Flannigan Pointed In Positive Direction At Ransomville and Merrittville
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Weedsport, NYJuly 28, 2009 – By Tom Skibinski, DIRTcar Racing Northeast PR Director
*Alex Bruce Photo

Economic times are tough, especially for those maintaining a competitive racing operation on the local short-track level.

Tommy Flannigan is proving to be even tougher as the second-generation driver from St. Catharines, Ontario is following one of the most ambitious schedules around the entire DIRTcar Racing Northeast circuit.

“Most of my friends are starting to buy houses, I’m putting every penny I have into racing,” admitted Flannigan, the personable DIRTcar Modified chauffeur who turned 22 on July 22. “I work on my car every night, even on my birthday, so its an all or nothing deal for me right now. Some nights I HAVE to qualify just to buy enough gas and its nice to pick up a snack on the way home.”

Flannigan will get two more chances to fill the tank this week when he goes trackside steering his Enders-powered no. 72 Kane’s Vending-CMH Leasing/Bicknell entry.

Ransomville Speedway hosts round two of the Hoosier Tire-VP Racing Fuels Mr. DIRTcar 358-Modified Championship Series on Friday, July 31 with valuable points on the line in the 25th Annual Alex Friesen Summer Nationals presented by Coors Light and Hard Copy Wholesale. Gates open at 4:30 pm and time trials begin at 7 o’clock. Adult general admission tickets are $25 each and children 7 yrs. and under are free.

Then its on to Merrittville Speedway when the Super DIRTcar Series for Big-Blocks returns to action Monday, August 3 for the 17th Annual Trevor Wilkens Memorial presented by Toolneeds. Gates unlock at 4pm with Integra Shocks Modified Time Trials getting underway following 6:30 hot laps and the first qualifying heat going off at 7 o’clock. Adult GA tickets are $25 each with children under 8 admitted free.

Flannigan opened the 358-Modified tour at Merrittville in May with a 21st-place finish yet is more motivated than ever returning to Ransomville where he placed seventh in the ’08 Summer Nationals showdown. A seven-time DIRTcar Sportsman feature winner, the second-year small-block pilot was scored 27th in Ransomville’s Big-Block Series special on July 3 after an early tangle sidelined him just 33 laps in.

“When Ransomville dries out I always seem to get faster, so I’m more confident this year with the race lengthened to 100 laps,” noted Flannigan, who completed all 68 laps a year ago as a division rookie en route to his lone top-10 tour finish on tour, eventually finishing 12th in the overall Mr. DIRTcar 358-Modified point standings. In his only year following the Mr. DIRTcar Sportsman Championship trail, he ended the ’07 campaign 15th in the final standings.

“I’m even more excited to go back after running as fast as the leaders a couple weeks back. I’m better in the longer races, just need to be around at the finish to find out just how strong. In the Big-Block race I got in a little too low and hit Randy (Chrysler), popped a tire and broke a spindle so that was it for the night,” said Flannigan, son of former Niagara Frontier regular Dave Flannigan, who is employed today at Bicknell Racing Products in their hometown.

“I grew up always going to the tracks with my father and hoped to be a driver someday, but once I got out there behind the wheel I thought ‘man, these guys are crazy,’” divulged Flannigan, who got his first taste of Sportsman racing at age 14 and two years later emerged as a full-fledge driver funding everything on his own. “Dad made me get right back in the next week. Now I work on the car all week and he still helps me set it up every Thursday before heading off to Ransomville.”

“I still remember my first time out at Gasport (today renamed Humberstone Speedway) when Rob Pietz lapped me twice in four laps. Back then there were open motors and I was pretty slow. After that I was able to stay on the lead lap, then win a heat and now it seems strange to be just as fast as the veterans and sometimes even winning.”

“Following the 358 Series is really cool, especially racing against the same guys I always looked up to,” noted Flannigan, who like many young racers, listed Danny Johnson as his first favorite driver. Today, he looks towards Big-Block points chaser Dale Planck when asking questions and has developed a close friendship with Small-Block star Danny O’Brien, who he parks alongside at most 358 tour stops.

