Trucks, with drivers not yet inside, line the track before the NASCAR Truck Series auto race at the Martinsville Speedway in Martinsville, Va., Friday, Oct. 30, 2020, as some of the thousand fans allowed in sit in the stands. (AP Photo Lee Luther Jr.)

Enfinger wins Martinsville to race for Truck Series title

MARTINSVILLE, Va. — Grant Enfinger raced his way into the Truck Series championship round with a victory Friday night at Martinsville Speedway.

Enfinger entered the race in a must-win situation after an engine issue last week at Texas dropped him to sixth in the standings. He overcame 11 cautions and won a two-lap push to the finish for his fourth victory of the season.

“We knew we were going to have to take the gloves off and fight for this one,” Enfinger said. “We came in here with our back against the wall.”

Enfinger will race for the championship next week at Phoenix against Sheldon Creed, Brett Moffitt and Zane Smith, who finished third to claim the final slot in the title race.

Enfinger, in a Ford for ThorSport Racing, will be up against a trio of Chevrolet teammates from GMS Racing. At 35, Enfinger is the oldest driver in the championship round.

“I feel like I’m really able to appreciate where I’m at and the opportunity in front of me,” he said.

Enfinger was the lone driver from ThorSport’s four truck lineup to advance to the championship. The team won the title last year with Matt Crafton, but he was eliminated Friday night.

“ThorSport as a whole has been very solid this year and I feel like we’re making that better and better,” Enfinger said.

Smith, a rookie, delivered in his first career national series race at Martinsville. NASCAR’s oldest and shortest track is one of the most difficult on the circuit and known for aggressive racing and excessive bumping and banging.

“My first trip to Martinsville, everything I expected and more,” Smith said. “I had to play it safe all night. My team never gave up and that’s why we’re here.”

Crafton, the reigning champion, finished fifth but failed to advance to the final four. Crafton was aggravated by a late rash of cautions and the number of laps wasted after each yellow flag.

“That at the end of the race was pathetic,” Crafton said.

Enfinger noted the aggression level was high and having to drive defensively.

“It was a crazy turn of events, it got wild, it got dicey,” he said, adding to get the win “it was a lot of getting roughed up and a lot of having to use the bumper.”

Smith likened the race to a typical show at Bowman Gray Stadium, the quarter-mile asphalt track in nearby Winston-Salem, North Carolina, nicknamed “The Madhouse.”

“This is pretty comparable to Bowman Gray,” Smith said. “I kind of wish we had come here not on a playoff cutoff race because I feel like the intensity was so high.”

Regular-season champion Austin Hill was eliminated when his race ended early with an engine failure. Hill announced right before the race that he will return to Hattori Racing Enterprises for a third consecutive season in 2021.

“It’s just frustrating to end your season on an engine failure like that,” Hill said. “We should definitely be in this final four. I can’t even put into words what I’m feeling right now.”

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
Red Deer hits 304 active COVID-19 cases

Six new deaths were reported in Alberta

Clearview Public Schools had slight enrolment increase in September. (Image from Facebook)
Positive COVID-19 test reported at Stettler high school

An individual who was at Wm. E. Hay Stettler Secondary Campus has… Continue reading

(Advocate file photo).
Woman ‘beyond frustrated’ by Red Deer College program’s volunteer requirements

Teddie Briggs says she was “beyond frustrated” after learning Red Deer College’s… Continue reading

Hugh Danielson and Brayden Watts, of Red Deer are trying to spread the word about a new innovation for wheelchairs that they think will be especially helpful during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Photo courtesy of Brayden Watts)
Red Deer company lands exclusive patent rights to wheelchair extension

By some small miracle, Hugh Danielson and Brayden Watts stumbled upon a… Continue reading

A nurse gets a swab ready at a temporary COVID-19 test clinic in Montreal, on Friday, May 15, 2020. Health Canada has reversed course on home test kits for COVID-19, saying it will now review applications for such devices. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
Employee at Bethany CollegeSide in Red Deer tests positive for COVID-19

An employee at a Red Deer continuing care facility has tested positive… Continue reading

Teresa Kutynec, Red Deer Christmas Bureau president, dressed up as Mrs. Claus during the Charity Checkstop on Saturday. The event supports four nonprofit organizations: the Christmas Bureau, Mothers Against Drunk Driving, Red Deer Food Bank and Women’s Outreach Centre. (Photo by Sean McIntosh/Advocate staff)
WATCH: Charity Checkstop raises money for nonprofit organizations

Red Deerians supported four local nonprofit organizations without even having to leave… Continue reading

The commemorative plaque is seen on the outside wall at the Polytechnique in Montreal, on Friday, Dec. 4, 2020. Sunday will mark the 31st anniversary of the murder of 14 women in an antifeminist attack at Ecole Polytechnique on December 6, 1989. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
Scaled-back, virtual ceremonies to mark 31st anniversary of Polytechnique killings

MONTREAL, France — The anniversary of the attack that cut short the… Continue reading

A man wears a face mask as he skateboards along a street in Montreal, Saturday, Dec. 5, 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
COVID-19 cases hit new records as Tam urges perseverance, promises vaccine on the way

Canada’s top doctor urged cautious optimism — and a healthy dose of… Continue reading

Asymptomatic testing will now be available for "priority groups" who are most likely to spread the COVID-19 virus to vulnerable or at-risk populations. File photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS
Manitoba judge rules church can’t hold drive-in services forbidden by health order

WINNIPEG — A Manitoba judge has rejected a church’s request to hold… Continue reading

Homeowners Cora and Alec Dion pose in the basement of their home in Fort McMurray, Alta., on May 8, 2020. More than seven months ago, the Dions were forced to flee Fort McMurray for the second time in four years as a spring flood threatened their home. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Greg Halinda
Fort McMurray residents still cleaning, considering options after spring flooding

‘It’s worse than just having water, because it’s ice mixed in with the water’

Public Services and Procurement Minister Anita Anand responds to a question during a news conference in Ottawa, Monday, Oct. 26, 2020. Anand says as soon as she knows when the first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine will arrive on Canadian soil, she will share that information with the country. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Negotiating contracts for vaccines in development needed flexibility: Anand

Health Canada officials are days, maybe even hours, away from approving the COVID-19 vaccine

Speaker of the House of Commons Anthony Rota rises in the House of Commons, Wednesday, May 13, 2020 in Ottawa. nbsp; THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Speaker Rota reflects on first year presiding over unprecedented virtual Parliament

‘It’s not what I signed up for but it is what it is’

In this file photo, a lotto Max ticket is shown in Toronto on Monday Feb. 26, 2018. (By THE CANADIAN PRESS)
No winning ticket for Friday night’s $17 million Lotto Max draw

TORONTO — No winning ticket was sold for the $17 million jackpot… Continue reading

Harley Hay
Hay’s Daze: Not used to seeing giraffe with a mask

My bad. Now there’s an expression that used to stick in my… Continue reading

Most Read