Grant Enfinger; Allgaier Motorsports Run In Madison Doesn’t Reflect Finishing Position
Topics: Grant Enfinger, Herr’s Live Life With Flavor 200
OREGON, Wisconsin (August 29, 2011) - The 2008 ARCA Racing Series (ARS) championship team Allgaier Motorsports has had an impressive 2011 season with phenom Grant Enfinger behind the wheel. And with the ARS returning to Madison International Speedway (MIS) for the first time in 1973, the team was hoping a recent private test session would aid to their benefit towards collecting their first career victory of the season.
Enfinger, driver of the No. 36 Hoosier Tire Midwest / racetires.com Dodge Charger under the direction of crew chief Kelly Kovski returned to the tricky half-mile oval after a promising test session a few weeks prior to the 15th race of the season had the Springfield, Illinois-based team hoping what they had learned would pay off when practice started Friday afternoon.
Realistically, it looked like the testing session paid off for the Fairhope, Alabama native as he clocked in the 10th fastest time overall in the lone practice session of the day. Consulting with Kovski upon climbing from his racecar, the two confirmed that they felt their No. 36 Hoosier Tire Midwest / racetires.com Dodge Charger still had speed in it and would have to show it in qualifying.
Time trials indeed did see Enfinger and his team raise the bar as their Dodge Charger picked up over two-tenths of a second from their quickest lap in practice just a few hours earlier, good enough for eighth on the starting grid.
Confident with the car’s stability, the Allgaier Motorsports team shifted their focus towards the green flag with the hopes that Enfinger would be able to carefully maneuver his black and blue automobile into contention for the team’s first victory of the season.
From the drop of the green flag, it was apparent that most of the field was going to play follow the leader in the early stages of the Herr’s Live Life With Flavor! 200. However, the racer that he was, Enfinger was itching to move to the front as by lap six he had climbed his Mike Allgaier-owned machine into sixth.
Close and fierce racing would see Enfinger and fellow short track master Joey Miller duke it out for the sixth spot with Enfinger falling back to seventh by lap 18. When the caution flag waived on lap 30, Enfinger maintained a spot comfortably inside the top-10 reporting to Kovski that his car was okay, but needed some drive off from the center of the corner.
On the restart, Enfinger continued to stalk his prey and by lap 60 had climbed into the sixth position with his eyes set on Miller for fifth. When the caution waived 13 laps from effort, the team elected to bring their driver down to pit road for their mandatory pit stop which included two tires, fuel and a chassis adjustment.
The lighting fast pit stop reassured Enfinger some solid track position, sitting well into the top-10. With a game plan set for the second half of the season, Enfinger and Co. realized that victory could possibly be within reach coming to the halfway mark.
Then, the team’s night took a drastic turn. Just after the restart, the cross member underneath the No. 36 Hoosier Tire Midwest / racetires.com Dodge Charger broke which would throw Enfinger into a completely ill-handling racecar.
From there, Enfinger would find himself shuffled from inside the top-five through pit strategy by his competition to falling just outside of the top-10 after being passed under green flag conditions. Still hoping that a top-10 finish could be reachable.
The team made a bold move on a lap 195 caution to pit for four tires and some fuel, hoping that maybe with some improved rubber; he could blast into the top-10. Sadly, the parts malfunction proved to be too much and not enough laps for Enfinger to strut his stuff as he was forced to take the checkered flag in the 14th position, the final car on the lead lap.
“Well, that didn’t turn out as I expected,” said Enfinger. “We had a pretty solid car tonight and we were making some serious gains after the first pit stop and then we had a problem with the cross member and our tight was a battle within a battle for the race of the race. If there’s a positive, we finished the race stayed on the lead lap. I sure though would have liked to been racing those cars at the front, because I think we may have had something for them.”
Kovski, also frustrated by the team’s eventual outcome said, “Grant is a hell of a wheelman. He can do things with racecars that most drivers wouldn’t be able to do. Despite the problem, we were still able to see the finish and the car is relatively good shape. We’re looking forward to these next couple of races; we have some surprises in store for the competition.”
Friday’s result kept a solid season alive where the team has yet to finish worse than 14th on two occasions (Michigan International Speedway and Madison International Speedway) while still claiming five top-fives and 11 top-10 finishes to their credit. The team has completed all but 11 laps (2055 / 2066) possible after 15 races.
With four races remaining, Enfinger sits fourth in the championship standings unleashing himself from Chris Buescher, whom he was tied with entering Madison International Speedway. Just 50 markers separate Enfinger from reclaiming a podium position in the championship standings.
Next up for the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards is the second and final installment on the dirt when the sanctioning body makes their annual trip to the DuQuoin State Fairgrounds for the running of the Southern Illinois 100 presented by Federated Auto Parts on Labor Day, Monday, September 5. Enfinger will look to prove on his inaugural ARCA debut on the dirt at the Illinois State Fairgrounds earlier this month where he claimed an 12th place finish.
Exiting Madison, Enfinger has 33 ARCA Racing Series starts to his credit. In those events, he has maneuvered 12 top-fives and 21 top-10 finishes including a career-best finish of second three times at Kentucky Speedway (July 2009), Chicagoland Speedway (August 2009), and Toledo Speedway (May 2011). He has controlled the field nine times for 216 laps. His best qualifying run occurred at Berlin (Mich.) Raceway where Enfinger bolted to his first career pole.
For more on Grant Enfinger, please visit grantenfinger.com.
Additional input on Allgaier Motorsports is available by logging onto AllgaierMotorsports.com.
NAME: Chris Knight, Knight Motorsports Management
|Connect with The Crittenden Automotive Library|