“A couple years back I had no idea I was going to follow the whole Sportsman Series but then we got locked into the top-12 in points and just kept going along for the ride. We never had much equipment with the Sportsman but last year made plans right after Ransomville and now we’re hoping to follow the whole 358 tour again. At first it was kind of overwhelming looking out and seeing a guy like Alan Johnson starting right alongside you so it took some time to get focused on myself instead of everybody else. With two seasons of travel I’ve got good notes on most of the tracks now so I hope to do much better this time around,” Flannigan figured.

Already harboring thoughts of graduating into the mighty Big-Block Modified ranks next season, Flannigan is also hoping that some upcoming success on the homefront will help serve as a springboard for even more as the summer rolls on.

“I’d like to follow what Stew (Friesen) has done, maybe move to the states and gain more experience and some recognition,” noted Flannigan, who currently sits fourth at Humberstone (1 win), 10th at Ransomville and 12th at Merrittville on the points charts. He hopes to advance into the top-12 in 358 Series points after a solid showing Friday night on the ridge and end the year among the top-10 in the overall Mr. DIRTcar standings.

“Right now we’re still up in the air but we know we want to race as much as we can and running against some of the best in New York on a more regular basis will improve our entire program. We already stopped at Canandaigua this year after a rain out and finished 14th running with the Big-Blocks so we know what its like. Hopefully, we can continue to move forward, I know it will be a lot of fun no matter where we end up,” Flannigan added.

Led by defending Summer Nationals champion Todd Burley and Canadian Hall of Famer Pete Bicknell, expected to contend alongside Flannigan in the 358-Modified Series race are a number of Niagara Frontier regulars using Ransomville as a home base. Larry Lampman Jr. captured the 358-Mod tour lid-lifter at Merrittville while current Super DIRTcar Series points leader Brett Hearn claimed the Big-Block victory at Ransomville during the recent Fourth of July celebration.

For additional information, please contact 358-Modified Series Director Gaston Salvas (450/655-5022 or 514/817-2270; e-mail gastonsalvas@hotmail.com) or Super DIRTcar Series and DIRTcar NE Director Cory Reed at the Weedsport office (315/834-6606) during normal business hours. In the meantime, log into the homepages at www.superdirtcarseries.com or www.dirtcar.com to find out more about what’s happening around the entire DIRTcar Northeast circuit.

Merrittville track information can be found at www.merrittvillespeedway.com or by contacting the speedway office at 905/892-8266, while 716/791-3602 is the race day phone number for Ransomville www.ransomvillespeedway.com.

