Re: [TrackChasers] 2000 TrackChaser Review Column
This is a great story and will certainly give the trackchasing hobby publicity. Also wanted to thank you for the good job you did writing about our Quebec trip. I received the February 20 AARN on March 3 (not very timely) and enjoyed the article a lot.
Home from school/work for snow day. Third one of winter. We have one more
before we have to make them up. I don't want to do that.
I have copied my column from this week. It is an end of the season
TrackChaser review column. I tried to promote Will's www.trackchaser.com as
well as our listserve. Maybe we can get more people involved. Perhaps our
members that write for other papers could do a similar column, or at least
give the web addresses on how to access the lists, rules, and how to
subscribe to the listserve. With Ron Rhodda, Gordy Killian, Pat
Eckel, and Will White all writing for different papers, as well as myself, we
could really get the word out and get more people interested. We need to get
Will lots of hits on his site, so he will recognize the financial potential
of the Rick Schneider collector's mug.
Column is below.
ROAMING THE RACEWAYS
BY GUY SMITH
TRACKING THE TRACKCHASERS
The year 2000 was a big year for many of the TrackChasers. World Champion
Rick Schneider became the first person ever to see races at over 800
different tracks. Former champion and National Speedway Directory publisher
Allan Brown later joined him in the ���800 Club���. Andy Sivi of PA had the
greatest single year of any TrackChaser in history, picking up a phenomenal
99 new tracks as he jumped from 10th position to 8th. Will White took over
for yours truly as the official TrackChaser statistician, and brought the
hobby into the 21st Century by putting everyone���s lists on the Web and
updating them frequently, thus offering instant access for all, at least
those on-line. White also began a TrackChaser listserve discussion group,
which has proved to be popular and controversial. Finally, Will increased
the World Cup rankings from 10 to 20, with the hopes of making it 25 in the
Rick Schneider took over the number one spot at the end of 1998, and he has
held on to the top spot ever since. The year 2000 was a big year for
Schneider, as he made it to an incredible 80 new tracks. Consider that 99%
of all race fans have never been to 80 tracks in their whole lives, and that
Rick started the year with over 750 tracks that could not be new, and you can
see why Rick is ranked number one in the world and pulling away. Schneider���s
TrackChasing accomplishments are even more impressive when you consider the
fact that he has lived for most of his entire life on Long Island, NY.
Anyone who has been to Long Island knows the problems associated with driving
through New York City to get on and off the Island on a weekly basis. Rick
is a tool and die maker by trade, and this year business was off
considerably. Rick���s employer offered him the chance to cut back to working
only four days a week, Monday thru Thursday. Rick jumped at the chance which
allowed him the chance to get off the Island Thursday evening and attend new
Friday night tracks every week, tracks he could have never visited before
because of work. Rick is in his mid-50���s, and saw his first race at Islip
Speedway in 1952. He has seen races in 37 different states, three Canadian
Provinces, England, Australia, Wales, and the Isle of Man. It doesn���t seem
like Rick is planning to slow down anytime soon. He mentioned the
possibility of being laid off this summer, and if that���s the case he should
cross over the 900 track threshold and make progress towards the Holy Grail
of TrackChasing, 1000 tracks.
Number two in the rankings is the former World Champion Allan Brown of
Michigan. Brown spent three years on top, from 1995-1997, before being
passed by Schneider. Brown���s TrackChasing career dates back to 1947, the
year of his birth. The only professional TrackChaser in the bunch, Brown
publishes his annual National Speedway Directory (P. O. Box 448, Comstock
Park, MI 49321-0448; 616-361-6229) which is an invaluable tool for
TrackChasers and a worthwhile addition to the library of any race fan.
Since the first Directory was published in 1975, Brown has crisscrossed the
country hawking his wares and seeing new tracks. Despite the threat from the
Internet, where track information is readily available for free and updated
more than once a year, Brown���s Directory has tripled in sales since the
beginning. TrackChasers know that while on the road, you don���t always have
access to the Internet. A copy of the National Speedway Directory in the
glove box is standard equipment for TrackChasers. Brown had a good season in
2000, bringing his career total of tracks to 805, becoming the second person
to reach the 800 track mark, and opening up a little cushion over number
three Gordy Killian, who had been closing in on him.
