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Vegas Grand Prix

Vegas Grand Prix 1

Greetings from Las Vegas, Nevada

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

  Vegas Grand Prix – Lifetime Track #1172

 

The DetailsAttractionsRace ReviewQuick Facts

 

WE WOKE UP IN LAS VEGAS, NEVADA.  WE WENT TO SLEEP IN SAN CLEMENTE, CALIFORNIA.  THIS IS WHAT TRANSPIRED TODAY.

 

 

PEOPLE/STRATEGY/TRAVEL NEWS

Bully

The Strategy                                                                                    

I must tell you, the loyal Trackchaser Report reader, that I am a bit concerned.  I have had three separate people express a similar thought to me in the past several days.  Here is the gist of that thinking, “Why don’t you back off a bit in your trackchasing?  You’re killing these guys.”

 

Yes, it’s true I am leading the 2007 standings and pulling away in the lifetime totals.  However, this is a hobby that is most famous for the saying “what have you done for me lately.”  I can only continue to maintain my leads if I keep trackchasing.  I know that some of my fellow competitors can only hope that I will back off sometime soon. 

 

I had one of the top five worldwide trackchasers say, “I thought Randy would have lost interest in the trackchasing game a long time ago and started to pursue something else.”  Nope.  That’s not going to happen.  I will concentrate hard on spending time with my other hobbies.  I’m happy to report I have played exactly 25 rounds of golf this year.  That keeps me current with my goal of playing golf on as many days as I trackchase.

 

Carol and I have just began our season-ticket program (10 games) of Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim baseball spectating.  I bought a bike and been on the local bike trails several times getting some great exercise.  We have a big wedding coming up in less than a month.  Net, we’re staying very busy. 

 

However, I can’t back off my trackchasing.  This would give my trackchasing fellow competitors some light at the end of the tunnel.  I can’t allow that to happen.  I know that you, the loyal Trackchaser Report reader, fully understand where I am coming from.

 

On to other strategies/goals…………..one of my trackchasing goals is to become the #1 ranked trackchaser in each of the thirteen Western states (except California).  Each time I get another track in one of these states (like today); I’ll post a “Thirteen Western States” update.  You can find that summary at the very bottom of this Trackchaser Report. 

 

 

The Trip

This weekend is Easter weekend.  There is normally very little auto racing on Easter Sunday in the United States.  That’s why I’ve gone trackchasing in England during this holiday period during the past three seasons.  Maybe they’re less religious in England.  Nevertheless, I thought I would take a break from the U.K. this Easter.

 

This is my 25th trackchasing day (plus two rain-out days) of the 2007 season.  This is also my 13th separate trackchasing trip of the year.  Eleven of those have seen me using a commercial airplane as my primary transportation means.  This weekend I’ll be going to and coming from the races in the Carol Lewis owned and Life of Virginia sponsored Lexus LS 430.

 

Coming into this weekend I have traveled 49,410 with my 2007 trackchasing.  How many of those miles were handled with our family vehicle?  Just seventy-two!  I’ll never wear out the “big Toyota” this way!

 

 Black minister

The People

I received an interesting phone call this past week.  The call was from Reverend Wayne Gibson of Evansville, Indiana.  Long-time Trackchaser Report readers may remember a trackchasing trip I took to the Midwest about four years ago. 

 

During that trip, I had the opportunity to visit my grandfather who lived in Evansville.  I was really just passing through and called him on only one-day’s notice.  My timing was perfect.  On the night I would be visiting my grandfather, who was in his mid-80s at the time, his plan was to be part of a jailhouse religious ministry that evening.  I was invited to tag along.

 

This was an eye-opening experience for me.  That night I was allowed to go into the county jail and observe my grandfather and two local ministers “administer the Lord” to three separate groups (one of women and two of men) of inmates.  On that night I met Reverend Wayne Gibson.

 

Reverence Gibson is a leading black minister in Evansville.  During the breaks between groups he and I had some spirited conversations about his vocation.  We really didn’t share the same beliefs on how best to worship the Lord.  Nevertheless, we had a solid intellectual discussion on the topic.

 

A few days later Reverend Gibson called me.  He had more to say about how he felt the Lord should be worshiped.  During our conversations he learned that I worked for Procter & Gamble.  Many of you may know some of the background regarding the rumors that have persisted that P&G is somehow connected to “devil-worshiping.”

