Jordan Anderson

Grant Enfinger wins Atlanta Truck race with last-lap pass of Austin Hill

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Grant Enfinger passed Austin Hill with one lap to go to win Saturday’s Vet Tix Camping World 200 Truck Series race at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

The green-white-checker finish gave Enfinger his fourth career win and second this season (he also won the 2020 opener at Daytona). It also was Ford’s first-ever Truck Series win at the 1.54-mile track in Hampton, Georgia.

Kyle Busch won the first two stages and appeared to have the truck to win. But midway through the final segment, he was forced to pit after he skimmed the outside wall trying to avoid the slow-moving ride of Jordan Anderson.

To add insult to injury, Busch was penalized twice for speeding on pit road, ultimately dropping him three laps behind the leaders and ending his hopes of rebounding for the win. Busch came into the race having won nine times, plus three runner-ups and a third-place showing in his last 14 Truck Series starts dating back to Michigan in mid-2017.

MORE: Results, standings after Atlanta Trucks race

Hill finished second in Saturday’s race, followed by Christian Eckes, Todd Gilliland and Zane Smith. Sixth through 10th were Ross Chastain, Derek Kraus, Brett Moffitt, Ben Rhodes and Stewart Friesen.

Enfinger’s win was set up when Chase Elliott spun with three laps left in regulation time, bringing out the caution. Hill, who hails from Winston, Georgia, about 55 miles from Atlanta Motor Speedway, had a 4.5 second lead at the time.

STAGE 1 WINNER: Kyle Busch

STAGE 2 WINNER: Kyle Busch

Who had a good race: Even though he failed to win, Hill still had a strong run nonetheless. Also kudos to Eckes for rallying to finish third, followed by a late surge by Gilliland.

Who had a bad race: Rookie Bryan Dauzat had two incidents in the first four laps of Stage 1. He parked his Truck after the second incident and finished last in the 40-truck field. … Matt Crafton got caught up in an accordion-type wreck on pit road after Stage 1 that caused significant damage to his front end. Still, Crafton managed to rally back to finish 12th.

Notable: A pair of teenagers started the race on the front row: series rookie Christian Eckes and Tyler Ankrum, both 19 years old. Eckes finished third, while Ankrum was 15th.

What’s next: The next Truck Series race is Saturday, June 13, at Homestead-Miami Speedway (7:30 p.m. ET on FS1).

Also: A fox hopped across pit wall and ran across the track before exiting on the other side. No caution was called.

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How Jordan Anderson discovered his race hauler is a ‘time capsule’

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If not for the COVID-19 pandemic that’s brought NASCAR and much of the country to a stop, it might have taken Jordan Anderson a while to discover his race team’s hauler was a “time capsule.”

When you’re not expecting to race until at least May, there’s not too much you can do around your race shop.

What you can do is clean your hauler, which would be a “bottom of the totem pole” chore for his Truck Series team in more normal times.

That’s what Anderson was doing today when he learned that the hauler his team has used since 2019 once pulled into the Cup Series garage … 18 years ago.

“Underneath the seat cushions it had ‘Hooters Racing / No. 11’ on it. …. handwritten in sharpie,” Anderson told NBC Sports.

The No. 11 and Hooters were a combo associated with Cup Series driver Brett Bodine from 2002-03 when Bodine owned his own team.

As for the inscribed cushion?

“Somebody pointed this out on Twitter that’s a common thing that Featherlite did when they manufactured these haulers,” Anderson said. “All the seats were made in a common area and the way they marked what hauler they were going in was somebody would just take a sharpie on the bottom board of the cushions and write what hauler it was going in.”

There were more relics from the early 2000s found underneath the hauler’s drawers.

“We found a couple of … setup sheets and stuff like that that had Brett Bodine, the 11 logo on it,” Anderson said. “Then we found one note that I think had practice times from like Phoenix in 2002 in there.”

Anderson, who finished second in the season-opening race at Daytona for his first career top five, purchased the hauler from Premium Motorsports at the end of the 2018 season. Before Premium, it was owned by Stewart Friesen when he began competing in the Truck Series in 2017. Before that, it hauled Tommy Baldwin Racing’s No. 7 Cup car driven by Alex Bowman in 2015.

Using equipment that’s survived through multiple racing generations is not a new experience for Anderson’s self-owned team.

“Honestly, it’s been my entire career,” said Jordan, who currently owns chassis once used by GMS Racing. “With us being a smaller team, we don’t actually manufacturer the chassis. We may do body work, things like that. Most chassis and parts that we buy come from smaller teams and there’s a lot of people that are here in Mooresville that sell used parts.”

