The door to victory lane had been sealed shut for 22-year-old Chad Finley in 2014 going into Saturday's JEGS/CRA All-Stars Tour event.
Finley, of DeWitt, Michigan, had scored top-five finishes in seven of his 12 starts across the ARCA/CRA Super Series, JEGS/CRA All-Stars Tour, ARCA Midwest Tour and in his first career runs in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East. Still, even with the strong runs, Finley had been unable to crack into victory lane.
That stat changed Saturday night when the 22-year-old scored the JEGS/CRA All-Stars Tour victory in the "Big O Classic" 100 at Owosso Speedway.
“My car was awesome all day, the crew never made an adjustment," said Finley. "Tires were really important in this race, and our car was awesome out there. The crew worked really hard this week and it paid off."
The fast-paced 100-lap event had three lead changes, with the top spot bouncing back and forth between Rookie of the Year competitor Grant Quinlan and Finley, but once Finley got the lead, nobody could catch up.
It was Finley's fourth career JEGS Tour victory, but his first at his home track of Owosso.
"I don’t know what to say, it’s home," added Finley, who set fast time with a new JEGS Tour track record earlier in the day at Owosso. "We’ve been so close here so many times and to finally get it done here tonight, wow, it definitely means a lot.”
Quinlan was involved in an incident in the race and fell back several spots before racing his way back up to finish second.
“The car was really good all through the race," said the 15-year-old Quinlan. "We got caught up in a little mix up and the car got tight on us. We will get ‘em next time.”
2014 points leader Dan Leeck gave Finley a run for his money on the inside lane of the track on the restarts through the course of the race. Finley’s car rolled through the high side effortlessly and Leeck was unable to clear Finley for the lead. Leeck eventually dropped to fourth at the checkered flag as Steve Dorer finished third. Josh Nelms finished fifth.
The next JEGS/CRA All-Stars Tour event comes on Saturday, September 20 at Springport Motor Speedway in Springport, Michigan.
- By Mikayla Kugler, Speed51.com Correspondent. Photo credit: Speed51.com