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.”

Just Posted

Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin, then-vice-president of logistics and operations at the Public Health Agency of Canada, participates in a news conference on the COVID-19 pandemic in Ottawa, Friday, Jan. 15, 2021. An expert in military affairs says the sudden departure of the  general in charge of Canada's vaccine rollout is unlikely to have any impact on the high-profile program. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
Canada to get 4.5M vaccine doses as questions swirl around immunization effort

OTTAWA — Canada is set to receive a large infusion of COVID-19… Continue reading

John Guise is seen at 4 weeks and one day after his birth, weighing two pounds and three ounces, in hospital in Hamilton, Ont., in an Aug. 1 1979, handout photo. Canadian researchers who've tracked a group of men who were born prematurely at a weight of less than one kilogram are finding they tend to age more quickly than male babies who aren't born prematurely. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-John Guise, *MANDATORY CREDIT*
Boys born prematurely and very small age faster as men, study suggests

Canadian researchers who tracked a group of men who were born prematurely… Continue reading

Mayor Rick Bonnett. (Screenshot)
WATCH: Ponoka council calls on gov’t to support rural small businesses

Ponoka council is calling on the provincial government to increase funding to… Continue reading

Pumpjacks draw oil out of the ground near Olds, Alta., Thursday, July 16, 2020. A new report suggests the economic impact of the pandemic led to a massive increase in federal aid to Canada's oil patch. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Alberta economy ‘still reeling,’ says ATB Financial

Alberta’s economy is still feeling the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and… Continue reading

The Minnesota Wild celebrate their overtime victory over the Vegas Golden Knights in Game 1 of a first-round NHL hockey playoff series Sunday, May 16, 2021, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/David Becker)
Eriksson Ek’s OT goal lifts Wild past Vegas 1-0

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Joel Eriksson Ek’s goal at 3:20 of overtime… Continue reading

Toronto Blue Jays' Lourdes Gurriel Jr., celebrates after hitting a double against the Philadelphia Phillies during the third inning of a baseball game Sunday, May 16, 2021, in Dunedin, Fla. (AP Photo/Mike Carlson)
Girardi, Segura have confrontation as Phils lose to Jays

Blue Jays 10 Phillies 8 DUNEDIN, Fla. (AP) — The injury-depleted Philadelphia… Continue reading

New York Islanders' Kyle Palmieri (21) returns to the bench after scoring during the first period in Game 1 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup first-round playoff series against the Pittsburgh Penguins in Pittsburgh, Sunday, May 16, 2021. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
Palmieri’s OT winner lifts Isles by Penguins 4-3 in Game 1

PITTSBURGH (AP) — The New York Islanders brought Kyle Palmieri home at… Continue reading

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, speaks during a Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions hearing to examine an update from Federal officials on efforts to combat COVID-19, Tuesday, May 11, 2021 on Capitol Hill in Washington. (Jim Lo Scalzo/Pool via AP)
Fauci says pandemic exposed ‘undeniable effects of racism’

ATLANTA (AP) — The immunologist who leads the COVID-19 response in the… Continue reading

Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin, vice-president of logistics and operations at the Public Health Agency of Canada, participates in a news conference on the COVID-19 pandemic in Ottawa, on Friday, Jan. 15, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
Feds face growing calls for answers after general overseeing vaccine effort sidelined

OTTAWA — The federal Liberal government is facing growing calls for answers… Continue reading

Conservative MP Ron Liepert rises during Question Period on Parliament Hill, Friday, March 10, 2017 in Ottawa. Ron Liepert says these days, the phone calls and emails from people wanting to talk about his party's climate plan have slowed. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
Alberta MP pitches Conservative carbon price with a 24-pack of Pilsner

OTTAWA — Ron Liepert says these days, the phone calls and emails… Continue reading

A sign marks Stairs Place in the Hydrostone district in the North end of Halifax on Thursday, May 13, 2021. The street was named for William Grant Stairs, a Canadian explorer from Halifax who helped lead some of the most controversial expeditions through the African continent. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan
Where the streets have explorers’ names, some Halifax residents call for change

HALIFAX — When builders created Halifax’s distinctive Hydrostone neighbourhood more than a… Continue reading

Riley Oldford, 16, suffers from cerebral palsy. He was the first youth in the Northwest Territories to get a COVID-19 vaccine. Here he receives the needle from nurse practitioner Janie Neudorf in Yellowknife on Thursday May 6, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Bill Braden
People with disabilities even more alone during pandemic: cerebral palsy spokeswoman

YELLOWKNIFE — Riley Oldford is usually out playing sledge hockey or hanging… Continue reading

Most Read