Hometown: Middlesex, VT
Division: Allen Lumber Street Stocks (2018)
Car: Myers Container Services #31 Chevy Cavalier
2018 Season: Finished 5th in Street Stock points; 1 feature win & 7 top-5s
What are your favorite hobbies outside of racing?
My favorite hobby would probably be camping. Camping is a big part of what we do as a family, and being with family is something that I value pretty highly. It’s very important to me. I also like to play sports — men’s league basketball is something that I’ve started up. I’m very passionate about basketball and following along with all the teams. Just watching basketball and football is something that I enjoy doing.
What do you do for work/school?
I’m currently in a position for a job change. I just finished working at C. Michaud Landscaping out of Montpelier. (Ed. Note: No relation to Thunder Road co-owner Cris Michaud.) I worked there for several months doing seasonal work – weed-whacking, landscaping, leaf-blowing, all that stuff. But I’m currently working on finding a new job. I don’t think school is something in the works for me right now. I mean, it could always happen in the future, but I think I’m going to stick to the working side of things for now.
What are your racing plans for 2019? Do you have any goals?
My current plans are moving up a step and racing in the Flying Tigers. Racing in the Tigers is something that I’ve always wanted to do. I grew up watching my dad (Shawn Fleury) really be competitive in the Tigers, and right now the Tigers just look like the best division out there. To be a part of that is what I want to do, and being in the Tigers is where I want to be. Goal-wise, I’m not going to hold myself to too high a standard; I’ve never driven a Tiger, so I know it’s going to be a big learning curve even with the right crew and the right car. Learning is definitely my biggest goal – just to be improving constantly and gaining the respect from other drivers. When you change divisions, it’s a learning curve, and the biggest thing for me is just to gain respect from other people. Obviously toward the middle of the year or end of the year, I want to be more competitive, but to begin, I just want to find my way and do what I’m comfortable with.
What was the highlight of the 2018 season for you?
I feel like the season was kind of up-and-down in a way, even though we finished well in the final standings. I feel like a lot of things could have gone better. But the best moment was obviously the win that we got later in the season, just because we’d struggled so much before then. Everybody was changing their setups to the lowering springs, and there was always something to gain for us as a team. We thought we were a little bit behind the whole season, and the first half of the year, we were just trying things. Every week we’d come with a different spring setup, or try something with tire pressures, or anything to try to get the car to be more competitive. That was something that we just chased so much, and to get that win was just like that moment you’ve been waiting for. It feels good to break through and get a win for your crew that’s been working so hard – it just boosts your confidence for the last half of the season.
How did this year’s win compare to the two wins you got in your rookie year?
I felt like the year before, it came pretty easy. Being that I was a little bit lower in points, I started up front more. Even though knowing I didn’t have the best car last year, it still meant a lot. But to add another win this year while feeling more competitive weekly, as more of a challenge, really came together. Having three wins in two years in the car that we used was a big accomplishment in itself no matter where we finished points-wise. To get three wins is still an accomplishment that I hold pretty high.
How did you get started in racing?
I got started racing in, I believe, late 2016. I had been watching my dad, obviously, from the time I was a couple years old to what I remember. Him being in the Tigers for years — I believe he started racing in the early ‘90s — I watched him become a multi-time champion, and I’ve been around the cars a lot being in the shop and around my uncles and just learning so much from him and them. Obviously that’s where I got my addiction, watching the NASCAR races with them and just gaining that experience from racing between NASCAR and Thunder Road has been a big inspiration. I get it all from him. In 2016, I bought a Cavalier and got myself started on track, and that was a big step in my career.
So you’re saying it’s all dad’s fault?
That it is. (Laughs)
Can you tell me about your family?
I think there’s been a time were basically all of my uncles and family members have raced. I know there’s been quite a few, between my uncle Brian, uncle Scott…there’s been a ton of them. But it was just something that everyone used to do, whether it was racing an old piece of junk or racing a Late Model like my dad. So the addiction in the family runs pretty deep. It’s just something that I’ve carried on, and I feel like it’s something I should do and carry on. My passion for it is so high that I feel like, if I didn’t race, it would be a letdown.
What do you consider to be your biggest accomplishment?
On the non-racing side, my biggest accomplishment would be having really good relationships with my family and friends. Like I said before, it’s just something that I think is really important – to have that good connection with your family, and your Gram’s, and your uncles. Family is something that I hold very close to me. I think that’s a good accomplishment. Racing-wise, I would say it’s the way that we’ve grown, both learning and wins-wise. Like I said before, getting three wins in two years is something to be proud of.
