Talladega Superspeedway

Greetings from Talladega, Alabama



From the travels and adventures of the 

“World’s #1 Trackchaser”



Talladega Superspeedway

Asphalt oval

Lifetime Track #229


The EventTalladega 2003Talladega 2017Video PlusPhotos







I have had the opportunity to follow my trackchasing hobby all over the world. As this is written I have seen racing in 74 countries. My lifetime track total exceeds 2,300. Each and every year I will trackchase in 25-30 states. At track #1,040 I moved into the “World’s #1 Trackchasing” spot.



I first went to the Talladega all the way back in 1993. It’s one of my favorite NASCAR tracks to watch on TV or in person. Today I was making my fourth race visit to the track.



My hobby is not only about racing. Trackchasing for me centers around three things. The racing part is pretty obvious. However of equal importance is the logistics of trackchasing and the opportunity to see the world.



I live in Southern California. The vast majority of tracks are located in the Midwest and East. It takes a good deal of logistical planning to get from where I live to where the tracks are. For the past 15 years I have traveled about 175 nights each and every year. Surprisingly to some, more than half of those overnights were not part of trackchasing.



Then there’s the travel just for the fun of seeing new things. You won’t want to miss my “Trackchasing Tourist Attractions” page or my “Sports Spectating Resume” page on my website at That will give you some understanding on how important seeing the world is with my hobby.



Today’s adventure was one more of the 2,000 trips that have taken me up, down and around the 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







Reprinted with permission from my April 5, 2003 Trackchaser Report from the Talladega Superspeedway.



Not my first Talladega rodeo.



I had been to the Talladega Superspeedway on two previous occasions. In 1993, my first visit to the track, I was lucky enough to see Dale Earnhardt Sr. win. I came back in 2003 for both the now Xfinity race and the Cup event. Dale Earnhardt Jr. won each of those races. My very first visit to Talladega notched my 229th lifetime track. I didn’t begin writing my famous Trackchaser Reports until I had seen about 430 tracks. Therefore I have no official notes from that 1993 trip to Talladega.




My Talladega Trackchaser Report from 2003.

In 2003 I came back to Talladega. On Saturday afternoon I saw the now Xfinity NASCAR race. Then in the evening I scored a trackchasing double with a visit to the Heart O Dixie Speedway in Sayre, Alabama. From there I saw the Talladega Cup race on Sunday afternoon. Below are my notes from that 2003 weekend.



Greetings from Sayre (pronounced SAY REE), Alabama,




Is “tor ture” one word or two? I want a list of trackchasers who voted for counting figure 8 tracks! I want their addresses! I want their children’s names! I want to know where their children go to school! Please no comment from any trackchasers who are offended by these remarks. As a competitive trackchaser, you can’t just ignore the figure 8 opportunities to pad your totals. Going to figure 8 races (single race at the end of the night events) increases your track totals but it doesn’t make it right.



Usually a track races on their figure 8 track as the last race of the night. That means that if you want to see racing on the figure 8 track, you have to watch the entire program of oval track racing. That’s what I did at the Heart O’ Dixie track in Sayre, Alabama. On a normal night, I would have left the oval show long before its completion due to the frequent delays. But no………..not tonight, the Heart O’ Dixie Speedway was running a 10-car, 15-lap figure 8 race AFTER all eight oval divisions had completed their yellow flag invested feature events. More on the racing later in this report.



I awoke Sunday morning in the back seat of my Hertz racing Taurus at 6:30 a.m. in the infield overflow parking lot of the Talladega Super Speedway.   Although I had been warned that security might come during the night and wake me up in the area I where I parked they never did. I don’t recall waking up during the night even one time although I didn’t get to the parking lot until 2 a.m. This was thanks in part to… 1) a very slow oval track program on Saturday night, 2) losing an hour to Daylight Saving Time and 3) an hour and one half drive from Sayre to Talladega. Even though it was 3:30 a.m. California time when I awoke, I came up with the idea to reposition my car from the area I slept to a very nice position that would make my exit from the track less painful.



