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Former Kingsport champ set to run at Daytona

Jeff Birchfield • Updated Feb 6, 2018 at 5:41 PM

Chad Finchum has been a champion on the short tracks. Now, the Knoxville driver is scheduled to make his debut at Daytona International Speedway on Saturday, Feb. 17 with the Power Shares 300 for the NASCAR Xfinity Series.

Finchum, the 2013 NASCAR Weekly Racing Series champion at Kingsport Speedway, will be driving the No. 40 MBM Motorsports Toyota. Finchum made seven starts last season for the team owned by longtime independent racer Carl Long.

Racing on the high banks of Daytona is the culmination of a lifelong dream for the 23-year-old Finchum, who first attended races as a kid at Bristol.

"I guess it can be said that dreams do sometime come true," Finchum said. "I told my parents and really everybody, from just when I was a young boy, that someday I was going to be a NASCAR driver.

"Over the past 10 years I've really worked hard trying to become the best race car driver I could be, and I've been quite fortunate to have won a lot of races and also championships. It's helped prepare me for the next step up the racing ladder in my career, competing in the NASCAR Xfinity Series."

He raced go-karts, Bandeloro and Legends cars before moving up to the Late Model Stocks at Kingsport. After winning the championship in 2013, he has made only sporadic appearances at the 3/8-mile concrete oval since then — but has been a threat to win every time he has shown up.

Finchum has made 17 starts in the NASCAR K&N Series with a victory in the 2016 Pitt Lite 125 at Bristol Motor Speedway. Last April, he scored a top-five finish at a rain-shortened race at Bristol after racing from an 11th starting spot to fifth over the first 70 laps.

TOUGH TASK

He faces an uphill fight in the MBM Motorsports cars with a best finish of 28th at Bristol. Still, Finchum feels fortunate to be racing the car in the Xfinity Series. The restrictor-plate track at Daytona provides more of an even playing field with many upsets over the years.

"Getting to run the NASCAR Xfinity Series races last year was just awesome and I can't thank Carl Long enough for the opportunities he gave me to drive for MBM Motorsports," Finchum said. "Hey, I was just a short-track racer and Carl took a chance on me that not only would I be able to get the job done behind the wheel for his team, but that I would take good care of his equipment.

"We realize we're not going to be able to compete with the Cup teams fielding Xfinity cars. The group of cars we're equally competing against on our level each week, our goal is to finish the best among those cars. You can rest assured we're going to give it our best effort."

SLIDE JOB

Hawkins County dirt racing legend Scott Bloomquist always gives his best effort and the 54-year-old is coming off a season which he finished third in the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series point standings.

The season started last Friday for the Lucas Oil Series and Bloomquist was one of three East Tennessee racers in the A-Main.

Newport driver Jimmy Owens paced the Volunteer State contingent with a fourth-place finish. Shannon Buckingham of Morristown finished 14th and Bloomquist from Mooresburg was three spots behind in 17th.

Defending series champion Josh Richards of Shinnston, W. Va., swept races at Brunswick Ga., in the opening weekend. This week, the Lucas Oil Series has six feature races at the 41st annual Winternationals at East Bay Raceway in Tampa, Fla.

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