1985 - 89

"Brian's Story" (continued)

Flemington Fair Speedway Memories

1985 – 89


    • 1985 – Winston Cup star Ken Schrader driving a winged modified in a wing show.
    • 1985 – Les Katona and his daughter Gloria racing together in the Sportsman Division in identical K3 Lawrence Engineering cars at Flemington.
    • 1985 – Watching Fred Orchard Jr. in his sleek #66 Troyer modified winning his first ever modified feature and seeing him jump up and down on the roof of the car on the frontstretch.
    • 1985 – Sportsman driver Glen Buchel in his Troyer #11 launching his car over the third turn wall.
    • 1985 – Stan Ploski finally getting back in a competitive ride, the Trenton Mack #74, and winning a long overdue modified feature. I know that we Ploski fans expected we’d see more victories, but this win would prove to be his last modified feature event at Flemington.
    • 1985 – Orange County Speedway ace Brett Hearn finally winning a feature at Flemington and winning a big one in the Flemington 200. Frank Cozze in his own #44 looked to be the winner but he needed a late race pit stop, giving Hearn the win. Remember the crash between the third and fourth turns when Ken Johnson in his #64 landed on top of Bill Dubovick in the Critelli $?
    • 1985 – Some great sportsman action throughout the season involving drivers such as Dave Witte in his #7, Joe Coverdale in the J-9, Dave Bodine in the 69 (I always loved Bodine’s car!), and Dean Gulick in the 7D.


    • 1986 – The old wooden guardrail was finally replaced by a taller steel unit. It was amazing how the number of flips went down after this change.
    • 1986 – Billy Pauch, driving Glenn Hyneman’s Pretzelmania #126, dominating the speedway and winning the track championship in as decisive of a manner as Gerald Chamberlain or Glenn Fitzcharles ever did. Other drivers won races, but none were consistently great week after week as Pauch was.
    • 1986 – Another year of wild body styles. This year’s trend was tall and long panels on the sides of the cars holding up the roofs. Don Maier Race Cars designed the bodies. Dave Witte’s #7 Sportsman, Fred Orchard’s #66 modified and Ken Brenn Jr.’s #24, among others, had the wild body panels. The panels were not DIRT legal and the drivers had to trim them back. Orchard’s car was also unique for its square engine hood with an opening in front for airflow to the radiator. It looked like a side pod from a Formula 1 car.
    • 1986 – Gloria Katona being the first woman to win a Sportsman heat race in her own K3 car. It was a very popular victory with the crowd.
    • 1986 – More great sportsman action involving drivers such as Mike Corcoran in the 357, (Fred or Jim Loesch) in the Romeo #44, Dirk Adrianse in the #44a, Ralph Rue in his 44, and Dave Witte in his #7. Forty-four was a popular number that year!
    • 1986 – The always-wild action in the twin and triple twenty lap feature races. I always loved this format because it really made the drivers charge hard because they didn’t have a lot of laps to get to the front. I remember the triple 20s in July 1986 when both Ken Brenn Jr. in his #24 (who won one of the 20s) and Stan Ploski in the Trenton Mack #74 both took violent flips, destroying their cars. Brenn’s was particularly bad because the car went end-over-end many times and went very high in the air.


    • 1986 – Billy Pauch in the Fiore #8 URC sprint car trying to catch Dave Kelly in his #17 sprinter. Kelly was dominant in the URC in the mid 80s and was virtually unbeatable when the series came to Flemington.
    • 1986 – Glenn Fitzcharles, driving a backup sprint car, wins the URC feature on the Saturday of Flemington 200 weekend. This was an upset of sorts because Fitz was not supposed to race that weekend and drove Wayne Rice’s backup car to help car owners Don and Darlene Kerr. It evolved into a full-time URC ride in 1987.
    • 1986 – Sportsman driver Archie Meyers IV in a wild flip in the third turn in his #111.
    • 1986 – Another second-generation driver – Pat Wohlgemuth Jr. in his 168. Remember the "WOG" on the front of the car?


