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Sodus Microd Club

Greetings from Sodus, New York

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From the travels and adventures of the 

“World’s #1 Trackchaser”

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Sodus Microd Club

Asphalt oval

 Lifetime Track #2,485

 

 

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

 

 

Saturday, August 18, 2018.

This afternoon and evening I trackchased in Upperco, Maryland. I don’t trackchase very often in Maryland. I was seeing only my sixth track in the Pelican state.

 

 

From Maryland I would head northward up through Pennsylvania and then onto New York. Today’s trackchasing destination would be the Sodus Microd Club track in Sodus, New York. Just 12 tracks ago I saw my first ever microd race. Now I was headed their way to see one of the microd group’s “state” races. They have these state races at five different venues.

 

 

However, I didn’t want to put the cart before the horse, metaphorically speaking, because I was driving directly into Amish country.  Get it? I was going to need a hotel for tonight. That could prove problematic.

 

 

My drive to Sodus was going to take five or six hours. With stops I didn’t figure I could make it there on Saturday night. I thought if I got halfway or a little bit more that would be a good thing. However, halfway would get me to Williamsport, Pennsylvania. Tiny Williamsport might be congested.

 

 

I’ve been to some pretty big cities in my life. I’m talking about New York, Shanghai, London, and Bangkok, Thailand. Yes, those are some pretty big cities. Why was I concerned about the congestion in a little bitty place like Williamsport?

 

 

Well, it just turned out that this week Williamsport, Pennsylvania was holding the Little League World Series. That’s a pretty big deal in Williamsport. I’m sure that event was going to drive up hotel prices. No one likes paying $150 a night for a $50 hotel room, especially me. If I pushed things I could drive a little further north of Williamsport before I found a place to stay.

 

 

I did some online checking. It looked like Corning, New York might be a good place to stop for the night. I gave the Corning Inn a call. Soon I had secured a room for $90 plus tax. That seemed expensive but probably less than I would have paid in Williamsport.

 

 

Along the way I saw one of those temporary electronic road signs that said read, “Phish music festival canceled”. I had no idea what that meant. I wasn’t familiar with “Phish”. Little did I know the cancellation of the Phish music festival was going to benefit me.

 

 

When I checked into the Corning Inn the proprietor told me that I was a pretty lucky duck. How was that I asked. He told me the Phish musical festival had only been canceled a couple of days ago because of flooding from their most recent rains. He said his hotel was sold out at $160 a night with the concert goers. When the musical festival canceled lots of those music fans canceled. Yes, I guess I was a lucky duck.

 

 

 

Sunday, August 19, 2018.

My first event of the day was a 45-minute power walk. I had to come from behind to beat my 4 MPH goal for today’s walk. How did I know I needed to pick up my pace? My “Heart” smartphone app told me. About midway in my exercise I analyzed how fast I had been going and how fast I needed to be going. Remember if you don’t set goals you may end up somewhere where you never expected to end up.

 

 

My I-PASS/EZ-Pass toll transponder has gone kaput. I ordered a new one but it didn’t arrive until a few days after I had left on this trip. The East Coast is a tollmine (that’s like a landmine) region. I wasn’t sure if I could totally bypass the tolls with my Waze GPS unit.

 

 

Sometimes the only option is a toll road. Sometimes there’s no one there to take your money when you leave the toll road. When that happens you’ve got a problem. If you’re driving a rental car the rental car company will send you a letter a couple of weeks later to tell you how big of a problem you have.

 

 

That being the case I paid $6.90 U.S. to rent a toll pass for two days. The weird thing about that is that by using the “no tolls” option with my GPS app I may not have to pay a toll during this entire trip up through Maryland, Pennsylvania and New York. I guess the rented toll transponder is my insurance policy.

 

 

This morning I would take a leisurely two-hour drive up to the Sodus Microd Club in Sodus, New York. Using the no tolls route I would see some pretty country almost exclusively on two lane roads. I wasn’t in a grand rush to get there so I just sat back and enjoyed things.

 

 

I am a big fan of McDonald’s. I know. There are other burger joints that are a lot better than McDonald’s. I grew up on McDonald’s fast food since I was a sophomore in high school. Currently I order something to eat and or drink more than 30 times a month from McDonald’s.

