JOLIET, Illinois – Making a significant improvement to the ARCA Racing Series team, Chad Finley and his Chad Finley Racing (CFR) team head to Chicagoland Speedway forThursday night’s SCOTT 150 looking to become the 16thdifferent driver to win in the “Windy City.”
After their fifth place performance at Lucas Oil Raceway in July, the Michigan-based team knew that if his team wanted to be a threat to win at a mile-and-a-half track, his team would have to make a significant investment to the now favorable composite body style which he’ll debut under the lights for a midweek showdown.
With the body change also came a manufacturer swap switching from Toyota to Chevrolet powered by the ARCA Illmor 396 spec-engine.
“I can’t wait to get to Chicagoland this week,” said Finley. “Our team has worked really hard over the last month and a half or so to get our No. 51 Auto Value / Bumper to Bumper Chevrolet SS ready to go. “While we were really proud of our efforts with our steel body car this year, the evolution is changing in the ARCA garage and we knew that if we wanted to be better – this was a step we needed to take.
“Hopefully, we can adapt quickly. It’s a one-day show on Thursday with practice, qualifying and the race on tap – we’ll need to make sure we feel confident with the setup and it’s something that’s going to work with this body style. If we can keep up with the handling, we should be in a good spot for the race.”
Of course, Finley says there is pressure to perform at Chicagoland on Thursday night, but he doesn’t mind the stakes, especially when it comes to his future behind the wheel.
“When we put this band back together earlier this year, it was about going to the track and doing the best with what we had,” added Finley. “We did that – but as racers, it’s not perfect until we are in Victory Lane. My dad Jeff (Finley) has busted his tail, along with Bruce (Cook, crew chief) and everyone else knowing how important it is for us to run up front and everyone’s gone above and beyond their duties to make sure we go to the track better than we were the last time.
It’s not just about winning for us – it’s our future too.”
Although it’s been since 2010 that Finley last completed an ARCA race at Chicagoland Speedway, the Dewitt, Michigan native returns the ultra-fast 1.5-mile oval looking to better his previous experience.
“The last time I raced at Chicagoland, man we had a rocket ship,” explained Finley. “We had a car capable of winning, but the engine blew up near the end of the race and we ended up with a crappy finish. I’m anxious to get back there and even though it’s been six years – I want to see if we can redeem ourselves and see where we stack up with this new composite car.”
With hopes of increasing their schedule for next season, the Finley’s know strong performances will aid in their attempt to find more sponsorship for next season.
“We hopefully have two races left this season and we just need to go out there and run like we did and hope it helps in the long-haul,” said Chad Finley. “My dad, Bruce and the guys want to do this more than four times a year in 2017 – but we’ll need some financial help to make it happen. The ARCA Racing Series has never been more affordable, thanks to the spec motor – but you still need sponsors to pay for the engines, tires, travel, etc. Believe me, I’m proud to be back in ARCA and just hope we can stay around for a little more longer this time.”
In addition to Auto Value and Bumper to Bumper Chevrolet Certified Services Centers, All-Star Performance, Air Lift Company, XLT Engineering and Sawyers Chevrolet will adorn the No. 51 Chad Finley Racing Chevrolet as associate marketing partners for the 18thrace of the 2016 ARCA Racing Series season.
After Chicagoland, Finley is hopeful to compete in season-finale at Kansas Speedway on Oct. 14.
In 12 ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards starts between, Chad Finley has mounted four top-fives and seven 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.
The SCOTT® 150 (100 laps / 150 miles) is live on Fox Sports 1 (FS1) at 8:00 p.m. Eastern Thursday night, Sept. 15. The race will follow a busy day of on-track activities beginning with ARCA practice from 12:30 – 2:00 p.m. local Central time. Menards Pole Qualifying presented by Ansell is scheduled later at 4:10 p.m.
Follow Chad Finley on Twitter @Chad_Finley.
Credit: Chris Knight