    • 1986 – Stan Ploski shocking the crowd at the Flemington 200 by announcing his retirement. Stan was not racing that day as the Trenton Mack #74 was destroyed in a bad crash at Syracuse.


    • 1987 – Glenn Fitzcharles being unbeatable in URC competition in Flemington in the Don and Darlene Kerr #26 sprint car. At the first URC event of the year, the track was wet and tacky. Fitz and Dave Kelly won their heats, with Fitz demolishing the track record in the process. In the feature, Fitz started in the back of the pack, while Kelly was way out in front. Late in the race, Fitz ultimately caught Kelly and passed him on the outside coming out of the fourth turn for the lead and ultimately the win. It was a breathtaking move. I also remember the Labor Day race. Billy Pauch, who was the acknowledged master of Flemington, was in the Fiore #8 and he could not keep pace with Fitz. It had to be humbling to Pauch to be beaten that decisively.
    • 1987 – Pauch again winning the track championship in the #126 Keystone Pretzel car. He did not have it as easy as 1986, as Jimmy Horton in his #85 and Doug Hoffman in his #125 became Flemington regulars, and Fritz Epright (who replaced Ken Brenn in the Trenton Mack #74) and Ken Brenn Jr. in his #24 all made Pauch work hard for his victories and top five positions.
    • 1987 – Epright’s first feature win in the Trenton Mack #74 was a controversial one. Epright led the race until one lap to go when Pauch passed him. A yellow came out for a two-car pileup. Many thought that the checkered flag should have been thrown, ending the race in a Pauch victory. The scorers ruled that there would be one lap to go and Epright would be in the lead. Fritz held Pauch off for the one lap and the win. I don’t have to tell you how angry Pauch and his crew was over that decision.
    • 1987 – The Sportsman crash between the first and second turns that sent three cars flipping. Involved were Dean Gulick in the #7D, Mike Marion and Don Colaluce in the #30.
    • 1987 – Elvin Felty becoming a semi-regular at Flemington and mastering the "Square". Felty won a 100-lap small block modified feature at Flemington in 1987.
    • 1987 – Remember Sportsman driver Bruce Plemenik’s #20, the "Bozo Express"?
    • 1987 – Chip Slocum’s first modified win in his father’s #22 was a major upset.
    • 1987 – Stan Ploski coming out of retirement to drive the Critelli $ in the Tri Track 100 and Flemington 200 late in the year. Although he did not win either event, Ploski lead the Tri Track 100 and the crowd went wild when he took over the lead.
    • 1987 – For the first time, spending all two days of the Flemington 200 weekend at the speedway. What a joy it was being there for the entire weekend. The small block modified and URC races on Saturday and the modifieds and the Flemington 200 on Sunday. Everyone who was anyone in Northeast modified and sprint car racing was on hand. It was cold and damp that weekend, but it was fantastic soaking up all of the atmosphere of a full racing weekend. I was able to do this again in 1988, but that was it.


    • 1988 – Changing modified body styles. The cars were slowly starting to resemble the modifieds of today. You could now tell which one was a Merkur, which one was a Dodge Daytona, which one was a Oldsmobile Cutlass, etc.
    • 1988 – Pauch, Horton, Brenn, Epright and Hoffman battling for feature event wins. Epright was Pauch’s biggest challenger in the Trenton Mack #704 (not 74 and white instead or red.)
    • 1988 – The World of Outlaws making their first visit to Flemington and being there for it. Watching Doug Wolfgang in the white #8D sprinter win easily over a small field of Outlaws, Central PA drivers and a couple of brave URC drivers. Wolfgang shattered the track record in this race.
    • 1988 – Glenn Fitzcharles again being practically unbeatable in URC competition. I remember the Labor Day race. Billy Pauch, who was the acknowledged master of Flemington, was in the Fiore #8. As in 1987, Pauch could not keep up with Fitz, but Fitz dropped out when the car’s rear axle broke and Pauch won. He was very animated in victory lane.


70's - 80's Flemington Question & Answer with Brian