From Hamilton, Ontario, this family ran a successful automotive speed shop, but selling customers high-performance parts wasn’t enough. In 1982 they decided to buy a drag strip and through perseverance and hard work revitalized Dragway Park just outside of Cayuga Ontario in Southern Ontario.
Purchasing the facility from bankruptcy trustees, the Fletchers had their work cut out for them, as a great deal of equipment was missing, including the all-important quarter-mile timing clocks and equipment.
Also missing was the trust from the racing community, which had a bad taste in its mouth from the former owners, and this trust had to be re-established.
But John and Sharon, and the rest of the family not only built the former Cayuga drag strip back to a viable track, they also fostered and received support from the racers, fans, and sponsors.
They also expanded the track and its facility, and welcomed some new classes of drag cars that were becoming popular as well as maintaining a solid foundation with regular local racers.
With the sponsorship of the Becker’s Milk Company, the Fletchers introduced such classes as Pro Modified and Super Gas at the track in the late 1980s, and hosted the first Canadian national event under the sanctioning of the International Hot Rod Association (IHRA), a sanctioning body that would visit the track several more times over the years.
After these accomplishments, the Fletchers were presented with an offer of selling Cayuga that they could not refuse. And they left the track, which is Canada’s oldest drag racing track and in operation since 1954, in solid shape. But instead of taking the money and retiring, they purchased another historic track about 80 miles west along Highway 3 from Cayuga. Saint Thomas Dragway is located in Sparta, Ontario, and was developed in 1962 by the Harvey Family. It had long been an NHRA track and the home of some of the biggest events in the country. With some spit and polish, and modernized equipment, Saint Thomas returned to its former glory under the work and guidance of the Fletchers, who continued to operate the track under the NHRA with the name of London Motorsports Park in the late 1980s and early 1990s.
One of their most noted endeavours while at Saint Thomas was to bring in the biggest name in the sport, and racing icon John Force wowed the fans three times with his nitromethane-burning Funny Car.
The Fletchers have stepped away from the day-to-day operations at Saint Thomas, but their positive hand at the track continues. To take not only one, but two ailing race facilities and return them to a viable place for competitors and fans of drag racing is to be highly commended.