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Feb 25, 2014 - 06:23 AM
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Daytona Winner, Alabamian Grant Enfinger Hometown Favorite In Mobile
Posted by: newsla on Feb 25, 2014 - 06:22 AM
NASCAR News
Daytona Winner, Alabamian Grant Enfinger Hometown Favorite In Mobile; 3rd Annual ARCA-Mobile 200 Coming March 22


Fairhope, Alabama's Grant Enfinger, as the hometown hero and defending race winner, is already 'the man' when the gates swing open every year at Mobile Int'l Speedway for ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards action on the renowned half-mile southern short track.

 

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However, this year, Enfinger's stock is way, way up as the newest Daytona ARCA 200 race champion.
"I'll tell you; it was really a big deal," Enfinger said. "It wasn't something I was actually expecting either, honestly. You go into every race thinking you can win, but Daytona's a little different deal. The mystique about the place is so big; you just don't want to get ahead of yourself on it. There are so many variables that can stand in your way there. But this time, we were in the right place at the right time and fell into it.

"I remember sitting in front of the TV - me and Dad watching. It was the year Michael Annett won. You start imagining what it would be like to win it. Now, here, we've come full circle on it. It really is incredible when it happens. Hard to put it all in the right words. It's a life changer."

The post-race reaction was big for Enfinger.

"I'm still getting text messages from people I haven't heard from in a while," he said. "I think some people probably wait to see some of it die down a bit, but they just keep coming. It keeps reminding you on how big it all is. When you win on that big of a stage, it really puts you on the map, so to speak.

"I feel like we can carry some serious momentum to Mobile."

Enfinger, in front of his hometown crowd, earned his career-first ARCA Racing Series victory in last year's ARCA-Mobile 200, holding off rookie sensation Kyle Benjamin for the honor.

"I think we've got some big momentum rolling. We'll have the same core group of guys as last year. I feel strongly about our chances. Kelly (Kovski/crew chief) should be down there with us, so that's a good thing."

Kovski, of Springfield, Ill., has worked for ARCA car owner champion Mike Allgaier since he was 14 years old. Kovski also drives on the ARCA tour from time to time. In 20 career ARCA starts since 2004, Kovski finished a career-best fourth on two occasions at the DuQuoin State Fairgrounds mile dirt in 2011 and the Illinois State Fairgrounds mile dirt in 2012.

Enfinger drove fulltime for Allgaier Motorsports in 2011, finishing fourth in ARCA Racing Series standings.

"Kelly and I sort of learned this deal together," Enfinger said. "The fact that we ran that full year (2011) with Mike's (Allgaier) car; it was his first time as a crew chief, and my first time in a serious situation in a national organization like ARCA. It took us about three-fourths of the year, but we really began to click. Neither one of us are brain surgeon engineers, but our communication is really good."

As the hometown hero at Mobile, Enfinger no longer considers himself with all the advantages.

"I wouldn't go that far at all. I felt like we had the advantage (at Mobile) the first time we went there with ARCA in 2012, but now that we've been there twice, we don't have as much of an advantage as we probably used to have. The last time we raced at Mobile was last year's ARCA race, which will be true for most of the guys when we go back to race.

"But it's still a huge deal for me to go back to Mobile and race. Best part is all the family and friends that come see us race. Most of the ARCA races are all so far away from here, that it sure is nice to come home and have the home-field advantage so to speak. All the support is great."

Enfinger will also have an assist at Mobile from team sponsors Casite, Motor Honey, Stanley Industries and Wurth USA. He also said there might be another surprise on the car.

In 52 ARCA starts since 2008, Enfinger has 21 top-five finishes and 33 top-10s, including three wins at Mobile, Iowa Speedway, both in 2013, and the Daytona opener in 2014. He also has second place finishes at Iowa '12, Toledo '11, Kentucky '09 and Chicagoland '09.

The third annual ARCA-Mobile 200 race weekend gets underway Friday, March 21 with the first of two practice sessions at 2:30 p.m., preceding final practice at 4:15. Menards Pole Qualifying presented by Ansell is scheduled for 7 Friday night. Raceday festivities get going with an on-track autograph session from noon until 1, followed by driver introductions at 1:30. The ARCA-Mobile 200 is scheduled to get the green flag at 2.

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