By: Ashley McCubbin
With three top-five’s and six top-10’s, Grant Enfinger currently sits ninth in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series standings. Though prior to this weekend’s event at Knoxville Raceway, he shared his thoughts with NEWS FROM THE PITS.
ASHLEY MCCUBBIN: What are your thoughts going into Knoxville?
GRANT ENFINGER: I love the dirt racing. Those tracks are fun where we’re out of control, slipping and sliding, clutching our way around there so I enjoy that style of racing. I hope it will be little cleaner racing than it was last year, but we just have to see. I love the facility there. It’s a cool atmosphere with the town of Knoxville. It was enjoyable last year, love the dirt racing, and excited to run there.
ASHLEY: What is the toughest part of driving these trucks on the dirt tracks on the schedule?
GRANT: I’d say there are multiple challenges. They’re not designed for it, but I think that’s what makes it so much fun because nobody is going to have a good handling truck on Saturday night at Knoxville. Everybody is doing the best with what they have, and I think driver feel and input means a lot, and your ability to tell the crew chief what you need to get that drive and forward bite you need. It’s so slick.
We may not even ever make it full throttle around there this weekend, but that’s what’s enjoyable. One of the challenges is if the track is too wet, you can overheat too quickly early on. We seen it happen to a few trucks at Bristol. So hopefully you can qualify up front and stay out of that and hopefully they can prep the track so it makes it work. It’s fun because we’re doing something these trucks weren’t designed to do.
ASHLEY: Speaking of track preparation, do you want to go for a muddy feel, or do you want to go for a dry feel?
GRANT: I think you want it dry slick, just so you don’t overheat and fill up these windshields and radiators with mud. It seems that’s the biggest issue when it’s really muddy and it seems that provides for some outside groove racing for a short time. At the end of the day, it’s going to end up dry slick and on the bottom. Historically, there’s been times in the dry slick at Eldora with multiple grooves, it provides good racing.
I think as a racer and a race fan you want to see multiple grooves, but I think that’s difficult for Knoxville for the trucks in my opinion. They’re so big and heavy, and you can’t have a track that wet due to the radiators and windshields. I think it’s going to have to be a dry slick on the bottom race. That’s my opinion as to what expect, but you never know and they may prep the track differently and we’ll have to see when we get there.
ASHLEY: What are your thoughts on your season thus far?
GRANT: Overall, the beginning part of the season where we were speed wise and we got wrecked in the first couple races of the season. That takes quite a significant toll. But I’m proud of the No. 23 Champion Power Equipment team because I feel we’ve fought really hard all year long and we have slowly been seen more speed out of our Chevrolet Silverados. I feel three or four out of the last five or six so we’ve had top-five speed so we’re trending in the right direction as I don’t think we’ve had the truck to beat.
We’ve made a lot of gains, and steadily working hard with GMS Racing and GMS Fabrication to make our stuff better. I’m happy with the direction that we’re going, effort that we’ve put in, and we’re slowly getting the results. We had a few top-five’s and we’ve had some top-five speed out of our Chevrolet Silverados. I’m happy with the direction, but definitely not satisfied with the results yet.
ASHLEY: So going through those tough moments, how do you keep focused? It’s got to be frustrating in not always getting the finishes you’re looking for.
GRANT: That’s part of racing, you know. The good drivers manage it better and historically, I’ve kind of been able to manage that stuff. It’s difficult. Everybody wants to go out there and win races all throughout the season. Actually, at the beginning of the season, it was not in the cards for us. We just didn’t have the speed. But now we’re starting to get into that area where we have come further than halfway towards going out to dominate one of those races.
As a racer, you want to put on one of those boring races where you sit on the pole and lead a bunch of laps and dominate. We have been a far cry from that, but I feel we’ve started out the year a 12th or 13th place truck at Las Vegas, and at Charlotte, we were a top-five truck throughout the night. Darlington, we were a top-five truck all night long, so I feel like we’re trending in the right direction. Now it’s a matter of getting a little extra which sometimes is the most difficult times.
But Charles has done a good job leading our team. Nobody has given up, everybody has worked really hard. I look at Knoxville as an opportunity for our Championship Power Equipment team. I feel it’s a place that I like the dirt racing, it’s all about mechanical grip, putting yourself in the right place, and trying to adapt to the situation, and I feel like we’ve been able to do that this year.
ASHLEY: What has surprised you the most about GMS Racing since joining the team this season?
GRANT: For the most part, I knew what to expect. I shouldn’t say surprising, but there’s just a ton of effort behind our team, our organization, and Chevrolet has put so many resources in it. it’s all been pleasant surprises in seeing Chevrolet all the way behind their truck program, GMS 100% behind their truck program. So there’s more effort going into our No. 23 Chevrolet each and every weekend than I’ve ever had. That’s awesome that the effort is there, and like I said, I feel the results are starting to get there.
ASHLEY: What track are you looking forward to on the schedule beyond Knoxville?
GRANT: First of all, I am looking forward to Knoxville as it’s a dirt track and I love that style of racing. Next up after that is Nashville, and I’m excited about that one. I feel like we had a good opportunity to finish third with a strong run there. Hopefully it’s side-by-side tracing with how we ended the race there at Nashville. I think there’s a lot of opportunity for multiple grooves there and I think you’re going to see time fall off which I feel promotes good racing. That happens to be the next race on the schedule, and that’s what I’m looking forward to after Nashville.