Chad Finchum Wins For Second Time This Year at Kingsport Speedway

Tom Baker Featured, MidSouth 0 Comments

By Robert Walden – Kingsport Speedway Media/Public Relations

KINGSPORT, Tenn. (June 14) — The Kingsport Speedway racing community gathered Friday with sad hearts to remember fallen racer Tony Ward, who unexpectedly at age 49 passed away last Saturday after suffering an apparent heart attack. Ward, from Kingsport and who competed for many years in the Street Stock division at “The Concrete Jungle,” in his final race the previous night had finished in ninth-place.

In NASCAR Whelen All-American Series “Dalton Direct Carpets” Late Model Stock qualifying on Texas Roadhouse Night at the Races in the Model City, Chad Finchum of Knoxville flirted with getting into the 14-second bracket with a lap of 15.085 to earn fast-time honors.

With the top four from qualifying inverted, Daniel Pope II and Zeke Shell led the 20-car field to green from the front row. Over the opening 12 circuits the duo raced around the .375-miled banked concrete oval side-by-side, with Finchum on their rear bumper waiting to see which driver cleared the other to move into the lead before he could attempt to make a move get to the front.

Caution waved on lap 12, when Erika Schmidt got into the wall following contact from another car to prematurely end her race.

Pope and Shell were lined up door-to-door for the double-file restart. After going back green, Pope cleared Shell to take the lead. Finchum soon got around Shell into the second spot, and in a couple of laps passed Pope to take a lead he would never relinquish.

Once out front the 18-year-old Finchum, driving the A-1 Finchum Heating & Cooling/Texas Roadhouse/Finchum Paint & Body/Creekside Grill & Catering/Embassy Suites Concord/Brickyard Bar-b-Que in Powell/Loveland Baptist Church/Robbie White Race Engines/Leavitt Race Cars/No. 19 Chevrolet SS, cruised to his second feature win of the season over Pope, Lee Tissot, Kres VanDyke and Derrick Lancaster.

Completing the top 10 finishers were Blake Jones, Shell, Paul Nogradi Jr., Austin Peters and Robbie Ferguson.

With the victory, Finchum (321) now holds a 10-point lead in Late Model Stock points over VanDyke (311), with Shell (310) and Pope (309) all in contention to challenge for a track championship as the season progresses.

John Harrell, from Surgoinsville and driving the MWH Construction/Castle’s Customs Muffler & Paint//Mark’s Auto Parts/Perfection Plus Painting/Outlaw Graphics/J.D. Light Race Engines/No. 19 Chevrolet Monte Carlo, was quickest in Street Stock qualifying with a fast-lap of 16.411 seconds.

With the top four from time trials inverted for start of the 30-lap race, Royce Peters grabbed the early lead over point leader Rob Austin. Over the past few races Peters has led laps and is contending to get his first win on the season.

But Harrell got up on the wheel to overtake both Austin and Peters en route to capturing his division-leading sixth victory. Harrell was trailed at the finish by Jason Leatherwood, Austin, Peters and Nick Cole.

Jason Ketron of Kingsport, driving the Sagebrush Steakhouse in Kingsport/K & K Auto/No. 28 Honda, moved into a tie for most Pure 4 feature wins this season with his father, John Ketron. The 17-year-old Sullivan North High School student held his father, John Ketron, off to record his fifth victory. Finishing third through fifth, respectively, were Kenny Absher, Jimmy Hillard and Chris Neeley.

Brandon Byington of Kingsport, behind the wheel of the Toy Auto/Kenny Absher Racing/No. 11 Toyota Celica, parked in victory lane for the second time this season. He was chased to the checkers by Brandon Sutherland, Chris Steadman, Billy Taylor and Bruce Crumbley.

Photo Credit:  Randall Perry

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