 

Reverend Gibson shared a similar concern at the time of our meeting.  Apparently, his wife had a much deeper feeling about this.  According to Reverend Gibson, his wife felt so strongly about a potential link between Procter & Gamble and the devil that she would not buy any P&G products for her or her family.  She even tried to dissuade others from buying P&G products.  Imagine a family in today’s world trying to live without Pringles, Tide, Pantene Shampoo, Folgers, Oil of Olay, Charmin, Bounty, Pampers, Crest toothpaste, Nyquil, etc!

 

I tried to point out that Procter & Gamble was a company made up of more than 100,000 employees around the world.  Did he think that all 100,000 employees were brainwashed and secretly held company meetings where we sat around in the light of burning candles and worshipped the devil?  True be told, I really did think he believed that!

 

Well……..this past week my couch-sitting Masters golf tournament viewing was interrupted when my cell phone began to vibrate.  I didn’t recognize the incoming number but answered anyway.  It was Reverend Wayne Gibson of Evansville, Indiana.  It took me a while to jog the cobwebs of four years ago.  He reminded me of who he was and where we met.

 

He told me he was calling to apologize.  Just recently, several Amway distributors (competitors of Procter & Gamble in the soap business) had admitted to spreading the “devil worshiping” rumors about Procter & Gamble.  Their admission drew large monetary fines from the federal government. 

 

Reverend Gibson was also calling to tell me that his wife “was O.K.” with Procter & Gamble now.  That was a relief to hear!  We talked briefly.  Reverend Gibson asked me if I had a bible.  I told him I had access to one anytime I needed it.  He seemed pleased to hear this.  It was an interesting and very unexpected call.  I’m sure it took a lot of guts for him to make the call and I’m glad he did.

 

 

 

Trackchasing Tourist Attraction!

 

Mama Mia!

 

Last week had me going to Atlanta for the NCAA Final Four basketball tournament with a couple of new tracks thrown in for good measure.  This weekend finds Carol and me in Las Vegas for a stage production show with a new track thrown in.  No, we would not have come to “Sin city” if the Champ Car World Series were not running an event this weekend.  However, the entertainment highlight of the weekend was the stage production of MAMA MIA at the Mandalay Bay Resort, not the Vegas Grand Prix.

 

Las Vegas is not one of my favorite places.  It used to be, back in the “olden days,” but not now.  It’s expensive.  However, I can handle that, I just don’t like it.  It’s hot.  However, I can handle that, I just don’t like it.  The main thing I don’t like about Las Vegas is that it’s simply too crowded.  I mean this place is packed!  I’ve been coming to Vegas since 1974.  My, how the place has changed.

 

There are two main tourist locations in Las Vegas.  First, there is “downtown.”  This is where the whole “Las Vegas story” began.  I actually like staying downtown.  The hotels are all within easy walking distance from one another.  There’s a more intimate feeling downtown.  Everything seems just a little smaller and easier to manage.  The downtown hotels have been upgraded and the Golden Nugget Sunday brunch is the best.  Today’s race is even being held downtown on a temporary street course.

 

The other location that draws the tourists is the “strip.”  The Las Vegas Strip runs along Las Vegas Boulevard.  The strip is nearly two miles long now.  They keep imploding the old hotels (they just blew up one last month) and building gigantic multi-thousand room goliaths in their places.

 

The intersection that houses four hotels including Excalibur and the MGM has 15,000 rooms in total.  Can you imagine the vehicular and foot traffic that comes with having 15,000 rooms located around just one cross street? 

 

On Saturday night, the busiest night of the week, we attempted to drive down the strip at 9 p.m.  We wanted to take a look at all of the neon lights the strip provides.  The Las Vegas strip hotel signs are awesome.  It took us 25 minutes to go two blocks along the two-mile long strip.  We had to give up and turn off on a side street.  It likely would have taken us TWO HOURS to go TWO MILES down the strip.  I don’t know anywhere in the world where the traffic is this bad.

 

Another major drawback to the traffic is the stoplights.  Las Vegas has the longest lights of anywhere in the world that I know about.  I simply put the car in park and zone out while I wait for the light to change.  It’s the worst anywhere.

