KANSAS CITY, Kan. — Early this season, Grant Enfinger said he and his GMS Racing No. 23 team worked some crazy hours at the team’s North Carolina race shop. All of that hard work paid off in a big way Friday as Enfinger finished third in the Full Throttle S’loonshine 98.9 at Kansas Speedway, securing his first driver’s championship and the car owner’s championship for GMS Racing.
“It means a lot to me to be able to have Maury (Gallagher, team owner) up on stage with me and the trophies,” Enfinger said. “We worked a lot of really, really dumb hours at the beginning of the year to try and get caught up. Those guys didn’t have to do that. Everybody has a life outside the shop and all. The hours they worked were ridiculous. We kind of got where we needed to be about halfway through the season.
“To have all of those guys here means a lot. It’s a pretty cool feeling right now. It’s just now starting to soak in.”
Enfinger finished 2015 with six wins, 12 top five’s and 16 top 10’s in 20 races. He started the season with wins at Daytona, Mobile and Nashville and had a streak of three wins in four races late in the season to widen his lead in the driver point standings. He never trailed all season in the point standings, becoming the ninth straight different ARCA champion.
“It’s been somewhat of a roller coaster year,” he said. “We started the season with three straight wins and followed that up with three wrecks. That’s just how the season has gone. The biggest thing is this year we’ve been able to pick ourselves up. We had the ability to deal with most of the issues that came up. Sometimes there were little things that turned into big problems. But, we were able to recover.”
Enfinger now has 14 career victories – all coming since the start of the 2013 season. He began his ARCA career in 2008, running only an occasional race. This year was his third full-time season and first full-time run with GMS Racing, a team he moved to in the middle of 2014.
“The biggest thing this year has been speed,” Enfinger said. “I feel we’ve been competitive everywhere we’ve gone this season. We’ve had a chance to win or lead laps every race it seems.”
On Friday at Kansas, the Fairhope, Ala. native started fifth and stayed near the front most of the night in the No. 23 Champion Power Equipment Chevrolet.
“It has been a great season for GMS Racing, Grant and the No. 23 team,” said Jeff Stankiewicz, crew chief of the No. 23 team. “This season was nowhere near perfect, but we grew and learned as a team and that’s what got us where we are standing at today, accepting this Championship.”
The Statesville, N.C. based organization has competed in 82 ARCA Racing Series races, collecting nine wins, 27 top-five and 43 top-10 finishes and three pole awards.
“I am so proud of Grant and the entire GMS Racing team and what they have accomplished this season,” said Maury Gallagher, team owner. “Winning a Championship is a big step for GMS Racing’s growth and development. None of this would be possible without great partnership from Allegiant Travel, Alamo Rental Car, Champion Power Equipment, Triple K Construction, Chevrolet, Wurth and Portable Shade. I can’t wait to see what the future holds for GMS Racing.”
Enfinger, Gallagher and the rest of the GMS team will be honored at the ARCA post-season banquet on December 12 in Indianapolis.
-ARCA Racing Series Press Release. Photo credit: GMS Racing