Jordan said he has brake calipers that are engraved with “KHI,” the initials for Kevin Harvick Inc., the Truck and Xfinity Series team Harvick operated that closed in 2011.

“It’s pretty crazy to go back and find some of the parts and pieces that we got that have been recycled from bigger teams,” Anderson said. “The fact that stuff gets recycled and reused is how teams like myself stay alive. Because for us to go out and buy all brand new stuff, you’d run out of money pretty quickly.”

As for his hauler, Anderson views its journey through the auto racing community as having come “full circle.”

“That hauler started its life with Brett Bodine, but he owned his team back then and now (it’s) with me owning our team in the Truck Series,” Anderson said. “Most stuff in racing has got a pretty long story. You don’t often get too fortunate to find stuff like what we found today to be able to trace it all the way back.”

Long: A sigh of relief punctuates the end of Daytona Speedweeks

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DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — When it was over, when a Daytona Speedweeks that featured outrage and exhilaration saw its final checkered flag, there was little euphoria, many anxious moments and eventually a sigh of relief.

Confusion and concern reigned on pit road after Ryan Newman’s horrific crash at the end of Monday night’s Daytona 500. Racing for the win, Newman’s car slammed into the wall before the start/finish line, was struck while upside down by Corey LaJoie’s car and slid down the track, a shower of sparks trailing, before coming to rest beyond the exit of pit road.

A conversation on one team’s radio said Newman was out of the car, but others on pit road said he was not. With drivers and teams parked closer to pit entrance after the race, no one could tell what was happening at the other end of pit road.

Safety crews needed more than 10 minutes to roll Newman’s car over, attend to him and cut the crumpled roof off to extricate the 42-year-old father of two.

Moments earlier, Ryan Blaney pushed Newman past Denny Hamlin into the lead on the backstretch of the final lap. Blaney attempted to pass on the frontstretch, but Newman blocked. Blaney realized he was going to finish second and wanted to ensure a Ford won, so he pushed Newman. But one bump unsettled Newman’s car, triggering the incident.

Afterward, Blaney stood with his crew by his car on pit road for several minutes but little was said. They waited to hear about Newman’s condition. As many did.

When he talked to the media, Blaney’s face was ashen and his eyes blank as he recounted a last lap he’d like to forget but likely never will.

“I hope he’s alright,” Blaney said. “That looked really bad. Definitely unintentional. … Just waiting to see if he’s OK.”

As he spoke, an ambulance sped past, taking Newman to Halifax Health Medical Center.

Until the end of the Daytona 500, Speedweeks had provided its fill of drama, intrigue and bliss.

It started with the Busch Clash the week before where all 18 cars were involved in an at least one accident and winner Erik Jones was collected in three incidents. The main story that day, though, was Brad Keselowski’s  anger toward teammate Joey Logano for an accident that collected both and Kyle Busch.

A few days later the focus returned to racing. Logano won his qualifying race and William Byron won his qualifying race, his first Cup victory at Daytona. But Daniel Suarez suffered heartbreak when he was involved in a crash and failed to qualify for the 500.

The following night saw Jordan Anderson finish second by one-hundredth of a second, but he celebrated as if he won. The 28-year-old has raced in the Truck series most of the past five years but it hasn’t been easy. He has often pulled his truck in a dually and struggled to find funding. He sold equipment to help keep his team going in the offseason and purchase the truck he ran at Daytona.

After finishing second, Anderson couldn’t stop smiling.

“This finish tonight … is for every underdog in America, every kid that stays up late and works on his dirt late model or legends car and dreams of coming to Daytona,” Anderson said. “Hopefully, this finish tonight encourages them to never give up on their dreams.”

Less than 24 hours later, Noah Gragson was burning up the track. Literally.

Gragson celebrated his first Xfinity win with an extended burnout that had some rubber burning on the track.

“I caught the track on fire,” the 21-year-old driver for JR Motorsports said. “I thought that always would be really, really cool to catch the track on fire from doing a burnout, and I was able to do that.”

A Sunday filled with sunshine started with Air Force One delivering President Donald J. Trump. He spoke briefly to fans. They serenaded him with chants of “U-S-A!” He gave the command to start engines and his motorcade led the field on a pace lap, something never before done in a race. But rain delayed the start and the electricity that had built faded when the field only got 20 laps in before a second rain delay postponed the race to Monday.

Sunday’s energy grew through a late Monday afternoon under sunny and warm conditions. Crashes reduced the field but still left enough cars to create a dramatic win for Hamlin.

