Florys no stranger to victory lane
In just three weeks of racing at Nodak Speedway this season, International Motor Contest Association Stock Car racers Joe and Dalton Flory have already experienced two firsts for the father-son duo.
Two weeks ago, Joe edged out his 16-year-old son by 1.158 seconds to win the feature race. It was the first time the Flory’s had finished 1-2 in a feature race.
“That was a big awesome deal,” Joe said. “When I heard he held on for second, that was a good feeling. He’s had a couple bad weeks and then the last couple weeks he’s been awesome.”
Dalton kept the Flory name in victory lane Sunday, winning his first career Stock Car feature race. Dalton held off Minot’s Bob Fuegmann down the stretch.
“That was the best feeling ever to know I finally accomplished what I’ve been trying to do,” Dalton said.
Joe watched his son’s crowning achievement from the pit area after being black flagged earlier in the race.
“That was awesome,” Joe said. “That’s what we do it for. It gets you choked up.”
Racing has always been in the Florys blood. Joe’s father, Jim, helped start the Mon-Dak Racing Association in 1970 and Joe has been spending time at the race tracks since. It has since evolved into the Williston Basin Racing Association. Joe also helped his brother, John, with his race car.
Joe said doctors wouldn’t allow him to play football or any hard-hitting sports after he was born with Osteogenesis imperfecta, a genetic disorder associated with fragile bones that break easily. It is also known as “brittle bone disease.” Joe was born with the disorder and therefore he turned to racing as his sport of choice.
Dalton witnessed his first race before he could walk. Joe took him to Rapid City, S.D., when Dalton was three weeks old.
“Six years ago, dad bought a race car,” Dalton said. “I’ve wanted to race forever and last year I got my own race car and started racing.”
It was a rough start to the season for Dalton as he failed to finish the first race of the year. The early frustrations gave way to a father-son teaching moment.
“You gotta kinda put it in their head that they have to have fun also,’ Joe said. “You have to take the good with the bad. He’s a very young driver in a very competitive class. Most of the people in that class has years and years of driving experience. That is a tough class to win in.”
Dalton currently holds a four-point lead over his father in the points race. He sits in fourth with 102 points, trailing Minot’s Kelly Henderson by 12 for the lead. Joe is sixth.
Hockey player by winter, race car driver by summer
IMCA Stock Car driver Austin Daee won’t be circling the race track for the next couple of weeks because he’ll be playing hockey for Team Canada West in an exhibition tournament in Sweden.
The 20-year-old Estevan, Sask., native received the phone call in early June to join the team and boarded a flight to Sweden on Monday, a day after competing at Nodak Speedway.
Daee has been playing hockey since he was four and hopes to play professionally in Europe starting in 2014 after his final year of eligibility at the junior level. Daee has never been overseas.
“I’m just excited to go over there and see what it’s like,” Daee said. “The hockey is just kind of a bonus. But when I play, I have to take it seriously.”
The 6-foot, 180-pound left wing said he typically doesn’t start training for the upcoming season until July, but spent the weekend skating at Maysa Arena to prepare for Sweden. Daee is no stranger to being away from home as he first ventured from the nest when he was 15 to play Midget AAA hockey in Moose Jaw, Sask., roughly 146 miles from Estevan.
“You mature up quite a bit,” Daee said. “It’s been a good time. I know guys all over Canada. I got to travel. It’s taken me a lot of places and now I get to go to Sweden.”
Daee forfeited his college eligibility when he signed with the Saskatoon (Sask.) Blades of the Western Hockey League, a major junior hockey program. He was 17. He recorded two assists in 11 games in his first year.
Daee spent the 2011-12 season playing for the Prince George (B.C.) Raiders, scoring his first major junior goal. Last season, Daee returned to Saskatchewan, lacing up for both the Estevan Bruins of the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League and the Prince Albert Raiders of the WHL. In three years of junior hockey, Daee recorded 38 points (10 goals, 28 assists).
Before Daee started playing hockey, he and his father would venture down to Nodak Speedway on weekends and watch the races. He was three when he saw his first race.
At the age of 14, Daee was behind the wheel for the first time, racing at Estevan Motor Speedway.
“It’s exhilarating,” Daee said. “It’s quite the head rush. I’m usually more excited for when racing season is starting up than when hockey season is. It’s a fun time of the year. It keeps me busy.”
His most memorable moment came the following year when he won his first IMCA Hobby Stocks feature race at Estevan Motor Speedway.
While there aren’t many similarities between hockey and racing, Daee said they both require a sense of composure.
“I try to stay somewhat composed and calm,” Daee said. “That usually makes you successful rather than not.”