396 - Freddie Query: Hometown Hero
On this week’s episode of The Dale Jr. Download, Query sits down with Dale Earnhardt Jr. and co-host Mike Davis to talk about that racing landscape and how he rose to prominence there. Dale prefaced the interview by describing Freddie as someone he both looked up to and was intimidated by while growing up at the Carolina short tracks. Query’s reputation as a hard racer and champion preceded him for many years. But like most short-track racers, he came from humble, quiet beginnings in Kannapolis. In fact, Freddie explained that he shared a first-grade classroom with another Kannapolis racing legend, Dale Earnhardt Sr. himself. The two even ran go-karts together in their pre-teen years on a crude dirt track a neighbor had carved out on his property. Ultimately, the two drivers had vastly different life trajectories, and their connection remained pleasant but distant.While finishing high school, Freddie had ambitions to attend college to be an engineer, but after getting married during his senior year his life changed direction. He began attending a tech school and taking trade programs, and when the local school district wanted to begin implementing trade classes on a high school level, Query found himself in a teaching position, one he would hold for 20 years. The go-kart he raced at age 10 was built from a bed frame rail and propelled by his father’s lawn mower engine. His mechanical wonder carried on to his teenage years when he began “borrowing” the family car to enter street races, unbeknownst to his parents. But his path in racing would have stalled out on the streets of Kannapolis, had he not started attending local races at the recommendation of a neighbor.After buying a new house as a teacher, he became acquainted with the folks next store, who were avid racing fans attending events multiple nights a week. He took a trip to Hickory Speedway with them and was hooked from the get-go, deciding then he wanted to be a part of the sport. The neighbor was one step ahead, installing a race shop in his backyard, and soon Freddie was out there with him every night of the week. The two built a street stock and took it to Metrolina on a Friday night, with the neighbor hopping in the driver’s seat. But the following evening, when they had planned to try Hickory, the neighbor was too tired from the previous night’s action and turned the driving duties over to Freddie. And while he ended up flipping due to an aggressive move to pass, the racing bug had bit him, and the course for his next 30 years was set.In the early 1980s he was a dominant force in the six-cylinder division, before moving up to super late models in '85. Freddie was recognized by his red No.6 hot rod which he drove to countless victories. When Concord received the blacktop treatment towards the end of the '86 season, Freddie was prepared to say goodbye to the track he had so much success at, but when Coors threatened to reduce their sponsorship, he decided to give the asphalt another go. Hence would begin the most dominant period in the track’s history.From 1988 to 1992, Freddie brought home 4 out of 5 track championships, while battling it out with the likes of Jack Sprague, Rich Bickle and Robbie Faggart. His success in the high-paying Big-10 Series helped propel him to bigger events, and in '93 he began running with the NASCAR All-Pro tour. He brought home major victories in the Myrtle Beach 400 and All-American 400, as well as the '98 All-Pro season championship before settling into a car builder/mentor role. He went on to assist the likes of Hank Parker Jr., Johanna Long, Harrison Burton and many more before retiring from competitive racing. Today, Freddie still dabbles in go-kart racing and car repair but basks in the glory of his storied career and the acclaim that comes with it.
The Sunshine Place from C13Originals
Bonus: Speed Street w/ special guest Callum Ilott
About The Show
NASCAR’s 15-time Most Popular Driver and winner of two Daytona 500s, Dale Earnhardt Jr., hosts his very own podcast, The Dale Jr Download on Dirty Mo Media. Earnhardt and co-host Mike Davis raise the bar with unparalleled perspective, candid commentary, and fascinating, first-person insight into the life of a broadcaster, celebrated racer.