Chad Finley is our guest on Fan4Racing NASCAR & Race Talk on Monday, April 10, 2017 at 8:40 pm ET. Call 929-477-1790 or tweet @Fan4RacingSite or @Sal_Sigala with any questions or comments during our LIVE broadcast.
A gutsy call in the final 50 laps of Saturday night’s Music City 200 presented by Azure Foundation paid off with an upset win at Fairgrounds Speedway Nashville for Chad Finley.
“I don’t have the words to describe what this means to me,” said Finley collecting his thoughts after the Victory Lane celebration. “I mean this is what we’ve built Chad Finley Racing to do over the past year and a half or so with Bruce Cook and now with Calabrese Motorsports. To be able to take home that Gibson guitar and that checkered flag. Man, it’s just awesome.”
Knowing that their No. 51 Auto Value Certified Service Centers Chevrolet wasn’t strong enough to contend for the victory early in the race they worked hard on it with pit stops and had it perfect when, Finley, crew chief Bruce Cook and team exercised their option to pit for four tires during one of the event’s late race cautions.
Quick work of the competition on a subsequent restart allowed Finley to bolt to second and set his sights on leader Kyle Weatherman. A lap 198 restart and with fresher General Tires than Weatherman, Finley’s No. 51 Chevrolet was able to clear his No. 98 off turn four and set sail for the checkered flag in green-white-checkered fashion.
“I appreciate Kyle (Weatherman) racing me clean, he was a blast to race with,” added Finley. “I knew if I raced him clean, he would return the favor. It was a great battle by two drivers who live and breathe racing. Winning is everything for me. I’m so thankful, humbled to be an ARCA Racing Series winner.”
Finley was out of touch with the leaders for most of the night leading to out of sequence pit stops to keep getting the car better. Throughout the 200-lap battle, Finley pitted four times while most of the front-runners pitted just twice.
The 25-year-old pitted the first time for adjustments only, too two tires on the second stop and adjustments again only on the third stop, before bolting on four tires on their final trip to pit road.
The triumph on Saturday night made up for some of the heartbreak that Finley and his team suffered last December at Five Flags (Fla.) Speedway, where a dominate performance in the prestigious Snowball Derby ended with a sour finish after experiencing a mechanical issue in the waning laps.
During the closing moments of the second ARCA race of the season, Finley said he had some flashbacks, but the Dewitt, Mich. native knew if he hit his marks – he would earn his first career ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards win.
“This makes up a little for Snowball for sure,” added Finley. “Of course, we wouldn’t have been here without the support from Auto Value Certified Service Centers, Air Lift Company and XLT Engineering and all the little marketing partners who stand behind me, us and want us to succeed. We won’t forget this, I promise you that!”
With his victory on Saturday night, Finley joined his father Jeff Finley as winning father and son combos in the ARCA Racing Series. Jeff Finley earned his first career win at DuQuoin (Ill.) State Fairgrounds in Sept. 1999 driving for Ed Rensi.
“I’m a proud father,” said Jeff Finley. “I’m so proud of Chad and this team. Bruce (Cook), David (Calabrese) everyone who works hard in order to make us succeed. We didn’t have the strongest car, but Bruce executed our strategy well and sometimes that’s what it takes to get into Victory Lane. His work ethic and direction paid off big time tonight. I am very thankful to have him lead this team. This gives us a lot of momentum, fire and desire. I’m so proud of Chad and very grateful to our marketing partners so we can do this. This is better than my ARCA win nearly 20 years ago. Believe me, we’re going to try and do it again!”
In 14 ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards starts, Chad Finley has mounted five top-fives and eight top-ten finishes, including a victory at Fairgrounds Speedway Nashville in April 2017. Finley also earned a pole at Rockingham (N.C.) Speedway in 2009.