With only three races remaining on the Iron-Man Modified Series tour, drivers Shon Flanary and Blake Brown find themselves engaged in a tight points battle. Coming into this past weekend, Flanary held a scant four point advantage over Brown. However, wins at Crossville Speedway and Smoky Mountain Speedway(both in Tennessee) allowed the Surgoinsville, Tenn. racer to extend his margin to 16 markers as the tour enters its stretch run.
Although these two competitors may be locked into a fierce battle for the $1,000 prize to be doled out to the winner at the end of the season, they share a mutual respect for each other.
“I ran for a track championship last year at Richmond but I’ve never really got to travel around and run for points like this before,” Brown explained in a recent interview with InsideDirtRacing.com. “It’s really cool getting to do this and race against a veteran like Shon. To be in that close of a points battle with him is kind of hard to explain. I’m glad to be in it but he’s got a few wins on us here so it’s going to be hard to catch back up. Hopefully in these last few races we can get a win here or there and catch back up to him.”
Flanary echoed Brown’s admiration for his opponent.
“It makes it a lot more interesting when you come to the track and just have a four point advantage. You hope you’re going to step up your game a little more than you normally would,” Flanary declared, also in an interview with InsideDirtRacing.com. “When you’ve got somebody who has got some skill like Blake does, he’s a young driver who has a bright future ahead of him, you just like coming to the track when you know you’re going to race competition like that.”
Both drivers point out the importance of being thorough in such a tight battle as the final races of the season approach.
“You can’t make mistakes when you’re running for points like this,” Brown insisted. “Every week you’ve got to do bolt checks and even driving in the seat, sometimes you might make an aggressive move, but you might have to realize that it’s better to finish third than to spin out and finish at the back. You have to look at the different aspects when you run for points like this.”
Flanary says that his crew has been working even harder than ever. The No. 98 team has been on a roll of late with four consecutive series wins.
“My crew chief has been working real hard,” Flanary said. “When you come to the track and you’re prepared, a lot of people at this time of the year get complacent, but his hard work is starting to show off. Our stuff has been good all year but it just wasn’t showing up in the features. He has hit on some things and made it real good.”
Despite being new at running for a touring championship, Brown feels as if he knows what it will take to win the Iron-Man title.
“You can’t feel pressure in this sport,” Brown, who won the Iron-Man feature at Tazewell, pointed out. “You’ve just got to go in there and treat it like business as usual. We need a few wins, but at the same time, top-5 finishes and podium finishes can go a long way in this sport.”
Flanary adds his thanks to Iron-Man Series promoter Chris Tilley and track owner Mitch McCarter for the increase in Modified racing opportunities in this region.
“We can’t say thank you enough to Chris Tilley and his crew,” Flanary said. “Mitch McCarter made a commitment to run Modifieds this year at 411 then Tilley stepped up and put forth a series that gave us some tracks we could travel to with a uniform set of rules. We can’t thank those guys enough for their efforts and giving us somewhere to race.”
Remaining Iron-Man Modified Series races:
Sept. 30- Lake Cumberland Speedway
October 13/14- Ponderosa Speedway
November 25- 411 Motor Speedway