GRAND RAPIDS — If Chad Finckbone is ready to pass the racing torch, he picked a good year to do it.
Finckbone, who is from Grand Rapids, is going out in style as he won Pure Stock point titles at both the Hibbing Raceway and Grand Rapids Speedway this season.
Now, Finckbone is contemplating ending his racing career, and passing it on to his son, Chaston, who had a successful season as well, winning his first points title in Hibbing and Grand Rapids in his first year in a Hornet.
Finckbone has flirted with retirement before. He was out for eight years, but now, it’s going to be official.
“I’m going to retire again and let my son race my car,” Finckbone said. “My son and dad, that was my driving force. That’s why I got back into it.”
Finckbone started thinking seriously about retirement last year.
“I didn’t race all of the nights in Hibbing,” Finckbone said. “It’s a commitment. I don’t want to race every night, not like I used to. I want to do other stuff I like to do. I have a family and other stuff going on.
“I want to have fun. That’s my main goal.”
Finckbone, who won his first points title in Hibbing in 20 years of racing, said his car was dialed in this season.
“We’ve been getting better,” Finckbone said. “We have a better set up and stuff. That helped us excel. I’m running the same car other than a new body, and it’s scaled differently.
“It’s made quite a bit of difference. The car is faster, and a lot easier to drive. It corners much faster, and in the straight-aways, it’s quicker. That helps big time.”
With that said, Finckbone wasn’t sure there would be any racing this season because of the pandemic.
“We didn’t know anything, but the car was ready like we were going to race this spring,” Finckbone said. “I do my work on the car during the winter time so it’s ready for the spring.
“That’s important to me. I like to have my stuff right. We’ve gone through it. I don’t like to rush and do stuff. You can call it a dream year. The car has worked well. Everything came together. Nothing was wrong mechanically.”
Finckbone won four features in Hibbing en route to the title. He also had two seconds.
“That’s how you get it done,” Finckbone said.
But why give it up now?
“I’m not into it like I used to be,” Finckbone said. “I used to race 40 to 50 nights a year. I’ve got a family and other life stuff that’s more important to me. My kids are young, and I want to spend time with them at this age.”
Finckbone said he’s looking forward to the Labor Day Shootout.
He won the Classic in Grand Rapids last year, and he won the first night out at the Shootout in 2019. On the second night, Finckbone was fifth.
“We got rain and the track changed,” Finckbone said. “We missed that set up.”
Finckbone also built Chaston’s car last winter.
“We built everything other than the motors or trannies,” Finckbone said. “I’m feeling good about it. I’ll just show up with my stuff right, and make sure everything is good.”
The elder Finckbone may have built the car, but Chaston, who is only 12-years-old, drove it to perfection.
“It was awesome,” Chaston said. “We’re always doing work on it. We make sure the maintenance is done, so nothing happens on the track. We were hoping to get in the top five and top three every week.”
Like his father, Chaston wasn’t sure if there was going to be a season. As a matter of fact, he was ready to put his car away for the summer.
“Honestly, I didn’t think we’d get out there,” Chaston said. “We finished the car, and we were getting ready to winterize it and put it on blocks. We got the message that we were going to race.
“I was excited about that, but nervous at the same time.”
Those nerves didn’t last long.
“I was nervous in the lineup, but once you hit the track, you don’t think about it,” Chaston said. “I was looking forward to it, that’s for sure. It was nerve racking driving the car for the first time, trying to bring the car home in one piece.
Chaston said he either finished sixth or seventh that first night out.
“I was relieved,” Chaston said. “The car was in one piece. It wasn’t banged up, and I had fun.”
As the season progressed, Chaston got more relaxed, and he was finding his way around the track a lot easier.
He won his first feature race in Grand Rapids.
“I just had to keep hitting the same mark on the track,” Chaston said. “This experience is more than I thought it would be. I thought I wasn’t going to do too good. I was going out there to have fun, then I’m leading the race.
“The checkered flag came out.”
Chaston is now looking forward to his first Labor Day Shootout.
“I’ve watched my dad race there tons of times, and last year, I wrenched on his car,” Chaston said. “It’s definitely one of the bigger events I’ll race in this year. I just have to hit my marks, be consistent, and hopefully, I’ll come out on top.”