"Flemington Speedway Memories"
Volumes could be written about the great drivers and the years of exciting racing at Flemington... We thought it'd be there forever...
Above image provided by Bob Lowery. Bob took this photo in 1961 from his "regular seats" in the top row under the covered grandstand at Flemington.
(CLICK ABOVE FOR AUDIO:)
HERE'S AN EXCLUSIVE FOR THE VAULT FAITHFUL FROM THE ORIGINAL TAPE USED ALL THOSE YEARS AT FLEMINGTON PROVIDED TO US BY "THE VOICE", BILL
...a visit to see an old friend.
Click Here for Photos From John Fahey From 2003
The Final Visit to Flemington
Tribute to Flemington Speedway...
The Final Day.
(turn up your volume!)
Photos as the dismantling begins... Brian's Story:
A Kid, a Speedway and a lot of Heroes
Flemington Reflections From Paul Garzillo Dave Spurlin Recreates the Past... Photos From 2005 Flemington Reunion (from Bobby Armbruster)
It was probably taken with a Kodak 110... and it's not really all that clear, but for many of us, this is the view that we'll never forget. You're part of the Flemington Faithful and tonight you're sitting somewhere in section 3 or 4 in the first turn at Flemington... And there's Sammy and Red side by side going into 1... followed by Grbac and Chamberlain, and then Craig McCaughey and Pete Madsen on the inside.... or maybe it's Stan in the #111 tonight... Looks like Freddy D in the middle... Just another night at the Square...
"The Greatest Show on Earth"
The pace car makes one last visit (right) 3 Wide photo, and Ace Lane's Photo Stand (left) from this Oct 2004 Fred Hahn photo.
Your Flemington Memories:
We listed below some favorite racing and non-racing memories that might make you say "Hey, I remember that..." We hope you enjoy this page and we're counting on you to add your memories below too!
Add your FLEMINGTON MEMORIES Click Here or email us at: email@example.com
Steve Lancucki 06.18.12
The best memories of my childhood were at Flemington with my dad, mom and sister every Saturday night sitting in the stands between turn 1 and 2 watching Dennis Amerman #44. My dad helped Dennis every week get the car ready for the next race and always let me tag along and get all greasy, sit in the car while he tuned the engine or take a ride around the farm on the kick out while Dennis drove. Who could forget Labor day weekend, the fair, sprint cars (my dad loved the sprint cars) the tractor pulls ,the rides and food.I wish every kid could experience that, it was the best time of my life.
Thank you Flemington for those memories - Steve Lancucki
David Daniels 02.17.12
My very first stock car race was at Flemington Speedway in 1975. My Grandfather took me after the air show was completed at McGuire AFB. We sat in the covered grandstands behind the starter.
I'll never forget the infield pits, packed with race cars. I had a bad headache from being out in the sun all day so all I was good for was four Sportsman heat races until I begged my grandfather to let me sleep in the back of the car and then go home.
It wasn't until 1988 that I came back to watch a race during the fair weekend. Myself and a friend hung out later with Buck Ward's team after the races to help load up a badly crashed racer of his. After the track was paved I made a lot of races as a spectator as I was preparing a Late Model racer which never made the track. I think my last race at Flemington was 1996 when the Nascar Super Trucks raced. I purposely sat in the grandstand seats where myself and Grandad had sat knowing that someday it would all be gone. I felt this in 1995.I just knew it.
I have some video from 2000 of some of the property that I filmed while enroute to Billy Pauch's seminar and open house that day. I think back to the time I first heard Johnny Ice Cream peddling his goods in 1975 and I still to this day look up Johnny to buy ice cream, as a momento of the good old days of being a kid and going to see my first race with my Grandad.
Douglass Dupper 09.10.11
Early 1980's in July I was living in NYC after the races I was heading back to the city. It was a terribly dirty night and I was covered in dirt. I took rt. 78 to the New Jersey turnpike; it was a little after 12 midnight and when I got on the turnpike right by Newark airport a NJ state Trooper pulled me over for speeding.
I rolled down my window as the trooper approached he pulled out his gun and yelled "put your hands on the wheel and don't move, I'll blow your head off" I was like what is going on. He said" why do you have cameo on your face" I yelled back "I was at the races at Flemington and it was very dirty" He looked at me still with the gun in his hand and asked me "Did Pauch win" I said yes he did!!!
The cop laughed and walked up to my car putting his gun away he says "Kid you scared the shit out of me" I said to him." Hey you got a gun - I'm the one who is scared" we talked for a few minutes about the races and he let me go without a ticket. My legs were shaking badly.
It's a night I will never forget!!!!!
Mark Tresch 03.27.11
My dad and i started going to the fairgrounds in 1954, at that time, we sat in the box seats along the front straightaway, at that time, the fans were within a few feet of the fence, with only a chain link fence for safety. All the years later, we sat in section A, top row.
I raced TQ"S for a time, but, remained a loyal fan. I cherished the memories of seeing all the greats there. I always dreamed of racing there, or at least getting to run on the track, at some point, in the 90's and until the track was brought down. I joined the National Oldtimers Club, and ran my vintage midgets there on the dirt, as well as the pavement there. It's hard to explain, but when I got out there, I could feel the power of the spirits of the drivers of those years gone by, in the air as you drove on the speedway, I'm sure others felt the same presence of those racing legends as I did.
Thanks, Mark Tresch Sayreville, N. J.
Larry Tomar 01.29.11
My first race that I ever attended was at Flemington in 1964 when I was a freshman at Rider College. Two of my dorm buddies, one of who is current AARN scribe Don Davies, took me there and I was hooked once I heard the roar of the engines. When I saw what was happening on the track I was astonished and could not believe my eyes.
I fell in love with Joe Kelly in the #87 and he became my first racing hero especially when he drove the Fodor #13. On that night racing became my number one sports passion which has continued today even as I turn 65.
I was there Billy Pauch made his debut in the rookie class, I've seen awesome races countless flips, including Freddy Adams infamous backstretch ride. Unfortunately I was also there the night that Ed McVay died when his car was upside down and was hit by another one of my favorite drivers Kenny Gill.
Even though I moved to North Carolina in 1971 we always took a trip or two back to Flemington. I even loved the track when it was paved, the racing was still just awesome. Luckily I've been able to enjoy a part time career in motorsports writing stories for Stock Car Magazine, Speedway Illustrated, AARN, and others as well as being the track photographer at Bowman Gray Stadium, Caraway, and Ace Speedway. I even got to manage Ace for 5 years before getting back into the insurance business but it all started that one April night in 1964 at Flemington and I've never been the same since.
Tim Fritts 12.16.10
Sitting in turn 3 getting clobbered with wads of clay during warm ups.
Falling on my butt about 5 times trying to cross the track, after a thorough watering from the purple tanker.
Waiting at the crossover gate to the pits until Stan the Man showed up with that clean, fast, winning #27 & trying to get pictures for my ma.
Watching my stepdad, George Forsythe in the blue #562 put a hurting on the rest of the field, to the tune of half a lap, during a heat race, only to get a late caution & during the yellow flag laps make a hard left into the pits with a flat tire. Very heartbreaking . At least for a few laps everyone at the track that day watched the blue 562 tear it up & George showed them he came to race !
I can still hear the country music coming from the track speakers as we crossed the track to get to the pits, sitting in the back of Georges pick up, hauling the race car. pull up to pit entrance & hear them yell, " ok kids, hop out, you can't get in the pits til after the feature. And oh yes, after the feature heading right for the pit entrance to see all the cars, drivers, & drama & just be part of the action after a long nite of hard clay racing. I miss it so bad it hurts, I would've spent the rest of my life there if I could! Tim Fritts c/o 1975-1990
Ricky Cosmillo 10.05.10
Hello, Ricky Cosmillo here, I would like to express my sorrow regarding the demise of the greatest track on the east coast, Flemington Speedway. My dad started racing go carts back in the 50's and eventually raced ARDC midgets for a while before I came around in 1958 and my mom told him,"no more racing". Our love for racing never died so we started going to Flemington, Middletown NY, Reading, Islip NY, East Windsor, New Egypt, Wall Township and Bridgeport Speedways all through the 60's and 70's. Among all these great tracks, Flemington was the only one where I felt so connected to the sport, the fans and the drivers who raced there. Back in those days at Flemington, we would go into the pits afterwards and meet all the drivers who were really into talking to the fans. They loved the attention and respect they all deserved. I will never forget those modified battles between Stan "The man" Ploski, Sammy Beavers, Oliver Butler, Al Tasnady, Billy Pauch, Ken Brenn, Chip Slocum and Kenny Brightbill among countless other great drivers.
URC Sprints and the ARDC Midgets were also very special to me. I was amazed at how they could average speeds up to 120mph and stay on the track turing in 17 second laps that were awesome. Some of those amazing drivers like Leroy Felty, Bucky Barker, Buck Buckley, Harry Benjamin Duane Carter, Danny Caruthers, Lee Earnshaw, Dutch Schaffer, Toby Tobias and others always brought a packed house at Flemington, the greatest track that ever lived. God bless you, you will never be forgotten.
Brian C. Loutrel 01.16.10
I was driving through Flemington earlier this week (January 2010). It was the first time I had been in Flemington since 2005. I went on Route 31 North past the traffic circle to where the speedway used to be. I saw that it was the Raritan Town Center, with a Lowe's and a WalMart. My first reaction - We replaced a one of a kind speedway with a shopping center with a WalMart and a Lowe's!!!! I decided to drive around the parking lot.
I saw the water tower that was behind the stands between the first and second turns. Remember the "EATON" logo on it? I did. As I drove to the back of the parking lot, I remember getting to the speedway at 3:00pm for a 6:00pm start and watching the cars enter the pits through the backstretch gate. It is now WalMart's parking lot. I drove to the side of the WalMart parking lot where the short chute between the third and fourth turn used to be. I saw the Flemington Executive building - that was the multi-story building that was built in the mid-1970's to the north side of the speedway between the third and fourth turns. I got misty-eyed.
Why was the speedway that I and countless thousands of other fans went to for decades now gone? I was upset and mad. Upset and mad at the Kuhls - why didn't they continue to run the track and convert it back to dirt? Upset and mad at Hunterdon County. Why did the Hunterdon County officials allow the area around the speedway to be built up so that a dirt track speedway was no longer feasible?
But then, a conversation with my father many years ago came back to me. My father was born in 1920 and his hobby was photography. He went to tracks all over the Northeast each weekend and took pictures that were published in racing papers, mostly the old "Illustrated Speedway News." As we began to attend Flemington in 1970, he told me about the countless number of speedways in the Northeast he say disappear between 1950 and 1970.
So now I saw it for myself. I saw East Windsor die. I saw Reading die. And I saw Flemington die. Flemington - my favorite speedway.
Good bye, Old Friend Flemington. You are gone, but you will NEVER be forgotten.
Brian C. Loutrel
Greg (Hawky) Hawkins 11.14.09
I went to the speedway since I was five (5) years old till the day it closed. I worked for some great driver's like Craig Mc Caughy, Stan Ploski, Phil Cox, Jeff Kuhl, Jim Brown, Armin Hess Jr., Rich Polenz, and Billy Pauch. We use to sit on the fourth turn, when I was old enough to get in the pits it was a no brainer that I would never sit in the stands again. Being asked to work on someone's racecar was one thing. But going from a crew member to crew chief was an honor.
I miss going to the track, when going to Motorsports or to a Mall shows it brings back good memories. I still keep in tough with my racing family, one of my neighbors was a flagger at Flemington (Smitty). You know people always say when something old is turn down, something new is put in it's place that's progress. I feel every time I go to Wallmart or the Steakhouse, Lowes that this isn't progress it's just bureacratic bulls**t.
I remember going to Lowes when they firsted opened with my wife, being asked to leave because of my comment in the lumber department about here's where we used to have our pit area til they put this dam store here. I didn't care anyway I was just getting my point across.
I'm just a old farm boy, dam proud of it. At lease we will always have memories if nothing else, all the good times we had no matter if we won or not, all the good friends we made, beer we drank at the beer garden, all the stories will tell our children, grand children for years to come
Jeanne (Nadeau) Hartman 07.08.09
I was just 5 years old the first time i went to Flemington speedway. and I will never forget that first experience, it was truly magical, unforgettable, "just the beginning."
Back then, we parked in the infield, on turn #2. of course at such a tender age, (5) I dont remember, every detail of the evening.. I know it was loud, and it was VERY EXCITING!!!.
The one memory that stands out over everything else, was Billy Mason Sr. he and his son, Billy Mason Jr, were both in the "novice" division (later called sportsman). I loved Billy's car. Ii thought it was so pretty. turquoise blue, and sporting that big diamond 2 on the side...
Billy went on to win that very first feature event, that I had the pleasure of attending...
Back then, the drivers drove around to the front stretch, and got the checkered flag, to do their victory lap.
Well, as billy drove his victory lap, that flag flying proudly out his drivers side window, Icheered for him as he drove by, and I'm guessing he must have heard me, because he waved that checkered flag at me, ME!!! I was ecstatic!! That sparked my love and devotion to not only racing itself, but, began a love and deep respect for Billy Mason Sr himself, that spanned through most of my life to this point.
I always called Billy, "my first racing hero." and I told him that!! He was very flattered, and we stayed in touch for MANY MANY years after that.
Well let me tell ya this. You were hard pressed to keep me away from Flemington Speedway after that first visit. I like to say, it was my second home.
I literally grew up there and Flemington Speedway saw me through a lot of hard times,
Certainly not the least of which was the death of my father in march of 1965, a heart breaking failed relationship, just to name a couple.
That race track allowed me to forget my problems for a little while. Every Saturday night for so many years, you could find me right there.
I was a serious fan, of Al Tasnady, Gerald Chamberlain, Doug Hoffman, almost like a racing mom to Shannon Conner, and Steve Whitt.
There were so many GREAT times there, almost too many to mention..
The most sorrowful time in my life was when I realized, we weren't going to be able to save it from demolition.
Now a mall sits there. I was so heartbroken, I had to move.. I JUST HAD TO. If i go back to visit, to this DAY!! I can NOT drive by.
Well as in the beginning, I said my favorite memory of Flemington Speedway is that of, Billy Mason Sr, and that checkered flag that he waved at me..
Sadly we lost Billy on October 17, 2008. He lived to be 87 years young. to my knowledge, he was still farming.
Billy I just want to say,
Thanks for the memories.
I still love ya.
Your lifetime fan,
Jeanne (Nadeau) Hartman
Ken Stull 06.20.09
My memories of the great Flemington speedway began when I was 12 or 13 years old . I would ride my bike to Hoop Schaible's garage and he would let me ride to the track in the race car on the car hauler which was a GMC flatbed truck painted orange to match the racer . Quite a thrill for a young guy of that age to ride to and from Flemington in the race car .
Couldn't wait to pull in the back gate to hear the words.." Ain't nobody in the car is there Hoop ? Hoop would always reply with .NO , I can't let anybody ride in there ! Next was the stop at the pit gate where I would jump out the passenger side of the car and go running for turn two in the infield . We had a real gang that would be there weekly to cheer for all the locals like Hoop , Spike Allen , Barney Swope , Wilbur Force , Horace Drake , Tom Moninghoff , Wilmer Markly , and so on . For a small town
The Upper Black Eddy area had some real talent
The track may be gone but ALL those memories will NEVER leave and there will never be another SQUARE ! When they came up with the
name " MODIFIED COUNTRY " it fit appropriately cause in the day some of the best racers around could be found there !
Ken Stull Millford, NJ
I'll never forget Flemington. I was a third turn rowdy with my wife and a few friends in the late 70's. Bill Singer calling the shots. The dust was legendary. I still can't explain it to my kids. One ear packed in dust an the car a new color.
