For a long time Grant Enfinger was known as a short track ace in the ARCA Racing Series. But on Saturday evening at Daytona International Speedway (FL), Enfinger drove his race car into victory lane for the second straight year.
“It’s a pretty amazing feeling to be in victory lane at Daytona,” said Enfinger. “I think this is the begging of a lot of great things for GMS Racing.”
Enfinger took the lead with help from Daytona rookie Cody Coughlin on the outside of Scott Sheldon on lap 52. After clearing Sheldon, Enfinger dove to the bottom and stayed there for the rest of the 80-lap race.
While he constantly had new faces challenge him for the lead, each time Enfinger was able to hold them off. Whether it was Frank Kimmel, Coughlin, or Daniel Suarez, Enfinger stayed strong on the bottom to keep the lead.
Suarez teamed up with Coughlin at the end of the race to try to make a move on Enfinger, but the attempt was blocked as they entered turn three with three laps to go. Suarez thought that they were going to try the move again one lap later, but Coughlin jumped to Suarez’s outside going into turn three which effectively ended any chance either driver had at the win.
Suarez was left without any drafting help, and had to settle for second-place in his first ever race at Daytona.
“A few days ago I was thinking of where to be to try to win this race,” said Suarez. “I wanted to be second in the last few laps, and I was there. When I tried a couple times I didn’t have enough speed to make the pass, but I also maybe didn’t get enough help from behind.”
Brett Hudson crossed the line third, narrowly beating out Coughlin who took home fourth. Frank Kimmel completed the top five.
Most ARCA races at Daytona tend to be single-file affairs with a train of cars running around the double-yellow lines at the bottom of the race track, but not this one. This one saw two and three wide racing for much of the race, which is something that impressed Enfinger.
“I really feel like ARCA deserves a lot of credit,” said Enfinger. “They got a little criticism with this new motor, but I think the racing was better. I can’t remember a Daytona this exciting where there was two and three wide racing for the lead. Two lines were moving at all times.”
Speed51.com’s replay of Trackside Now can be found at this link: http://speed51.com/trackside-now-arca-racing-series-at-daytona-intl-speedway/
-By Rob Blount, Speed51.com Northeast Editor -Twitter: @RobBlount
-Photo Credit: Speed51.com
ARCA Lucas Oil 200 Unofficial Results
Daytona International Speedway, Daytona Beach, Florida
|15||98||Austin Wayne Self|
|26||97||Bobby Hamilton Jr.|