Fantastic finish lifts Flannery to championshipwaterford
Wins seven of last 8 races to track down Late Model crown
WATERFORD — Anthony Flannery spent the first three months of the New London-Waterford Speedbowl Late Model 2018 season stuck in neutral. The season entered August and he was still searching for his first win.
He knew what he had to do, however, to change that statistic.
“We needed to find one thing that no one else had found,” Flannery said.
Once he found it, he also found victory lane. And he kept on finding it.
Flannery captured seven out of the final eight races to capture his first ever Late Model championship by 15 points over runner-up Jason Palmer.
Flannery will be officially named Speedbowl Late Model champion at “The Stars of the Speedbowl” Banquet scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 9 at the Mystic Marriott. Ticket forms can be located at www.speedbowlct.com.
Flannery will be a happy champion.
“This means everything to me,” Flannery said. “I have been racing Late Models for six or seven seasons and this is something we’ve been after from the beginning. We kept coming up second, and that was like a shot in the gut. I was happy we were doing well, but our goal was to win a championship. We have won three championships in Legends, but this one is the best. We got the monkey off our back. It was awesome we were able to get that title this year.”
Flannery said the Speedbowl competition helped take his game to the next level.
“People may argue that there weren’t that many Late Models, but when you’re racing against five of the best drivers in the area, it’s going to be tough to win,” Flannery said. “Look at the Full Fender Throwdown. There were 23 cars and some of the best drivers in New England, and the winners of the three races were local guys (Jason Palmer, Ryan Morgan, Bruce Thomas Jr.). There’s a lot of great competition at the Speedbowl.”
There was one thing that was keeping Flannery from dominating that competition.
“We definitely had a lot of bad luck,” Flannery said. “Things hadn’t gone our way. There were times we were leading the points halfway through the season, and we would have bad luck all the way until the end. We weren’t getting the kind of finishes that our car and our team deserved.”
The season started to turn around for Flannery on Aug. 5 when he pulled away from the combination of Ryan Morgan and Palmer to win by 20 car lengths.
“That was the turning point of the season,” Flannery said. “The win came at the perfect time and gave us the momentum that we needed. It hyped everyone up.”
They stayed hyped up as Flannery enjoyed one of the hottest rampages of his career.
“We never showed up with the same car two weeks in a row,” Flannery said. “We needed to compete better. If you show up with the same car, expecting everyone else to be the same, you’re going to be behind the 8-ball.”
Instead, Flannery nearly ran the table.
His most dominant night of the season took place on Aug. 31. There were two Late Model features scheduled for that night, and Flannery won them both.
Between visits to the winner’s circle, Flannery attended a friend’s wedding. He made it to the ceremony, to the reception and to victory lane — all in the same night.
“”That was a great night,” Flannery said. “A lot of things could have gone wrong, but we were able to steal two wins and we took the point lead.”
He nailed down the title when he won the final 30-lap feature of the season on Oct. 22,
“The past five weeks were like a dream come true,” Flannery said in victory lane. “
Helping make that hot streak possible were Belltown Motors and Belltown Recycling, East Hampton Auto Parts, Leonard’s Auto Parts of Stafford. Critical Signs and Team Critical, Larry’s Auto Machine and Finishing Touch Home Improvement of East Hampton.
His crew members include Kevin “Harvick” Talbot, Mark Sweeney, Tony Flannery, Rick Williams and Dave Etheridge.
Flannery plans to cut back on his racing schedule for 2019 because of other commitments.
“My fiancee and I will be building a house and looking to save some money,” Flannery said. “We both love racing, but we have to keep our priorities in line and get ready for our wedding.”
Flannery does plan on competing in a few Late Model races, including the Full-Fender Throwdown at the Bowl, but his main focus will be to run a limited schedule in the Valenti Modified Series.
“If I don’t have time to go for a championship, I’m going to step back,” Flannery said. “It wouldn’t be fair to my crew if I didn’t.”
Besides, he’s already treated his crew, and himself, to one of the best second-half season comebacks in Speedbowl history.
Press release from New London-Waterford Speedbowl
For more information, contact Mike Serluca at email@example.com