Speaking of Gordy Killian, the famous bread man had another year of almost 50
new tracks to keep him solidly in the number three position. Killian and I
have partnered in TrackChasing for the last 15 years and we have used that
partnership to move us both into the top five. Gordy once vowed to be number
one by the end of the year 2000, but it didn���t happen as both Schneider and
Brown have stepped up the pace in recent years. Still, Killian upped his
third place total to 769 tracks by the end of 2000. While Schneider has the
Long Island handicap, Killian���s job as a bread truck driver forces him to
work on Saturday mornings, severely hindering his weekend departure times
when not on vacation. Killian was born in 1955, and attended his first race
at the Reading Fairgrounds in 1960. Killian is a charter member of the 50
state club, having seen races in all 50 states, plus Canada and Australia.
Killian writes a popular racing column for a Pennsylvania racing publication.
After years of criticizing yours truly for beach vacations with my wife
where there are no midweek races, Gordy���s April 2000 marriage and the
plethora of just plain lousy racing out there now-a-days, has him suddenly
understanding my non-racing vacations and questioning how long he will
continue to TrackChaser on a world-class level. I���m betting he���ll be doing
it for a long, long time.
Yours truly is number four in the rankings, but a full 65 tracks behind third
place Killian. At forty years of age, RTR is the youngest member of the top
ten. In 2000, there was quite a battle for fourth between myself and the
number five TrackChaser Jack Erdman, with Erdman actually holding the number
four spot for awhile during the year. My season ending total of 704 tracks
ended only one track ahead of Erdman. As a high school teacher, my ten weeks
off each summer offer an opportunity to rack up substantial new track totals,
yet my interest in other things and my desire to spend vacations with my wife
result in my almost never going on the road for more than four or five days,
which surpresses my overall total. Still, Gordy Killian and I were the first
to see races in all 50 states, and I and my traveling partner were the first
to see races in all ten Canadian Provinces, first to see races in the
Northwest and Yukon Territories, and first among the TrackChasers to see
races in Puerto Rico, Jamaica, and Mexico. I am also the only one to see
races at over 100 tracks in two different states, yet my total of 117 in
Pennsylvania still falls short of Gary Jacob���s total of over 120 in
California. This column, in Area Auto Racing News since 1981, has been one
of the key sources of new track information for many TrackChasers. As my
total track count is much higher than any of the top three had when they were
at age 40, it bodes well for the future in my attempt to move up.
Fifth in the rankings is the Wisconsin state champion Jack Erdman of Depere.
Jack has come on real strong in the last few years, and has been drafting me
very closely for the past two years. His total of 703 ended the season just
one track out of third place, and a late fall run-in with a deer almost
certainly cost him fourth place. Erdman, at 45 years of age, also has a good
chance of moving up the rankings in the future. The former mill worker took
the money from his company���s profit sharing , proved to be a savvy investor,
and now lives solely off the interest income of his global investment empire.
This lack of a ���9-5��� job allows Jack the luxury of leaving home any
Thursday and not having to worry about being back for work on Monday. If he
really wanted to, Jack could probably blow us all away, but he likes to
balance his new track exploits with a like-amount of racing at his favorite
John Moore is sixth on the list and is our lone southeastern representative,
residing in Knoxville, TN. John was born in 1946 and he attended his first
race at McCormick Field in Asheville, NC. John���s job has him driving to
truck stops, refilling brochure racks. He goes on the road for two weeks at
a time, and gets to as many new tracks as possible. He has been to races at
all 48 of the continental United States, all by driving, and his total now
stands at 674. After two weeks on the road delivering pamphlets, John is
then off for two weeks. At that time he used to hit the road for new tracks
that were not in the vicinity of his delivery route. This past year, John
and his wife took in their grandchild to live with them, and John thinks his
new track total will drop precipitously for some time to come.
Paul Weidman of Rensselaer, NY is seventh on the list. Just three years ago,
Paul was in fourth place, but Paul has averaged fewer than a dozen tracks in
each of the last three years, which has dropped him three positions. Paul in
53 years old and saw his first race in 1958 at Menands, NY. Paul has seen
races in 40 US States and five Canadian Provinces. His overall Canadian
total of 62 tracks is still tops among the top twenty TrackChasers. Paul has
seemed to tire of the long drives associated with TrackChasing, but even if
he continues to add just a dozen new tracks a year, his current total of 623
tracks should keep him on the TrackChaser rankings for many, many years to
Eighth position in the standings is Andy Sivi of Clairton, PA. Andy had the
greatest season of any person in the history of TrackChasing in 2000, seeing
races at 99 new tracks. Only a bad case of the flu in December kept him from
reaching 100. Andy is in a good position to make a move toward the top five,
as he has moved up three spots in the last ten years. A self-emoloyed
certified public accountant, Andy works long hours in late winter, but once
April 15 comes and goes, watch out. Andy was kept at home for several years,
having custody of a teenaged daughter. But the daughter is now out of the
house and Andy is on a roll. He now stands only five tracks behind Paul, and
should pass him in 2001, while making a strong run on John Moore as well.