 

Nevertheless, there is always a silver lining to every dark cloud or I wouldn’t come back to the metaphorically cloudy landscape of Las Vegas.  Since we had to be here for a street race (not one of my favorite track types) we should enjoy ourselves.  In addition, since Trackchasing’s First Mother (that would be my first wife Carol) was along for the ride, everything gets upgraded.  No, there are no Motel 6’s, no overnight sleeping in airports, etc.  It’s Vegas baby! 

 

First of all, to beat the traffic but not the expense, we stayed at the Embassy Suites.  This is one of my all-time favorite hotel chains.  They offer a two-room suite that includes two TVs and three phones.  There is a complimentary cocktail hour and free cooked to order breakfast.  The Embassy Suites on Swenson Street is about one mile off of the Las Vegas strip right next to the Hard Rock Café Casino.  The Atrium of our hotel is one of the most beautiful I’ve seen.  Parking is free and very convenient located.  There are some hotels where it can take you 20 minutes to go from your room to the hotel’s parking garage!

 

The hotel did have some minor downsides.  First, there was a $9.95 charge for the high-speed internet.  Carol went to buy a standard sized postcard in the hotel’s gift shop.  The price?  $3.00!  Of course, we avoided these two rip-offs and were a bit disappointed in the hotel for offering these amenities in this way.  In addition, the hotel does not have a casino.  That’s not a major drawback for us since I no longer gamble in places like Las Vegas.  Although at one time that used to be the ONLY reason I came to this Vegas.

 

Editor’s note:  Later in the day Carol walked across the parking lot to a CVS Drug Store.  There she found the post cards she was looking for, for just 33 cents apiece.  They were even larger than standard no less.  That’s what I like about this girl.  Even those she has a few pennies in her piggy bank, she doesn’t waste them.

 

The major highlight of this trip was seeing the stage production of MAMA MIA.  Las Vegas hotel developers have created many large, beautiful and modern theatres recently.  The theatre at the Mandalay Bay Resort is no exception.  The place seats about 2,000 people and is sold out every night.  MAMA MIA even has two performances on each weekend night.

 

When I fly I would rather fly in coach two times compared to first class one time if the overall price were the same.  When visiting an entertainment venue, I would rather see the show from an excellent seat one time versus seeing two different shows from a faraway seat if the overall price were the same.

 

This trip has been planned for some time.  I had presented Carol with several entertainment choices when the trip was being planned.  She picked MAMA MIA.  At the time, I didn’t know the first thing about this production.  Five minutes before the show began, I still didn’t know a thing about it.

 

However, I liked our seats.  We were about three seats off center in the fifth row of this huge theatrical venue.  What a great seat location.  The show was excellent.  I gave it a solid A, Carol went with a B.  If you like singing, dancing and just pure fun, you’ll like this romantic comedy.  We’ve had some very good luck with our Las Vegas shows recently.  I think one of the secrets to getting a good seat is planning ahead.

 

If you want to stay on the strip, the Mandalay Bay Resort hotel is one of the best.  It is at the far end of the strip.  That would make walking to other resorts somewhat difficult.  I think I’ve discovered why these resort builders make them so big.  They are destination hotels.  If you stay at a place like this there is so much right on property there is no reason to fight the traffic and people congestion to go anywhere else.

 

The Mandalay Bay has about 10 very upscale restaurants.  A top of the line shopping center is just an escalator ride away.  There were 3-4 major entertainment shows of one kind or another going on.  They have one of the largest “sports books” where you can bet on virtually every sporting event in the world, except Nevada college games.  I was surprised to see the Cubs are 5:1 choices to win the World Series.  That probably says more about the betters than the baseball team.  Of course, they have gambling, but after seeing all the restaurants, shopping and entertainment, that almost seems like an afterthought.

 

Yes, trackchasing takes Trackchasing’s First Mother and me all over the world.  It’s a great excuse for getting us off our butts and out of the house to see what’s on the other side of the freeway.  I like that.

