Enfinger wins ARCA race at Daytona for 2nd straight season

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DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (AP) — Grant Enfinger had a new team and a familiar finish at Daytona.
February 14, 2015 @ 4:16 pm

Cars speed past the starting line led Mark Thompson, far left bottom, and Cody Coughlin, far left top, to begin the ARCA series auto race at Daytona International Speedway, Saturday, Feb. 14, 2015, in Daytona Beach, Fla. (AP Photo/Terry Renna)

He dominated again and won the ARCA Series race at Daytona International Speedway for the second straight season.

Enfinger led the most laps and raced to his ninth career victory in the stock car series. He went back-to-back at Daytona International Speedway with two different teams. He won last season with Team BCR Racing and was in the No. 23 Chevrolet on Saturday for GMS Racing.

“I think this is the beginning of a lot of great things for GMS Racing,” Enfinger said.

Enfinger hoped the win was a sign of a winning streak — his Daytona victory last season was the first of three straight checkered flags. He finished with six wins in 20 races last season and was second in the standings, a hefty improvement from his two wins in 51 races from 2008-2013.

“We set the standard high last year,” he said. “We have big things going on at GMS Racing.”

Joe Gibbs Racing developmental driver Daniel Suarez was second. Brett Hudson, Cody Coughlin and Frank Kimmel round out the top five.

Kimmel, ARCA’s career victory leader with 80, was briefly trapped on the pits after an accident with the gas can forced a crew member to strip down his firesuit.

J.J Pack was uninjured after damage to the fuel line burst his car in flames. He hopped out and safety officials were quick to extinguish the fire.

There was a caution when a race official dropped a flag from the stand on the track.

Bobby Gerhart was never a factor following a three-car crash that ended his bid to win for the ninth time on the 2 1/2-mile superspeedway and dropped him to 39th.

“There’s no sense pointing any fingers or placing any blame,” Gerhart said.

Gerhart was tangled with Leilani Munter and Buster Graham in a big wreck that left the veteran driver shaken up. Gerhart sat in his car for several moments and needed assistance to the ambulance. He appeared fine after he was released from the medical center.

Munter had a famous fan rooting for her from the pits. Grateful Dead founding member Bob Weir was on the starting grid to support his sister-in-law in the stock car race.

Weir took a short break from his steady performing to stop by Munter’s car before the race.

“It’s fun, of course,” said the 67-year-old Weir, shuffling around the garage in sandals. “That’s the whole idea.”

Weir, who has no plan to slow down his touring schedule, would be up for a NASCAR performance one year at the Daytona 500.

“One of these days, sure,” he said. “You probably have to put out a country record first.”

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