Grant Enfinger narrowly avoided going a lap down early in Saturday’s Federated Car Care ARCA Fall Classic at Salem Speedway, and fought his way back to his sixth win of the 2015 season. The victory comes with just two races remaining on the season and keeps Enfinger with a commanding series point lead.
“I guess I hit the kill switch, which is crazy,” Enfinger said in victory lane. “We’ve had a lot of really silly stuff happen this year. I felt like we were going to sit there and go 20 laps down. Finally, I bumped the kill switch again and it fired right up.”
Enfinger’s crew closed his hood and he exited the pits just in front of the pace car.
“I never went a lap down,” Enfinger said. “I pitted too soon so I had to go to the tail end of the lap, but never went a lap down.”
He also didn’t take tires, a strategy that paid off when he finally did take four fresh Hoosiers late in the race.
“It’s crazy how it happened,” said the Fairhope, Ala. driver. “We had a car from about 20 laps in that seemed like it could win the race. It seemed the longer it went on tires the better the car was than everyone else.
“We took four tires on that last caution. At that point of the race, for the cars on the lead lap, I think we were the only one on fresh tires. It was a crazy race, but that’s nothing different than we always see at Salem. I feel like we had the car to beat on the long runs.”
Ken Schrader finished second in the Federated Auto Parts Chevrolet, Will Kimmel third in the No. 69 and Tyler Dippel fourth in his first visit to Salem. Chase Briscoe, from nearby Mitchell, Ind., finished fifth.
Schrader sat on the pole and was attempting to win his second straight at Salem. But, he had to start at the back of the field because his crew had to make an adjustment after qualifying.
“We were in trouble starting at the back. I screwed myself at that one restart,” said the 60-year-old Schrader. “The tires took off a lot quicker than I thought they were going to. I went from third to ninth. I had no idea that was going to happen. We got back up on the wheel later, but I didn’t have anything there at the end.”
Dippel was impressive in one of four Lira Motorsports cars.
“I like the track a lot,” Dippel said. “It was so much fun out there. We learned a lot about conserving tires for next time.”
Frankie Kimmel II from Jeffersonville, Ind. finished 10th driving a Venturini Motorsports teammate to his father, Frank Kimmel. He raced up front for most of the night.
“We just missed the strategy,” Frankie Kimmel II said. “We had a strategy and we stuck straight to it. It was just unfortunate. If the caution falls a lap or two earlier, we get our lap back and we have maybe a second-place car. I can’t thank Venturini Motorsports enough for this.”
Bo LeMastus, of Louisville, finished ninth in one of his best races of the season.
The rest of the top 10 included Brian Keselowski in sixth, A.J. Fike in seventh and Josh Williams in eighth.
Frank Kimmel, making his 501st start and final scheduled start of 2015, finished in 23rd position in the No. 25 Ansell-Menards Toyota. Kyle Weatherman, who clinched the Calypso Lemonades Short Track Challenge championship and accepted a plaque for his efforts in the final short track race of 2015, finished 11th.
The race was the 98th all-time ARCA race at the track.
The ARCA Racing Series next heads to Kentucky Speedway for the Crosley Brands 150 on Friday, Sept. 26.
– ARCA press release and supplied photo