FinishLine Racing School has furthered the careers of dozens of racers, from weekend warriors to NASCAR Sprint Cup winners. In fact, 2011 Southern 500 champion Regan Smith is a graduate of the school, as is 2010 Daytona 500 and Brickyard 400 winner Jamie McMurray, and four-time World of Outlaws champion Donny Schatz. Although the clientele is as diverse as super stock drivers to competitors in the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series, the end goal remains helping a driver improve their results.
“We’re not a fuzzy dice school where you get 30 guys, we get smaller groups of real racers and we focus on them for a few days,” explains school owner Mike Loescher. “We’ll wear their butt right out.”
Located in Edgewater, FL, with at-track action taking place at New Smyrna Speedway, the FinishLine Racing School utilizes a fleet of twelve race cars, including a Camping World Truck Series truck, super late models, late model trucks and open wheel modifieds. In addition to Loescher, other instructors include late model and Camping World Truck Series competitor, BJ Mcleod, and Loescher’s wife, racer and motorsports marketing professional, Kristal.
Throughout the millions of laps turned at the school, the use of COMP Cams valve train components in each vehicle has never wavered.
“COMP has been with us for about 25 years; it’s been a long relationship and it’s been a good one, we’ve never had problems,” says Loescher. “At the racing school we go for 3 days and 900 to 1000 laps if we use the same race car for the entire class. It might be 5,000 laps before we freshen the motor.”
While the cars are tuned very close to race day settings, making 500-550 horsepower and turning 6800 RPM, Loescher explains that the nature of a driving school actually puts more stress on an engine than racing does, due to the constant starting and stopping as drivers change throughout the day.
“In 25 years I’ve never broken anything. I might go two or three years before I have to order anything from COMP Cams,” Loescher says.
Loescher, himself a racer originally from upstate New York, began competing at the age of 16 and drove modifieds professionally all over the northeast, often competing in seven features in six days. He raced for fifteen years before moving to Florida, and amassed seven track championships and over 130 feature wins in that time.
“I’m lucky, I never had a real job,” he says. “I’ve just raced.”