Do you have anybody that you consider a role model?
I think the obvious answer would be to say my dad. He’s showed me a lot. I have a good concept of racing just because I waited so long — I waited until I was 17 years old to start racing. I wanted to start earlier, as any kid growing up does. You want to start young and you want to make a name for yourself and have that extra racing experience. But that wasn’t really in our budget. So I think him making me wait until I was a little bit older and more mature actually helped. Saving up and buying my own race car is something that’s taught me a lot, and I’m pretty grateful for that. And obviously just being around watching and learning – watching for 17 years is something you could say is memorable and that you can take a lot away from.
What’s the most memorable trip you ever went on?
There’s been quite a few. One that I really enjoyed and was pretty memorable was, this past year, we took a huge family trip to Tennessee. I think there was 40 some-odd people in our family that went down in separate vehicles. We stayed in a big log cabin up in the mountains of Tennessee. It was a three-story cabin with a movie theater, an arcade, a big pool built in…it was fun being with cousins and uncles and just sharing memories and fun times. That definitely stands out to me.
If you could have one superpower, what would it be and why?
Probably to read minds, because I feel like there’s a lot that doesn’t get said that’s always on people’s minds. I’d like to be able to read minds just because people are always holding something inside, and you know they want to say something, but they won’t, because they’re scared to. I’d just like to be able to always tell what that person was thinking.
What’s your biggest pet peeve?
People who always find something to complain about. Something can be the best thing in the world to happen, and there’s always that person who finds the downside of it, or always wants to be the party-crasher. That gets on my nerves quite a bit. There’s always someone who has to be negative about something, and that’s probably my biggest pet peeve.
What are the top three items on your bucket list?
One of them would have to be something to do with going to a big NASCAR race, whether it’s the Daytona 500 or going to Martinsville, since that’s my favorite track. It’s something that I’ve really wanted to do. I’ve been to Bristol – I would say that’s on my bucket list, but I’ve been lucky enough to go there once for a day race. The second thing would be investing in a house and starting a family. And a third thing…I’m going to go ahead and say win a championship in some division at Thunder Road.
Finish this sentence: on a Friday night, you’ll typically find me…
You will probably find me with my girlfriend Morgan or with family doing whatever. Having parties, shopping...I’m willing to do anything, so it’s basically up to whomever I’m with. If they want to go do something, I’m willing to go out on a limb and do whatever.
Who is your biggest fan at the track?
I can’t pick one, but I definitely feel like I bring a pretty big fan base just from my family. Whether it’s my great-grandmother who sits over on turn 3 every once in a while, or it’s my uncle Bob who cheers on turn 3 and basically climbs the fence as I drive by, or my big crowd of people who have been carried down from watching my dad. They’re just so loyal – my grandmother, my mom, my dad, my crew, my girlfriend, aunts, uncles, cousins. It’s definitely a family sport, and to have that support means a lot. They keep me motivated when sometimes it’s hard to be as a racer.
If you could give one piece of advice or a life lesson to your younger self, what would it be?
It would probably be just to be patient – with anything. Life might feel like it’s short at times, but I think being patient is key. Like I told you before, racing-wise, I wanted to jump into it really early. But sometimes that’s not the best thing for you, or it’s just not in your budget. Being patient with anything is always going to benefit you. I’ve definitely gained a lot of experience in the short time I’ve been racing just because I’m that much older and I have that much more experience in life.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
I used to think I was going to be a NASCAR driver, and I think that’s every racing fan’s dream as a kid. But I’d be very satisfied with still being in the Tigers. If it was in the budget, I’d maybe be moving up to a Late Model. But the Tigers are basically my dream of where I want to be – just because it’s a division where I feel like I’ll have the most fun. Seeing my family and my dad do it so much and having so much success, it’s my hope that in five years I’ll have that, too. Also, I would like to be in a house, either on my own or with my girlfriend, and just starting life and maybe even having my own business. I’d really like to have my own lawn-care business during the summer and maybe plowing in the winter – something like that.
What would you do with your life if you never had to worry about money again?
I would be living somewhere warm – probably down South. I’d definitely live out beyond the city limits, and probably own some sort of short track racing team, whether it’s Late Models or whatever. Just something out away from everybody – definitely a nice house, but I think race cars are pretty important to have, too.