Andy seems to have the time, money, and desire to move up, and has boldly
predicted to pass me in only two years.
Number nine is P. J. Hollebrand of New York, the son of legendary Modified
car owner Pete Hollebrand, who was owner for Jerry Cook for many seasons. P.
J. started going to races at Spencer Speedway in 1958, and has steadily added
to his total, which currently stands at 612. P. J. has slowed down in recent
years, and has fallen from sixth to ninth in the past three seasons. P. J.
has a TrackChasing handicap similar to Gordy Killian, he works as a mailman
and has to work all but one Saturday each month. Still, P. J. has managed to
see races in 37 states, plus Canada and England. The past few years have
seen P. J. open a racing collectible business, which has further limited his
The final member of the top ten is Roscoe ���Pappy��� Hough. Pappy is our
original TrackChasing champion, and we spent many years chasing Pappy���s
total, which we can best determine to be 564. Pappy has us all beat because
he raced at most of those tracks either as a driver or as a car owner. Pappy
raced before many of today���s highways were built, but he still managed to go
to tracks in 45 states and provinces. Pappy is the only one of us to have
seen races in the District of Columbia, and he is also the only one currently
with Argentina on his resume. Pappy died several years back, and our trophy,
the TrackChaser World Cup, is named in his honor.
Will White has taken over as TrackChaser statistician, and he has expanded
the rankings from ten to twenty. In the second ten we have Norm Wagner of
Ohio in 11th place with 512 tracks, Paul Weidman���s wife Eleanor in 12th place
with 485 tracks. California���s Randy Lewis is 13th with 468 and is gunning
for Eleanor. Boston Bob Blair is 14th with 439. Will White is now 15th with
427. Kevin Eckert of Indiana, the only person in the top 20 younger than 40,
is 16th with 403. The husband and wife team of Pat and Bruce Eckel are 17th
and 18th with 401 and 400 respectively. Reclusive John Osowski of
Massachusetts is 19th. John had 391 tracks as of June 18, but was the only
one not to check in with a year-end total. And rounding out the top 20 is
former Superfan champion Ed Esser of Wisconsin, with 385.
If you would like to see everyone���s complete list, see the official rules of
TrackChasing, see photos of the top TrackChasers, or see one of the best
on-line track directories, with links to the track websites, go to Will
White���s www.TrackChaser.com. If you would like to join the TrackChaser
listserve, and receive all the TrackChaser e-mails automatically, then while
at www.TrackChaser.com scroll down the left column and click on ���Subscribe to
TrackChasers���. Then just follow the directions.
There are changes taking place for 2001. For the first time ever, we have
had a rule change. There was some controversy over whether or not the rule
change would be retroactive. There is currently a proposal on the table from
RTR to increase the eligible voters from the top ten to anyone over 400
tracks who has submitted their list to www.trackchaser.com. There is even
talk of answering our critics by forming two divisions, a limited class to
supplement the more open, overall class. We will have to see what develops.
Meanwhile, we are all getting ready for another season on the road in search
of new tracks.
No column next weekend, as I will be away four days at the PA State DECA
Conference with 59 students. Until then, Pam and I are shoveling out of 941
Lenape Circle, Catasauqua, PA 18032-1004. Phone or leave a voice message at
(610) 266-6128. Fax at (610) 266-6679. E-mail RTR YFBAR@.... C-ya!
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- Guy, What a great column this week.YourTrackside article/rules got me
going originally, hopefully this one will inspire others. I had kept track of
my races before the Trackside deal, but never really knew why. I will never
be in the top 10(or100) but I still enjoy chasing new tracks 10 or 15 times
a year. I could do more I guess, If I could bypass the tracks I know have a
good show week after week.
know it is still a lean time of year, but can anyone help with racing this
weekend? I know of the "Big 3 " in PA(&MD) Anything other than these in the
N.E.?Anything for Sat. is good, but I have to limit myself to 350 miles (from
Canandaigua NY,(Hagerstown is 301) on Sun..