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June 3, 2023

Grant Enfinger wins late-race thriller at Gateway

MADISON, Ill.-Taking advantage of Ty Majeski’s and Zane Smith’s wreck at the front of the field, Grant Enfinger grabbed his second NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series victory of the season in Saturday’s Toyota 200 at World Wide Technology Raceway.

During a two-lap overtime that took the race two laps past its scheduled distance of 160 laps, Enfinger held off Christian Eckes to claim his first win at WWT Raceway and the ninth of his career.

Enfinger crossed the finish line 0.256 seconds ahead of Eckes and collected a $50,000 bonus for winning the second event in the Triple Truck Challenge.

RELATED: Race results | At-track photos

“I forgot about that, to be honest with you right now,” Enfinger said of the Triple Truck Challenge bonus. “It’s just so hard to win these races. And if it was about money, we’d have quit a long time ago… It’s been a rocky year. But these last five races, I feel like we’ve come to our own.

“(Crew chief) Jeff Hensley made great calls and overall just a just a great day, and the stars aligned.”

Enfinger likely would have settled for third place, had Majeski and Smith not wiped out in front of him on Lap 155. Smith held the lead at that point, even though he had made his last pit stop on Lap 90.

On older tires, Smith held an advantage of nearly 1.5 seconds when Lawless Alan’s spin on Lap 150 necessitated the 10th caution of the race.

After the subsequent restart on Lap 155, Majeski, the pole winner, charged into second place and ran side by side with Smith until Majeski spun sideways in Turn 2, destroyed his own truck and knocked Smith into the wall in the process.

The wreck sent the race to the overtime, with Enfinger in the lead and Eckes beside him for a restart on Lap 161. Enfinger cleared Eckes on the first overtime lap and pulled away to win by a truck length.

WATCH: Enfinger reacts after big win

“I don’t know if we were just kind of living right there the end or whatever, but Ty kind of did what I did last year… and Ty just got loose underneath him. It’s hard to make those moves here. But I’m just so proud of these guys…

“It’s as good as time as they need to announce that we’re expecting another baby, so I’ll be home tonight to see (my wife), so life is good.”

Stewart Friesen ran third, followed by Carson Hocevar and Chase Purdy. Matt DiBenedetto, Ben Rhodes, Nick Sanchez, Jesse Love and Jake Garcia completed the top 10.

Love was making his first start in the series, substituting for Corey Heim, who was sidelined by illness.

The Truck Series will return to action on June 23 with the running of the Rackley Roofing 200 at Nashville Superspeedway (8 p.m. ET, FS1, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).

Note: Inspection is clear in the Truck Series garage, confirming the No. 23 of Grant Enfinger as the race winner. The No. 19 of Christian Eckes had one lug nut not safe and secure, resulting in a monetary fine to be announced in the weekly penalty report.