SPOTLIGHT: Ed Flemke Sr.
Longtime asphalt Modified racer Ed Flemke Sr.’s career started in 1948 competing in the Jalopy division at New England short tracks such as Plainville (CT) Speedway and Riverside (MA) Park Speedway (both closed). “Steady Eddie” was the 1956 and 1958 track champion at Riverside Park before becoming a persistent traveling racer.
Also known as “The Boss”, Flemke was considered the ringleader of “The Eastern Bandits” which was a small group of racers who competed in bigger Modified events up and down the east coast of the U.S. Other members of the very accomplished group included Denny Zimmerman, “Red” Foote, and Rene Charland. Through the 1960’s and 1970’s the “Bandits” accumulated an abundance of victories.
Eventually the economics of a traveling racer became impractical and Flemke became a frequent competitor at his local race tracks with frequent visits at the Utica Rome (NY) Speedway. By the time he retired from racing in 1978 Flemke had accumulated an estimate of 500 victories which included the 1973 Spring Sizzler at Stafford (CT) Motor Speedway and the 1977 Thompson 300 at Thompson (CT) Speedway Motorsports Park.
Flemke was also referred to as “The Professor” due to his scientific understanding of chassis dynamics and characteristics. He was a racing chassis expert and innovator and mentored many developing racers to stardom including Richie Evans, Geoffrey Bodine, Don MacTavish, and Pete Hamilton. Flemke was a founding member of New England Antique Racers in 1981 and was inducted into the Eastern Motorsports Press Association Hall of Fame in 1995. Ed Flemke Sr. passed away on March 30, 1984 from natural causes at age 53.
Flemke at Stafford (CT) Speedway in 1974. (Howie Hodge photo)
Flemke on pit road during the NASCAR Cup race at Pocono (PA) Speedway in 1982. (Howie Hodge photo)
Flemke at Thompson (CT) Speedway in 1965. (Howie Hodge photo)
Flemke in 1979. (Howie Hodge photo)