As a kid my dad took me to the Trenton Speedway often and I loved the voice of that announcer. Imagine when I got to the purple circle at 19yrs. old and Singer was on the mike.
I became a Sammy Beavers fan in that Caddy. Ken Brenn had the sweetest ride.
When they told me it was flip city they were not kidding.
Anybody remember Fisher flipping down the backstretch end over end about 7 times?
I bought programs but I loved the one with past feature winners and my uncle Tommy Bradshaw was listed as a winner.
A fast track, best of the best in NJ. I remember the World of Outlaws there and Doug Wolfgang set a USA record of 146.+ MPH track speed for one lap.
I will never forget that track.
I also grew up at the track. My Uncles were other race car owners and drivers. My Dad and Uncle (Bud & Hank Laukaitis) were a small time owner/driver partnership. They raced on dirt for URC. They had an Auto body shop in Philly in the 50's and 60's and we used to spend all our summers at various tracks. I looked at the pictures of the track and I could smell the fuel. Thanks so much for bringing back all the names. and the sounds. smells.. I'm 8 years old again and asking "How's Uncle Hank
Kevin Paustian 04/09
I could always remember going to Flemington Speedway with my dad back in the 90 when it was dirt. I remember watching Billy the Kid Pauch own that track every time he went there. My dad worked for the towing company that was there back in the 70 n 80. He always told me stories about Flemington from back in the day. I was there for the first year it was asphalt now it is a sad site to see. I can never drive past the place n look at it again knowing that it is a shopping center. The thing I could remember about Flemington was the fair. The tractor pulls, the monster trucks, the jet melt down. I wish the track was still there n wish it was dirt again. I will always remember it as my home town track
Charline Baker 12/29/08
My father always stated it was exactly 181 miles from our home, near Georgetown, Delaware, to Flemington but that didn't stop us from being there most Saturday nights in the late 50's. 60's and 70's.
My Dad was involved with Georgetown Speedway so we were there on Friday nights and just went and prepared to leave Sat about 1 PM for Flemington. We drove up the New Jersey Turnpike in my Dad's Studebaker station wagon always loaded with various persons wanting to go to Flemington. The kids usually had to resort to the back of the station wagon in order to have a place to sit. It didn't matter to me because we were on our way to Flemington!
Our trip involved going through Bordentown, Trenton with usually a stop for at the Circle Diner. If we were running late we have racetrack steaks-hotdogs for dinner. Since my Father went into the pit area we parked in the infield, first turn. As kids we could walk along the pit fence to see Dad and the drivers. I had to walk across the track to get to concessions and the bathrooms. You just wanted to make sure you were where you wanted to be when. "Close all gates," was announced. Occasionally we would sit in turn one and watch the cars coming straight at us. Later in years we sat in the covered grandstand, row 7, next to the first turn.
I absolutely loved racing on the "Flemington square". You either loved or hated Tas, and many others. My family traveled to many race tracks over the years. To me the race fans at Flemington were the most in the know regarding the track rules and they weren't afraid to voice their opinions if they thought someone was getting wronged. If need be, I remember a few nights when the fans took over the front stretch. My Dad had a 53 Studebaker Sportsman that was driven by Jimmy Smith at Flemington. George Harrison from Georgetown would also drive at Flemington in his X, sometimes a Studebaker, sometimes other cars but usually X was his number.
I will always remember Flemington. So sad it is gone!
Debra Weaver 11/01/08
As a child I grew up at Flemington, Pitman, Nazaerth, and Langhorne. My Dad built cars for Lucky Jordan, so we made the rounds of all the tracks during the season. At Flemington we were always in the infield where us kids could run around. Dad was just on the other side of the fence in the pits, while Mom sat with the other wives and girlfriends keeping an eye on us kids.
I remember the restrooms were on the other side of the track, and sometimes it was a LONG wait til the heat was over and we could get across. As a child I loved going to the Flemington Fairgrounds because it was like a fair all the time. There was a woman who always was in the low stands under the trees. Us kids always looked forward to seeing her because each week she tinted her hair to match the outfit she had on. I thought that was so glamorous!
The races there were so up close and personal. The cars weren't very far away and there was always the danger a car would come flying through the fence at any time. Tex Enright, Jackie Mclaughlin, Will Cagle, and Bob Pickle were all friends of my parents, it felt like everyone was family so anytime there was a wreck it was personal.
I just found this site, so I didn't know the track was gone. It was a special place.
Jeff Martz 10/15/08
I have many memories of isma supers at Flemington and they were all great; also the dirt/asphalt modifieds were good to; so were the nascar modified tours i saw there; i really miss the track!! bye jeff martz; scranton pa
Mark Makuch 09/09/08
In the late 80's after marriage and the birth of our first child, racing trips were far and few between, but one night, I believe 1988, my old racing buddies were making a trip to Flem (as we called it). After getting the "ok" to go I got ready. A racing shirt , the obligatory red bandana for dust, a few bucks ,I turned to leave the house . In saying good bye, my wife said,"it would be really nice to get your daughter a racing shirt or something". Smiling, I kissed them both and off I went.
We all piled in one big vehicle and off we went across I 78 into Jersey we went. Pulling off 31 into the lot was always a rush. Throughout the evening, I thought what to get Maggie. Between fast heats, a few brews and food, I wondered throughout the souvenir area. It seemed no one had a shirt that would fit a one year old child. Then I finally spotted the Trenton Mack Table. YES !!! they had one for a small child, heck it even had a "cute" bulldog on it !!!
Of course by the time I got home she was asleep, but the next morning, she wanted to know what I got her. Her eyes opened wide at the red shirt with the 704 on it and she slipped it on right away! THANK YOU ,DADDY !!------it was still kinda big on her.
My favorite Flemington memory!!
Two final thoughts, the next year, I took her to a race, Williams Grove I believe, and you should have seen the older women looking at my little girl with that racing shirt - the "ahhhhhhhhhhs"! And finally, and sadly, somewhere in here growing up and outgrowing this shirt, we gave it away or it got tossed......... What I would not do to have that little girl back and THAT SHIRT !!
Don S. 07/28/08
Undoubtedly some of the most indelible memories I will ever have in this or any other lifetime!
Attended my first race in 1972, hence my all time favorite driver- 1972 rookie champ Ken Brenn JR.!
Unbeknownst to me, watching my current favorite driver Frank Cozze steal a few!
c.. Flem-man doing his thing!
Starter Harry D under that hat, face black as coal except for where the goggles where.
e.. Bill Singer's unmistakable voice!
Ice Cream Johnny!
Admiring the "Anybody But Pauch" tee-shirts.
Gerald Chamberlain making it look easy- blindfolded!
Fritz Epright jumping into John Katchensteins humble, unassuming #265 sportsman ride and blowing away the field during smallblock modified events!
The unforgiving 1rst turn wooden fence.
Watching, right in front of me, as Doug Hoffman sent Billy Pauch rocketing across the asphalt into the outside 4th turn gaurdrail full-on. I felt for him that day, it's a wonder he walked away at all. After that the big styrafoam blocks showed up!
The Demo Derby's!
The Tractor pull's!
The Car Melting Jet Engine Spectacles!
Riding home in the back of my then best friend's brothers hauler throwing modified "Dirt Bombs" at every road sign we could find.
Turning my now best friend and then future wife onto "Modified Country Dirt Racing".
(They say the more things change , the more they stay the same...)
It's Legends night here at New Egypt Speedway. I'm right here with my family, up behind the flagger's stand sitting in the "Flemington" seats howling my lungs out because Frank is out winning his heat race! But wait, Pauch won his too. Is HE going to steal another one?... Where's that tee-shirt?
Oh brother, maybe I should just cool off . Where is he?... THERE HE IS! JOHNNY, UP HERE, WE'LL TAKE FOUR PLEASE!!! Oh yeah, after this I'm going to march right down to the old timers tent and get KEN BRENN'S AUTOGRAGH ONE MORE TIME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
(Yes, the track is gone but the memories will never die.)
Tom Walker 07/17/08
Thank you for putting together this website, I really enjoy it. I would like to offer a few of my own memories and perhaps add to them from time to time.
My first visit to the track was the summer of 58, I was 10. My Aunt Grace and Uncle Bob were regular attendees and they took me along on this Saturday night. They were personal friends of both of the Farley's, Ed and Les and both were driving sportsman entries as I recall.
They were tried and true Tasnady fans and it didn't take much coaxing to get this 10 year old to become hooked. We always sat in a box seat on the fourth turn side of the flagman's stand.
I remember Vince Conrad's car always being in the corner of the pits next to turn one, always. There was something about that rig with the converted telephone truck as we called it and everything painted up to match. It is firmly implanted in my 60 year old brain.
I remember a guy who used to sit on the very top row end seat of the grandstand (south end) who would yell "give-em another lap" when he thought that some driver/car was being given a break to get back on the track after a caution.
I remember marching music being played over the PA system before racing began and during intermissions.
I remember anxiously awaiting the arrival of the 44 car on the back of the Cozze Brothers flatbed sometimes just in time for Taz to make the consi. We would breathe a sigh of relief when it came into view behind the backstretch.
I remember a feature race with the 44 the 111 and the 026 running nose to tail at the front for many laps but not necessarily in that order. I would love to have that photo, which is also well preserved in my memory. That would be the red 44 of Tasnady, the gold 111 of Jackie McLoughlin and the white 026 driven by Bud Olsen as I recall. That would be a tough act to follow at any racetrack anywhere I think.
Does anyone remember McLoughlin showing up with the white No. 2 with the wing on the back and totally running away with the feature? I think it may have been contested at some point, but it was the fastest thing there on that night. As I recall the wing was nothing more than a car trunk turned upside down and mounted on the back of the coupe with some pipes or support rods welded on.
These are just a few of my earliest memories.
Tom Walker Glen Gardner, NJ
Jerry Lewis 03/15/08
I remmber when I was a kid siting in my grandmothers back yard and listing to the cars go around the track n remmber hearing the fans yell when bill pauch would hit the wall when I would get the chance to go I would love smelling the fumes and coming home dirty I never went to much when it was asphat but I seen a couple of races there.
Roger McCloughan 01/24/08
Flemington Fair Speedway was a part of my life from age 7 to when it was recently sold and then demolished. I went with my Dad and with friends to "the races" in the 1960's and remember seeing "Tas" (39 Polecat), Frankie Schneider (#2), Joe Kelly (Fodor #13), Sammy Beavers (#7 and #43), Stan Ploski (#27), Mike Grbac, Jackie McLaughlin, Dick Havens, Jackie Hamilton, Budd Olsen, and many other boyhood heroes. The old wooden outside fence wasn't too forgiving - I think Freddy Adam totally demolished his car one night by hitting the fence on the backstretch and flipping over 6 or 7 times! Stan Ploski also demolished the Cozze Coach #27 one night on the 3rd turn in warm-ups! I remember seeing this happen because I used to sit on my uncle Joe Williamson's Studebaker pickup in the 3rd turn infield and watch my cousins Leon and Ronnie Harrison race Sportsman in the 8-TEEN and 19. While we watched, my Dad was always on the fire crew on the 4th turn. A highlight was always going to the pits after the feature to see the cars and drivers up close.
I also loved the Fair and came every year for Fireman's night (Friday), and the ARDC midget and URC sprint races on the weekend. My family owned stock in the Fairgrounds, so we took a special interest in everything there.
I continued to attend almost every week throughout the 60's, 70's, 80's, and 90's and had even more heroes: Gerald Chamberlain, Glen Fitzcharles, Billy Pauch, Larry Klein, Kenny Brenn, Phil Meisner, Rich Polenz, and many more. I loved the Grant King modifieds. We had a close group of friends who sat in the "Covered Grandstand" right in front of Paul Kuhl, so we heard throught his intercom what was happening. When the track was paved, we disagreed but still continued to come and watch the NASCAR modifieds.
Most beautiful cars? Al Tasnady's final 39 Polecat, Budd Olsen's 0, Pat Woglemuth's 168, Ken Brenn's first #24 driven by Stan Ploski, and the Trenton Mack #74's. Favorite driver? Stan "the man" Ploski - we considered him a neighbor, since we lived in Ringoes.
Now, I almost cry when I drive by the old fairgrounds and see the emptyness. With Flemington now only a memory, there is a void in the community that may never be replaced.
Chris Singleton 01/18/08
my name is chris and i am frm england. i lived in Flemington for a short time in the early part of 2000. i was a regular to the track on a saturday with my son ;and after some persuasion my good lady .the site brings bk sum gud memorys for me ; sad to see that the track has now gone .having seen first hand from an outsiders view people frm around the area really did enjoy wot it had to offer. its unfortunate that times are changing, but ar memories wont.
Kyle Ammon 08/14/07
My Dad met my Mom at Flemington Speedway in the mid 1980's. He had a friend that had the 265 that raced there. When he got the chance later to race he went to Flemington and raced but didn't have much luck there. We always had something happen to the car.
When we were time trialing for the Race of Champions, we blew the motor, and then the other time blew a tire.
I always remember sitting in Turn 4 every time we went to the track. My favorite part of the track was the restart line in Turn 4 with the Christmas lights that went green or yellow. The cool part of the track was when "charge" played when they went green.
My dad went on the track when they were taking stuff down to get ready for demolition. Whenever we by the track I get sad. We have pictures of my dad's car there. The one picture that we have is my dad going out on the track with my uncle on top of the trailer.
Every time I go into the trailer, I think about the track. It stinks that there making it a shopping mall, like we don't have enough shopping malls around. There's a shopping mall down the road. This is dumb local track are becoming fewer and further in between.
Wayne M 08/14/07
I have so many memories of Saturday nights at Flemington. Stan, Brightbill, Sammy, Billy O, Tom Eppolite and my buddy Dom Ragno. How about Larry Taylor driving one handed and Gerald Chamberlain spending most of the night on three wheels. I joined the Air Force before they paved it and saw a USAC Silver Crown race with Billy Pauch driving when I was home on leave. I'm glad I never saw it paved. Drove by last Saturday night and almost vomited when I saw it would be a Walmart.
Tom Woodward 06/29/07
Although I wasn't much of a race fan I do remember taking in a race or two during the Flemington Fair days. I can't remember any of the drivers names nor who won any races but i do remember the excruciating load noise from the engines and the dirt flying everywhere.
Ssometime during the late 60's early 70's my dad, who had become a dealer for a contraption called the "Aircycle", which is what we today call a Hovercraft, took several to the Flemington fairgrounds to demonstrate them in hopes of getting many orders. Because these vehicles used a two cycle, two cylinder engine that was still in it's infancy, the spark plugs kept on fouling and halfway around the track the engine would quit and the machine would sit lifeless until the plugs were changed. After this happening several times I think most of the public lost interest and I'm not sure my Dad ever sold one of them.
Back home they were fun to drive down the lawn and onto the pond, although we found out the bank was too high for them to negotiate their way out of the pond. good thing they floated!
Tom Woodward Milford, NJ
Ken Lance 05/17/07
I read everyone's memories of Flemington Speedway from the 70's and earlier. I left Jersey and moved to Florida in Dec. 68. My Dad, Mom, Brother and I went every Saturday night in the 60's. We drove from Califon to Flemington every Saturday night. We would park on turn 3 infield and would stand along the fence just inches away from the track back then. I would be rooting for Taz and Sammy Beavers, Bobby Pickle, Will Cagle, Les Farley, Ed Farley, Two Gunn Oakley, & a truck driver for my dad's trucking company, Al Becker. My Dad knew all the racecar drivers then on a 1st name basis. I still have the pictures of them from those days.
