Ed Flemke Jr. Taking Last Ride In NAPA Spring Sizzler At Stafford

(Press release from Stafford Speedway)

Ed Flemke Jr. (Photo: Courtesy Stafford Speedway)

After a career that has spanned over 50 years, Ed Flemke, Jr. will take one final ride behind the wheel of John Hummel’s #11 Hummel Brothers Hot Dogs modified for the 51st Annual NAPA Spring Sizzler®, April 29th & 30th.  Flemke had an opportunity to drive the #11 car in last year’s Sizzler® but turned the offer down.  Watching last year’s Sizzler® from the stands gave Flemke the itch to get behind the wheel again and with the 2023 Sizzler® being the 50th anniversary of his father’s Sizzler® victory as well as the 50th Anniversary of Flemke’s very first race, the opportunity was too much for Flemke to pass up a second time.  

51st Annual NAPA Spring Sizzler® Entry List

“It should be a lot of fun,” said Flemke.  “Last year John [Hummel] had asked me if I wanted to drive the car in the Sizzler® since it was the 50thanniversary race and I told him thanks, but no thanks.  Then as I was sitting there watching the race, I thought it would have been nice to at least try and make the field.  The week after the race last year I said to John that this year would be the 50th anniversary of my father’s Sizzler® win and it’s also the 50th anniversary of my very first race, which was the day before my father won the Sizzler and that I’d like to drive one last time.  I’m not saying I’ll never get behind the wheel of a racecar again, but it definitely won’t be a race, it’ll be just to practice or something like that.”

Between his father’s and his own accomplishments at Stafford, it’s fitting that Flemke will run his very last race at a place that is very near and dear to Flemke’s heart.

“I’ve been coming to Stafford since before the Arute family owned the track,” said Flemke.  “Stafford has been here forever and it’s a premier facility with the best of the best drivers racing there.  Stafford is the place to be seen and it’s a track that not every driver has won a race at.  A lot of people don’t realize that my father won the first two races when the track first changed over from dirt to asphalt.  The following year he won the opening race and then he won the first race when the Arute family took the track over, so that’s kind of neat and it’s a bit uncanny that things worked out that way.  I remember sitting with Dale Holdridge’s wife Pat in the stands before I was old enough to go into the paddock area and that’s actually where I got my first car number from because Dale raced the #37 at Stafford.  Stafford has a lot of connections directly and indirectly to my family and the track means a lot to my family.  We grew up around a lot of racetracks but Stafford was always the weekly staple and it’s been neat to be a part of and witness the growth of the track.”

Flemke harkens back to his father’s victory in the 1973 Sizzler® as well as his own misfortune in the 2003 Sizzler® as his most memorable Stafford moments.

“The race that stands out to me was the year I was a couple of laps away from winning the Sizzler® and I was wrecked by Ted Christopher,” said Flemke.  “That race was a high and a low all at the same time and my father winning the Sizzler® was also a high point for me.  To see him win that race, I would say that was the highlight for me.”

Although the Sizzler® will mark Flemke’s final time behind the wheel in a race, he has no regrets and is very proud of everything that he has been able to accomplish in racing.

“Not really any sadness, I’ve had a good career and a good life,” said Flemke.  “When I sit and think about things, the Flemke name has been in racing for over 100 years since my grandfather raced motorcycles in Germany so it’s kind of sad that there won’t be a Flemke active in motorsports, but all good things come to an end sometime.  I never won any championships but I won a lot of races and I had chances at a few championships, so I’m satisfied and content with my career.  I might be done racing but I’ll still be involved with building cars and things like that.”

As for his performance in the #11 car, Flemke is just hoping to be one of the 33 starting cars for “The Greatest Race in the History of Spring.”

“It should be fun and I’m looking forward to the challenge,” said Flemke.  “I know we have a good car and Bruneau makes good power so we should be in pretty good shape but I also know what I’m up against so we’ll see what happens.  My father always said if you can load the car in the trailer at the end of the night it’s a win, so if we can make the race and put the car on the trailer at the end of the day, that will be a win for us and I’ll be very proud.  No matter what happens, it will be a great weekend.”

