Flemke and Teto Team Finally Reach Victory Lane by Mike Twist
Making the Right Call Locks Down Icebreaker Victory at Thompson
That was when Flemke won a pair of races (including the prestigious Thompson 300), battled eventual champion Tony Hirschman tooth and nail for the championship and racked up 12 top five finishers in 19 starts.

In the off-season though, the #79 Hillbilly Racing team that he drove for decided to go in a different direction.  Flemke was released from the ride and at that point, he wasn't sure what to do.  Would he retire?  Would he take one of the offers from other teams that approached him?  Would he even throw together his own car and race for himself?

With just weeks to go before the start of the start of the 2005 season, Flemke decided to take over the reins of the #10 Modified fielded by one of the customers of his Raceworks chassis building business.  Car owner Gary Teto welcomed Flemke aboard and over the next several years, the team became familiar with running near the front of the pack on the Tour.  They might have lacked a big hauler and chrome all over their car, but they weren't lacking for speed.
Flemke climbs out of his Teto Racing Modified in victory lane at Thompson.  (Jamie Williams Photo)
Eddie Flemke has been driving racecars since the early 1970's and has competed on the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour since 1988.  No season on the Tour was as productive for him though as 2004.
At times though, they were lacking for good luck, and as a result the combination went winless until Sunday afternoon when good fortunate smiled on them and gave them a victory in the season-opening Icebreaker at Thompson International Speedway.

Now, the team has experienced victory on the Tour for the first time, and Flemke has been reassured that he can still win at the age of 52. After the race, it was hard to tell who he was more excited for.

“To give one to Gary is just awesome.  He's an awesome guy and all of the team is great,” said Flemke.  “I'm more excited for them, but I will definitely admit that this has some closure for me [personally],” said Flemke.  “You know that you can win.  You know that you have the ability, but sometimes you wonder.  Mark Martin says that you cherish each win because it could be your last.  You just don't know.  I wanted a 300 win because it meant so much to me with my dad having won the race.  After that, I wondered if that was it.  If is was, I wouldn't hold my head in shame because I've had a tremendous career. “

Linking up with Teto Racing has given Flemke more than just a racecar to drive - it's given him a home as well.

“Gary has always been there for me.  He was a customer.  Actually, he was a friend first and a customer second and then my car owner.  That's not a bad way to do things. It's odd, usually friendships are ruined when you drive for someone.  But here, Gary
and Pat have just been great.  They are good car owners but tremendous people and that's more important.”

Flemke's key to winning the race was in the decision to not pit for new tires under the threat of darkening skies, increasing drizzle and track conditions that were getting worse and worse.

“I knew that we weren't going to be able to race [much longer] when the tires started steaming.  When you'd get out of the groove and they'd steam.”
The #10 team celebrates their victory.  (Jim Dupont Photo)
While Flemke (#10) and Hossfeld (#4) stayed out (Top - Rick Ibsen Photo), Todd Szegedy (#2) and Tony Ferrante (#31) pitted. (Bottom - Jim Dupont Photo)  That made all the difference.
Other teams did choose to make pit stops.  One of the early leaders, James Civali, came in first at lap 51.  Less than 20 laps later, Todd Szegedy gave up the lead and was joined by Tony Ferrante, Reggie Ruggiero, Ted Christopher, Eric Beers, Ryan Preece and a host of others on pit road.

Was the decision to go against the grain and not pit a tough one to make?

“No, not even a little,” said Flemke.  “It was a no-brainer - especially with the windshield getting wetter.  The car felt really good...really good.  It did.  We talked about it earlier and track position is key here.    It has been for the last few years, so it was part of our strategy to either pit early or not pit at all.   We were having intermittent radio problems, so they told me to wiggle the car [under caution] if it was good.  I wiggled the car and they gave me a thumbs up, so I stayed out.”

Staying out was an easy choice for runner-up Chuck Hossfeld as well.

“Bob Mueller, my crew chief, made that call to stay out,” said Hossfeld.  “I don't know if he went to Weather College, but it told me that it was going to start raining more.  Sure enough, it did.  We caught the right break, made the right decision and our car was great.”

Surprisingly, it wasn't even a hard decision for Szegedy, who gave up his lead to come in, either.

“It was pretty easy for us,” said Szegedy.  “The only problem was that we didn't know where the storm was.  I had a left front bouncer from the get-go.  It was bouncing so bad that I couldn't see going into the corner.    We didn't want to take a chance of it going down and the car going into the wall.  We thought that it was early enough to pit and hoped it would just drizzle.  It if did, we would have been right back to the front and we would have been fine.  The car was awesome and I was just cruising.  But what are you going to do?  That is where luck comes in.”
Flemke had been cruising too.  Regardless, he's not sure if the rain had held off if he would have ended the day in victory lane

“When everyone did pit and that put us in the lead, I was surprised.  It was shocked and at that point we were only running at 85-90%.  I don't know if we could have gone faster, but I could have tried harder.  I was relaxed and didn't get on the wheel.  So I knew we had more, but would we have gone faster?  I don't know.”

