Race Weekend Central

Jake Finch Dominates, Wins ARCA Race at Talladega

Jake Finch found victory lane for the first time in his ARCA Menards Series career, leading all 76 laps at Talladega Superspeedway on Saturday (April 20) to do so.

Finch held off a small pack of fellow Toyota cars, including two Venturini Motorsports teammates, to take the checkered flag. 

“Just trying to stay locked in, that was a fun race, and I can’t thank Shannon [Rursch, his crew chief] and everybody enough,” Finch told FOX Sports. “I was a nervous wreck before this race, and Shannon told me that if we do what we’re supposed to do, we’ll kick their butts, and I think that’s what we did,” 

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Fellow VMS driver Kris Wright notched his career-best finish, coming across the line in second. Tanner Gray followed suit and finished third.

“I made a move a little too late, but I saw the guys break off behind me, and the last thing I was going to do was let someone win the race other than a Venturini car,” Wright told FS1 post-race. “I definitely would have made some more aggressive moves, but I wanted to keep that victory in the Venturini camp,” 

Gus Dean, who won the season-opening race at Daytona International Speedway, finished fourth, and Christian Rose came across the line fifth.

Rounding out the top 10, Sean Corr ended up sixth, Amber Balcaen in seventh, Andres Perez de Lara in eighth, Frankie Muniz in ninth, and Toni Breidinger in 10th. All five VMS entries finished inside the top ten.

When the green flag flew, it didn’t take long for the front of the pack to break into a nine-car breakaway, with a larger pack remaining two wide behind them for the first 10 laps or so. Finch immediately took control of the race. The pack then largely single-filed out around lap 10 after Jason Kitzmiller pulled out of line with an apparent radiator issue.

The field remained single file and clean until the lap 38 race break when the caution flew. Finch led the entirety of the first run of the race, keeping about 10 cars in tow for much of the run. The halfway caution marked the lone yellow flag of the event.  

Lavar Scott, who had been among the front runners, had fuel pressure issues under caution, stalling out in turn 2, ending his chances. 

When the race restarted, Finch and VMS teammate Wright pushed out to the lead. Perez had a three-car outside lane going, but the front of the field quickly returned to single file. By 20 laps to go, the lead pack dwindled to just eight cars, and by 10 laps to go, it was down to six.

With six laps to go, front runner Andy Jankowiak lost power in the trioval while battling for the win, leaving just five cars – Finch, Wright, Rose, Dean and Gray – to battle for the win. 

When the white flag waved, Rose tried to pull out of line to make a move for the win, but no one went with him. That left Finch largely uncontested for the remainder of the final lap, giving him the win.

ARCA Race Results from Talladega

The next time the main division of ARCA takes to the track, it’ll be next week at Dover Motor Speedway, in conjunction with the ARCA Menards Series East. The green flag for the General Tire 150 is scheduled for 5 p.m. ET on Friday. April 26, with television coverage coming on FOX Sports 1.

About the author

Josh joined Frontstretch in 2023 and currently covers the ARCA Menards Series. Born and raised in Missouri, Josh has been watching motorsports since 2005. He currently is studying for a Mass Communication degree at Lindenwood University

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