50 years of racing

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

George Ray's Wildcat Dragstrip in Paragould will celebrate 50 years next year and Jimmy Flanigan of Manila has been there from the start.

Jimmy Flanigan has raced for 50 years at George Ray's dragstrip in Paragould. (Town Crier photo/Revis Blaylock)

Flanigan was presented a framed cover of the book that will recognize Ray's 50 years. The book will be released next year.

Flanigan has enjoyed racing through the years and the Sundays he has spent at Ray's Dragstrip.

In Flanigan's early years of racing he had a new 1962 Chevy. Later he built a 1955 Chevy to compete and has raced all kinds of cars since. Today he races a 1978 Malibu. He also races a S10 pick-up.

"It will get up to 100 miles an hour in an eighth of a mile," he said. "We have only won once this year. There are a lot of people running in the Classic."

"When one is down, we have the other one ready to go," Flanigan said.

Sammy Williams, Flanigan's nephew, drives most of the time now and Flanigan is the crew chief. He still drives occasionally and enjoys it.

He calls his racing a hobby, not a money maker. He said it takes two gallons of gasoline per pass at $7 a gallon.

He also enjoys building and maintaining his race cars. Flannigan does all of the motor work himself.

"We always have at least one, and sometimes two, motors on the shelf ready to put in when we need to," Flanigan said.

Flanigan said he was in Future Farmers of America for four years at Manila High School with L.K. Holt as his teacher.

"In all of my adult years I have been able to make my living off of what Mr. Holt taught me in FFA," Flanigan said.

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  • Great story, Jimmy took me to George Ray's for my first trip in 1963. I am glad to see he still is racing, talk about a super nice guy.

    -- Posted by Bowtie-88 on Thu, Oct 15, 2009, at 10:34 PM
  • Way-to-Go Jimmy! You're a great guy to have as a friend,neighbor and (former)co-worker. Live and Race forever man!

    -- Posted by Roger Riney on Wed, Oct 21, 2009, at 10:59 PM
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