Mason, MI (Saturday, January 21, 2023) - A new blockbuster event is now on the schedule for several Outlaw Super Late Model teams in Michigan and the Great Lakes Region after a surprise announcement Tuesday afternoon. With a flier attached to his Facebook post, Jeff Finley announced the Inaugural Bob Finley Memorial, Wednesday, July 26 at Corrigan Oil Speedway.
The race will run under Reveal the Hammer sanctioning, according to Finley who is promoting the event. Finley says the Reveal the Hammer Series runs a rule book that his family supports, so it was an easy choice to bring them on board.
“The Reveal the Hammer series runs the big tires like we like,” said Finley. “So that’s why we brought them in.”
The race will unfold at Corrigan Oil Speedway, a race track that the Finley family has supported for decades. Jeff Finley says that Northside Towing and Chad Finley Racing, his son’s current race team, still hold corporate days at the track during the summer. The relationship with the Speedway goes back to when Jeff himself was just a child.
“We grew up racing at [Corrigan Oil Speedway],” Finley explained. “That place meant the world to [Bob Finley] and any chance we had to go back there meant the world to him.”
Over $35,000 in feature purse money will be on the line on Wednesday, July 26th during the Bob Finley Memorial. A total of 20 cars will make up the starting field, paying $667 to start, and an impressive $6,767 to win. Pay through the field will be impressive as well, something that was important to Finley when he decided to promote the event. When asked about the substantial payout for the race, Jeff Finley put it simply:
“He was a substantial guy, you know,” Finley said. “I think when you look at the payout across the country, the guys on the top get everything. But I thought, ‘Let's buck up here and get some support, and make it worthwhile for everyone to come’”, explained Finley.
He went on to say that the race is a chance for everyone to come out and have a great time while remembering a Michigan Motorsport Hall of Famer. Finley says fans and drivers alike won’t need to break the bank in order to support the event.
“This is the opportunity to draw some good cars,” he said. “I just want it to be fun and not cost [people] an arm and a leg to go. [I’m] working with the track on special pricing for the fans and all kinds of stuff we want to do,” Finley explained.
In addition to the impressive overall purse that’s up for grabs, Finley said he and his son Chad are also working on adding additional funds through lap money bonuses. Finley says a number of people have already reached out asking about sponsoring laps. As far as overall sponsorship needed to make the event work, Finley says he’s really looking for simple support.
“I’m looking for 100 people to give us $100,” says Finley. “We’re just taking anything that you want to donate, that you want your name recognized with,” he said. “We want everybody that wants to be a part of it, to be a part of it and anybody that can’t afford to be a part of it, to [still] be a part of it.”
For the Reveal the Hammer series, the Bob Finley Memorial came as an addition to their schedule that was already announced and complete. Rich Mersereau, Director of Operations for Reveal the Hammer, said when Finley approached him about sanctioning the event, the decision took no time at all.
“Jeff and I go back like 30 years,” chuckled Mersereau. “So our schedule is almost done, and he called me up and he goes, ‘Hey man, I want to have a race for my Dad at Corrigan,’ and it was a one-second decision to say ‘yes’”, recalled Mersereau. “Corrigan [Oil Speedway] is obviously one of the nicest tracks in the whole country. I’m like, ‘of course, we’ll do it’. There’s no thought.”
Mersereau said that it’s up to the fans now to support these high-paying, high-profile shows like the Bob Finley Memorial. So much so that this summer, Outlaw Late Model fans of Corrigan Oil Speedway will only get one chance to see them in action; the Bob Finley Memorial is the only Outlaw race on the 2023 schedule. Mersereau says that Speedway Promoter, Tom Hernley, told Mersereau that the Bob Finley Memorial will be the only Outlaw Late Model race contested at the Speedway this season.
“[Reveal the Hammer] is gonna have some races at Birch Run Speedway and Owosso Speedway, but at the end of the day, the success of the Outlaws is going to be to have one or two races at these tracks, where they’re special,” Mersereau explained. “If you want to see the Outlaws at [Corrigan Oil Speedway] - you have to come [July 26th], this is it.”
