John Finger Racing
John Finger Racing

Eagles Nest

Eagles Nest 2009 Reynard F200 converted to Mazda powered
Engine Mazda 2 Rotor 13B Turbo, Management system- haltec, Adjustable boost 330-500hp, Transaxle- Hewland Mk5, 5 speed with reverse, Wheels - BBS modular 10in front 13in rear. Thank you to my sponsors Quaker Steak and Lube, Greenville, SC and John Finger Mazda, Greenville, SC. A special thanks to the following: MG Products, CU ICAR, Greenville Tech Motorsports, Chap Racing, Grassroots Motor Sports Magazine, BBS Wheels, Hooiser Tires, Mazda Speed Motorsport Development, Specialty Steel and Last Chance Garage.

Eagles Nest 2008 1979 Riley Protofab Super Vee
Last year saw the debut of the Rock-n-Road Hillclimb near Banner Elk, N.C. In that first year, competitors were blown away by the stunning beauty and world-class facilities provided by the hosting Eagles Nest resort, and the challenging course reminded many veterans of the legendary Chimney Rock Hillclimb. At this year’s second annual Eagles Nest event August 2-3, a legendary racer and a great battle for King of the Hill added to this fledgling event’s already impressive reputation.
Nearly every hillclimber knows the name John Finger. Though Finger’s road racing resume includes time as an IMSA driver with Mazda Motorsports and several Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona races, he is perhaps best known as one of the kings of Chimney Rock. Finger has nine FTDs to his name at that event, and he pioneered a variety of purpose-built hillclimb specials.
These days, John spends much of his time vintage racing, so it’s fitting that he showed up at this year’s Eagles Nest with a 1979 Riley Protofab Super Vee. Finger kept his cards close to his chest with some early reconnaissance runs. These runs were well within reach of the other top competitors, but by the middle of day two he had sliced his times dramatically.
Only one competitor, Gary Ramsey of Southern Auto Classics, came close to touching Finger. The 25-year veteran of NASCAR and Outlaw oval-track racing showed up with a mount that could not have been more different from the light weight, open wheeled Formula car that Finger brought to fight.
Ramsey’s company specializes in Cobra replicas, and their go-fast showcase features, at least visually, a mix between a classic Cobra and an early 1990’s IMSA GTP car. Packing a thundering NASCAR-bred V8 engine, huge gumball tires under the gigantic fender flares and a proud rear wing, Ramsey and the SAC Cobra replica made Finger work for the title.
With the FTD in hand at 1:29.996, Finger was in the process of packing up on Sunday afternoon when Ramsey tore off a 1:29.899 second run in his final attempt. Finger unpacked his helmet, fired up the Riley and put an exclamation point on the weekend by cutting his best time down another 1.6 seconds and securing another King of the Hill title for his trophy case.
Other notable performances included Steven Rankins, who finished seventh overall on street tires in his Subaru Impreza WRX STI with a 1:34.733, and Wesley Nicholson, whose turbocharged and engine-swapped 1986 Honda CRX was quickest of the front-wheel drivers with a 1:38.281. See complete results at
Article from Grassroots Motorsports by Scott R. Lear
Photo by Richard Hunter


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