Kingsport Times-News: Finchum to return to MBM Motorsports
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Finchum to return to MBM Motorsports

Jeff Birchfield • Jan 30, 2019 at 7:24 PM

Former Kingsport Speedway and Lonesome Pine Raceway champion Chad Finchum announced Monday he will return to MBM Motorsports in 2019.

The Knoxville driver will again pilot the No. 40 Toyota, and the team will run the full NASCAR Xfinity Series schedule for a second straight year. Finchum competed in 32 of 33 races last season with a best finish of 14th at Daytona.

Brian Keselowski, the brother of 2012 NASCAR champion Brad Keselowski, came in as Finchum's crew chief midseason. With the underfunded team, Finchum scored back-to-back top-20 finishes at Kansas and Texas.

"Last year in my rookie season, we had a great year with a lot of success late in the year," Finchum said. "I'm looking forward to a great year and a great season in 2019."

Finchum, 24, also made his NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series debut with the team owned by former independent racer Carl Long at the 2018 Food City 500. Driving the No. 66 Toyota, Finchum finished 33rd after being caught up in an accident.

He was originally scheduled to drive in the Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race in August before Timmy Hill ended up in the car due to sponsorship.

BAYNE ON THE SIDELINES

Trevor Bayne, the 2011 Daytona 500 winner, is still listed as a free agent for 2019 after rumored deals with a couple of high-profile organizations for their NASCAR Xfinity Series rides failed to materialize.

The 27-year-old Knoxville driver ran 21 Cup Series races for Roush-Fenway Racing last season with a best finish of 11th in the August Night Race at Bristol.

He had five top-15 finishes in the No. 6 Ford, sharing the ride with Matt Kenseth the second half of the season. Over his career, Bayne has scored five top-five and 16 top-10 finishes in 187 Cup Series starts.

The numbers match up favorably to Danica Patrick, who had no top-five and seven top-10 finishes in 191 starts, while driving significantly better cars.

Bayne also has two NASCAR Xfinity Series wins: Texas in 2011 and Iowa in 2013.

JONES WORKING ON DEALS

Blake Jones, the 21-year-old from Sevierville, also made his Cup Series debut in 2018, running three races in the No. 23 Toyota for BK Racing.

His best finish was 27th in the August Night Race at Bristol. Jones is already an accomplished businessman as the owner of the Blake Jones Racing Center in Pigeon Forge.

Jones, who also made four starts in the NASCAR Xfinity Series in the No. 8 Camaro, is working to finalize a couple of deals for the 2019 season, according to a Wednesday phone conversation. He had finishes of 24th, 25th and 27th in the three races he finished. He got caught up in an accident at the restrictor-plate track of Daytona.

However, Jones is an accomplished driver on the plate tracks with his biggest career win coming in the ARCA Series at Talladega in 2015. He worked with Paul Andrews, the crew chief best known for leading Alan Kulwicki to the 1992 NASCAR title, for that race.

In six ARCA starts that season, Jones had three top-10 qualifying efforts and three top-10 finishes.

KINGSPORT FAMILY

Jesse Little, whose mother, Donna, is a Dobyns-Bennett graduate and who still has family in Kingsport, recently announced he will be returning to the JJL Motorsports Truck Series team in 2019.

The team will run in 12-15 races depending on sponsorship.

Little, the son of former NASCAR driver Chad Little, ran twice in the Cup Series last season, including a 35th-place finish in the August Night Race at Bristol. Two days prior, he qualified ninth and finished 26th in the UNOH 200 for the NASCAR Truck Series.

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