 

 

I used to eat at Subway a lot. However, they were long on bread and short on meat. Jared’s a jerk too.

 

 

I’m fond of the McDouble, triple cheeseburger, chicken tenders, French fries and Diet Coke. In the past couple of days I have added their smoothies to my favorites list. McDonald’s smoothie is incredibly low in calories for what you get. My go to meal is the triple cheeseburger (half bun), no ketchup – no pickles and a large Diet Coke, light ice. On Fridays I use the app for a free order a medium fries. Once every couple of months I’ll go with the chicken tenders.

 

 

That’s why I was shocked and dismayed when I was looking for a late McDonald’s breakfast option this morning. I pulled into a small town only to find the McDonald’s closed. When was the last time you saw a McDonald’s that was closed as in closed and won’t be re-opening? However, I am nothing if not flexible. When I stopped to fuel up I went to the local deli inside their convenience store. I ordered the egg salad sandwich with an herb wrap. It was delicious.

 

 

 

THE RACING

 

 

Sodus Microd Club – Sodus, New York

Today’s racing was scheduled to begin at the Sodus Microd Club racetrack at 1 p.m. I pulled in at 1 o’clock on the dot. This was a unique little property. The only place I could find to park was if I pushed the nose of the Alamo Rental Car Racing Ford Fusion a foot or two into a huge blueberry bush. I did that. Now it was time to go trackchasing.

 

 

Today they were having a “state” race for the microds. From what I can tell there are five state races each season. Each of the asphalt microd racing clubs hosts one of those five state races. They are all held a different tracks.

 

 

I saw my first microd race at the Syracuse fairgrounds on August 2, 2018. Today was August 19, 2018. I have been to 12 new race tracks since going to Syracuse just 17 days ago.

 

 

I was treated really well when I came to Syracuse. Club president Tom Wilcox made sure that I had the best of everything for my experience at the Syracuse fairgrounds race.

 

 

Lots of people came up to say hello to me at that event. One of those folks was a fellow by the name of Carl Crawford. Carl is the father of two microd racers, Tessa and C.J. Tessa is 10 years old and C.J. is eight. They race in the same class.

 

 

Carl been nice enough to keep me posted regarding today’s schedule. They had some rain problems earlier in their three-day weekend. Nevertheless, today’s racing was going to take place in temperatures that reached about 75°. There wasn’t any rain in the forecast whatsoever.

 

 

I’m pretty sure no other trackchasers had set foot on the grounds of the Sodus Microd Club racetrack. Why? It’s pretty simple really. They don’t think there’s any countable racing here. Wrong!

 

 

It says very clearly on the sign at the entrance to the Sodus Microd Club track, “Racers aged 5-18” race here. However, simply having those words printed on a sign doesn’t necessarily mean they have a class open to 18-year-olds. Just to be safe, I had checked with Tom Wilcox and several other people in the organization and read the rules. In point of fact, 18-year-olds can race in the mods division.

 

 

The trackchasing rules state that any class that is open to people 18 years of age or older meets trackchasing requirements as regards a driver’s age. I was not party to the making of the original set of rules in the hobby of trackchasing. I wish I was. I think they might have turned out quite a bit differently.

 

 

Nevertheless, over the years despite being a geographical outsider to the trackchasing elite, I have had an influence on several of the current trackchasing rules. I fondly call these rules “Randy Rules”. Four or five of them came about after I did something in trackchasing that met the current rules…..but that the trackchasing head honchos didn’t like. When that would happen they would close up one loophole after another by creating these, “Randy Rules”.

 

 

Few people know that it was Will White that first invited me to join the trackchasing group. Fewer people know that I was the first person to invite trackchasers such as Kentucky’s Dave Garrison, Pennsylvania’s Mike Knappenberger and Edward Corrado into the hobby. It was my encouragement that got Dave and Mike into the hobby directly.

 

 

We’re really digging deep into trackchasing history now. I doubt that virtually anyone knows that I had a direct influence over the “18 years old” requirement as a minimum for a driver age when counting a track. The trackchasing commissioner at the time, Will White, really didn’t want to put a specific number on what the minimum age should be to allow chasers to count a racing class.

