We are honored to welcome Jack Flannery to the Off-Road Motorsports Hall of Fame Class of 2009 in the Competition: Off-Road Racing category.
Championship off-road racer Jack Flannery is one of the most well-known names in off-road racing for his talents as a competitor and an innovator. Born and raised in Crandon, Wisconsin, Flannery joins an extremely elite group of other legends such as Walker Evans and Ivan “Ironman” Stewart, among others, in the Off Road Motorsports Hall of Fame. The achievement is also significant in that Flannery is the first off-road champion from the Midwest to be inducted into the Hall.
Flannery brought short course off-road racing to the mainstream by being the first Midwest native to organize a professional off-road race team that was capable of competing against, and beating, the best off-road racers in the world. His passion and commitment to the sport and innovative truck designs helped bring short course off-road racing to a higher level. Being continuously involved in every aspect of the sport, from track designs and layout, to bridging the gap between promoters, racers, fans, and sponsors alike, he enabled more people to experience and enjoy the sport on all levels.
Starting his career at the legendary Crandon International Off-Road Raceway as a grass roots off-road racer, his charismatic personality, techniques and refinements allowed him success in a variety of venues. Competing against factory sponsored teams in the initial stages of his career, privateer Flannery, with the financial backing from Flannery Trucking, owned by his father Melvin and late mother Dorothy, proved early on he was quite talented behind the wheel and a force to be reckoned with.
Beginning his nearly three-decade racing career by piloting a snowmobile, he switched his efforts in the ‘70s to a Class 6 two wheel drive sedan and utility vehicle. In 74 he discovered a new niche and began piloting rear engine off-road buggies. In the late 70s he began to focus his talents and passion on the full-size truck classes.
Competing in the Mint 400 in the Nevada desert in ‘78 and ‘79 helped Flannery gain valuable experience.
Venturing into Canadian territory in the early ‘80s, Flannery competed in the Canadian Off-Road Series two times, all the while dominating the Midwest SODA series and racking up five Pro Series Championship titles. He also competed in the SCORE Off-Road Championships in Riverside, California.
In 1990, Flannery added another victory at the Inaugural SCORE Off-Road Championships in Phoenix, Arizona. The highlight of 1990 was when Flannery captured the Class F truck title in the Pikes Peak Auto Hill Climb and earned Rookie of the Year honors while piloting a Ford F-150.
The following year brought a major sponsorship on behalf of Chevrolet and launch of the famous “Chevy Thunder” Team as well as 9 wins out of 10 events in the SODA ESPN-TV Pro Series. Jack also once again returned to Pikes Peak, this time driving a new full-size Chevrolet, and not only won the Heavy Metal title, but shattered his own record by a whopping 22 seconds! In ‘92 Flannery made the trek back to the Hill finishing second. 1993 again showcased Flannery’s talent as he stormed through the SODA circuit by winning five of six events, and taking home the ESPN Pro Series Championship for a sixth time.
In subsequent years, Flannery was a solid fixture in professional short course off-road racing and again no stranger in victory circle scoring numerous Pro 4 and Heavy Metal wins. The pinnacle of his career came in 1996 when he won the coveted $125,000 Borg Warner Cup Race at Crandon International Off-Road Raceway. “Mr. Chevy Thunder” followed that up in 1997 with a clean sweep at Crandon, once again winning both Pro 4 classes and the prestigious Governor’s (now called “Chairman’s”) Cup Race. Victory followed Flannery into 1998 when against a world class field of off-road competitors; he dominated and claimed the CORR Pro 4 Championship title and in 1999 won a second Chairman’s Cup as his curtain call.
Having accomplished goals most can only dream of with well over 150 class wins and series titles, Jack has enough championship rings to fit every finger and toe on his body.