I watched the Craftsman trucks race there on TV and just let my mind wonder to the days of dirt and and the fun my older brother, Rick, and I would have. I went back a couple times in the late 80's and the cars were just not the same to me. The Track was paved and the dirt was not in the air. So sad these days. From time to time I get out the old movies that my Mom took and watched the racing that I remember. I wish they had sound in them. At least they were in color. That was a great time and place for a kid to grow up in New Jersey in the 60's.
Rob Reilly 05/02/07
Really fantastic site, and great memories, all.
Two memories stand out for me: 1) How Buzzie Reutimann had such awful struggles time and time again at Flemington in the dirt (he could have won many here), and 2) the seemingly incomprehensible speed that the ISMA cars achieved there on pavement, lapping as fast as 13 seconds at a hair under 154mph!. I took a great friend from Rio De Janeiro there to watch ISMA in 1995 or 1996. We wound up in the box seats just south of the S/F line. Not having ever seen short track racing, let alone winged supers, I watched as he leaned forward in anticipation of the green flag as the supers rolled into turn three. When he witnessed the pure eruption of open-wheeled speed and maneuvering as they entered turn four, he lept to his feet and RAN at full speed to the top row of the grandstand, screaming "DUDE, IT'S TOOOO DANGEROUS!" When he calmed down to the point where I convinced him to come back and sit down, he said only, "unbelievable" over and over and over again. I clearly remember the Christmas tree lights at the S/F line staying horizontal for most of that feature. Pat Abold dominated. I think it was fifty laps, and it was over in about eleven minutes. The funny thing was, I clearly heard Abold's engine go off, losing a cylinder about halfway through the race. Didn't matter though, because he was HOOKED, and continued to open his lead until the checker flew, cruising home a convincing winner on only seven cylinders. After the race, we went pitside to confirm my suspiscion, and indeed, he had give up a valve....
And my friend was RIGHT--it was too dangerous. You had to experience it for yourself to believe it.
After reading everyone eleses memorys i dont think theres mutch i can add.i grew up in port murry and washington as a youth.returned from fl for a fiew years from 79 to 83. liveing in warren county N.J. was farm country, a culture thats long gone.flemington was part of that for me .flemington was americana.i knew dave pace and his sons bob and gary..i know that we all have to move on in life but reading these memories brought a tear to my eye,,a fiew times..belive them when they tell you the fried chicken was SMOKIN!..served in a little red and white checkered boat....i think what menny here have excspressed is not just the dieing of the best dirt trac speedway on the plannit earth but a little of our american culture dieing...ive been to tombstone az. it was cool but flemington pissed all over tombstone. nothing will ever compare to flemington.i go to speedweeks at volisua co.fl..its about 20 miles down the road from me. i go douring the summer too. its part of my culture as an american .its what i do.flemington was what started this for me. and i will go untill there is no more trac to go to.and i will always remember were i came from and always know that there will never be any dirt trac like flemington..what we all witnissed togather was somthing like seeing a ufo..we tell people what we saw and they think your full of bovinebiskits. and all we have to prove to them what we witnessed is the testamoany of the people on this page..i feel verry lucky to have witnessed sutch high qwality racing at a 1 of a kinde speedway.and i will always use flemington as a mesureing stick to compare too. we saw the bast life had to offer and we all know it. THANKS FOR THIS SITE
Frank Deltona, FL
DJ Everitt 04/02/07
I grew up in northern NJ and my father and I made Flemington Speedway our home from the 70's through the mid 80's. My father growing up in nearby New Hope, PA made it is home as well when he was younger through the 50's and 60's. My father also sponsored races a couple of years at the Pine Brook Speedway in the late 70's through his business, Maaco Auto Painting. We moved to CA in 1984 but would make trips once a year to visit family in NJ and PA and made it a point to take in a race at Flemington each time we came back. When they paved it, we took in a couple of races but the interest faded as there was nothing like dirt on that track.
My father moved to be closer to me in Charlotte, NC this past Nov. Unfortunately, he passed away in Jan due to complications from pneumonia. We layed him to rest in New Hope and while I was there, I passed by where the old Flemington track used to be a few times. One of those few times I was passing by was with my ex-wife who was nice enough to bring my 2 year old daughter from Boise, ID to my father's funeral. We were passing by where the track use to be and I couldn't help it but to start getting emotional. Not only because of the great times my father and I use to have, but because of what had happened to what I called "the greatest dirt track in the country". My ex thought I was getting emotional again because I was thinking of my dad when I told her that I was getting emotional because of what happened to my favorite race track of all time.
That is what the Flemington Fairgrounds Speedway meant to me. It was a very big part of my life. A part of my past that I will always relish. Thank you for designing this website as it brings back so many great memories.
Chris Voorhees 03/04/07
I only ever saw one dirt race at Flemington, when they paved it I was about 6 years old. I do however remember wearing goggles, crunching dirt between my teeth, and falling down the grandstands that one night.
I remember going to Flemington every Saturday night for years and years with my father and stopping at ACME and grabbing a bunch of 10 cent store brand sodas and whatever else i wanted to eat on the way. Then we were on our way, we were on our way with no further stops to go see the races, we would see haulers on the way and guess who it was, I remember my father always saying "This is what it looks like to pass em" or something like that. It was a great father and son tradition for me.
I remember when we would get in eyes view and I could see the grandstands, and the parking lot and the fences and saying to myself "Were here!" Pulling into the parking lot seeing some of favorites on the haulers waiting to get in. But when we got to our seats and I sat down next to my Uncle Fred (Voorhees) coming out of the forth turn, I knew it wasn't far from seeing the action that I had come to love. Open the cooler grab a soda and sit and wait for the anthem and racing. I would sit and wonder how Skip Turyonis in his number 8T modified and Kevin Collins in his number 12 modified and Phil Cox in his Late Model was going to run that night.
When it was race time, I would hear the sounds I came to hear, the smells I came to smell, the fun I came to have. When it got dark and the heats were over I remember watching my Uncle Fred writing on his tablet so fast I couldn't read and keep up, he was in a trance, a trance put on him by Flemington to catch all of the action in writing. And after all of the action was over for the night was the ride home thinking to myself "can't wait 'til next week." Sunday morning waking up and reading that weekends program for the 97th time and telling my mother how much fun I had with Dad.
The track is gone. The sounds are gone. The smells are gone. The cars are gone. The memories that made up the best part of my childhood will always be with me. So thanks to everyone who made Flemington possible for so many years, and thank you to my Father, without him I would never know the true thrill of short track modified racing - Thanks Dad
Erick Weinstetter 02/05/07
I only went to Flemington Speedway a few times but I still remember my favorite drivers and that track has some painfull memories for me. My freind Ken Zanolini was a regular spectator and took me a few times. We could make it home if we found the car buried under a ton of dirt.
I picked my favorite driver cause I liked his car it was white and blue I think, his name was Billy Pauch. This must have been late 70's. My friends favorite driver was Kenny Brightbill who I think raced a black and gold car.
In 1980 I was just becoming a top local BMX racer and that year they had a NBL National on the infield of the racetrack. It had a horribly designed section, but I was determined to master it in practice since everyone else wasn't taking it. I crashed and went to the hospital. I returned in time to watch the races start and a top factory female racer Kathy Hanna (sister to mx legend Hurricane Bob Hanna) also crash over that section in one of the first heats.
They fixed it after her crash bringing bulldozers but it was to late for us, she had a broken wrist and me a separated shoulder and would miss the next 2 nationals and that years chance for glory. Bad Bad Flemington Speedway memories lol.
Daniel Shultz 01/16/06
Living only a mile away from the once famous Reading Fairgrounds( which is now a mall), I considered Flemington the next closest thing to Reading. Once I got my drivers license and had permission to use the family car, Flemington was the place to go on Saturday nights with my friends, when the car was available. We had so much to talk about, that the 2 and a half hour drive didn't seem long at all. Will Pauch win again ?, Will Ralph Rue shock everyone ?, Will Brenn or Bateman dominate tonight ? were just a few of the topics. Before you know it, we were there, rolling down our windows, buying tickets and looking at purple and white everywhere. When I bought my first car, we were a fixture at Flemington every Saturday night. We had cook outs behind the 1st and second turns. Once we heard Bill Singers voice, we knew it was time to get to our seats. As we climbed up the stands, the water trucks and packing cars were pulling off the track. Here would come the purple pace car and the national anthem would begin. We knew we were in for a great night of racing. Hot laps were important to watch, so we could see how our favorites were going to do that night. Goggles on, eating dust, we didn't care, this was "Modified Country".
I remember sneaking in the trunk of my friend's big car from time to time. Getting there early and just walking around and watching the cars line up at the pit gate to sign in. I still have my jar of dirt they were handing out the last night anyone would see the mighty modifieds kick up the dust on the dirt square for the last time. When the announcement came that they were going to pave the famous dirt square, my friends and I knew Flemington would never be the same. I gave the pavement a chance for a season or two, but it just wasn't the same. Car counts were lower and the stands were no longer as full as when it was dirt. I would rather eat dust than watch the cars drive the corners instead of broadsliding like on the dirt. Non the less, another announcement came upon me, Flemington was closing. Nobody can take away the memories I have of one of my favorite tracks, Flemington. Be it, the dust, the smell of good food cooking, the fair itself, the fans, Bill Singer's voice, Harry Dee's magical hands as a flagman and most of all, the exciting racing. There will never be another Flemington Fair Speedway. Looking at one of my many "Modified Country" programs from time to time that I collected over the years, brings back those memories. Flemington will join a sad list of race tracks I've seen close. Reading, Dorney Park, Nazareth, East Windsor, Penn National and a few others. Goodbye Flemington, your gone, but not forgotten.
Wow, what a ride. Well it"s gone, but what a place it was. I was a fan of East Windsor at first. I heard Bill talk about Flemington on the intercom so i finally got my dad to haul my ass up to Flemington. one saturday night. He worked three jobs one being at midnight 7 days a week. So I got some good seats front row right next to the fence. I ate dirt for a week. So the second week we moved up under the grandstand. What noise it made. Then I turned seventeen. Up to Flemington I went with this girl. She loved it and I loved the ride home.
I always enjoyed just watching the people. All kinds enjoying themselves and the people that hawked there wears. Especially Johnny the ice cream /popcorn guy. He was a blast did he ever not smile?
The biggest moment I had was when the Outlaws came and a had a front row seat. I was not ready for the speed they produced. I thought some one was going home not living. After seeing that every thing seemed to slow down.
Thanks for memories. The food wasn't bad either. Who in the world was the french fry girl? She worked at East Windsor too. I got caught looking at her with the girl I took up there when I was seventeen. She could make some fries.
27/15/3/81/24/$/ harry/ bill/ paul /al/and the rest - Thanks for the great moments. I did get to take my son there when he was 5. He loved it
PJ Wyer 12/05/06
World of Outlaws Show..late 80's. Billy the Kid starts on the pole, not sure which car but pretty sure was local. 1st lap Billy going into turn 3 as only he could right on the inside fence and Kinser passing him right there on the inside of 3. Race over. Very impressive.
Gary Pino 11/09/06
I dont even know where to start.
This site is awesome. I am a jersey boy at 38 years of age, and I spent almost every Saturday at Flemington. I was a big Fitzcharles, Brenn, and oh could Buck Buckley rip that place up when the URC sprints came to town. Too many memories for me. The instant smell of the fuel and chicken walking across the street from the parking lot. I can still hear that fat guy scream, "Ice cream and Peanuts in the covered grandstands".
I was there the night Dick Tobias was killed.
I could still smell Flemington inside my programs.
I remember 1 night when Glenn Fitzcharles came back and debuted an unpainted Pinto (23) and in the feature, he flat out looked like a sprinter. He had almost a full lap on the field until his motor blew. God I was pissed.
I came around the track when Chamberlain was the fan favorite and all of the cars Brenn had were just so sweet. The classic favorite for me was Chamberlain's red #76.
I was in a ton of pics because we sat on a camper a lot of nights and it was always cool, to see us up there.
Flemington had the best chicken ever. I can still smell it. I wish i knew who could make it.
I remember Labor Day, the URC's were in town and Buckley set the track record. That race Paul Sandy Rochelle flipped over the wall in turns 3-4. That was bad.
I could go on all night. I recently was up that way and made my wife take me there and I was like a homing device. saw the grown in parking lot, and what caught my eye was the entrance (turns 1-2) the electric wire with the yellow bulbs (some broken, missing) hanging over the way in. It turns my gut just to think of this.
I make Champ Cars in 1/18th scale (www.chapparrelsdiecast.com) and there isnt a day goes by I dont wanna make a classic modified.
I would love to know where they are and what they all look like now. To me they were all Mickey Mantles, and on any night they would shine. I will always remember that car with the little orange light on the roof. Kerry Schrader?:) John Scarpatis cool sportsman.
I think Kenny, and Jim Brenn were the first to start the money trends? Grant King chassis were top dogs compared to the Ebersols.
Thank you for this website. I am humbled but honored to say I was there in the golden era. I saw them, and saw them all. I can still hear the water trucks running on 7 cylinders racing each other.
Gary Pino - Middlesex NJ
PJ Wyer 10/16/06
I had been at a race track every Sat nite since I was about 8 yrs old. Mostly asphalt as that's all there was where i grew up on Long Island. When i was about 19 or 20 my father told me if i ever went to a dirt track I would never go to an asphalt race again. So in 1980 I hijacked my girlfriends senior prom trip that was supposed to be at Great Adventure and took them kicking and screaming to Middletown instead. My father was right as I went to Middletown every Sat nite for the next 5 years. It was over a 2 hr drive each way.
Then in 1984 I went for the first time to Flemington Speedway for a 2 day show, although I was only planning fore the Sar race. aFTERNOON SHOW i THINK IT WAS A 100 LAPPER. Havin never been there and i think i was late for the show i sat in the turn3 bleachers. Not long after sitting down it was announced that Billy the KID PAUCH, had just arrived at the speedway from a USAC race in the midwest some where i believe by helicopter. He started last in the last consi in the "L" car. Had to be 30 cars in the race..needless to say he passed them all and the won the main. Seeing him power slide out of 2 was unbelievable . Going to Middletown every Sat nite was nothing compared to this. I drove the 2 and a half hours home that nite then woke up got in the car and drove back for the Sun portion of the show.
A week later I bought the Bob Travagline #71 that Bob and Billy both drove.. Car trailer spares the whole thing. I raced in the rookie division the following year 1986, and every sat nite till they paved it . Even won a sportsman feature on July 4 1987. Back then they had the Small block specials once a month. Where else did u get to race with Pauch, Horton, Hoffman,Felty, Epright, Coville and all the others it was great.
I made a lot of great friends at Flemington especially Paul Rochelle 111 and his family and all the folks at Lawrence Engineering without whom I could not of raced. I would probably give most everything I have to run 1 more 20 lapper at the square. Way to many memories to list here, but there all good ones. Luckily i still have some videos and pics. There will never be any place like it.
PJ Wyer #29
Mike Messinger 09/29/06
1. Going there once or twice as a 9 year old in '81, and for whatever reason, picking Pauch as my favorite. After that, my Dad and I went virtually every week for the next decade.
2. Watching the weather as a kid on Saturdays, praying the T-storms wouldn't materialize.
3. Packing the cooler at 3 pm getting ready to go.
4. Getting in for free in the early 80's b/c my Dad knew the guy at the backstrech entrance. He would hand him some cash and the guy would pretend he was making change and hand it right back.-sorry Paul.