 

 

He wanted to keep it vague. The original rule said something like, “trackchasing counts for racing by adults”. Of course the term “adult” covers a lot of territory. What exactly is an adult age-wise? I badgered Mr. White and when he was slow to respond I badgered him some more. Finally to shut me up he established the trackchasing legal definition of an adult as being 18 years of age. Thank you commissioner White.

 

 

Trackchasing has some funny rules and some funny interpretations. Any class that ALLOWS 18-year-olds to race meets the trackchasing age requirement. However, and this is the funny part, an 18-year-old does not HAVE to race in the event. As long as the racing class is OPEN to 18-year-olds the class counts. Two four-year-olds could be the only racers in a class open to 18 year olds and racing class would still count. Yes, as I said trackchasing has some funny rules and some funnier interpretations.

 

 

Today I was going to see a “features only” race format for several classes of microds. The one and only class that was open to 18-year-olds was the “mods” division. Three competitors would race today in that classification.

 

 

The Sodus Microd Club racetrack is a sharp looking little asphalt oval. There is a very minor amount of banking. The track has lights and a PA system. However, the PA is used only to call the next class to staging. I always like it when a racetrack has a good announcer to both in form and entertain.

 

 

There were about 50 cars in the pit area. Some classes had nearly a dozen competitors. It was good to meet up with the fellows whose friendship I had made just a few days ago. I said hello to club president Tom Wilcox. He was busy with his race director duties but we got a chance to talk briefly. Tom gave me the go ahead to do some filming from atop the scoring tower. There was a great view up there.

 

 

I had a real nice chat with Carl Crawford. His kids raced in two of the divisions today. I was super impressed with daughter Tessa in her microd race. She “moved” a couple of drivers to come from way back in the pack and take the lead. However, she had to slow a little bit when she thought she had I left front tire going down.

 

 

Tessa is 10 years old. She came up to say hello while Carl and I were talking. Tessa isn’t that big so I was surprised that this petite young girl had rooted and gouged her competitors out-of-the-way in the turns. Tessa, great job with your racing today. You go girl! Brother C.J. won his race at Syracuse during my first microd experience so I’ve seen both of the Crawford children do really well.

 

 

I got a chance to meet up with a fellow by the name of Willie. He handles tech at the races today and builds the Crawford race team race engines. Willie gave me a lot of background info on microd racing in general.

 

 

It was fun chatting with Ray the flagman. It was Ray‘s idea at Syracuse to let me get onto the flag stand and flag a complete 25-lap feature race. Ray has been the starter at a number of different local tracks. He surprised me when he told me that he’s been hit twice by flying racecars! Keep your eyes open Ray!

 

 

Today I was able to walk all around the racetrack. I think you’re really going to enjoy seeing the photos of the Sodus Microd track. The videos will give you a good idea of what this type of racing looked like as well. The novice division of microds are a very unusual race car. They look sturdy and they get around the track really well.

 

 

I had arrived at the track at 1 p.m. The one and only class that would meet the trackchasing rules was the mods. They were the next to last group to race today. By the time they hit the track my vantage point was high up on the scoring tower viewing deck. I was ready to add the Sodus Microd Club track at my lifetime track # 2,445.

 

 

There were just three competitors in mod division today. One of them spun out a couple of times on the warm-up lap. When it took her handler some time to get the racer going again, with an electric starter, I got a little concerned. This track wouldn’t be in the books until at least two of the mods took the green flag to create competitive racing.

 

 

Finally all three of the mods did receive the green flag. However, the driver who had spun her car a couple of times in the warm-up laps spun again. They got restarted a second time. Then on lap three the driver who had spun a few times spun out again! The driver behind her took evasive action and ended up flipping her car.

 

 

I’m happy to report the young woman was not injured. However, the flip was going to force her to withdraw from the race. The other young lady also took her car to the pit area. I don’t know if there was a mechanical problem or if she was being black flagged with a “three cautions and you’re out” situation.

 

 

This left just one driver in a red car #23 out on the track. Only three laps to the scheduled 30-lapper had been completed. This single driver would restart the race all by himself. At the five-lap mark he got the signal that there were five laps remaining in the race. That only made good sense to shorten the originally scheduled 30-laps to 10 laps when there was just one car remaining!

