One of the legends of Maritime motorsports will visit Speedway 660 this weekend. John Flemming, a four time Parts for Trucks Pro Stock Tour champion, will visit the Geary Woods when the tour makes its annual visit. Wade Wilson recently spoke with John Flemming about his racing career.
Talkin with John Flemming
Wade: Hello John, you’ve got a lot of fans up here who are looking forward to watching you race at Speedway 660 this weekend.
John: Thanks Wade. You’ve got some great fans up there, who appreciate good racing and we always enjoy coming to Speedway 660. My team and I are excited about this weekend and hope to get our first win of the season at the Irving Oil Blending and Packaging 100.John Flemming takes a victory lap at Speedway 660 after winning last year’s Irving Oil Blending and Packaging 100. John hopes a return trip to the Geary Woods will give him his first Parts for Trucks Pro Stock win of 2014.
Wade: Congratulations on becoming the first four time Parts for Trucks Pro Stock champ. That’s a pretty big accomplishment.
John: That was huge for us, we really had to work hard to win the title last year. We never thought we would ever get four championships, but that’s all history now and we are hoping to contend for another title in 2014. But it won’t be easy because there are so many good teams in the Parts for Trucks Pro Stock Tour.
Wade: You won the tour title in 2002, 2003 and 2006. Between 06 and 012 you finished as high as second and third in the points before finally getting that fourth title last year. How big was that and did you ever wonder if you’d ever get another one?
John: We kind of wondered if we would ever get that fourth title. Some of those years we didn’t run full time on the Maritime Tour. We ran some of their big races and also ran some of the Pro All Star Series races. Last season we decided to give it 100 percent and see if we could still get it done. The competition is stiff, but at the end of the 2013 season we were fortunate to be able to achieve our goal.John Flemming (center) celebrated last year’s win at Speedway 660 with Shawn Tucker (right), who finished second and Dave O’Blenis (left) who drove home third. The Irving Oil Blending and Packaging folks joined the celebration in the Riverview Ford Victory Lane.
Wade: Tim Terry tells me you actually started racing several years ago in Demolition Derbies! Tim’s been known to play the odd joke on me, so is that true and can you give us a quick summary of your racing career?
John: In this case Tim was actually telling you the truth. I entered a demolition derby about 25 years ago, just to have some fun and won the thing. That’s how it all started. Then I built a Street Stock and started racing on a regular basis. By then I was hooked and I’m still hooked on this sport over two decades later. After running Street Stock for a few years I bought a Pro Stock car from Derek Steeves. That was back in 1994. I finished 2nd in Rookie points behind Scott Kelly. From there I just continued to work hard and never looked back. Each week presents a new challenge and I just love this sport.John Flemming (#97) grabs the lead from Shawn Tucker early in the 2013 Auto Value 250. Tucker went on to win the race for an historic third time, while Flemming settled for sixth.
Wade: The Parts for Trucks Tour is known as the most competitive Pro Stock or Late Model Tour in Canada. We’re fortunate as fans to be treated to this caliber of racing.
John: The fans make this tour what it is today. All over the Maritimes we’ve got great fans who come out to see us race. Some of them follow us all over the region. Without them there wouldn’t be any racing. I have been fortunate to have a lot of great support in the stands and love looking up there to see all the smiling faces and hands waving as I drive by.John Flemming leads Dylan Blenkhorn in a Parts for Trucks Pro Stock race earlier this season. John is looking for his first tour victory of the season this weekend at Speedway 660, while the 19 year old Blenkhorn is going for his third in a row!
Wade: How’s your season going so far and heading into this weekend’s race how do you feel about your chances in the Geary Woods?
John: It’s a bit slow by our standards. We are kind of missing a beat, but hope to get things back on track this week at 660. We have been fairly consistent this season and have racked up some points. I think we are actually leading the standings, but haven’t won a race yet this year, so it would be nice to do that this weekend. Speedway 660 is a tough and intimidating track, but we’ve had some success up there and are confident after winning the Irving Oil Blending & Packaging 100 last year.
Wade: John you’ve won titles and you’ve won a lot of big races, but I know there’s something missing from your trophy case. You’ve been close a time or two, but a victory in the Auto Value 250 has eluded you. How bad do you want that one?
John: You had to bring that up didn’t you? Yeah, we want that one for sure. It’s on my bucket list, we circle that one every year. We should have won it 3 or 4 times, but something always seems to happen. Hopefully, we’ll have a good run up there on August 31st and finally be able to cross it off the list this year!John Flemming has won a lot of big races over the years including the IWK 250 at Riverside International Speedway, near Antigonish, Nova Scotia. But John has never won the 250 at Speedway 660, something he hopes to accomplish in 2014.
Wade: Racing is the ultimate family sport, you’ve got to have a great crew and it takes some strong sponsors to help a guy be competitive on your tour. Who helps you win races and chase championships?
John: My family would be my number one supporter because I spend most of my summers away either working on the car or going to the races. The crew are also great supporters because without them I wouldn’t be able to go racing. Pat Ryder, Greg Yeomans, JP Arsenault, Mario Chaission, Gordie McCullaugh and Brandon Slaunwhite are awesome crewmen and great friends. We’re still looking for a primary sponsor, but are happy to have the support of secondary sponsors: Happy Harry’s Building Center; Dartmouth Dodge and; Mr. Chicken.
Wade: I hear you spend a lot of time in the off-season in hockey rinks. How’s your game these days?
John: When my kids were younger, I spent more time taking them to the rinks than getting on the ice myself. But now that the kids are older I’ve got more time to get out on the ice and play some hockey. I just love the game, although I’m not quite as fast on the ice as I used to be. Luckily age hasn’t slowed me down on the race track!John Flemming is one of the top Pro Stock/Late Model stock car drivers in Canada. In addition to being a four-time Parts for Trucks champion, John has had lots of success in the PASS Tour and the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series.
Wade: Thanks for doing this John and best of luck this weekend when the Parts for Trucks Maritime Pro Stock Tour comes to Speedway 660.
John: Thanks Wade, it was a pleasure talking with you. Say hello to all of the race fans up at Speedway 660 and we look forward to seeing everyone at the track this weekend.