The crowd at Talladega for the Sunday Winston Cup race was estimated at 150,000 people. When was the last time you’ve been to an event with that many people? Have you ever been anywhere with that many folks attending one activity? The Super Bowl only gets a crowd about HALF that size. The average ticket price for the race is about $80-90. Somebody somewhere is making a lot of money.



One of the best things I’ve ever done in racing is to get a racing radio scanner. For $10, I can get all of the driver’s radio channels plugged into my 200-channel radio. I get this done on race morning so I have the most up to date list. It was an extra $10 to get the Busch list.



You can hear some unique things on the radio. You get to hear each driver’s communications with his or her pit crew, the NASCAR official’s channel, the MRN radio broadcast and the FOX TV broadcast.



The most outspoken individual on the radio was reining Winston Cup champion Tony Stewart. After a wreck with Kurt Busch, his words to the crew were laced with lots of expletives including SOB, the F word and many others. During a discussion about his track bar Tony was heard to say, “Would you just listen to me for two F _ _ _ _ _ seconds? I’m telling you the F _ _ _ _ _ _ track bar is broke”. Did he really mean “broken”?



Another fun part of listening to the radio is hearing the TV broadcasters give their thoughts during the commercial breaks (breaks that are frequent). On the radio, you don’t hear any of the commercials just the broadcasters talking amongst themselves.



Several people ask me about the expense of trackchasing. In the people/travel news section of this report (and the remaining reports for the weekend), I’ll outline what it costs to go trackchasing. I track chase on a somewhat limited budget. To some it may seem extravagant and too others barebones. Here goes:





Round-trip airfare was a reasonable $228. This trip on American Airlines will also earn me about 9,000 frequent flyer miles, which is more than a third of the way toward a free ticket.





$102.80 via with Hertz. Not a bad rate for three days of unlimited driving of somebody else’s new car.






Motel 6. $49.71. Kind of expensive for a Motel 6 in Columbus, Georgia. The good thing about Motel 6 is you can always get a hassle free internet connection.




No charge for hotel as I slept in my car. Now before my non-racing friends jump to the conclusion that I’m absolutely crazy give me a moment to explain. I can only remember sleeping in my car on three occasions during my entire trackchasing career. Each time it was the night before a NASCAR Winston Cup race. There are three reasons for doing this. First, it’s very difficult to get a hotel anywhere near a Winston Cup race without planning far in advance. Secondly, the hotel usually multiplies their rate by 2-4 times and puts a 2-4 day minimum stay in place because Winston Cup races as so popular. Finally, the main advantage to sleeping in the car is you’re already at the track and don’t have to fight the heavy traffic getting into the track on race morning. On this day I was prepared. I brought two pillows from home and a heavy comforter. The Taurus backseat was a little cramped but I actually did better than I did last year at Martinsville. Sleeping in the car is a lot like taking an all night flight from the west coast to the east coast. I would do this in business about once a year. Each time I did it I reminded myself how uncomfortable it was and vowed never to do it again. That vow usually wore off by the time another year rolled around!




Fairfield Inn, College Park, Georgia $61.02. I’m not sure a Fairfield Inn is any better than a Motel 6 or a Super 8. Fairfield Inns are a Marriott property. Marriott has a promotion on right now that if you have five separate stays between now and June 15 you get two free nights. So I guess I’ll pay $15-20 more per night five times to get two free nights at hotels that might cost $100-150 per night.






Penton Raceway $10. It seems to me that $10 is a little pricey for a couple attending the races who may be lower wage earners.




Talladega Super Speedway $50. This was the top price ticket for the Busch Grand National race. I was seated in the top row of the Tri-Oval tower. This was an excellent location.



Heart O’ Dixie Speedway (oval and figure 8) $12. Again a little pricey for the local fan, I think.




Talladega Super Speedway $135. Yes, that seems steep but the ticket gave me just about the best seat in the house. They had $150,000 people at an average ticket price of $80. That sounds like $12 million in ticket sales to me.          