5. Amassing hundreds of programs and memorizing them. To this day, as a 34 year old, I still pull them out often and read them like it's the 1st time. Just from the covers, I could recite practically every article and visualize specific pics before I even open them. It's scary.
6. The early days w/Johnny Cash on the PA, the Brenn/Pauch battles in the early 80's, and the mid 80's, when Horton/Hoffman/Brightbill became regulars.
7. The fried chicken was in a class by itself.
8. The big races when the invaders came in. Draws for starting spots, big tow rigs in the pits (in the late 80's).
9. Danny Johnson as a regular in '83. Someone threw a cooler at him from the 4th turn stands during a 100 lapper after he put a local (Larry Kline) I think, into the wall. Direct hit under caution as he came by , and the crowd went wild.
10. A new rule of "No races for two weeks"for every C on my report card...never seemed to stick.
11. Picking drivers to win in the feature every week with a handul of the regulars around us every week for a buck apiece. Rule was you couldn't pick Pauch.
12. Missing the 4-20's in '85 b/c we were at the shore on vacation. Ridin my bike to a 7-11 down there to get the recording with the results. Still remember the # 782-2413. Was one of the best nights (from what I hear), that we never saw.
13. The last race on dirt, so good and so sad.
I can go on and on, but I won't. Like the memorized programs, I now "remember" thru the people that post here. I read them constantly and it never gets old. Times were simpler back then, and I wouldn't trade anything for those Saturday nights I cherished being at the track. It was the best, and if you never went, you'll never understand. My wife (from out of state) and not even close to being an auto racing fan, can't believe I can get misty-eyed sometimes on here and not anywhere else.
My parents always took us to the County Fair at Labor Day A high light was the Stock car/dirt track races which ran loud and long .It was fun to have a local track where the boys could demo cars all summer long.....I was sad lo see progress impede a long time tradtional place. Now the fair grounds are gone and the ghosts of racers remain ...Just listen for a reve of engine on the weekend night air Imagine the 70,s and enjoy the memories.
Its very sad that Flemington is gone we were all hoping that it wouldnt but it did ..its very sad .. I remember watching the enduro races in the 80s and cheering on Richard Peety to name a few. I miss those days ... Rich, Hackettstown NJ.
Tom Tinsman 01/09/06
- I wanted to thank you for the Flemington photos. As a kid I grew up going to Flemington. I was there every Saturday night from 1958 to the mid 70's. I continued to go in the late 70's, and 80's but not every week. My grandfather started going there when it opened, I believe it was around 1918. I must admit that it is very sad to see it finally go. I also went to the 1/2 mile and 1,1/8 mile tracks and Nazareth and was sad to see them go, and also saw the begining and end of Harmony. I really love your web site and look at it also most daily. The mermories I have of these tracks will live with me forever.
Mark 81 01/08/06
- JUST SAW THE PICTURES OF THE FINAL DEMOLITION. I HAD TO DRIVE BY TO SEE IT FOR MYSELF. IF NOT FOR THE MEMORIES, I'M SURE THE HOLE WOULD FEEL BIGGER. A BIG PART OF RACING IS GONE.
Skeet from Hamilton 12/29/05
- I remember going to Flemington with my Father and my Aunt and watching and hearing the race when the Flemington Fair was going on.We would watch the race from the outside of the track by peeping through the grandstands and we could barely hear what we were saying to each other because the noise was so loud. There was no muffler rule at the time. Flemington Fair/Speedway was such a different "thing"at the time. That "time"was around 1973. It wasn't just the racing but the Fair as well. The smell, The sounds, The whole experience was wonderful. If you weren't around at that time to experience it than all I can say is too bad. Skeet from Hamilton.
Bob Stives 12/24/05
- I spent about 2 ½ seasons at Flemington, the 1968 or 1969 season when my dad drove Mr. Taylor's # 93 and the 1972-73 seasons with the Katona family. Dad had taken a "leave of absence" from Wall Stadium to run strictly dirt the year he ran Flemington. The cars had become more specialized by then, so there weren't many owners who wanted to field a dirt car and an asphalt car. He wanted the ride in the 93 for East Windsor, and Flemington sort of came along with the package.
- What a race track! Flemington had one of the most exciting atmospheres of all the tracks around. It seemed like most of the cars were built in a barn somewhere. The place had that "country come to town" feeling every Saturday night.
- The year Dad drove there, Stan Ploski owned the place. He drove one car for his dad and a couple others for somebody else. He would run all three heats, always qualifying all three cars, sometimes winning two heats in a single night. He was a threat to win all three heats in one night. I don't if he ever did or not.
- One of the most memorable performances put on by any driver there was the night Budd Olsen lapped the field to win a 100-lap feature. I was watching from the first turn infield. Budd went through the first turn in his small block Chevy powered coupe the same way every time, flawlessly!
- One thing you didn't have to worry about while watching the races at Flemington was sweating. The place was always cold, especially in the spring and fall. One night it was somewhere between 30 and 35 degrees. The ice cream man standing in the covered grandstands yelled, "Hey ice cream here!" He was responded to a resounding "BOOOO" from the crowd, all in fun of course.
- Flemington was a place where Dad struggled a little. The competition was fierce. One night, I was sitting in the third turn bleachers watching him run the feature. He was about mid-pack position, maybe 8th or 9th. Coming into the third turn just a little too hard, the back end of the 93 broke loose, and the back end of the car came around. The car was headed straight for the fence, backwards!
- He rarely ever locked the brakes on a racecar. That was one of the things he made sure I understood when I began driving in the 70's. "You can't steer a car with the wheels locked," he said. Steering a racecar is usually helpful. This time, however, he must have realized steering was not important since he was going backwards. With all four wheels locked, he backed into the third turn fence pretty hard, but without doing any damage to the car.
- I could see inside the car from where I was sitting. I had on a jacket and was no doubt shivering as usual. He had on a short sleeved shirt, was drenched with sweat, and was breathing like a marathon runner who had just crossed the finish line. I learned an important life lesson that night. My dad was not running up front that night, but he was giving all he had! When I find myself struggling with things, no matter what it is, I think back to that night in the third turn at Flemington.
- Besides being exciting and cold, Flemington was a dangerous place for drivers and fans alike. With two fences, inside and outside, there was always a good chance of whacking something hard. The outside fence between the first and second turns had been hit so many times it was no longer at a 90 degree or less angle to the track surface. That meant when somebody did hit it, sometimes with a little help from behind, the fence acted more like a ramp sending cars into the air.
- Flemington took the life of Dick Tobias, and Joe Kelley's injuries were so severe he was handicapped until he passed away a few years after his accident. Both drivers were highly skilled in their craft, both drove the highest quality machines that were built in their time. It wasn't them or their cars. It was that place, Flemington.
- Stan Ploski broke his arm there. Just as it healed up, I heard he had another wreck and broke the same arm again.
- The track was faster than it looked. All four corners where somehow different from each other, which made it a real challenge.
- Dad told me to never sit in the stands where the cars were coming directly at you."Unfortunately, some fans were not privy to such good advice. Cars and car parts always had the potential to get into the stands. I remember seeing people getting knocked off their scaffolds one night between one and two when a car got over the fence.
- Despite its problems, Flemington racing (dirt) was an experience for driver and fan alike that is not likely to ever be recreated anywhere,
any time. That makes the memories all the more special.
Don Smith 09/15/05
- I remember growing up, going to the Flemington Fair and the Flemington fair speedway...seeing Bobby Pickell and Al Tasnady run. I lived in High Bridge for a while and used to hang out at Harry Steinkopf's body shop and watch him work on his car. In the days before political correctness and sponsor dollars meant everything, I remember Harry racing at Nazareth I think and he got into it with somebody and after the race the guy just came over and sucker punched him while he was still in the car. Hel, Harry could lift a short block with one hand, he was not a man to be messed with...lol... Then they turned the track to asphalt and in my humble opinion ruined it. I love watching the cars on the dirt. My wife and I took a trip to flemington a couple years ago, for a "you can't go home again" tour and I was amazed at the changes in the town and the fact that the track was a shell of it's former self. I hear now it is being turned into a shopping center, that is a real shame. At least we can re-live our memories.. thanks
Dave Kosch 05/28/05
My brother and I grew up at Flemington Speedway, and reading the things every previous writer has left makes me miss "the D" much more. The memories are TOO numerous to name, as everyone has testified so far. I'll share with you the ones that are most poignant.
- The one emotion that has stuck with me the most these past ten or so years is the tremendous let down I felt when we attended Flemington's first asphalt race. What a terrible, terrible disappointment. I never went back.
- Those crazy Christmas lights strung over the track. Pure genious. As they turned green and Bill Singer would shout "And the green IS OUUT!" My brother and I are still DIRT fans and we attend races (he more so than I) whenever we can. Anytime the green drops we are consumed with the uncontrollable urge to exclaim the Bill Singer zinger.
- Ray Bateman dueling with Stan Ploski for ten laps, side-by-side, swapping the lead every lap, until Stan finally won by a car length. The best race I've ever seen.
- (posted previously) Kenny Brightbill coming from a lap down to win the Wendy's 200, in the Blue Hen 30.
- Rooting in vain for Billy Dubovic in the "$" (dollar sign). Probably the biggest misnomer in sports history. I wonder what he is up to these days.
- Trying your best to NOT LOOK AT YOUR FOOD while you ate. Because, no matter where you were (grandstand, in your car, the next town over, whatever) your food was BLACK. Who cared?!
- Johnny, the vending guy. Nobody ever knew what the hell he was saying. We thought he was yelling "FUTURE HEAD!" We were lucky enough to get to know Johnny, after running into him at American Hobbies R/C track. Not a bad guy after all. He's still out there, you know. Still yelling "FUTURE HEAD!"
- Racing our R/C cars on the front stretch after the show. Holy moly that was fun. As a teenager, that was the highlight of my week. Good times.
- Placing bets, even with other fans seated around us, to see which of the Kelly boys would spin out twice first.
- The "Run Wutcha Brung" shows. These were also known as the "Billy Pauch Charity Race."
- The sound of the gravel under everyone's feet as we made our way back to the car. "CRUNCH crunch crunch CRUNCH." Music to my ears.
There's just not enough time. I'll write more later. Goodnight Flemington Fair Speedway, wherever you are.
- I have been a race fan since I was a little boy. I was a huge fan of Billy Pauch, and Jimmy Horton. My father owned a store in the Watchung Flea Market, and every summer we took the shop on the road. Doing motorcycle runs, and fairs, and stuff of the like. My favorite time of the year was when we would get to Flemington. It was the last fair that we would do for the season. When it closed on Memorial day than i knew I had a long summer, and it was time to go back to school. I can remember when I first started going to Flemington it was still dirt, and we had to wipe our cases off frequently while the races were going on. I looved the food, the smell, the sounds of the fair going on. But most of all I loved hearing the cars run off of the first turn, and down the front stretch right in front of our tent on Machinery Row. It was awesome. And I would look forward to it every year as it was my favorite place to go, and my favorite time of the year. Although it changed when the track was paved I still got the best feeling from the smell of the exhaust, and the sounds of racing which was right in fron of me but at the sametime in the backround.
- When I was older I joined a couple of small race teams. I worked on a couple of Enduro cars at Flemington, and then when they closed I went to East Windsor, and worked on Street Stocks, and Modifieds. I miss Flemington a lot. I have 2 boys who never got to experience all that I did from my childhood. Neither at Flemington, or East Windsor. I live about 10 mins. from the track now, and now when I drive past where it is (was) I remember what it looked like during fair time, and on race nights. It brings back some great memories.
Alex Rogovin 03/25/05
- My father hated Ray Liss (because he had an altercation with someone in the Navy who's last name was Liss).
- Me liking Ray Liss for the same reason my father hated him!
- Cool old names that make me remember those days: Howie Cronce, Fitzcharles, Ray Liss and of course Stan the Man and others.
- I always thought the green and yellow Christmas lights were cool.
- Sitting in the short chute between 1 & 2 my first ever race-- must have been '74 or '75.
- Our friends the Kennedy's who were huge Ploski fans. They had a really nasty rooster they named Ploski that used to chase us.
- Lived in Readington Township abt 5 miles at the time and hearing the races on nights we did not go.
- Moving to Cherryville in 1999 and hearing the races again! Like old times.
- Bringing my family and friends to the track in the last few years to see the enduros.
- ISMA Supers!
Dawn Horton Parker 02/26/05
- Hearing about my parents honeymoon in 1971 spent at the track
- *The best damn 4th of July show I think I had ever seen as a kid
- *Hanging out in the pits after the races meeting all the drivers
- *Sitting in my cousin's car
- *Looking like a racoon, leaving the dirt track (don't have many dirt tracks here in Florida)
- *The excitement of watching those cars slide sideways around the turns
Glenn Grafton 01/29/05
- Standing at the back gate during the fair watching the cars being towed in.
- Seeing who was running injection or a carburetor that night.
- Noting the different suspension setups..... An era in short track racing and car design that will never return.
Spike Greenleaf 01/21/05
- ..."The Sound of Music".... The best of days for me at Flemington was listening to them flying into the first turn (dirt of course) screeching of the tires and rippen down the backstretch so fast that I couldn't believe the speeds they traveled. IT WAS AWESOME
p.s. Go Glenn Fitzcharles
Bob Jones (San Diego, CA) 01/14/05
- Just heard about the website today - fantastic. .......... Damn I'm getting goose bumps just reading all the memories.
- Me and the guys Saturday night at Flemington - flirting with the girls before and after the races, but all businees once the green flag dropped.
- ...And don't forget the Whitehouse roller rink.
Leonard Slemmer (San Diego, CA) 12/20/04
USAC, June 23rd 1978. We lost Toby.
Ron Alleger (San Diego, CA) 12/20/04
My brother who still lives in NJ told me about the site and I decided one day to check it out.... I truly was not prepared for the emotions that soon started flowing over me....
My mind flashed back to the summers of 1965, 66 & 67, when I worked at the concession stand in turn one serving up hot dogs, burgers and some of the tbest "French Fries" you could ever want. I can remember arriving early to do our routine set up in preparation for the always great crowds of people that would come to Flemington to get their weekly summer dose of incredible excitement. My fellow workers and I would take turns watching out for who would be coming in from the backstretch racer's entrance. The names of Bob Pickel, Al Tasnady, Jackie McLauglin, Lee Hendrickson, Sammy Beavers and Stan Ploski just to name a few, strill bring a rush of excitement to me.
I was fortunate to get the duty of working the first turn food stand because that was the best corner I thought at the whole track. On the starts they came charging right at us as we would looked out the back door with an unrestricted view of the track. You could look right in the car and watch the driver's hands turn the wheel to throw the car into that famous dirt track power slide as they powererd thru the corner on one continuous slide into turn 2. Then the smell of the fuel, oil, rubber, exhaust and the ever present blowing dirt from the track into our faces. Feeling the powerful roar of the engines and watching the sparks fly as they would bump each other. Knowing that these fearless drivrers were mere inches apart from each other and even less from the incredible launch that the car would do if they hit the other car's tire or just went a little to wide and "hooked" the wooden fence. Those were great days!
Thank you for bringing back those feelings of the best of times. I am ordering one of each of the 6 cars that you have available so that I can build them and paint them up like my favorite drivers from that time and display them proudly to give me that forever warm happy feeling from my youth. Feel free to put this in your memory page. My hope is that others will feel the spirit that was once our youth and the grandeur of Saturday Night Races at Flemington Speedway.
