Saturday’s Radley Chevrolet 125 at Dominion Raceway was filled with one twist after another, but Jonathan Findley managed to survive the chaos and hang on for his first career victory in the Solid Rock Carriers CARS LMSC Tour.
Findley, who had to climb his way up from the 13th starting position, knew that the cars provided by Lee Faulk were strong enough to win races, but a sense of relief fell over him when he took the checkered flag first in front of drivers such as Brandon Pierce and Layne Riggs.
“It feels so good to do this in front of my friends and family,” Findley said. “We’ve had this black cloud over us for the last few years, and it’s just amazing to finally get rid of this bad luck.”
Findley’s previous best finish in the CARS LMSC Tour occurred during the 2019 Mid-Atlantic Classic at Orange County Speedway after he avoided a multi-car pileup early in the race and brought his family-owned car home in the third position.
Findley originally planned to scale back his operation in 2020 due to a lack of funding, but he managed to form a last-second partnership with Lee Faulk Racing that allowed him to once again compete for a championship in the CARS LMSC Tour.
Through four races with Faulk, Findley only had one Top 10 in the season-opening Solid Rock Carriers 300 at Southern National Motorsports Park, but he was confident that his fortunes would turn in a positive direction as the series arrived at his home track of Dominion.
It only took a handful of laps for Findley to work his way inside the Top 10, but he struggled to progress further through the field as polesitter Jonathan Shafer battled Riggs and Jared Fryar for the lead in the opening half of the 125-lap feature.
The complexion of the race changed shortly on a Lap 65 restart when Shafer missed a gear on the front row, which caused the inside line to stack up and enabled Findley to climb inside the Top 5.
“Thank the Lord I wasn’t in that line at the time,” Findley said. “I heard he missed a shift and that’s when the whole outside line went. I was waiting for the cars to fade in front of me and for my car to come to me. We set the car up to run at the end of the race and it definitely showed tonight.”
Separate tire problems for Riggs and Fryar put Findley on the front row with Mini Tyrrell for a restart on Lap 75. Findley worked the outside line to his advantage and pulled away from Tyrrell despite making slight contact with him on the frontstretch.
No one could mount a challenge on Findley until Lap 123, when Chad McCumbee was unable to bring his wounded car into the pits after cutting a tire, which forced him to stop at the pit exit and set up a two-lap shootout to the finish.
Findley kept his composure and pulled out in front of Tyrrell off Turn 2. He built a comfortable margin over the rest of the field and scored his first career win while Tyrrell, Brandon Pierce and others crashed battling for second.
Tyrrell was disappointed that his car ended up getting damaged after obtaining his career-best finish in the CARS LMSC Tour, but he was proud of his performance and is optimistic that he can improve on that showing by one position before the 2020 season concludes.
“Jonathan clearly had the best car,” Tyrrell said. “I was trying my hardest to catch him there at the end. We got that caution, but we didn’t get the restart I would have liked. We still came home with a second and this definitely gives us some confidence.”
Findley admitted that he was more aggressive than usual as he tried to carve his way through the field, but even though he would have preferred to race everyone cleanly, he affirmed that those moves were necessary for him to be the first one across the start-finish line
“I don’t think I’ve ever had a car that dominant in the last three years,” Findley said. “I was waiting for someone to dump me on that last restart. I roughed some people up getting to the front because my car was so much better on older tires. It’s never my idea to rough anybody up. I race how I get raced, and I don’t want to get raced like that.”
Findley intends to celebrate his first win for as long as he can and take a race-by-race approach as he and Lee Faulk Racing embark on the final five races of the 2020 CARS LMSC Tour season.
LMSC Feature Results:
- 4 Jonathan Findley
- 81 Mini Tyrrell
- 2 Brandon Pierce
- 2s Jonathan Shafer
- 99 Layne Riggs
- 14 Jared Fryar
- 08 Justin Johnson
- 88 Connor Mosack
- 51 Matt Cox
- 19c Jessica Cann
- 22 Bobby McCarty
- 22c Grayson Cullather OUT
- 16 Chad McCumbee OUT
- 19 Sammy Smith OUT
- 78 Corey Heim OUT
- 63 Tyler Matthews OUT
- 1 Nolan Pope OUT
- 1m Craig Moore OUT
- 74 Ronald Hill OUT
- 77j Logan Jones OUT