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Justin Finkle gets a second chance to pursue his dream

Delmar native is one of 33 finalists for a sponsored ride in racing series

Justin Finkle, far right, has the support of his family — (from left) his parents, Marty and Paula Finkle, and fiancee Rachael Shatsoff — as he heads to Florida this weekend to compete in the Skip Barber Racing School IndyCar Academy. The winner earns a sponsored ride in Barber’s regional racing series.

Justin Finkle, far right, has the support of his family — (from left) his parents, Marty and Paula Finkle, and fiancee Rachael Shatsoff — as he heads to Florida this weekend to compete in the Skip Barber Racing School IndyCar Academy. The winner earns a sponsored ride in Barber’s regional racing series. Photo by Rob Jonas.

— “I’m the one who persuaded him to do it because this is the time when he can do it,” said Shatsoff.

Finkle said it didn’t take him long to regain the form he had when he gained the invite to join the Barber racing series from his instructors 10 years earlier.

“Within a couple of laps, I was back to normal,” said Finkle.

Finkle impressed his new instructors and was selected as one of 84 racers nationwide to earn consideration for the IndyCar Academy. From that list, Finkle was chosen by a national committee of Barber Racing School instructors to be one of the 33 finalists.

Many of the other drivers going to Florida for Barber’s IndyCar Academy are in their 20s, including Olympic swimmer Tyler Clary.

“Hopefully, he doesn’t drive as fast as he swims,” Finkle said of Clary.

Fortunately for Finkle, the winner of the IndyCar Academy will be decided on the track and not by the age of the driver. The drivers will be divided into three groups of 11, and their times on the track and how cleanly they race will determine where they start on the final day of the Academy, when everyone will race for the sponsored ride.

“From what I know, this is going to be a points-based system,” said Finkle. “If I do something like spin out on the track, they’ll deduct points for that.”

Finkle got into racing cars through his father, who started when he was 12 years old.

“There was a little store on the corner of Lexington Avenue and Central Avenue called Lexington Go-Kart,” said Marty Finkle. “I got to meet a fellow by the name of Benny Rosenburg, and next thing you know I started go-kart racing.”

Marty Finkle graduated from go-kart racing to driving in three series – the Sports Vintage Racing Association, the Historic Sportscar Association and the local Porsche Club. He also became a national instructor at the Porsche Club’s driver education events at tracks across the Northeast including Limerock and Watkins Glen.

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