INDIANAPOLIS — The dream of becoming a race car championship driver has been with Grant Enfinger for the better part of two decades.
Saturday night, as he was celebrating being crowned the 2015 ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards champion, Enfinger recalled how his parents, Floyd and Linda, supported him. Sometimes, he said, it was just him and his dad, pulling the family-owned go-kart in the back of a horse trailer.
“Quite a few times, we went to the track and they weren’t even racing,” said the Fairhope, Ala. native. “I was 11, so my dad was supposed to be in charge of that…he’s been part of this from the beginning. He’s never wavered from his support.”
Enfinger took his place Saturday as the 33rd different driver to be crowned ARCA Racing Series champion in the 63-year history of the national stock car touring series. He won a series-best six races, collected more top five’s and more top 10’s than anyone and took home a host of post-season awards for him and his GMS Racing team.
“It’s been a long, hard road, but this makes it all worthwhile,” Enfinger said. “This is definitely a dream come true. This was a real special night.”
Enfinger, who was presented championship rings by ARCA President Ron Drager along with his team owner, Maury Gallagher, and crew chief, Jeff Stankiewicz, was the man of the hour at the ARCA post season banquet, held for the fourth time in the Indiana Convention Center in downtown Indianapolis. ARCA honored numerous drivers, sponsors and owners, plus handed out a few surprise awards as part of the festivities.
Enfinger called it a “huge team championship” and brought several members of his GMS Racing crew to the stage with him.
“This whole team made this,” Enfinger said. “We started the year with three wins, then followed it up with three wrecks. We had some rough spots.”
Enfinger, 30, raced go-karts and Legends Cars from 1999-2002 then began super late model racing. He won the prestigious Rattler 250 late model race at South Alabama Speedway in 2008, the same year he made his first ARCA Racing Series start.
“There were times my dad was the only one congratulating me,” Enfinger said. “That’s because we were just starting and parking. But, he knew how important it was to me.”
He recorded his first top five in 2009, made seven starts in 2010 and managed to run a full season in 2011 with 19 starts. He got his first ARCA win in 2013 while driving for Team BCR. Midway through the 2014 campaign, Enfinger switched to GMS Racing where he finished second in the national championship point standings behind Mason Mitchell despite six wins and more than 1,000 laps led.
In 2015, his goal was the championship from the start and he won the first three races of the season for the second consecutive year. As the season progressed, he won three more times and maintained the series point lead every week of the season, clinching the title by simply putting his car into competition at Kansas Speedway for the final race of the season. He won races at Daytona, Mobile, Nashville, Berlin, DuQuoin and Salem, claimed the season-long Menards Pole Award presented by Ansell, was the Valvoline Lap Leader award winner and won the Hoosier Tire Most Victories trophy. He picked up a variety of other contingency awards as well.
“It was a dream season,” he told those gathered Saturday. “I’m truly blessed to be here.”
Back to his parents, Enfinger said he was often too young to go to the race track alone and needed someone with him. If his dad had something else going on, his mom would go. His parents always stood by him, he said.
“This is not something we woke up in January and started to dream about,” Enfinger said. “This is something me and my dad have been dreaming about for years.”
-ARCA Racing Series Press Release & Photo