Enfinger Grabs Hall of Fame 200 Victory
MARTINSVILLE, VA - OCT 30, 2020 - RIS) Grant Enfinger raced into the championship race next weekend at Phoenix by winning the NASCAR Hall of Fame 200 at Martinsville. The win was his fourth of the season and sixth career Gander RV & Outdoor Truck Series win. Joining Enfinger with a shot at the championship will be Enfinger, Sheldon Creed, Brett Moffitt and Zane Smith.
NASCAR'S Gander RV & Outdoor Truck Series returned to Martinsville's paperclip half mile for 200 laps with Zane Smith coming to the track with no previous experience there. Using simulator training and hours of video, he led the first eleven laps he got loose and Sheldon Creed got around for the point. A spin in Turn Four by Tanner Gray bottled up the track and forced several trucks to stop, allowing some passes that were later turned back as having occurred under caution.
Creed, Smith, Austin Hill, Matt Crafton and Brett Moffitt were the top five approaching the choose box.
On the restart, Crafton dove to teh inside from the second row to take second place and begin a pursuit of Creed. Stage One ended with Creed in front, followed by Crafton, Johnny Sauter, Zane Smith and Ben Rhodes, as Austin Hill plummeted to one lap down, asking his crew if he had a flat tire.
Creed held onto the lead for 27 of the laps until his truck had a flat left-rear tire, sending him to the pits for a change and down several laps as a caution flew for a spin by Clay Greenfield. Austin Hill's handling problems continued, plus he started reporting that either a spark plug was bad or the engine was beginning to blow up. Hill had won the regular season championship but the evening saw him drop out of contention in next week's championship race at Phoenix.
On the restart, Johnny Sauter moved Smith out of the way, taking hte lead, followed by Matt Crafton, Stewart Friesen, Brandon Jones and Grand Enfinger as Smith fell back in the pack. Tanner Gray got tapped by Sheldon Creed, spinning out and bringing out another yellow flag and a pit stop by leader Sauter, Zane Smith and others as the second stage wound down.
During the caution, Austin Hill's crew reported that the problem sounded like a 'dead cylinder' in the engine, predicting that the engine would not live out the race.
Crafton stayed on the track instead of pitting, but Friesen grabbed the lead to win his first stage of the season, followed by Crafton, Enfinger, Lessard and Moffitt.
Enfinger jumped into an easy lead early in the final stage with Raphael Lessard and Christian Eckes running side by side until Sauter and then Rhodes got round Eckes but rookie Carson Hocevar spun after Eckes moved him out of the way. Tate Fogleman spun into the inside wall, damaging the No. 02 Chevy and extending the caution. During the caution, Austin Hill's crew decided that the truck could not continue, sending the regular season points champion behind the wall and out of the race. "We aren't 100% sure what happened, but it was definitely blowing up on us. The first stage, I thought we had a tire going down maybe. We lost some track position and then got back to the lucky dog and then as soon as I got to the lucky dog, we started blowing up. It started cutting in and out, so I guess it's those really great built Ilmor engines. They like to breathe fire. It's just frustrating to potentially end your season on an engine failure like that. Everybody at HRE (Hattori Racing Enterprises), all of our partners, everyone that makes this deal happen deserves a lot better. We should definitely be in this final four. It's frustrating. I can't even put it in to words what I'm feeling right now."
," reported Hill. "It's frustrating, I can't even put into words how I feel right now."
Sauter moved into a strong lead, followed by Enfinger, Rhodes and Lessard with Zane Smith fifth. Another caution for a Tanner Gray spin, with just under 50 laps left, slowed the field and opened up opportunities for pit stops, with Ben Rhodes especially complaining about the truck's handling. The entire field pitted for tires and some fuel, with Rhodes' team making a big adjustment on the rear suspension during the stop. Sauter suffered a cut left-rear tire on the restart, joined in the misfortune by Clay Greenfield who also had a left-rear flat that sent him into a spin and causing another caution period.
Another quick caution, this one for a spin by Sheldon Creed after Brett Moffitt looked inside of Grant Enfinger and Enfinger tapped Creed, spinning him out of the lead. Creed blamed Enfinger, not aware of the third truck in the corner.
