By: Ashley McCubbin
Prior to the quarantine, Grant Enfinger was off to a solid start this NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoor Truck Series season, scoring the victory in the season opener at Daytona International Speedway.
As he gets set to return to the track next week at Charlotte Motor Speedway, the ThorSport Racing driver shared his thoughts with POPULAR SPEED.
POPULAR SPEED: What are your thoughts going into the first race back at Charlotte?
GRANT ENFINGER: Just finally is all I can say. Man, NASCAR did everything they needed to do to give everything a break and now they’re bringing us back. I can’t be more excited about it. It was kind of crazy there for a few months, didn’t know what was going to happen next. But I’m pumped up about getting our Champion Power Equipment F-150 there. I feel like we made huge gains there at Charlotte last year for us, so I feel we have a good package to go back.
PS: We only got a couple races in before the season went on pause, but what are your thoughts looking back on that?
GRANT: Well obviously, we got started off the right way by winning Daytona, but really, the mile-and-a-halves means more than Daytona. In Vegas, we struggled a little bit, but when Jeff Hensley had a stab at it on pit road, we actually got our F-150 really competitive there, as well. I feel like we were decent, not great, but I feel like we learned a lot. They changed the tires there, and that threw us for a loop initially, but I’m glad we got to run that so we know what to expect when we get to Charlotte.
PS: I was just going to ask. How much will it be a challenge without any practice or qualifying?
GRANT: The good thing is it’ll be a challenge for everybody. That’ll be a new one for me, but fortunately, myself and Jeff Hensley are going into a fourth year together and have a really good notebook for all the races coming up that we won’t practice and qualify. It’s just one of those things that everybody is up against the same deal, and I feel like it’s going to be an advantage to a team like ours that has a lot of experience and the same core group of guys together, we should be a force.
PS: Looking at the schedule beyond Charlotte, what track are you most excited to get to?
GRANT: I think Atlanta is going to be good for us. I’m really looking forward to racing at Homestead at 1 o’ clock in the afternoon in the middle of June. I feel like it is going to be a sloppy race for a lot of people. I think we’re going to be slipping and sliding around a lot more than usual. We’re usually racing there in November at night. So with this being June, it’ll probably be worse case scenario for grip. It should be fun racing sliding all over the place, so I’m definitely looking forward to that one.
PS: Now we had some entertainment with the Saturday Night Thunder during the quarantine. How was that experience for you?
GRANT: Man, it was fun. I didn’t do any actual races, except for the last race at Martinsville, but it was fun. But overall, it was fun to get on iRacing in general and a lot of times you race against that have just heard of you, or some of the fans, or some of the guys that you race against on a weekly basis. Something that was a little bit different for all of us. I hadn’t really done that competitively until we all went into quarantine. It was a lot of fun, and it’s something that we’ve just started back up and is a huge advantage for Charlotte is the Ford Performance simulator. So that’s another thing that should help us prepare for our Charlotte, Atlanta, and Homestead race.
PS: So touching upon that, what is the big thing that makes the Ford Performance simulator more accurate than say iRacing?
GRANT: The manufacture, like Ford Performance Simulator, is crazy how many details and engineering goes into it. iRacing is a great simulation and great for people that aren’t racing all the time, and it’s very realistic. But what we’re doing on the Ford Performance Simulation is tuning in the car for the different tracks, so there’s a lot more engineering involved in it.
There’s a lot more leg work just on our guys from ThorSport too, just to get everything measured and everything inputted into that simulation. It’s very, very technical; I know just enough about it to be dangerous, but I know when you have it dialed in, it’s a great tool.
PS: Outside of iRacing, what have you been up to during this quarantine?
GRANT: I feel like the first three or four weeks, I was knocking out all the projects around the house and spending all kinds of money doing all this stuff. Then a month went in and I was like, ‘I got to stop spending money,’ so the next few weeks were kind of brutal. i just did all the small jobs, all the stuff that I already had here to use and kept putting off for a long time. Got a ton of those projects done.
Really, we tried to do as little as we can. My wife works at the hospital so she would go to the hospital every day, but if we had to go to the grocery store, I was just getting out, going in the morning, and trying to not go anywhere else I didn’t need to go. I’d be lying if I didn’t say that I wasn’t going crazy the second half of the quarantine.
PS: With that said, that’s all the questions that I had, so thank you very much for your time, and best of luck when you go back racing at Charlotte.
GRANT: Thank you very much, and thank you for all our sponsors for sticking with us – Champion Power Equipment, Curb and Curb Records, and everybody at ThorSport. This has been tough on everybody, so thank you to everybody for keeping us going.
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