Ron Alleger - San Diego, CA
Jerry H 12/18/04
- I work at a Caddy dealer in Trenton/kinda slow-went on a extended road test today - Before I knew I was on RT 31 - Rang a bell with me! - Kept goin/Next thing I knew I was at a circle-sign still there - Fairgrounds! Didnt wanna go but had too! - Last time I was there was 79? Laureno in the 125 won a big race-stood there lookin thru the fence knowin the old girl aint coming back! Man I wish I was 10 years older (But I still feel like it.) I would have loved to be there in the mid 60s/70s-we will never see tracks like this again.
- I remember seeing somebody walking around Bridgeport with a Flemington Speedway shirt on and thinking to myself, I'll have to take a ride up there and check it out. Five years later I was still going every weekend to Flemington. Even on the last race I didn't think the track would shut down because it looked like they repaired the roof. But when I saw the top three drivers end the race, then go around the back side of the track and have a little sort of drag race they stopped and started throwing their racing gloves on the track then, then I knew it was finished .
- The other pictures in my head I remember are:
- Pouring rain in South Jersey then going north and the skys parted sunshine and I knew I was right about making the trip. Monday, fellow workers were shocked my weekend wasn't a washout.
- The cleaning man in the bathroom that never saw a race!
- Finding out that a box was empty and I could buy all six seats! Who cares if I can talk enough friends into going.
- Bugging my Napa dealer all year for Super Truck tickets and never knowing until last second that I got em!
- Bringing family and friends and watching their faces as they witness the enduro for the first time.
- The start of the enduro when it seems the guy in front always spins and has to ride backwards.
- Seeing Joe Hall find a fire extinguisher made of lead laying on the track!
- Trying to see whats wrong with a car by smell as it goes around the track (gear oil, motor oil, trans, antifreeze exc.)
- Seeing the race held up by duck, cat, and skunk crossing track before all hell breaks loose.
A Fan... 11/06/04
- hi there.......was just looking at your web site...and it brings a tear to my eye reading about the track. im 50 now and have been a dirt racing fan since childhood....i am not from flemington, but i identify with your story. I've heard about the track and read about it in speed sport news many times. I've wondered how long the exspensive sport of auto racing in rural america or even in large citys where men and machines challenge the good earth and each other every week will last. For the wealth of good times, and memories of heros, and for some the ultimate price they paid for thrilling and inspiring people, these famous parcels of land should be shrines....just as a grave yard is kept in reverence and in tact.
I'm fortunate that there are 3 dirt tracks near me I can still attend each week. I cherish every moment now, for I know the end will come. Thank you for keeping the memories of this great place alive.
- Goin there in the mid - 70s being an asphalt guy - Wearing a white shirt!
- Sitting on turn 1 - Eatin' the greasiest chicken anyone could survive/and havin a ball! - p.s beers didnt hurt!
- Still rememember sayin to my buddy (whats with the goggles?)
Lance Huff (North Carolina) 6/16/04
All the asphalt and NASCAR in the south doesn't even come close to one Saturday Night at Flemington. If you have been there you know what I mean. I remember more about Flemington than any track I have ever been to. I was five years old in 1980 when I made my first of many trips there. What do I remember?
- * Sammy Beavers driving the black and gold 81- Billy Pauch in the "L" car - Stan Ploski in the # 65
- * Driving 500 miles every August to watch the 4-20's
- * Billy Pauch # 15 rolling over Roger Laureno # 125 in turn 1in the heat: Duck Taping the body together and making the feature with the body hanging off
- * Billy Pauch # 5 winning three of four 20's and being passed by Stan Ploski # 74(Trenton Mack) on the last lap of the fourth feature beating Billy at his own game using the "outside sweep in turns 3&4"
- * Jimmy Horton # 85 winnig all 4-20's and doubling up on a Small Block / Big Block show.
- * Any Modified driver on any given night being able to win
- * The Blondes in turn 1 Tee Shirts "My Dad Drives J-9" = Joe Coverdale
- * Kenny Brenn's # 24 Red bandana to keep the dirt off his face
- * The Blackest Dirt you've ever seen
- * Billy Dupavic(pardon Spelling) putting the blue and white "$" in the turn 1 seats
- * The Fair - The Man with the Snow Cones that gave you extra syrup behind turn 1- Sprints at Fair Time
- * Modified Sprints
- * Flem Man on the wrecker while Steve Miller Band's "Abbra Caddabra" plays in the back ground
- * Harry Dee one of the first flaggers I remember that gave the two to go flags in every race -the way he would flip and twirl the white and yellow with two to go - his double checkers
- * Bill Singer's magic voice - "through the short shoot and down the back ; into the nuber three corner they come"
- * The "Charge" of the Bugle as the Modifieds came through 3&4 to take the green.
- I now go to New Egypt when I come up, my cousin drives the # 00 in the Rookie class. The atmosphere reminds me of Flemington, and the racing is better than anything you can get here asphalt country, but there will never be another Flemington Fair Speedway. Thank you for the memories! Lance Huff - Burlington, North Carolina
MIKE S. 5/19/04
- I / We have so many memories over our twenty years at Flemington. I started going when it was still dirt and before my kids were born. Kept going when it was paved and my children were born. We went almost every Saturday night and it became a real part of weekly plans. It was 1 hour door to door for us. The kids would crawl into sleeping bags and sleep in the back of my truck on way home. We would switch around sitting in 4th turn, 1st turn, Grandstands. Didn't know which was best all had their own vantage point. We had our favorite drivers we followed each week, Loved going to pits after races to sit in cars and get pictures and autographs. Must have hundreds of pictures through the years. Besides the regular show i.e. Mods, Late, and Stock we loved special races i.e. Sprints, SuperMods and special nights like Night of Destruction and Monster Trucks and Jet Car Meltdown. Who could forget Flem Man.? Good Fireworks on 4th of July weekend. Just too many memories to write them all. Tried several other tracks since, none compare. When Flemington closed a part of us sensed a loss. "FLEMINGTON SPEEDWAY WE MISS YOU, THANKS FOR ALL THE GREAT MEMORIES!"
NY JIM 04/26/04
- Watching the stockcars being hauled up rt. 31 on open trailers on their way to the speedway. That is how I got interested in racing by watching those cars go past my house as a kid.
Danny H 04/26/04
- I used to work at the Flemington Fair from the time that I was a little kid. My father and I used to have a biker stand on "Machinery Row". I did this with him for many years. On Saturday nights before they paved the track he used to let me stop working, and watch the races where I became a huge Jimmy Horton fan. I watched him every weekend battle it out with Billy Pouch until they paved the track. Then being old enough to drive I would go watch Jimmy Horton at East Windsor, or New Egypt speedways. I will forever be a fan of Jimmy Horton, and Flemington Speedway for turning me into the NASCAR / auto racing nut that I am today. I have worked on cars from Flemnigton Enduros to East Windsor Modifides, and Street Stocks. I now live in Washington NJ, and have to pass the speedway on my way to work, and every morning I drive by it, and remember the way it smelled, and how the hot dogs tasted, and the smell of "funny fu! el". So those are my memories of Flemington Speedway.
Len Thacher 04/23/04
Thanks to a coworker I recently learned of this site. It was like turning pages of my life as I looked in awe at some of the great photos that brought back so many memories of my friends at "The Square". From the 70's and into the early 80s "The Race Chasers" ran from Woodbridge Va. to Williams Grove on Friday nights and then across to Flemington with a motorhome caravan with whoever I could persuade at the Grove to follow along for an all day/night affair at Flemington with so many friends. Those early years, while writing for Area Auto Racing News, will always be remembered for spawning so many of the friendships that have lasted the test of time.
The Kuhl's were always good to us, allowing us a key to access the back gate in the wee hours of Saturday, AM when we arrived for a full day and night of excitement at Flemington before heading back to Virginia and home by noon on Sunday. While we were not there every Saturday night, we were always in contact with our Flemington friends to keep up with the action.
Flemington has a special place in my heart. It produced by far some of the greatest battles that I have ever witnessed in my 50 plus years of attending races. The incredible car counts when the midgets or sprints were added to the evenings activities...my friend Bill Singer who I haven't seen in years but whose voice was no doubt "The Voice" of the speedway...purple...so ugly yet impossible to forget...my friend Doris and the fried chicken...the first turn gang...Charlie, Harry, Al, Kathy, Doris, Merideth, Jeff, Don and all the kids....who have long since grown up...Flem-Man's continuous failed attempt at entertainment...Harry Dee...Tas....my friends Ken Kuhlman, Wendy Kennedy and Rick Kuhl...the ICEEEEEE Cream Man who sold at Reading and Nazareth and then Flemington only to have his son follow in his foot steps...with the same bellow of "Iceeeee Cream!"
Your right...it's fun to remember...and yes they are memories I will cherish as the friendships that survive despite the absence of the sounds of motors in NJ. Thanks to you all!! Yes, we are still at the races from late January to November... somewhere in America...and still enjoying the job, the people, the racing and the friendships!
Len Thacher Director NASCAR Statistical Services
Frank Miller (A die hard race Pauch fan from Section 1 and 2 in the 1st turn)) 04/14/04
- (1977) It was my 3rd year at Flemington . I became a Gerald Chamberlain fan (FORD POWER). His long time car owner Joe Bullock retired at the end of 1976. Gerald won the EASTERN STATES 200 that year also. He and Gus Fear started C and F racing . Thay had put a modified together from what was left of the Bullock stuff and changed the car alot but only had little success. Then it happened... Gerald flipped in turns 3 and 4. The car could not be fixed and they were headed home when Glenn Fitzcharles' car owner Jerry Verona asked if Mr. C wanted to drive their back up 23 car. He said yes. He started almost last in the consi but still qualifed. He started in 20th spot I think and was able to pick them off one at a time . He had some help from a first lap crash which he missed. A yellow flag or 2, and all of a sudden he was leading. A late caution bunched up the field. He held off Stan the Man Polski who got 4th, Tom Gillmam got 3rd and SCREEMING GLENNY in the chevette got 2nd. Gerald won. They both went to victory lane . What a night. (Frank Miller section 1 and 2 in the 1st turn)
- In 1981, twenty four year old Billy Pauch tied Al Tasnady's wins in a row record with nine, and the single season win mark with thirteen. From July 19 to October 24, Billy won ten times and had 6 second place finishes including the streak of nine wins in a row. He swept the four 20 lap feature program in August. He won the championship by over 200 points.
- In 1986, Billy Pauch was in the DEBLASIO # 5 that year. He won the track champtionship for the 4th time. He had 6 mod wins 3 Modified Sprint 1 Pepsi small block. He was the pole sitter at Syracuse NY .He won the Victoria 200 and a 40 lap race at Grandview also.
- The pictures that you have at Flemington also brings a tear to my eye where they closed, what I believe, is the greatest dirt track in the country. I have been to Knoxville, Eldora, Ascot, Manzanita, Devils Bowl, Perris Auto Speedway and other great dirt tracks in the country but I never saw any track that produced as much action as Flemington did. I have always told my wife that if I ever win the lottery, I am going to build a dirt track just like Flemington with some improved safety features, great lighting, great sound system, and great scoreboard. The layout has to be a square just like Flemington. Maybe I am being biased as I feel like the track is a great part of my life. Don't get me wrong, your pictures are awesome, and if you find anymore on Flemington, please post them but when they shut Flemington down, a part of me was shut down too.
CHARLES PAE (1963 NOVICE DRIVER #26) 12/05/03
- MY WIFE AND I ATTENDED THE RACES @ MODIFIED COUNTRY FOR 7 YEARS BEGINNING 1956. I KEPT TELLING HER I WAS GOING TO RACE HERE SOMEDAY. FINALLY AFTER MUCH COAXING SHE AGREED THAT I COULD RACE AFTER 7 YEARS OF BEING A FAN.
- BACK THEN THE NOVICE CLASS ONLY RAN ONE RACE, NO HEATS, NO FEATURES. I REALLY HAD A BALL RACING FOR THAT ONE SEASON. I DROVE A 1940 FORD WITH A FLATHEAD ENGINE. THE FIRST RACE I STARTED 26TH AND FINISHED 25TH, AS ONE CAR DROPPED OUT (HA). AS THE SEASON WENT ON I DID IMPROVE SOME. FINISHED 3RD IN ONE RACE.
- I REALLY ENJOYED WATCHING THE BIG (MODIFIED) GUYS RUN. ALWAYS ROOTED FOR AL TASNADY AND HE SURE CAME THRU WITH QUITE A FEW FEATURE WINS!!ENJOYED SEEING HIM RUN WITH S. BEAVERS, B. MALZAHN, J. MCLAUGHLIN, W. CAGLE AND OTHERS.
- MANY GREAT MEMORIES OF FLEMINGTON, ONE OF THE BEST DIRT TRACKS EVER!! WAS REALLY SAD AT THE CLOSING OF THE TRACK.
- ENJOY THE "FLEMINGTON MEMORIES" SITE, KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK!!
- My Mom so hoarse she could hardly talk after a night of booing Stan Ploski and cheering for Billy Osmun. I was never really sure if there was a track rivalry between those two, but Mom sure thought there was. Of all the stuff I have managed to retain in my memory over the years I am glad I still have that one.
- My Flemington memories started back in 1976 when my sister and future husband would take me to the "mighty d" on a Saturday night. My now brother in law Gary would tell me to route for the black and gold car with the #81 and the horse on the quater panel. Since then I've been hooked. I love Flemington and always will! I shed some tears when I was there last month seeing the cars go around the track for the last time. It even got worse when I went to the auction. Im really glad I got some great stuff so I never forget. I still can't believe its gone. It's sooooo sad. Thanks again for a great site! I always check it out!!!
- I read most of these and probably the only thing that I remember and don't see here is Do you remember the Star Spangled Banner they played....with the rockets going off in the backround. It always sounded funny to me being a child growing up there.
- I have to say I did not realize how much I missed the old dirt track, and how muchI remember happening there. The going home like a racoon, I felt like that...wear goggles took them off after 4-20's ( Pauch winning 2) and washing my face off in the parking lot with cooler water because the only place on my face that didnt have dirt all over it was where I was wearing the goggles. Lots of GREAT times at flemington. THE BEST racing I probably ever seen.
Dominic K 11/01/03
- Bugging my dad each week to buy me a checkered flag from the novelty stand so I could stand at the 4th turn grandstand railing and wave all the cars.
- Watching Harry Dee and his white cowboy hat in amazement at how he could twirl the white and the yellow side by side for the "two to go" sign.
- Looking over all of the trailer tops as you fought to watch the cars go down the backstretch but not minding because it made it even more exciting to see what position changes happened as they came out of 3 and 4.
- Buying back issues of programs underneath the front stretch bleachers.
- Hot air balloons over the track.
- Brett Hearn invading with the Freightliner 6 and kicking everybody's butt.
- Taking my old girlfriend to the fair during the asphalt era and telling her all about Stan Ploski and how great Flemington was on dirt. She never seemed to care though. Probably why I didn't marry her.
- Anybody remember the "Miss Piggy" doll that was strung between the announcers booth and the flagman's stand to carry the messages??
- Harry Dee delaying a restart because of a driver not getting into formation, then everybody booing the driver.
- Watching the drivers pick their starting spots for the 200 with Bill Singer announcing.
- The yellow (Christmas looking) caution lights strung over the track and the grandstands.
- All the drivers pulling into the pits with a trailer hitch on the back of their pick-up, except Pauch who shows up with a 30,000 dollar trailer.
- The banner that hung off the back of the 4th turn bleachers that someone made of all the top modified drivers and said "Modified Country USA". (Who made that, anybody know?)
- The line at the phone booths in front of Ace Lane's photo stand.
- The attendant in the men's bathroom with the pie pan out for tips.
- That awesome dirt !!!
- (I got a big kick out of the final roster for the last race at Flemington that Bill provided.)