The 51st Annual NAPA Spring Sizzler® kicks off on Saturday, April 29, and will consist of two 40-lap NAPA Duel qualifying races for the Open Modified division. The 40-lap races will each pay $3,500 to win and will set the field for Sunday’s NAPA Spring Sizzler®. The American Canadian Tour (ACT) Late Models will also make their return to Stafford Speedway on April 29th with a 75-lap feature with over 40 cars expected for the race.  Limited Late Model, Street Stock, and Vintage All-Star divisions will complete Saturday’s racing program.

Order 51st NAPA Spring Sizzler® Tickets

Sponsor a NAPA Spring Sizzler® Lap 

Sunday, April 30th will play host to the $20,000 to win 51st NAPA Auto Parts Spring Sizzler®.  Filling out Sunday’s racing card will be qualifying and feature racing for the SK Modified®, SK Light Modified, and Late Model divisions along with last chance qualifiers for the Spring Sizzler®. 

For more information, visit staffordspeedway.com, follow Stafford Speedway on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or contact the track office at 860-684-2783.


  1. Al Hoekstra says

    He should stop it’s been over for a while ! Waste of equipment and money ! Was a ok driver in the day but this is like AJ trying for Indy 500

  2. bill michael says

    good luck well be cheering you on

  3. another farewell tour says

    I guess Al doesn’t believe in “bucket lists” …probably steps on ants and kills butterflies… Flemke was always one of the most difficult cars to pass. perhaps he and Melissa Fifield can see who will be the spoiler..! .by the way .Foyt would probably finish somewhere mid pack if he chose to run the 500..drivers today couldn’t hold his jock strap.. Flemke if he is running at the end wont embarrass. he has enough class and brains and will know if he should pull in.. Flemke doesn’t need any vilification. he and his family have a great history and he should do what makes him happy

  4. Wish Ed and the #11 team the best of luck. He’s been out of the car for quite a while, but I think once he gets a few laps in, he’ll be fine. One of the last remaining icons of the sport, glad to see him compete.

  5. Hillary 2024 says

    Been out of the car for quite a while? He’s raced some big sk races and tri track last year at Waterford in that car.

  6. Suitcase Jake says

    Just like riding a Bike… Biggest problem will be His VISION … These new seats block most of your VISION that Eddie Jr would usually have in the old Modifieds… Hopefully he has a Great spotter to help him with these issues..

  7. never say never.. good luck,, and don’t forget to spend lots of money!!!!

  8. Longtimefan says

    Wow!! Clearly most of you stay home, and don’t actually attend races… Flemke has been running a lot at waterford last year, and was FAST, passing cars high, low, and everywhere in between. He regularly tests customer’s cars at stafford. he’s still got it, he never lost any ability. He is, and always has been a very good, aggressive driver. The only thing that could stop him from making, or finishing the sizzler is the same thing that could stop Rocco, Dowling, Williams, Pitkat, Santos ect.. LUCK.

  9. Absolute class act and one hell of a fabricator and chassis man! So happy for him that his cars are respectable at the track again. Doesn’t matter how he does he’s doing it!! More than a ton of other folks can say on this site! Good luck Eddie and win that damn thing this site would explode lol. We will be your old friends watching from Indiana give ‘‘em hell bones!

  10. Old man racer says

    Eddie won’t have any problems. He ran up front at Waterford a few years ago. He regularly takes cars out to help people with their setups. Overall great guy who will help anybody no matter what they drive. Never has a bad thing to say about anyone. Great ambassador for the sport.

  11. Kevin Trageser says

    Just a little something.I have had the pleasure of being part of Eddie’s racing endeavors in the past.Have had lots of ups and downs ,as racing goes.The best thing I have received from all the hard work and sacrifices is the fact that I can call Eddie a friend.He is wonderful person and I consider him Family.Now go have fun.Lov ya buddy

  12. Stuart A Fearn says

    As others have said, these guys that say Ed has been out of it for a while just have not been paying attention.
    Best of luck to Ed Flemke Jr in please have a safe last ride.

