PENSACOLA, Fla. – There’s nothing more that Chad Finley wants this weekend than to stand in Victory Lane Sunday at Five Flags (Fla.) Speedway and hoist the Tom Dawson Trophy in the 49th annual Snowball Derby.
Considered the pinnacle event of Short Track Racing with an electrifying like atmosphere of the Daytona 500, Finley and his Chad Finley Racing team look to leave their mark in Sunday’s 300-lap slugfest.
“I am really looking forward to getting down to Pensacola this weekend,” said Finley. I haven’t been behind the wheel of our No. 42 Auto Value Certified Service Centers Super Late Model but two times this year. We had a shot to win both races and had solid finishes.
“It was a long year racing on the dirt and coming back to the ARCA Racing Series as we worked hard to build not only a credible team, but a competitive one. I believe we accomplished that. Now, it’s time for ‘the most wonderful time of the year.’ Snowball Derby time.”
While most consider it a victory to make it through a stressful qualifying session on Friday and through consolation races on Saturday, Finley and his family-owned team have been able to make it to the main attraction for the past two seasons. However, bad luck has struck the Dewitt, Michigan native leaving unfinished business on his plate.
Hoping he’s paid his dues, Finley looks for redemption on Sunday, but knows he must first make it through practice and qualifying to have the opportunity to fight for bragging rights as the Super Bowl winner of Short Track Racing.
“We have been snake bitten the last year at the Derby,” added Finley. “The level of competition is unlike anything you see anywhere across the country and without a doubt brings nothing but the best.
“We had a really strong race car last year and was running in the top-six before engine woes took us out. There’s nothing we can do to control a mechanical failure like that, but the guys have been working extremely hard at the shop to get our car prepared for this race.
“Honestly, we weren’t planning on going until about three weeks ago, when sponsorship came together and made this race possible. I’m happy we were able to get the funding in place from our sponsors and close friends to go down there and chase the Snowball Derby again.”
Knowing the 24-year-old can’t control what will happen throughout the race, Finley plans to manage the things he can control and hope his approach will put him in contention for the win when it comes down to crunch time.
“I believe if we stick to our plan, I think we will have as good as chance of anyone to win the Tom Dawson Trophy and bring it back to Michigan with us. They aren’t words to describe what that would mean to us.”
In addition to focusing their efforts on the Snowball Derby, Finley and his crew will be keeping a close eye on teammate David Calabrese who will chase the trophy in Saturday’s Allen Turner Snowflake 100 in the No. 43 Crossfit-77 Chevrolet.
“We’re excited for David,” Finley mentioned. “I had the opportunity to race for Calabrese Motorsports at Dover in the K&N finale and I had a blast. Since then, we’ve worked hard to keep a strong relationship – which includes this weekend at Five Flags. I’ll be there to help David in any way that I can and I know it goes vice-versa.”
Chad Finley Racing would like to thank XLT Engineering, Affordable Tire, Northside Service, Auto Value Certified Service Centers, AirLift Company and several close and personal friends. Without their support, the team’s attempt to participate in Sunday’s Snowball Derby would not be possible.
The 49th annual Snowball Derby is set for Sun., Dec. 4 set to launch at 2:00 p.m. CT. Speed 51 has extensive comprehensive coverage throughout the weekend from practice to qualifying to the last chance race and to the main attraction. Visit Speed51.com for more, including a link to Speed 51 TV, which will offer a live video feed of the event for a fee.
Follow Chad Finley on Twitter @Chad_Finley.