Crowd Favorite Enfinger Gets 1st ARCA Victory
IRVINGTON, Ala. — Grant Enfinger used a rocket restart with fewer than 30 laps remaining and held off a late challenge from Kyle Benjamin to win Saturday afternoon’s ARCA Mobile 200 at Mobile Int’l Speedway.
Enfinger, a local crowd favorite, took the lead on lap 172 when he ducked under 15-year-old Kyle Benjamin, then used another restart with nine laps to go to stretch his lead and win his first ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards event.
“I knew we were going to get here, I just didn’t think it would take this long,” Enfinger said in Victory Lane. “I started knocking on the door in 2009 and I don’t know how many second and third-place finishes I had.”
After Enfinger drove the Triple K Construction Ford into victory lane, a throng of family and friends surrounded him. Some of the loudest cheers came when he donned a University of Alabama Crimson Tide ball cap.
Anderson Bowen finished third, Menards Pole Award presented by Ansell winner Mason Mingus fourth and Frank Kimmel fifth.
Enfinger is from nearby Fairhope, Ala. and considers Mobile Int’l Speedway a home track.
“I’ve wanted to win for so long,” he said. “To do it in front of the home crowd is something special. A lot of these people, family and friends, can’t come up north when we race. This is something special.”
Enfinger started second but took the lead by turn two of the first lap. He stayed out front much of the day, although Benjamin put a big challenge into him. During one of the longest green flag runs of the day, Benjamin was able to pass Enfinger. He pitted and still came out in front as his pit crew cheered him on. But, with 29 laps to go, Enfinger was stronger on the re-start and stayed in front the rest of the way.
“He was a little better than us on new tires,” Benjamin said. “I hated that the caution came out right there. We did all we could today.”
Benjamin, the SCOTT Rookie Challenge winner for the ARCA Mobile 200, was driving the same Venturini car that went to victory lane at Daytona Int’l Speedway with John Wes Townley. He became the youngest driver in ARCA Racing Series history.
“I’m happy with my team and my crew chief,” Benjamin said. “They did an awesome job and Kevin made great calls. We had an almost flawless day.”
Bowen was another driver that stayed up front all race. He was driving in his first ARCA race.
“I feel like I accomplished my goals,” he said. “We kept our car in one piece and had a nice top five finish.”