERvice TO MAnkind,” with 20,000-plus member in more than 650 clubs across Canada, Mexico, Puerto Rico and the United States.  Every year Sertoma clubs raise more than $20 million for local community service projects.  Through these projects, as well as grants and scholarships, Sertoma clubs return those funds to their respective communities.”



I often go out of my way to meet the local owners and employees of the tracks I visit.  Of course, I could just sit all night on the board they provide, but I’m an outgoing person.  I’ve really enjoyed the people I’ve met this way and tonight was special.



I first met the track’s announcer and we had a nice chat over the P.A.  When we finished, the announcer introduced me to Max Dale who is the President of Sertoma Speedway.  Max gave me the complete low down on how the track got started and where it’s at today. He gave me permission to share the details I provide below.



Eleven years ago, Max was President of the local Sertoma organization and looking for a service project for the club. He raised $200,000 and proceeded to build this speedway totally from scratch.  Max is now a 72-year-old youngster.  He tells me he’s slowing down and is looking to sell the track.  If you’ve got $165,000, you could soon be a racetrack owner and promoter.  Give Max a call at 505-491-6195 if you’re interested and tell him Randy sent you.



Max is quite the fundraiser.  As he walked me around the facility, he explained how most of the items (track lights, V.I.P. seats, etc.) were donated to the track.  He even got several truckloads of “white dirt”from the excavation of the local Lowe’s Home Improvement store.  I’d never heard of white dirt before, although it looks brown and takes on rubber just like most other dirt tracks.



Max told me about the expenses of running a motorsports facility.  His moto-cross track is probably more popular than the auto-racing track.  Care to guess what trophies for 29 classes of motocross riders cost?  Try $8,000! Yes, Max just spent that amount for the upcoming major motocross event on trophies.



He told me he leases the land from the state for $2,000 per year.  I asked him how long his lease was for.  I can have it “until I do wrong”was his answer.  We won’t talk about what happened when he mistakenly started digging up an area that was just beyond the land he leased. Insurance for the auto-racing oval runs $17,000 per year.  His electric bill is $785 a month for every month of the year. 



Admission to the track is just seven dollars.  That means it would take the first 1,345 fans of the year just to pay the annual light bill. I would estimate the track had 300-500 fans tonight.  Now, do you want to become a racetrack promoter?



Max mentioned that he’s had the SCRA sprint cars into the track a time or two.  I told him that must be a large purse to cover.  His reply was, “Yes, about $10,000. We covered it each time they’ve come, but there wasn’t much left over!”



There was one monster-truck promoter that stiffed Max for five hundred dollars.  Max sent the biggest guy he knew over to the promoter’s place with these instructions, “Bring me back my money and you get a hundred.”  Soon, Max had his money!



The track has also experienced two fatalities.  One of the most popular drivers died when he flipped his modified over on the backstretch. There is a large billboard on the backstretch memorializing this driver at the spot of his demise.



The second fatality occurred when a sprint car got loose and slammed into the first turn concrete safety barrier. This safety barrier is some 20-30 yards from the track itself.  The impact of the racecar hitting the concrete knocked off a huge piece of the hard stuff.  The flying concrete hit someone working in the pit area and they were killed.  During the same accident, a piece of steel rebar also was dislodged and ended up going completely through the stomach of another pit worker.  He survived.



Finally, Max took me up to the track’s V.I.P. box.  This enclosed area was unoccupied tonight.  Max sells seating to local businesses good for the entire year here. Fans can also pay an extra fee of $10 per night to sit in air-conditioned comfort on the seats donated by a local theatre that was shutting down.  On a night like tonight when the wind was blowing strongly that would have been an excellent value.



Max, if you’re reading this, thanks for the tour!  You’ve done a great job with the track.  I’m sure your work has been a tremendous benefit to the community and the club.



Now on to a description of the racing and track tonight.  I hustled down to the track from Albuquerque as quickly as I could.  I wanted to get some pictures of the track before it got dark. My 188-mile one-way drive took me through the desert with very little traffic.  It was starting to get dark (sunset was at 7:49 p.m.)  I did get a few shots but not many.



The track is a 3/8 mile semi-banked dirt oval.  The pit area is located beyond turns one and two.  The grandstands run along the front stretch.  There are about 12-14 rows in the unlit grandstand seating area.  The bleacher seats are made from steel, not wood. It was so dark in the grandstand that I had a difficult time reading the notes I was writing.



