Knoxville's Finchum hopes to move up racing ranks

There's no need to ask Chad Finchum what his Sunday plans are.

"I can sit there and watch them down there at Daytona this Sunday and say, that's where I want to be," Finchum said. "That's what I want to do."

He'll watch Daytona Sunday, but on this day the 19-year old Halls grad has Bristol Motor Speedway all to himself.

"To be here on this gorgeous day testing," he said, "it's phenomenal."

Finchum is one local racer you'll want to keep your eye on. Last year he won the NASCAR Whelen Series Tennessee track championship for his work at Kingsport.

That got him some NASCAR hardware.

"Awesome year," he said. "I couldn't put it in to words what it meant to me."

Racing has always meant a lot to the Finchum family.

"He used to sit on my lap and watch the races," said his father James.

Before James Finchum knew it, his son wasn't just watching. He was racing. He was winning on the local go kart scene.

"First time he won a go kart race, I thought we won the Daytona 500." James Finchum said. "It's the greatest feeling in the world to watch your son take that checkered flag and win that race."

Chad added:: "Towards the last few years of go kart racing we started to buckle down and we got serious. We started buckling down and we started winning a lot of championships."

A hobby became a profession along the way.

"This year our plans are to run Kingsport again," Chad said, "and exceed what we done last year."

He'd like to move up to a bigger series soon, like Nationwide. But that's easier said than done in this sport.

"It's going to be tough. It's not going to be easy," he said. "It's not going to be easy for anybody in our shoes."

But when you have a dream like Chad Finchum's, it helps when you enjoy the ride.

"It's a blast for me," he said. "If you ain't having fun doing it, you don't need to be doing it. It's a blast for me and one thing's led to another and we just kind of slowly progressed and now we're sitting here."


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