Findley Breaks Through For First CARS Tour Triumph

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Jonathan Findley celebrates after claiming his first CARS Tour victory Saturday night at Dominion Raceway. (Andrew Fuller Photo)
Jonathan Findley celebrates after claiming his first CARS Tour victory Saturday night at Dominion Raceway. (Andrew Fuller Photo)

THORNBURG, Va. – Jonathan Findley held the field off on a late race restart in Saturday night’s Radley Chevrolet 125 at Dominion Raceway to earn his first Solid Rock Carriers CARS Tour victory at his home track.

Findley, who made his series debut a year ago and moved to Lee Faulk Racing and Development in the offseason, knew that his cars were capable of winning races, which is why he felt relieved when he crossed the start-finish line first.

“It feels so good to do this in front of my friends and family”, Findley said. “There’s been a black cloud over us the last two or three years and it’s just amazing to finally get rid of this bad luck. ”

A flat right front tire for the No. 16 of Chad McCumbee set up the race’s final restart with two laps to go. Findley took off at the drop of the green flag and left the field in his wake.

Behind Findley, there was a mad scramble for the runner-up spot. Mini Tyrrell, Brandon Pierce and Jonathan Shafer were three-wide off the final corner on the last lap. Tyrell ultimately claimed second, backing up his third-place effort at Hickory Motor Speedway one week ago and posting another career-best Solid Rock Carriers CARS Tour finish in back-to-back weeks.

Tyrrell was confident about his chances of winning on Saturday after finishing third at Dominion in 2019, but he knew that he had nothing for Findley in the closing stages after he passed him with less than 50 laps to go.

“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.”

Third across the line was the No. 2 Fremont Properties Chevrolet Camaro of Pierce, who matched his result from the 2019 edition of the Radley Chevrolet 125 and posted his best finish of 2020 in the process. It was also Pierce’s first top five finish in the CARS Tour since the series’ visit to Dominion one year ago.

Pierce expressed frustration over the circumstances that unfolded between him and Shafer in their last-lap battle with Tyrrell for second, but he spent much of the race fighting a different and unlikely nemesis – a dangling radio cord.

“I’m running a new seat in this car and the halo fits tighter,” Pierce said. “The ear molds plug into the helmet, but with the banking and how fast we run here, my helmet kept leaning over on the seat and the pressure was pulling my ear mold out, so I couldn’t hear my spotter. I drove about 60 percent of the race without hearing my spotter, and I was driving with my rearview mirror until a caution came out so I could put it back in.”

Shafer also had a career-best night in Solid Rock Carriers CARS Tour competition, as he put the No. 2 Nelson Motorsports car on the Hedgecock Performance Pole to begin the night and finished fourth to end it. It was Shafer’s first Top 5 finish in his brief CARS Tour career to date.

Layne Riggs overcame a flat tire early in the race to round out the top-five finishers, which firmly solidified him as a contender for the CARS LMSC Tour championship after Bobby McCarty and Corey Heim endured trouble throughout the 125-lap feature.

The finish:

Jonathan Findley, Mini Tyrrell, Brandon Pierce, Jonathan Shafer, Layne Riggs, Jared Fryar, Justin Johnson, Connor Mosack, Matt Cox, Jessica Cann, Bobby McCarty, Grayson Cullather, Chad McCumbee, Sammy Smith, Corey Heim, Tyler Matthews, Nolan Pope, Craig Moore, Ronald Hill, Logan Jones.