MIAMI – Grant Enfinger stole some of the spotlight from the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Championship 4 by capturing the pole for the Ford EcoBoost 200 Friday afternoon at Homestead-Miami (Fla.) Speedway.
Enfinger powered his No. 98 Champion Power Equipment Ford F-150 to a fast lap of 31.887 seconds (169.348 mph) during the final round of single-truck qualifying, earning his third-career pole, second of the season and first at Homestead.
The 33-year-old native of Fairhope, Ala., hopes to deliver ThorSport Racing a season-ending victory despite not being a part of the title quartet for the 134-lap, 200-mile race on Friday night.
“We definitely have our work cut out for us to win the race. Obviously, the tires drop off so much here, so that’s a huge weight in the back of our mind there,” said Enfinger. “Overall, we have speed, so that’s really good. That’s really important for us.
“We’ve got to get one of these Fords in victory lane tonight,” he continued. “One reason is that a buddy of mine, Chief, is doing really bad right now. We’re thinking of him and he’s in our thoughts and prayers. All these guys have been behind me and have believed in me through this time at Champion Power Equipment and all the guys that have worked on this truck deserve a win tonight, so hopefully we can close the year out on a good note.”
Enfinger noted that despite the fact he came so close to winning last week at ISM Raceway and making the championship race, he’s not disappointed by the fact he won the pole as a spoiler, so to speak.
“This is our goal each and every week, is to win poles, win practice and win races,” said Enfinger. “We do everything we can do every time we hit the track. We’ve only got one win in our bank this year, but I couldn’t be more proud of these guys. It’s the same core group that we had last year and we’ve all dug in together and really elevated this team.
“We’ve still got a long way to go yet, but I’m proud of this pole and proud of this year.”
Stewart Friesen, who hopes to play spoiler along with Enfinger during the race, qualified second with a lap of 31.912 seconds (169.215 mph) in the No. 52 Halmar International ‘We Build America’ Chevrolet Silverado.
Noah Gragson will start best among the championship contenders in third with the No. 18 Safelite Auto Glass Toyota Tundra. He was relaxed and confident after climbing from his truck at the end of qualifying.
“I feel good. I feel like we have a really fast truck,” noted Gragson. “In practice, we could never really fire off that big lap time to go to the top of the board, but throughout the run, I felt like we were really, really good and the tire falloff was really, really good for us.
“I’m just really excited. It’s a privilege to be able to race for a championship. Third is OK. I wanted to be fastest, but that’s alright. We still have 200 miles to go do that.”
Gragson’s fellow title rivals – Justin Haley, Brett Moffitt and Johnny Sauter – qualified fourth, fifth and sixth, respectively. The driver of those four who finishes highest in Friday’s race will earn the crown.
Ross Chastain, John Hunter Nemechek, Jesse Little, Chris Windom, Ben Rhodes and Myatt Snider filled out the first six rows and all advanced through both rounds of qualifying.
Sheldon Creed was the first driver who failed to make the final round of qualifying, going 13th-fastest with the No. 2 United Rentals/AM Ortega Chevrolet at 32.517 seconds (166.067 mph).
Other notables eliminated in round one included Harrison Burton (14th), Todd Gilliland (15th), Tyler Dippel (17th), Matt Crafton (22nd) and Brennan Poole (23rd).
For a look at the complete starting grid, advance to the next page.