 

 

The one and only racing event that would count for me today in the hobby of trackchasing was the mods. They had a 30-lap feature scheduled. After just three laps there was only one racer remaining. That racer completed 10 laps.

 

 

So what did that mean for me? It still meant that the Sodus Microd Club track would be officially in the books forever known as track #2,485. The rules don’t say anything about seeing a full race. You simply have to see “competitive racing“. Competitive racing occurs the moment the race starts with a green flag.

 

 

Oh. One more thing. I hope they plan to beef up the grandstand seating at the track. Now that the word is out that I’ve been to the Sodus Microd Club track the place is going to be inundated with my fellow competitors!

 

 

 

 

AFTER THE RACES

It had been a good day of trackchasing. My favorite time of the week to watch racing is Sunday afternoon. These youngsters put on some very exciting racing. I watched them pull off of the track when the races were finished and head to the tech shack.

 

 

I was amazed at how competitive their demeanor was following the races. That’s a great skill to teach young people in whatever format they might be able to get it. It was fun seeing these youngsters doing their share of the work.

 

 

When I left the track at past 5:30 p.m. I had a new non-racing objective. It was foremost in my mind. I had to get from Sodus, New York to San Clemente California. My wife and I own a modest seaside cottage there. We have a big mortgage. I needed to get back and enjoy what I was paying for!

 

 

To begin with it was going to be about a six-hour drive or a little bit more than 300 miles to get myself down to the Philadelphia International Airport. Why Philly? Well, first of all I picked up my rental car there. They were expecting me to return the car back to them at the Philly airport. Rental car companies are funny about things like that. Secondly, it looked as if the best flight opportunities, on a nonstop basis, would be from Philadelphia as well.

 

 

Off I went. With stops for fuel, food and comfort I wouldn’t get down toward the airport until about midnight. My flight was leaving at 6:30 a.m. That meant I had to return my rental car by no later than 5 a.m. to be able to make my flight. You can do the math on this one. There would be no time for a hotel. I just had to pick a safe spot close enough spot to the Philadelphia airport, where I could sleep, that I wouldn’t get caught in early morning traffic and I wouldn’t get mugged. I wasn’t 100% sure I could handle both of those things but I was going to give it a try.

 

 

Then I thought about things just a little bit more. I was in Philadelphia. Was Philadelphia a place where I wanted to sleep overnight in my car? I decided against doing that.

 

 

I decided I would sleep at the airport. There are two general categories of sleeping AT an airport. You can sleep “landslide”. That’s outside of security. Or you can sleep “airside” which is inside security. Of course inside security is a better place for several reasons.

 

 

I was arriving at past midnight. Most airports shut down their security after the last flight of the night, which typically would be about 11 p.m. if you’re on the East Coast. Security wouldn’t reopen until about 4 a.m. for the early morning 5 a.m. and 6 a.m. flights. That pretty much meant I would be sleeping landside tonight.

 

 

I had slept landside in the past. I had done that in Philadelphia. It was not a pleasant experience. I wasn’t looking forward to that but it really seemed like my only choice.

 

 

When I entered terminal E I encountered an airport employee riding one of those big Zamboni-like floor cleaners. I stopped for just a second and asked him where might be the best place to sleep overnight. He shut off the engine of the machine he was riding, looked at me and said, “I want to give you some really good advice. You need to go over to terminal B. You can clear security there because they keep it open 24/7.” That was great advice. I felt like tipping him but I didn’t know if that was appropriate.

 

 

Of course I couldn’t clear security at this time of night if I didn’t have two things going for me. One was I had to have carry-on only luggage. Secondly I had to have my boarding pass already loaded on my phone. I had both! The walk to terminal B was about a mile in length. No problem. It was now nearly 1 a.m. I didn’t have anything else to do right?

 

 

A few minutes later I arrived over into terminal B and saw two people manning the information desk. I have never seen an airport in the entire world that would have one person let along two people at the information desk at 1 o’clock in the morning. I walked up and asked where would be the best place to sleep. The woman told me I needed to go over to terminal A. They would have cots, some blankets and snacks for me. What! That was fantastic information

 

 

I learned something a long time ago during my business career. What was that? Ask questions! When you ask questions you get answers. Listen to the answers. When you get answers you get more information and knowledge. With more information and knowledge you just do better. Pretty simple huh?  