  13. Steady Eddy
    God forbid he doesn’t qualify in the duel race he should have a provisional-spot so you say grandfathered in 34 starters in the greatest race in the history of spring he’s not in the way and Tommy can’t complain with him on pit Road
    This man has paid his dues and his father rest in peace is the racer of all racers
    Go Ed 11 Hummel‘s hot dogs

  14. So these recent races where Flemke performed well? 8/28/21 in a Fast 5 race at the Speedbowl won his heat with the fastest single lap in the heat and came in 17th in the feature. 9/18/21 won his heat with the fastest single lap in the heat and came in 20th in the feature. 2022 there was the MMTTS race. 8th in the heat, a DNF, didn’t come out for the consi. Is that it or are there more results to look at?
    Those heat wins in 2021 were about the best results for a golden oldie I’ve seen locally. A case could be made that coming in 17th and 20th in the feature was under performing since the car clicked off winner like lap times but that’s splitting hairs.
    Perhaps it’s a bridge too far but I just can’t help but draw a comparison between politics and racing. I’m seeing Biden looking at another run in 2024, thinking about how it’s another 6 years and he’s shaky already and wondering on what planet does that make sense. Trump as well is an old man. Pelosi backed out of her leadership role only because of the attack on her husband, Mitch McConnell seems like he’ll never go away with some members of Congress so old they don’t even know where they are some days. Democrats need to get judgeships out of committee, Dianne Feinstein who is supposed to be a team player 89 years old, sitting home and apparently could care less about her party she says she’s not retiring. I mention politicians because they’re more visible but really old people in business not willing to make way for younger people is true as well.
    So what’s that got to do with racing you say? My view it’s people of my generation not realizing our limitations and not wanting to let go. Folks in politics not leaving until they’re doddering old fools or dead and racers on Social Security that just can’t help but take that one last bite of the apple hoping by some miracle to outrun the ravages of time that gets us all in the end. Jerry Pearl tried it in the 2021 SK All Star Shootout, realized really quick it was a mistake and retired early. Same race Mike Christopher who is in super shape for his age took out Owen on the start of the Shootout clearing the way for Mike Jr’s win then re-retired. Bo Gunning, Jim Broderick and others have tried it with various degrees of mediocre to poor results. Even beloved NWMT driver Wade Cole with serious responsibilities in his home town couldn’t resist the siren call to haul a car up and down the east coast mainly to beat Melissa Fifield.
    The exceptions locally as I see it are Flemke with the results noted above and Tomaino, the ancient one who has turned in some impressive finishes in recent years.
    Other then meeting Jr and his dad decades ago Flemke is merely a racing persona viewed strictly as a fan. He seemed very pleasant in his younger years so when I view his web site I’m not surprised. It stands out as one of the most uplifting, diverse, inclusive web sites of anyone involved in racing and by far.
    This isn’t about Flemke so much as aging racers not knowing their limitations. Any of you advancing through your 60’s know or if you don’t you’re kidding yourselves, that we need to start accounting for limitations that crop up using greater care as we drive on the road. Aging racers have to do the same and if they’re smart realize their first job is to do no harm based on advanced age.
    So why bother, especially Flemke? At this point his resume is full to the brim and unlike many he still is churning out really fast SK’s. This is Ben Dodge’s year to be Master of Ceremonies and for good reason but Flemke’s time is coming at Stafford. That’s his rightful place as well as the fast cars and providing Yoda like advice for younger drivers. Not trying to compete with drivers 30 and 40 years his junior with lightning quick reflexes and real time muscle memory mostly just trying to stay out of their way.
    So with the SK success on record a couple years ago Flemke is in a car with a half again more horsepower in a bigger field of cars with a higher level of drivers on average and two days of racing culminating in a 100 lapper that one way or the other he will get qualified for. Do you think a guy in his late 60’s is at his best for an entire 100 lap event or is there a rapid trailing off as the event grinds on?
    The consensus is clearly supporting this and I agree dues paid or not. And any driver in the race you can bet will be less nervous racing Flemke then someone like Nick Anglace that’s for sure.
    If the rules allow it which they clearly do then case closed. I just happen to think we aging baby boomers tend to have an inflated sense of our capabilities at times and shouldn’t be making these choices in the first place.

  15. Doug – interesting read, respectfully, I think it’s pretty clear in the article that the expectations are in check. I suspect Edward will continue to hop in the seat every now and again and this time it’s all about nostalgia and the 50 year mark of Pops winning in ‘73. I don’t think he envisions battling for the win and Stafford isn’t Waterford – but boy a top 10 would be awesome. As he says, loading up in one piece would be a win, it’s a tough field and I’m looking forward to it!

    Ed in the 11 machine is just a wonderful thing, I may break out my 11 Hummel matchbox car for good luck.

  16. Fast Eddie says

    I’m hopeful he represents the “elder statesmen” category well!

