Get to know: Dan Fletcher
Peter Biondo and Kyle Seipel from bracketracers.com….. Get to know Dan Fletcher
Besides drag racing, what were some of your interests and hobbies growing up?
Typical kid deal, well maybe not today’s kid deal. Played sports not stop. The street I grew up on one of the fathers built a pretty legit baseball field with a real backstop. Football, basketball, and baseball; no video games.
When did you first get involved in drag racing and how did that come about?
From the time I was born I was involved. My father raced most all of my childhood, hanging it up when I was probably 12. When I turned 16 it was back to the track in my ’69 Camaro stocker, which was my first ever car.
What are your favorite sports to watch? Favorite teams?
Like probably most people, football. Born loser, I was a huge Vikings fan as a kid; four losing Super Bowls. As an adult, huge Bills fan; four losing Super Bowls.
You have driven a wide variety of race cars through the years. What’s your favorite race car to drive and why?
The Super Stock Camaro. It’s my Dad’s car, so it will always be #1.
What is your most embarrassing moment behind the wheel of a race car?
Far too many to count, but off the top of my head I’m going to go with inexplicably throwing neutral and shutting off the Super Stock car first round at Gainesville a few years back. My opponent was in a much faster car and had struggled to get down the track in qualifying. Same deal first round. I looked back and he was 3 corn fields behind me. I literally shut the ‘effin car off only to watch him drive by me by a couple thou while I silently coasted through.
What is your most memorable race win and why? Toughest round loss that stands out?
As hard as this might be to believe because I’m not that guy, I might actually have say one of the heads up runs in Super Stock over the years that I wasn’t supposed to win. I guess there’s nothing better than beating someone with a crew that sat there fat, dumb and happy watching you and your wife pour water through the motor on your own. As for the toughest loss, far, far, far too many of those to distinguish one from another. Let’s just run with “the last one”.
What are the winters like for Dan Fletcher?
I used to hate winter, but I’ve grown to love it. The motor home and 2 of the cars stay out west, 1 or 2 cars stay in trailers in a snow bank, and 1 or 2 are in the garage. It’s a 2 month period where I don’t feel overwhelmed. I get to plow snow and go to the gym. I don’t have a gun to my head with a laundry list everyday that’s insurmountable. Granted, you’re freezing your balls off, but it’s 2 months of being out of the fire.
If you had to choose a last supper, what is your dinner of choice?
Buttered pasta, lmao.
You have seen and raced against the best racers in the country for over 2 decades. As hard as it is to do; pick just one racer who you consider to be the best overall racer and why?
I’ve always said Pete, ummm, Pete, what’s his last name? That’s right, Biondo, Pete Biondo. Naturally skilled, very focused, even more disciplined. Seldom ever makes a mistake, and make the right guess more often than not when its 50/50.
If you hadn’t gone the motorsports route, what do you see Dan Fletchers career being?
No idea. When I worked at Xerox I was not a very good employee. Show up late, leave early, and think about racing while I was there. But I was also young. At this point, I’d be the best employee anyone could have, and that’s probably why I’m still “good” at this racing thing. Dedicated, attention to detail, and try to be one step ahead in every situation. At 30, IDK, at 50, I’d be a very good project manager. Logistics has become my specialty.
What is your all time favorite movie? What TV shows is Dan Fletcher watching these days?
Hard to say, but it would definitely be from back in the day, as movies aren’t really on my radar at this point. I’d probably have to say The Breakfast Club or Stripes; so many classic lines from each are still with me to this day. As for TV, boy has that ever changed. I used to watch nothing but sports. Nowadays, my TV watching is pretty much limited to the end of the day when I finally get done working on my junk. HGTV and History channel, lmao. House Hunters and American Pickers are at the top of my list.
If you had an evening free to spend with your wife Donna, what would your guys’ Date Night of choice consist of?
That’s a major “if” these days, and that’s pretty sad. We used to get together with another couple nearly every Friday night when I was home, but that doesn’t even seem to happen anymore. IDK what’s happened; our kids are older, we should have more time but it seems like we have way less. I guess 6 race cars will do that. Regardless, I’m a simple man. Before killing a week of my life at Indy, I made it a point for Donna and I to get out for the night. Nothing special, just dinner at one of our favorite local haunts and try to get lucky before one of the dogs or cats decides to occupy half of the bed, lmfao.
If you were teaching someone to race, and had to give them advice for them to follow in their quest to become a great racer like yourself; what would it be?
Work, work, and work some more. Everyone can hit the tree and half of them can drive the stripe. Natural ability is only going to take you so far. The only way I see to differentiate yourself from the crowd is to outwork the guy next to you. And go to luck school, because if you can get really good at being lucky, I’d say you’ve found the keys to the vault.
You went from working at Xerox to racing full time for a living. What advice would you give a young racer aspiring to race for a living?
Forget about it. It’s a career option that has come and gone. Sorry to be depressing, but that’s the reality of the situation. Go to school, don’t go to school, whatever, but have a solid job or business that can provide the time and money to race. It costs a fortune to operate these days. When I started, I had no sponsors, but life was such that I could win enough to make it work. Absolutely not the case anymore. Without having serious sponsor dollars there is no way I could do this. 0% chance. Let’s face it, I’m virtually 1 of 1, and I don’t mean that to sound full of myself. I got extremely lucky and caught lightning in a bottle. I’ve fed my family for 20 plus years solely from being a professional sportsman racer. It was a perfect storm, and somehow it’s still working. #blessed