Friday night saw the opening season for the NASCAR Gander RV and Outdoors Truck Series. It was no ordinary season opener as the series is celebrating its 25th anniversary dating back to 1995.
Every time there is a Truck Series race, you can normally expect one of two things, an exciting action-packed race or one driver who dominates the entire event. That’s what Friday night’s season opener NextEra Energy Resources 250 featured on Valentine’s day. Race fans saw a photo-finish between underdog Jordan Anderson and veteran Grant Enfinger to the finish line. Enfinger was able to just beat Anderson for the win by 0.010 seconds for the closest Truck Series finish in Daytona history.
While those two drivers certainly stole the show in Daytona, there were others that flew under the radar and still wound up with a great finish. Here are this week’s power rankings.
- Austin Hill – Hill continued his strong Daytona performance by finishing sixth in Friday night’s race. He led 11 laps and finished seventh and fourth in both stages respectively. It wasn’t the win Hill was hoping for, but the Georgia native did a nice job of avoiding all the chaos that broke out during the race. It will be interesting to watch this team in their second year together with Hill as the driver and see if they can rattle off more wins.
- Grant Enfinger – No doubt Enfinger was the story of the night when all was said and done. The Alabama native finally got Daytona crossed off his checklist but it didn’t come easy for him. Enfinger had to work his way up to the front several times including getting shuffled to the back from the lead with 24 to go. At that point, a victory seemed unlikely or even a top-10 finish. But a crash with three to go set up an overtime restart with Enfinger in the lead. He had to throw a couple of blocks, one to Ross Chastain and the other to Jordan Anderson, but Enfinger got it done by .010 seconds. It was certainly a nice way to start the season as he now has secured a spot in the Playoffs. Going forward the No. 98 ThorSport Racing team can be a lot more aggressive and take more risks on-track.
- Johnny Sauter – Sauter had an up and down night in the No. 13 Tenda Ford F-150. He was penalized after making a pit stop after Stage 2 concluded when an uncontrolled tire rolled out of his pit stall. The Wisconsin native also barely missed the big one when his teammate Ben Rhodes spun in front of him with three laps to go. Sauter was able to miss it and brought his truck home with a seventh-place finish. The ThorSport Racing driver finished fifth and eighth in both stages while leading no laps.
- Jordan Anderson – We would be remiss if we didn’t talk about Jordan Anderson’s best finish of his Truck Series career. Anderson tried all he could to get the first elusive win of his career in what would have been a popular victory for the fans. By mere inches, the team owner finished second to Enfinger beating and banging to the line. Anderson found himself in second on the backstretch on the last lap and came oh so close to for his first career win. This will no doubt be a momentum builder for the No. 3 team who is now in an alliance with AM Racing.
- Riley Herbst – It looks like the experience somewhat paid off for Herbst and the No. 51 team. The Las Vegas, Nevada native started out on the right foot by qualifying on the pole Friday afternoon. Herbst continued his strong performance by winning Stage 1 and finishing fifth in the second stage. After the first two stages, chaos erupted for Herbst. The No. 51 driver was caught up in two accidents, one on Lap 67 and one with three to go on Lap 99. Still, Herbst wound up with a 12th place finish after leading 21 laps.