Carson Hocevar spun on lap 184, bringing out the tenth caution flag of the race, with Lessard leading over Moffitt, Enfinger, Eckes and Rhodes.
Lessard and Enfinger led until Rhodes pushed Lessard into a spin, after Moffitt tapped Rhodes, with only two laps left in the race at the restart. Enfinger led the pack, followed by Rhodes, Eckes, Friesen and Zane Smith. Enfinger picked the inside line, flanked by Rhodes, with Eckes, Friesen, Smith and Kraus the first three rows. Enfinger took the lead, Rhodes hit him in the rear end but Enfinger kept control for his fourth win of the season, Rhodes dropped back to third, following Eckes, with Zane Smith fourth and Stewart Friesen fifth. Sheldon Creed, Brett Moffitt, Grant Enfinger and rookie Zane Smith will race for the championship next week at Phoenix. Smith earned his shot at the championship on points, with no wins for the season.
"It was tough," said Enfinger. "It's been an up and down season for us."
"I can't wait to get to Phoenix," said Smith. It's been such a good track for me."
Unofficial results, NASCAR Hall of Fame 200, Martinsville Speedway
Fin, Str, Driver, Truck, Laps Led, Tms Led, St1, St2, Laps, Playoff Pts, Pts, Status
1) 8, Grant Enfinger (P), No. 98 Champion/Curb Records Ford, 200, 5, 8, 3, 49, 5, 51, Running
2) 7, Ben Rhodes (P), No. 99 Tenda Heal Ford, 200, 1, 5, 10, 1, , 42, Running
3) 2, Zane Smith # (P), No. 21 LaPaz/MRC Chevrolet, 200, 2, 4, , 20, , 41, Running
4) 14, Christian Eckes #, No. 18 Safelite AutoGlass Toyota, 200, , 7, 7, , , 41, Running
5) 5, Matt Crafton (P), No. 88 Denali Aire/Menards Ford, 200, 1, 2, 2, 6, , 50, Running
6) 18, Stewart Friesen, No. 52 Halmar Racing To Beat Hunger Toyota, 200, 1, 10, 1, 5, 1, 42, Running
7) 19, Danny Bohn, No. 30 North American Motor Car/Blue Buffalo Toyota, 200, , , , , , 30, Running
8) 1, Sheldon Creed (P), No. 2 Chevy Truck Month Chevrolet, 200, 2, 1, , 65, 1, 39, Running
9) 13, Austin Wayne Self, No. 22 AM Technical Solutions/GO TEXAN Chevrolet, 200, , , , , , 28, Running
10) 11, Derek Kraus #, No. 19 SHOCKWAVE/ENEOS Toyota, 200, , , , , , 27, Running
11) 21, Trevor Bayne, No. 45 iRacing/CRC Brakleen Chevrolet, 200, , , , , , 26, Running
12) 6, Tyler Ankrum (P), No. 26 LiUNA! Chevrolet, 200, , , 6, , , 30, Running
13) 33, Carson Hocevar, No. 42 GMPartsNow Chevrolet, 200, 1, , 9, 5, , 26, Running
14) 23, Timmy Hill, No. 56 HairClub Chevrolet, 200, , , , , , 23, Running
15) 17, Spencer Boyd, No. 20 Plan B Sales Chevrolet, 200, , , , , , 22, Running
16) 24, Dawson Cram, No. 41 Magnum Contracting Inc. Chevrolet, 200, , , , , , 21, Running
17) 9, Brandon Jones(i), No. 51 Magick Woods Vanities Toyota, 200, , , , , , 0, Running
18) 22, Sam Mayer, No. 24 Armour Guard Chevrolet, 199, , , , , , 19, Accident
19) 16, Jordan Anderson, No. 3 US Law Shield Chevrolet, 199, , , , , , 18, Running
20) 10, Raphael Lessard #, No. 4 Mobil 1 Toyota, 199, 1, 9, 4, 10, , 26, Running
21) 32, Clay Greenfield, No. 68 Rackley Roofing Toyota, 198, , , , , , 16, Running