McDonalds $5 (breakfast, I wouldn’t eat there at any other time)

TCBY $5 (captive in the St. Louis airport)

Steak n’ Shake $5 (I’m a sucker for the Chili 3 ways)

Racetrack $5 (seems like everything’s $5, including three chicken fingers/drink)




Waffle House $8 (I couldn’t resist the double waffle and a few other goodies)

Racetrack $5 (spongy spuds….somewhat like Boone fries but not as good)

Racetrack $4 (not bad for a cheeseburger at a Winston Cup race)

Drinks $10




Racetrack $5 (a pretty good breakfast sandwich from a roach mobile)

Racetrack $12 (cheeseburger and bottled water and lemonade)

Big O BBQ $8 (on the road back to Atlanta). I must have looked kind of bad after sleeping overnight in the car, no change of clothes, bed hair and being out in the sun all day. The clerk at the BBQ place in her best southern accent asked, “You been to the races ain’t ya”. I replied that I had and asked her how she knew. “You look a little peeenck!” I think she meant pink.

Drinks $6




Waffle House $6 (couldn’t resist another bacon, egg and cheese sandwich with grits)

St. Louis airport $5






Talladega parking $10. Parked off site because it seemed less congested.



No airport parking charge. I’ve found a place that if I walk about four blocks to the airport I can park free.




Saturday   $19.78. Gas was only $1.49 per gallon. In California it’s over $2.00.


Sunday $11.32 final fill up before returning the car Monday morning.




International Hall of Fame Museum admission $8. If you go to Talladega I recommend this. The museum has tons of racecars on display and lots of other information.


Talladega event golf shirt $44.94. I can use this shirt to get my golfing friends to once again ask me why I go to races.


Race scanner programming fee $20






That makes it $849 to go from San Clemente to Atlanta and back. Heck, I could have bought a nice recliner for that kind of money. In my opinion, I did this trip about as cheap as I could for the entertainment I saw. Just think if I hadn’t got a good deal on airfare and rental car, free airport parking, slept in my car one night and ate cheap fast food what the total might have been. I believe this expenditure adds credibility to the claim of being “the #1 trackchaser living west of the Mississippi”.



Later on in the season, I’m going to do a race trip where I spend as little money as humanly possible. I’ll keep you posted.



BEST COUNTRY T-SHIRT WORN BY A WOMAN:   I may need a man for a lot of things but I don’t need one to ride a Harley.





The figure 8 show was run on a “traditional” figure 8 track. That means the curved part of the eight used the turns of the oval track. The “X” part of the eight crossed in the center of the oval. Most of the racecars are pitted inside the oval with their haulers. Since the oval is only ¼ mile in length that makes for some tight quarters. As I mentioned in yesterday’s track report the oval racing got underway at the scheduled start time of 8 p.m. There were many delays and the eighth class completed their feature at 11:15 p.m. THEN….they had to clear the pits of all racecar haulers and racecars. This took an additional 15 minutes.



I’m hear to tell you that this shorts wearing Californian was beginning to shiver on this damp coolish night. I actually did consider bagging the figure 8 idea but then my cost per new track on this trip would have been more than $400 so I hung in there.



The racetrack flyer described the race as “15 laps of dramatic figure 8 racing”. They had ten cars including a beloved red #45 1980 Cadillac Sedan Deville. The race wasn’t bad but it was just one short race. Nevertheless, a new track was in the books, my 625th.



Since this is my first set of track reports sent for the season I’m open to any points of constructive criticism (what to add or delete) from anyone via private email. This does not include “if you don’t like figure 8 single race tracks, don’t go”.   I’ve heard that one before.



RENTAL CAR UPDATE: The Hertz racing Ford Taurus closed out with 606 trouble free miles.


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









It was nearly 6 p.m. when I left the Space Coast Full Throttle Speedway in Cocoa, Florida on Saturday night. I had to get back on the road. I had a nine-hour one-way drive to tomorrow afternoon’s destination. Where was that? I was headed to Talladega, Alabama!



