I knew that someday the time for me to retire from trackchasing would come. I just didn’t expect it to come now. Effective January 1, 2021, I am retiring from trackchasing. No, this isn’t an advanced April fool’s joke. I’m not doing this because I want to. I’m doing this pretty much because I have to. The logical question might be why would I retire from trackchasing at this point in time? There are two primary reasons.
I have seen nearly all the tracks. That’s right. There are more than 1,500 permanent racing facilities (ovals and road courses) in North America, primarily in the United States and Canada. I have seen racing at all but about 25 of those tracks. Over the past 15 years, I have averaged seeing racing at well over 100 tracks each year. If I normally see that many tracks in just one year where can I go with only 25 or so permanent tracks remaining for me to see in North America?
What happened to all the Trackchasers? Over the past many years I have enjoyed the friendly competition from most of the trackchasers as we attempted to see more tracks in a particular state or particular year or overall than anyone else. Sadly, some trackchasers have passed away. Many other trackchasers have effectively stopped trackchasing. Even those trackchasers who are still “at it” don’t make many new track visits. Of course, this year trackchasing was majorly affected by Covid-19. Nevertheless, I still saw racing for the first time in 2020 at 72 different race tracks. That was done in six countries and 23 states. Do I have any data to support my assertion that my fellow trackchasing competitors no longer provide any friendly competition? Yes, I do. As you know by now, I am the World’s #1 Trackchaser. There are hundreds of people who have posted a trackchasing list and seen racing at more than 100 tracks.
I took a look at the top 15 Trackchasers who rank just behind me. How did they do in 2020? Not good. I told you that I saw racing at 72 tracks for the first time in 2020.
The COMBINED total of the next 15 trackchasers came out to only 70. Could it be true that the 15 best trackchasers behind me saw racing at fewer tracks than I saw in a single year? It is true. Here’s the data. This list includes the trackchaser’s lifetime total and the number of tracks that he/she visited in 2020. Trackchasers ranked 2-16. Guy Smith – 1,887 – 18 Gordan Killian – 1,554 – 7 Ed Esser – 1,430 – deceased Alan Brown – 1,364 – 0 Roland Vanden Eynde – 1,351 – 3 Pam Smith – 1,111 – 17 Rick Schneider – 1,109 – resigned Mike Knappenberger 1,103 – 3 Jack Erdmann – 1,102 – (deceased) Andi Sivi – 1,094 – 5 Paul Weisel – 1,070 -11 Robert Helmick – 1,042 – 3 P.J. Hollebrand – 936 – 0 John Moore – 911 – 0 Norm Wagner – 885 – 3 Does the data above support my point? These fifteen trackchasers have seen racing at nearly 18,000 tracks between them on a lifetime basis. In 2020, albeit during a Covid-19 year, they saw only 70 tracks combined? Quite a few didn’t see a single track. Effective January 1, 2021. So with the lack of tracks to see and the lack of any competition I have no choice. I am going into trackchasing semi-retirement. Effective January 1, 2021, I am retiring from trackchasing on a full-time basis. I am going into semi-retirement. What will trackchasing in semi-retirement look like? First, I’ll be doing a lot fewer comparisons on my website. I will “sunset”, that’s a corporate word for discontinuing, my trackchasing listing of the annual trackchasing championship winners. I’ve been tracking the chasers who have seen the most tracks in a single year dating all the way back to 1969! That’s more than 50 years. I’m happy to report I’ve taken the title 14 times, more than any other trackchaser.
Trackchasing’s Annual Champs dating back to 1969 I will also sunset the National Geographic Diversity championship rankings. The NGD has been in existence for nearly 20 years. However, with the demise of any active trackchasing competition, the standings rarely change. Over the years the interest in the NGD program has been strong. My website has nearly 10,000 page views from people trying to get more information and see the results from the National Geographic Diversity Program. I maintain that leading the NGD pack is one of the most significant categories in all of trackchasing. Imagine not only seeing racing at a large number of tracks but at tracks spread all over the United States! Below are links to the NGD results since 2003. National Geographic Diversity Lifetime Results National Geographic Diversity Annual Results Simplifying my trackchasing goals. In my trackchasing semi-retirement, I will dramatically reduce the competitive nature of my trackchasing annual goals. I’ll still have goals because I think goals are extremely valuable with anything one does. However, my goals will be simplified and limited to a maximum of three annual goals. By the way here’s a link to the final results from my 2020 trackchasing season. 2020 Final Trackchasing Goal Results
What is my trackchasing future? What WILL I be doing with the hobby of trackchasing in semi-retirement? I will be focusing on posting even more of my trackchasing experiences on my website at www.randylewis.org. As this is written I have seen racing at 2,671 tracks. You may have been a recipient of seeing those Trackchaser Reports I have posted over the years. You probably think by now you’ve seen thousands of them! In point of fact, I have only posted about 49% of all of my track visits, which frequently include a YouTube video and a photo album, on my website. In semi-retirement I will have quite a bit more time to go back and post those “classic” trackchaser experiences that are in the can but that I have never been posted. I will also continue to trackchase on a limited basis. I’ll try to see some of those 25 North American permanent facilities that I haven’t been to yet. I will also be checking off various novelty racing events here and there. I will never ever again see 100 new tracks in a single season again. That’s OK. I’m in semi-retirement! My nearest fellow competitor is almost 800 tracks behind my totals. No one, at least during my lifetime, will ever come close to seeing racing at nearly 2,700 tracks.
In some ways, racetracks on the local level are going the way of the drive-in movie. Each year there are fewer and fewer permanent short track racing facilities. That’s exactly what happened with the drive-in movie industry. I checked a couple of years ago. There were about 200 drive-in movie theaters in the United States. I’m sure there are fewer today. If I had to guess I would say that in 10 years the number of permanent racing facilities in North America will be decreased by a drastic amount. So that’s pretty much my story. I appreciate everyone who has followed my hobby as I’ve done it on a very active basis all around the world. To be clear I am not stopping with my hobby of trackchasing. I will simply be cutting back on virtually all aspects of my contribution to the hobby. My racing/travel newsletter will continue. If you have enjoyed reading my Trackchasers Reports over time or watching my YouTube videos or seeing my photo albums you’ll still be able to do that. All of that past posted information is securely housed on my website. I will continue to post about my experiences on the dramatically fewer tracks I expect to see in the future. I do those postings almost exclusively through my Racing/Travel newsletter. That newsletter is available by simply providing your email address and of course, is provided at no charge. If you’re interested in that newsletter send me a message. So that’s my update for 2021. Trackchasing has been a fantastic hobby for me during retirement from full-time work. Again to be clear I am not stopping trackchasing. I’m simply looking at it from a different point of view. As I peer into the future I see trackchasing taking up less of my time. But…each time I go out on the road I’ll still have the time of my life like I always have. As a matter of fact, Carol and I have a trackchasing adventure planned for this weekend. Randy Lewis World’s #1 Trackchaser San Clemente, California www.randylewis.org