  17. Bill Chatfield says

    Flemke’s life – Flemke’s business – end of discussion

  18. “Flemke’s life – Flemke’s business – end of discussion”

    Is it the end of the discussion? I don’t blame you for being blunt since the point I’m pushing is touchy but just “Flemke’s business” I don’t agree with that at all.

    WENY News 6/28/22
    Racer at Woodhull dies of suspected heart attack, track flagger injured
    WOODHULL, N.Y. (WENY) – A racecar driver at Woodhull Raceway died after suffering an apparent heart attack. The heart attack sparked a crash during an event, causing severe injuries to a track flagger.

    Local sprint car racer dies during race and is remembered
    DECATUR, ILL. (WAND) – It was a passion for Terry Babb. Coming from a racing family, he never stopped doing what he loved.
    “He’s from Decatur, and started off here. His family and friends race here, and Terry really called this his home track because of where he lived,” said Bob Sargent, track owner at Macon Speedway.
    The 55 year old of Macon County passed away from a heart attack this past Saturday during a race in Missouri. Members of the racing community look back at Terry’s legacy.

    I’m certainly not suggesting that the guy is going to go into cardiac arrest while racing at the Sizzler but it’s something that should factored into the equation don’t you think? It does happen after all.
    Any oldie wants to jump out of a plane parachuting, do a marathon or shovel snow that is his or her business. You can bet Mike Stefanik knew the risks of the sport he loved that in the end took his life. But aside from the loss to his loved ones at 61 it was solely his risk to take. Racing is a group activity so it’s more then just one’s person’s business.
    The thing that everyone has to ask themselves that fall in line with the default that you support the racers decisions no matter what is this. Are you thinking of what’s best for the racer or are you being selfish? Wanting one more element of the race to enjoy with no regard to how it could go wrong.

  19. Stuart A Fearn says

    Doug has a good point but no one wants to come out and say it, when pressed in the next comment he did… old racers die in these events! I’ve seen it happen in person once. Not too fun then. Usually it seems heart attack (medical event) and they go wide open throttle into the wall.
    This is what I think of when I hear of another special one last race for a past great champion driver. Flemke, Christopher, Broderick, they have nothing to prove! They are champions in my book already, but just like Ali, Sugar Ray, Tyson, they all want one more comeback.
    I like Flemke and hopefully everything ends well with a safe race, good performance, and happy memories. I’m optimistic in that Ed is quoted as saying to the effect of “final ride to cap off career”. He’s a smart guy and I’m hoping this is a graceful goodbye to the wheelman duties.

  20. I’m sure you recall Doug when the ageless wonder, Bob Polverari completed 300 laps at Thompson at age 68 in 2005 and nabbed himself a top 10 finish – was anyone or you specifically this concerned then? Did his abilities roll off about lap 98 or 198 or 298? Were his fans being selfish in cheering him on or should they have consulted Bob to relax in a recliner? Bob went several extra innings but eventually knew when to hang up the helmet, but clearly still had abilities to compete at 68. Ed will do the same. There are really only a few that extend seat time such as this and I think this is a unique event and scenario to give it a go…

    Regardless of age, all racers assume risk, anything can happen, same for fans in the stands or near catch fences. What if??? What if I go to the grocery store and some fast and furious 18 year old takes me out on the highway?.. what if?…

    Let’s see how this plays out and hope for good results, shall we? This is not some haphazard situation playing out. Remain calm..

  21. If people are going to rag on Flemke Jr. for being old and diminished capacity, then I expect to see many more of you beating on the 01 of Melissa Fifield for relentless, profound low capacity.

    And Flemke Jr. is not a champion. Decent, but far from a champion.

    Look, there’s no upside to this for Flemke Jr. He can’t impress anyone, he can embarrass himself. A LLF will be stunning. Let’s see if he makes the show.

    Anybody can have a heart attack or medical emergency at any time. Happens to young people quite often.

  22. Technically he was 154 points in finishing 2nd 2004 from being a Champion, and close in 2006, but I suspect that’s not what you’re talking about… because you would know this… tough crowd around here..

  23. Oh please, Terry Babb was not in the car I was there I also witnessed a young man lose his life in a sprint car a couple of weeks ago. Knowing Eddie I’m sure if the car or he isn’t running or feeling right it would be a no go! But good gravy Doug don’t be such a Debbie Downer. Racing site do your politics on Tuckers web site. PLEASE! Have fun and be safe Eddie have lots of salads and fruit so Doug won’t worry! Great reference to awesome Bob!