I must admit I was dragging just a bit. On Friday night night I slept for an hour and a half in a highway rest area and another two hours in the airport. Tonight, Saturday night, was going to be touch and go on whether or not there would be enough time to justify getting a hotel. In the end there was not.



I drove up interstate 95. In Jacksonville I took a left onto Interstate 10. A little while later I headed north on I-75. Once in Georgia I stopped from time to time for refreshment, personal needs and a patented 12-minute power nap. Don’t worry. It’s what I do. I was motivated. I was headed to Talladega for gosh sakes.








I pulled into the Alabama Welcome Center rest area off of interstate 20 at about 2 a.m. I was really dragging by this point. Thank goodness for the rumble strips on the side of the highway. They woke me up more than once before I could stop for a few hours in the rest area.



I would be sleeping overnight there. I pretty much slept for seven hours until my alarm woke me at 9 a.m. It was one of the best sleeps I’ve had in an interstate rest area in a very long time.









It was only about 50 miles to the track from where I slept overnight at the rest area. I had my heart set on stopping at a Waffle House even though I’m on a low-carb eating regimen at this point in time. No waffles for me.



I ordered three scrambled eggs, three sausage patties and a Diet Coke. You can imagine my chagrin when the bill came in at $12.60.  I was pretty certain my server didn’t really understand what I had ordered.



I asked her how she came up with these totals? She said “I don’t know my manager did it for me”.  Folks, I am convinced that a good number of folks are not qualified to do their jobs, don’t care about their jobs until they lose them or both.  Soon I was talking to the manager.



At this point I could have been in India or Brazil. With the manager’s strong southern accent, rapid speech and poor logic, in my opinion, she tried to explain how three scrambled eggs with cheese and mushrooms and three sausage patties and a Diet Coke could amount to $12.60. At this point there wasn’t much I could do other than add a two-dollar tip (I’m nothing if not generous) and leave the Waffle House with nearly a $15 bill. Heck, I didn’t expect to pay much more than that for my ticket to the races today.



While in the Waffle House parking lot I reserved a hotel tonight (Sunday) in Atlanta, Georgia. This will be my first hotel stay since last Thursday night over in Kansas City, Missouri. I was ready for a shower and a shave.



I also completed my NASCAR Fantasy League picks.  This year is my first ever fantasy league endeavor.  I was the winner last week with Joey Logano at the Richmond international Raceway. Those choices paid $15 to win so now I guess I am a professional NASCAR Fantasy League player.



Today’s weather is going to be “San Clemente gorgeous”. That means blue skies, temperatures in the mid-70s with a slight breeze. For Talladega it couldn’t be any better.



I’ve been to some races where it’s been very cold. My first ever ice race was in Quebec, Canada. That day it got down to 38° below zero Fahrenheit with a wind chill of about 50° below zero.



I’ve also been to some very hot races. Talladega was was one of the hottest. It must have been 150° with 150% humidity. The entire time at the races was like being in a hot sauna. The track even ran out of bottled water!



I had come prepared today for an outstanding day of NASCAR racing at Talladega one of my favorite tracks on the schedule. I had my race scanner. It’s too old now to be programmed by the race scanner folks at the track. However they normally give me a driver list of scanner frequencies for free.  They did today as well.



After being ripped off at the Waffle House I couldn’t take any chances on buying food at the track. I had a couple of cans of Vienna sausages, some really good locally homemade pork rinds and a bottle of water. That would get me started. If I needed more I would grab something at the track.







Talladega Superspeedway – Talladega, Alabama



Of course, I showed up without a race ticket. Why in the world would I buy one in advance. I brought my “need one” sign that has served me well in the past. I would be living by my wits today. That has served me well over time.



When I was in the Marines (that’s me lower left winning a guy’s entire CD collection) the drill instructor was always telling us that he didn’t want us to die for our country. He wanted the other fellow to die for HIS country. I took that to mean that you should try to look out for yourself whenever you can. That seemed like good advice then and it does today.



