Welcome to a new feature we plan on producing approximately once a week throughout the 2018 season - driver interviews! In an effort to introduce the Miramichi to some of the talented wheel-men (and wheel-women), we will do a short interview with a different driver every week!
This week, we talked to Samantha Flieger. Samantha drives the #17 car in the Mini Stock division, and will be entering her 6th season at the Speedway. After years of continuous While she may be best known for racing in the Mini Stock division, Samantha has found a lot of success in the popular Powder Puff races during the demolitions. Samantha usually drives Kevin Tuckers #87 car, and has taken the checkered flag on multiple occasions! In case you didn't know, Samantha's fiancee, Timmy Blakely, also races in the Mini Stock division!
We hope you enjoy this interview, as Samantha discusses her racing background, what its like to be one of the few female drivers racing against men, the tracks 50th anniversary, and racing against her fiancee!
How did you get started in racing?
Samantha: "I started by being Timmy’s pit crew in 2011 when Jason reopened the track. At the end of the year I asked to take his stock car around the track just to see what it was like. He wouldn't let me as he was worried I would smash it up, and he made a joke that he would buy me my own car. And little to his surprise, I made him stick to his promise."
What have been some of your favorite memories of racing?
Samantha: "My favorite memory was my first checkered flag in 2016. It was the Chi City Showdown race and I took first place in my semi. Another would be the two times I actually beat Timmy in the feature’s, once was by default as his motor blew, but other time was fair and square, even though he will tell you he was hung over (ha ha)."
Who is a driver that you looked up to, either in the past or present?
Samantha: "There has been many drivers I look up to. Timmy for getting me started, Brad Daley for being my coach, Chris, Dave, Jr, J.R, Mike, Rob, and my whole racing family. Everyone of the guys and girls has helped me out in the pits at some point and time."
As a woman competing against mostly men, what advice would you offer to girls who would like to race?
Samantha: "Advice I would give any girl thinking about competing with the guys, hold your own. The guys I have raced with to date never treated me any different than one of the guys. They have always been respectful on and off the track. I will bump and grind them the same as they do me. Don't be scared of them, just be like them."
What are your plans and goals for 2018 and beyond?
Samantha: "Plans for 2018 are to try to make it on the podium, in one of the top 3 feature finishes. Would love to get a checkered flag in a feature, but mostly I plan to go out and have fun, no matter where I finish. I love seeing the smiles one the little girls and boys faces, when they see I'm a girl driving a race car. Future goals, don't really have any at the moment. Just keeping the car in one piece, and having fun trying to get to the front."
Who are the people that make this possible for you?
Samantha: "The people who make this possible are Fero Waste and Recycling, Country Floral, Chatham Tire, and everyone that helps keep the 17 in driveable condition; Timmy, Chris, DJ, Gerard, and my racing family at the track."
2018 is Speedway Miramichi’s 50th Anniversary. What does that mean to you as a driver at the track?
Samantha: "The 50th anniversary shows that there is a lot of love for this sport. It's been around now for 50 years and hopefully another 50 years or more. Without the support of the fans, drivers, volunteers, and track owners willing to take chance and keep the sport going, this anniversary would not be happening. I have been going to this track since I was 4 years old. I'm looking forward to taking my own children to the track when I retire from driving, and maybe they will inherit the love for the sport like Timmy and I have."
What would you say to any fans who are considering coming to the races for the first time in 2018?
Samantha: "If it's your first time, or thousandth time coming to the track, you will not be disappointed. There is always something to bring excitement and a smile to a fans face. Whether it's your favorite driver winning, your child receiving the junior fan award, the excitement of close racing or an aggressive rub, the canteen food, or the demo racing, there is something that your gonna love!"
We would like to thank Samantha for agreeing to do this interview! We wish her best of luck during the 2018 season!
Speedway Miramichi's 2018 season is just days away from kicking off! Sunday May 20th is the Pure Adrenaline Productions 50th Anniversary Family Day Celebration Stunt Show, and May 26th is the Racing Season Opener, with the Spring Smash Demo and Street Stock Brunswick 100 headlining that event! We look forward to seeing you at Speedway Miramichi in 2018!
Samantha Flieger is not afraid to mix it up with the boys! She's battling hard for a position in this picture. Photo credit John O'Shea / Miramichi Racing Radio.
Samantha Flieger took the checkered flag during a Semi race at the 2016 Chi City Showdown! Photo credit Candace Sherrard.
Is that Ricky and Danica? No, its Timmy and Sam (who could definitely race the now separated Ricky and Danica). Samantha loves to finish higher than Timmy! Photo credit John O'Shea / Miramichi Racing Radio.
This is a pretty impressive picture! Samantha is leading 2 time Speedway Miramichi Mini Stock champion Mike Weagle in this race! Photo credit to Candace Sherrard.
A successful night at the races for this couple! Both Timmy and Samantha picked up some hardware at this race.
Samantha is one of the best in powder puff races! Last year she drove for Kevin Tucker, who went on to finish 2nd in points! When shes not in her Mini Stock, watch for Samantha in the Powder Puff races!