 

 

 

 

Vegas Grand Prix 2

 

VEGAS GRAND PRIX, LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – TRACK #1,172

 

This was my 18th lifetime track to see in the Silver state.  My state rank is #2.  I continue to hold a comfortable lead over third place chaser, Carol Lewis, in the state that calls the Bristlecone Pine its state tree.  Gary Jacob leads the state with 20 tracks.  A relatively low 39 worldwide trackchasers have seen at least one Nevada track.

 

This is Carol’s 11th lifetime track to see in Nevada.  She also has a comfortable lead over Mssrs. Alan Brown and Ron Rodda who have six tracks in the state where the Mountain Bluebird considers itself the state bird.

 

 

RACE TRACK NEWS:

 

VEGAS GRAND PRIX

This being Easter weekend, it is unlikely I would have flown “back east” to trackchase.  There just isn’t much racing action in the U.S. on this weekend.  Weather-wise that was all the better.  It’s the second weekend of April and New York received a foot of snow.  The Master Golf Tournament in southern Georgia had temperatures in the high 40s with 20 M.P.H. winds.

 

It was not cold in Las Vegas.  At 5 p.m. on Saturday when we headed out to our casino show it was 93 degrees!  At race time on Sunday it was 79 degrees.  Personally, I don’t like any of the weather listed above.  I’m a “65-75” degree kind of guy.  That’s exactly what the daytime temperature in San Clemente is more than 95% of the year.  We have perfect weather.  We just don’t have any racetracks in our town.  That means when I travel to see tracks, I am much more than likely going to experience temperatures that are not to my liking.  That’s one of the reasons that trackchasing is usually a “one and go home” type of hobby.

 

Last weekend’s Sunday race in St. Petersburg, Florida was a “street race” for racers from the Indy Racing League.  From a racing point of view, I didn’t care much for that one.  Nevertheless, every new track is an experience and the race in St. Pete fit that bill.

 

Today’s race in Las Vegas is a “first-ever.”  Some trackchasers never miss a first-ever event.  They fear the place will never run again, so they better see it now.  Sometimes they are right.  I’m not a big one for having to see a track the first time it ever races.  I have nearly 1,300 tracks in North America that I have not seen yet.  If a “first-ever” track gives up the ghost after just one effort, I’ve still got nearly 1,300 other tracks to chose from.

 

By the way, I did see the “first-ever” race at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway where the NASCAR Nextel Cup races are held.  That was about ten years ago.  The IRL Indy cars were racing.  Often a “first-ever” track in a major market can draw a huge crowd.  The Las Vegas Motor Speedway did that day.  They brought in about 75,000 people.  It took us three hours to go 12 miles from downtown to the track.  After the race, it took another three hours just to get out of the parking lot.

 

Vegas Grand Prix 4

 

The track and grandstand had barely been completed in time for this race.  Through some special connections, I had tickets that would put me in a special V.I.P. suite to view the race.  Those tickets had a face value of more than $500.  Alas, our suite had not been completed and I had to find a seat in the sold out grandstand.  Of course, nowadays Indy car racing isn’t that good.  The “first-ever” crowd recognized that.  The next year when the Indy cars showed up only 10,000 fans came out to watch!  Today, the Indy cars no longer even race at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway, although the track does sell out for the NASCAR stock car race.

 

Today’s “Vegas Grand Prix” was attractive for several reasons other than it being a “first-ever” track.  It was Easter weekend and I didn’t have that many other trackchasing options.  Vegas is relatively close to our home.  It’s just about 300 miles from door to door.  In the trackchasing world, that is pretty much just across the street.  Finally, the track’s general location lent itself to a quality “Trackchasing Tourist Attraction.”  It was for those reasons that I chose to subject myself to another street course race so soon after the St. Petersburg snoozer.

 

AT THE TRACK

Our first stop was to find a place to park.  Most downtown casinos were charging ten bucks to park in garages that are normally free.  We ended up at Binion’s Horseshoe Casino, where we parked free.

 

Can you imagine what a racetrack that was 2.44 miles in length would look and feel like in downtown Las Vegas that has several multi-story hotels?  We didn’t know what to expect.

 

It took us a few minutes to find a ticket booth.  The first one we found was no longer selling tickets.  We were looking for general admission tickets at the stated price of $50.  Again, I appeal to Trackchaser Commissioner Will White to consider my plea.  Please let me make a contribution equal to the ticket price of events like this to the Trackchaser Old Age Retirement Plan and Sunset Home.  I will make the financial contribution in lieu of having to physically attend tracks like this.  Of course, I would get credit for attending the track in my lifetime totals. If this offer had been accepted years ago when it was first offered the pension plan would be fully funded by now.

