Grant Enfinger entered the first race of the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series playoffs 9th in points, without a win.
However, a wild night at Lucas Oil Indianapolis Raceway Park, and an overtime restart led to Enfinger becoming the first driver to secure a spot in the Round of 8.
After a caution flag with nine laps left, multiple drivers decided to pit for four tires and fuel, while drivers like leader John Hunter Nemechek gambled and stayed out.
On the ensuing restart, Taylor Gray would get to the outside of Nemechek, before the two would make contact, sending Gray around and triggering overtime.
In overtime, Enfinger would restart in the second row, before blasting past regular season champion Zane Smith and Nemechek to secure his first victory since 2020.
“We’ve just been off a little bit as an organization,” Enfinger said. “We’ve been working so hard because we’ve been sucking. It hurts to say it, but we’ve had a terrible season to this point. But we had a great Chevrolet all day. It felt like every time we got into the lead, a caution came out, and it put (Jeff) Hensley (crew chief) in a bad spot. I knew from experience to just trust his gut.”
Defending champion Ben Rhodes finished second after clawing his way back to the front in the latter stages of the event.
“We drove through the whole field tonight multiple times,” Rhodes said. “I really hate that we had that penalty. I still don’t know what happened. I felt like I was holding my speed correctly. There are some really big bumps at the start finish line, which is the section that we got the penalty in – so I ‘m thinking maybe the bumps got me going faster that I thought I did or that the light showed, but we came up through the field multiple times and circumstances kind of worked out in Grant’s (Enfinger) favor those last two restarts.”
Rhodes was followed by Zane Smith, Stewart Friesen and Corey Heim.
Layne Riggs, the son of former NASCAR Cup Series driver Scott Riggs, rebounded from a lap down to finish 7th in his first career Truck Series start.
“I’m just so thankful for Puryear Tank Lines, Infinity Communications, Halmar Racing. They gave me this opportunity to run this one-off race and I couldn’t be prouder,” Riggs said. “Today in qualifying, I hung it out trying to be a dirt racer. It bit me and I was down in the dumps about it. I was upset. I felt like I was out of the race. I got there on the start and then got messed up on pit road and lost a lap. I thought we were really over but did everything perfect after that. I made all of the track position that I could. I did all I could on pit road and made smart moves and got all of the way back up to seventh. It feels like a win to me in my first ever race. If you would have told me three hours ago, I would have finished seventh, I would have given you a hug.”
The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series will be back in action on August 13, at Richmond (Va.) Raceway.