As Grant Enfinger goes deeper into the playoffs, the 37-year-old veteran who’s traveled a long road finds himself on a timely uptick that puts him within reach of a NASCAR series championship.
Enfinger drives the GMS Racing Champion Power Equipment Chevrolet Silverado in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series.
Showing excellent craft (and sticky tires), he won the first race in the Round of 10, surging to victory July 29 in the TSport 200 at Lucas Oil Indianapolis Raceway Park.
Although two more races remain in this first round of the playoffs, the IRP win guaranteed advancement to the Round of 8, which starts Sep. 15 at Bristol Motor Speedway and continues with October races at Talladega Superspeedway and Homestead-Miami Speedway.
The finale to determine the series championships will be a one-day battle among four remaining qualifiers Nov. 4 at Phoenix Raceway.
“God has blessed me with great opportunities,” Enfinger said this week in a phone interview. “I’m having as much fun as ever and even more so.”
Enfinger’s performance had been steady and strong enough to make the playoffs, but IRP was his first win of the season that commenced way back in February at Daytona.
Some credit goes to the reunion with crew chief Jeff Hensley before the July 9 race at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. The two have worked together a lot since 2017 and generate the ineffable combination of trust and mind-melding that leads to the greatest success in motorsports. And Enfinger has always been fast behind the wheel.
The win at IRP reminded me that we met once, way back in July of 2009 at Berlin Raceway, near Grand Rapids, Mich. Enfinger was then competing in the ARCA series, where he just wanted to find enough money to get to the next race and usually placed well when he got there.
What I didn’t know was that he was already a University of South Alabama graduate in marketing. He came from the small city of Fairhope, on the east side of Mobile Bay, and described himself as “one of those crawfish guys,” yet the bachelor’s degree has been an important asset.
“I do value it and know how important it is to make this all make sense for somebody to put their name on the side of your truck,” he says over the phone.
Bristol opens up the second round of the playoffs, and he points to his and his team’s past success there. “By nature we’ve had a good package,” he says. “If we can find a win there, it punches us into the championship. Homestead is [also] a place I’ve had success at–and Hensley as well.”
Talking to Enfinger produces the belief that, yes, it’s possible. There’s excitement around the team, good chemistry all around, and a confident driver. But if he delivers the championship, don’t expect anything too flashy from one of those crawfish guys.