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Grant Enfinger wins 1st NASCAR race with Talladega victory

(AP Photo/Matthew Bishop)

TALLADEGA, Ala. (AP) Grant Enfinger's love of racing began as a fan at Talladega Superspeedway, where he made an annual trip as a child with his father and friends.

This year, they have a victory to celebrate during their camping trip at the superspeedway.

Enfinger grabbed his first career NASCAR victory - at his home track, no less - by holding off the pack to win the Truck Series race Saturday at Talladega.

Enfinger, from Fairhope, used a plan with his GMS Racing teammates to move to the front and led a race-high 45 laps to secure the win. He got a push from teammate Ben Kennedy on a late restart and held off a last-lap challenge by teammate Spencer Gallagher.

Gallagher finished second, followed by Timothy Peters, Rico Abreu and Kennedy.

The victory was Enfinger's first in 13 career starts in the series, and comes as his future in racing is filled with uncertainty.

"It's unbelievable," said Enfinger. "It's my home track. It's just so special. We came here as fans, that's how this whole thing started. It hasn't sunk in yet, it won't for a while."

Enfinger planned to spend Saturday night camping in an RV armada seven strong with the same friends and family he's been coming to Talladega with most of his life. Worrying about his future could wait.

He put the deal together to race at Talladega only a month ago and came with a brand-new truck he felt was the best in the field on Saturday. But he's got no plans for any more races this year and isn't sure what next year holds.

Team owner Maury Gallagher said he'd like to have something to offer Enfinger next season.

"This is a tough business, I wish it was less expensive," Gallagher said. "We're working hard to get a program together for Grant for next year."

Talladega was an elimination race in the inaugural Chase playoffs, and Daniel Hemric and John Hunter Nemechek were both knocked out as the field was trimmed from eight drivers to six.

Advancing to the next round were Kennedy, Matt Crafton, Peters, Johnny Sauter and Christopher Bell.

Kennedy and Sauter both drive for GMS Racing, which made Saturday a banner day for the organization.

Nemchek's title hopes ended just 13 laps into the race when his engine expired. Hemric was in three separate incidents Saturday, including a 14-truck accident that badly damaged his Ford.

Hemric finished 11th and missed advancing in the Chase by 13 points.

"Today was completely full of trials and trying to overcome things," Hemric said. "All we can do now is try to win races. It wasn't for lack of effort. We got involved in three or four different situations there and never had the opportunity to get back to the front."

Updated October 22, 2016

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