Wayne Urffer 10/20/03
- My parents used to take me to Flemington (and Nazareth and Harmony and Dorney Park) in the 60s and early 70s, where their favorite drivers were Otto Harwi, Stan Ploski, Al Tasnady and Frankie Schneider. But I had long forgotten circle track racing as an adult.
A couple years ago my wife and I decided we wanted to raise some chickens. A woman in North Jersey told me "Contact a guy named Paul Kuhl. He raises bantam chickens." I searched the internet for Paul Kuhl. Never found him, but found 3Wide Picture Vault. People smarter than me call this "serendipity."
- The m and ms, pop corn, licorice here guy
- The sound off Gerald Chamberlins FORD falcon
- Bill singer saying Sammy Beavers
- Washing my hair after a Saterday night
- The terrible towl guy from the 1st turn
- The boy friend and gril friend with white clothes on sitting in the 1st turn during warm ups
- Standing up on the top row section 1 and 2
- The purple Cuda pace car
- Ace Lane's photo stand
- The fried chicken
- Trying to get my girlfriends to stay for the mod feature
- Driving home on Harbourton Rd at 1:00am
- The 4 20s show
- Billy Pauch outside moves in turn 3
- Getting out on Rt #31 after the races
- And finally, the CLAY sticking to your feet in the pits after the races
Bill Hanna 09/29/03 My Flemington Memories
There is not enough time or paper to jot down all the memories I have of this speedway that was my Saturday Night home from 1965 until 1997. So I will just continue to jot down memories as they come to me.
- The very first race I went to I remember a ugly white coupe # 6 with a duck on it running very fast to beat another car with a polecat on it. Since I was only 6 at the time, that is all I remember, but later my father told about how Jackie Hamilton would always battle the top stars of the day with his sportsman, and on that night he gave Al Tasnady and Will Cagle all they could handle in the feature.
- I remember the pagoda inside the homestretch fence and the fan club flags down the front straightaway and remember the clock for a time limit on the then called "novice" division.
- Living in Three Bridges as a youth and visiting Billy Masons farm and seeing those Lofts Pedigreed Seed sponsored numbered Diamond 1 and Diamond 2 of Billy Mason Sr and Jr. as well as John Frankhousers # 123.
- Sitting in Wayne Coverts # 10C whenever my neighbor Merv had a new car to paint for Wayne at his body shop.
- Going to Flemington in 1969 and watching Dick Havens win a 12 lap feature on opening night as the era of Paul Kuhl began on an ominous note.
- Remembering the red & white jumpsuits the officials wore at Flemington and the Al & Jean novelty stand and buying those plastic stockcars to race on your own make believe track at home.
- Checking out the point standings every week at the point boards behind the turn one bleachers.
- The very first National Dirt Track Championship 200 and watching an unknown Jack Johnson pull off one of the greatest upsets ever.
- Remembering how Gerald Chamberlain became a Flemington regular in 1973 and how he suffered the first year only to win on opening night in 1974 and become track champion, and becoming a fan of his for life.
- The flying mud that was a trademark of Ray Liss when coming out for warm-ups back when they made the track real gooey before the races thanks to water truck drivers George Snyder and John Schier.
- The great Sportsman competition of the 1970s between Ray Liss, Joe Hall, Les Katona, Newt Hartman, Jim Wismer Sr., Bob Ayers, Rich Varone, Lee McBride, Joe Poliacek and many others. Those drivers made their races as good as the modifieds at that time until the institution of the "three-win" rule.
- Seeing fans arrive at exactly 3:00PM when the gates opened to set their blankets, and then picnic around the grounds with Johnny Cash being blasted over the PA system "I fell into a burning ring of fire .." Until 5:00 PM when you heard "Close All Gates Around the Speedway Please" and it was time for warm-ups
- The Barry Shenck and Chuck Ancelo # A cars always parked next to first turn pit entrance gate and always being the first to arrive each and every week.
- Joe Halls fisted salute to the fans each and every time he entered the speedway.
- The roars of the crowd when they saw an invader entering the speedway grounds either through the fourth turn gate or the backstretch road. Especially if it was the Statewide cars whenever Bridgeport had rained out, or the Ferriaulo # 73.
- Bill Singers charge at the start of a race.
- "Harry pick up the phone"
- Watching a youngster flag behind Ray Sullivan and Harry Dee from the box seats and later working with this young man (Warren Alston) as a fellow Flemington official.
- The epic Stan Ploski, Sammy Beavers, Billy Osmun, Mike Grbac battles of the 70s
- The first time Ken Brenn Sr. had a modified and the stir it caused.
- Watching Billy Pauch go undefeated in 1973 rookie competition.
- The emergence of Glenn Fitzcharles as a star at Flemington, and winning his first feature aboard the # 56 holding the body on with his hands while driving.
- The infamous Flemington Fence flipping numerous cars each and every night, especially where I sat between turns 1 and 2. Remember the "Flippington" shirts that some fans had made up.
- Going home at night, looking like I drove in the features.
- Becoming a Flemington official in 1987 and working my first show, the Syracuse qualfier on Memorial Day.
- Watching Kenny Brightbill dominate the Flemington drivers in 1978 and becoming a fan favorite.
- The unbelievable consistent season Larry Kline had in 1979 driving the Trenton Mack # 74 as he became Modified champion.
- Watching Billy Pauch fulfill Al Tasnadys prediction that he would be the one to break his record of all-time wins.
- The many nights after the races in the "Purple Room" greeting feature winners and crew and meeting NASCAR drivers such as Bobby Allison, Ken Schrader, and a young Busch Series drivers named Jeff Gordon.
- The very time the World of Outlaws came to Flemington, just one word . AWESOME
- Working with Mike Joy, Buddy Baker, and Doug Hoffman the first NASCAR Supertrucks race came to Flemington.
- The enormously long night in the scoring tower the night of the Flemington 200 that was won by Bob McCreadie.
- Working with the greatest group of officials I have ever known, they were like family to me . Warren Alston, Scott Michie, Gordon Hendricks, Johnny Rogers, Bill Mollineaux, Andy Roscoe, Rick McCaughey, Smitty, Wendy Kennedy, Frank Schier, Slim Storr, Paul Rutherford, Janet Kuhlmann, Gloria Strobridge, Pat Aydelotte, Ron Bailey and the dean of all announcers Bill Singer.
- Defending Paul Kuhls decision to pave in 1991, and the optimism that I had at the time.
- The very last race on DIRT in 1990 and while Bill Singer played "Auld Lang Syne"; we watched hundreds of fans on the track scooping dirt into containers for memories. There was not a dry eye in that scoring tower, I can tell you. Thanks to Danny Johnson and Billy Pauch for closing the DIRT ERA with great competition that night.
- The amazing crowd opening night in 1991 as curious fans came out to see the Paved Flemington.
- The amazing IMCA Super Modifieds and their speed at Flemington.
- The dominance of Doug Hoffman when Flemington became paved.
- The emergence of enduro racing at the square of being a fan favorite.
- The horrendous crashes of both Billy Pauch and Ray Everham in turn four.
- The installation of foam blocks at Flemington, and the continuous call for the "Foam crew" after each crash.
- The dwindling car counts and attendance during the nineties.
- Remember the tri-track owners battle and the attempted fire to burn down the fairgrounds.
- Remembering a young driver from Florida who invaded occationally in the Richard Ege # 9 and saying this driver has potential. That driver was Gary Balough.
- The constant battles that Buzzie Reutimann had in running well at Flemington though he did win a National Dirt Track Champtionship 200.
- The same epic battles that Brett Hearn had at Flemington to just qualify the first few years that he invaded Flemington, only to become one of the very best at the Speedway from 1987 on .
- Remember the March opener in 1987 when Flemington joined DIRT.
- The nights that the following drivers won their ONE and ONLY Flemington win .. Freddy Adam in a Joe Bullock # 76, Jay Stong in his # 505, Lee Hendrickson in his green # Z1, Kenny Weld in the # 91 in a twin-20 program, Paul Rochelle (CL22) Gar Frey (2) and Larry Bowers (1B) all in one program (Four 20s in 1975-Howie Cronce won the other feature), Ron Harrison in the #37, and many others.
- The period from 1983 to 1987 when winning Syracuse had an unusual bond with winning the National Dirt Track Championship at Flemington. 1983 Alan Johnson, 1984 Jack Johnson, 1985 Brett Hearn, 1986 Jimmy Horton, 1987 Bob McCreadie, though Horton and McCreadie did not win both in the same year.
- The day Flemington ran 5 twenities against Acella Speedway (East Windsor) and had a full field, while Acella only had enough to run a feature. Remember Frank Cozze won a couple that day in the McCabe # 10 and invader Gary Iulg ran well in his # 56.
- The night at the Flemington banquet when Paul Kuhl announced he would shut down Flemington instead of becoming a partner with Joe Scarmadella (who had bought Frank Bohrens shares of the fairgrounds). Later, Scarmadella would sell his shares to Paul making him majority stockholder.
- The Super Sunday Spectacular that was in the 70s. The speedway had over 260 cars in the 10 division program that day.
- The emergence of Late Models as "super competition" when the track paved in the 90s
- The dominance of Gary Butler in Late Model competition in the 90s.
- Gary Raymonds popping of the trunk in victory lane whenever he won, you never knew what he had in there.
- Flem Man
- Fuscos fried chicken (the aroma filtered throughout the fairgrounds in the afternoon)
- "Orange drink here .." (Big Jim)
- The Miss Flemington Speedway contests
- The log rolling pool inside the homestretch during the Flemington Fair one year and seeing Jimmy Horton put in it after winning an URC feature during the fair.
- The Pennsylvania invaders during the 70s when URC came in during the fair on Sunday and Monday. Gus Linder, Steve Smith, and some young upstart from Maryland who really liked Flemington Jay Myers.
- The dominance of Buck Buckley at Flemington in URC competition
- The Purple Dodge Challenger
BOBBY FIORELLO 09/23/03
BEING IN THE PITS EARLY WHEN I TOWED THE K3. IT WAS ALWAYS A THRILL TO UNLOAD THE RACER AND GO OVER ALL THE BOLTS, NUTS, LUGS AND SOMETIMES TAKE THE K3 OUT FOR WARMUPS JUST TO SAY, "YES, I WAS ON THE GREATEST RACETRACK EVER." LES OFFERED ME THE CHANCE TO DRIVE ALL THE TIME SINCE WE WERE BUDDIES AND SPENT ALOT OF HOURS ON THE CARS BUT I WAS NOT INTO RACING THEM, (JUST WORKING ON THEM).
I'LL MISS FLEMINGTON BUT WILL NEVER FORGET IT. THANX FOR ALL THE GREAT YEARS.
A Stan Fan 08/31/03
The sound of the bugle when they started a race at Flemington.
Tom Smith 08/29/03
Most of my memories were from the 60's and 70's. In the 60's, I went to the fair on Labor Day Weekend to watch my dad (Hal Smith) race with URC. It seems like yesterday. We would come to the fair the "back way" by the farms and river and park in the cornfields. While my dad was in the pits, my brothers and I would go to our favorite seats in the short chute between 1 and 2 up top. Since we were there so early, we would be able to see all the cars that arrived across the track in 3 and 4 and try figure out who all the drivers were and which drivers from Central PA would show up. We would get all excited when Gus Linder or Bobby Adamson and later, Van May or Jay Meyers would show up. We knew they would usually win, but just to watch them and how scary fast they would drive and put it sideways at the starter's stand was worth it.
The stands were always pretty crowded and our excitement grew when we would see all the cars being pushed towards track and Bill Singer finally announcing "Close all gates around the speedway!" We would stand the entire race from then on. We would be most excited (and usually scared) when dad would be racing, because we knew how dangerous the track was in those days. He didn't have the best of equipment and usually finished far back, but it was still great. I miss those days of Earl Halaquist, Ed Gallione, Bob Courtwright, Larry Dickson, Bob Wentz, Don Gillete and others who made the URC shows at the fair the greatest.
My brother Doug and my dream was to race a sprint car at Flemington. We knew that to race there and be fast was a whole different level of talent and bravery. We just brought a Sprinter, but we'll never be able to complete the second part of our dream. And for that, I feel terribly empty.........
Scott Hanley 08/22/03
- FLEM-MAN making laps around the track,on the hook of a tow truck.
- The top 4 in a modified feature were all # 44. 44,44jr,44a,44d.
- Billy Pauch winning the 4-20 lap feature.
- C.D. Coville #61 tumbling down the back straightaway.
- Gene Coyle in the 44jr (sportsman at the time)
- The way Harry Dee waved those flags.
- Bill Singer..."Here they come, through the number threeeeeee corner" and "It's up to Pauch to kick the wheel".
- Dough Boys Pizza
- 4th turn Section J Row 7 Seat 10 every week.
- Kenny Brightbill in the Blue Hen Racing # 30, the Norcia # 81
- Mike Corcoran's # 357, Dean Gulik's # 7D, $, The L car.
- "BIG" Tom Hager getting married after a race.
- Scott Purcell's 27X-rated hitting the inside fence in turn 4.
- Mountain Man Towing
- Ray Evernham (2g) getting KO'd after hitting the outside 4th turn wall.
- Jerry Brophy's 2 cars # 519.
- Elvin Felty's Tabloid Graphics # 8t6
- Tri - Track series
- Billy Pauch becoming the All Time Feature winner, passing Al Tasnady's mark of 96 wins.
- Loving the smell of rubber, exhaust, and dust, and looking like a racoon when it was all over.
- Winning the cruise.( I had drew Billy Pauch # 76 ) Although Hearn won, nobody had him.
- I could list alot more, but it's time to say THANK-YOU to the drivers,crew, Paul Kuhl and the GREAT people you had working for you, Rolfe Schnur, and the many fans I have met.
George L. 07/31/03
- Going there as a kid, and some guy flipped his brand new yellow modified (sportsman?) in warm-ups.
- Going to a WOO race and it being so dusty all I could see was the flash of light reflecting off of their wings when they went past.
- The last race on dirt and Pauch's last lap move to try to pass Danny Johnson.
- The DA modifieds were cool, too bad DIRT pulled the plug.
- The first NASCAR Supertruck Race at the square. The race wasn't great, but I remember how excited I was that Flemington made the big time. I also remember my Mother running onto the track after the races to look at the haulers.
- Watching the Supermodifieds fly around the track. I remember when the air off of their wings caused the electric wires in turn two to short out. Thankfully the drivers all gave a thumbs up and they raced without full lighting.
- I remember the ARDC midgets going 136 mph on the pavement. That is scary fast for a midget.
- Going to the races near the end when they had way too many classes and not many fans. Who wants to sit through a 5 hour show?
- Flemington was a great dirt track and a great asphalt track. Too bad the promoter stopped promoting it.
Bill Force 06/13/03
I do not think there is enough space to tell it all. I still get to remember the place I loved to race at, when I run the vintage cars there. This is the last year we will have the track time there with NOTARC. But each time I take to the track I remember the days when I watched the old iron heroes kick up the dust and put us on the edge of our seats each week, as we rooted for our favorite driver.
- (IF you) looked at the box seat fans as the exited the track they looked like they just ran the feature themselves.
- To see my favorite driver and personal friend "Gentleman Joe Kelly" run his last race. I ran my first race there in a TQ, then in URC sprint cars.
- Seeing Bill Wentz's comments make me think of what a competitor Bill was, and how pissed off he got when I finished ahead of him. Us young guys did that occasionally.
- I remember the night I flipped the Stephen's #4 and Al Tasnady the Chief Steward then came over to me while I was still in the car, and said are you OK kid? I said "yep". Then I looked at Al and said "put another nickel in daddy I want to go again".
