DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — For many drivers the most important thing is winning races. One result from winning races is often a chance to celebrate a track championship and that is exactly what Chad Finchum did this year at Lonesome Pine Raceway in Coeburn, Virginia.
Finchum won at Lonesome Pine and he won a lot en route to his first NASCAR Whelen All-American Series track championship at the tight .375-mile facility. Not only did Finchum win the track title, he also finished in the top 10 in the Virginia standings and fifth in the final national championship standings.
The 20 year-old Knoxville, Tennessee, native took home 19 checkered flags with 33 top-five and 34 top-10 finishes in 37 starts between Lonesome Pine and Tennessee’s Kingsport Speedway.
“With Lonesome Pine coming on board as a NASCAR-sanctioned track that gave us a chance to race for the national championship this year and that was special,” Finchum said. “What made it special for me at Lonesome Pine is how well we got going at the start of the season.”
”Finchum and his family-owned team had run there once in a truck but never in a late model stock car. They only tested the day before the season opener and Finchum knew pretty quickly he liked the track.
“We tested about nine hours the day before the season opener and came back the next night and won those two and went on to win the first four races of the season up there and that got us off to a great start,” Finchum added. “The key was we figured out something nobody else tried and it worked for us.”
“Sometimes you have to think outside the box to get an advantage and we tried the high line around the race track and we were able to make it work and that really paid off for us,” he said. “By the fourth race of the season everyone else was running at the bottom and we moved up and figured it out and it helped us the rest of the year. We didn’t finish outside the top five the rest of the way.”
In addition to his title-winning run at Lonesome Pine, Finchum also competed on Friday nights at nearby Kingsport.
“With the tracks being only an hour and half apart it gave us the opportunity to race twice a week,” Finchum said. “We didn’t get off to as good a start as we did at Lonesome PIne but we had a good year.”
Finchum won nine times at Kingsport and 10 at Lonesome Pine. At Kingsport, Finchum finish second to track and Tennessee champion Kres Van Dyke, coming close to equaling Lee Pulliam’s feat of winning two state titles this season in Virginia and North Carolina.
From the days when he started out in a go-kart and running his first race when he was 6 years old, Finchum has had his family’s support.
“I couldn’t do it without my parents (James & Linda) and the sponsorship of A-1 Finchum Heating & Cooling/ Texas Roadhouse and Finchum Paint & Body,” he added. “I also have a great crew led by crew chief Dinky Corbett and car chief J.E. Blankenship.”
Consistency brings success often in racing and Finchum’s performance is a result of that having Torbett with him when he ran limiteds and he used to work as crew chief for (Daytona 500 winner) Trevor Bayne.
“We have had our guys together for a long time and with the great help of Tony Cordell with my tires and Sam Couch willing to help wherever we need him really gives us a strong team and I can’t wait until 2015,” Finchum added. “NASCAR is a family sport and I am blessed to have a great family that believes in me and supports me every time I am on the track.”
Finchum was recognized alongside champions from each of the 58 NASCAR-sanctioned tracks at the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Awards on Dec. 12 in the Charlotte (North Carolina) Convention Center at the NASCAR Hall of Fame.
-NASCAR Integrated Marketing Communications Press Release. Photo Credit: Randall Perry