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Grant Enfinger earns first career Truck Series win at Talladega

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series fred's 250

TALLADEGA, AL - OCTOBER 22: Grant Enfinger, driver of the #24 Plugfones Chevrolet, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning after the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series fred’s 250 at Talladega Superspeedway on October 22, 2016 in Talladega, Alabama. (Photo by Jerry Markland/Getty Images)

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TALLADEGA, Ala. - Grant Enfinger had a happy homecoming Saturday afternoon.

The Fairhope, Alabama, native earned his first career Camping World Truck Series win at Talladega Superspeedway in the fred’s 250. Enfinger held off his GMS Racing teammate, Spencer Gallagher, on the final restart with two laps to go.

In addition to driving the No. 24 on a limited basis for GMS, Enfinger also works in the shop during the week. In seven starts this year, Enfinger has earned five top-10 finishes. In his first start with the team, Enfinger won the pole for the season-opening event at Daytona International Speedway.

Saturday was also the first time GMS Racing earned a 1-2 finish.

“It’s unbelievable,” Enfinger said in victory lane. “This is a brand new truck, it was on the tubing rack a few weeks ago and (crew chief) Jeff Stankiewicz, Trevor Pollard, all these guys behind us built it, and it was a rocket ship. Best truck out there. Made my job easier.”

MORE: Results and statistics from the fred’s 250

MORE: William Byron remains point leader

Enfinger qualified second and quickly took the lead at the start of the 250-mile event. He led five times for a race-high 45 laps. Enfinger held off Gallagher, Timothy Peters, as well as his other GMS Racing teammates - Ben Kennedy and Johnny Sauter - on three restarts inside the final 10 laps.

“I struggle to think of a racer with a reputation more sterling than Grant’s,” Gallagher said of Enfinger. “To use a baseball analogy, he is the true five-tool player. He is a great team player, he’s in the shop every day working on his own stuff, he is extraordinarily talented with a wrench in his hand and even more so with a wheel in his hand.

“At GMS, something we try to do is provide opportunities to people who deserve it, and there isn’t anybody I can think of more deserving of the opportunity and this win, than Grant Enfinger.”

Talladega was the first elimination race in the inaugural Chase and cut the field from eight drivers to six.

William Byron, Christopher Bell, Timothy Peters, Matt Crafton, Ben Kennedy, and Johnny Sauter advanced. John Hunter Nemechek and Daniel Hemric were eliminated.

Nemechek saw his day, and championship chances, come to an end when the engine in his No. 8 blew on Lap 15. Hemric was involved in multiple incidents during the race and finished 11th with a wounded truck.

HOW ENFINGER WON: He led 23 of the final 24 laps.

WHO ELSE HAD A GOOD RACE: Spencer Gallagher earned his seventh top-10 finish of the season with a second-place effort, which is also his best finish in three starts at Talladega ... Timothy Peters finished third in his quest for three consecutive wins at Talladega ... Rico Abreu earned his second top-five finish of the season with a fourth-place result.

WHO HAD A BAD RACE: Matt Crafton blew an engine and finished 22nd ... Ben Rhodes was involved in a wreck on Lap 61 and suffered his fourth DNF of the season with a 24th-place finish ... Cole Custer finished 29th after starting on the pole ... John Hunter Nemechek finished last, 32nd, and was eliminated from the Chase.

NOTABLE: GMS Racing earned their fourth win of the season at Talladega Superspeedway. The organization also advanced two trucks, Ben Kennedy and Johnny Sauter, into the second round of the Chase.

QUOTE OF THE DAY: “The effort was second-to-none. I can’t thank all of these Brad Keselowski Racing guys for doing everything they could to salvage the best day we could with what we had. We were just part of a lot of very unfortunate situations there that we couldn’t avoid or couldn’t miss. One you can probably rebound. Two you can rebound from, but the third one definitely put us in a bad situation.” -- Daniel Hemric after being eliminated from the Chase.

WHAT’S NEXT: The first race in the second round of the Truck Chase begins at Martinsville Speedway on Oct. 29 in the Alpha Energy Solutions 200.

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