KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Chad Finchum opened the 2015 racing season at Kingsport Speedway with a dominating performance, as he led flag-to-flag in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Late Model Stock Car main event to park in familiar real estate – victory lane.
The bright, sunny March afternoon in the Model City saw Finchum establish a new track qualifying record at 14.880 seconds (90.726 mph), thus giving him bragging rights as the only driver to ever get down into the 14.80s in qualifying at “The Concrete Jungle.” And the qualifying mark has stood the entire season.
Finchum now hopes to bookend the season at Kingsport Speedway by winning the season-opener, and coming back to get another victory in the finale at Racers Reunion/Championship Night at the Races on Friday, Aug. 28.
Coming off a phenomenal 2014 racing campaign which saw him win slightly over 50 percent (19 wins in 37 starts) of races he entered at Kingsport Speedway and Lonesome Pine Raceway, while also capturing the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Late Model Stock Car championship at LPR and finishing second in points at Kingsport, Finchum has only competed in a total of eight races in 2015: Two NASCAR K&N Pro Series events, the Denny Hamlin Short Track Showdown at South Boston Speedway, with NASCAR Whelen All-American Series starts at South Boston (two), Motor Mile Speedway (two), and Kingsport Speedway (one).
“There’s no doubt about it, we had a really great 2014 racing season at Kingsport Speedway in winning a division-best nine features but unfortunately we came up just a little short and finished runner-up in points,” said Finchum earlier this afternoon while taking a break preparing his No. 19 Ford. “We won six races in 2013 during our awesome championship season at Kingsport Speedway. In turn that earned us the Tennessee State NASCAR Whelen All-American Series title and we got to go visit with Gov. Bill Haslam at the State Capitol in Nashville, and that was a very special deal. I really like racing at Kingsport and we’ve recorded a total of 16 feature wins at the track.”
The bottom line for Finchum is he’s a racer, and racers want to be behind the wheel as often as possible. But after making 37 starts in 2014, Chad and his parents discussed during the winter off-season what their goals were for 2015 and where they wanted to go with their racing program. The decision was made by the Finchum family to not concentrate on running the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Late Model Stock Cars at any particular track to try and win a championship.
Like many young race car drivers across the country, Finchum’s eyes are focused on hopefully someday getting to race full-time in either the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, Xfinity Series or Camping World Truck Series. Finchum ran the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East PittLite 125 at Bristol Motor Speedway back in April, and then recently made his first start for Martin-McClure Racing, co-owned by Hal Martin and current Xfinity Series competitor Eric McClure, in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series #ThanksKenny150 at Iowa Speedway.
The 20-year-old Finchum, from Knoxville, is excited about his opportunities driving for Martin-McClure Racing in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series.
“No, I’ve not gotten to race as much this year as what I would have preferred – especially when you look at how many times I raced in 2014,” said Finchum. “But I do feel like by competing in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series a couple of times, I’ve put myself in position to hopefully further advance my racing career. What many people (fans) don’t realize is, it’s tough to put racing deals together to compete in a national NASCAR touring series. I really feel like by aligning myself with Martin-McClure Racing and owners Hal Martin and Eric McClure and their new team, that’s a good operation. We’ll just have to see how everything progresses with MMR, but plans are in place for me to drive for them the first weekend in October at Dover International Speedway at ‘The Monster Mile’ and I’m really looking forward to that.”
Finchum, the 2013 Kingsport Speedway NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Late Model Stock Car champion, is excited to be headed back to compete in Racers Reunion/Championship Night at the Races on Friday, Aug. 28, to be a part of the track’s 50th year celebration.
“I’m really looking forward to getting to race this Friday at Kingsport Speedway,” said Finchum. “Over the past few years we’ve made some really good friends at the track with officials, other race teams and fans. To be quite honest, I really missed getting to race up there full-time this season.
“We ran awfully strong up there at the season-opener and won, and I don’t see any reason why we can’t come back and contend for the victory this Friday. We’ll give it our best shot, you can count on that. And it’s also going to be pretty special to be part of the track’s 50-year celebration, where some of the past racers plan to be in attendance.”
Chad Finchum Racing is owned by James and Linda Finchum (dad and mom), with crew members J.E. Blankenship, Tony Cordell, Tyler Reed, Sam Couch and Jacob Ruble.
Supporters for Chad Finchum Racing in 2015 on the No. 19 Ford Fusion include: A-1 Finchum Heating & Cooling, Texas Roadhouse, Finchum Paint & Body, Loveland Baptist Church, Robbie White 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.