Transcripts: Grant Enfinger & Corey Heim – Phoenix Raceway

THE MODERATOR: We are going to start our post-race press conference. We are joined by Grant Enfinger, driver of the No. 23. Maybe start off with some comments about tonight’s race.

GRANT ENFINGER: Yeah, it’s kind of a shame that it came down to a race like that at the end. I feel like we did everything right. We didn’t have the truck to contend with yesterday. I feel like we did everything right today and put ourselves in position there, and obviously that happened there with a few laps to go, and set ourselves up for a green-white-checkered there.

Maybe I shouldn’t have chose the top. I was choosing what was best for us. I felt like that would give us the best opportunity to beat those guys straight up. When it ended up being four wide, then gassed it up, and just kind of pushed us up a little bit. Racing for the Championship 4 wide is not going to work. We ended up being the odd man out and tore up our truck, had to restart 22nd after that. That was pretty much all she wrote.

We were I guess fortunate through some of the chaos to restart, whatever it was, 12th or 13th there at the end.

Yeah, I don’t know. I could replay that original green-white-checkered back to maybe choose the bottom. I don’t know, I’d have to analyze that more. Other than that, I don’t really know what I’d do different tonight.

I think Corey had probably the best truck there, but just unfortunate that that kind of incident was retaliation or whatever, and obviously I feel like we had the championship in our grasp right there.

Just part of racing, part of this format. I think that kind of started a chain reaction to just chaos, which is, I guess, entertaining. It’s frustrating running for a championship.

Man, didn’t see this one coming. I thought you for sure had to win the race tonight to win this championship, and then it was just a matter of survival. We all four had destroyed trucks at the end.

I don’t know what I would do different. It’s just an unfortunate way to kind of send out GMS Racing. We had the championship there in grasp with three to go and just kind of went away. I don’t really know if I’d have done anything different.

THE MODERATOR: We’re also joined by Corey Heim.

Q. Corey, for you, you got spun and then apparently may have gotten loose going through and got into Hocevar. Can you talk about your situation there when you got into Hocevar, took him out and how it affected Enfinger and his run for the championship?

COREY HEIM: Yeah, I thought we had a great weekend overall, qualifying on the pole and winning the second stage. Had a super fast Safelite Tundra TRD Pro, and it’s really a shame. I feel like we throughout the field have a lot of respect for each other, but obviously got cleaned out there, and had a lot of right rear damage and was pretty much just out-of-control free, so as soon as the 42 — really he was the third one that went by me on the outside and I about wrecked every time, and by the time he got there, I finally just spun it out. With him on my door, I lost all my sideforce and lost control.

Super unfortunate. Just super proud of Tricon Garage and Toyota Racing for everything they did to get us here. We had such a fast truck tonight. Can’t stress it enough.

I felt like us and the 38, maybe the 98 would have raced it out at the end if it was a clean race, but obviously it wasn’t, so it was just unfortunate.

Q. So just coincidence that it was the 42 truck?

COREY HEIM: Yeah, you can go watch my in-car camera. I about wrecked five times before that, so just unfortunate coincidence.

Q. Grant, for you, you had a chance to get into Rhodes and kind of move him but you didn’t. Obviously the previous wreck set off a chain reaction of chaos that may have cost you this championship.

GRANT ENFINGER: Yeah, I came in there until the end. I guess I could have drove it down into the apron into his door and not lifted or something and just booted both of us, but it wasn’t like I had enough of a run going to get into him and just get him loose or anything like that.

It would have been a different story if I had had some momentum, but I had lost my momentum there with the top side rolling on top of us. The truck in front of me had almost cleared me, able to side draft him a little bit, and just get a little bit.

But yeah, just — like I said, I don’t know if I could have done anything different there within reason. I’m not going to just completely blitz somebody and wreck both of our stuff. If I had an opportunity to loosen him up and shove him out of the way, sure, I would have done that.

But yeah, I don’t think that was in the cards. Maybe if there was another lap or so, maybe we had a fresh enough tires to make something happen. But the truck was damaged there after that first incident, so yeah, like I said, that particular deal I wouldn’t have done anything different.

Q. Grant, obviously you had some emotional conversations there with Mike Beam and the Gallaghers, as well. What are the emotions? How much more does it sting with GMS closing its doors and being as close as you were tonight?

GRANT ENFINGER: Yeah, we had it drawn up to where it was there until that caution came out, and even with that caution I was very comfortable racing those guys straight up, and then yeah, the green-white-checkered was just chaos. That was chaos at the front of the field. There was chaos from then on back with the green-white-checkereds.

I think you see that with the way this format is. I think you see that with just a bunch of guys going for a win and the way the restart zone is here. We’ve kind of manufactured it in a way, so I don’t know why it’s completely surprising.

But you also see it because it’s so hard to pass on your own. These are very tough vehicles to pass once you get going. You’ve got to make it happen on the restarts.

Yeah, obviously our truckers got a bad rap today. We’re better than that. I don’t know how many green-white-checkereds that was, but it was entirely too many.

Yeah, I don’t know. Unfortunate for the championship race to come down to that, what, 30 extra laps almost or whatever.

Q. The emotions with GMS closing, as well, what were those conversations like on pit road there with leadership over there?

GRANT ENFINGER: Yeah, it’s tough. Everybody is holding their head a little low right now, but I don’t think anybody knows what we could have really done much different. Just kind of unfortunate circumstances.

But everybody is proud of the effort. Regardless of the situation, we’ve had a good year. We fought very well for this championship. We fought the whole year. We fought to get in the playoffs. We fought through the playoffs. We fought to get here.

It’s something I’m proud of. Am I disappointed? Absolutely. Is everybody on this team disappointed? Absolutely. That’s all I can really say.

Q. For Corey, Carson said he effed up. I’m curious, did you view that as just a bad mistake, and how egregious of a mistake was that, if it was just a mistake?

COREY HEIM: Yeah, he obviously screwed up, just wrecked me. I’ve been racing Carson for a long time, racing him since I was eight or nine years old, and that’s just kind of what he does. He’ll wreck you and apologize, and then he’ll do it again the next week.

It’s not going to be the last time he does it, and it’s certainly not the first time he’s done it. Known him for a long time, and I know a lot of guys have only known him for four years as far as his racing career, but it’s been a decade on top of that.

It is what it is. I completely expected it. I actually drove into 1 way past my lifting point to avoid that contact because I literally saw it coming, but he went that extra yard and got us.

Q. Do you feel like this was stolen from you tonight?

COREY HEIM: Sure. I mean, yeah.

GRANT ENFINGER: Yeah, obviously I feel like we had it in our grasp, and I felt like we had it in the control until that caution comes out there at the end. So sure.

COREY HEIM: It’s hard to even say. It turned into such a wreck fest. It’s ridiculous. What do you even say right now?

Q. Grant, from the very first race this season to the last race, did you make any developments for new aero parts, and also in Europe, are you preparing also in simulators for each race or for most of the races?

GRANT ENFINGER: Yeah, obviously a lot of what we do is aero driven. This was a new truck for us at Milwaukee. This is our latest and greatest, best thing we could pull out, and yeah, the guys at Team Chevy allowed us a lot of sim tools and we try and take advantage of each and every one of them.

Yeah, we have the resources at our disposal, and we try to use all of them. I can’t say we hit everything just perfect this weekend. I don’t think we did. But I think we made the right adjustments. We took maybe a 10th, 15th place truck yesterday, and we made it what I would consider a top 3, top 5 truck, just using all the tools we have available.