Behind Flemke and Hossfeld were a trio of drivers who all posted their best career WMT finishes.  Finishing third was the #09 of early leader Bobby Grigas, III, fourth was Joe Hartmann and fifth was Tom Abele, Jr. - who was making his first career WMT start.  We'll have comments from all three of those drivers in our upcoming leftovers from the Icebreaker.

Sunday at Thompson Speedway
Thompson, CT
Lap length: 0.62 miles
(Start position in parentheses)

1. (8) Ed Flemke, Jr., Southington, Conn., Chevrolet, 92 laps, 56.647 mph, $7,920.
2. (10) Chuck Hossfeld, Ransomville, N.Y., Dodge, 92, $3,220.
3. (2) Bobby Grigas, III, Marshfield, Mass., Chevrolet, 92, $3,070.
4. (34) Joe Hartmann, Calverton, N.Y., Chevrolet, 92, $3,295.
5. (36) Tom Abele, Jr., Norwich, Conn., Chevrolet, 92, $2,825.
6. (1) James Civali, Meriden, Conn., Chevrolet, 92, $2,995.
7. (3) Todd Szegedy, Ridgefield, Conn., Ford, 92, $2,295.
8. (11) Reggie Ruggiero, Rocky Hill, Conn., Ford, 92, $2,095.
9. (18) Rowan Pennink, Huntingdon Valley, Pa., Chevrolet, 92, $1,945.
10. (15) Ted Christopher, Plainville, Conn., Chevrolet, 92, $1,995.
11. (29) Anthony Sesely, Matawan, N.J., Dodge, 92, $1,150.
12. (5) Jimmy Blewett, Howell, N.J., Chevrolet, 92, $1,965.
13. (19) Charles Pasteryak, Lisbon, Conn., Chevrolet, 92, $1,134.
14. (22) Glenn Tyler, Hampton Bays, N.Y., Chevrolet, 92, $1,850.
15. (23) Ken Heagy, Calverton, N.Y., Chevrolet, 92, $1,385.
16. (17) Matt Hirschman, Northampton, Pa., Chevrolet, 92, $1,870.
17. (30) Renee Dupuis, Glastonbury, Conn., Chevrolet, 92, $1,430.
18. (21) Billy Pauch, Jr., Frenchtown, N.J., Dodge, 92, $1,695.
19. (12) Ryan Preece, Kensington, Conn., Chevrolet, 92, $1,670.
20. (26) Carl Pasteryak, Lisbon, Conn., Chevrolet, 92, $925.
21. (4) Ronnie Silk, Norwalk, Conn., Pontiac, 92, $1,720.
22. (37) Wade Cole, Riverton, Conn., Chevrolet, 91, $1,570.
23. (35) Jake Marosz, Middletown, Conn., Chevrolet, 91, $1,225.
24. (39) Sean Patterson, Wading River, N.Y., Pontiac, 88, $800.
25. (9) Kevin Goodale, Riverhead, N.Y., Chevrolet, 84, $1,510.
26. (28) Richard Savary, Canton, Mass., Chevrolet, 82, $1,700.
27. (33) Glen Reen, Wilbraham, Mass., Chevrolet, 81, $770.
28. (14) Eric Beers, Northampton, Pa., Chevrolet, 75, $1,580.
29. (25) Erick Rudolph, Ransomville, N.Y., Chevrolet, 75, steering, $750.
30. (6) Tony Ferrante, Jr., New Hyde Park, N.Y., Chevrolet, 73, accident, $750.
31. (16) Eric Berndt, Cromwell, Conn., Chevrolet, 37, accident, $750.
32. (32) Rick Fuller, Auburn, Mass., 34, $1,470.
33. (20) Mike Stefanik, Coventry, R.I., Pontiac, 32, $1,570.
34. (13) Danny Sammons, Hamilton, N.J., Chevrolet, 29, accident, $1,470.
35. (7) Bobby Santos, Franklin, Mass., Chevrolet, 23, accident, $1,470.
36. (24) J.R. Bertuccio, Centereach, N.Y., Dodge, 23, accident, $750.
37. (27) Jim Storace, Kingston, N.H., Pontiac, 23, steering, $750.
38. (31) Jamie Tomaino, Howell, N.J., Chevrolet, 19, accident, $1,570.
39. (38) Gary McDonald, Ronkonkoma, N.Y., Chevrolet, 10, accident, $750.

Race Statistics
Time of Race: 1 hour 0 minutes 25 seconds
Margin of Victory: race ended under caution
Fastest Qualifier: J.Civali (120.097 mph, 18.585 seconds)
Caution Flags: 6 for 53 laps.
Lead Changes: 3 among 4 drivers.
Lap Leaders: B.Grigas,III 1-12; J.Civali 13-42; T.Szegedy 43-70; E.Flemke,Jr. 71-92.

Chuck Hossfeld (L) and Bobby Grigas (R) also finished on the Icebreaker podium.  (Jim Dupont Photo)