After being hit with bad luck last December, Chad Finley proved that you can’t keep a good driver and team down for long. Following his bitter defeat at the Snowball Derby and massive offseason move to North Carolina, Finley and his Chad Finley Racing (CFR) team fought back to win their first ARCA Racing Series event less than two weeks ago.
Now after all that, Finley is ready to climb back aboard the same Super Late Model, the first time since the fateful December night in Pensacola when he fell out of the lead with battery issues. He will do it in familiar surroundings on the ARCA/CRA Super Series powered by JEGS at Toledo Speedway (OH), a track where Finley cut his teeth in his early Late Model days.
“After the Snowball Derby I’ve been looking forward to getting back in the Late Model. Toledo is a good track for us; it’s a place I grew up and I love to race there,” Finley told Speed51.com powered by JEGS. “I wish we ran there more than once or twice a year, it’s a fast track, really fun. It brings the drivers out for sure, we ran second last year, hopefully we can improve that one more position.”
“Confident and heartbroken is probably the right phrase, we’re looking forward to it,” Finley stated. “We’re bringing the same car there, it’s the only car we have now. Same setup, we’ll see where we line up, hopefully we’ll be fast off the truck and we can get on it from there and win a race.”
But the confidence heading into the weekend is strong, with Finley coming off his first career ARCA triumph at Fairgrounds Speedway in Nashville (TN).
“For sure, that was such a cool event, anytime you can do that is really special. That was a huge win for us and the program trying to get off the ground. We had to try a strategy game to pull it off but we were able to do it.”
Finley likes his chances for this Saturday’s 100-lap feature which is headlining the Spring 200 at Toledo. At the same time, he knows that there is a collection of drivers that are not just tough in CRA competition, but especially at Toledo.
“I like our chances but Cody Coughlin is going to be tough, Brian Campbell, Johnny VanDoorn, all those guys have raced Late Models for a long time. Campbell has made Toledo his personal playground. Usually when we go there we’re racing each other and he’s gotten the best of us. This time I want to come out on top.”
Finley wants to make the most of this start with SLM appearances expected to be limited, but he’s not ruling out adding a few more races in what will be a spring and summer that will be based around racing the Stock Car in ARCA.
“I think we’ll stick with what we got, there’s always a possibility of doing more, but right now our next SLM race will be Kalamazoo (August 9), we’ll do Battle at Berlin, All-American 400 and go back to the Snowball Derby.”
Be sure to follow Speed51.com this Saturday for live Trackside Now coverage of the Spring 200 from Toledo Speedway.
-By: Connor Sullivan, Speed51.com CT, MA & Long Island Editor – Twitter: @Connor51CT
-Photo credit: Speed51.com/Bruce Nuttleman