In the conclusion of our interview with ThorSport Racing’s Grant Enfinger, we discuss his career in the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series.
The Alabama native made his first Truck Series start in 2010 at Talladega driving the No. 95 Truck for Danny Gill. It would be his only start that year. Enfinger started 12th and finished 22nd due to a late-race crash, but he stills remembers that day vividly.
“I can definitely believe it was seven years ago,” Enfinger told Speedway Media. “I remember the big wreck, but at the end of the day, it was an awesome experience. You know, I remember that one because that’s in the hometown state and all that, so obviously that was a memorable start and obviously a memorable memory winning there a few years ago. It’s definitely a place that holds a special place but a frustrating one too.”
In 2017 Enfinger competed in his first full-time Truck Series season with ThorSport Racing. He ended the season with nine top fives and 10 top-10 finishes. The next year saw him win at Las Vegas in September with seven top fives and 15 top 10s by the end of 2018.
“Man, I feel like I found a home here,” Enfinger said. “That was definitely what I was looking for, you know, surrounded by racers. All I want to do is compete and win, take whatever we got and make it better. I feel like being paired with Jeff Hensley (Crew Chief) has been a good thing, we both talk in the same language as racers. From where we have started to where we are now, I feel like we have the same core guys. To see where we were then to where we are now, it’s a good feeling. We’ve built this by growing together and being on the same wavelength. Everybody has each other’s back and I feel good about the momentum we’ve carried from the second half of last year to the overall progress we’ve made from the beginning, the mentality where we need to be legitimate to run for the championship this year.”
Enfinger is also appreciative of teammates like Johnny Sauter, Matt Crafton, Ben Rhodes and Myatt Snider who work with each other throughout the weekend.
“I honestly feel like it’s a good thing,” he said, in describing his teammates. “I mean I think if you look down on the entry blanks on any given weekend, I think ThorSport Racing is stacked. I feel like we have the talent to where any of our teams can win. I feel like our teams are capable of doing that, it’s just a matter of which one hits it that weekend. Knowing your teammate has a shot at winning, makes you work that much harder. It feels like we’ve been working together and I think it has shown that this year, more so than years past. Our F-150’s have been running more together and more consistently up front. We still obviously got work to do it, but I feel like we’ve made progress as a whole at the ThorSport organization.”
When asked what the Truck Series would look like 20 years from now, Enfinger responded, saying, “Man, there ain’t no telling. I feel like the direction for the nearer future is to get rid of these couple of mile and half races, and go to some more short tracks. Everybody in America has been saying that for a long time and I feel like we’re finally going in that direction. But it’s changed so much in the last 10 years that I really don’t know.
“Racing as a whole kind of goes back around to where the teams go out there and get the drivers. I think ThorSport Racing is one of the few old school teams, Duke and Rhonda Thorson do everything they can do to make it all work the way it’s supposed to, rather than a driver going to wherever he wants and bringing the funding to do that. So I feel like eventually, that cycle has to end and I feel like we’ve started to see a few examples of that in the Cup Series this year. I feel like it eventually has to come back around. I don’t know how long that will take and I don’t know where the Truck Series will be at that point. Maybe 20 years from now, but that’s wishful thinking. I’m hopeful it will come back around.”
Introduced this year is the Triple Truck Challenge which starts at Texas Motor Speedway on June 7 and also includes Gateway and Iowa. Should any driver win one of those races, they will receive an additional $50,000 bonus.
“I’m definitely excited about it for a lot of reasons,” Enfinger said. “Number one, that money means a lot to these Gander Outdoors Truck Series teams. That could potentially help us keep going racing at ThorSport Racing. It’s a large amount of money. What’s also huge is the notoriety the series is going to get.
“I understand that we are kind of the third tier team in NASCAR and I get that, but I also feel like everybody you talk to will say the Truck Series is the best racing. It is the most exciting and that’s what they’re trying to model this Cup Series package around. I feel like it will be a great deal to some of the more true Truck Series fans and maybe get us some of the exposure we deserve. I think it’s great that the sponsor of the series Gander Outdoors is so involved to make that happen for everybody. That’s a win-win to everybody involved from the sponsors to the series to the teams. I think it’s huge and we’ve needed it for a while. That’s pretty exciting.”
During a driver’s career, there are always one or more races that they wish they could do over again. Whether it’s for a shot at the win or simply getting a better finish.
“There’s a lot of them,” Enfinger said. “You know, I would go back and change my last restart at Charlotte the other day. We weren’t going to win the race regardless, but we would have finished better. I mean, hell, I think of a hundred of them. I don’t know which one you want to know, but there’ve been some screw-ups along the way where there’s been some stuff that crap happens. A lot of could’ve, would’ve, and should’ve in racing.”
We also discussed his goals for this season and the team’s championship hopes. Currently, Enfinger has 98 starts in the Truck Series with two wins at Talladega and Las Vegas, 22 top fives, 42 top-10 finishes plus four poles along with 337 laps led following the Charlotte race.
The key, he said is, “definitely more wins. “We’ve got the solid finishes, but really it’s the peak that matters most. We haven’t peaked in my opinion to this point this year but we have been solid. Last year, from the last half of the second season on, we were solid then too. We stood a chance to win a few of them, winning one. We really had a terrible second stage of the Playoffs is what it boiled down to in a must-win situation at Phoenix. We were almost able to get that done but just a little short. The stars didn’t align for us. I don’t feel like it was really a lack of performance, it just wasn’t quite meant to be last year.
“I think we’re close. We ran fast, speed wise through the entire Playoffs. We had the speed to get the job done, we were just inconsistent in the result outcome, some self-inflicted issues and some crap luck too. That’s what racing is sometimes. I feel like we’re in an even better spot this season than we were last year. Just continue following down that path further. I’ll be honest with you, I feel like we have a lot of things going for us this year.”
Currently, Enfinger has 98 starts in the Truck Series with two wins at Talladega and Las Vegas, 22 top fives and 42 top ten finishes, and four poles along with 337 laps counting following the Charlotte race.
For those who aren’t familiar with Enfinger, he describes himself as “the blue collar guy that’s worked his ass off to get here. I’m not the guy that someone picked up and wrote a check for me to be here. I’m living my dream, this has always been my dream. I’ve worked my butt off here to get be in the Truck Series. I’ve done the hard stuff. Like I talked about earlier in ARCA by start and parking. I was driving haulers, pulling motors, cleaning these things and doing whatever no one else wanted to do.
“I feel like I can relate to the guy that works his butt off every day to make a living to go out on the weekends and enjoy it. I feel like I am that guy, I’m living that dream. I feel like God has let me do what I dreamed of doing. I’m just trying to live up to that, I guess.”