The aspiring Finn Buckley has been making waves in the racing scene with his No. 16 car from go-karts to now racing for Stillwell Racing. Buckley’s journey has seen challenges and triumphs, especially through his founded love for road courses. Despite balancing being a full-time high school student, he has his eyes set on a long journey in motorsports continuing to grow and aiming for more victories this 2024 season, particularly this summer during the Cook Out Summer Shootout at Charlotte Motor Speedway. 


Hometown: Waxhaw, North Carolina

Division: Outlaws

Car Number: 16

Race Team: Stillwell Racing

Favorite Food: Lobster

Favorite Vacation Spot: South Africa

1. What got you started in racing?

When we moved down here from New York about eight or nine years ago, after being here for about a year we thought since we moved down to North Carolina, we thought we might as well go to a NASCAR race. So we decided we were gonna go to the truck race at Charlotte here and we went and we all had a good time and it kind of sparked my interest in racing. Then I went to an indoor go-karting place in Concord and I did alright there so we decided to run the league and we did pretty well in the league and all the other people that I was running with decided to go to quarter midgets or outdoor go-karts and we kind of asked around and then we went to a practice day at Concord Speedway and found Stillwell Racing and I guess my parents talked with them behind my back and then surprised me with the car in early 2019 and I’ve been racing since.

2. How has your racing journey been?

The first year or two maybe even three, it was a bit tough. I went for a while without getting any sort of wins or good results or anything so we had a pretty big learning curve and all of a sudden about a year or two ago we just kind of started winning races out of nowhere. Then I discovered road courses and figured out that they’re really my thing and it’s kind of excelled there ever since.

3. What is the most rewarding part of racing?

Probably winning or just doing something that you’re proud of. Whether it be a win, setting your fastest lap or making a cool pass, or anything like that.

4. What is the reasoning behind your No. 16?

So there wasn’t much of a reason other than that when I first kind of thought about numbers I always kind of liked 16. A little bit of a reassuring part of it is my birthday is June 10, 6-10 so that makes it 16, and at the time nobody else was really running number 16.

5. What does it mean to be a part of Stillwell Racing?

It’s made things a lot easier than it would have been at least at the beginning than if we had done it all ourselves. We had a lot of help obviously getting the experience and track time, and setting up the cars, coaching, social media stuff, and pretty much anything you can really prepare yourself for, we kind of had that taken care of early. 

6. What do you like to do outside of racing?

I do a lot of fishing, international hunting, and stuff like that. I also do a little bit of graphic design now.

7. Who are your role models in the racing world?

I’ve never really been able to say like a true role model but there’s always been people that I’ve looked up to for specific things. I like AJ Allmendinger’s road course abilities, I’ve always liked him for that, and certain people who are able to put on a good show like Fernando Alonso in F1. That’s mostly the reason why they’re some of my favorite drivers

8. Do you have a pre-race routine?

Honestly, not really, I just like to get in my car early sometimes and usually, I just go up to the grid and just kind of sit there and bounce my leg for half an hour.

9. What’s the most important thing to know when it comes to racing?

One of the big things that has always stuck with me to be a good racer, I think you have to have a strong understanding of physics and the science of it and essentially know how and why things work the way they do.

10. What has been your favorite memory so far?

Probably either my first win at the fifth mile behind Charlotte, sweeping all six Winter Heat wins this year, or last November driving from last to first at Dominion (Raceway).

11. What makes you like road courses so much more?

I feel like I never really had the idea that I could be good on a road course until we got up to the Winter Heat in 2020 and just out of nowhere we were running quickly. In my first-ever practice, I was second on the board. I feel like I kind of have an ability to string the whole track together in one continuous rhythm, which I think is a crucial part of road course racing, and keeping the car momentum up and always having the car in the right place for the next sequence of corners not just the next one coming up. You always have to think ahead on the road course.

12. What’s your favorite track to race on and why?

My favorite tracks are probably the road course at Charlotte (Motor Speedway) and the road course at Dominion Raceway, partially because of the success and mostly just because I enjoy driving the tracks a lot. They’re both really cool, unique racetracks that you don’t really find anywhere else in the country.

13. What is your favorite event to race at?

Probably the Summer Shootout or the Winter Heat. I feel like the Summer Shootout is such a cool atmosphere and I feel like it’s a bigger deal than most series in terms of it being at Charlotte Motor Speedway. During the summer with all the pre-race things, it’s really a big show and it kind of gives you an eye into the future maybe.

14. How do you balance being a student and a racer?

I feel like I always have something to catch up on. Being a freshman in high school there’s always a lot of work. We try to balance out racing with not missing a bunch of days at school. It’s usually a lot of work but I think it’s worth it being able to race on the weekends.

15. You’ve already had some great success in 2024, what are the rest of your goals for the 2024 season?

Probably my biggest goal for the year is to win a Summer Shootout race. I feel like I’ve always come so close in the past but there’s always something that happens to go wrong, I just need everything to click together.

16. What are the next steps past a Bandolero?

We’re hopefully planning to get into a Legend Car by the end of the year and hopefully go full-time with it next year.