Enfinger conquers Salem; takes first three wins of ARCA season - 13abc.com Toledo (OH) News, Weather and Sports

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Enfinger conquers Salem; takes first three wins of ARCA season

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Grant Enfinger made ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards history Sunday afternoon, winning his third race to start the 2014 season, becoming just the second driver in series history to do so.

"The stars are just lining up for us," Enfinger said. "It's pretty unbelievable."

After leading the first 100 laps of the Federated Auto Parts 200 presented by Crunch'N Nutter at Salem, Enfinger moved back to the front late in the race and took the lead when Ken Schrader hit the wall in turn one on the last re-start. Schrader was leading when the re-start began with Enfinger in second.

"I wanted the chance to drag race him to the finish," Enfinger said. "I think he just blew a right front there. That's what happened. It was a lot of fun racing up front against him."

Spencer Gallagher finished second, Frank Kimmel third and Cunningham Motorsports drivers Austin Wayne Self (fourth) and Tom Hessert (fifth) rounded out the top five.

Josh Williams, making his season debut in the No. 6 Southwest Florida Cable Construction Ford, finished sixth, just in front of Mason Mitchell in the Thermal Technology Services Ford. Schrader ended up eighth with Cody Coughlin ninth in the Jegs.com Toyota. Kyle Weatherman finished 10th.

Gallagher was happy with his best finish of the season and tying his career-best in the No. 23 Allegiant Travel Chevrolet.

"I love this place," Gallagher said. "It is such an exciting track. I am happy with how we finished."

Kimmel's team worked late Saturday to make repairs to his car after he hit the wall in qualifying Saturday. The No. 44 Ansell-Menards Toyota had to start at the back of the field, but was eventually able to make his way to the front.

"I'm sure we passed more cars than anybody," Kimmel said.

Self, in winning the SCOTT Rookie of the Race, pleased a throng of about 50 family members who made the trek to Salem from the French Lick, Indiana area.

"I think I gained a tenth of a second every time they cheered," Self said of his Hoosier Scale Dodge.

Hessert, in the No. 77 Caregard-AxiomWarranty.com Dodge, earned a top five finish despite going a lap down twice.

"We did what we could," he said. "It's a little bit frustrating because we know we could have been better. We know what we have to do when we come back here in the fall."

Enfinger grabbed the lead out of the gate, sailing past polesitter Justin Boston. He built a huge early lead and led for the first 104 laps until Mitchell grabbed the top spot and he immediately pulled away from the rest of the field until a caution flew on lap 124 for debris.

After a series of cautions and restarts, Schrader finally grabbed the lead. He and Enfinger raced tight for several laps until Karl Weber spun on lap 191, putting out the caution. That came just after Weatherman and Schrader got together, damaging Schrader's right front corner. He stayed on the track rather than pit and hit the wall after his tire finally went down.

"I wanted to get one more," said Schrader, referencing his last win at Salem in 1999.

Enfinger, meanwhile, took the lead and held off Gallagher to win his third consecutive ARCA Racing Series race. He is just the second driver in series history to win the first three ARCA races of the season and first since Ramo Stott accomplished the feat in 1970.

"I can't think Howard and Paula Bixman enough for giving me such great cars and allowing me to do this," Enfinger said. "We have such great equipment. The cars are so good right now and Kelly Kovski made some great calls about the car.

"We were not very good out of the trailer," he continued. "We cut our first practice short and kind of had to just sit back and re-group and give us a chance to think about it. He had a list of changes and I had a list of changes. It just came together. I was shocked at how well we qualified."

Enfinger now heads to Talladega with a chance to win the first four races of the season - something that has not happened in the 62-year history of the series.

"That's going to be tough," Enfinger said. "You just never know what is going to happen at Talladega. But, we have a great plate program and I know we'll be fast."

 By Doug Donnelly, arcaracing.com, ddonnelly@arcaracing.com  

ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards

Federated Auto Parts 200 presented by Crunch 'N Nutter

Salem Speedway, Salem Indiana, 4-27-14

FIN

STR

NO

DRIVER/HOMETOWN

LAPS

STATUS 

1

2

90

Grant Enfinger/Fairhope AL

202

Running

2

12

23

Spencer Gallagher/Las Vegas NV

202

Running

3

18

44

Frank Kimmel/Clarksville IN

202

Running

4

7

22

Austin Wayne Self/Austin TX

202

Running

5

5

77

Tom Hessert/Cherry Hill NJ

202

Running

6

13

6

Josh Williams/Port Charlotte NC

202

Running

7

4

98

Mason Mitchell/W. Des Moines IA

202

Running

8

6

52

Ken Schrader/Fenton MO

202

Running

9

15

55

Cody Coughlin/Delaware OH

201

Running

10

14

99

Kyle Weatherman/Wentzville MO

201

Running

11

17

2

Thomas Praytor/Mobile AL

201

Running

12

11

17

Kyle Benjamin/Easley SC

201

Running

13

10

46

Brian Finney/Merritt Island FL

200

Running

14

16

3

Karl Weber/Ambia IN

195

Running

15

1

25

Justin Boston/Baltimore MD

177

Running

16

8

10

Blake Hillard/Owensboro KY

157

Suspnsn

17

20

18

Bill Catania/Westfield NY

124

Oil Leak

18

9

68

Michael Lira/Port Orange FL

87

Accident

19

19

11

Ryan Heavner/Lincolnton NC

86

Accident

20

21

73

Dale Shearer/Alhambra IL

79

Vibration

21

3

15

John Wes Townley/Watkinsville GA

77

Accident

22

22

69

Mark Meunier/Louisville KY

10

Brakes

23

28

48

Darrell Basham/Henryville IN

3

Transmssn

24

23

80

Barry Layne/Mims FL

2

Transmssn

25

25

66

Frank Kimmel II/Clarksville IN

1

Handling

26

27

97

Tim Viens/Daytona Beach FL

1

Electrical

27

29

06

James Swanson/Clarksboro NJ

1

Handling

28

24

0

Wayne Peterson/Pulaski TN

1

Handling

29

26

40

Chris Bailey Jr./South Park PA

1

Handling

Menards Pole Award Presented by Ansell: Justin Boston 17.405 (114.795 mph)

Margin of Victory:   0.320 seconds

Time of Race: 1:36:60

Lap Leaders: Enfinger 1-104, 201-202 (106); Mitchell 105-146 (42); Schrader 147-200 (54)