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Race report
NASCAR Truck Milwaukee

Enfinger rallies to beat Hocevar for Milwaukee Truck win

Grant Enfinger is doing his best to give GMS Racing a championship send-off party this season.

Race winner Grant Enfinger, GMS Racing, Chevrolet Silverado

Just more than a week after the organization announced this would be its final season in the NASCAR Truck Series, GMS Racing’s driver Enfinger pulled off an important playoff win at the Milwaukee Mile.

Enfinger dominated much of the race – winning both stages and leading 95 of 175 laps – but got mired in traffic late when he and several others decided to pit for new tires under a late-race caution.

Enfinger, on the new tires, ran down race leader Carson Hocevar – who did not pit – with 15 laps to go to move back out front and held Hocevar off by 1.533 seconds at the checkered flag for his third win of the 2023 season.

The victory is also the 10th of Enfinger’s career and the 45th for GMS Racing. The win locks Enfinger into the second round of the playoffs regardless of his performance in the next race.

 

“I don’t want to hear anybody asking if we’re going to lay down again,” Enfinger said. “If anything, this adds clarity. None of these guys, including me, has a job next year but I feel like we proved we deserve one.

“We had a heck of a (truck). I didn’t think we were that good yesterday. I thought we were a fifth-place truck. We had a winning truck today.”

Christian Eckes ended up third, Corey Heim was fourth and Matt Crafton ended up fifth.

Completing the top-10 were Chase Purdy, Ty Majeski, Derek Kraus, Jake Garcia and Bayley Currey.

With one race remaining in the first round of the playoffs, Ben Rhodes and Matt DiBenedetto are the drivers currently in danger of being eliminated from title contention.

Stage 1

Enfinger led all 55 laps and cruised to the Stage 1 win over Nick Sanchez by 1.844 seconds. Taylor Gray was third, Heim fourth and Eckes completed the top five.

Josh Bilicki blew a right-front tire and wrecked out of the race which brought out an early caution.

Stage 2

Enfinger passed Heim with 14 of 55 laps remaining and completed a sweep by taking the Stage 2 victory. Eckes was third, Hocevar fourth and William Sawalich ended up fifth.

Enfinger had lost the lead with a slow pit stop between Stages 1 and 2, but eventually able to run down Heim to retake the lead.

Stage 3

Following the break between Stages 2 and 3, the lead-lap trucks all pit with Eckes edging Hocevar first off pit road. Heim overshot his stall and had a slow stop.

Eckes led the way followed by Hocevar, Sanchez, Enfinger and Rhodes on the restart with 57 laps remaining.

Hocevar powered past Eckes on the restart to take the lead for the first time in the race.

Sawalich, who won the ARCA Menards Series race at the track earlier in the day, got loose racing Rhodes and backed into the outside wall to bring out a caution on lap 135.

 

Many of the lead-lap trucks elected to pit with Sanchez the first off pit road. Hocevar, and several others, remained on the track and led the way on the restart with 35 laps to go.

Shortly after the restart, Heim turned Sanchez into the wall in Turn 3, which did a lot of damage to his No. 2 Chevrolet. The race returned to green with 28 laps remaining and Hocevar still in command.

Enfinger, who pit for new tires under the previous caution, powered past Kraus and into the runner-up position with 23 laps to go and started working on Hocevar for the lead.

Enfinger got to the inside of Hocevar with 15 laps remaining and after the two made brief contact, he reclaimed the lead.

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