A few weeks ago, Grant Enfinger wasn’t sure if he had a ride this season.
Now, he’s a two-time winner at Daytona International Speedway.
Enfinger, whose ride with GMS Racing only recently came to fruition, led the most laps in Saturday’s Automobile Racing Club of America season opener and held off Joe Gibbs Racing development driver Daniel Suarez for the win in the Lucas Oil 200.
It’s Enfinger’s second consecutive win in the ARCA season opener.
“It’s an incredible feeling. There was a lot of uncertainty there. I didn’t know when I was going to get back in a car,” said Enfinger, who earned his ninth series win.
“I have to thank everyone at GMS Racing for giving me this opportunity. We’re going to savor this moment for a while.”
As the race drew to a close, Enfinger had staked out a spot out front, but Suarez began sticking the nose of his car out in anticipation of attempting a pass for the lead. The opportunity never materialized.
“I definitely thought I would have a chance to win this race,” Suarez said. “I was there. When I tried a couple times I didn’t have enough speed to make the pass or maybe I didn’t have enough help behind me.”
Brett Hudson finished a career-best third, Cody Coughlin was fourth and 10-time series champion Frank Kimmel finished fifth. Kimmel has never won the Daytona season opener.
Newman loses engine
During Saturday’s first Sprint Cup Series practice session, the engine in Ryan Newman’s No. 31 blew up, requiring his Richard Childress Racing team to replace the power plant.
Because of the change, Newman will have to start his Budweiser Duel qualifying race on Thursday from the rear of the field.
“Something just happened in the bottom end of the motor going into Turn 3. Everything was going as planned until then,” Newman said. “The (car) tried to diesel on me and it doesn’t like to diesel.”
Martin Truex Jr. suffered a crack in the oil pan of his No. 78 Chevrolet but that issue was repaired and did not require an engine change.