The common belief in racing is that to be a successful racer in the 21st century one has to have started racing as a toddler. Shon Flanary, who currently sits tied for second in the Renegades of Dirt national point standings, is proving that theory wrong. The Tennessee native is 43 years old, but he’s only been behind the wheel of a race car for nine years.
And when he says “nine years,” he means it. That doesn’t mean he’s been doing Dirt Modified racing for nine years. That means racing in general. He didn’t start off in go karts or quarter-midgets like kids these days do.
“I was helping a guy out going to the track with him and he kind of got to where he didn’t want to go Modified racing anymore so I bought his car and started driving it at the end of the season,” Flanary told Speed51.com powered by JEGS. “I enjoyed it. “I didn’t think I would. I was pretty content just working on the cars. But when I jumped in it I liked it. It was exciting so I decided to do it again the following year.”
So far, Flanary’s biggest win of his career came in the Mod Squad Spectacular at Portsmouth Raceway Park (OH) last year. But now he’s going to try to win $10,000 at the N.C. Modified Nationals at Friendship Speedway (NC) live on 51 TV on Saturday night.
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“To win any race there at Portsmouth, and to have it be their biggest race of the year really tickled me,” Flanary said. “But (Friendship) would definitely be the biggest win of my career. It’s $10,000 to win. I don’t know if I’ve ever raced a $10,000-to-win Modified show.”
Flanary has a little bit of momentum on his side. He finished in second-place the final two nights at Screven Motor Speedway (GA) a month ago, the last time the Renegades of Dirt Series were in competiton.
“We started the first night at Screven a little bit off,” Flanary said. “We came back the second day and it really improved before the feature. We learned a lot about our car there at Screven. It was a good weekend for us. We’re looking forward to Friendship and going there and being a little bit closer right from the beginning.”
In order to have a shot at the win Flanary will have to deal with some tough competition. That competition comes in two forms, though. There are the established Modified veterans like Kyle Strickler and Derrick Ramey, and then there are the younger kids as well.
“We definitely have been doing Modified racing longer than some of these kids,” he said. “Some of them are just out of go karts and smaller cars. But they are young. They’re ambitious. And when they show up to the race track you better be on your game because they sure are.”
If Flanary is indeed on his game he could be one of the guys to beat. But he hasn’t started thinking about what it would be like to win this race just yet. He’s trying to keep calm.
“Now you’re just trying to make me nervous,” Flanary said with a laugh when asked about what it will be like racing in front of a packed house at Friendship and a live audience on 51 TV.
“That makes it extra special having coverage like that there so people can watch it. I’d love to be holding the $10,000 check above my head with everyone watching on Saturday.”
To watch Flanary make his attempt at winning the $10,000 North Carolina Modified Nationals, purchase your 51 TV package by clicking here.
-By Rob Blount, Speed51.com Northeast Editor -Twitter: @RobBlount
-Photo Credit: Speed51.com photo