Photo via Twitter @MRNRadio
After a half-hour rain delay, numerous crashes and mechanical issues with several trucks, Grant Enfinger came out victorious in overtime in the first race of the Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series season Friday night at Daytona International Speedway.
The win gave Enfinger his first victory since September 14th, 2018 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The win also netted Ford manufacturing its 100th win. Its first win came back in 1995 at Bristol Motor Speedway.
After the track was cleared to drive after rain earlier in the evening, the trucks took the field. With four laps to go in Stage 1, #38 Todd Gilliland lost control of the middle lane in Turn 4, and although he corrected, he made contact with #02 Tate Fogleman, who then caused #45 Ty Majeski and #22 Austin Wayne Self to wreck. With Majeski flipping and skidding upside down on the front straightaway, the red-flag came out for over seven minutes. The entire wreck involved nine trucks.
#51 Riley Herbst won Stage 1, giving the 20-year-old his first career stage win. Enfinger would win Stage 2.
With 50 laps to go, #16 Austin Hill, the truck winner at Daytona last season, vaulted into a top-3 position and battled with Enfinger and #52 Stewart Friesen. Other drivers in the middle of the pack, including #00 Angela Ruch, began making moves. Ruch, despite vaulting into the top-10, would make contact with Fogleman, causing the Chevrolet to burst into flame. #28 Bryan Dauzat would then come from behind and bump Fogleman’s scorched truck.
Enfinger, despite being the eventual winner, found himself backpedaled after getting caught in the middle lane. With 23 to go, Enfinger dropped from the top-3 to 14th. He would not be the only one caught on the bad end of a lane transition, as Friesen also took a backtrack from 1st to 10th following a correction after his truck loosened.
After a brief intermission, the field became three-wide with five laps to go. #99 Ben Rhodes lost control leading the middle lane and made contact with Enfinger. The ensuing contact caused all three racing lines to collapse.
Enfinger would come back out front and would finish the race in overtime in first place. #3 Jordan Anderson, who started from Row 12 in 22nd, finished as runner-up. The second-place finish is a career-high for the 28-year-old Chevrolet driver. #44 Natalie Decker finished the race in 5th after starting in Row 15. With the top-5 finish, Decker recorded the best finish by a female in NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series history.
Hill finished the race in 6th. #88 Matt Crafton, the champion of last season’s Truck Series, finished 15th. Due to mechanical issues brought forth by getting caught in several of the wrecks, #23 Brett Moffitt (who had four wins last season) finished 13th.
With the win, Ford Manufacturing ties its win-total from all of last year.
The second race of the season takes place next Friday at Las Vegas Motor Speedway at 8:30 p.m. EST.