 

A track volunteer near the ticket booth that wasn’t selling tickets tried to help us out.  We were directed to board a shuttle bus.  The bus was to take us out by the start/finish line.  We were told we could buy our tickets there.  Carol and I jumped into the back of a long line waiting to get on 25-30 passenger shuttle buses.  Nearly one-half hour later we were boarding a bus for a 10-minute ride out to the main grandstands.

 

When we arrived I approached the ticket booth.  I told the woman we wanted to buy general admission tickets.  She told me general admission tickets were not being sold here.  If we wanted general admission, we would have to go back to where we had come from.  I wanted to argue with her, but I am trained to not initiate an argument when it will do absolutely no good.

 

She went on to tell me that I could buy reserved tickets from her right now for admission to the main start/finish grandstand that loomed in the background.  Yes!  Reserved seats at this point sounded like a good idea.  I’ll take two I told her.

 

She asked me which row in the grandstands we wanted.  We could sit in rows 1-12 or 13-24.  The lower level seats would cost $151 dollars each.  The upper level seats would set us back $187 each.  Wow!  I looked at the ticket pricing sign.  These were the reserved ticket prices for all three days of this event.  We were only here for Sunday’s racing.  Nope!  They did not have “Sunday only” pricing.  If we wanted to get reserved seating, we would have to buy a three-day ticket.  I don’t mind being ripped, but I draw the line at rape.

 

We began to head back to the shuttle bus.  We would return to the main general admission area and see how we could do.  Just at that point a stranger emerged from the shadows.  He had a ticket option for us.  How do I run into these people?

 

He told us he had two of the $151 each tickets.  These tickets would get us into the main grandstand as well as the three very large paddock pavilion areas.  How much I asked.

 

Him, “80 dollars each.”

 

Me, “We only wanted to pay 50 bucks for general admission.  I’ll give you $50 each.”

 

Him, “No how about $75?”

 

Me, “No, I can’t do that.  I’ll give you $60.”

 

Him, “These are really good seats.  I need $75.”

 

Me, “No I can only go $60.”

 

Him, “All right.  You’ll like these seats.  They’re together (they weren’t.)”

 

As I examined the tickets closer, I noticed they were “comp” tickets.  That means my “friend” didn’t pay anything for these tickets.  I wondered how many of today’s fans were here courtesy of free tickets.  I suspect a lot.  Nevertheless, I didn’t begrudge this man making money from his free tickets.  This was a win/win situation.  He made money and I got in for a dramatically lower price that what I could have bought the tickets for through official channels.

 

We were in the front gate.  Yes, the issue of counterfeit tickets did cross my mind, but I’m a risk taker.  We paid $120 for what the general public was being charged $302.  Yes, that’s partially how I got ahead in this game of life.  You might not feel comfortable operating this way.  That would be O.K.  I look at it in simple caveman terms.  My job is to “hunt and gather.”

 

We headed for the stands.  The race was to begin at 1 p.m.  We still had twenty minutes.  We bought six dollars worth of bottled water and eight dollars worth of dippin’ dots ice cream.  We picked up a race program for free.

 

I will tell you right now we couldn’t see much.  The track’s front straightaway was directly in front of us.  When the cars were at speed, we could see each one for about five seconds until they went out of view.  I asked Carol to give me a time on how long the cars were OUT OF OUR VIEW.  Her answer was 80 seconds.

 

I need some help here.  Sometimes I think people are out to lunch (figuratively) and it’s because I don’t understand their dilemma (point of view).  What am I missing?  We could see the cars for five seconds.  Then we couldn’t see them for the next 80 seconds.  That just doesn’t sound good to me.  I’m perfectly willing to share the feedback that any reader can provide me as to why I’m getting a good deal out of this.

 

The program listed just 14 Champcar starters.  They actually had seventeen start the race.  That was more than I expected.  I have now seen 1,172 different racetracks.  I have followed the sport for more than 40 years.  With all of that experience I only recognized the names of three of the seventeen drivers racing today.  How bad is that?

