Race Weekend Central

Tracking the Trucks: Grant Enfinger Takes ‘Em Three-Wide To Win Kansas

Grant Enfinger made an impressive three-wide pass for the lead with 31 laps to go to win his first Craftsman Truck Series race of the season at Kansas Speedway on Saturday (May 6).

As Zane Smith and Corey Heim were fighting for the lead, Enfinger swung way down low with a ton of momentum the backstretch to pass both of them in turn 3. Heim finished second, while Smith finished third. The top five was completed by Stewart Friesen and Ross Chastain.

Top Storylines of the Race

  • Toni Breidinger made her Truck Series debut in TRICON Garage’s No. 1, just hours after finishing 11th in the ARCA Menards Series race earlier in the afternoon. She finished a respectable 15th in the truck race.
  • Also making his debut after several prior attempts to do so was Justin Carroll. Carroll announced as early as 2020 that he would go racing in the Truck Series, but didn’t have the funding to compete in 2021, then failed to qualify for all five races he attempted in 2022. He also failed to qualify at Martinsville Speedway this year before finally making the show.
  • Johnny Sauter made his return to the Series, driving the No. 04 for Roper Racing in the first of multiple races, per the team. Sauter replaced Kaden Honeycutt, whose six-race deal with the team was up, leaving him without a ride.
  • Both stages found eventful changes for the lead, with Kyle Busch winning stage one and Ty Majeski taking stage two.
  • Majeski and Rajah Caruth were battling hard with each other inside the top five at the restart that began the final stage. It came to a head on lap 69, when both trucks collided with the outside wall heading down the frontstretch, taking Caruth out of the race. Some believed that Caruth blocked too many times; others (including Caruth himself) believed Majeski just wrecked the No. 24. But the unfortunate truth is that Caruth had a bad-fast truck and will have to wait to contend for his first win. The two talked it out after the race.
  • On the ensuing restart, the field didn’t even get to turn one before polesitter Christian Eckes turned Matt DiBenedetto, wrecking both of them, as well as Carson Hocevar, Dean Thompson and Chase Purdy. Purdy looked like he had missed the wreck until Eckes slid down the track into Purdy’s path, resulting in a high-speed t-bone right into Eckes’ driver’s side door. Fortunately, all drivers involved in the accident got out under their own power.

The Winning Move

Smith and Heim had run away from the field after the final restart, but they got side-by-side for a while. Enfinger managed to gather a huge run through turns 1 and 2 with 31 laps to go and swung way low, presumably catching both Heim and Smith off guard. Enfinger had such a big run that he managed to clear both of them before heading into turn 3, and he never looked back.

Championship Rundown

A new driver has locked themselves into the playoff race, and that leaves just five spots left with eight races remaining. Majeski’s stage two win lightens the blow he took due to his poor finish. Remember, if the playoffs were to start today, Majeski would get an automatic berth, meaning four spots would be left. Will the series see more than 10 winners? With drivers like Rhodes, Matt Crafton and even Friesen yet to win, it could be very possible.

Rookie Report

It was a quiet night for all the rookies, but I’ll give Rookie of the Race to Carroll because he finally made a race after several years of trying. Carroll finished the night 23rd.

No. 1 – Toni Breidinger (15th)
No. 2 – Nick Sanchez (sixth)
No. 17 – Taylor Gray (ninth)
No. 20 – Nick Leitz (21st)
No. 24 – Rajah Caruth (34th)
No. 32 – Bret Holmes (14th)
No. 33 – Mason Maggio (27th)
No. 35 – Jake Garcia (eighth)
No. 43 – Daniel Dye (13th)
No. 90 – Justin Carroll (23rd)

One Thought About This Race

Dean Thompson is becoming sneaky good on 1.5-mile tracks.

After a career day at Texas Motor Speedway that ended in a crash that sent him to the hospital, Thompson was running quietly well at Kansas before getting collected in the big one. FOX Sports 1 cameras picked up Thompson after he climbed from his battered No. 5, and he made a frustrated gesture, presumably screaming, as he knew he had another good truck. Even Kevin Harvick said, right after seeing that, “He’s been impressive.”

A lot of people questioned Thompson’s driving ability after a rough rookie season at Niece Motorsports last year, but he’s slowly silencing the critics. To help his case (and give him confidence in the truck race), Thompson ran the ARCA race earlier in the day, driving for Venturini Motorsports. He finished second behind teammate Jesse Love.

Perhaps in the near future, we could see Thompson steal a win and lock himself into the playoffs. With TRICON Garage as a whole performing really well right now, Thompson’s hoping to cash in on that good fortune.

Paint Scheme of the Race

Fun fact: When the writer of this piece’s favorite color is green, you have a pretty good chance at winning Paint Scheme of the Race. AM Racing certainly picked up on that this week when the team showed up to the track with driver Josh Reaume sporting JAG Metals as his sponsor, featuring streaks of lime green all over the truck.

What a beauty.

Where to Next?

Time to fight The Lady in Black. The Truck Series heads to Darlington Raceway to kick off throwback weekend. John Hunter Nemechek won the 2022 edition of the race. Coverage for the Buckle Up South Carolina 200 begins at 7:30 p.m. ET on Friday, May 12. FOX Sports 1 will have the coverage once again.

About the author

Frontstretch.com

Anthony Damcott joined Frontstretch in March 2022. Currently, he is an editor and co-authors Fire on Fridays (Fridays); he is also the primary Truck Series reporter/writer. A proud West Virginia Wesleyan College alum from Akron, Ohio, Anthony is now a grad student. He is a theatre actor and fight-choreographer-in-training in his free time. 

You can keep up with Anthony by following @AnthonyDamcott on Twitter.

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