By Seth Eggert, NASCAR Correspondent
When the green flag waves at Michigan International Speedway, Grant Enfinger will clinch the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series Regular Season Championship.
The ThorSport Racing driver enters the Corrigan Oil 200 with a 52-point lead over teammate Matt Crafton. Enfinger’s points lead will earn him a playoff berth at the start of the race, and the regular season championship soon thereafter. With four playoff points already earned, the 34-year-old will earn another 15 with the regular season championship.
Enfinger’s No. 98 ThorSport Racing / Curb Records Ford F-150 has not visited victory lane this season. However, he has seven top-five and 12 top-10 finishes this season. Enfinger also has earned two pole positions.
“We’re disappointed that we haven’t won a race so far this year, but none of us are concerned. We’ve put ourselves in position a few times, and we’ve had the speed, it just hasn’t worked out yet. We’ll get there. It’s huge to be able to clinch the Regular Season Championship, those additional Playoff Points are an advantage moving forward.”
At Michigan, Enfinger has three top-10 finishes in three starts. His best finish at the 2.0-mile track, seventh, came last season. Enfinger also has five ARCA Menards Series starts Michigan with one top-five and three top-10 finishes.
The high banked speedway with the aerodynamics of the Truck Series creates a race reminiscent to Daytona International Speedway and Talladega Superspeedway in the 1970s and 1980s. For the first time, the International Speedway Corporation-owned track will utilize the PJ1 Traction Compound in the top 40 ft of the racing surface.
“Michigan is kinda like the old school Richard Petty days at Daytona and Talladega,” Enfinger explained. “You need the draft to run fast there, but you can’t stay side-by-side, otherwise your draggin’ everybody back. So, if you’re going to get around somebody, you gotta do it in a hurry. If you dive underneath them and don’t clear’em you may lose six, seven, eight spots.
“In my opinion, this race is the most entertaining races we have all year, from a fan standpoint. If you make a little mistake and don’t lose a spot, it’s not a big deal, you can suck back up to the pack, but if you make a mistake in terms of getting out of line or get freight trained, you can lose your air really quick and hit the wall, hard.
“So, there’s definitely a different level of intensity and a different style of racing there.”
The most recent victory for Enfinger came in the 2018 playoff opener at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. ThorSport’s most recent win, and only win this season came at with Johnny Sauter at Dover International Speedway.