There were four classes racing tonight. These classes included the bombers, hobby stocks, street stocks and super stocks.  Each class had 8-10 cars.  At Sertoma, a car that is technically qualified to race in one class, can race in that class and any class above its technical qualification.



I’m not really sure how many total cars were racing tonight.  This is because several cars ran in more than one class.  This is rural far west racing.  Car counts are never very high at the tracks I visit in the rural far west. I’m sure this is because there just isn’t much population out in these parts.



Nevertheless, the racing was very good considering the car count was low.  The cars really got around the track well.  By the end of the night the track was blackened with rubber from the low groove to the high groove.  This was somewhat surprising given the lower level classes with just 8-10 cars racing in any event. 



The best thing about the show was the side-by-side racing and the lack of yellow flag stoppages.  You can have 25 cars starting a feature but if the race is stopped every 1-2 laps for a spin or wreck that is not very entertaining.  I also like a show that can finish in less than three hours.



The temperature was 71 degrees when I left the track at 10 p.m. after the last feature event.  That might seem warm, but there was a very strong wind blowing directly into the grandstand.  I watched several of the races from an elevation of about 35 feet just outside the press box area.  The wind was blowing AT LEAST 25 M.P.H. continuously up there.  Surprisingly, dust was not a problem at this level, but it was at the grandstand level.



All in all, it was an excellent day of trackchasing.  There were points during the day at the airport when I thought I would not even make it to this track or any track.  Once I reached the Sertoma Speedway, meeting folks like Max really added to my understanding and enjoyment of what I was seeing.





There were clear skies and a temperature of 72 degrees when I entered the track.  I was surprised to see it was still 71 degrees when the racing program was completed.  The most notable weather feature was the wind.  It blew strongly and did not let up.




I’ll be going with a National Rental Car Racing Chevy Impala with California plates.  The drink holder really sucks in this car model.  The checkout clerk at National did a poor job and had little interest in the quality of her work.  I don’t think this is the career she is cut out for.


Friday total driving miles – 206







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


  1. Randy Lewis, San Clemente, California – 1,178


  1. Allan Brown, Comstock Park, Michigan – 1,106 (-71)*


  1. Guy Smith, Effort, Pennsylvania – 1,091 (-87)*


  1. Ed Esser, Madison, Wisconsin – 996 (-182)**


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


** Special exemption.






2007 (current thru 4/17/07)**



  1. Randy Lewis, San Clemente, California – 6.92
  2. Gordon Killian, Sinking Springs, Pennsylvania – 7.08
  3. Allan Brown, Comstock Park, Michigan – 7.55


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




Other notables


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


  1. Carol Lewis, San Clemente, California – 311


  1. Chris Economaki, Ridgewood, New Jersey – 302 (-9)


  1. Gary Jacob, Turlock, California – 301 (-10)






  1. Randy Lewis, San Clemente, California – 40


  1. Ed Esser, Madison, Wisconsin – 31


  1. Mike Knappenberger, Reading, Pennsylvania – 17


  1. Carol Lewis, San Clemente, California – 17


  1. Guy Smith, Effort, Pennsylvania – 14


  1. Roland Vanden Eynde, Vilvoorde, Belgium – 12


  1. Rick Young, Maxville, Ontario, Canada – 8


  1. Roger Ferrell, Majenica, Indiana – 8


  1. Gordon Killian, Sinking Spring, Pennsylvania – 7


  1. Bing Metz, Tatamy, Pennsylvania – 7




Tracks have been reported by 33 different worldwide trackchasers this season.




Thanks for reading about my trackchasing,


Randy Lewis

#1 Trackchaser Living West of the Mississippi

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








Los Angeles, CA – Albuquerque, NM – 676 miles



Albuquerque International Airport – trip begins

Tularosa, NM – 188 miles




Sertoma Speedway – $7





I’m trying to knock off tracks in the far west.  With any luck I will gain a first place tie in New Mexico tomorrow in lifetime track visits. 





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



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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


1,178. Sertoma Speedway, Tularosa, NM – April 27



The Far West

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


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



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


Alaska – 9th– 3


Arizona – 1st


California – 2nd– 48


Colorado – 2nd – 1


Hawaii – 3rd– 1


Idaho – 3rd– 2


Montana – 2nd– 1


Nevada – 2nd– 2


New Mexico – 2nd– 1


Oregon – 1st


Utah – 2nd– 1


Washington – 2nd– 2


Wyoming – 2nd– 2


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




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