Mr. DIRTcar 358-Modified Championship Series Point Standings (May 18)
Rank No. Driver Points Series Diff Wins Top-5 Top-10 Starts
1 22 Larry Lampman Jr. 100 100 0 1 1 1 1
2 99J Jimmy Phelps 95 95 -5 0 1 1 1
3 66 Dale Planck 90 90 -10 0 1 1 1
4 55 Stewart Friesen 85 85 -15 0 1 1 1
5 42 Pete Bicknell 80 80 -20 0 1 1 1
6 7* Danny O’Brien 76 76 -24 0 0 1 1
7 1 David Hebert 72 72 -28 0 0 1 1
8 28 Scott Kerwin 68 68 -32 0 0 1 1
9 44 Brian Stevens 65 65 -35 0 0 1 1
10 80x Chris Steele 62 62 -38 0 0 1 1
11 66x Carey Terrance 60 60 -40 0 0 0 1
12 25 Bobby Herrington 58 58 -42 0 0 0 1
13 23 Laurent Ladouceur 56 56 -44 0 0 0 1
14 6m Mat Williamson 54 54 -46 0 0 0 1
15 26R Rick Richner 52 52 -48 0 0 0 1
16 69 Rob Pietz 50 50 -50 0 0 0 1
17 17c Bobby Davidson 48 48 -52 0 0 0 1
18 76 Travis Braun 46 46 -54 0 0 0 1
19 22c Mario Clair 45 45 -55 0 0 0 1
20 52 James M. Friesen 44 44 -56 0 0 0 1
21 72 Tommy Flannigan 43 43 -57 0 0 0 1
22 55p Perry Francis 42 42 -58 0 0 0 1
23 16w Lance Willix II 41 41 -59 0 0 0 1
24 38 Scott Wood 40 40 -60 0 0 0 1
25 96 Fred Carleton 40 40 -60 0 0 0 1
26 71 Mike Bowman 40 40 -60 0 0 0 1
27 123 Robbie Krull 40 40 -60 0 0 0 1
28 08 Mark D’Ilario 40 40 -60 0 0 0 1
29 5* Tim Jones 40 40 -60 0 0 0 1
30 9 Mark Smoke 40 40 -60 0 0 0 1
31 3b Chad Brachmann 40 40 -60 0 0 0 1
32 8 Rich Scagliotta 40 40 -60 0 0 0 1
33 40 Joel Doiron 10 10 -90 0 0 0 0
34 88 Boyd MacTavish 10 10 -90 0 0 0 0
35 95X Philippe Desgranges 10 10 -90 0 0 0 0
36 33 Mike Mahaney 10 10 -90 0 0 0 0
37 97 Michel Chicone 10 10 -90 0 0 0 0
38 8s Justin Sharp 10 10 -90 0 0 0 0
39 26h Luke Carleton 10 10 -90 0 0 0 0
40 47 Simon Harvey-Perreault 10 10 -90 0 0 0 0
41 72g Denis Gauvreau 10 10 -90 0 0 0 0
42 14 Mitchell Jock 10 10 -90 0 0 0 0
43 37s Wayne Conn 10 10 -90 0 0 0 0
44 6 Pat O’Brien 10 10 -90 0 0 0 0
45 99L Larry Wight 10 10 -90 0 0 0 0
46 22e Eric Gauvreau 10 10 -90 0 0 0 0
47 108 Bill Bleich 10 10 -90 0 0 0 0
48 XXX Todd Gordon 10 10 -90 0 0 0 0
49 13 Tony Steiner 10 10 -90 0 0 0 0
50 M70 Billy Cook 10 10 -90 0 0 0 0
51 91 Travis Cunningham 10 10 -90 0 0 0 0
52 72T Todd Stewart 10 10 -90 0 0 0 0
53 95 Alex Boisvert 10 10 -90 0 0 0 0
54 82 Ken Winfield 10 10 -90 0 0 0 0
55 22J Jeremy Wilder 10 10 -90 0 0 0 0

2009 Mr. DIRTcar 358-Modified Championship Series Schedule
*All events subject to change.
DAY-DATE LAPS TRACK LOCATION/WINNER
Mon-May 18 Merrittville Speedway Larry Lampman Jr.
Fri-Jul 31 Ransomville Speedway Ransomville,NY
Sun-Sep 6 Cornwall Motor Speedway Cornwall,ONT
Fri-Sep 11 Mohawk International Raceway Akwesasne,NY
Sat-Sep 12 Brockville Ontario Speedway Brockville,ONT
Sun-Sep 13 Autodrome Granby Granby,QUE ($10,000 to win)
Sat-Sep 19 Autodrome Drummond Drummondville,QUE ($10,000 to win)
Fri-Sep 25 Rolling Wheels Raceway Park Elbridge,NY
Wed-Oct 7 Can-Am Motorsports Park LaFargeville,NY
Thr-Oct 8 Brewerton Speedway Brewerton,NY
Fri-Oct 9 Rolling Wheels Raceway Park Elbridge,NY
Sat-Oct 10 New York State Fairgrounds Syracuse,NY ($20,000 to win)
Sat-Oct 17 -TBA-

The Big-Block Modified Super DIRTcar Series is brought to fans across the Northeast by several sponsors and partners, including series sponsors Hoosier Racing Tire www.hoosiertire.com and VP Racing Fuels www.vpracingfuels.com. Promotional partners include Rite Aid Corporation www.riteaid.com, Dig Safely New York www.digsafelynewyork.com and the University of Northwestern Ohio www.unoh.com and the contingency sponsors are Bars Leaks www.barsproducts.com, Bert Transmission www.berttransmission.com, Bicknell Racing Products www.bicknellracingproducts.com, Bilstein Shocks www.bilstein.com, Brodix Cylinder Heads www.brodix.com, Ferris Industries www.ferrisindustries.com, Integra Shocks www.integrashocksandsprings.com, Intercomp www.intercomp-racing.com, KSE Racing Products www.kse-racing.com, Motorsports Safety Systems www.motorsportssafetysystems.com, Penske Shocks, www.penskeshocks.com, Racing Electronics www.racingelectronics.com, Rislone Oil Stabilizer www.barsproducts.com and Wrisco Industries www.wrisco.com.