Grant Enfinger Comes Back From a Tire Rub to Win Richmond Truck Race

AP Photo - Steve Helber

RICHMOND, VA – RIS – Grant Enfinger passed teammate Matt Crafton with seven laps to go to Win the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck race at Richmond Raceway.  It was a 1-2-3 finish for ThorSport Racing and their F-150 Ford trucks. Crafton held on for second and Ben Rhodes finished third.

“Definitely a special night for us,” Enfinger said.

It was his third win of the season.  He had won two earlier in the season but was suffering through a winning drought.

Enfinger matched Sheldon Creed for the most victories among series regulars this season in the last race to determine the final two spots in the playoffs that begin next weekend. Those berths went to Todd Gilliland and Tyler Ankrum, who used a late pit strategy call to finish fifth.

Crafton, who ended a 67-race winless drought in late July at Kansas, only became a factor at the end and seemed headed for victory before Enfinger caught him in lapped traffic. It was an ending that featured a largely different group of drivers than those that dominated. After a caution on Lap 174, most of the leaders stayed out, and got burned because of it.

Austin Hill, who had clinched the regular season championship earlier in the race, was running second, just behind Rhodes, but was passed quickly by David Ragan and Brett Moffitt, and Moffitt kept on surging, grabbing the lead from Rhodes on Lap 186.

Crafton also joined the fray, climbing to second followed by Ankrum, who was fighting for that playoff berth, and Enfinger, who'd gone a lap down after a tire rub earlier.

The parade of cars on new tires left those on older tires hoping for a caution, and time to do something on them, but it never materialized. The last restart came with 68 laps to go.

Rookie Zane Smith won the first stage, which was dominated by pole-sitter Hill until a late caution. Hill and most of the leaders stayed on the track when the yellow flew, but Smith pitted and was able to track Hill down before the 70th lap went on the scoreboard.

Rhodes won the second stage after passing Enfinger with 20 laps to go. Enfinger had grabbed the lead from Zane Smith 10 laps earlier, and his night took a bad turn shortly after the restart for the third stage. He was running second when a tire rub caused by Enfingwe sent him to the pits.

It was the series' first visit to Richmond since 2005 and only two drivers — Crafton and Johnny Sauter — had ever raced on the 0.75-mile oval. But familiarity did Sauter no favors as he went to pit road early and emerged two laps down. He finished 27th.