But that was overshadowed by Newman’s wreck.

And all the waiting.

Fans left the track without knowing Newman’s condition. Those at the track stood around. Nobody knew.

Informed of the severity of Newman’s crash, Hamlin and Joe Gibbs Racing muted their victory lane activities. A somber atmosphere hung over the track.

It was a stark reminder of how dangerous racing can be, something many have overlooked as they’ve applauded countless drivers who emerged with no serious injuries from high-flying cars that tumbled and rolled. It also showed how far safety has come in NASCAR since Dale Earnhardt’s fatal crash in 2001.

Two hours after Newman’s ambulance ride, the news came.

He was alive.

And a sigh of relief filled a silent racetrack.

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Results, point standings after Truck Series opener at Daytona

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Grant Enfinger won Friday’s Truck Series opener at Daytona in dramatic fashion, edging Jordan Anderson by .010 seconds and claiming his first win since 2018.

Anderson was followed by Codie Rohrbaugh, Derek Kraus and Natalie Decker. The four drivers all earned the best finishes of their Truck Series careers.

Enfinger’s win is the third of his career. His others were at Talladega and Las Vegas.

Enfinger was the regular-season champion last year despite not winning a race. The victory locks him into the playoffs.

Click here for the race results.

Points

After the race win and also claiming the Stage 2 win, Enfinger leads the standings by 11 points over Austin Hill.

The top five is completed by Johnny Sauter (-14 points), Anderson (-18) and Rohrbaugh (-19).

Click here for the standings.

Grant Enfinger wins Truck Series opener in overtime

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Grant Enfinger won Friday night’s NASCAR Truck Series season opener at Daytona in an overtime finish that saw him and Jordan Anderson slam doors coming to the checkered flag as Enfinger beat him by .010 seconds.

It is Enfinger’s third career win and comes after he went winless in 2019.

The top five was completed by Codie Rohrbaugh, Derek Kraus and Natalie Decker.

“The biggest thing is we had a really good Ford F-150 to do it with,” Enfinger told FS1. “I made a mistake there with about 20 (laps) to go, I got hung up in the sucker hole. I pulled up in front of (ThorSport Racing teammate) Ben (Rhodes) too late and he was going to wreck me or put me in the middle and that’s what happened …. I tried to bide my time on the bottom and then it got to four, five laps to go and it’s time to go and we were able to get up into the third groove make things happen.”

Anderson’s finish is his best in 102 Truck Series starts and his first top-five finish.

“There’s not too many opportunities that you get to go for your win,” Anderson told FS1. “I’m almost speechless … I came here in 2015 and emptied my bank account to come down here and run. To be in a position to even go for a win at Daytona, I’m just a kid that wanted to go racing from South Carolina.”

Rohrbaugh’s finish is his best in 12 career starts, Kraus earned his first top five in six career starts and Decker earned her first top five and first top-10 finish in 20 career starts.

Decker’s finish is the best by a female driver in the Truck Series. The previous record was held by Jennifer Jo Cobb (sixth) at Daytona in 2011.

“It just feels so good, we had such a good team effort and plan,” Decker told FS1. “We all stuck to it and that’s what got me that good finish.”

The overtime finish was setup by a massive wreck with three laps left in the scheduled distance. The wreck occurred in Turns 1 and 2 as the front half of the field was racing three-wide, multiple rows deep. Among the drivers collected were Ben Rhodes, Todd Gilliland, Christian Eckes, Johnny Sauter, Stewart Friesen, pole-sitter Riley Herbst, Tanner Gray, Tyler Ankrum and Jesse Little.

STAGE 1 WINNER: Riley Herbst narrowly won the stage over Tyler Ankrum in a one-lap shootout.

STAGE 2 WINNER: Grant Enfinger

MORE: Race results, point standings

WHO HAD A BAD RACE: Ty Majeski was unhurt after his truck rolled onto its roof in a multi-truck wreck with five laps to go in Stage 1 that included Austin Way Self, Todd Gilliland and Tate Fogleman … A multi-truck wreck occurred with 35 laps to go that eliminated Fogleman, Bryan Dauzat, Angela Ruch and also included Zane Smith, Brett Moffitt, Sheldon Creed and Christian Eckes.

NOTABLE: Enfinger’s win is the 100th for Ford in the Truck Series … During the race broadcast on FS1, series sponsor Gander RV & Outdoors aired a tribute to the late John Andretti, who helped bring the company into NASCAR as a sponsor.

WHAT’S NEXT: Strat 250 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway at 9 p.m. ET on Feb. 21 on FS1.