Out of the 32 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series starters for Saturday’s Fr8Auctions 250 (1 p.m. ET/FOX/MRN/SiriusXM NASCAR Radio), only two of them can race in this weekend’s first round cutoff race at the Talladega Superspeedway with no pressure. Those two drivers are Justin Haley and Grant Enfinger.
The reason for that is because both have won the first two races race of the opening round of the 2018 playoffs. By virtue of those victories, they’re automatically into the second round of the playoffs.
For Enfinger, winning for a second straight race is bigger now than ever before. See, Enfinger is an Alabama native and this is his hometrack. He always wants to perform well in front of his homestate fans and actually won in front of them in 2016. Coming off a strong win at Las Vegas Motor Speedway recently, Enfinger looks to add to the momentum he carries, along with his experience at the 2.66-mile superspeedway, to solidly finish this weekend’s race. In 10 starts Enfinger has at the track in both the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards and NCWTS, he’s roped in one win (2016, NCWTS), one pole (2014, ARCA), three top-five and five top-10 finishes, leading 151 laps in both series.
Now, with a spot clinched into the Round of 6, Enfinger is aiming for two things – playoff points and helping his two other ThorSport Racing teammates to get into the next round.
“I’m really excited about getting to Talladega this week – it’s my home track on the schedule, one I look forward to, and am also excited to have Champion Power Equipment on board with us this week,” Enfinger said ahead of Saturday’s race. “It’s always a crazy race, but since we’re locked into the next round, I feel like that gives us an advantage going into the weekend. Our goal is to win and help our teammates. This is one we don’t have to worry about stage points, only the Playoff points matter.”
A stage win nets you one additional playoff point. A race win gets you five more. Currently, Enfinger has 17 playoff points accumulated. By comparison, Johnny Sauter has 42. Brett Moffitt and Noah Gragson have 27 and 25 respectively. If all three join Enfinger into the next round, Enfinger is already at a disadvantage.
So, in order to close that gap, he can score at the most seven more playoff points on Saturday afternoon which would give him 24 of them. See, why the first goal is a main goal?
Win in front of your home fans and try to sweep the race which nets him seven very valuable playoff points. If that doesn’t come to fruition, then helping Matt Crafton and Ben Rhodes get their ways in helps too.
Rhodes, has 14 playoff points and Crafton three. In order to get both in, either Moffitt or Gragson need bumped out. In turn, that means both need a ton of stage points and likely a win.
Enfinger is willing to help draft with his teammates to make that happen.