Grant Enfinger scores first career Truck win at Talladega
For the second consecutive race, a Camping World Truck Series driver not participating in the inaugural Chase ended up in Victory Lane.
This time it was Grant Enfinger, who held off his GMS Racing teammate Spencer Gallagher on the final lap to win Saturday’s fred’s 250 at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway.
Tyler Reddick won the series’ most recent race at Las Vegas, as non-Chase participants won two of the three races in the first round of the Trucks Chase. Current series leader William Byron won the Chase opener at New Hampshire.
The win is Enfinger’s first in the series in 13 career starts and seventh this season. Enfinger is the 2015 ARCA champion.
“This is pretty unbelievable,” said Enfinger, a native of Fairhope, Ala. “I came here as a fan and that’s how this whole deal started. We all came up here sitting in the stands watching. It’s pretty unbelievable this moment right here.
“God’s blessed me in a lot of ways. You never really know what tomorrow is going to bring. I have no idea what’s going to happen next year, but he definitely blessed me today. It’s an unbelievable feeling.”
Timothy Peters, who won this race the past two seasons, finished third, Rico Abreu was fourth and Ben Kennedy completed the top-five.
How the Chase shapes up
Daniel Hemric and John Hunter Nemechek entered the race as the two most in danger of failing to advance in the Chase, and even after a wild race which featured several wrecks that shuffled the running order, they were the two who failed to advance out of the first round.
Heading into the Round of 6 beginning next weekend at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway are: Byron, Christopher Bell, Peters, Matt Crafton, Kennedy and Johnny Sauter.
Points for those six drivers will be reset to 3,000. The two drivers lowest in points without a win following the Nov. 11 race at Phoenix will fail advance to the championship finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
Peters was the highest finishing Chase driver in Saturday’s race.
“Red Horse Racing is an awesome team. We’ve raced good all year long,” said Peters. “It was a great effort and I’m ready for the next three.”
Nemechek’s problems began early
Nemechek was the first Chase contender to experience problems on Saturday, when the engine blew on his No. 8 Chevrolet on Lap 14.
He immediately drove his Truck to the garage – his chances of continuing to advance in the Chase having gone up in smoke.
“We blew a motor. There was really no sign, the temps were all good, water pressure was good, all my gauges were fine, it just let go,” Nemechek said in the garage. “It’s very disappointing.
“I thought we would have a shot to race our way in here – anything can happen at Talladega. Unfortunately, we got the bad side of it.”
Hemric fared better, finishing 11th after being involved in several on-track incidents. By the end of the race, he needed a victory if he were going to have any chance to advance to the next round.
“The effort was second-to-none. We were just part of a bunch of very unfortunate situations that we couldn’t avoid or couldn’t miss,” Hemric said. “One you could probably rebound from, two you could rebound from but they third definitely put us in a bad situation.”
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