- Making friends and having your name etched in the history books as a racer who ran Flemington.
- Getting our final laps in this year will be special. And the spirit will live on because I understand they will have a museum as part of the shopping center that will take the place of the old track, we once knew as a place where we buried the throttle and hung it all out, and to say you raced there makes it a special. The memories of all that made their own part of history there
- Oh yes, and do not forget "FLEM MAN"
Ned Stites III 06/13/03
- I really enjoy all of the great photographs and stories. Russ Dodge's memories of Flemington echo mine and it was interesting that he made mention of the music and the diner, which were also elements that I cherished as well. I'm glad to see that the Novice division is getting some notice, because my father and I enjoyed watching those guys alot. We always came very early and I would go over to the infield and talk to the drivers through the chainlink fence. Once again thank you for the memories.
Bill Wentz Sr. 06/07/03 (note: Bill drove in the URC Sprint Division in the 70's & 80's)
- My favorite dirt track of all times . A driver w/ a rythym and a good handling car can run wide open all the way around.
- The first time I won a feature by beating Buckley and the first time Scats Anfuso allowed me to use drag rubber.
- Another great day for me was when I won the Flemington Fair feature and my son Bill jr. was right behind me for second spot.
- When you couldnt tell the drivers from the fans in the stands-- they all had some of that famous Flemington black surface on their faces.
- A magic place
Tim Weber 05/24/03
- I was a regular spectator at Flemington from the mid 60s through the DA modified days. My favorite race of all time was when Craig McCaughey in the purple #4 coach held off The Polish Prince for what seemed like an eternity. An incredible show for sure, with a packed house screaming at the top of their lungs. The track surface that night was perfect, with not a rut or speck of dust to be found. It had to be the best track surface I've ever seen.
- It only seemed to get dusty during daytime shows, and finally, when horsepower, downforce and traction tore it all up. I loved the dirt days, and they should have kept it dirt, but there were some good asphalt shows as well. I lost interest once the dirt/asphalt cars went away in favor of the pancake cars.
- I believe the greatest of all time at Flemington was Stan Ploski. He did amazing things in the 707, but I really think he hit his peak in the Brenn coupes, with that beautiful broadslide that went down the entire front stretch. The man went entire seasons without turning a car left. High, low, and through traffic, he was the smoothest of all time at Flemington, just poetry in motion.
- Billy Pauch did it all at Flemington, with a natural talent that tells you that this is a rare combination you're watching, something special where a person has found the exact spot where his talent lies. So many nights we came to the track knowing that we're going to see a driver that's just consistently faster than everyone else. A week after he took his DA modified head on into the wall with serious injuries, my kids and I toured the pits post race. Billy sat there with a line of kids waiting for autographs. We decided to walk around the rest of the pits, walked past Billy's pit again and saw him sitting there by himself. I said "Billy looks tired, let's talk to him next week", when he motioned us over. Sitting there looking like hell, with two black eyes, he wound up with both kids in his lap and a big smile for them. So he wound up with 3 fans for life. A great driver and a heck of a guy.
- I can bring back so many memories, having known Charlie Voorhees, the ultimate underdog, and one of the finest carachters I've ever met. Working in the pits or sitting in the stands with the Vietnam vet was an experience for sure. He wheeled the 705 for all it was worth, without a feature win at Flemington, he was one of the people that made the place what it was. (see "Where Are They Now?")
Thanks for the opportunity to write. There were so many things about Flemington, it would take me way to long to write about it, those were just a few of my favorites.
Jim Murrow 05/10/03
- My favorite times at Flemington were the late 50s - early 60s. The track was an hour and a half from my home in Woodbury, NJ so we left early and arrived mid afternoon. We lined up at the gate an hour or two before it opened, and waited. When the gates opened, I, being a kid, was elected to run like hell for the grandstands to get a box seat. The race cars wouldn't arrive for an hour or 2 yet. The track was only about 10 feet from you, and you could see everything, except the area on the backstretch blocked by the Announcers pagoda. Most vivid memories:
- Olsen, Tas, and McLaughlin, battling the Flemington locals for the win.
- Jackie Mclaughlin letting the tail of his car tap the outside guardrail to straighten the car out coming out of the turns, (One night, he actually took the starter's ladder down).
- McLaughlin riding the outside for 3 or 4 laps trying to pass someone, then, flying into turn one high, throwing the car completely sideways, diving low, and passing them on the inside. Nobody ever seemed to catch on to that trick.
- The night "Tas" charged around the track backward, and tried to "Head On" the guy who spun him.
- The night Sam Nunis, of Trenton Speedway, rented Leon Manchester's car for Jackie McLaughlin to drive when Jackie's car was out for the night, and Sam had heard of the unbelievable way Jack drove there, and wanted to see for himself.
- The night of the "Photo Finish" of the feature, with McLaughlin and Vince Conrad finishing the feature wheel to wheel. First they gave the win to one, then the other, and a fight developed in the pits. I don't remember who eventually was declared the winner of the race, but, the winner of the fight was Leon Manchester. A fellow driver, he was also Jackie McLaughlin's brother in law. The fight, which now involved about 20 people, was taking place next to Leon's car. Leon calmly went to his toolbox, seemingly not even paying attention to the fight, got out a big wrench, climbed on top of his car, and,suddenly, dove into the middle of the fight swinging the wrench. The fight was over in about 15 seconds..
- The winged cars - McLaughlin's deuce, Manchester's 12, and others, till the wings were banned.
- Clyde Cox, in the Hemi powered 501.
- Watching Stan Ploski develop as one of the all time best!
- Seeing all the great Flemington regulars, like Bob Hall, in the flag 44, Jimmy Metzler -( "The Old Gray Fox"), in the 2A, with the stuffed fox on the roof, Roy Pauch, (Billy's Dad), in the 15, Lee Hendrickson,(Wade's Dad), in the 07, and later the Z1, Vince Conrad, Charlie Cregar in the circle A 2, Hoop Schible, Billy Cramer, Pat Wohlgemuth, Sammy Beavers, in the 77A, Glen Fitzcharles, and on, and on.
- The most "Fun" track of them all, for spectators.
- I remember Billy Thomas, a driver who ran Alcyon, and Georgetown, telling me once, " You know, I go to Flemington once every year, and all the way down every straightaway, I keep telling myself, over, and over, you gotta throw it in the corner, you can't drive it in, and every time I get to the corner, I drive it in, anyway, so I don't go back till the next year". That's as close to describing Flemington as anything, I guess!
- Thanks for the memories, Jim Murrow
Nick Leach 05/07/03
- Hitting Stewarts on the way in and Weiner King on the way out
- Having hot dogs with "Big B" Barry Schenk and Larry Kline and Rick Holden and the boys
- Tail Gating in my brother Kens Chevy Wagon
- Watching Johnnny leave the park on the back stretch in the #130 car
- Meeting Billy the kid at the scale fence (I still have picture he gave me)
- Hearing the charge sound and the anthem with the purple cuda timed just right.
- Turn one and two bandits with scarfs on to keep dust out of their mouths
- The great racing seeing Beavers Ploski, Brenn, Billy and all the rest do the blue angel slide through the corners -What a sight! ( we could go on forever)
- (Heres my favorite quotes: "Close all gates around the speedway please"
"Harry, pick up the phone - harry pick up the phone"
- (and my favorite: "And as the angle out down the back through the short chute").
Todd L 05/2/03
- Skating on the clay after a rainout on the way to the pits
- Going to the DIRT races and approaching the Johnson's, Decker, Hearn and the rest of the big guns like we approach Winston Cup drivers today
- Glenn Fitzcharles in the DDK 26
- All of the Sprint races
- Tony Leonard REST IN PEACE 143 we miss you
- Seeing Billy Pauch in his first Outlaw start in the Hyneman #126,
- (The car was finished 1 hour prior to them pulling into the gates - He destroyed it the next week at the Grove)
- Jim Loesch in his 33
- Kenny Brightbill in the Romeo 44JR,
- (a ride originally slated to go to Ray Bateman but Ray tragically passed away shortly after being tapped as the driver).
Jim Murdoch (Big Jim!) 04/30/03
- * My first ever dirt track race with my late father back in the 80's.
- * Seeing the modifieds and sportsman smack the wall in the turn 1 short chute and rolling over many times
- * Watching my dad pay the admission at the entrance before we even parked
- * The seemingly long drive from Wall to Flemington out 195 to 295 to 31 north (Heh, it makes Thunder Road look like a trip around the world lol)
- * Watching the URC and WoO sprints run caution free features sometime
in 1989 or 1990.
- * Hearing the calvary charge off of turn 4.
- * Even I remember the fried chicken
- * Writing my initials on my dad's windshild of his Dodge Lancer
- * Popcorn, candy, peanuts here!!!
- * Begging for a program then complaining it was all ads
- * Remembering a wicked modified flip down the frontstretch all the way into turn 1 in 1990 (the car must have flipped at least 8 times...in Melnick's 1990 review video you can see me n my friend at the bottom of the bleachers jumping up and down at the bottom of the screen...I was 12
- * Videotaping, kinda, the last race on dirt (I shot it with our old Super 8 Movie camera, and I still have the two rolls of film, undeveloped...sheeez, thats gotta be worth something, the last movie footage ever shot on the dirt @ Flemington)
- * Going to the first paved race with my dad and his new girlfriend...only to find we couldn't find a seat.
- * Bill Singer's booming voice
- * Dwindling crowds
- * Going to Flemington in 2000 after a NES early rainout and finding a few spectators scattered around the empty grandstands
- * Leaving feeling depressed, and my friend asking me where all the people were (He went with me to NES the week before)
- * Feeling sad that I didn't go to Flemington more often in the 80's...
Todd L 04/27/03
- The ISMA SuperModifieds on the first asphalt night I think it was Mike Ordway who shattered Doug Wolfgang's track record Ordway turned a lap at 155 mph which shattered the previous track record of 142 mph.
Mike S. 04/24/03
- watching pauch , ploski , brightbill, horton, hoffman, and all the other big names was great but seeing the "little guy" win was always great to see.
- gloria katona winning a sportsman race
- dick durica winning his first race in the 100 lapper!!!
- one of the strangest thing i ever saw was george kostalanski going THROUGH the turn 2 fence and the race went 2 full laps under green before the officials noticed and threw the yellow flag!!
- one of my fondest memories was going to a memorial day saracuse qualifier with my father when i was young and seeing jimmy horton doug hoffman c d coville allan&danny johnson will cagle and all the other big names from new york for the first time i was in heavan seeing all the cars and drivers i had only read about before
- i worked on a modified car for the last 4 years flemington was dirt. The thing i miss most is the people you raced against the other teams on the track but in the pits it really was one big racing family
- i miss hanging out after the races having a beer talking about the nights races
Dominic K. 04/23/03
- In 1966 my great uncle took my father for the very first time to Flemington. My father took me way before I can even remember.
- I always remember the traffic back up on Rt 31 turning into the fairgrounds and hoping you got there early enough to park in the front instead of walking all the way from the back stretch to the front stretch w/ your cooler in hand.
- Remember the concession stand guy that would walk around? You couldn't make out what he said all the time, but it sounded like popcrn, penets, crckr jack here?
- Most of all though I remember the excitement under the lights and hearing the announcer as they were on the back stretch say "coming around the number threeeeeee corner.
- Or the green flag going down on the 200 lap feature and seeing the lights reflect off the cars and hearing and feeling the roar as they hit that 4th turn.
- There are so many memories.
- I remember getting there on Saturdays around 2 pm and the place was barely full and the water trucks watering down the track. The modified drivers weren't even there yet. There was a stillness in the air sitting on that 4th turn and looking at that track knowing all of the excitement that was going to happen that night all the way to the final laps of the feature when the lead car has lapped so many cars , you didn't know where the field ended or began, the only clue you had was the board on turn 1. You looked at the yellow lights shining on the track and all you saw was dust flying like a sand storm. But it was great.
- After the races we'd always go into the pits. We were big Ploski fans so we would sit and talk w/ him awhile if we could. Just being able to walk on the track that by this time was matted clay and feeling those tires on the cars after they just ran 200 laps.
- Flemington was something that was indescribable, Unless you were there, you have no idea. It was a magic that can never be duplicated. I'd pay any amount of money to have those Saturday's back again!
Warren Alston 04/23/03
Going to the races at Flemington was a time when my Mother Father and I would be able to spend together. With their respective jobs, going to the races rain or shine was the best. Growing up in the 70's, and 80's was a great time. I began to follow what the flaggers such as Tex Enright, Ron Seiple, Ray Sullivan, and Harry Dee did and I got the bug. I would flag right behind them in the box seat #8 following every move they made. One of my many memories of Flemington was the night that the flagstand was struck. I do not recall the driver or the car but Harry Dee was flagging with the Late Joe McGowen as his assistant. As the car flipped end over end, I ran from the box seat and my father ran towards it. Not to grab me but to grab Joe. He was attempting to get into the box seat when the stand got pulled away from the force of the crash. Joe had fallen and was able to cling onto the front of the box seat. Just as the stand was going to crash back into the box, my father grabbed Joe and threw him up into the air. The stand hit the box seat and broke the boards in the front. My father caught Joe and put him down just as the stand hit. Joe was not injured in the incident nor was Harry. Joe was so glad that my father was there that night and saved him from certain injury. As I became a flagger myself, anytime Joe would see my father, they would always talk about that night.
As of this writing, I was proud to work at Flemington and be the last Starter the track had. I miss Flemington, especially my fellow officials. We were a family. So many people work so hard on a Saturday night to make the show run as safely and quickly as it did. I miss staying after at the races and hanging out in the purple room. I can recall many a night I was a part of the last group of officials to leave and locking the gate behind me.
Maybe when we all get to heaven there will be a Flemington up there for all of us to go to. One can only hope.
Living 10 mins from reading was great grew up at the fairgrounds, but Flemington was my second fav track , we went there often , fav memories would be:
- any night kenny brightbill would beat billy the kid in his own backyard
- stan the man sideways at the starter stand! nobody ever backed um into 1 like he did.
- ken brenn jrs awesome looking grant king modified seamed like it was goin 100 miles an hour standing still.
- the everret express ,
- glen fitzcharles in the 96x, (3wide note: I remember the R10 and the 23, and think Paul wheeled the 96...)
- kenny brightbill coming from lap down to win the 200 , i think that was one the most memorable.
Jeff McClung 4/18/03
- Flemington was religion for myself and so many freinds and family.
- My average saturday started around noon at the track and would stay till well after the races were finished. Probably the only track that kept you as interested in the sportsman class as mutch as the modifieds.
- So many classic memories from the square where do you start?
- One race that stands out in my mind was of all things A heat race Ray Bateman and Fritz Epright in the Trenton Mack car battled side by side inches apart for what seemed like the entire race, but was probably only four or five laps, truly epic.
- Of course Jimmy Hortons last turn of the last lap pass on Roger Loreno (a.k.a Mike Mckinny) in the 200 will allways be one of my fondest memories.
- The names say it all Billy Pauch Jimmy Horton Stan Ploski Sammy Beavers Billy Osmun Gerald Chamberlin Al Tasnady Glenn Fitzcharlds Fritz Epright Ray Bateman Howie Cronce Kenn Brenn Bobby Pickell and on and on.
I have been fortunate to have been to most of the quality dirt tracks in the Mid Atlantic North East region, no track quite compares in energy and enthusiasm. Everyone had A favorite and let you know who it was. In my mind Flemington (Dirt) stands unequaled.
JIM AND LISA FAIRCHILD, FLEMINGTON NJ 04/12/03
- I GREW UP GOING TO FLEMINGTON WITH MY FAMILY EVERY WEEKEND IT WAS JUST A ROUTINE.
