NEWTON, Iowa – Grant Enfinger picked up a new sponsor this week that allowed him to come to Iowa Speedway for Saturday’s ARCA Racing Series event.
It turned out to be a good move. Enfinger, in the No. 90 Motor Honey/Casite/Advance Ford, won the Prairie Meadows 150 for his second victory of the season.
“I’m pretty excited right now,” Enfinger said. “It’s a good feeling.”
Kyle Weatherman won the SCOTT Rookie of the race award by finishing second in the No. 11 LoneStarProductions.com/United Nissan Dodge, Chad Boat third in the No. 84 amenzone Fitness-Billy Boat Performance Exhaust Toyota, Corey LaJoie fourth in the No. 17 Dewey’s Automotive-Medallion.com Ford and Kyle Benjamin fifth in The Ad Man Toyota.
Enfinger, from Fairhope, Ala., led from laps 90 to 111, was passed by Boat, then grabbed the lead back a lap later. Weatherman took the lead on lap 124 and stayed there until Enfinger got by him on lap 144 and held on for the victory. The key, he said, was finding a high line groove on the race track.
“We were on the bottom and Weatherman went by me like I was standing still. I couldn’t believe how high he was running,” Enfinger said. “We went up there and had a lot of grip and we were running as fast as him. I was reeling him in and he got up there a bit and we got by him.
“The car was not great until that last pit stop,” he said. “(Crew chief) Kelly Kovski made some adjustments and it really came alive.”
There were numerous battles for the lead and for position during the 150-lap, 132-mile race on the seven-eighths-mile track. Menards Pole Award presented by Ansell winner Mason Mingus led the first 26 laps, the longest single stretch anyone led all night. Boat led 53 laps, LaJoie 20, Weatherman 20 and Enfinger 31.
There were three cautions for 22 laps in a race that took 1 hour, 17 minutes to complete.
Weatherman accelerated to the lead on lap 124, coming from fifth to the lead within a couple of laps. He remained there until six laps were left when his car brushed the wall. He hit the wall again two laps later while trying to get back to the front.
“We figured out a pretty good groove up there at top. We had a fast car for about 20 laps. It got really tight. Enfinger found the same line I did,” Weatherman said. “He had a little better car at the end and beat us by a little bit.”
“We had a good run. It’s just my fourth race. We have a lot of racing to go.”
Boat, the lap leader for the race, said the side-by-side racing and numerous lead changes are a credit to the track.
“It’s a testament to Iowa Speedway,” Boat said. “This is easiest one of the best tracks we come to. You can run on top and run on the bottom. You don’t have to get into anybody to get by them. I had a lot of fun racing with Corey and Grant and Kyle, for a while, but then he pretty much blew by me.”
West Des Moines, Iowa, driver Mason Mitchell – the only Iowa driver in the race – finished sixth in the Happy Cheeks Ford, Mingus in the REALTREE Outdoor Energy Toyota seventh, Tom Hessert in the Barbera’s Autoland Dodge eighth with Will Kimmel ninth in the Messina Wildlife Ford and his uncle, Frank Kimmel, 10th in the No. 44 Ansell-Menards Toyota.
Frank Kimmel finished a lap down, the first time all year he did not finish the race on the lead lap. However, he still maintained the series point lead heading into Salem Speedway next week and finished in the top 10 for the 28th consecutive race.
Enfinger, in his 50th career ARCA Racing Series start, became the eighth different winner at Iowa Speedway in the eight ARCA races at the track which sits just off Interstate 80. The new sponsor brought to the team this week was American Hammered. He credited all of his sponsors for helping him get into his seventh ARCA race of the season. He won at Mobile International Speedway in March and was fifth at Michigan. The Prairie Meadows 150 was his fourth top 10 of the season.
‘It’s been disappointing to have such a great team and such good supporters but not be able to get to the track,” he said.
The team will keep digging, he said, adding sponsors and getting to races.
“We’ve been competitive every time we’ve hit the track, its’ just been getting there,” he said. “We’ve really shown speed everywhere we’ve been. … It all worked out tonight. It’s about time.”