DARLINGTON, S.C. — For the 2022 Camping World Truck Series season, Grant Enfinger got a second lease of life, running the full campaign for GMS Racing. Unfortunately, the year didn’t start off strong.
In the opening two races at Daytona and Las Vegas, Enfinger finished south of 20th both times, and didn’t get his first top-10 result of the season until Circuit of The Americas in the fourth race of the season.
Since then, though, Enfinger has been a roll, including his fourth consecutive top-10 finish in Friday night’s Dead On Tools 200 at Darlington.
“We struggled the first few races of the year, but I do feel like we have a direction and gaining on it,” Enfinger said following a third-place finish at Darlington, his first top-five result of the season. “I have all the confidence in the world that we‘re going to unload at Kansas next week with a shot to win.”
From the time the No. 23 Chevrolet took to the track in Friday’s practice session, Enfinger was quick, turning the second fastest lap. He backed that speed up in qualifying, taking the green flag in third. From there, he remained a factor all night.
After using a set of tires in the first stage, Enfinger charged through the field to finish fourth, earning seven stage points. In Stage 2, he remained in the top five, gaining seven additional stage points.
During the final sprint to the finish, Enfinger got dead sideways, battling John Hunter Nemechek for second. Eventually, that would be for the race lead, as race leader Christian Eckes was on just two fresh tires.
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“Maybe a little bit of God straightening us back out,” Enfinger said of his save. “It was definitely gone, and able to save it. I knew there was a good chance at that with the 4 car being on the outside right there. I was hoping with fresh tires that we‘d have enough mechanical grip to hold it.”
The No. 4 Toyota continued on, leading the final 27 laps of the race en route to his first stage. On the final restart, Enfinger was able to finish third, his first top five since finishing runner-up at Bristol last September.
While a third-place finish is a solid day at the office, Enfinger believes, the No. 23 GMS team needed to show it could run towards the front.
“I don‘t think it was necessarily about the finish, but we needed to show some speed,” he said. “There is so much effort going into this 23 truck from GMS Racing, Chevrolet and Champion Power Equipment has been with me so long. We want to give these guys results and contend for wins and we haven‘t been able to do that at the beginning part of the year.
“We showed decent speed all night tonight, really from the first lap of practice to when we loaded up. Definitely proud of the gains we made. I think what‘s more important than that is I feel like we have a direction to go.”
Without a doubt, Darlington was the best weekend of the season for Enfinger. But as he said, “That‘s not saying a whole lot.”
Darlington was the start of an eight-week stretch of consecutive Truck Series races. Next up is Kansas, where Enfinger has five top-1o finishes in seven starts.