By: Ashley McCubbin
Despite racing for two different teams this season in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, Grant Enfinger has put together a solid campaign with six top-five’s and 11 top-10 finishes.
Before the finale at Phoenix Raceway this weekend, he shared his thoughts with NEWS FROM THE PITS.
ASHLEY MCCUBBIN: What are your thoughts going into Phoenix this weekend?
GRANT ENFINGER: Just really more than anything hoping to end the season on a high. Fortunate enough to be in the (No.) 9 truck again with Cody (Rohrbaugh) and Doug George. They have allowed me the opportunity to run any of the races that I didn’t run at ThorSport this year, so very appreciative for that. We ran very decent the last time together –we finished seventh at Vegas. Hopefully we can better that.
I feel like with practice and qualifying it should help us dial it in a little bit. So looking forward to that, and hopefully ending the year on a high note
ASHLEY: What’s the biggest challenge of Phoenix?
GRANT: I think now – honestly like before they were doing PJ1, it was incredibility hard to pass. It’s still hard to past, but the PJ1 gives you different opportunities; so I think this is one of the places that it is a good thing. But obviously that comes and goes. Like last year, the beginning of the race it wasn’t there, but relatively early in the race, we started working our way up there. So you just don’t know how that’s going to go as that changes.
But also, the restarts and where they put the start-finish line brings its own craziness. We can get three, four, five-wide going into turn one and obviously you have to watch the corner there. But it’s a fun place. Both sides of the track are different and you have the option of the dog leg. It’s a fun place. With our package and all, it’s still hard to pass so you want to do that on the restart.
ASHLEY: You mentioned racing for Cody this weekend, while spending time with ThorSport Racing. What’s it been like balancing between two teams?
GRANT: I feel like overall, it went pretty smooth. It’s defiantly not something that we want into the year thinking it was going to happen ;it was just how the situation worked out. Cody has been my buddy for awhile and we had a very good mutual friend of ours, Mark, pass away earlier this year. He’s the one that brought us together and we’ve always been friendly and buddies at the track. I reached out before Vegas and asked him to get in his seat for a race and thought we had some other stuff working to essentially finish the year with ThorSport.
Anyway, that didn’t happen, but the relationship has evolved there and been racing all the races that I wasn’t for ThorSport. It’s pretty cool to have friends like that, and can’t say enough for how those guys have treated me all year. It’s definitely been fun. Obviously, going into the year, you want to be with one team and race for a championship. But I think it’s been pretty cool in seeing everyone that’s supported me with different manufactures and everything, different teams, and I appreciate Duke (Thorson), Cody, and everybody that allowed that opportunity to happen. I’ve had a good time with it.
ASHLEY: What has stood out to you the most this year in how your season has played out?
GRANT: I think it’s probably more off the track than on the track. There’s been a lot of stuff that’s happened off the track since this time last year. But really, the fact that somebody got out of their truck for me to get in it and the guys have kind of welcomed me with open arms.
There’s been some stuff that could’ve ended up messy really quick in situations, and Duke and Rhonda Thorson have been really good to me when I’ve been racing for them the past four years, they were great to me even when this year got to be par-time and could’ve been a messy situation. I think that’s what stood out to me the most – the way everyone treated me through that. it’s been a blessing to have run all of these races when in the middle of January, I didn’t think that’d be possible.
On the track, I’m disappointed that Jeriod (Prince) and I weren’t able to win together, but they did win with Christian (Eckes). We had some good runs together, and Jeriod got more aggressive with his play calling. He put us in a good position at Nashville where we ended up third, and we were able to pull some stuff out and run second at Bristol with some strong runs. It was good to see him develop and get confidence as a crew chief. It was a lot of fun.
ASHLEY: What do you feel that you could do better and improve upon to be perform better moving forward?
GRANT: I think the biggest thing going into next year is starting over with a new team, a championship-caliber team in GMS Racing. It’s a place that I’ve been to before and have relationships before, but I think next year will be a lot of new guys that I haven’t worked with before – none of that finalized yet, but it’s going to be learning to work together.
There’s going to be new challenges, as practice and qualifying will be back but a little different than before. It’s a matter of kind of advancing to a new situation – we obviously have new bodies coming into the sport, too. There’s not a lot of rule changes, and we’re not going to have a whole lot of practice to get it dialed in. I think it’ll be about getting the best from all the people you’re surrounded with and I think take the great resources that we have and win races, and compete for a championship.