Chad Finchum Dominates PittLite 125 In Bristol For First NASCAR K&N Pro Series East Winby Hunter Thomas April 20, 2016 0 comments
BRISTOL, Tenn. – Chad Finchum, a native of nearby Knoxville, Tennessee took the checkered flag in the PittLite 125 and won his first career NASCAR K&N Pro Series East victory on Saturday at Bristol Motor Speedway.
Not only did Finchum pull off the upset, but he also led the most laps at The Last Great Colosseum Saturday afternoon. Pole sitter, Harrison Burton led the first 13 laps, and Finchum, who started fourth led the remaining 112 laps. Finchum, a 21-year old successful grassroots Late Model racer is competing on a part-time schedule this season. The victory was also the first for Martin-McClure Racing.
“Well, I came here as a fan for many of years and watched people like Earnhardt and Labonte and all of them do it the best,” Finchum said. “When I got the break, you know I had been running at the local level for quite some time and had great success there. This is my fourth trip to Bristol. I came here three times prior in the past with our own car, and our best finish was seventh, so when Eric (McClure) and Hal (Martin) made this team Martin-McClure Racing and Reynolds Wrap on the car, and you know they gave me the call and said, ‘will you come drive for us, and this is what we’re going to do,’ I was so happy but not happier than I am right now.”
Defending race winner, Kyle Benjamin challenged Finchum for the race lead throughout the afternoon, but he wasn’t able to make the pass and finished second. The runner-up finish marked his second in a row. Benjamin entered the weekend coming off of a second place finish at his hometown track, Greenville Pickens Speedway.
“One thing that made me want to win it so badly is that we’ve been finishing second a lot this year, and I really wanted to get the win, especially at a place that I have some experience at, you know last and also I wanted to get the team their first win,” Benjamin said. “We haven’t won yet in the K&N Series, but it’ll happen shortly. We keep bringing fast cars to the track, we’ll only run second for so long.”
Kaz Grala has an impressive performance at Bristol Motor Speedway. He started mid-pack in 11th and fought his way to a third place finish. The Ben Kennedy Racing driver now has two top-five finishes this season.
“Really good run for us,” Grala said. “Unfortunately, we had to start a little bit further back then I would’ve liked. We started 11th, o by the time we were up where we needed to be at, I think we were just about out of tires and definitely out of time. Those front two guys started on the front row, I believe or at least right up there. Really, great shout out to them. They were very fast today. I think if I had used up my tires a little less, I probably would’ve had a little more for them, but we were right up there. I’m proud of my Ben Kennedy Racing team.”
Rounding out the top-10 on Saturday was Justin Haley, Dillon Bassett, Collin Cabre, Gracin Raz, Eddie MacDonald, Todd Gilliland and Riley Herbst.
The Pitt Lite 125 had five cautions. The worst of all the accidents came early in the race on lap 10. Five cars crashed in Turns 1 and 2. The drivers involved included Codie Rohrbaugh, Ali Kern, Sarah Cornett-Ching, Reid Lanpher and Clayton Green. Ali Kern was transported to a local hospital for further evaluation. She was later released. The crash brought out a lengthy red flag.
Kyle Benjamin currently leads the championship point standings by a mere three points over Justin Haley. Spencer David is third, only nine points back from the lead.
Up next on the schedule for the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East I the Biscuitville 125 at VIRginia International Raceway on Saturday, April 30.
Photo Credit: Wayne Thomas