Of course parking is free on track property at NASCAR events. There are acres and acres of free parking. How many major sporting events can you go to where parking is free? None?



It was a good walk to the front gate from where the National Rental Car Racing Toyota Camry was left by me. However I was in a great spot for getting out easily once the races were over.




When I got near the track’s entrance it was time to pull out my trusty “need one” sign. You’ve all heard me talk about the sign’s effectiveness in the past.  Of course, my “need two” sign is with me at all times as well.



There was a long line of cars waiting to get parked near where I was standing. I would just walk down that way slowly showing my sign and see if I could get some nibbles.



I will tell you this. If fishing were this easy I would probably be fishing every weekend. I had not passed 10 cars when a fellow who was already parked saw my sign.



He asked me if I needed a ticket. “Yep,” I do I told him. He reached in his truck and handed me a packet. Inside was a ticket up in row 46 of the tri-oval tower. This was one of the best seats in the house. The ticket had a face value of $110.



How much did my new “friend” want for it? Nothing! Absolutely nothing. He handed me the ticket and said, “You’ll be sitting next to me see. See you in a little while”. I thanked him profusely.



My “need one” sign always works. At last year’s NASCAR race in Kansas City I was also given a free ticket. Who in their right mind would buy tickets months in advance or even the day of the race at the ticket booth? Not me.



With my ticket situation squared away so quickly it was time to do some sightseeing. However, before I could do that I needed to get my picture taken in front of a Talladega race sign. I would be holding my “Need one” sign. I was holding my sign getting my picture taken and a fellow came up and asked me if I needed to ticket. I had only been holding my sign for a few seconds while that picture of been taken. That’s how effective my sign is!



I walked a little further looking at all of the things that make being at a race so exciting. I saw a place where I could lay down my race scanner and seat cushion and get organized. I was holding my “Need one” sign in my hand while I fiddled inside my bag to get what I was looking for. While I was doing that a lady came up and inquired about tickets. Wow, the sign was radioactive!



I walked a little further. I saw a shorter man with his hand up in the air and one finger extended. His action looked like what you might do if you were trying to judge which direction the wind was coming from. He was really extending one finger in search of a single ticket.



This fellow didn’t seem to be having much success. I walked over to him and said, “Hold my sign and you’ll get a ticket in no time.” He looked a little skeptical but did as instructed. In less than 45 seconds a fellow came up to new buddy and ended up giving HIM a free ticket. My new friend thanked ME profusely and shook my hand.



At this point I felt like I was playing with house money. I walked into the NASCAR temporary shopping mall (it was packed!) and walked out with a beautiful “Jr.” shirt. I’ve grown to like Dale Jr. over the past couple of years. This is the first time I’ve ever bought one of the souvenirs. I will wear it proudly.



The crowd of spectators seemed huge. I know that NASCAR crowds have been down compared to where they were 15 years ago. According to Wikipedia, the seating capacity at Talladega used to be 175,000 people. Now the place seats 80,000.



However, from what I could tell virtually every one of those 80,000 seats were sold and occupied today. The radio announcers said the infield was more crowded to day than they had seen in many years.



Now the NASCAR haters have to ask themselves a question? Do they criticize NASCAR because they no longer sell or need 175,000 seats? Or do they complement them for selling 80,000 seats and probably having another 20,000 people in the infield? Today’s event was easily the biggest sporting crowd in the world on this particular Sunday. I choose to complement NASCAR.



My ticket had me in section K, row 45 of the tri-oval tower. This put me pretty high up and right in the center of pit road. If I had been able to choose any seats in the grandstand I might not of gotten a better view than what I had today.



My Uniden race scanner is no longer capable of being updated by the radio people at the track. I guess it’s out of date. I could buy a new one and maybe I will one of these days. I only go to one or two NASCAR races a year. I’m not sure I really need a new radio when my existing one still lets me listen in on the drivers as well as the MRN radio broadcast.



