Grant Enfinger Escapes Pocono Disaster, Looks to Repeat at Berlinby Kyle Pokrefky August 6, 2015 0 comments
For a second on the opening lap in the ModSpace 125 at Pocono Raceway, Grant Enfinger almost experienced a case of déjà vu that could have had a disastrous impact on his championship effort.
The leader of the championship standings in the ARCA Racing Series headed into the tunnel turn at Pocono in the fourth position and had his sights set on advancing his position early by moving around the side-by-side pair of Frank Kimmel and Kyle Weatherman.
Running side-by-side through the tightest corner of the track, the 17-year-old Weatherman pushed up into Kimmel, a 10-time series champion, and sent both cars around. As their two cars spun, Enfinger inadvertently received a push from the No. 55 Toyota of Austin Theriault while slowing – sending his No. 23 GMS Racing Chevrolet around for a spin.
Miraculously, Enfinger managed to save his out of control race car and continue on with only minimal damage.
Even with only slight damage on the No. 23 Allegiant Travel car, Enfinger marched his way back up the order to claim a second-place finish – making for his eighth straight top-eight finish in the series.
“It was a great job by the team and everyone to rebound from that,” Enfinger said. “We were lucky to make it out of that wreck with minimal damage. That was fortunate there – the good lord was looking out for us there, that could’ve been ugly real quick.
“We had a great car all weekend. I feel that we had a car that should’ve been contending for the win, we got behind a little bit on our adjustments, that’s where we had to rebound like we did. But really, the whole team did well.”
Up next on the schedule for Enfinger and his crew is this Saturday’s Federated Auto Parts 200 at Berlin Raceway – a race that Enfinger won last year for his maiden victory with GMS Racing.
Officially, the Fairhope, Ala. native takes a 185-point lead over both Austin Wayne Self and Tom Hessert into this weekend’s race.
While he and his team have yet to return to victory lane after sweeping the first three ARCA races of the season, Enfinger says that his team is still firing on all eight cylinders with their recent consistency serving as a testament to them.
“I feel like we’re as strong as we were at the beginning of the year,” Enfinger stated. “Definitely the mindset – the number one goal – has been to win the championship this year. That’s the mindset that we have. There may have been some instances where maybe we had a car that’s capable of not getting it done and I’m trying not to put it into too bad of a place.”
Enfinger does point out that there were two weak spots in their recent efforts. When you realize that both of those races resulted in eighth-place finishes, however, you get an idea as to just how good this team has been as of late.
“I feel like, overall, the strength of the team and the speed in the cars is very where it needs to be,” he continued. “Iowa and Indy, we struggled a little bit, but honestly, other than that, we’ve had a car that could contend in every other race this year. I feel like we’re strong and we’re more consistent than when we started the year off. I feel like we’re in good shape going into this next six-race stretch.”
Partnering with his crew chief from the beginning of the season, Jeff Stankiewicz, again at Berlin (Stankiewicz returned for last weekend’s Pocono race), Stankiewicz returns as the No. 23 team’s crew chief – adding onto an already busy schedule as Spencer Gallagher’s NASCAR Camping World Truck Series crew chief.
Being teamed up with his race-winning crew chief from Daytona, Mobile and Nashville once again, Enfinger believes his fourth win of the season is right around the corner as he returns to a track that he enjoys competing at.
“I love the short tracks and I love Berlin,” Enfinger remarked. “I feel like we should have a good shot at that one. It’s one of those places where the race can play out a lot of different ways whether it was a long green-flag run or if there’ll be a bunch of cautions there. You need to be good on the long run, but you better have some short run speed in it too if you get a late-race restart.”
Photo Credit: GMS Racing