After spending the past year or so in the heart of NASCAR country, Mooresville, North Carolina, Chad Finley has returned to his home base of Dewitt, Michigan where he and his family-owned Chad Finley Racing (CFR) have set sights on a limited schedule in the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards.
Finley, who last competed on the tour in 2010 will return to the series’ for an open-test session at his hometown track of Michigan International Speedway in three weeks, while returning for the Corrigan Oil 200 on Jun. 10 aboard the No. 51 Auto Value Certified Centers / Air Lift Company Toyota Camry.
Finley’s father, Jeff, the team manager, recently acquired their equipment from Sandusky, Ohio’s ThorSport Racing, the 2013 ARCA Racing Series champions.
Veteran industry leader Bruce Cook also has joined CFR to serve as crew chief.
“I am really pumped to do some ARCA Racing Series racing this year,” said Chad Finley who owns 10 ARCA starts overall. “We have been building some really nice cars and they are just about complete and ready to go. Bruce (Cook) has been great to work with in the shop. Working side-by-side with each other hopefully will help speed up our communication process at the track.
“In addition to ARCA, we are going to do some of our Late Model races when time and funding allow us too. I’m also going to run my Uncle Doug’s dirt car, so that will be very cool to keep me fresh and learn more and more as well.”
Finley will also compete at Lucas Oil Raceway on Jul. 22, Chicagoland Speedway on Sept. 15 and the season-finale at Kansas Speedway on Oct. 14. Finley will also throwback to his No. 42 scheme for the coveted Late Model event at Berlin (Mich.) Raceway on Jun. 12.
For the elder Finley, the trial in North Carolina wasn’t an experience they regret, but realized more could be accomplished within their own perimeter.
“For us it’s just a wise business move,” offered Jeff Finley. “With the budget we have to work with it is just not cost effective to operate a shop down there. We purchased some ARCA cars from ThorSport. When I got there and got the tour and seen how they operate and it got me thinking. Just like drivers there are race mechanics and hardworking people up here that want a chance in the upper ranks of the sport and hopefully we can make that happen for a few of those soon.
“Chad has a lot of talent not only behind the wheel but in the shop as well. While he lived there he learned a tremendous amount more of technology. This will help make are move to run some ARCA races and build a few cars much easier. We have also added veteran championship and winning crew chief Bruce Cook to our team for the ARCA races we will be running. He possesses a tremendous amount of knowledge on these big cars so we are looking forward to that.”
Despite running a limited schedule, Chad Finley emphasized the importance of unloading strong at the Michigan International Speedway test – but also backing it up for the team’s debut. Thankfully, they have ARCA experience at the 2.0-mile oval. In 2010, he finished seventh after starting 18th in the Racing for Wildlife 200.
Joining Auto Value Certified Service Centers will be The Airlift Company, long-time supporters of CFR.
“As many would expect, Michigan is very important to me,” Chad Finley added. “It’s important for any driver. But it’s important for us, because not only do I consider Michigan my hometown track, but a lot of our sponsors are from the area as well. It’s been six years since I ran an ARCA race there, but I have experience last year in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, so I’m hoping that will be somewhat beneficial to us in a few weeks.”
Jeff Finley, who competed in ARCA during the 1990s and scored a popular win at the DuQuoin (Ill.) State Fairgrounds driving for team owner Ed Rensi agrees.
“We are truly grateful to our long term marketing partners Auto Value Certified Service Centers and The Airlift Company that help us in trying to achieve our goals,” he said. I believe in the direction we are headed and expect some more positive things to come our way over the next few years for sure. We are working hard to make sure we come out of the gate strong and can build and maybe add some more races before the season is done. We’ll take it one step at a time and just see how it goes.”
In 10 ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards starts between 2009 and 2010 all for Brad Keselowski Racing (BKR), Chad Finley has mounted three top-fives and six top-10 finishes, including a pole at Rockingham (N.C.) Speedway in 2009. Finley’s career-best finish is third, twice, including his most recent ARCA race at Rockingham (N.C.) Speedway in Oct. 2010.
Follow Chad Finley on Twitter @Chad_Finley.
Credit: Chris Knight