The intensity was raised like only a penultimate playoff race at Martinsville Speedway can provide as Grant Enfinger, driver of the No. 98 for ThorSport Racing, grabbed his spot in the Championship 4 of the NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series with a hard-fought victory in the NASCAR Hall of Fame 200 at Martinsville Speedway.
Enfinger earned his win surviving two restarts in a frantic final 10 laps of the NASCAR Hall of Fame 200, with his No. 98 Ford crossing under the checkered flag with a .803-second margin of victory. He led 49 of the 200 laps in the playoff race. It was his first win at historic Martinsville and his sixth in Gander Trucks competition. It his Enfinger’s fourth win of the Gander Truck season, and now he will race for a championship.
“We knew we were going to have to take the gloves off and fight for this one,” said Enfinger. “We came in here with our back against the wall.”
To download images from Enfinger’s post-race celebration, click here.
Pole-starter Sheldon Creed, driver of the No. 2 for GMS Racing, and teammate Brett Moffitt, driver of the No. 23, had already clinched Championship 4 berths with wins earlier in the Playoffs’ Round of 8. Enfinger and Zane Smith, driver of the No. 21 for GMS Racing, claimed the remaining two berths in Friday night’s NASCAR Hall of Fame 200.
“My first trip to Martinsville was everything I expected and more,” said Smith. “I had to play it safe all night. My team never gave up and that’s why we’re here.”
With eight laps remaining, three of the front-running trucks spun in a big chain-reaction crash that involved Ben Rhodes, Raphael Lessard and sidelined Moffitt. Rhodes was able to continue and rejoined the field in second place right behind his teammate Enfinger.
The field was then set for the final two-lap sprint to the finish. Rhodes had to line up directly in front of Christian Eckes with his championship hopes on the line – one week after the two had an incident at Texas Motor Speedway followed by post-race confrontation in the garage. Rhodes and Eckes had contact, but Rhodes was just not able to catch and pass Enfinger, who led 49 laps overall.
Rhodes held onto second in his Thorsport No. 99 Ford, with Smith in third, Eckes fourth and Matt Crafton completing the top five. Reigning series champion Crafton and Rhodes each failed to advance to the Championship 4.
Hill, the series’ regular-season champion, entered the race with a 27-point cushion above the postseason cutline, but reported a faltering engine on his No. 16 for Hattori Racing Enterprises midway through the second stage. Hill’s truck was sidelined after completing 117 laps, leaving him with a 35th-place finish and out of the the playoffs. Tyler Ankrum was also eliminated from title contention.
Creed, Moffitt, Enfinger and Smith will race for the Gander Trucks championship in the Lucas Oil 150 series finale at Phoenix Raceway on Friday at 8:00 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN, and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.
2020 NASCAR Playoff Race Weekend
Martinsville will host the penultimate NASCAR Cup Series and NASCAR Xfinity Series races for the first time on Oct. 31-Nov. 1. The Xfinity 500 will set the field for the NASCAR Cup Series Championship on Sunday, Nov. 1 at 2:00 p.m. ET. The Draft Top 250 NASCAR Xfinity Series Playoff race will compete on Saturday, Oct. 31 at 3:30 p.m. ET.
The Cup and Xfinity Series races at Martinsville will be televised nationally on NBC. The races will also air on MRN and its network of nationwide affiliates, in addition to SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.
Stay connected to Martinsville Speedway on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and by downloading the Martinsville mobile app for Apple or Android.
About Martinsville Speedway
Founded by H. Clay Earles in 1947, Martinsville Speedway is the only NASCAR track to host NASCAR Cup Series races every year since its inception in 1949. At .526 miles in length, the track annually hosts two NASCAR race weekends featuring the NASCAR Cup Series, along with NASCAR Xfinity Series and NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series races in the fall. Martinsville Speedway also annually hosts the ValleyStar Credit Union 300, the nation’s biggest, richest and most prestigious NASCAR Late Model Stock Car race. For more information about Martinsville Speedway, visit martinsvillespeedway.com.
The National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR) is the sanctioning body for the No. 1 form of motorsports in the United States and owner of 16 of the nation’s major motorsports entertainment facilities. NASCAR consists of three national series (NASCAR Cup Series™, NASCAR Xfinity Series™, and NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series™), four regional series (ARCA Menards Series, ARCA Menards Series East & West and the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour), one local grassroots series and three international series. The International Motor Sports Association™ (IMSA®) governs the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship™, the premier U.S. sports car series. NASCAR also owns Motor Racing Network, Racing Electronics, Americrown Service and ONE DAYTONA. Based in Daytona Beach, Florida, with offices in eight cities across North America, NASCAR sanctions more than 1,200 races in more than 30 U.S. states, Canada, Mexico and Europe. For more information visit www.NASCAR.com and www.IMSA.com, and follow NASCAR on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat (‘NASCAR’).
About the NASCAR Hall of Fame
Located in Uptown Charlotte, North Carolina, the NASCAR Hall of Fame is an interactive, entertainment attraction honoring the history and heritage of NASCAR. The high-tech venue, designed to educate and entertain race fans and non-fans alike, includes artifacts, hands-on exhibits, a 278-person state-of-the-art theater, Hall of Honor, Buffalo Wild Wings restaurant, NASCAR Hall of Fame Gear Shop and NASCAR Productions-operated broadcast studio. Opened on May 11, 2010, the NASCAR Hall of Fame is owned by the City of Charlotte, licensed by NASCAR and operated by the Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority. For more information, visit nascarhall.com.