BROWNSBURG, Ind. — Grant Enfinger hoped to reset from a disappointing regular season with a strong run to kick off the playoffs. He did exactly that on Friday.
Enfinger won the TSport 200 at Lucas Oil Indianapolis Raceway Park after surviving a green-white-checkered, snapping a 37-race winless streak and punching his ticket into the Round of 8.
“We were a good, all-around, solid truck,” Enfinger said post-race. “It feels good. We struggled some this year, and just to show up and be very close from the word go.
“GMS has a history of winning, and honestly, we’ve fallen short this year. It’s been a struggle. Not just that we hadn’t won, but the fact that we haven’t been fast enough to contend very often this year… This is probably the only time this year we’ve had a truck capable of winning the race.
“It’s a momentum boost. It’s a shot in the arm that this team needed, this team deserved. They’ve been punched in the gut quite a few times this year.”
Enfinger started the race in fifth and ran in the top five for most of the night. He finished Stage 1 in fifth and improved to second at the end of Stage 2. On a restart with 42 laps to go, Ty Majeski took the lead and pulled away. He suddenly hit lapped traffic and Enfinger closed in on him and took the lead with 12 laps to go.
Shortly after, Colby Howard crashed hard in Turn 1 after contact with Carson Hocevar to bring out a caution. Most leaders came to pit road to prepare for a dash to the finish. Majeski took two tires and Enfinger took four. But, 10 trucks, including John Hunter Nemechek and Taylor Gray, stayed out.
On the restart, Gray took the lead from Nemechek but in Turn 3, Nemechek crashed him to bring out a caution to set up NASCAR Overtime. Nemechek got a great start from the top lane but hit the wall after contact from Zane Smith in Turn 2. Enfinger took the lead over Smith and pulled away to win the race.
John Hunter Nemechek jumped to the lead from the initial start over teammate Chandler Smith.
Ten laps into the race, Josh Reaume and Spencer Boyd crashed in Turn 1 to bring out the first caution of the race. Boyd burst into flames and became the first retirement of the night
The race restarted on Lap 21 and Carson Hocevar made an aggressive move from fourth. He filed into third, behind Nemechek and Smith.
On Lap 30, Reaume crashed again on the exit of Turn 4 after continuing from his Lap 10 crash. This brought out the second caution of the race. During the stoppage, Matt Crafton pitted for adjustments after struggling in the first two runs of the races. He was the only playoff driver to pit.
Nemechek continued to lead after the Lap 38 restart. He led every lap to win the stage.
RESULTS: John Hunter Nemechek, Chandler Smith, Carson Hocevar, Stewart Friesen, Grant Enfinger, Ben Rhodes, Corey Heim, Ty Majeski, Zane Smith, Christian Eckes.
Smith won the race off pit road with a fuel-only stop. Nemechek fell to third after taking two tires with Hocevar sandwiched in between. Ben Rhodes sped on pit road and went to the rear to serve a penalty.
The green flag came back out on Lap 71 with Hocevar taking the lead on a slide job. Two laps later, the caution came back out after Blake Lothian’s truck died in Turn 1.
On Lap 81, the race continued under green. Enfinger passed Nemechek for third and Smith for second after the two Kyle Busch Motorsports teammates made contact.
Hocevar and Enfinger battled for the lead over the course of several laps. The two started to pull away from the rest of the field, but the more they battled, the closer Nemechek and Smith got. On Lap 105, Enfinger finally cleared Hocevar and took his first lead of the night.
Two laps later, Nemechek and Smith attempted to navigate lapped traffic by splitting Kris Wright in Turn 1. Nemechek went low and clipped the grass, sliding up the track and spinning into Wright for a caution.
With 11 laps to go in the stage, most of the leaders and playoff contenders came to pit road for service. Enfinger won the race off pit road while Majeski and Zane Smith both gained positions. Chandler Smith and Rhodes stayed out in search of points.
Chandler Smith pulled ahead on the restart with six laps to go. Majeski took the lead with three laps to go and won the stage under caution after a spin from Dean Thompson.
RESULTS: Ty Majeski, Grant Enfinger, Ben Rhodes, Carson Hocevar, Zane Smith, Corey Heim, Stewart Friesen, Chandler Smith, Tyler Ankrum, Colby Howard
Both Zane Smith and Chandler Smith pitted for tires and repairs after hitting the wall just before the caution. Rhodes also pitted but most of the leaders stayed out.
Majeski maintained the lead to start the final stage after a strong restart from the inside lane.
With 62 laps to go, debris brought out the seventh caution of the day. Nearly everyone stayed out, and when choosing lanes before the restart, Johnny Sauter drove over the choose box. He went to the rear with a penalty.
Majeski led the field back to green with 55 laps to go. Just a few laps later, Lawless Alan crashed after going four-wide down the backstretch. He suffered heavy damage and retired from the race.
Most contenders stayed out, but Zane Smith, who ran mid-pack, pitted to repair more damage and change tires.
RESULTS: Grant Enfinger, Ben Rhodes, Zane Smith, Stewart Friesen, Corey Heim, Tyler Ankrum, Layne Riggs, Ty Majeski, Matt Crafton, John Hunter Nemechek
The Camping World Truck Series is on hiatus next weekend but returns on Saturday, Aug. 13 at Richmond Raceway. The race is scheduled for 8 p.m. ET on FS1. John Hunter Nemechek won last year’s race, which was run in the spring.