As for the validity of only having one Outlaw race at Corrigan Oil Speedway, a message to Corrigan Oil Speedway track promoters Tracey and Tom Hernley regarding the 2023 schedule had not been returned at the time of this story. However, no official 2023 Corrigan Oil Speedway schedule has been released.
Fans can expect to see some of the best Outlaw Late Model drivers from around the region in attendance at the Bob Finley Memorial. Expected drivers include Two-Time Reveal the Hammer Champion Steve Needles, Kalamazoo Speedway Champion Adam Terry, 12-time Kalamazoo Champion Andy Bozell, Four-Time Kalamazoo Klash Winner Phil Bozell, third-generation driver, Bryce Bozell, and others like Trevor Berry, Justin Claucherty, Jason Felver, and more.
For more on the Inaugural Bob Finley Memorial at Corrigan Oil Speedway, find Corrigan Oil Speedway on Facebook. Find and follow Horsepower Happenings on Facebook and Instagram for more updates on this event, and others across the region all summer long. Bookmark www.HorsepowerHappenings.com for weekly news stories, and a brand new podcast every Monday night at 9:00 PM.
Bob Finley, Michigan Motorsports Hall of Fame (2006) - Bob was born in 1937 in McKenzie, TN. He moved to Lansing, MI in 1956. His interest in auto racing was initially sparked when Diane, his wife of over fifty years, said “let’s go to watch the races at Capital City Speedway”. After one trip, Bob developed the passion for racing. He then met Willy and Gary Fedewa and helped them build their racecars through the 1960s and 70s. In 1967 Bob started his Northside Service, a major towing service based out of Lansing, which has now grown to over 40 employees and three locations. Bob is always ready to help another racer get started or assist them in running better, as Bob’s twist on that is that he welcomes the competition. Over the seasons, Bob has had some of the best drivers in the state driving his Super Late Models: Gary, Tim, and Tom Fedewa, Tim Felver, Charlie Ryan, Tim Ryan, and Gary Sherman. Dale Earnhardt, Sr. drove for Bob in 1987 at Kalamazoo’s NASCAR Night, as did Rusty Wallace during Galesburg’s NASCAR Night in 1989. His sons Jeff and Doug Finley have driven for their Dad, and Jeff’s son Chad at thirteen has turned some laps and will eventually be competing in Bob’s Super Late Model.
As crew chief for Gary Fedewa in the ’60s and ’70s, Bob and Gary competed at over 50 different paved and dirt tracks throughout the Midwest and Canada, winning over 150 feature events. This includes five MSPA championships, and track championships at Owosso, Spartan, and Crystal. As crew chief and owner for his son Jeff, they won seven national karting events from 1973 to 1982. In Jeff moving up to late model, they won the Harvest 100 at Spartan in ‘86 and ‘87, along with six track championships in ‘86, ‘90, ‘93, ‘95, and 2001, collecting over 100 feature wins. In one year, 1990, Jeff and Bob won the track championship at Owosso, Spartan, and Michigan Ideal.
As car owner and crew chief for son Doug, together they won the Harvest 100 at Spartan in 1988 and 2000. In 1988, they won the Willy Fedewa 100 at Spartan, as well as Michigan Cup victories at Springport in ‘97 and ‘99. A total of six track championships were attained by Doug and Bob in ‘91, ’92, ’98, ‘99, 2000, and 2002, collecting nearly 100 feature wins.
In 1995, Bob was awarded the Golden Circle Award at Spartan Speedway. Bob has been a factor in twenty-three championships with over three hundred and fifty feature wins, and he refuses to stop there as he and his teams have three Super Late Models ready to roll as this writing embarks upon the 2006 season.
Story - Zach Hiser, Horsepower Happenings
Photo - Rand Thompson, Level Pebble Racing Pics