By David Morgan, Associate Editor
AVONDALE, Ariz. – Friday night at Phoenix Raceway will mark the end of an era with GMS Racing closing its doors at season’s end and Grant Enfinger is looking toward giving the team the sendoff it deserves.
After a nine-year run in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series, GMS Racing announced in early August that it would be ceasing operations following the conclusion of the 2023 season and since that time, Enfinger, who drives the team’s No. 23 Chevrolet, has stayed alive in the championship fight and arrives at Phoenix with a chance to deliver a storybook ending for the team he has called home for a number of years.
“It’s kind of drawn up to be a storybook deal, right? You know, I’m hoping to bookend it,” Enfinger said. “You know, we were able to get the first ARCA win back in the day and the first ARCA championship, and it sure would be nice to finish it out with the last win and the last championship there.
“But at the same time, there’s all these guys that want it, right? You know, there’s 35 other trucks that want it. We’ve gotta do our job. We’ve gotta do everything that got us here. And I truly feel like we can do that. But yes, it would mean more being this is the end of the road for GMS Racing.
“It means a lot to me personally. These guys gave me such an incredible opportunity back in 2014 and another incredible opportunity when I came back here two years ago. So, yeah, there’s a lot of personal aspects to that and a lot of personal reasons why we want this. But yeah, we’re very driven and we have the tools to do it right. We definitely need to hit everything just right. We need to do our job, we need to execute. But yeah, it would be nice to send them out the right way.”
Enfinger added that GMS has become home to him and given him the stability he needed in his career and that he would love nothing more than to repay them with a championship to help cap off their storied run in the series.
“It means a heck of a lot to me being, you know, how much that that Maury and Mike Beam and Ron Booth and Spencer have done for me personally in my career,” Enfinger said. “But if you look at the big picture, you look at this Truck garage, half the guys out here working on these trucks, they’ve all been affiliated with GMS, in one form or fashion or another.
“So, the touch it’s had on this series as a whole is a lot. Won a lot of races, won a lot of championships, invested a lot in this series. It’s more than just me, but I’ve got a lot of personal reasons why I want to deliver this championship back home tomorrow night. But yeah, I think it means a lot to a lot of people and it’s definitely bittersweet and sad to see a premier organization going away in any series.
“Definitely been a long time in the Truck Series. Nine years in racing is a long time. Just put a lot into it and hopefully we can send everybody out on the right note tomorrow night.”
For Enfinger and GMS to get their storybook ending, he will have to overcome his three championship contenders in Corey Heim, Carson Hocevar, and 2021 champion Ben Rhodes. When sizing up his competition, Enfinger noted that if his team is able to perform to the best of their abilities, there is no reason why they shouldn’t be able to get the job done.
“Personally, us at our best, I truly feel like we beat the other three of their best, so that I feel good about,” Enfinger said. But over the course of this year, we haven’t always executed to our standards. You know, we’ve had a couple races that I feel like we’ve had good enough trucks that we couldn’t be beat, but even in those races, we’ve had mistakes on our end. We haven’t been flawless in our execution. And I think we have to be tomorrow night and we have to have the best truck.
“I don’t think you’re gonna take a top five truck, a top 10 truck and beat these guys, you know, obviously the championship is between us four, but I truly feel like you’re gonna have to win the race to, to win this championship.”