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Enfinger Advances With Wild Win At Martinsville

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Saturday, October 31 2020

Grant Enfinger takes the checkered flag – literally – at Martinsville. (RacinToday/HHP photo by Harold Hinson)

By Deb Williams | Senior Writer
RacinToday.com

MARTINSVILLE, Va. – Grant Enfinger knew Martinsville Speedway’s NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series race to determine the Championship Four would be a “wild and crazy” event and he wasn’t wrong.

Friday night’s NASCAR Hall of Fame 200 produced 11 caution flags for 82 of the 200 laps on the half-mile track. 

“Martinsville seems to bring out the worse in people, and especially when it’s a transfer race and two, three of us had to win to get in (to the championship round),” crew chief Jeff Hensley said.  

“We figured coming here it was going to be a lot of paint being traded, tire marks and different things like that. You can look at the back of our truck (and) our rear bumper on our (Ford) F150 is pushed clear up to the fuel cell where they were beating on us on restarts.”  

Enfinger had to win in order to advance to the championship round at Phoenix and he didn’t disappoint his ThorSport Racing team. The 35-year-old Enfinger defeated teammate Ben Rhodes by less than a second to join GMS Racing’s threesome – Sheldon Creed, Brett Moffitt and rookie Zane Smith – in the title round at Phoenix.

“We came in here with nothing to lose and, honestly, that’s probably how we’ll approach Phoenix as well,” said Enfinger, who won the ARCA championship in 2015. “We kinda had our backs against the wall, which has happened a few times to this group. It got wild, it got dicey. We kinda had to pull the gloves off and fight with them.

“This race is always crazy whether it’s a playoff race or not, but this being an elimination race and four guys getting eliminated after this you knew going in there would be some wild and crazy stuff happening.” 

  However, Hensley was never concerned about Enfinger remaining calm during the chaos because he knew his driver was “pretty level headed, really smooth.”

Enfinger admitted he executed some moves in situations that he probably would have handled differently had there not been so much at stake. One of those involved Enfinger, Moffitt and Creed as they raced for the lead three wide in turns three and four.

“Sheldon was on my outside, Moffitt had gotten under me, so we were three wide in the middle (of the turn) and being in a must-win situation I had to stay in there,” said Enfinger, who led five times for 49 laps. “Unfortunately, Sheldon went for a loop right there. I hate that for him. Martinsville isn’t meant for three-wide racing but it seemed like we were in that position a few times tonight.” 

Enfinger also admitted he shoved Carson Hocevar “a little bit” in the center of the corner during one part of the race. 

“He was going to slide a little bit anyway, but I was able to get under there for a three wide move,” Enfinger. “That’s probably another move I would not have made if we were not in a must-win situation.”  

 Absent from this year’s title race are the 2020 regular season champion Austin Hill and defending series champion Matt Crafton. Hill exited Friday night’s race with engine failure. Crafton failed to win a race during the final round and was unable to get in via points. That honor went to Smith. 

The Truck Series season finale is Nov. 6 at 8 p.m., ET. It will be televised on FS1. 

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NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series Race – 22nd NASCAR Hall of Fame 200

Martinsville Speedway

Martinsville, Virginia

Friday, October 30, 2020

  1. (8)  Grant Enfinger (P), Ford, 200.
  2. (7)  Ben Rhodes (P), Ford, 200.
  3. (2)  Zane Smith # (P), Chevrolet, 200.
  4. (14)  Christian Eckes #, Toyota, 200.
  5. (5)  Matt Crafton (P), Ford, 200.
  6. (18)  Stewart Friesen, Toyota, 200.
  7. (19)  Danny Bohn, Toyota, 200.
  8. (1)  Sheldon Creed (P), Chevrolet, 200.
  9. (13)  Austin Wayne Self, Chevrolet, 200.
  10. (11)  Derek Kraus #, Toyota, 200.
  11. (21)  Trevor Bayne, Chevrolet, 200.
  12. (6)  Tyler Ankrum (P), Chevrolet, 200.
  13. (33)  Carson Hocevar, Chevrolet, 200.
  14. (23)  Timmy Hill, Chevrolet, 200.
  15. (17)  Spencer Boyd, Chevrolet, 200.
  16. (24)  Dawson Cram, Chevrolet, 200.
  17. (9)  Brandon Jones(i), Toyota, 200.
  18. (22)  Sam Mayer, Chevrolet, Accident, 199.
  19. (16)  Jordan Anderson, Chevrolet, 199.
  20. (10)  Raphael Lessard #, Toyota, 199.
  21. (32)  Clay Greenfield, Toyota, 198.
  22. (28)  BJ McLeod(i), Toyota, 198.
  23. (15)  Johnny Sauter, Ford, 197.
  24. (37)  Parker Kligerman, Chevrolet, 196.
  25. (30)  Ray Ciccarelli, Chevrolet, 196.
  26. (34)  Norm Benning, Chevrolet, 196.
  27. (26)  Natalie Decker, Chevrolet, 195.
  28. (4)  Brett Moffitt (P), Chevrolet, Accident, 192.
  29. (29)  Jennifer Jo Cobb, Chevrolet, 174.
  30. (25)  Ryan Truex, Chevrolet, 169.
  31. (12)  Tanner Gray #, Ford, DVP, 154.
  32. (20)  Todd Gilliland, Ford, Overheating, 149.
  33. (36)  Spencer Davis, Toyota, Brakes, 135.
  34. (35)  Codie Rohrbaugh, Chevrolet, Overheating, 123.
  35. (3)  Austin Hill (P), Toyota, Engine, 117.
  36. (27)  Tate Fogleman #, Chevrolet, Accident, 115.
  37. (31)  Josh Reaume, Chevrolet, Transmission, 0.

Average Speed of Race Winner:  52.403 mph.

Time of Race:  2 Hrs, 0 Mins, 27 Secs. Margin of Victory:  0.803 Seconds.

Caution Flags:  11 for 82 laps.

Lead Changes:  16 among 9 drivers.

Lap Leaders:   Z. Smith # (P) 1-11;S. Creed (P) 12-75;Z. Smith # (P) 76-84;J. Sauter 85-92;M. Crafton (P) 93-98;S. Friesen 99-103;G. Enfinger (P) 104-125;J. Sauter 126-156;C. Hocevar 157-161;G. Enfinger (P) 162-173;S. Creed (P) 174;G. Enfinger (P) 175-181;R. Lessard # 182-191;G. Enfinger (P) 192-197;B. Rhodes (P) 198;G. Enfinger (P) 199-200.

Leaders Summary (Driver, Times Lead, Laps Led):  Sheldon Creed (P) 2 times for 65 laps; Grant Enfinger (P) 5 times for 49 laps; Johnny Sauter 2 times for 39 laps; Zane Smith # (P) 2 times for 20 laps; Raphael Lessard # 1 time for 10 laps; Matt Crafton (P) 1 time for 6 laps; Carson Hocevar 1 time for 5 laps; Stewart Friesen 1 time for 5 laps; Ben Rhodes (P) 1 time for 1 lap.

Stage #1 Top Ten: 2,88,13,21,99,23,18,98,4,52

Stage #2 Top Ten: 52,88,98,4,23,26,18,13,42,99

 

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Saturday, October 31 2020
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