No one could challenge Enfinger as the checkered flag neared.
Daytona Beach, Fla. – For the second year in a row, Alabama native Grant Enfinger raced to victory in the Lucas Oil 200, the opening race of season for the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards. The victor drove the Alamo Rent A Car Chevrolet.
In the closing laps, Enfinger had to stave off the challenges of the three-car effort from Venturini Motorsports, namely Daniel Suarez, Cody Coughlin and seasoned veteran Frank Kimmel. Brett Hudson also was in the mix.
When the checkered flag dropped, Enfinger persevered with Suarez second, Hudson third, upstart Coughlin fourth and Kimmel fifth.
Said the winner, “It is an incredible feeling to win at Daytona. A few weeks ago, we had a lot of uncertainty whether or not I was going to be able to get back in the car but GMS Racing did give me the opportunity to race, and I can’t say enough about them.”
Admittedly, Enfinger said he spent more time looking in his mirror than out the windshield as the race wound down. “I was afraid I was going to clip the apron as I wasn’t looking out the windshield at all. Daniel Suarez gave me the big push that got me the lead.”
A close second and third
Saurez said he was surprised to learn he advanced to second place with a chance to win. “Definitely, I was thinking about winning and two days ago, I was thinking about where to be to win this race. I thought I needed to be second in the last few laps, and I was there. When I tried a couple of times, I didn’t have enough speed to make a pass or needed help to do so. Anyway, it was a strong run for our first time here.”
Added Hudson, “We were behind the eight-ball with an old motor and it struggled during qualifying with take-off but once we got rolling we were fine. In the race, I didn’t have enough horsepower to pull out and pass, so I just stayed in line at the end.”
Kimmel and Venturini put on a show
Kimmel ran strong in the early-going, only to have his run derailed when his re-fueler spilled the fuel on himself and also coated the pit box.
With this action, Kimmel yielded the lead to eight-time winner Bobby Gerhardt, who subsequently lost the lead and eventually was eliminated in a bone-jarring three-car crash with 25 laps to go. The Pennsylvania driver had to be assisted from his car.
Kimmel did recover and working with his teammates, he made a valiant effort to secure his first win at Daytona but came up short. “They tried to push me by Grant (Enfinger), but I just couldn’t get by him. We were really strong down the backstretch, but at the end, I couldn’t get anyone to go with me. I do think I had the best car here.”