Column By: JOHN DOUGLAS / RPW – ROSSBURG, OH – It’s almost a guarantee at this point. Stick NASCAR’s Truck Series on Tony Stewart’s Eldora Speedway and you have pure gold.
Chase Briscoe’s win over ThorSport team mate Grant Enfinger was one for the story books. Briscoe’s dirt experience propelled him the .038 seconds ahead of Enfinger that he needed to hoist the golden shovel above his head in victory lane.
“Sorry to the 98 team. I know they were going for a championship and they’re our team mate. I wasn’t just gonna wear him out or just wreck him for the win.” Briscoe said in victory lane, “It just means so much to win at Eldora being a dirt guy. My Grandpa’s won here with Jack Hewitt. This is our Daytona for dirt guys. This win is for all the dirt guys out there who don’t get a shot. Tonight just proves a dirt guy can do it at this level.”
Enfinger quietly and methodically worked his way around the speedway under the radar for most of the evening. However, when the race’s final stage began he was in prime position to take advantage of track position. Enfinger worked his way to second and got along side his team mate Briscoe. The duo battled over the final stretch run to the finish, however it was the race’s final restart in NASCAR’s Overtime format that had the fans on their feet.
The pair of Ford’s came off the final turn locked together and Enfinger lost at the line by just a few inches.
“I feel like we had the position on him.” An obviously disappointed Enfinger said. “He used me up and I was going for it. He didn’t do anything dirty. Just the last lap for a really big race. Really wish we could’ve got a win. Duke and Rhonda Thorson did get a win but I really wish it could’ve been this 98 team.”
The 150 laps was never without action on the racing surface as early on drivers battled to find room to race. Stewart Friesen, a heavy odds on favorite was spun early on by the No. 54 of Chris Windom. Sending the Canadian native and Northeast Big Block racer to the back of the running order. Friesen struggled to recover ground, however he managed to recover and finish a strong third.
The Sprakers, N.Y. modified ace has run strong all season and though he is still searching for his first victory, Friesen and his Halmar-Friesen Racing team are currently in to the championship playoffs.
“We just lacked a little forward drive.” Friesen told reporters. “We were just all balled up on the right front kinda all night long. We had it decent at the end of practice yesterday but the same issues that we fought kind of snuck back up on us. The guys on the team worked hard to salvage something out of it. Obviously not a win. We came here guns a blazin’… Happy to have a third, we just missed it a little bit.”
For Briscoe, this marks his first truck series start since last year’s series finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Where he also picked up the victory. Ford helped Briscoe put together this one race deal for the unique event at Eldora just three weeks before the teams congregated for their one and only race on the dirt.
“Hopefully I get to run it next year, I’m still working on these guys for next week, but to me the whole reason for this was first off because they knew I would have fun, but the big reason was to win.” Briscoe said during media center availability. “I’m just so thankful that they along with ThorSport allowed me to do it. To be able to reward these guys with a win is pretty cool.”