 

 

Tonight I simply asked a couple of people some questions. “Where would be the best place to sleep tonight?” That one question turned what could have been a very uncomfortable experience into one that was much more comfortable.

 

 

On the walk over to terminal A I encountered another option for sleeping tonight. It was a place called “Minute Suites”. I’ve seen these more often in international airports. The Dubai airport has a nice sleep at the airport by the hour Minute Suites type place.

 

 

Just for kicks I stopped and asked the guy what is program was. He told me it was $40 for the first hour of sleep in a mini-room and $150 for eight hours of being able to occupy that space. As I walked away I could hear him say, “I could give you a discount”. Of course, I had absolutely no interest in what he had to offer. However, again if you don’t ask questions you won’t have the information that you need to make the best decisions.

 

 

Once I reached terminal A at the Philadelphia International Airport I encountered nirvana, no not the band. Of course this was nirvana as it relates to sleeping overnight in an airport. It was something that I had never ever seen before at an airport when the outside weather was good. 

 

 

What I found was a series of about twenty cots. Each cot had a pillow and a blanket neatly folded on it. In addition there was an amenity kit on each cot! That kit came with a toothbrush, toothpaste, lotion and more. Oh my goodness. Was I at a Marriott airside sleeping accommodation?

 

 

I inquired about the procedure needed to use one of these cots. I was told I could take any open cot and make it my own. The “wake-up call” would come at 5 a.m. At that point everyone needed to exit the area. The “cot attendants” in charge of the sleeping area also had complementary snacks for their guests. Folks, I have been in almost every one of our nation’s more than 200 commercial airports. I’ve never ever seen something like this. Some airports will put out cots during a snowstorm but not in the middle of the summer when there have been no flight cancellations.

 

 

I used my security cable to attach my laptop and carry-on luggage to the frame of the cot. Then I laid down and went to sleep for about four hours. I’m certainly going to remember this very attractive option when I need to sleep overnight on the East Coast airport.

 

 

 

Monday, August 20, 2018.

I was able to get one of the last seats on an airplane flying from Philadelphia to Los Angeles. It was a middle seat but it was a seat. Then when I got to my row the young lady sitting in the aisle seat told me that her friend had the window seat. O.K. However, her friend had changed flights and could not get a refund for the ticket he purchased for this flight. She told me that I was welcome to sit in the window seat, that would not be occupied, leaving the middle seat open. That was excellent news.

 

 

The flight time from Philly to LAX was five hours and 59 minutes. Remember, I’ve flown on more than 7,000 flights in my time. I had several movies on my computer I could have watched. However, sleeping seemed like a better choice. I HAD slept in the airport last night. I did a little bit of trackchasing work on my computer when I wasn’t sleeping and soon was landing in LAX.

 

 

When I arrived at LAX I walked over to the Alaska Lounge. I have a membership to this private club. I use the lounges at LAX and at several other airports frequently. I relaxed here for about an hour tying up some loose ends. I was also firming up some contact information for my upcoming trackchasing schedule. It’s important to know where you’ve been and it’s probably even more important to know where you’re going to be headed next week and next month. 

 

 

I would pull into the driveway at nearly 2 p.m. California time. That was just about 24 hours after I left the Sodus Microd Club racetrack. That’s normally about how works. It takes me around 24 hours of actual travel time to get from my driveway in California to the grandstand at most tracks that I visit on the East Coast and Midwest. It works the same way coming home. It takes about 24 hours. I’ve been doing it for years. It’s not a problem at all.

 

 

Good night from the Sodus Microd Club racetrack in Sodus, New York.

 

 

Randy Lewis – 80 countries – 2,485 tracks.

 

 

 

New York

 

 

The Empire state

This afternoon I saw racing at my 80th lifetime track in the Empire state, yes, the Empire state. I’ve seen 80 or more tracks in eleven different states. No other trackchaser can match those totals.

 

 

 

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

New York sayings:  What it do: to ask what’s up or how someone is doing

 

 

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

 

 

  1. Randy Lewis, San Clemente, California – 2,485

 

 

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.

 

 

 

Racing from upstate New York; Yep! Microd racing

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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