The Beginning of the End...
Flemington Fair Speedway Memories
The Beginning of the End...
1990 - 1991
- 1990-1991 I was traveling a lot on business during these three years, so I only attended a handful of events at Flemington during those seasons and consequently only have a few recollections. The first is the 1990 World of Outlaws and watching Sammy Swindell in his black TMC Trucking #1 Challenger sprint car making a shambles of the track record and the field in the A Feature. Second, Billy Pauch switching to the Chesson #76 modified in 1989 and again being a dominant force at Flemington. Chesson has been a car owner for a long time and had three greats in Pauch, Ploski and Osmun driving for him. Chesson now owns cars in the World of Outlaws for his sons James and PJ. In fact, PJ recently won the Historical Big One at Eldora. Third, Ploski having to retire after a severe crash in 1989 where he was hit from behind. And last, but certainly not least, was the final dirt track race weekend at Flemington, Flemington 200 weekend. I only attended the modified race. The whole day was such a blur but the ceremonies honoring past and present were great. I dont remember much about the race. I just remember feeling sad that an era that was such a big part of my life was coming to an end. I also remember knowing that I would never return to Flemington to watch a race until the surface returned to dirt, but I also realized the chances of that happening were small. I also felt that this would ultimately spell the end of the Flemington Fair Speedway. A lot of other people that day agreed with me.
While Im unhappy that my premonition about the decline and close of the Flemington Fair Speedway after it was paved was right, I will never forget the wonderful memories I have of the racing, the facility itself, the atmosphere and the people that made up the Flemington Fair Speedway between 1970 and 1991.
Appendix to Brian's Story (November 2005)
Back in the summer of 2002, I was in Flemington during a weekday and stopped by the track. There was no one there, the gate was open, and I had the place to myself. I spent about an hour just walking around the grounds, through all of the grandstands, just taking it all in and remembering 20+ years of memories at the track. That day was the day I thought I said good-bye to my old friend, Flemington Fair Speedway.
Fast forward to November 2005, and my wife and I were attending the wedding of a friend in Clinton, NJ. We followed the well-worn path I took either by myself or with my father when we went to Flemington (Route 579 to Route 31/202, then on to Route 31 at the infamous traffic circle.) I never took a date there, and my wife and children never came to the races with me, just to the Fair in September (neither my wife or any of my three sons are racing fans.) Going to the races was time for me and my father, and after he died in 1981, time for just me. As my wife and I drove on, I could feel the memories flowing through my mind of all the times I went to Flemington. The drive to Flemington was always fun, because you never knew which modified or sportsman you would see on the way. So, when my wife and I finally drove past the speedway, it was a real jolt to the system to see the demolition having begun. It put me in a real down mood for the rest of the evening. My down mood was further enhanced by seeing the final Nextel Cup race on TV at the bar at the wedding reception we were attending, because it just highlighted the difference between today's Nextel Cup racing and the great racing we had the opportunity to see at Flemington week after week.
After seeing the demolition underway, and subsequently seeing the photos on this website, I was forced to say good-bye all over again. So, good-bye, old friend. You were such an important part of my life for over 20 years, and I count myself blessed to have had the opportunity to be with you.
Brian C. Loutrel
70's - 80's Flemington Question & Answer with Brian