 

Today’s race was a timed event.  The race length was 105 minutes.  The first car to cross the start/finish line by 2:50 p.m. would be the winner.  I’m pretty sure this time was picked so that post race interviews could be wrapped up by 3:00 p.m.  Then the TV broadcast could end on time.

 

To start the race, the 17 cars came down to the flag stand.  The starter didn’t like what he saw and threw the yellow flag.  The announcers told us that even though the yellow flag had been displayed the race had officially started and the 105-minute clock was ticking.  The cars drove around the road circuit slowly and then in SINGLE FILE formation took the green flag on what amounted to lap two.  What the @#%^&^ was that?  This ain’t your father’s Indy cars.

 

On the first GREEN flag lap two of the cars crashed out in the very first turn.  They had a couple more yellow flags in the first few laps.  The entire experience wasn’t all bad.  The P.A. was excellent.  The two announcers were very informative.  They saved the day in contrast to the absence of a P.A. system at last week’s street circuit course in St. Petersburg, Florida.

 

By mid-race the cumulative effect of those five-second racing segments were really starting to add up.  Some 30 laps had been run.  I calculated that as being about 150 SECONDS of racing that I had actually seen with my own eyes.  We had been at the track for about one hour of the race and already seen nearly three minutes of racing.  All right!  I chide because I care.

 

At that point, we decided to take a quick peek in the three paddock pavilion temporary buildings.  These enclosures were huge.  I think they are used for the Las Vegas convention crowd to house their commercial exhibits.  The racer’s semi-trailers and all race paraphernalia were inside today.  They also had commercial displays and souvenirs.  It was a nice break to see this part of the race program.  We would not have been able to enter the paddock area had we purchased just general admission tickets.  

 

With 30 minutes remaining before the checkered flag was to be thrown (yes, it was 2:20 p.m.) we hopped on a shuttle bus back to downtown.  We figured we would watch the last part of the race from there and be close to our car when the race finished.

 

The shuttle ride took ten minutes.  I asked the shuttle bus coordinator how they were going to get the fans out of this area and back to downtown after the race.  There just didn’t seem to be enough shuttle buses.

 

He told me there were just 2,000 people to move.  He also revealed they had 15 buses.  According to him, it wouldn’t be a problem at all.  Now let’s just think about his comments.  Each bus might have held at most thirty people.  The round-trip time each bus would need to go from the start/finish line to downtown and back was 20 minutes, maybe a little more.  Now you’re a smart person.  You do the math.  It was going to take a good deal of time to get these folks back to downtown.

 

For the last 20 minutes of the race, we found a nice spot in one of the general admission grandstands.  This must have been a much better seat than what we had just left.  We could see the cars for EIGHT seconds at a time, not just five!

 

When some of the favorites would come by, their fans would stand, hoot, and holler.  Then they would sit down for about a minute and a half and then hoot and holler some more for eight seconds.  Forgive me, but I think these “fans” are absolutely nuts.  I didn’t see any scars on their foreheads so as far as I know they have not had frontal lobotomies.  By the way, I can honestly say that I did not personally see any car pass any other car with my own eyes. 

 

We wrapped up our day by having the famous shrimp cocktails at the Golden Gate Casino.  Then it was off to battle the famous Sunday night traffic from Vegas back to SoCal.  This may be the heaviest Sunday night traffic, week in and week out, anywhere in America.

 

 

CAROL’S COMMENTS

First, she didn’t think much of the lobotomy comment, but then she’s not writing the report.  Here’s what she did have to say.

 

It was pleasantly warm.  The tag team announcers were very good because there was a lot of lag time.  This seemed like such a big project to construct the track, bring in the stands and fencing for just one weekend.  These were the best open wheel racers I have ever seen.  They were bigger, longer, faster and more nicely painted than anything I’ve seen. 

 

Editor’s note:  Note, she did not saying anything about the racing or the fact that we did not see ONE PASS all day.

 

Las Vegas show girls

 

Back to Carol’s comments…..Regarding the Las Vegas show girls in attendance…..they were skinny and pretty and probably had had some work.  The weirdest chick was the one wearing shorts and combat boots.  Her tattoos ran up her calf, and then up her thigh, were camouflaged by her shorts and then resumed up the entire middle of her back. 

