APRIL 30, 2012

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Taking a Look At Eddie Flemke, Jr.

By Brian Danko, Staff Writer
The New Britain Herald & Bristol Press

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Berlin, CT-----It is often challenging being the son of a legendary person, and even more challenging when you have the same first name.

Welcome to the world of Eddie Flemke, Jr. of Southington. Flemke followed his famous father into racing, modified racing, and after his first few races the comparisons started.

“It has always been hard. If I did well, people would say, ‘well, he is a Flemke’ and if I had a bad day, ‘what’s wrong with him.’ Flemke said at work in Berlin where he and business partner, Reggie Ruggiero build race cars at Race Works.

For Flemke, who is starting his 40th season in auto racing, the veteran has teamed up with a new car owner for the 2012 season and Flemke is excited about the season.

Don King, a longtime car owner on the modified tour retired after last year but when Flemke was left without a ride when his longtime car owner, Gary Teto, called it quits, he and King decided to team up.

“Don didn’t solely want to fund the team out of his own pocket. As he told me he can do it but didn’t want to spend his retirement money doing it. Before, the company he owned footed much of the bill but he sold the company last year.” Flemke said.

“We figured out what money we need per race to do this and with help from Ron Bouchard Auto’s and others, I think that we will be fine.”

Since 1990, Flemke has had a handful of the same crew members and they are going with the new team as are some are Don King’s past crew members.

Flemke finished 11th in the first race of the year at the Thompson Speedway in Connecticut and he was pleased with the first outing for the new combination.

“If this weekend was any indication of how we will be, I think we’ll be alright.” Eddie said. “We have the mindset of having fun and seeing what happens but we are not going to go broke over it.”

Flemke said that he and King nearly teamed up several years ago but things never materialized and now that they have he is looking for good things.

As the 2012 season started, Flemke holds the record for the most consecutive starts on the Whelen modified tour which stands at 355, a record that Flemke is quite proud of.

“I don’t want to miss a race ever…until I quit racing.” Flemke said of the distinct record. “I have never won a championship and although I have 17 career modified tour wins, nothing that stands out. This is something that stands out.”

Flemke also says that with the way the modified tour is structured now, he doubts anyone will ever break the record but adds, ‘records are made to be broken.’

Jamie Tomaino of Howell, NJ has made the most starts of any driver missing only five of the 547 race run to date.

“It also says a lot for me that people think I am capable of driving their car and want me to driver their car. This record is something unique. I think if you take out the three NASCAR national touring series, that I have made the most consecutive starts of anyone else in NASCAR racing.”

While Flemke notes he has no championships, he does have two NASCAR modified tour points runner up.

This weekend is the Spring Sizzler, one of the most prestigious races on the 14 race NASCAR Whelen modified tour schedule and while his famous father won the second Sizzler back in 1973, Little Eddie has yet to capture the event. “It would be a great race to win, especially seeing my father won it and the history associated with it.”

Of the 17 career NASCAR Whelen modified tour feature wins that Flemke has earned, he said he would trade every one of them in for just win at the Martinsville Speedway, still one of the most prestigious tracks in NASCAR racing today.

“That would be something to win a race there, especially since my father never did. I would also like to get a win at New Hampshire Motor Speedway and one at the Sizzler. Those would be my three races that I would cherish the most.”

While Flemke may have never won a championship, the personable driver has been a stalwart on the modified tour and is one of the more respected elders on the tour, and that in it self is something to be proud of.

Brian Danko has been covering Auto Racing for over 30 years for various magazines & and racing papers including Area Auto Racing News. His weekly column can be seen "In Print" in The New Britain Hearld & The Bristol Press.

 

Copyright © 2012 Brian Danko