Eddie Flemke, Sr.
Born: August 27, 1930 Died:
March 30, 1984
Home: New Britain, CT
Flemke, Sr. started his driving career in 1948 running in the
Jalopy class. In the 1950's he was a regular at the Riverside Park
Speedway in the Modified division winning the track championship in 1956
In the 1960's he
became the leader of a group of racer's called the "East Coast Bandit's"
that raced, and won all up and down the east coast.
In the 1970's
Flemke, Sr. became known for winning the "Big Money" races as he won the
1973 Spring Sizzler at Stafford, the 1977 Thompson 300, and two Utica
Rome 400's. It is estimated that Flemke, Sr. had 500 victory's in his
career. Steady Eddie retired in 1978 running his last race at Stafford.
Flemke, Sr. was
also known as a chassis expert an innovator, and was a founding member
of NEAR in 1981. Sadly, he passed away in 1984 of natural causes.
Many say EDDIE FLEMKE was without a doubt the "GREATEST MODIFIED DRIVER OF HIS
TIME & MAYBE ALL TIME." Eddie did most of his racing in an era where points and
championships did not pay much money, and winning races did! As Ed once said "you
can't eat trophies." Ed would most often race at a track that was paying a large purse then
one that was giving a lot of points, which is why his name is not on the list of National
Modified Champions. Ed was the original "EASTERN BANDIT" who went to the Southern
Short Tracks and took all their money.
FLEMKE was the innovator of the split spring front end which became known as the
"FLEMKE FRONT END" and was a genius in understanding the working of the race car
chassis when no one else even thought about it. Ed had over 600 wins that can be
documented, and amazingly enough, probably another 300 to 400 there is no record of.
SOME OF ED FLEMKE’S ACCOMPLISHMENTS
Eddie Flemke never won a National Championship, only because he NEVER
pursued it! Ed finished 2nd in the National Modified Standings in 1961
and 1962, when every other driver in the top 10 was South of the Border,
including a young driver who finished 8th in points in 1961 named Bobby
Allison. Ed also finished 4th in 1967, 7th in 1968, 4th in 1970 and 4th
in 1973, when Richie Evans won his First Championship. Ed also finished
in the top 10 in the National Sportsman Points in 1963 and 1964, which
would many years later become the Busch Grand National Division. At that
time the Sportsman would run with the Modified Division with limitations
on the engines. While Ed was taking all the money from the south in the
1950's he also managed to win two Riverside Park Speedway
Championships, in 1956 and again in 1958. Ed is 11th on the all-time
Riverside win list with 22 wins between 1953 and 1979, although he
didn't compete in any races at Riverside between 1959 and 1978, except
several in the ALL-STAR RACING LEAGUE and other special races.
Ed was a mentor to many young Modified Drivers, including Richie Evans, Ron Bouchard,
Don Moon, Dennis Zimmerman, Don MacTavish and Pete Hamilton and many others. Pete
Hamilton, on National Television after his 1970 Daytona 500 victory, credited Eddie as the
person most responsible for his success and dedicated the 500 victory to Ed. Despite all
of Ed's accomplishments in racing, Ed always said it was his most memorable moment in
racing, except for standing on the infield at Riverside Park Speedway and watching Ed, Jr.
taking his first laps on the track.
Ed Flemke, Sr.
Richie Evans (r)
Click Here for 1978 Racing Times Article
Click Here for 1973 SCR Magazine Article
always had a passion for the midget race cars since the days when he
used to warm up his brother George’s midget in the late 40’s. The photo
photo by Jerry Fascione
win in a Richie Evans modified #61
New Britain, CT
Sports Hall of Fame 2005 Inductee
A legend in stock car
racing...first competed in 1948, dominated at Riverside in the 1950's,
winning 22 races and track championships in 1956 and 1958...during the
1960's and early 1970's finished first 24 times at Utica/Rome
Speedway...won 11 races there in 1964, had 10 wins at 100 laps or more,
including twin 200-lappers in 1970...track champion, 1970...by 1960's
had raced from Maine to Carolina, was known as the "Eastern Bandit," a
tribute to his winnings ways and driving skills...in 1960's and early
1970's won 23 times at Stafford including first asphalt race...winner of
the 1973 Spring Sizzler and the Stafford 200, and the Thompson 300 in
1977...mentored such renowned drivers as Pete Hamilton, winner of the
1970 Daytona 500, and Richie Evans, 9-time NASCAR champion.
Eddie - Memories of Ed Flemke Modified Racings Fastest Professor
Author Name: Bourcier, Bones
Coastal 181 - 2007
ISBN Number: 0978926110
Number of pages: 236