 

We were lucky to get free parking.  We were lucky to get the tickets we got when it looked like we were going to have to get back on the shuttle bus. 

 

 

WEATHER CONDITIONS

It was 79 degrees when we arrived at just past noon.  As the afternoon wore on the sun became more intense.  I suspect the temps maxed out in the mid-80s.  Given what the rest of the country was getting today, we were in great shape.

 

RENTAL CAR UPDATE:

No rental car today!  The Carol Lewis owned and Life of Virginia sponsored Lexus LS 430 would move us around in first class comfort on this trip.  This is a most excellent road car.  When we were out in the middle of the desert, I asked Carol to look out on the landscape and estimate our speed.  She guessed 65 M.P.H.  We were going 80!

 

Saturday total driving miles –  299

Sunday total driving miles – 306

 

I paid $3.40 per gallon for the premium fuel that my Lexus requires.  We traveled 605 miles round-trip.  I feel guilty using my own car for trackchasing purposes.  I just feel like I am wearing it out for no good reason.  My overall per mile fuel charge was 14.4 cents.

 

 

LIFETIME TRACKCHASER STANDINGS UPDATE:

 

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

 

1.  Randy Lewis, San Clemente, California – 1,172

 

2.  Allan Brown, Comstock Park, Michigan – 1,106 (-66)*

 

3.  Guy Smith, Effort, Pennsylvania – 1,090 (-82)*

 

7.  Ed Esser, Madison, Wisconsin – 986 (-186)**

 

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

 

** Special exemption.

 

 

LIFETIME NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC DIVERSITY STANDINGS

2007 (current thru 3/26/07)**

 

1. Randy Lewis, San Clemente, California – 7.00

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.

There is no one currently ahead of Carol within 10 tracks of her total.

 

31.  Carol Lewis, San Clemente, California – 310

 

32.  Chris Economaki, Ridgewood, New Jersey – 302 (-8)

 

33.  Gary Jacob, Turlock, California – 301 (-9)

 

 

2007 TRACKCHASER STANDINGS

 

1.  Randy Lewis, San Clemente, California – 34

 

2.  Ed Esser, Madison, Wisconsin – 21

 

3.  Mike Knappenberger, Reading, Pennsylvania – 17

 

4.  Carol Lewis, San Clemente, California – 16

 

5.  Guy Smith, Effort, Pennsylvania – 13

 

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

 

6.  Roger Ferrell, Majenica, Indiana – 8

 

8.  Gordon Killian, Sinking Spring, Pennsylvania – 7

 

9.  Linda Rixon, Watford, England – 6

 

9.  Spike Rixon, Watford, England – 6

 

9.  Paul Weisel, Orefield, Pennsylvania – 6

 

 

Tracks have been reported by 30 different worldwide trackchasers this season.

 

 

Thanks for reading about my trackchasing,

 

Randy Lewis

#1 Trackchaser Living West of the Mississippi

The brave may not live forever, but the cautious do not live at all. 

 

 

 

CUMULATIVE TRAVEL DISTANCES:

 

AIRPLANE

No plane today.

 

RENTAL CAR

No rental car today.

 

PERSONAL CAR

San Clemente, CA – trip begins

Vegas Grand Prix- 308*

San Clemente, CA – 605 miles – trip end

 

Total Air miles – Zip 

 

Total auto and air miles traveled on this trip – 605 miles

 

TRACK ADMSSION PRICES:

Vegas Grand Prix – $60

 

Total racetrack admissions for the trip – $60

 

 

 

UPCOMING TRACKCHASING PLANS

I’ll decide next Monday/Tuesday which direction I will head next weekend.  I’ve got to get as many tracks as possible before Cinco de Mayo.

 

In the business world, the U.S. is often divided up 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 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 gain at least a tie for 1st place.  I’m looking forward to spending more time than usual is this great part of the country.

 

Alaska – 9th – 3

Arizona – 1st

California – 2nd – 51

Colorado – 3rd – 2

Hawaii – 3rd – 1

Idaho – 3rd – 2

Montana – 2nd – 1

Nevada – 2nd – 2

New Mexico – 5th – 2

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.

 

 

 

[WPP][/WPP]


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