DAYTONA BEACH, Fla — Grant Enfinger won the NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series regular season championship in 2019. Unfortunately, he was eliminated in the first round of the playoffs despite that.
On Friday night, Enfinger stamps his name back into the 2020 Truck Series playoffs by virtue of his thrilling victory in Friday night’s season opener.
Enfinger, led a race-high 41 laps in his No. 98 Ford, giving Ford their 100th career Truck Series victory and ThorSport the win in their 25th anniversary season.
While it would seem easy to think that the best car won the race, he had a crazy journey on his way to that point.
Enfinger, won the second Stage in leading 19 of the 20 laps in it and even found himself battling for the lead with 24 laps remaining in regulation, but he got shuffled into the middle lane and fell from second to 13th as a result.
He’d steadily move his way back up and following a 14 Truck crash on Lap 97, the Alabama native was found back in the lead. He’d stay out front for the final 10 laps including a thrilling overtime finish that saw him hold off a hard charging Jordan Anderson for the closest finish in the history of the race en route to his third career victory in the series — two of which coming on superspeedway’s.
Enfinger, beat Anderson by just .010-seconds which beat the previous mark in 2014 of .016. It was his first win in 28 races with the last coming in Las Vegas in Sept. 2018.
Third place Codie Rohrbaugh was just .070-seconds back in his No. 9 Chevrolet. Rookie Derek Kraus would finish fourth in his No. 19 Toyota while Natalie Decker came from 30th to round out the top five in her No. 44 Chevrolet.
Rough Night In The Pits For Sauter
Johnny Sauter has won the NextEra Energy Resources 250 three times. His effort to win a fourth time at Daytona was severely hampered by bad pit stops.
Sauter, pit three times, two of which he was penalized for infractions. The first one happened after the first stage concluded when he missed his stall after saying that he couldn’t see the 13 on his pit sign due to it not being put out far enough.
Then, on the pit stop following the conclusion of the second stage, Sauter had an uncontrolled tire and yet again had to restart from the back.
Luckily for him, he rebounded each time in finishing fifth in the first stage, eighth in the second one and in the race.
Majeski Takes Wild Ride
Ty Majeski’s first career NASCAR Truck Series start at the Daytona International Speedway was unfortunately short lived. Majeski, was involved in a frightening wreck in Lap 15 of the 100 lap season opener on Friday night which left his No. 45 Chevrolet spinning upside down and coming to a rest on the apron of Turn 1.
The wreck was sparked when Todd Gilliland was bump drafting the No. 02 Chevrolet that was being driven by rookie Tate Fogleman too hard in the tri-oval. That’s not the place to be drafting like that.
Fogleman, lost control of his Truck and run up the banking exiting the tri-oval and got into Austin Wayne Self’s No. 22 Chevrolet as a result. That contract got Self out of control as he spun ahead and hit Majeski’s right rear side panel and sent him into the wall and upside down.
He took a wild ride and would luckily climb out of his mangled truck under his own power when they finally were able to flip it back right side up. Majeski, was treated and released shortly after from the infield care center.
Brett Moffitt, Ross Chastain, Zane Smith and Tanner Gray were also collected in the crash too and all escaped major damage.
Ruch Sparks Big One, Fogleman Catches Fire
Angela Ruch got loose in Turn 3 of the Daytona International Speedway and in the middle of the pack, climbed up the banking and into the SAFER barrier. While moving up the track, Ruch clipped 2018 series champion Brett Moffitt and collected Christian Eckes and eight other drivers in the second “Big One” of the night on Lap 67.
Tate Fogleman, who’s had a rough night as he was the one that was pushed loose in the first crash on Lap 15 and involved in a frightening crash with Ty Majeski. Fogleman, carried on but had damage. He had just hit pit lane on Lap 61 to fix the hood on his No. 02 Chevrolet when it came loose. Six laps later, he was on fire when his Truck was collected in another crash and was rear ended by Bryan Dauzat.
Sauter/Rhodes Spark Big One In The End, Takes Out Several Contenders
Listen, there was a wreck every lap towards the end of regulation, no one just found the wall. On Lap 76, Grant Enfinger was running second and made a move for the lead but no one went with him and he dropped like an anchor. He went from second to 13th.
Nine laps later, Stewart Friesen was running second and the first car on the bottom line but his bad handling No. 52 Chevrolet nearly lost control and fell out of the draft. He went from second to 10th quickly.
Then, with five laps-to-go, the intensity went up even more and Raphael Lessard was being pushed too hard out of Turn 4 and nearly crashed. He spun off the apron and was able to continue on.
From there, it was three wide action throughout the field for the win. Up front, Ben Rhodes was in the middle lane and was getting loose. Johnny Sauter was right behind and combined with Rhodes being loose and Sauter making slight contact with his rear bumper, they crashed and with them being in the middle of the front two rows, all chaos ensued.
That ended up being a 14 Truck crash and took out Tyler Ankrum, Matt Crafton, Stewart Friesen, Johnny Sauter, Ben Rhodes and others out of contention for the win.
24 Of 30 Trucks Collected In Incidents
30 Truck started and it wouldn’t be Daytona if a majority of them weren’t collected in a crash. 24 of them were collected in at least one of the three big crashes on Friday night. In the end, the ones that weren’t involved in anything ended up finished first, second, third, 10th, 14th and 19th.
Natalie Decker barely got anything in the big crash on Lap 65 and was able to continue on without really any damage. She finished fifth.
That’s why we have so many Cinderella stories in the top five and why to finish first, you first must finish.
NextEra Energy Resources 250 Results
- 98 Enfinger
- 3 Anderson
- 9 Rohrbaugh
- 19 Kraus R
- 44 Decker
- 16 Hill
- 13 Sauter
- 40 Chastain
- 2 Creed
- 33 White
- 21 Smith R
- 51 Herbst
- 23 Moffitt
- 04 Roper
- 88 Crafton
- 38 Gilliland
- 30 Poole
- 7 Forrister
- 20 Boyd -1
- 4 Lessard R -1
- 52 Friesen -1
- 18 Eckes R -1
- 15 Gray R OUT
- 97 Little OUT
- 99 Rhodes OUT
- 56 Dean OUT
- 26 Ankrum OUT
- 00 Ruch OUT
- 28 Dauzat OUT
- 02 Fogleman R OUT
- 22 Self OUT
- 45 Majeski R OUT