BETHLEHEM, PA — Jennifer Flanagan Kutz, a champion pavement Street Stock racer, passed away on Friday, September 11, due to complications from the delivery of giving birth to her daughter, Annika Kaylin. Jennifer was 39. Annika, who was born at 3 lbs. 3oz., is doing well while under the careful watch of doctors.
Jennifer was the wife of champion racer Tommy Flanagan and the daughter of popular Late Model star Barry Kutz.
Jennifer was one of the most liked racers on the eastern Pennsylvania short track pavement circuit and always greeted everyone with her warm smile and outgoing personality.
Her passion for racing was second only to her love of family which is a very tightknit, supportive group.
She began her career at Mountain (Evergreen) Speedway in a Street Stock and won for the first time on June 4, 2003. She would go on to score four more times that same season, including the prestigious “King of the Mountain” when she was dubbed “Queen of the Mountain.” Jennifer was the 2003 division champion, and the only female to win a title at Mountain.
With husband Tommy, they are the only couple in Eastern Pennsylvania short track asphalt racing to win track titles. Tommy won the 1999 Late Model crown at Mahoning Valley Speedway.
After a few more years of racing in the Street Stocks, Jennifer then turned her focus to Late Model racing where she competed at Mahoning Valley. With the help of her dad as crew chief, she would earn a respectable eighth in final points during her rookie season of 2013.
After taking last season off and later learning of her pregnancy, she then convinced her dad to get back behind the wheel for 2015.
Jennifer was also very involved at the Blue Mountain Quarter-Midget Club in Berlinsville, Pa., where she served as this year’s Chief Starter. Her son, Thomas, also races there. Jennifer was a cheerleading coach and active in Girl Scouts as a troop leader with daughters Paige and Andraya.
She will be deeply missed by all who knew her.
The viewing will take place on Wednesday, Sept. 16, at Finley Funeral Home on William Penn Highway in Easton, Pa., from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.; and again on Thursday at 1 p.m.
This Saturday, the Kutz and Flanagan families will attend the races at their home track Mahoning Valley Speedway with Jennifer’s memory being honored at that time by her fans and fellow racers.