After 20-plus years of racing, Dan Fletcher is as happy as ever to still be doing what he loves for a living.
While most of his peers have since retired or stopped racing, Fletcher is gearing up for another season behind the wheel. Fletcher credits Chip Lofton, owner of suspension manufacturer Strutmasters and “the champion of drag racing’s little guy,” with bringing him back for the 2020 season.
“Chip Lofton at Strutmasters has been kind enough to step up and back my Super Stock program, as the major sponsor,” Fletcher said. “And an associate on all the other cars.”
Dan Fletcher on the search for sponsorship
In an interview with CompetitionPlus, Fletcher highlighted how tiring the grind of looking for sponsors can be.
“I’ve been very, very blessed in my whole career since 1997. I’ve had actual real corporate sponsors, from Valvoline to Summit to K&N to Peak, and now Strutmasters,” Fletcher said. “I’m getting older, and I’m a little bit tired, and sometimes it’s hard to press on.”
With his Super Stocker now backed by Strutmasters.com, Fletcher has plans to compete in 16 national events. His Chevelle with race in big money bracket races. Fletcher is also open to sponsorships for his Nova and ‘69 Camaro Stocker.
The move to drag racing country
In addition to his new sponsorship, Fletcher also moved his home and base of his operations to the drag racing hotbed of North Carolina. The move brings him closer to his main sponsor and to the racing community in general.
With the Super Stocker sponsored by Strutmasters.com, Fletcher confirmed he’s got irons in the fire for his dragster to race 16 national events, and the Chevelle to race the big money bracket races. His Nova and ’69 Camaro Stocker are open for sponsorship as well.
The changing landscape of drag racing
In an interview, Fletcher reflected on how much the world of racing has changed since he began his career in 1997. He feels that drag racing is much more competitive than it has ever been.
“It’s not even close. It’s brutal out there right now,” Fletcher explained. “You look down Drag Race Central and in Stock and Super Stock at how well people drive. There’s no easy mark anywhere.”
“Let’s put it this way,” he continued. “If I was 29 years old or 30 years old and going to quit Xerox to go drag racing at this point 22 years later from when I walked out of Xerox, 0% chance [I’d do it ]. Less than zero. There’s no way you can even feasibly even think about doing that.”
Fletcher explained how much modern technology and the internet has had an effect on his sport.
“Don’t take it the wrong way, but I was decidedly better than most of my competition back then,” he said. “Now I’m not. Everyone’s good. Everyone drives. Websites like Luke’s [Bogacki] website teaches people driving strategies at the finish line. Everyone’s cars are good. No one’s cars are junk. Everyone’s cars repeat. I feel like the only way that I can be better than my opponents is to work harder.”
Fletcher looking ahead to the 2020 season
Last year was the first time in 25 years that Fletcher didn’t win a national event. With his new backing from Strutmasters and a renewed sense of purpose, he feels that 2020 will be different.t.
“I just put in more time,” said Fletcher. “And I don’t even want to say it a lot because then people started doing that too. But I spent an inordinate amount of time studying the live timing and all my opponent’s numbers and trying to just do all my homework on them. And I just try and do every little bit of extra work a man can do to give himself an edge. And it’s just, it’s tough dude. It’s really, really tough.”