Grant Enfinger scored the biggest win of his NASCAR Gander Outdoor Trucks Series career by inches on Friday night at Daytona International Speedway.
In an overtime finish, Enfinger had the lead coming off of turn four to the checkered flag. Within sight of the finish line, Jordan Anderson powered to the outside, moving alongside Enfinger in a bid for the win.
The two made contact, bouncing off each other a couple of times as they came to the line. In the end it was Enfinger score the win by one-hundredth of a second.
It’s the third career series win for the Fairhope, Alabama native.
“It’s an unbelievable feeling,” said Enfinger. “It’s the 100th win for Ford in the NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series, so it’s great for them. More importantly it’s the 25th anniversary for (team owners) Duke and Rhonda Thorson, who have put so much into this sport.
“The biggest thing is we had a really good Ford F-150 to do it with. With four or five laps to go it was time to go and we were able to get up in the third groove and make some stuff happen. We got the lead on that big wreck going into one and two and that’s what kind of sealed the deal for us. My buddy, Ross (Chastain) gave me some good pushes at the end. I know he was trying to reach out on us and I was able to block him, but it’s just an unbelievable night.”
Anderson finished in second, the best career finish for the Forest Acres, South Carolina driver.
“To try to put into words what this means for our team, I had to move some money around this winter just to get through to buy this truck,” Anderson said. “We knew that we needed to bring the best truck that we could. This sport isn’t easy, and I love NASCAR, I love this sport. This is what NASCAR is about, man.”
Codie Rohrbaugh came home in third, almost sneaking into the fight for the win on the low side. It was a strong rebound for Rohrbaugh, whose No. 9 truck was sent spinning down pit road on lap 35 after contact with another truck. There was no caution, and Rohrbaugh lost a lot of time as a result.
Derek Kraus finished in fourth, with Natalie Decker scoring a career best fifth place finish - the best finish for a female driver in series history.
It was a night of mayhem for the trucks, as three-wide racing at times resulted in big crashes. The first occurred on lap 15 as the field exited the tri-oval, when Tate Fogleman got loose off of the front bumper of another truck, turning him into the side of the truck of Austin Wayne Self.
Self’s truck turned down into the door of Ty Majeski, sending Majeski’s truck sideway into the wall, where it then flipped over on its roof before sliding upside down in a shower of sparks into turn 1.
Majeski was unhurt, but couldn’t exit his truck until safety crews were able to right it. The race was red flagged for eight minutes to allow for clean up.
After finishing the first segment, the race went caution free through the second segment, the field raced hard but clean, with the lead pack racing side-by-side several times. The action was broken up again on lap 65, when Angela Ruch’s truck broke loose after contact with Derek Kraus. Ruch’s truck turned up the track, gathering up the trucks of Brett Moffitt and Fogleman in the process.
The oil cooler was knocked off of Fogleman’s truck, resulting in a fireball under the hood. As he came to a stop the truck of Bryan Dauzat hit him in the rear after being caught up in the incident. Christian Eckes was also involved in the crash.
The final caution of the night flew with just three laps to go, and it involved much of the lead pack. It occurred as Enfinger, Ben Rhodes and Todd Gilliland raced three wide for the lead, with Rhodes in the middle. Rhodes truck suddenly broke loose off the front bumper of Johnny Sauter. Rhodes’s truck was turned down into the side of the 38, triggering a crash that swept up 11 trucks in all, including Rhodes, Sheldon Creed, Sauter, Eckes, pole sitter Riley Herbst and others.
That set up the overtime finish, which saw defending race winner Austin Hill challenge for the lead. Enfinger would prevail, with Ross Chastain following in second. Chastain would challenge on the outside to challenge for the lead, as would Zane Smith.
On the final lap, Chastain was again looking for the passing lane when his truck broke loose, killing his momentum and sending the pack behind him scrambling.
Up front, Enfinger still held the point, as the field jostled behind him. As he came off turn four, Anderson made a move on the outside, but came up just short at the finish line.
Hill, from Winston, Georgia, finished sixth, with Sauter, Chastain, Creed and Jason White rounding out the top 10.
NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series
Daytona International Speedway – Daytona Beach, FL
NextEra Energy 250 – February 14, 2020
1. (11) Grant Enfinger, Ford, 106.
2. (23) Jordan Anderson, Chevrolet, 106.
3. (21) Codie Rohrbaugh, Chevrolet, 106.
4. (16) Derek Kraus #, Toyota, 106.
5. (30) Natalie Decker, Chevrolet, 106.
6. (15) Austin Hill, Toyota, 106.
7. (5) Johnny Sauter, Ford, 106.
8. (4) Ross Chastain(i), Chevrolet, 106.
9. (12) Sheldon Creed, Chevrolet, 106.
10. (31) Jason White, Chevrolet, 106.
11. (6) Zane Smith #, Chevrolet, 106.
12. (1) Riley Herbst(i), Toyota, 106.
13. (2) Brett Moffitt, Chevrolet, 106.
14. (19) Cory Roper, Ford, 106.
15. (10) Matt Crafton, Ford, 106.
16. (25) Todd Gilliland, Ford, 106.
17. (27) Brennan Poole(i), Toyota, 106.
18. (9) Korbin Forrister, Toyota, 106.
19. (29) Spencer Boyd, Chevrolet, 105.
20. (8) Raphael Lessard #, Toyota, 105.
21. (28) Stewart Friesen, Toyota, 105.
22. (3) Christian Eckes #, Toyota, 105.
23. (14) Tanner Gray #, Ford, Accident, 98.
24. (26) Jesse Little(i), Chevrolet, Accident, 98.
25. (13) Ben Rhodes, Ford, Accident, 97.
26. (20) Gus Dean, Chevrolet, Accident, 97.
27. (7) Tyler Ankrum, Chevrolet, Accident, 97.
28. (32) Angela Ruch, Chevrolet, Accident, 65.
29. (22) Bryan Dauzat, Chevrolet, Accident, 65.
30. (18) Tate Fogleman #, Chevrolet, Accident, 62.
31. (24) Austin Wayne Self, Chevrolet, Accident, 15.
32. (17) Ty Majeski #, Chevrolet, Accident, 15.
Average Speed of Race Winner: 127.319 mph.
Time of Race: 2 Hrs, 4 Mins, 53 Secs. Margin of Victory: 0.010 Seconds.
Caution Flags: 5 for 26 laps.
Lead Changes: 15 among 7 drivers.
Lap Leaders: R. Herbst(i) 1-21;G. Enfinger 22-33;S. Creed 34;G. Enfinger 35-41;T. Ankrum 42;B. Rhodes 43-45;A. Hill 46-55;G. Enfinger 56-67;A. Hill 68;S. Friesen 69-80;B. Rhodes 81;S. Friesen 82;B. Rhodes 83-89;S. Creed 90;B. Rhodes 91-96;G. Enfinger 97-106.
Leaders Summary: (Driver, Times Lead, Laps Led) Grant Enfinger 4 times for 41 laps; Riley Herbst(i) 1 time for 21 laps; Ben Rhodes 4 times for 17 laps; Stewart Friesen 2 times for 13 laps; Austin Hill 2 times for 11 laps; Sheldon Creed 2 times for 2 laps; Tyler Ankrum 1 time for 1 lap.
Stage #1 Top Ten: 51,26,18,23,13,52,16,98,4,38
Stage #2 Top Ten: 98,99,26,16,51,4,52,13,2,15