  24. “Racing site do your politics on Tuckers web site”
    If you’re being accurate you would accuse me of ageism. Mentioning politicians of both parties in reference to advanced age hanging on too long, no political opinion even implied. Now mentioning “Tuckers web site” that would be an example of being political.
    Give it some thought.

  25. Fast Eddie says

    Then again, it could go like Jerry Marqis’ last ride. Rowan Pennick was expected to be late getting to the Speedbowl for an MRS race, so Marquis was asked to practice in the Cassella 25. Not sure how old he was but he had not driven a racecar in more than a few years. Pennick never made it, so Marquis qualified on the pole and won the race!! Hey, it could happen!! Go get ’em Eddie!!

  26. Good response. So far we have Goldy mentioning Polverari’s epic late career marathon run. Suitcase Jake added Red Farmer who always seems to come up when we talk about this kind of thing but also 80 year old Jerry Eckardt who is not talked about as much. Fast Eddie offered Jerry Marquis. The year was 2011. It was as stated. The details were that Marquis was 56 and had not raced competitively for 4 years. According to the Norwich Bulletin “Twenty minutes after the Modified Racing Series 100-lap feature at the Waterford Speedbowl ended on Saturday night, Jerry Marquis was still shaking his head and uttering one word: “Amazing.”. Also “It felt good being in the racecar after being out of it for a little while, but in my heart, I didn’t really have that desire to compete,” Marquis said. “All I was supposed to do was practice it and qualify it.”
    All terrific anecdotes for sure from some of the most knowledgeable fans contributing to this forum but what do they mean? Are you all saying that there is nothing different, no additional risk when drivers in their 60’s race because you can name specific older drivers that not only competed but competed and excelled? With all due respect doesn’t cherry picking kind of miss the point?
    According to the Greensboro News and Record as of 2015 “Since 1990, at least 36 drivers nationwide have died of heart attacks during or immediately after races, an Observer investigation showed.”
    The article was an update to a previous article and referred to Charles “Bubba’ Beck who died of a heart attack in 2002 while racing at Bowman Gray. That’s an anecdote as well of which there are many more. If I list a bunch of that kind of anecdote with the details would that imply every driver that races into their 60’s dies of a heart attack?
    It’s probably safe to say well over 40 drivers have died in or soon after races they competed in since 1990 attributable to cardiac issues. If you compare it to all the drivers that race on all dirt and asphalt short track across the country it probably amounts to a fraction of a percent. Insignificant right? But wait those dying of cardiac events in their 60’s as a percent of all drivers that races in their 60’s is a more significant number is it not? There’s that and the fact the number of human beings dying from cardiac related events is similar in size to the Sizzler tour modified entry list. Doesn’t that kind of perspective warrant any consideration?
    I suppose I’ve done a bad job writing about this subject. First knowing that it’s not popular for this audience in particular that on average are older and want to hear about people they can relate to in terms of age still being able to compete. Not keeling over in pain from a heart attack just before hitting the wall or another care and dying that’s for sure. That was bad judgment as was giving the impression it was an attack on Flemke which it was not meant to be. Flemke simply being an example of the greater age issue.
    I like a number of you was at the race when Corky Cookman’s car got launched into the stands in 1983 . What followed was instant changes to the Stafford front stretch which we all supported at the time before any race was held again. I suspect if a local driver had passed away of a heart attack at a local track right before our very eyes like Bubba Beck did at Bowman Gray in 2002 we as a fan base might be a little more wary of the risks. But it hasn’t so if gramps can squeeze into a car then more power to him right?
    Ideally I’d like to see tracks require a driver in his or her 60’s have a physical required before they can compete. I also know for an array of reasons that will never happen. Tracks have the universal waiver for any driver that competes, it’s the drivers risk and no track wants to get into a age discrimination mess especially in this day and age.
    There are exceptions but as a rule I don’t think any man child racing into his 60’s is good for the driver or racing nor children driving modifieds that are not old enough to have a license to drive on our roads for that matter. I know it’s an unpopular position but I’ll continue to not fall in line with the rest of you with all due respect. Hoping that any old person thinking about a return to the drivers seat will know if they happen to read this at least one old fool knows another old fool when he sees him.

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