CONCORD, N.C. – Under a humid night in the Queen City, Chad Finley Racing (CFR) bounced back from several obstacles during Friday night’s North Carolina Education Lottery 200 at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway to contend for their first top-10 finish of the season.
And while the team seemed to be in the right position at the right time, a botched restart ahead of Finley in the closing laps doomed their plan and left the Mooresville, N.C.-based team with a 18th place finish in their fourth race of the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series season.
Making his second Gander Truck Series start since Atlanta (Ga.) Motor Speedway in February, Finley alongside crew chief Bruce Cook worked diligently on the handling of their No. 42 Strutmasters.com | Air Lift Company | Auto Value Certified Service Centers Chevrolet Silverado throughout both practice sessions Friday morning before qualifying 18th in the baking sun before taking the green flag just after sunset under the Friday night lights.
Quickly, Finley, native of Dewitt, Mich. found his groove during the early stages of the race. By the early laps of Stage 2, Finley found himself inside the top-10 showcasing tremendous speed and ability in their Chevrolet Silverado.
Unfortunately, Finley ran out of fuel before the end of the stage putting him 1 lap in the arrears and making their objective to finish inside the top-10 difficult.
Finley, however, accepted the challenge and was able to work himself back on the lead lap where as the race dwindled towards the finish, Finley again muscled his way back into the top-10 before the last caution put an opportunity to bunch up the field and for Finley to execute.
But as Finley was prepared to make his move, the trucks ahead of Finley, including ThorSport Racing’s Johnny Sauter fumbled forcing Finley to lose valuable track position. Out of laps, Finley couldn’t recover from the deficit and had to settle for an 18th place effort.
Despite the finish, the on-track performance grasped the attention of Finley’s competitors and fans.
“I’m really proud of my Chad Finley Racing team,” offered Finley. “Bruce (Cook) and all of the guys gave me a really fast No. 42 Strutmasters.com | Air Lift Company | Auto Value Certified Service Centers Chevrolet Silverado. At the start of the race, we were just taking our time.
“There was some hard racing going on and we opted to just pick them off one by one to put ourselves in position for the end of the race. We drove up to eighth or so there at one point and unfortunately ran out of fuel near the end of Stage 2 and lost a lap.
“Luckily, we were able to able to rebound and get our laps back and drive back up inside the top-10. I would have liked the race to have gone green to the end, but on that final restart, Johnny (Sauter) just didn’t get going and we got hooked together and it relegated us to an 18th place finish.
“Obviously that finish wasn’t indicative of the truck we had, and that part is a bummer, but I am really proud of the efforts this weekend and the speed that we showed in our first race back from Atlanta. We will keep working and go out to Iowa (Speedway) in a couple weeks and try again.
Chad Finley Racing will forgo Texas Motor Speedway but expects to resume their partial Gander Truck Series schedule on Jun. 15 at Iowa Speedway.
For additional information on Chad Finley and his race team please visit ChadFinleyRacing.com.
Follow Chad Finley on Twitter @Chad_Finley.