Grant Enfinger is set to pull double duty at Charlotte Motor Speedway for Memorial Day weekend.
Before taking part in the North Carolina Education Lottery 200 for the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Friday evening, the 2015 ARCA Menards Series champion will pilot the No. 97 Grant County Mulch Chevrolet for Codie Rohrbaugh in the preceding General Tire 150.
Enfinger cherishes every opportunity to return to his ARCA roots, but he wants nothing more than to deliver a strong performance while driving for one of his close friends.
“It’s definitely fun getting to run with my ARCA buddies,” Enfinger said. “I haven’t done [an intermediate] in quite a while with the ARCA cars. I always enjoy running this series and seeing my friends over there. This is something Codie and I have talked about for a year, so hopefully we’ll have a good time out there.”
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Enfinger and Rohrbaugh have been friends for several years, but their relationship was bolstered when Enfinger found himself in need of a Truck Series ride.
Having driven for ThorSport Racing since the 2017 season, sponsorship issues forced Enfinger to split the No. 98 with Christian Eckes in 2021. Enfinger was determined to run as many races as possible during the year and ultimately coordinated with Rohrbaugh to drive his No. 9 CR7 Motorsports truck in select events.
Although CR7 lacked the resources of other major Truck Series organizations, Enfinger regularly found himself in contention with Rohrbaugh’s equipment. Of Enfinger’s 12 top-10 finishes in the 2021 season, three of those came with CR7, which included a fourth-place finish at Circuit of the Americas.
Rohrbaugh has only continued to grow CR7 since Enfinger’s part-time campaign. The organization still fields a full-time Truck Series team for Colby Howard while also fielding entries in the ARCA Menards Series and select Late Model Stock Car events for Jason Kitzmiller.
While Enfinger hopes to avoid similar circumstances that caused him to split teams a couple of years ago, he is grateful for his time at CR7 and hopes the chemistry they shared in 2021 carries over into Charlotte on Friday.
“What happened [in 2021] really helped both of us,” Enfinger said. “I was able to give them some feedback from being in the Truck Series for a while, particularly with where their strong points and weak points were. At the same time, I got into some good stuff and had competitive races. I’ve stayed friends with all those guys, but this is a deal we’re doing for fun.
“The best way to have fun is to go out there and run well, so hopefully we can do that.”
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Enfinger admitted he is unsure what to expect during the General Tire 150, as that race will be his first on a track larger than 1.5 miles in ARCA since winning at Pocono Raceway in 2016.
Composite bodies were only just becoming more mainstream in ARCA when Enfinger took that checkered flag. With most of his intermediate starts in the series being in steel bodies, Enfinger has been leaning on others, including his GMS Racing teammate Rajah Caruth, for advice on how a composite body will handle aerodynamically at Charlotte.
Enfinger will also have to deal with several other talented drivers that include Venturini Motorsports cars driven by Jesse Love, Dean Thompson and Gus Dean, along with Connor Mosack, who is driving for Joe Gibbs Racing, the same team that won at Charlotte last year.
Plenty of challenges await Enfinger as he prepares for the General Tire 150, but he has confidence in CR7’s ability to provide him a solid car for Charlotte despite not having the funding of teams like Gibbs and Venturini.
The top priority for Enfinger on Friday is to give back to Rohrbaugh and his team for the compassion they showed while at a crossroads in his own career.
“[A win] is not completely far-fetched, but it is a tough task since I’m not in the ARCA car very often,” Enfinger said. “There’s a few things we need some more information on, but more than anything, hopefully [Friday] gives a solid baseline for some direction [with the team].
“Winning would be huge, but from my perspective, it’d mean so much more to do it for a personal friend.”
Enfinger’s pursuit for his 17th ARCA Menards Series victory and first for CR7 on the platform will get going shortly after 6 p.m. ET on Friday. Fox Sports 1 is set to provide coverage of the General Tire 150.