- HELPING PACK THE COOLERS FULL OF FOOD SODAS AND LOTS OF BEER FOR UNCLE JIM!!!!!
- BILL SINGER NO ONE COULD EVER TOP HIM
- THE ACTIVE 1 RAY BATEMAN JR (WE MISS HIM)
- FLEM MAN HANGING FROM THE WRECKER BOOM
- DODGING CHUNKS OF DIRT SITTING IN TURN 1
- WATCHING THE RACE CAR HAULERS GO BY ON THE WAY TO THE TRACK
- THEN PAUL KILLED THE TRACK AT LEAST I THOUGHT SO FOR A LITTLE WHILE
- AND I WAS BACK TO THE ROUTINE AGAIN
- I LOVED THE ENDUROS ESPECIALLY WHEN THE USED TO WET THE TRACK DOWN AND PUT OBSTACLES IN THE WAY
- (VALUE TOWING) TEARING ASS ROUND THE TURNS IN HIM CAMARO AND MONTE CARLO (THEY WERE NUTS)
- WATCHING THE 12M (JOHN MENZAK) DO SO WELL THEN BLOWING HIS MOTOR ALOT!!!!!!!!
- GETTIN THERE AT 3:30 TO PUT MY BLANKET UP AT MY SAME SEAT EVERY WEEK HIGH UP IN TURN 4
- WHEN I COULDN'T MAKE TO THE RACES AND I GOT HOME LATE ON SATURDAY NIGHT AND I COULD HEAR THE ROAR
- FROM MY FLEMINTOM HOME MY STOMACHE WOULD BURN WISHING I WAS THERE
- DAN BALLENTINES WINNING STREAK
- PURPLE HAIR NIGHT
- JOHNNY (POPCORN, PEANUTS,ICE CREAM) AT LEAST WE GET TO SEE HIM AT NEW EGYPT SPEEDWAY NOW
- I COULD GO ON FOREVER - - - - - - - - - -
- THE ONLY GOOD TRADE OFF FROM PAUL SHUTTING DOWN IS FOR THE LAST THREE YEARS I HAVE BECOME A DIE HARD SPRINT CAR FAN
- NOW I GET TO DRIVE ONE , TWO, OR THREE HOURS TO BRIDGEPORT, N.E.S. THE GROVE, BIG DIAMOND, FONDA ETC. EVERY WEEKEND ESPECIALLY W.G.S ON FRIDAYS BECAUSE I GET UP SAT FOR WORK AFTER USUALLY 3 HOURS OF SLEEP
- I GOT SPOILED LIVING IN FLEMINGTON (5 MIN DRIVE TO THE TRACK)
- I LOVE THE 410s
THANKS TO THE KUHLS, DRIVERS, CREWS AND ALL WHO MADE FLEMINGTON HAPPEN EVERY WEEKEND FOR ALL THE MEMORIES
Kevin McElvaine 04/12/03
- Heading north whenever the URC was in town.
- I liked the ride up rt 31 before it got built up.
- I always had to play Dire Straits in my car when I drove to Flemington Speedway, I dont know why.
- Getting busted the only time I tried to sneak a friend in inside the trunk of my Monte Carlo.
- Putting a blanket down on an aisle seat then "doing a lap" around the track and watching a race from every section.
- Watching a tire sail past the museum in turn 4 and then seeing it smash a car window. Wow! glad it wasnt MY car !
- Running to the pizza place next to the track at intermission cuz the lines were shorter there.
- Covering all the glass in my car with newspaper and bringing a milk jug full of water to clean the windows cuz the windshild washer didnt work in my car!
- Only track I ever been to where I seriously prayed that all my friends would survive the night.
Kurt B. 04/12/03
- loading up in dads' van with all my inlaws at 3pm to go to the races.
- thinking i saw the fasttes racing cars on a 5/8 mile when the outlaws came to town in 89,untill the super mods showed up.
- seeing stan the man in the $ cars throttle stick wide open going down the back straightinto turn 3.
- eating lots of frenchfries.
- my uncle wearing the red trenton mack shirt nomatter if it had holes in it or should of been burned.
- waiting to see how many caution laps would click off till pauch got his car fix just right.
- just having my cousin the slickster come along.
- taking coffeeout to jimmy arndst the ticket man.
- going to flemington speedway no matter what night or what was racing.
Russ Dodge 04/11/03 Flemington 1959...
- Stopping at the original stainless steel diner on the circle for a Cheeseburger, coke and a piece of outrageously priced cheese cake ($1.45) which was heavenly!
- Remembering the wonderful Fair like atmosphere that Flemington radiated all season long.
- Listening to Nat Klienfield bring you up to date on the drivers and cars in the pits
- Listening to the music on the pa. The Bill Black Combo or Sing Along With Mitch!
- Watching the arrival of Hoop, Spike Allen and the rest of the Upper Black Eddy gang. Their hearse flower car filling the infield entirely with smoke from the exhaust!
- Hearing the crowd cheer when they saw the running lights on the top of the Williams tow pick-up appear over the hill in the back, bring Tas' #44 to race.
- The night the consi was held waiting for the arrival of a newly finished #44. Instead of pulling into the pit, the rig turned right, came around the track and unloaded the car in front of the main grandstand. Tas jumped in and won the consi and the feature! Who cared if a little favoritism was given!
- Sitting in low bleachers in under trees in the first turn.
- Racing with an inside guardrail and a narrow track surface.
- Sitting in the covered grandstand and a first time Flemington visitor asking, "This is a dirt surface isn't?"
- Driving to Flemington from South Jersey in the rain, sitting in the grandstand and waiting until the rain stopped around 8 and running the entire show!
- Having the privilege of seeing South Jersey's big three: Jackie, Budd and Al, race together regularly at Flemington!!
- Buying pictures and stuff which would later become priceless from the Otto's neat novelty stand.
- While we could go on and on, I'll end with remembering the worst hot dogs I ever ate! God, Flemington was GREAT!!
Walter O 04/11/03
- Being from Staten Island, My Father and I started going to Flemington in1968. Mike Grbac and Budd OLsen battling for the Feature. With Mike holding on for the win. Al Tasnady in the Piscopo("Polecat") 39. Joe Kelly in the Fodor 13.
- The popcorn, the chicken, just the atmosphere alone was a tradition. I've been to many tracks over the years. To me nothing came close to Flemington.
- Do not forget many drivers from Staten Island raced at Flemington as well. The Laureno's(Roger and Kenny) Earl Elzer, Bobby Doyle(Raced at Weissglass), Whitey Kidd,Sr,and Jr., Doug Ostwald, you also might remember Howie Brown (though He mainly raced at East Winndsor), Larry Friedman, among others.
- To me the real Flemington closed back in 1990.(When Mr. Kuhl paved the track)
- Ha, some many memories. Hoop Schiable, Les Farley Two Gun Oakley, Dudie Babey, Ollie Butler. These are some of the drivers thet made Flemington, Flemington. Lest we forget, Stan the Man and Billy the Kid, and the "Ole Master" Frankie Schneider, Dick Havens, And the Great Al Tasnady. All Immortals.
- If only we had Flemington back in its "Hey Day"
- Also, Bill Singer announcing, Sammmmmy Beavers.
- Craig McCaughey in the "Ah Dynomites" 301, Mike Grbac in various rides. Gerald Chamberlain in the Bullock mounts(76) who can forget that falcon.
- What about that feature race between Chamberlain and McCaughey in the late 70's. What a race!!!
Let's bring back Flemington!!!!!!
Heath Eliwatt 04/09/03
- One of my best Flemington memories is the 4 Twenties, sometime in the mid to late eighties, when Stan Ploski (driving the Trenton Mack 74) finished second to Billy Pauch (driving the Deblasio 5) in the first 3 twenties, then finally beat him in the fourth, final and most exciting twenty.
- Seeing Ken Johnsons Roy Rogers sponsored 64 parked in an open trailer at the Ponderosa Steak house on 31.
- Mike Mckinney (alias Roger Laureno) in Tony Sesleys 16 dominate the 200 lapper only to get beat by Jimmy Horton in the S&H 85 on the final turn.
- Glen Fitzcharles in a sprint car. No explanation is required.
- The fried chicken.
- The L Car.
- The Modified Sprints. Too bad they didnt last.
- My best Flemington memory of all is, as child, sitting with my dad at "our seat" up high off the fourth turn at Flemington. We still talk about it often.
Doug Leubner 04/09/03
- sitting in section G,row 8,seats 3,4,5,6 in the covered grandstand EVERY week.
- saving money all week so I could buy an 8x10 photo from Ace Lane
- watching Billy Pauch set up his famous pass on the high side between turns 3 and 4
- Grant king racecars.....WOW!!
- hurrying up on Saturday mornings to get my chores done so that my brother and I could ride our bikes up the street to help sportsman racer Carl Lehman with his racecar.
- sitting outside in our yard(we lived on Rt. 202 south) and watching all the racecars heading for Flemington. Man I miss those open trailers.
- Glenn Fitzcharles in the GO modified and later in the sprints
- the Todd Neiheiser show.....always hard on the throttle
- Fan clubs behind the grandstand
- the Flemington 200....liked the "invaders" such as "Mike Mckinney"
- the Brenns immaculate race cars
- standing in line after the races as a youngster waiting for Billy Pauch's autograph
- going to the Flemington Fair.....midgets and vw sprints in the afternoon at 2 and the mighty modifieds in evening at 8
- sportsman racer Bryan Quinlan
- being old enough to get into the pits
- helping Art Adams at Flemington
- racing karts at Flemington and feeling like you are racing on sacred grounds
- I REALLY miss Flemington!! - Thanks.....Doug Leubner
Bob Caramella and Richard Caramella 04/07/03
- The memories I have of Flemington is getting home around 2 or 3 o'clock in the morning getting up on Sunday and drawing pictures of the cars we saw the night before. The very next weekend going into the pits after the races and getting the drivers autograph of the pictures we drew. Both my brother and I still have the pictures today.
- Another memory I have is with Mike Grbac wrestling with me and my brother.
- Still another one, Charlie Voorhes asking why his car didn't run like the Norcia's modified..
- one other memory i have of flemington is starter tex enright climbing the catch fence on the front straightway on bikini night and lets not forget both tex and harry dee starting the races from the inside rail and running across the track to the starters stand.
- best midget driver harry benjaman going from deep in the pack to first before getting to the 2nd turn.
- and best urc sprint driver buck buckly.
Mark Burd: 04/05/03
How Paul Kuhl would bring the pace car out during the National Anthem and do a lap that ended just as the anthem ended Mark Burd
Dave Spurlin: 04/05/03
How about all of the Johnny Cash music you listened to as the cars arrived and filled the pits. To this day I still think of that when I hear one of those songs!
How about the time when Miss Flemington (Pat Heebner) had her top fall off during mud wrestling on the front stretch and she didn't even know it! That was one time I didn't share the binoculars! Ha
Todd L: 04/05/03
- Watching Drivers like Slocum and Pauch "Powerslide" through the corners
- Seeing a racecar (think Scott Pursell's old maroon # 9 ) hanging in the billboards on the back stretch
- The Statler Brothers version of the National Anthem
- THE COLOR PURPLE
- Fusco's Fried Chicken
- The Forklift
- The First night that Jimmy Horton ran his new Tobias he threw a wheel in the 1st corner that cleared the seats and landed in front of my Dad's new truck ( the night before at EWS Mike Lyons flipped out of the speedway and landed in front of the same truck).
- The Pepsi Small Block Shows
- Sitting in a box seat in the covered stands
- THE ACTIVE 1 (Rest In Peace Ray Bateman
- Benny Scheer's 1a Modifieds Rocket fast regardless of who was in the seat.
- Corner Workers & Flaggers (not very many oval Tracks had corner workers)
- The cloud of dust that covered Route 31on any race day
- The last Dirt Race there fans were carrying a makeshift casket that was painted purple and it read "Flemington Dirt RIP"
- Bill Singer (Ron Bailey was no Bill Singer...)
- The Late Models (Especially Gary Butler's 68 and Bob Travagline's 71X which Bob himself called Mr. Twister)
- The World Of Outlaws running a 40 lap feature in 6 minutes (Race was won by Doug Wolfgang in Danny Peace's 8D) 1989 I believe
- The Pace Cars especially the Purple Dodge Challenger
3 Wide: 04/05/03
- Drivers getting out of their cars after an on track incident to either show they were ok, look over the damage, or to let a competitor know what was on their mind.
- ¾ helmets and those face pieces the drivers wore under their bandanas that made them all look like they had pointy noses
- Watching drivers visiting each other in the pits.
- Watching a crew thrash to get a car back out for a consi after trashing it in their heat race.
- Coupes, Sedans, Gremlins, Vegas, Falcons, Mustangs, Corvairs, Valiants, and an occasional full fendered 55-57 chevy.
- Bill Singer welcoming us all to Modified Country USA
- Walking briskly from the 4th turn bleachers to the 3rd turn bleachers while there was a race going on and wondering if a car came through the fence could you get out the way in time...
- Watching for wrecked car parts that the wrecker crew would throw between the outside guardrail and the catch fence when cleaning up an accident site, so that you could go find them to take home once they opened the gates after the races
- Looking up at the points boards behind the front-stretch grandstand (Modified Owner, Modified Driver, Sportsman).
- The smell of fried chicken.
- The fan clubs meeting behind the concession stand
- When you were a kid, feeling like when you ran on the crushed stone behind the grandstands, that it was the fastest anyone had ever run in the world.
- The respect the Modifieds commanded when they loped out of the pits on to the front-stretch in preparation for warm-ups.
- Racers needing to use the grassy area inside of turn 1 to pit because the pits were over flowing with racecars.
- Joe Hall giving the clenched fist salute to the top rower's around the speedway during his first lap on the speedway before each race
- Trying to judge how crowded it was going to be in the stands based on how far towards the 2nd turn you had to park.
- Trying to see what late arriving drivers were lined up waiting for the back gate to open.
- Bill Singer giving the command to "Close all gates around the speedway".
- The excitement of the trumpet send off as the cars came out of turn 4 for the green flag, that was probably more appropriate for a horse race, but who cared!
- After an incident, drivers pulling under the flag stand (while the yellow was out), and waiting for Harry Dee to come down and listen to whatever was on their mind, or to listen to what Harry had to tell them, or usually a little of both.
- Watching people try to walk across the track after a rain shower, or before warm ups
- Getting a ride out of the pits after the races were over on the back of your favorite drivers trailer
- Approaching the speedway coming up route 31 and seeing the activity around the speedway entrance that assured you that you were there, and they were running!
- Walking through the Hall of Fame building for the 900th time and still finding something new and cool to look at.
- Thinking up a creative way to order french fries so that the cute girl in the concession stand would fall in love with you when you placed your next order.
- "Cold Drinks Here" Johnny
- Riding all the way up from South Brunswick, through Neshanic Station in the back of a pick up truck with a few friends from 8th grade while dad drove.
- The fence crew
- The sand crew
- Burning off the spilled fuel after a car got upside down
- When taking the back way into the speedway, thinking how lucky people were that lived right by the track
- On the ride home with Dad, having a racecar on an open trailer riding in front of you and first trying to figure out what driver it was, and then pretending that that is the view you would have if you were racing him for the win on the track!
To View aerial images of the site of Flemington Speedway from 1931 to 2006, click below:
Find on the left side of the page where it says "Search Imagery" and click on "By Lat / Long", and then enter the following coordinates:
Latitude: 40.5268 Longitude: -74.8530
(Coordinates provided by Mike Sienko)
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