A Look Back In Talladega History: James Finch Shares Memories of Talladega
Phoenix Racing car owner James Finch considers Talladega Superspeedway his home track. Originally from Panama City Beach, in the panhandle of Florida, Finch has been chasing the dream of winning on NASCAR’s Most Competitive Track for nearly 20 years. It’s part of the reason his win in the Aaron’s 499 with driver Brad Keselowski was so meaningful.
“I think a lot of people were tickled to death that the underdog won,” said Finch. “But there wasn’t anyone happier than I was. Talladega is like my hometown track. To win there is great, because we’ve been trying to get a win there for a lot of years.”
Finch has won at Talladega in the past, in the ARCA RE/MAX Series with Jeff Purvis, and had earned a couple of Nationwide Series pole awards as well, also with Purvis. But it was always his dream to win at NASCAR’s highest level.
“Talladega is the superspeedway,” said Finch. “It’s the fastest track and the fans really love it. It has the most energy of all the tracks…and I’ve been to all of them.”
But with today’s mega teams, it has only becomes harder for the little guy to win. And in the face of adversity, Finch soldiers on.
“It’s kind of like playing poker. The guy with the most money is going to win. It’s the American dream to go out and race, sometimes you just have to give Joe American a chance. Racing has become so expensive that it’s becoming hard for the little guy to compete. It’s not like it was in the old days. I mean, we were running 210 mph then and we’re running 190 mph now. You think it would be cheaper. But, the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series is the most competitive circuit out there. I tell people it took me 10 years just to finish on the same lap (as the mega teams).”
When it comes to winning at his home track though, money isn’t a concern.
“After the race, Brad asked me ‘how much do I get from the winnings’? I told him he could have all of it. You can have the money, but I get the trophy. Somebody asked me after the race if I bought that win. I told them I wish they had a price on these things, because I would have bought one a long time ago.”
James Finch has certainly paid his dues. And while he has waited this long to get his first win, he’s not content to quit now.
“I’ve been through the pains of it. If I never win another, this had been great. But I sure would like to win another. You can guarantee that I’ll be there smiling the next time you open the gates.”
In 2009, Talladega Superspeedway proudly celebrates forty years of the most competitive racing in NASCAR. While the track has seen changes made to the cars that circle its high-banks, the surface that they race on and the grandstands that thousands of fans fill twice a year, one constant remains; Talladega Superspeedway is authentic NASCAR racing at its finest.
Tickets are on sale now for the Oct. 30 – Nov. 1 AMP Energy 500 weekend. For more information, call 1-877- Go2-DEGA or log onto www.talladegasuperspeedway.com. Tickets are also available for purchase on-site at the Talladega Superspeedway Ticket Office located in the International Motorsports Hall of Fame.