Chad Finchum of Knoxville had a phenomenal 2013 racing season in the Volunteer State, capturing the Kingsport Speedway and Tennessee State NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Late Model Stock championships.
The titles earned the Chad Finchum Racing team an invitation to the prestigious NASCAR Home Tracks national banquet last December held at the NASCAR Hall of Fame in Charlotte, N.C., where he was recognized with all other state champions. Finchum thought all the accolades extended him for his accomplishments were finished.
However, the icing on the cake was an appearance in Nashville at the Tennessee State Capitol prior to start of the 2014 racing season, where Finchum and his family were honored by Gov. Bill Haslam in his office for their Tennessee State NASCAR championship.
“Wow, what a really cool deal that was to meet with the governor,” Finchum recently said. “There’s no doubt about it, the word ‘NASCAR’ carries a lot of leverage and can open doors. That’s one of the best experiences I’ve ever had. When you think about every citizen in the state of Tennessee, there’s only a small percent that will ever get to spend time with the governor.
“Gov. Haslam was an extremely nice guy and it was such a great honor to talk with the governor and get our photo taken with him in his office. We shook hands and he congratulated us on the state championship, and we found out he's a race fan, too. I’m from Knoxville, and the governor’s from Knoxville. We invited him to visit Kingsport Speedway during the upcoming racing season.”
In 2014, the 19-year-old Finchum looks to conquer the Commonwealth by winning the Lonesome Pine Raceway Late Model Stock championship, and hopes to contend for the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series state title.
He’s off to a good start through the first four events of the season at LPR, located in Coeburn, Va., having recorded three feature wins to go along with one fourth-place effort.
Saturday night (May 3), Finchum qualified third-quickest behind Brian Blevins and Kres VanDyke. But with the invert being “three,” he started the 60-lap Late Model Stock feature from the pole.
Finchum raced side-by-side with VanDyke for the opening three circuits, before powering his Ford Fusion into a lead he would never relinquish.
“I knew we had a very good car, because we ran well in the afternoon during practice,” said Finchum following victory lane ceremonies on the front straightaway and making his way back over to his pit stall. “Qualifying was close between the top five cars. I really believe I could’ve been fastest, but I just tried too hard on both qualifying laps and didn’t lay down perfect runs and we were barely nosed out by (Brian) Blevins and Kres (VanDyke).
"The starting lineup is determined by the roll of the dice, and that’s just a deal where you’re either lucky, or you’re not. Tonight luck was on our side, and we got to start from the pole position.”
Finchum cruised to the impressive flag-to-flag run to victory over VanDyke, Michael Kidd, Ryan Stiltner and Blevins.
“Tonight’s our third win out of four starts here at LPR to begin the season, and it’s good to be sitting atop the point leaderboard,” Finchum stated. “You don’t want to get off to a bad start and then have to climb your way back into contention when you're trying to win a championship. We really got off to a great start by winning the twin features, and then the following week we were just off with the car, didn’t quite get the setup like we wanted.
“VanDyke’s a strong competitor and I knew I’d have to battle with him at start of the race. I really felt like long as I didn’t make a mistake, I’d take the lead. Once I cleared him and moved ahead, I just hit my marks all around the track and ran perfect laps. I gradually began to put some distance between us and by halfway in the race, we’d stretched our lead to about 10 car lengths. I believe next week’s an off-night with no racing, so we’ll come back in a couple of weeks (Saturday, May 17) and hopefully be able to park in victory lane again.”
Focus for Chad Finchum Racing will now switch to Kingsport Speedway, for exciting NASCAR Whelen All-American Series racing on Friday, May 9 in the Model City.
“We didn’t quite get off to the start we hoped for to begin the season at Kingsport,” said Finchum while shaking his head. “Hey, what happened at the first race, it was just one of those bad deals. But that’s behind us. We’ve bounced back to record finishes of third and fourth over the last couple of races, and I believe a win is coming soon for us.”
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 Rubel.
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.