For years, NASCAR Truck Series competitor Grant Enfinger has been trying to find a way back into the Snowball Derby at Five Flags Speedway. This year, he has partnered up with Go Fas Racing owner Archie St. Hillaire to make that a reality and return to the biggest event in Super Late Model racing.
Growing up near Pensacola, Florida in Fairhope, Alabama, the Snowball Derby has always been a special race for Enfinger. Even as the former ARCA Menards Series champion has ascended the stock car ranks, he has always had one eye on the former stomping grounds in hopes of a return.
“That’s a fun race to try to do every year,” Enfinger told Speed51. “When I was running ARCA, the season ended a month or month and a half before the Snowball and it gave us an opportunity to figure something out and work on a car, get it ready for down there.
“Since I’ve been doing the Truck stuff, the season ends a little later and it’s more difficult to do it, but I still talk around and try to do it.”
The kind of opportunity Enfinger was looking for presented itself just a few short weeks ago in the form of a text message from NASCAR car owner Archie St. Hilaire.
“It was kind of funny how it worked out. I try to run the Snowball every year, and really the last few years it hasn’t worked out.
“Archie sent me a text about two weeks ago and said he was thinking about buying car. He asked if I had any interest in running the Snowball, and I said, ‘Heck, yeah.’ I got it situated where a buddy of mine, Michael Shelton will crew chief it and take care of it.
“It’s kind of a last-minute deal, the way it all worked out, but we’ll be able to do everything we want to the car.”
Enfinger participated in the Snowball Derby Preview on November 21, with St. Hilaire’s new purchase still bearing No. 66 decals from previous owner Steve Wallace. While the car will certainly look different this week at Five Flags Speedway, it performed well enough to give Enfinger confidence entering Derby week.
“It definitely felt good. It’s been a while since I’ve been in a Super Late Model, so that felt good to be back there. I feel like we were pretty close off the truck. I don’t think we’re where we need to be, but just unloading, I feel like we unloaded close. We made it better at the track and we still have some work to do, but I’m happy with it so far.”
However, being happy a few weeks from the big race is different than being happy on Sunday, December 6 after 300 laps. There’s nothing Enfinger wants more than to take home the Tom Dawson Trophy.
“I don’t want to do it just to go down there and race. I want to go down there if I know we have an opportunity to win. To put forth the effort is worth it for a race like that.
“I don’t know if it would do much for me, career-wise, but personally, it’s a huge goal of mine. I don’t think I’ll give up running the Snowball until I get one. I love Super Late Model racing. I’d love to run it on off weekends when we’re not racing the Truck, the right opportunity just hasn’t come around.
“That particular race is a good time. It lets you reconnect with the guys you raced with and grew up with. It’s a race I always look forward to.”
Race fans unable to attend the Snowball Derby can watch live on Speed51.TV by clicking here.
-Story by: Zach Evans, Speed51 Content Supervisor – Twitter: @ztevans
-Photo credit: Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images