RANSOMVILLE, NY (Wed.) – The Battle Of The Border ended with an unemotional winner in Billy Decker, an angry runnerup in Matt Sheppard and an ecstatic third place finisher in Tommy Flannigan.
“This is like a win for us,” Flannigan said after the race. “The car was running better the longer we went. I was saying, wow, we might be able to win this thing.”
And nearly did.
Flannnigan used the thirs and fourth turns, where he was able to run higher and longer than anyone else on the track to come within a lap of scoring one of the biggest upsets in Ransomville Speedway history.
Flannigan, 27, missed the first three weeks of the 2015 Ransomville Small Block Modified season this year and had resigned himself to the unpleasant fact that me might not be racing at all.
“I put a deal together with Andrew Sittler to drive his car at Ransomville six weeks ago. We missed the first three weeks of the season but have been running pretty well since we started. But neither of us expected this.”
The St. Catharines, Ontario based driver-owner combination first got into contention a third of the way through the 75-lap feature when Flannigan smartly moved sixth spot.
“When I got up there and after Danny (Johnson) dropped out, I felt the car get better. At first, I didn’t want to show my hand to the Big Block guys because the track was coming to the Small Blocks.
“With the race going on non-stop and the leaders in traffic, it favored me a little. By lap sixty, it was time to go and that’s when turns three and four really came to the car. I’m really happy to finish third behind those guys but at the same time I could have won it.
The car Flanngan runs is owned by Andrew Sittler. Sittler’s father Harry was a highly regarded driver in regional Modified events through the seventies and into the eighties.
Flannigan had one more surprise in store after the race was over. The Battle Of The Border had offered, as one of its many added prizes, guaranteed starting spots in five different post-season races. Though he could have opted for Small Block events, Flannigan instead picked a spot in the Syracuse Super DIRTcar Series Big Block 200.
“It’s a guaranteed spot, why not?” reasoned Flannigan. “We do have a Big Block that is just about ready to race. Gor-Den is finishing it up.”
At night’s end, Flannigan was receiving the accolades in the pit area usually reserved for event winners.
“It feels great, gives us a boost for the rest of the season,” Flannigan said.