Unofficial Results, ToyotaCare 250. Richmond Raceway,k 0.75 Mile

Fin, Str, Driver, Truck, Laps, St1, St2, Tms Led, Laps Led, Playoff Pts, Pts, Status
1) 5, Grant Enfinger, No. 98 Champion/Curb Records Ford, 250, 2, 2, 3, 18, 5, 58, Running
2) 10, Matt Crafton, No. 88 Ideal Door/Menards Ford, 250, , 7, 1, 25, , 39, Running
3) 2, Ben Rhodes, No. 99 Tenda Heal Ford, 250, 5, 1, 2, 66, 1, 50, Running
4) 4, Brett Moffitt, No. 23 Superior Essex Chevrolet, 250, 8, 6, 1, 32, , 41, Running
5) 11, Tyler Ankrum, No. 26 Chevy Silverado Chevrolet, 250, , , , , , 32, Running
6) 28, Codie Rohrbaugh, No. 9 Pray for Joshua Chevrolet, 250, , , , , , 31, Running
7) 21, David Ragan, No. 17 Select Blinds Ford, 249, , 4, , , , 37, Running
8) 1, Austin Hill, No. 16 United Rentals Toyota, 249, 3, 3, 1, 65, , 45, Running
9) 15, Timmy Hill, No. 56 Hill Motorsports Chevrolet, 249, , 10, , , , 29, Running
10) 13, Stewart Friesen, No. 52 Halmar Racing To Beat Hunger Toyota, 249, 4, , , , , 34, Running
11) 9, Zane Smith #, No. 21 ATARI HOTELS Chevrolet, 249, 1, 5, 1, 44, 1, 42, Running
12) 14, Chandler Smith, No. 51 JBL/Smith General Contracting Toyota, 249, , , , , , 25, Running
13) 12, Sheldon Creed, No. 2 Chevy Accessories Chevrolet, 249, , 8, , , , 27, Running
14) 17, Austin Wayne Self, No. 22 GOTEXAN/AM Technical Solutions Chevrolet, 249, , , , , , 23, Running
15) 16, Tate Fogleman #, No. 02 Solid Rock Carriers Chevrolet, 249, 9, , , , , 24, Running
16) 19, Tanner Gray #, No. 15 Ford/Ford Performance Ford, 249, , , , , , 21, Running
17) 8, Todd Gilliland, No. 38 Frontline Enterprises Inc Ford, 249, , 9, , , , 22, Running
18) 3, Christian Eckes #, No. 18 Safelite AutoGlass Toyota, 249, 10, , , , , 20, Running
19) 25, Sam Mayer, No. 24 AWA Chevrolet, 249, 7, , , , , 22, Running
20) 26, Spencer Boyd, No. 20 Bucks For The Brave Chevrolet, 247, , , , , , 17, Running
21) 22, Clay Greenfield, No. 68 Rackley Roofing Toyota, 247, , , , , , 16, Running
22) 30, Carson Hocevar, No. 40 Scott's Chevrolet, 247, , , , , , 15, Running
23) 6, Derek Kraus #, No. 19 Gates Hydraulics/NAPA Belts & Hoses Toyota, 246, 6, , , , , 19, Running
24) 23, Jordan Anderson, No. 3 Bommarito.com/Sefton Steel Chevrolet, 246, , , , , , 13, Running
25) 33, Josh Bilicki(i), No. 33 INSURANCEKING.COM Toyota, 245, , , , , , 0, Running
26) 7, Raphael Lessard #, No. 4 Mobil 1 Toyota, 245, , , , , , 11, Running
27) 20, Johnny Sauter, No. 13 Vivitar Ford, 242, , , , , , 10, Running
28) 35, Ryan Huff, No. 41 Hustler/Land & Coats Chevrolet, 239, , , , , , 9, Running
29) 24, Trevor Bayne, No. 45 Plan B Sales/Proceller8 Chevrolet, 237, , , , , , 8, Running
30) 32, Norm Benning, No. 6 H&H Transport Chevrolet, 235, , , , , , 7, Running
31) 34, Ray Ciccarelli, No. 49 CMI Motorsports Chevrolet, 231, , , , , , 6, Running
32) 29, Josh Reaume, No. 00 Motorsports Safety Group Toyota, 217, , , , , , 5, Running
33) 18, Danny Bohn, No. 30 North American Motor Car/Sierra Delta Toyota, 175, , , , , , 5, Electrical
34) 27, Natalie Decker, No. 44 Ruedebusch Development Chevrolet, 155, , , , , , 5, Running
35) 36, Tim Viens, No. 83 CMI Motorsports Chevrolet, 50, , , , , , 5, Accident
36) 31, Jennifer Jo Cobb, No. 10 Fastener Supply Company Chevrolet, 0, , , , , , 5, Clutch
(i) Ineligible for driver points in this series, (#) Rookie

Race Length: 250 Laps, 187.5 miles
Time of Race: 1 Hrs, 58 Mins, 59 Secs.
Average Speed: 94.551 MPH
Margin of Victory: 1.033 Seconds

Stage 1 Top 10: 21, 98, 16, 52, 99, 19, 24, 23, 02, 18

Stage 2 Top 10: 99, 98, 16, 17, 21, 23, 88, 2, 38, 56

Race Comments: Grant Enfinger won the ToyotaCare 250 at the Richmond Raceway, his fifth victory in the NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series.

Prior to the start, the following vehicle(s) dropped to the rear of the field under penalty: No. 45 (pitting before pit road is open).

Caution Flags: 4 for 37 laps;
Laps: 55-61 (No. 83, 49 Incident Turn 4 [02]);
72-82 (Stage 1 Conclusion [9]);
142-152 (Stage 2 Conclusion [9]);
175-182 (No. 22 Spin Turn 1 [98]).

Lead Changes: 8 among 6 drivers;
A. Hill 1-65;
Z. Smith No.  66-109;
G. Enfinger 110-119;
B. Rhodes 120-152;
G. Enfinger 153;
B. Rhodes 154-186;
B. Moffitt 187-218;
M. Crafton 219-243;
G. Enfinger 244-250.

Cometic Gasket Pole Award: Austin Hill, No. 16
Mobil 1 Driver of the Race: Grant Enfinger, No. 98

Sunoco Rookie of the Race : Zane Smith, No. 21

Ron Fleshman with John Davison

RIS NASCAR Editor.  Has been with RIS since the middle 90's. Writes on each of the three main series of NASCAR.

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Volume 2020, Issue 9, Posted 11:14 PM, 09.10.2020