GMS Racing NCTS Race Preview: Homestead-Miami Speedway

Race Information

– Round: NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series race no. 22 of 23 (Playoffs Round of 8)

– Track Location: Homestead-Miami Speedway – Homestead, Florida

– Race Name: Baptist Health 200

Broadcast: Saturday, October 21st at 12:00 PM ET live on FS1 (TV), MRN (Radio), and Sirius XM NASCAR Channel 90

– Team Entrants:

Grant Enfinger, No. 23 Champion Power Equipment Chevrolet Silverado RST

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Homestead-Miami Speedway Stats

– NCTS Starts: 6; Poles: 1 (2018); Best finish: 2nd (2018); Top 5s: 1; Top 10s: 3; Laps led: 33

2023 NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series Season Stats

– Starts: 21; Wins: 3 (Kansas I, WWT Raceway, Milwaukee); Poles: 1 (Milwaukee); Stage wins: 3; Top-5s: 8; Top-10s: 11; Laps led: 232; Current points position: 5th (-3 to the cutline)

 

About Champion Power Equipment: Since 2003, Champion Power Equipment has earned a reputation for designing and producing the market’s finest power equipment. From our original headquarters in Santa Fe Springs, California, Champion has expanded its North American footprint to include facilities in Jackson, Tennessee, Milwaukee, Wisconsin and Toronto Canada. Today, Champion’s product line has expanded to include portable generators, home standby generators, inverter generators, engines, winches and log splitters. With over 2.5 million generators sold in North America, Champion is a market leader in the power equipment field. Visit ChampionPowerEquipment.com for more information.

– Chassis History/Info: Enfinger and the No. 23 team will compete with GMS Racing chassis no. 346 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. This Silverado RST debuted at the beginning of the season at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, and has finished inside the top-10 in four of the five races that it has been raced. Enfinger took this truck to victory lane at Kansas Speedway for his first win of the year back in May.

Talladega Recap: Talladega was undeniably a difficult race for Enfinger and the Champion Power Equipment team. Grant was involved in numerous accidents on the day, wounding his No. 23 Silverado. The team fought feverishly to keep Enfinger in the race, and he was able to nurse it to the finish with a 13th-place result. With no stage points, this places the veteran fifth in the championship standings heading into Homestead-Miami Speedway.

Hensley at Homestead-Miami: Jeff Hensley has competed in a total of 18 CRAFTSMAN Truck Series races at Homestead-Miami Speedway since 2004. Though he has not yet visited victory lane at the 1.5-mile track, his trucks have won two poles with Mike Skinner in 2006 and Grant Enfinger in 2018. He’s finished in the top-10 on eight occasions, including two runner-up results with Brian Scott in 2008 and with Enfinger in 2018, accounting for 87 total laps led. Hensley has also called four NASCAR Xfinity Series races from atop the box at Homestead, earning one top-10 finish at the first race ever held back in 1995.

GMS at Homestead: GMS Racing is still looking for its first win at Homestead-Miami, but the team’s drivers have had plenty of successful runs in the past. The team has seven top-fives and ten top-10 results in Miami, including a runner-up finish delivered by Tyler Ankrum in 2020. John Hunter Nemechek also finished sixth for GMS in the Xfinity Series race in 2019. The team has led for 83 laps in Truck Series competition, including a dominant showing with Kyle Larson back in 2016. Johnny Sauter was crowned the series champion in that race after posting a third-place finish, securing the first NCTS title for Team Owner, Maury Gallagher.

– #FearTheFinger Playoffs Profile: Entering the penultimate race of the season, Enfinger finds himself a mere three points below the playoffs cutline behind Nick Sanchez. He will look to punch his ticket to his second Championship 4 appearance on Saturday, with highlights of the year including three race wins at Kansas Speedway, WWT Raceway, and the Milwaukee Mile, where he most recently walked away victorious from the pole position.

– Got a Copy?: Grant Enfinger will serve as this weekend’s “In-Race Reporter” for the FOX Sports 1 race broadcast, and will take viewers around the Homestead-Miami Speedway with several on-board camera angles from his Champion Power Equipment Chevy.

– From The Drivers Seat: Homestead-Miami is one of the more unique intermediate tracks on the schedule, so what is the key to making speed here?

“I feel like everything at Homestead revolves around tire management. You have to have a vehicle that can still be aggressive though. All of our truck races, you have to push it hard on restarts, but the harder you push it early on in a run, the more you’re going to pay the price at the end of the run. It’s still a place where you’ve got to have track position, but there are multiple grooves there. There’s guys that have had a lot of success running up against the wall, but there’s also guys that have been able to win the race by just wrapping the bottom. But normally, the truck that’s able to win the race is one that can move around a little bit.”

Simple question. What will it take to move onto Phoenix this weekend?

“For our team in the situation that we’re in, I think we have to be a little bit more on the aggressive side. A little more aggressive than smart. I think we’ve got four of us within 12 or so points there. It’s going to be critical that we all get some stage points, and hopefully we can put ourselves in a position to win. We’re racing the same truck that we won Kansas with earlier this year, and Jeff and I like Homestead. I feel like it’s been good to us in the past. We’ve never won there; but we’ve had good trucks in the past. We had a good truck there last year, maybe not one that could contend for the win with, but definitely a solid truck nonetheless. We’re going to try to build off of last year and make it even better this year.”

