Photo: Chris Owens/ASP, Inc.

Enfinger’s Heartbreaking Loss after Door-to-Door Thriller at Eldora

By Luis Torres, Staff Writer

Two ThorSport Racing trucks gave it their all during overtime, but it wasn’t meant to be for series regular Grant Enfinger, who was on the losing end of a thrilling battle with race winner Chase Briscoe in the Eldora Dirt Derby at Eldora Speedway, improving from his fourth-place finish last July.

A late-race caution on Lap 147, caused by a multi-truck crash involving Norm Benning, J.R. Heffner, Dalton Sargeant, and Kyle Strickler in Turn 2, bunched the field up for an overtime finish. Briscoe was the leader and starting alongside was Enfinger.

The moment the green flag waved, the two teammates were locked door-to-door, pulling away from a large pack of trucks as they headed towards the white flag. Enfinger eked Briscoe by inches, leading his first lap all night, and pinched him to get the advantage in Turn 1.

With a lot on the line, they continued to rubbed fenders in clean manner. For Enfinger, clinching a playoff berth with a win, and his first since Talladega in 2016. As for Briscoe, the part-time Xfinity Series driver, it’s scoring his second straight win in Trucks dating back to last season’s finale at Homestead.

Neither driver had a clear advantage down the backstretch, but Enfinger had him by a nose entering Turn 3. Entering the corner, they remained beating and banging, not giving much breathing room with one corner to go. Then Enfinger got loose on the high line, putting Briscoe’s No. 27 Built Ford Tough Ford F-150 a bumper ahead of his No. 98 Protect the Harvest Ford.

Yards away from the line, Enfinger bounced the Turn 4 wall, and that was all the difference for last year’s Camping World Truck Series Most Popular Driver to beat him by 0.038 seconds.

While Briscoe celebrated his second career win, Enfinger scored his fourth top-five finish this season, but it was a crushing loss of the 33-year-old.

“I feel like we had the position on him. We were pretty good in Turn 1. He used me up, and I was going for it,” Enfinger on the last lap. “He didn’t do anything dirty. It was the last lap for a really big race. Really wish we could’ve got a win. Glad Duke and Rhonda Thorson got a win, but I really wish it could’ve been this No. 98 team.

“Man, that close. By a bumper. It’s a shame and a heartbreaker here, but really proud of the effort of these guys. Really proud of the truck we brought here. We’ve had three truck this year that we could’ve contended for wins. We weren’t able to do that last year, but we stepped up. We got a few more races until the playoffs and we have to step it up.”

With three more races left in the playoffs, Enfinger is 111 markers to the good of making the playoffs via points, and has moved up from fifth to fourth in the regular season standings.

The Truck Series will leave the dirt and head back to pavement racing, traveling to the Pocono Raceway in Long Pond, Pennsylvania for the Gander Outdoors 150 July 28, where Enfinger finished 13th in his only start last season.

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From the Pacific Northwest, Luis is a University of Idaho graduate with a Bachelor's degree in Broadcasting and Digital Media. Ever since watching the 2003 Daytona 500, being involved in auto racing is all he's ever dreamed of doing. Over the years, Luis has focused on writing, video and photography ranging from Idaho athletics to auto racing with ambitions of having his work recognized.