‘This series is still great’: Enfinger speaks about the state of the Truck Series

Gone are the days of Skinner, Hornaday, Bodine, and other greats, and in are the young guns of Caruth, Dye, and Sanchez; the new era of the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series. It’s an era that stirs up controversy, as the tough trucks of NASCAR looks much different than it did when it first came to be. 

Grant Enfinger, who’s seen both era’s behind the wheel of a truck, says it’s as healthy as it’s ever been. 

“From a quality of truck standpoint, you probably got 20 teams that have capabilities of winning the race. Those 20 teams, a lot of them have had really good drivers. It’s obviously changed some over the years, but the Truck series is in a pretty healthy state right now.” 

Enfinger has 10 wins in 178 starts that span over 14 years, making his debut in the series at Talladega in 2010. The grizzly veteran says while a lot has changed, the core of the series and its hard racing has stayed true to its nature for the most part.

“When I first started racing in the truck series, it took me half the season to realize it didn’t matter how much respect you showed somebody, there’s still going to be running me hard the next week and all that. Progressively over time we have kind of amped up some of the silly stuff, but some of the genuine hard racing hasn’t changed any really. I mean, I think that was there from the beginning.”

Enfinger went on to say, “I think what you see now is a little bit more blatant and intentional. There’s not really any repercussions from it, but it’s just kind of what it is. I still love this series, this series is still great. Yeah, there’s things I think people can get frustrated about, but they also see that in the Cup Series and the Xfinity Series. We just seem to broadcast a little bit more, especially last year at Phoenix (The Truck Series championship race) was a black eye on our series.” 

The Tough Trucks of NASCAR have had a reputation of rough racing in the past several years, with 30% of races ending in an overtime finish in 2023, and two of the first six events ran in 2024. When asked if there was a solution for their repercussions, Enfinger explained his point of view on the situation. 

“I mean, I don’t think anybody thinks it’s fine for the sport, but it’s like, how are you going to fix it? Do we want NASCAR stepping in like Formula One and saying, ‘Hey, somebody ran into someone too hard,’ so we penalize them for five seconds or something? I think the problem is it’s kind of progressed and amped up over the years, and NASCAR doesn’t really have a good way to stop it. They don’t want to stop this from racing hard. What they have said at the beginning of the year is they don’t want the retaliation aspect of it. Everybody wants what’s best for the sport, but we’re all greedy drivers. We’re all take and no give.”

While most will say it’s the younger generation of racers that cause the trend of rough racing, Enfinger says there’s more that meets the eye in this debate. 

“In all honesty, there were a couple of trucks that could genuinely pass without putting a bumper to somebody, but maybe 30 of the 36 trucks that started there last week couldn’t legitimately pass somebody. That’s not a problem with the drivers or the team, that’s the problem with the package that we’re taking. We’re dependent so much on down force and the way we have our gears in Martinsville. Somebody slows down in the center of the corner and gets hard on entry, you won’t pass that person without putting a bumper to them. So I do get a little frustrated sometimes with that package and stuff like that. We’re momentum racing at these places.”

So how does NASCAR fix this? Can it even be fixed? The Fairhope, Ala. native says that there hasn’t been any incentive to race clean to win in the series, and would like for that to return sooner than later. 

“We haven’t really done anything in our sport to avoid incentive wrecking. I would like to see a couple of reasons for a guy not to make it four wide, including myself, but you have to race this way if you want to win, and a lot of us want to win out here. We’re putting ourselves in vulnerable spots to do that, and a lot of that is why people love the Truck Series. You’ll have days when our sport looks bad, because too many of us are going stupid at one time for the win.  In my opinion, there needs to be a reason to lift going into the corner. Right now, there’s not very many good ones. Yeah, you don’t want to wreck your truck, but do these guys have very many repercussions when they do? A lower funded team does, but not not enough of an incentive not to put somebody in a bad spot.”

When asked if he’s been to NASCAR about the suggestion, Enfinger shares by saying, “I have, but I haven’t gone out of my way. I mean, that’s NASCAR is going to do what NASCAR wants to do. I think for the most part, we’re going to keep showing up because we love this stuff. I want to see it get better and don’t want people to just harp on our series, because overall, the truck series is healthy. You look at all these trucks out here, look at all these good teams out here. I mean, you can’t you can’t tell me there’s not a lot of talent in these trucks.”

Kaleb Vestal
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