– From The Pit Box (Jeff Hensley): Three points is the gap heading into this weekend. How confident are you in your team to find these three points and advance to the Championship 4?

“Homestead has always been a pretty decent track for myself and Grant as a pair, so I feel like if we were going anywhere else, we might be a little bit nervous. But I feel like if we go down there and run in the top-five like we’ve done in the past; we’ve even won a stage or two there in the past; if we could go down and do that then we can control what we do. I’d rather be in the situation that we’re in now with only being three points out compared to last year going there 30 points out because of the crash in Talladega. You know, I feel good about it. If we were going to Phoenix trying to advance to Homestead, I might not be quite as confident because Phoenix has been a bit of a struggle for us.

Homestead in the past has always been a race that we could have won, maybe should have won, but have never won. But, we’ve always managed to come out of there with a good finish if we didn’t have any issues. I think we go do the best we can. You can’t control what everyone else does but we can certainly control what we do. We’ve just got to stick to our game plan and run our race and at the end of the day, we’ll count the points and see where we land, but Homestead has always been one of our better tracks.”

 

Rajah Caruth, No. 24 Wendell Scott Foundation Chevrolet Silverado RST

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Homestead-Miami Speedway Stats

– Rajah Caruth will compete in his first race at Homestead-Miami Speedway on Saturday.

2023 NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series Season Stats

– Starts: 21; Best start: 3rd (Nashville); Best finish: 6th (Darlington & Bristol); Top 10s: 3; Laps led: 1; Current points position: 17th

 

 About the Wendell Scott Foundation: Founded in 2011, The Wendell Scott Foundation, Inc. is a 501 (c) (3) nonprofit organization inspired by Wendell Scott, Sr. and provides services such as job-skill training, STEM education opportunities, mentoring, and other supportive services to at-risk, underserved youth between the ages of 8-18 years in Danville, Virginia and surrounding areas.

The Foundation’s mission of using educational attainment to end racial disparities in education and health is vital in addressing economic inequality and improving future success in African-American communities. For more information, please visit www.wendellscott.org.

Chassis History/Info: Caruth and the No. 24 team will race with GMS chassis no. 302 in Homestead. Rajah has driven this chassis on several occasions this season, and has earned all three of his top-10 finishes while driving it. Finishes of sixth (Darlington), seventh (IRP), and sixth (Bristol) have been the chassis’ highlights in 2023, and it has one once before at Darlington with Sheldon Creed back in 2021. In two Homestead races, this truck has finished ninth both times (2017 with Justin Haley and 2019 with Creed).

Talladega Recap: Rajah and company had a fast Wendell Scott Foundation Silverado RST in the last outing at Talladega, but became victims of circumstance late in the race. An ill-timed push in the tri-oval sent the No. 24 spinning with less than 20 laps to go, hindering the speed with some front-end damage. The pit crew was able to thrash on making repairs to it, aiding Caruth to stay tucked up in the draft. They would be left with a 12th-place finish at the end of the day, salvaging the most they could with a battered truck.

Pretty in Pink: For the series’ only race held in the month of October, Rajah Caruth will pilot a specially-colored pink version of his Wendell Scott Foundation paint scheme. This is to align with the Breast Cancer Awareness initiative throughout the month. Riding along with Caruth as well as both of his teammates’ trucks will be several pink ribbons with names of the respective crew’s family members affected by breast cancer. GMS Racing has ran numerous “pink” schemes throughout the years, and has became part of a tradition for the race team.

– Xfinity Series Las Vegas Recap: It was quite an eventful race weekend for Rajah Caruth in the NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Starting from the back of the grid after a big moment in qualifying, Caruth would go to work from the 35th position. When another driver’s engine blew right in front of him, Rajah was sent careening sideways into the another car, but his Alpha Prime Racing crew was able to make repairs and keep him in the race. In his 10th NXS start of the season, Caruth brought the No. 45 Camaro home in 23rd. He will run the last two races of the season at Martinsville Speedway on Saturday, October 28th for Alpha Prime Racing, as well as the finale in Phoenix Raceway on Saturday, November 4th for Hendrick Motorsports.

– Walter at Homestead-Miami: Chad Walter has made one CRAFTSMAN Truck Series start at Homestead-Miami Speedway, producing a great result with Tyler Ankrum, who drove his GMS Racing truck to a second place finish. In nine Xfinity Series starts, Walter’s drivers have finished inside the top-10 three times, including a fourth-place finish by Sam Hornish, Jr. in 2012, a seventh with Hornish, Jr. in 2011, and an eighth-place result with Dale Earnhardt, Jr. in 2008. His Xfinity drivers have led for a total of 10 laps.

Close Points Battle: The battle for 15th place in the CRAFTSMAN Truck Series standings is heating up heading into the final two races of the year. Since IRP, Rajah Caruth has been clawing away at his points deficit, and now finds himself only one point behind Tyler Ankrum in 16th, and 18 points behind Tayor Gray in 15th. It will be an interesting race-within-the-race to see these three drivers battle for a top-15 points finish at the end of the season.