22) 28, BJ McLeod(i), No. 33 Colonial Countertops Toyota, 198, , , , , , 0, Running
23) 15, Johnny Sauter, No. 13 Vivitar Ford, 197, 2, 3, 8, 39, , 25, Running
24) 37, Parker Kligerman, No. 75 Food Country USA Chevrolet, 196, , , , , , 13, Running
25) 30, Ray Ciccarelli, No. 83 CMI Motorsports Chevrolet, 196, , , , , , 12, Running
26) 34, Norm Benning, No. 6 H & H transport Chevrolet, 196, , , , , , 11, Running
27) 26, Natalie Decker, No. 44 Ruedebusch Development Chevrolet, 195, , , , , , 10, Running
28) 4, Brett Moffitt (P), No. 23 Destiny Homes Chevrolet, 192, , 6, 5, , , 20, Accident
29) 29, Jennifer Jo Cobb, No. 10 Fastener Supply Company Chevrolet, 174, , , , , , 8, Running
30) 25, Ryan Truex, No. 40 Marquis Chevrolet, 169, , , , , , 7, Running
31) 12, Tanner Gray #, No. 15 Ford Performance Ford, 154, , , , , , 6, DVP
32) 20, Todd Gilliland, No. 38 Black's Tire Service Ford, 149, , , , , , 5, Overheating
33) 36, Spencer Davis, No. 11 Polar Bear Coolers Toyota, 135, , , , , , 5, Brakes
34) 35, Codie Rohrbaugh, No. 9 Grant County Mulch Chevrolet, 123, , , , , , 5, Overheating
35) 3, Austin Hill (P), No. 16 AISIN Group Toyota, 117, , , , , , 5, Engine
36) 27, Tate Fogleman #, No. 02 Solid Rock Carriers Chevrolet, 115, , , , , , 5, Accident
37) 31, Josh Reaume, No. 00 LEVRACK Chevrolet, 0, , , , , , 5, Transmission
(i) Ineligible for driver points in this series, (#) Rookie, (P) Playoffs qualified
Time: 2 hr, 27 sec
Race length: 200 laps, 105.2 miles
Average speed: 52.403 mph
Margin of victory: 0.803 seconds
Stage 1 Top 10: 2, 88, 13, 21, 99, 23, 18, 98, 4, 52
Stage 2 Top 10: 52, 88, 98, 4, 23, 26, 18, 13, 42, 99
Comments: Grant Enfinger won the NASCAR Hall of Fame 200 at Martinsville Speedway, his sixth victory in the NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series.
Prior to the start, these vehicle(s) dropped to the rear of the field under penalty for the reasons indicated: Nos. 00, 33 (driver change).
Caution flags: 11 for 82 laps;
Laps: 14-21 (No. 15, 83, 02, 33, 45 Incident Turn 4 );
49-59 (No. 44, 3 Incident Turn 4 / Stage 1 Conclusion );
79-84 (No. 68 Spin Turn 3 );
92-98 (No. 2, 15, 38 Incident Turn 4 );
102-112 (Stage 2 Conclusion );
118-126 (No. 42, 18, 02 Incident Turn 4 [None]);
155-161 (No. 15 Incident Turn 1 [None]);
168-173 (No. 68 Incident Backstretch );
176-181 (No. 2, 98 Incident Turn 3 );
186-190 (No. 42 Incident Turn 1 );
193-198 (No. 4, 99, 23 Incident Turn 1 ).
Lead changes: 16 among 9 drivers;
Z. Smith # (P) 1-11;
S. Creed (P) 12-75;
Z. Smith # (P) 76-84;
J. Sauter 85-92;
M. Crafton (P) 93-98;
S. Friesen 99-103;
G. Enfinger (P) 104-125;
J. Sauter 126-156;
C. Hocevar 157-161;
G. Enfinger (P) 162-173;
S. Creed (P) 174;
G. Enfinger (P) 175-181;
R. Lessard # 182-191;
G. Enfinger (P) 192-197;
B. Rhodes (P) 198;
G. Enfinger (P) 199-200.
Cometic Gasket Pole Award: Sheldon Creed, No. 2
Mobil 1 Driver of the Race: Grant Enfinger, No. 98
Sunoco Rookie of the Race: Zane Smith, No. 21
Long-time RIS staffer, beginning in the mid-80s. Charlotte, NC area local contact.