Grant Enfinger is our guest on Fan4Racing NASCAR & Race Talk, Monday, August 21, 2017, at 8:40 pm ET. Call 929-477-1790 or tweet @Fan4RacingSite or @Bickford_James with any questions or comments during our LIVE broadcast.
With the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series taking some time off from racing, Grant Enfinger was available for a return to the ARCA Racing Series to race on some Springfield dirt at the Illinois State Fairgrounds this weekend.
The time was well spent with Enfinger and his No. 16 Allgaier Motorsports team headed by Springfield native and crew chief, Kelly Kovski celebrating their Herr’s Potato Chips 100 win in Victory Lane on Sunday night.
“Everybody knows how special this is,” said Enfinger. “We’ve all been rooting for Kelly (Kovski). Next year I’ll be on the box and he’ll be out here.”
Kovski is still mending from when a race car veered off track and struck him and during Enfinger’s ARCA days, Kovski was his crew chief from the Allgaier Springfield shop.
Although Enfinger, the 2015 ARCA Racing champion has won back-to-back on DuQoin dirt, this is his first win at Springfield.
“This is huge for me, especially to do it here in Springfield. The Allgaiers helped me throughout my career. We’ve been such close friends for so long. They all gave me a hand when I was coming up…this is very special for me.”
Taking the lead from Christian Eckes on lap 63 of the 100-lap event, Enfinger expanded his lead to ten car-lengths by the time Austin Theriault raced around Eckes for second-place. Theriault then reeled in Enfinger throughout the closing laps and by the last five, they were bumper-to-bumper setting up an exciting finish.
“We gave it all we had at the end,” Enfinger continued. “We used up a little too much early on. Austin (Theriault) did everything right. He was better than us at the end…we just had track position.”
Theriault in his Ken Schrader Racing No. 52, raced a clean race and settled in at second-place, after lightly tapping the No. 16 car a couple of times, looking for a mis-step from the leader. For his first time racing on dirt, Theriault was still happy with extending his series points lead after taking the pole earlier in the day.
After Theriault led the first 32 laps of the race, Enfinger passed the leader to lead the next 13 laps. When Enfinger pitted, the lead then went to the local favorite from Galesburg, Illinois, AJ Fike who led the next 15 laps. Eckes then retook the lead until Enfinger passed him for the lead on lap 63.
With several spins and hits to the wall, there were in all seven cautions including one red flag for a four-car incident in turns three and four. Riley Herbst, Brad Smith, Mark Meunier and Alex Clubb were all involved. Herbst, Smith, and Meunier were evaluated and released at the track, but Clubb was taken alert and conscious to a local medical facility for further evaluation and then released.
Tyler Dippel finished third with Sheldon Creed in fourth and Shane Lee rounding out the top-five. Eckes, Tyler Speer, Fike, Will Kimmel and Dalton Sargeant round out the top-ten finishers.
Next up for the ARCA Racing Series is Road America for the Road America ARCA 100 on Sunday, August 27th.