From The Driver’s Seat: You’ve been looking forward to racing at Homestead-Miami for a while now, so what about this track excites you?

“I’m pretty excited for Homestead because I’ve put a lot of emphasis on being able to run the fence this year – not only in a truck, but also in my Xfinity starts this year and even for the races that I’ve ran at Millbridge Speedway in a non-wing micro sprint car. I’d say that it’s safe to say that my confidence is high going to Homestead for sure, especially because we will take our same truck that we raced with earlier at Darlington, and we will also be on the same tire compound. With this facility known for having very low grip, I think that should fall into my wheelhouse. The expectations for our No. 24 Wendell Scott Foundation team are high, and hopefully we can capitalize on this opportunity to run well on Saturday.”

 

Daniel Dye, No. 43 Bull & Boar Barbecue Shop Chevrolet Silverado RST

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Homestead-Miami Speedway Stats

– Daniel Dye will compete in his first race at Homestead-Miami Speedway on Saturday.

2023 NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series Season Stats

– Starts: 21; Best start: 5th (Milwaukee); Best finish: 6th (Talladega); Top-10s: 1; Laps led: 5; Current points position: 18th

 

 About Bull & Boar Barbecue Shop: Bull and Boar Barbecue Shop is your one-stop shop for BBQ grills, smokers, pizza ovens, rubs, sauces, charcoal, pellets, and grilling accessories. So what makes us unique? First, we will let you sample 99.9% of the rubs and sauces we sell to ensure you get the flavor you are looking to achieve. Everyone’s tastes and definitions of flavors are unique, so instead of just taking our word for it, we want you to try them yourself. We also carry as many local Florida flavors and Veteran-Owned products as possible. For more information, please visit BullAndBoarShop.com.

Chassis History/Info: Dye and the No. 43 team will compete with GMS Racing chassis no. 348 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. This chassis made its debut at Kansas Speedway in May, and Daniel has driven it in four races this season, finishing 13th at Kansas, 19th at Charlotte, 22nd at Nashville, and 23rd in the most recent race at Kansas.

First Top-10 Finish: Daniel Dye secured his maiden Truck Series top-10 finish in the last outing at Talladega Superspeedway, where he brought the No. 43 Chevrolet home in the sixth position. Elated with the result, Dye has found a new shot of confidence heading into the final two races of the season.

Home Race: The 2022 ARCA Menards Series Rookie of the Year has never raced at Homestead-Miami before, but this weekend feels like a homecoming of sorts for Daniel Dye. Growing up only a few hours away in Deland, Florida, Dye spent his childhood attending short track races that his father, Randy, competed in throughout the state. Ironically, last year was the first time that Daniel had been to Homestead, where he sat on top of Grant Enfinger’s pit box and studied the team. This weekend, Daniel will have a large contingent of family and friends who will make the trip south to Saturday’s race.

– Bainbridge at Homestead-Miami: Blake Bainbridge has only made one start in his career as a crew chief at Homestead, but he made the most of it. Hosting Jamie McMurray as his driver in the 2004 NASCAR Xfinity Series race, Bainbridge’s team was able to finish in second-place. This weekend will see Bainbridge’s first Truck Series race at the facility.

– Xfinity Series Las Vegas Recap: Over the off weekend in the Truck Series, Daniel Dye flew out west to make the second NASCAR Xfinity Series start of his career at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Driving the No. 44 Camaro for Alpha Prime Racing, Daniel would roll off from the 23rd starting spot. Midway through the event, Dye had a brilliant save as another car’s engine let go directly in front of him. Narrowly able to hang on, Daniel would continue to bring home a 21st place finish. His next Xfinity Series race will be at the season finale in Phoenix Raceway on Saturday, November 4th.

– 2024 Plans Set: Announced prior to the series’ last race at Talladega Superspeedway, Daniel Dye has found a home for the 2024 NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series season. Dye will continue to drive his familiar No. 43 Silverado RST, but will make the transition over to McAnally-Hilgemann Racing following the conclusion of this year. His daily commute won’t have to change all that much however, as MHR’s race shop is housed on the GMS Racing / LEGACY MOTOR CLUB™ campus in Statesville, North Carolina.

From The Driver’s Seat: How much of a weight off your shoulders did you feel when you were able to score your first top-10 finish last race, and how eager are you to return to Florida?

“I’m really looking forward to getting to Homestead. First and foremost, to race in front of my friends and family, as well as having Danny from Bull & Boar Barbecue Shop bringing along his family will be super cool. But yeah, finally being able to get a top-10 was definitely a weight off my shoulders. It was good to finally get that out of the way, and we’ve also been having some good runs in the Xfinity Series car the last few weeks. So, it will be nice to carry some added momentum from Talladega as well as the two Xfinity races I’ve made now into Homestead. On that note, I think that the Xfinity races that I’ve had will make me a better driver when I’m in the truck, so I’m looking forward to see what I can do now that I’ve ran a couple of mile-and-a-half tracks in a different car to see how it translates to our truck.”

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