Enfinger wins wild Martinsville Truck race to earn title shot
To reach the NASCAR Truck Series title race, Grant Enfinger had to win to get in – and that’s exactly what he did.
Enfinger held off a wild charge from his ThorSport Racing teammate Ben Rhodes in a two-lap dash to the finish to win Friday night’s NASCAR Hall of Fame 200 at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway.
Entering this race, Enfinger had led seven laps in seven career Martinsville starts but led five times for 49 laps, including the final two, in his win Friday.
With the victory Enfinger will joins Sheldon Creed, Brett Moffitt and Zane Smith as the four drivers who will compete for the Truck Series championship next weekend at Phoenix Raceway. Whoever finishes highest among the four will be the champion.
The win is the fourth this season for Enfinger and sixth of his career.
“It was tough – we had to fight for this one,” Enfinger said. “It’s been an up-and-down season for us but we peaked when we needed to and I feel really good about our chances at Phoenix.
“We actually had really good truck after we had about five laps on it but those first few laps after a restart it was really tough. My back bumper got jacked up a lot but that’s just part of it at Martinsville.
“We needed to make it (to the title race) before we could worry about it. We were standing here with our back against the wall. It’s so awesome to be here.”
Smith finished third in the race, Christian Eckes fourth and Crafton rounded out the top-five.
Completing the top-10 were Stewart Friesen, Danny Bohn, Creed, Austin Wayne Self and Derek Kraus.
Following the break between Stages 2 and 3, a handful of lead-lap trucks pit but Enfinger stayed out and inherited the lead.
On the restart on Lap 113, Enfinger was followed by Raphael Lessard and Eckes.
On Lap 117, Eckes got into Carson Hocevar in Turn 4 in an incident that also collected Tate Fogleman to bring the caution back out. During the caution Austin Hill took his No. 16 Toyota to the garage with repeated engine issues, ending his playoff run.
“Everyone that makes this deal happen deserves a lot better. We should be in this final four,” Hill said. “I guess it’s these really great Ilmor engines. They like to breathe fire.”
The race returned to green on Lap 127 with Enfinger out front. Johnny Sauter jumped to the lead quickly on the restart.
Tanner Gray hit the wall in Turn 1 on Lap 154 to bring out another caution. All the lead-lap trucks elected to pit with Sauter the first off pit road.
On the restart on Lap 162, Sauter was followed by Hocevar.
Hocevar pushed Sauter high in Turn 2 which allowed Enfinger to move into the lead on the backstretch. Sauter was forced to pit under green with a flat tire.
Clay Greenfield spun on the backstretch on Lap 167 for the eighth caution of the race. On the restart on Lap 174, Enfinger led the way followed by Moffitt and Zane Smith.
NASCAR displayed the caution again on Lap 175, when Sheldon Creed got turned by Enfinger and spun in Turn 4. The race returned to green on Lap 182.
Lessard got around Enfinger quickly on the restart to grab the lead for the first time in the race.
Hocevar spun in Turn 2 on Lap 185 to put the race back under caution. The race returned to green with 10 laps to go and Lessard leading the way.
Moffitt got into Rhodes, who hit then Lessard in Turn 2 with 8 laps remaining which allowed Enfinger to reclaim the lead as the race went back under caution.
The race returned to green with 3 laps to go.
Friesen passed Crafton with one lap to go and held on for the Stage 2 win, his first stage victory of the 2020 season.
Enfinger was third, Lessard fourth and Moffitt rounded out the top-five.
Following the break between Stages 1 and 2, the lead-lap trucks pit with Creed the first off pit road. On the restart on Lap 60, Creed was followed by Crafton and Sauter.
Zane Smith worked his way around Crafton to move into the second spot on Lap 61.
On Lap 76, Zane Smith worked his way around Creed and reclaimed the lead.
Caution was displayed on Lap 79 when Greenfield spun in Turn 3 at the same time Creed was forced to hit pit road for a flat tire.
Playoff driver Austin Hill was also forced to pit with a possible engine issue during the caution.
The race returned to green on Lap 85 with Zane Smith leading the way followed by Crafton and Sauter.
On the restart, Zane Smith drifted high in Turn 2 as first Crafton moved into the lead before Sauter passed him to grab the top spot for the first time in the race.
Gray spun off Turn 4 on Lap 90 after contact from Creed to bring out caution. The race returned to green on Lap 99 with Crafton out front.
Creed took the Stage 1 win over Crafton under caution as a wreck with two laps remaining left no time to restart the race.
Sauter was third, Zane Smith fourth and Rhodes rounded out the top-five.
Creed started on the pole but Zane Smith quickly powered into the lead on the first lap and Creed dropped to second.
On Lap 12, Creed got back around Zane Smith to retake the lead.
Several trucks, including Gray, Tate Fogleman, Trevor Bayne and B.J. McLeod – got collected in a wreck off Turn 4 on Lap 13 which brought out the first caution and briefly blocked the track.
The race returned to green on Lap 22 with Creed leading the way.
With 15 laps remaining in the first stage, Creed had raced out to a 4-second lead over Crafton as Rhodes ran third.
Sauter passed Rhodes for third on Lap 41 as Creed continued to drive away and expand his lead.
Caution was displayed on Lap 48 when Natalie Decker and Jordan Anderson wrecked off Turn 4.
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