KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — The calendar shows it’s not yet officially summer, but try telling that to Chad Finchum of Knoxville. The defending Kingsport Speedway Late Model Stock, and also Tennessee State NASCAR Whelen All-American Series champion, is heating up as evidenced by his dominating performance last Friday at “The Concrete Jungle.”
Finchum started from outside of the second row and powered into the lead on the seventh lap. Once out front he never looked back en route to capturing his second win of the season.
“We had a really awesome car Friday at Kingsport Speedway, no doubt about it,” said Finchum at first of the week from his race shop. “We started the 60-lapper from the fourth spot and got around Zeke (Shell) on the second lap to move into second place behind leader (Kres) VanDyke. Off a restart working the seventh lap, we passed VanDyke to take the lead and from that point on the race went caution-free and we just cruised to victory.
“I’m telling you, our car really drove great. Going all-green from that caution on lap 6 until the finish, it seems like we just got stronger as the race progressed. We’ve now got us a couple of wins and overall we’re running inside the top-five and putting ourselves in contention to challenge for race wins. If we could just eliminate that one bad race we had to start the season, when we got wrecked, we’d be right there competing for the points lead. But, we’re slowly chipping away points-wise each race and I’m bound and determined to get back in the points chase.”
On the season Finchum has recorded two victories at the .375-mile banked concrete oval in the Model City, with six top-five finishes (two wins, one third-place, two fourth-place runs and one fifth-place effort) overall, while sitting fourth in the point standings, just two points from third-place.
Chad Finchum Racing made the haul over into Southwest Virginia on Saturday night to Lonesome Pine Raceway, and Finchum was looking to pull off a weekend sweep for the second time this season.
With the Late Model Stocks scheduled to run 100 laps at LPR, Finchum was third-quickest in qualifying and started from inside of row two. Thomas Beane and Ryan Stiltner led the 18-car field to green from the front row.
During the first half of the race, Finchum battled with Stiltner, Kres VanDyke, Beane and Brian Blevins for position. Following the event’s second caution on lap 48, off the restart Finchum powered into the lead over Stiltner and rode out front until the yellow (flag) waved on lap 77 for a two-car incident involving Adam Gray and Jonathan Fleming in the third turn.
With the cars wrecking directly in front of Finchum, he had to jump on the brakes and come to a stop to avoid making contact. Track rules state if a car comes to a stop for an accident, they’re part of the deal. So Finchum was forced to restart from sixth, the last car scored on the lead lap at that time.
Back under green, Finchum got up-on-the-wheel and hustled his car to a runner-up finish behind race winner VanDyke.
“Man, I thought we were going to be perfect for the two nights of racing between Kingsport Speedway and Lonesome Pine Raceway and win both races,” Finchum said. “But, that situation where the two cars wrecked and spun right in front of me, I had to get on the brakes so I wouldn’t become involved. According to track officials, they said I came to a complete stop, though I’m not so sure I did. That’s the call the officials made and you’ve got to live with their decisions, but you don’t necessarily agree with it.
“We had to restart from sixth and over the remaining distance we worked our way up and finished second to (Kres) VanDyke. Even though you feel like you should’ve won the race, at least finishing second is better than having a DNF (Did Not Finish) when you’re competing not only for track points but also NASCAR national points. A deal like what happened when we were leading, that kind of makes you shake you head when you get penalized for stopping on the track to avoid making contact with the cars that actually triggered the wreck. But, overall we had a pretty good weekend of racing with the win at Kingsport and runner-up finish at LPR.”
Through the first seven races of the season at Lonesome Pine Raceway, located in Coeburn, Va., the 19-year-old Finchum has recorded five victories with seven top-five finishes (five wins, one second-place and one fourth-place effort) overall, while sitting atop the point standings entering the month of June.
In the latest (June 1, 2014) NASCAR Whelen All-American Series national points, Finchum is tenth in the standings ranked among the top 500 in the country and Canada. Between competing at Kingsport Speedway and Lonesome Pine Raceway, Finchum has recorded seven victories and 13 top-five finishes out of 14 starts. To view the NWAAS national points click http://hometracks.nascar.com/standings/Whelen-All-American-Series/national_top500/2014.
With both Kingsport Speedway and Lonesome Pine Raceway not scheduled to host weekly NASCAR Whelen All-American Series racing for Late Model Stocks this coming weekend, the next racing action for Chad Finchum Racing will be on Friday, June 13 at Kingsport Speedway.
Chad Finchum Racing, owned by James and Linda Finchum, is headed by crew chief Patrick “Dinky” Torbett (2013 NASCAR Whelen All-American Series UNOH Ultimate Mechanic Challenge Award), with crew members Tony Cordell, Tyler Reed, Eric Romines, J.E. Blankenship, Sam Couch and Jacob Ruble.
Supporters for Chad Finchum Racing in 2014 on the No. 19 Ford Fusion include: A-1 Finchum Heating & Cooling, Texas Roadhouse, Finchum Paint & Body, Loveland Baptist Church, RW Race Engines, Five Star Race Car Bodies, CARS Etc., and Hedgecock (Race Cars) Racing Enterprises.
To learn more about possible sponsor opportunities with Chad Finchum Racing, contact James Finchum at (865) 740-3535. To keep up with Chad Finchum’s racing throughout the season visit his website at www.ChadFinchum19.com or follow him on Twitter @ChadFinchum.
– Photo Credit: Randall Perry (RPM Photos and official Kingsport Speedway photographer).