I really enjoy watching NASCAR racing. The racing over the past few years, especially this year, has been excellent. Despite seeing the race today on a live time basis, when I get home I will watch the TV broadcast of the race from start to finish. I won’t miss a single second. By watching the race on TV I am sure I will get a totally different perspective. The perspective I received today was from being there in person. That’s a good perspective!



Jeff Gordon was my long-time NASCAR favorite driver after Richard Petty retired. When Jeff Gordon retired I have decided to pull for three drivers. These would be Dale Jr., Joey Logano and Brad K. (Keselowski). With Jr. retiring after this year I guess it will be a Joey and Brad show for the time being.



I had a really good time at the NASCAR race today. The weather was beautiful. My seat location was outstanding. I got a free ticket. The race itself was extremely competitive.



Can you imagine drivers racing two and three abreast at nearly 200 MPH for 500 miles? The race started 40 cars and the race started on time. Certainly NASCAR racing is different than what you find out your local track. However there are certainly things that local tracks can learn from NASCAR.



I didn’t have much in the refreshment area today. I brought along two cans of Vienna sausages, a package of pork rinds and a bottle of water. I did end up buying a bottle of Diet Coke for four dollars and after the race a 16-ounce Coors light for seven dollars.



I’ve heard people criticize NASCAR for being too expensive on their concessions. Carol and I went to an Angels’ baseball game this week. A large Diet Coke goes for $4.50. A large beer is nine bucks and a foreign beer is $14 U.S. They charge ten bucks to park too. Parking was free on the acres of flat grassy land at Talladega.



You do not want to miss my SmugMug photo album or my YouTube video. After you watch those two items you will feel like you were at the race yourself.



When the event was over I just sat in the grandstand and watched the crowd leave quietly. Very few people left the race early. Even after the checkered flag flew people took their time leaving the grandstand.







Even with the crowd, that probably touched 100,000 people, it took me less than 15 minutes to get out of the parking lot. Soon I was on Interstate 20 headed back toward Atlanta.



My generated hotel was in Douglasville, Georgia. I would be down there for the night before getting up at the early hour of about 4:30 a.m. Eastern time. Of course that’s 1:30 a.m. Pacific time, the time zone where I should end up my day on Monday.



There were a lot of logistical details that needed to work in order to make this weekend a success. I haven’t gotten back to Southern California yet but up to this point in time everything has worked perfectly.

Good afternoon from Talladega, Alabama.






Flights were tight getting back to Los Angeles. I ended up flying from Atlanta to San Diego. I then hung out in the American Airlines Admirals club affiliate while I waited for the 109-mile flight up to LAX where my car was parked.



I ended up getting home about 4 p.m. I was just a few minutes late for the arrival of our East coast based trackchasing guest. His name goes unpublished for security reasons. No, Carol and I were not playing host to any Dreaded East Coast Trackchasers. No one would want to do that.



It was a good overall trip. I was on the move. There was no time to dilly-dally. After a day at home I would be ready to hit the trackchasing road again. But wait! Next weekend is Mother’s Day weekend. No airplanes for me.







The “Yellowhammer” state

I have seen 23 tracks in the state with no official nickname. Why no nickname? Cost cutting? Who knows? I’ve seen 23 or more tracks in 24 separate 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

Alabama sayings: Trailer:



Some people think of a movie trailer as soon as they hear the word “trailer”. If you’re from Alabama, the first thing to come to mind is either a type of home where many Alabamians live or something to hook up to the back of a pickup to haul things.









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



  1. Randy Lewis, San Clemente, California – 2,320




Total Trackchasing Countries

There are no trackchasers currently within 20 countries of my lifetime total.


  1. Randy Lewis, San Clemente, California – 74




Current lifetime National Geographic Diversity results


  1. Randy Lewis, San Clemente, California – 4.37




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.




I’m beginning to love SmugMug photo albums…..don’t miss my day at Talladega












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