DAYTONA BEACH, Florida (January 18, 2011) – – Alabama’s Grant Enfinger had every reason to be smiling as his hauler left the grounds of Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway late last week. The part-time ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards team wowed the ARCA crowd by thrusting its No. 09 Ford Fusion to the top of the overall leader board in a three-day open test session on the newly re-paved 2.5-mile superspeedway.
Enfinger wasn’t the man behind the wheel. For the test, Enfinger, considered one of ARCA’s finest drivers handed the wheel off to USARacing Pro Cup Series and NASCAR Nationwide Series driver Benny Gordon who maneuvered the No. 09 Grant Enfinger Racing (GER) Ford Fusion for the three day test.
While it was tough for Enfinger to sit back and watch someone steer his familiar bold and brilliant No. 09 entry, Enfinger had other responsibilities after and being called just days before the test to drive the No. 36 Justin Allgaier Motorsports Dodge Charger for the 2008 ARCA championship team.
Under the guidance of crew chief Howard Bixman, the No. 09 posted its fastest lap during drafting practice on Wednesday afternoon. Gordon, who plans to make his first ARCA start of the 2011 season at Daytona in less than a month drafted his blue oval around the historic track in 48.414 seconds or 185.897 miles per hour. The fastest time could not be beaten during a full-day of testing on Thursday.
“I’m real proud of the GER team,” said Enfinger, who intends to compete in the 2011 ARCA season-opener next month. “We showed last year that we have a solid restrictor plate program and from what I can tell, we haven’t lost any steam since then. I want to thank Benny (Gordon), Howard (Bixman) and the entire Grant Enfinger Racing team for their hard work during the test. Our goal is to come back and be as competitive when that green flag drops.” For Bixman, a well-known fixture in the ARCA community, he echoed similar sentiments of his car owner.
“Benny (Gordon) did a superb job for his first go-around in an ARCA super speedway car,” Bixman said. “We came here with a plan and to get Benny some laps. But to leave here atop the board it just shows how dedicated and focused this team and talented Benny really is. I want to thank ROUSHYATES Engines and Ford Racing. Hopefully we’ll be able to secure some sponsorship so Grant and this team can be a permanent fixture in the ARCA Racing Series and not just on a part-time basis ”
For Enfinger, who nearly pulled off his first ARCA victory last April at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway, he maneuvered the second-fastest time overall in the No. 36 Dodge Charger. His fastest lap of 48.418 seconds or 185.881 miles per hour was just four-one thousands of a second slower than Gordon’s.
GER will join the remainder of the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards teams for the first of 19 races on the 2011 ARCA Racing Series schedule, the Lucas Oil Slick Mist 200 at Daytona set for Saturday, February 12, 2011. The event will be televised live on SPEED and is the preamble for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) Budweiser Shootout which will commence shortly after the conclusion of the 80-lap / 200-mile contest.