NASCAR Race Weekend Central

Grant Enfinger Wins First Career Truck Pole; Big Names Fail To Make Show

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Reigning ARCA champion Grant Enfinger is off to a great start in his new ride. The Camping World Truck Series rookie took the pole for Friday night’s NextEra Energy Resources 250, clocking in with a speed of 180.752 miles an hour to top final round qualifying at Daytona. Enfinger is making his first start since 2012 in this division as he contests the full schedule with GMS Racing.

Teammate Johnny Sauter, new to GMS qualified on the outside of the front row as the expanded three-car truck team came out of the box running. Their third entry, driven by Spencer Gallagher also made the final round of qualifying and wound up slotting in 11th.

Veteran Timothy Peters had the third-fastest speed running the Red Horse Racing Toyota; the 2010 winner of this race will be joined by Austin Theriault. The Brad Keselowski Racing driver is working on a one-race deal as of now, a special third-truck effort but the No. 2 GoGo Internet Ford could run the full season with a win tonight.

Daniel Suarez, Matt Crafton, John Wes Townley, Christopher Bell, Cody Coughlin and Cole Custer rounded out the top-10 starters. Bell, Coughlin, and Custer are rookies, highlighting the strength of a first-year contingent that saw six drivers total make the race.

Grant Enfinger Daytona Trucks 2016 Mike Neff
Rookie Grant Enfinger won the pole for tonight’s first Truck Series race of 2016. (Photo: Mike Neff)

The rest of the Truck Series field was tightly bunched in one of the most nail-biting qualifying sessions in years. A total of 11 trucks missed the race, nearly a quarter of total entries as the series has seen an uptick in both funding and ownership. One big moment was when full-timer Ben Kennedy saw his motor blow as one of the final trucks to qualify; forced to use a provisional, the domino effect left small-time competitor Jordan Anderson and his new team owned by Jeff Bolen slotted inside the starting lineup. Qualifying 27th, the driver of the No. 66 Chevrolet was ecstatic considering the momentum involved in making the series’ biggest race.

“Excited is a big understatement,” he said. “This is a huge blessing. It’s something I’ve dreamed about since I was a little kid, to be able to race here. This team was nothing a month ago. We came here with no points, no provisional, we knew we had to come here and basically give it all we had.”

A driver who basically set up his Truck himself last season Anderson watched his old ride, the No. 49 of Timmy Hill take one of the final provisionals to make the field. Other provisionals went to Tommy Joe Martins, Michael Disdier, Kennedy and Travis Kvapil (past champion).

The 11 trucks who failed to qualify included a number of full-time rides from last season. Reed Sorenson and popular owner Mike Mittler were first on the list; the No. 63 failed to make Daytona for the second straight season. Independents Mike Harmon, Jennifer Jo Cobb and Norm Benning were also on the DNQ list along with Korbin Forrister, Ryan Reed, Clay Greenfield, Austin Hill, Carlos Contreras, Ryan Ellis and David Levine.

Our Zach Catanzareti contributed to this report.

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