Enfinger, Aiming for Record-Setting Fourth Straight Win, On Pole for Saturday’s ARCA Race
TALLADEGA, AL – Alabama native Grant Enfinger has a front-row seat for what he hopes will be history in the making Saturday at Talladega Superspeedway.
Enfinger, of Fairhope, captured the pole position Friday for the International Motorsports Hall of Fame 200, the fourth race of the year in the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards. Enfinger won the first three races (at Daytona, Mobile and Salem), becoming the first driver since 1970 to start the ARCA season with three consecutive victories.
Now if he can take the checkered flag Saturday, Enfinger will be the first driver in the 62-year history of the ARCA Racing Series to win the first four races of the year.
“It’s just been an incredible year for everybody on the team,” said Enfinger, who claimed the pole with a qualifying speed of 183.649 mph. “We just have something special going right now, and it showed again today.
“What would be even more special to me is winning at Talladega. This is my home state in front of the home crowd, with guys who I went to school with and friends and relatives who can drive to this race. I was really blessed to be able to pull off the victory this year in Mobile in front of all them, and a lot of them are coming back tomorrow.”
Despite his strong qualifying run, and his even stronger start to the season, Enfinger said he knows there will be no guarantees once the green flag drops at 10 a.m. Saturday. “I’ve been leading this race on the last lap and finished 10th or 12th,” Enfinger said. “Anything can happen here, and it usually does.”
Mason Mitchell will join Enfinger on the front row to start Saturday’s race. Clay Campbell, the president of Martinsville Speedway who finished third in the ARCA season-opener at Daytona, qualified ninth. Frank Kimmel, who won this race last year, qualified 22nd. Justin Allison (grandson of Donnie Allison) will start 25th, Thomas Praytor of Mobile qualified 28th, and Joey Gattina of Pelham was 34th.
Hornish takes the pole for Aaron’s 312 Nationwide race: Sam Hornish Jr. led a Joe Gibbs Racing sweep of the top three spots in knockout qualifying for Saturday’s running of the Aaron’s 312 NASCAR Nationwide Series race.
Hornish will be followed on the starting grid by JGR teammates Elliott Sadler and Mobile native Darrell Wallace Jr. That trio shot to the top of the field after barely making it into the top 24 in the first round of qualifying, enabling them to advance to the second round.
“I’m really glad there were three sessions,” said Hornish, who is racing part-time this season and is behind the wheel for JGR this week in place of regular driver Kyle Busch. “We almost didn’t get the job done in the first session.”
Sadler, a 19-year NASCAR veteran, said the new knockout style of qualifying was “crazy” and should be even more exciting when the Sprint Cup Series drivers have their qualifying session on Saturday.
“I can’t wait to watch Sprint Cup qualifying tomorrow. It’s going to be wild,” Sadler said. “I think this is awesome for the fans. There was a lot going on out there. This is way more fun than the old way of qualifying.”
The 117-lap Aaron’s 312 is schedule to begin at 2 p.m.
NASCAR returns to Talladega Superspeedway in 2014 with the Aaron’s Dream Weekend, which is set for May 2-4. The NASCAR Nationwide Series and ARCA Racing Series will take to the track on Saturday, May 3 while NASCAR’s Sprint Cup Series machines take the green flag on Sunday, May 4. For ticket information, log onto www.talladegasuperspeedway.com.