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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.

— When he was old enough to drive, Justin Finkle began tagging along with his father to the Porsche Club events and fell in love with racing. Marty said he could tell right away that his son had a natural ability to drive race cars.

“What you have to do is know your limits and the limits of your car, and Justin knows both,” said Marty.

Justin’s mother, Paula Finkle, said watching him drive go-karts in his teens was a lot like watching her husband on the track, which made it easier for her to let Justin pursue his dream.

“I’ve seen Justin out there before, and I wasn’t nervous because I’d seen my husband out there before,” said Paula, who has also driven in Porsche Club autocrosses.

Justin eventually took his talents to the Skip Barber Racing School, where he did so well that he earned an invitation to a two-day advanced class. It was there he was encouraged to join the regional racing series, but he said he wasn’t going to ask his parents for the money to do it.

“I was only going to do it if I paid my own way, and there was no way I could do that,” said Finkle.

Now, Justin Finkle has a second chance to pursue his racing dreams, and his family is hoping he can take the next step toward being a professional driver such as Skip Barber graduates Michael and Marco Andretti, Jeff Gordon and Tony Kanaan.

“I’m not nervous,” said Shatsoff. “Not a lot makes me nervous. I know he’s a talented driver, and I have 100 percent confidence he can do it.”

“A lot of the guys that make it this far, it’s because they paid their way through,” said Marty Finkle. “It’s very rare when raw talent makes it to that level, and Justin has the raw talent to do it.”

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