The Knoxville driver is entered into Friday’s Food City 300 for the NASCAR Xfinity Series. It’s both Finchum’s home track and favorite track, a place where he won in the NASCAR K&N Series in 2016.
It’s also a welcome change of pace to be on a high-banked short track, which the 24-year-old grew up racing on. He’s coming off back-to-back races at the road courses at Watkins Glen and Mid-Ohio, where he ran limited laps in the Carl Long-owned No. 13 Toyota before parking the car.
Now the series comes to his home track, where he finished 20th in the Alsco 300 in April. It is his second-best finish of the season to this point and his best finish in four Bristol Xfinity races.
“Being a Knoxville native and racing in East Tennessee, I’ve turned quite a few laps here,” said Finchum, who gave pace car rides on Monday. “I feel like we have a legitimate shot to run well. We won here in 2016 and anytime a driver wins at a track, it adds confidence and that shows to the team. I think we have a chance to be a real threat at Bristol.”
It has been an interesting season for the former Kingsport Speedway champion, who has worked with three different crew chiefs. Brian Keselowski, the older brother of 2012 NASCAR champion Brad Keselowski, was his crew chief for the first 15 races. He worked with Doug Richert, the crew chief who led Dale Earnhardt to his first NASCAR championship, over the next four races.
Sebastian LaForge has served as crew chief for the last couple of races. Chad Bryant, the defending ARCA champion, and Paul Andrews, the former crew chief for the late Alan Kulwicki, will be in Finchum’s pit Friday night.
“I’ve had the pleasure of working with great crew chiefs throughout my career, even dating back to late models,” Finchum said. “With Brian coming on board July of last year, we hit our one-year anniversary at Chicagoland, and unfortunately that was his last race at MBM Motorsports.
“He was a very good crew chief. You look back and see the overall enhancements we were able to accomplish. Working with Doug a little with the knowledge he brings to the table, we’re going to have the best prepared car we’re capable of. There’s a level of trust that I’ve had with every crew chief I’ve worked with.”
Ross White, also from Knoxville, captured Saturday night’s Food City 40 for the All-American Crate late Model Series at Volunteer Speedway.
White, the 2017 Crate Late Model champion at the 4/10-mile Bulls Gap dirt track, passed Andy Ogle for the lead on lap 12 and led the rest of the 40-lap race.
Three-time track champion Tim Byrd of Jonesborough, who challenged White and Ogle for the lead early, finished third. Rusty Ballenger and Trevor Sise rounded out the top-five finishers.
Chris Coffey from Morristown took the lead over pole sitter Jesse Helton on the opening lap of the Sportsman Late Model feature. He held off Helton’s early challenges to win the 25-lap feature. Adam Mitchell finished third ahead of Vic Chandler and Joshua Sneed.
Kaleb Trent from Rogersville captured his first-ever win in the Modified Street division. He led all 20 laps of the feature race, holding off defending division champion Gary Blanken for the win. David Clark, Dustin Ratliff and Kurt Owens finished third through fifth.
Kentucky driver John Stevens won his track-best eighth Classic victory of the season. Charles Bates and Richie Overholser were second and third. Veteran Chuck Kilian of Johnson City finished fourth and Chad Manning was fifth.
Austin Atkins of Morristown won for the fourth time this season in Street Stock and John Byers of Knoxville won his second straight Mini-Stock feature.
Volunteer Speedway will be closed this weekend, returning to action Saturday, Aug. 24.
HOT SUMMER NIGHTS
After a solid showing at the Loretta Lynn Nationals, Carson Eads of Kingsport won two classes and finished runner-up in another at last Saturday’s Hot Summer Nights Supercross event at I-81 Motorsports Park.
Another Kingsport rider, Logan McConnell was the College Boy Am winner and finished runner-up in the Pro racer. The Model City had other winners with Josh Fowler (Unlimited B) and Houston Hayworth (Unlimited C). Fowler also finished runner-up in the 25+ race.
A pair of Gray riders — Michael Lambert (450C) and James Sheesley (450D) — won their classes. Jacob Carberry of Jonesborough had a victory in Unlimited D and a runner-up in 250D. Jackson Statzer of Elizabethton paced the youngest riders in the 51cc, 4-6 division.
Several, including Andrew Carver of Jonesborough (Schoolboy), Nick Hammons of Elizabethton (450D) and Madison Hensley of Johnson City (Women), posted second-place finishes.
Other runner-up finishes included: Zack Greene of Blountville (Unlimited C), Dawson Ball of Kingsport (Unlimited D), Lane Milhorn of Watauga (51cc Beginner), Seth Fields of Church Hill (65cc, 7-9) and Tanner Myers of Bluff City (250C).